What Does the Future of Mobile Look Like? Here’s a Peek

April 5, 2012

Business insider just hosted their Future of Mobile conference, and kicked it off by creating a presentation of current mobile trends. It’s pretty cool and worth not only looking through, but also pondering the implications for your own mobile use as well as that of whatever company you work for.

Among the stats:

  • In 2011, the number of smartphones sold exceeded the number of PC’s sold but that’s just the tip of the iceberg because….
  • Off all the mobile device users, only 835 million are smartphone users, whereas 5.6 Billion are still on ‘dumb phones’.
  • Mobile apps are now a ~10 billion dollar market – growing at 100% a year.
  • It took AOL 9 years to get 1 million users. It took Facebook 9 months. But it only took the new “Draw Something” mobile app 9 days.  (NOTE: Draw something roared onto the mobile app scene to now be the #1 App in 79 countries, with more than 20 million downloads. It generates over $100,000 in revenue a day, and has more than 12 million users a day.

Take 5 minutes to flip through the deck and be awed by the sheer volumes represented.

Linda

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NTSB Recommends Ban on All Non-Emergency Use of Mobile Devices

December 14, 2011

A ban on the use of all mobile devices by drivers except in emergencies has just been recommended by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Their decision is based on investigations into distraction-related accidents for the past decade where electronic distraction has played an increasing role, combined with escalating concerns about the increasing capabilities of mobile devices that will give rise to even more distractions.  “Every year, new devices are being released. People are tempted to update their Facebook page, they are tempted to tweet, as if sitting at a desk. But they are driving a car” said Deborah Hersman, chairwoman of NTSB, who added It’s going to be very unpopular with some people. “We’re not here to win a popularity contest. We’re here to do the right thing. This is a difficult recommendation, but it’s the right recommendation and it’s time.”

Here is an excerpt from the NTSB’s recommendation:

To the 50 states and the District of Columbia:

(1) Ban the nonemergency use of portable electronic devices (other than those designed to support the driving task) for all drivers; (2) use the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration model of high visibility enforcement to support these bans; and (3) implement targeted communication campaigns to inform motorists of the new law and enforcement, and to warn them of the dangers associated with the nonemergency use of portable electronic devices while driving.

To put this recommendation in perspective, I wrote in my blog on Dec. 13th that In Spite of Risks, More Drivers Text than Ever Before that texting while driving increased 50% from 2009 to 2010 according to the newly released annual National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study, and that consumer phone use while driving doesn’t end there. Consumers are also reading and typing email, watching video, playing games, using their GPS maps to navigate, and browsing the Internet.

In fact, in another study released by the Governors Highway Safety Association, 100 drivers were continually observed for a full year. The results found that drivers were distracted between one-quarter and one-half of the time.

Responding to the NTSB’s recommendation, the Wireless Association (CTIA)  issued a statement saying it agrees that distracted driving is a dangerous problem  and the group supports a ban on “manual texting” while driving, but would defer to state and local lawmakers when it comes to talking on wireless devices while driving.

Would it kill you to put down that cell phone while driving? No…. But failing to put it down just might.

Linda


In Spite of Risks, More Drivers Text than Ever Before

December 13, 2011

Texting while driving increased 50% from 2009 to 2010 according to the newly released annual National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study. That’s in spite of legislation in 35 states that restrict or ban cell phone use while driving.

And our phone use doesn’t stop there. Consumers are also reading and typing email, watching video, playing games, using their GPS maps to navigate, and browsing the Internet.

Our increased cell phone use comes on top of the non-technology related array of distractions like eating and drinking, smoking, personal grooming, reading, fiddling with the radio or CD’s, and talking to passengers and the stats aren’t pretty.

In a study released by the Governors Highway Safety Association, 100 drivers were continually observed for a full year. The results found that drivers were distracted between one-quarter and one-half of the time. How is distracted driving defined? The study breaks down four types of driver distraction:

  • Visual – looking at something other than the road
  • Auditory – hearing something not related to driving
  • Manual – manipulating something other than the wheel
  • Cognitive – thinking about something other than driving

Now add winter road conditions and general holiday mayhem, and the risks of multitasking while driving – or being hit by someone who is multitasking while driving are likely to be sharply increased.

Play it safe this winter.

Learn more about cell phone risks when driving in these blogs:

Linda


Texting Infographic Has Amazing Stats

December 2, 2011

Consider the following stats:

  • There are 4.2 billion texters worldwide =  3 in 5 people
  • Texting is the most used data service worldwide
  • Last year 6.1 Trillion texts were sent (2010) – or 193,430 per second
  • Texting has improved conditions for people across the world

Curious to learn more? Scroll down to see the infographic by mbaonline.com

Planet Text

Linda


2011 National Gang Threat Assessment – Emerging Trends and The Internet

November 7, 2011

The FBI’s National Gang Intelligence Center (NGIC)has just released their 2011 gang assessment and trends report view printable version (pdf), and it is another sobering read, particularly as it highlights the ways and means in which gangs are leveraging internet technology to expand their reach and the types of crimes they commit.

Here are the reports key findings:

Gangs are expanding, evolving and posing an increasing threat to US communities nationwide.

Many gangs are sophisticated criminal networks with members who are violent, distribute wholesale quantities of drugs, and develop and maintain close working relationships with members and associates of transnational criminal/drug trafficking organizations.

Gangs are becoming more violent while engaging in less typical and lower-risk crime, such as prostitution and white-collar crime. Gangs are more adaptable, organized, sophisticated, and opportunistic, exploiting new and advanced technology as a means to recruit, communicate discretely, target their rivals, and perpetuate their criminal activity. Based on state, local, and federal law enforcement reporting, the NGIC concludes that:

  • There are approximately 1.4 million active street, prison, and OMG gang members comprising more than 33,000 gangs in the United States. This represents a 40 percent increase from an estimated 1 million gang members in 2009. Gang membership increased most significantly in the Northeast and Southeast regions, although the West and Great Lakes regions boast the highest number of gang members.
  • Gangs are responsible for an average of 48 percent of violent crime in most jurisdictions and up to 90 percent in several others, according to NGIC analysis. Major cities and suburban areas experience the most gang-related violence. Aggressive recruitment of juveniles and immigrants, alliances and conflict between gangs, the release of incarcerated gang members from prison, advancements in technology and communication, and Mexican Drug Trafficking Organization (MDTO) involvement in drug distribution have resulted in gang expansion and violence in a number of jurisdictions.
  • Gangs are increasingly engaging in non-traditional gang-related crime, such as alien smuggling, human trafficking, and prostitution. Gangs are also engaging in white collar crime such as counterfeiting, identity theft, and mortgage fraud, primarily due to the high profitability and much lower visibility and risk of detection and punishment than drug and weapons trafficking.
  • Many gang members continue to engage in gang activity while incarcerated. Family members play pivotal roles in assisting or facilitating gang activities and recruitment during a gang members’ incarceration. Gang members in some correctional facilities are adopting radical religious views while incarcerated.
  • Gangs encourage members, associates, and relatives to obtain law enforcement, judiciary, or legal employment in order to gather information on rival gangs and law enforcement operations. Gang infiltration of the military continues to pose a significant criminal threat, as members of at least 53 gangs have been identified on both domestic and international military installations. Gang members who learn advanced weaponry and combat techniques in the military are at risk of employing these skills on the street when they return to their communities.
  • Gang members are acquiring high-powered, military-style weapons and equipment which poses a significant threat because of the potential to engage in lethal encounters with law enforcement officers and civilians. Gang members also target military and law enforcement officials, facilities, and vehicles to obtain weapons, ammunition, body armor, police gear, badges, uniforms, and official identification.
  • Gangs are becoming increasingly adaptable and sophisticated, employing new and advanced technology to facilitate criminal activity discreetly, enhance their criminal operations, and connect with other gang members, criminal organizations, and potential recruits nationwide and even worldwide.

Current Gang-Related Trends and Crime

Many gangs have advanced beyond their traditional role as local retail drug distributors in large cities to become more organized, adaptable, and influential in large-scale drug trafficking. Gang members are migrating from urban areas to suburban and rural communities to recruit new members, expand their drug distribution territories, form new alliances, and collaborate with rival gangs and criminal organizations for profit and influence.

Local neighborhood, hybrid and female gang membership is on the rise in many communities. Prison gang members, who exert control over many street gang members, often engage in crime and violence upon their return to the community. Gang members returning to the community from prison have an adverse and lasting impact on neighborhoods, which may experience notable increases in crime, violence, and drug trafficking.

Gang Membership and Expansion

Law enforcement in several jurisdictions attribute the increase in gang membership in their region to the gangster rap culture, the facilitation of communication and recruitment through the Internet and social media, the proliferation of generational gang members, and a shortage of resources to combat gangs.

Nationwide Gang Presence

Source: NGIC and NDIC 2010 National Drug Survey Data

Threat Posed by Gangs, According to Law Enforcement.

The NGIC collected intelligence from law enforcement officials nationwide in an attempt to capture the threat posed by national-level street, prison, outlaw motorcycle, and neighborhood-based gangs in their communities.

Source: 2011 NGIC National data

Gang-Related Drug Distribution and Trafficking

Gang involvement and control of the retail drug trade poses a serious threat to public safety and stability in most major cities and in many mid-size cities because such distribution activities are routinely associated with lethal violence. Violent disputes over control of drug territory and enforcement of drug debts frequently occur among gangs in both urban and suburban areas, as gangs expand their control of drug distribution in many jurisdictions, according to NDIC and NGIC reporting. In 2010, law enforcement agencies in 51 major US cities reported moderate to significant levels of gang-related drug activity.

NDIC survey data indicates that 69 percent of US law enforcement agencies report gang involvement in drug distribution.

NDIC reporting suggests that gangs are advancing beyond their traditional role as local retail drug distributors in large cities and becoming more influential in large-scale drug trafficking, resulting in an increase in violent crime in several regions of the country.4

  • Law enforcement reporting indicates that gang-related drug distribution and trafficking has resulted in an increase of kidnappings, assaults, robberies and homicides along the US Southwest border region.

Juvenile Gangs

Many jurisdictions are experiencing an increase in juvenile gangs and violence, which is often attributed, in part, to the increased incarceration rates of older members and the aggressive recruitment of juveniles in schools. Gangs have traditionally targeted youths because of their vulnerability and susceptibility to recruitment tactics, as well as their likelihood of avoiding harsh criminal sentencing and willingness to engage in violence.

  • Juvenile gang members in some communities are hosting parties and organizing special events which develop into opportunities for recruiting, drugs, sexual exploitation, and criminal activity.

Gang Alliances and Collaboration

Collaboration between rival gangs and criminal organizations and increased improvement in communications, transportation, and technology have enabled national-level gangs to expand and secure their criminal networks throughout the United States and in other countries. 

Gang Sophistication

Gang members are becoming more sophisticated in their structure and operations and are modifying their activity to minimize law enforcement scrutiny and circumvent gang enhancement laws. Gangs in several jurisdictions have modified or ceased traditional or stereotypical gang indicia and no longer display their colors, tattoos, or hand signs. Others are forming hybrid gangs to avoid police attention and make to it more difficult for law enforcement to identify and monitor them, according to NGIC reporting.

Many gangs are engaging in more sophisticated criminal schemes, including white collar and cybercrime, targeting and infiltrating sensitive systems to gain access to sensitive areas or information, and targeting and monitoring law enforcement.

Gangs and Alien Smuggling, Human Trafficking, and Prostitution

Gang involvement in alien smuggling, human trafficking, and prostitution is increasing primarily due to their higher profitability and lower risks of detection and punishment than that of drug and weapons trafficking. Over the past year, federal, state, and local law enforcement officials in at least 35 states and US territories have reported that gangs in their jurisdictions are involved in alien smuggling, human trafficking, or prostitution.e

Alien Smuggling

Many street gangs are becoming involved in alien smuggling as a source of revenue. According to US law enforcement officials, tremendous incentive exists for gangs to diversify their criminal enterprises to include alien smuggling, which can be more lucrative and less risky than the illicit drug trade. Over the past two years numerous federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies nationwide have reported gang involvement in incidents of alien smuggling. In some instances, gang members were among those being smuggled across the border into the United States following deportation. In other cases, gang members facilitated the movement of migrants across the US-Mexico border.f

An immigrant is smuggled in a vehicle

In October 2009, ICE agents in Los Angeles, California, arrested suspects linked to a drug trafficking and alien smuggling ring with close ties to the Drew Street clique of the Avenues (Sureño) street gang in Los Angeles. The ring allegedly smuggled more than 200 illegal aliens per year into the United States from Mexico, concealing them in trucks and hidden compartments of vehicles and then hiding them in a store house in Los Angeles

Source: FBI

Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is another source of revenue for some gangs. Victims—typically women and children—are often forced, coerced, or led with fraudulent pretense into prostitution and forced labor. Some gangs in the New England area are combining human trafficking and drug trafficking operations, where females are used to courier drugs and participate in prostitution.

Prostitution

Prostitution is also a major source of income for many gangs. Gang members often operate as pimps, luring or forcing at-risk, young females into prostitution and controlling them through violence and psychological abuse. Prostitution is reportedly the second largest source of income for San Diego, California, gangs. According to November 2010 open source reporting, African-American street gangs in San Diego are pimping young females to solicit males.18


Communication

Contraband Cell Phones

Smuggled cell phones are a continuing problem for prison administrators in correctional facilities throughout the country. Smuggled cell phones and Smart Phones afford incarcerated gang members more influence and control over street gangs through unrestricted access and unmonitored conversations via voice calling, Internet access, text messaging, email, and social networking websites. Instances of violence directed by inmates using mobile devices are also a growing concern for corrections officials. Incarcerated gang members communicate covertly with illegal cell phones to plan or direct criminal activities such as drug distribution, assault, and murder.

Cell phones smuggled into correctional facilities pose the greatest threat to institution safety, according to NGIC and BOP reporting.

  • In 2010 a New Jersey inmate was prosecuted for using a contraband cell phone to order the murder of his former girlfriend in retaliation for her cooperation with police regarding an investigation involving the inmate.

The majority of illegal cell phones in California prisons are smuggled in by visitors or correctional staff. Many cell phones have also been discovered
in legal mail and quarterly packages. In 2010, more than 10,000 illegal cell phones were confiscated from prisoners in California.

Historically, correctional staff who have been caught smuggling phones have been successfully prosecuted only when the phone was connected to a more serious charge such as drug distribution,
and district attorney offices rarely prosecute unless a more serious offense is involved. In March 2011, legislation was approved in the California State Senate to criminalize the use of cell phones in prison, including penalties for both smugglers and inmates.

Sources: US Bureau of Prisons and CDCR; California State Senate Press Release, 22 March 2011

Gangs, Technology, and Communication

Gangs are becoming increasingly savvy and are embracing new and advanced technology to facilitate criminal activity and enhance their criminal operations. Prepaid cell phones, social networking and microblogging websites, VoIP systems, virtual worlds, and gaming systems enable gang members to communicate globally and discreetly. Gangs are also increasingly employing advanced countermeasures to monitor and target law enforcement while engaging in a host of criminal activity.

Internet Use for Propaganda, Intimidation, and Recruitment

According to open sources and law enforcement reporting, since 2005, MDTOs have exploited blogs and popular websites like YouTube and MySpace for propaganda and intimidation. MDTOs have posted hundreds of videos depicting interrogations or executions of rival MDTO members. Other postings include video montages of luxury vehicles, weapons, and money set to the music of songs with lyrics that glorify the drug lifestyle. While some of these postings may offer specific recruitment information, they serve more as tools for propaganda and intimidation.
Gang members routinely utilize the Internet to communicate with one another, recruit, promote their gang, intimidate rivals and police, conduct gang business, showcase illegal exploits, and facilitate criminal activity such as drug trafficking, extortion, identity theft, money laundering, and prostitution. Social networking, microblogging, and video-sharing websites—such as Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter—are now more accessible, versatile, and allow tens of thousands of gang members to easily communicate, recruit, and form new gang alliances nationwide and worldwide.

NGIC reporting indicates that a majority of gang members use the Internet for recruitment, gang promotion, and cyber-bullying or intimidation. Many also use the Internet for identity theft, computer hacking, and phishing schemes.

  • According to NGIC reporting, gang recruitment and intimidation is heavily facilitated through the Internet. Gangs use social networking sites such as Facebook to promote their gang, post photos of their gang lifestyle, and display their bravado, which ultimately influences other youth to join gangs.

The proliferation of social networking websites has made gang activity more prevalent and lethal—moving gangs from the streets into cyber space. Gang members, criminals, and drug traffickers are using the Internet not only to recruit and build their social networks, but to expand and operate their criminal networks without the proximity once needed for communication. Likewise, youth in other regions and countries are influenced by what they see online and may be encouraged to connect with or emulate a gang, facilitating the global spread of gang culture.

According to information obtained from multiple state and federal law enforcement sources, incarcerated gang members are accessing micro-blogging and social networking web sites such as MocoSpace and Twitter with smuggled prepaid cellular telephones and using the messaging features to coordinate criminal activity.

Street gang members are also involved in cyber attacks, computer hacking, and phishing operations, often to commit identity theft and fraud. 

Gangs and White Collar Crime

NGIC reporting indicates that gangs are becoming more involved in white collar crime, including identity theft, bank fraud, credit card fraud, money laundering, fencing stolen goods, counterfeiting, and mortgage fraud, and are recruiting members who possess those skill sets. Law enforcement officials nationwide indicate that many gangs in their jurisdiction are involved in some type of white collar crime.

  • Members of the Black Guerilla Family in Maryland used pre-paid retail debit cards as virtual currency inside Maryland prisons to purchase drugs and further the gangs’ interests, according to August 2010 open source reporting.52

Some gangs, such as the Bloods and Gangster Disciples, are committing sophisticated mortgage fraud schemes by purchasing properties with the intent to receive seller assistance loans and, ultimately retain the proceeds from the loans, or to comingle illicit funds through mortgage payments. Gang members are also exploiting vulnerabilities in the banking and mortgage industries for profit.

Outlook

Street, prison, and motorcycle gang membership and criminal activity continues to flourish in US communities where gangs identify opportunities to control street level drug sales, and other profitable crimes. Gangs will not only continue to defend their territory from rival gangs, but will also increasingly seek to diversify both their membership and their criminal activities in recognition of potential financial gain. New alliances between rival gangs will likely form as gangs suspend their former racial ideologies in pursuit of mutual profit. Gangs will continue to evolve and adapt to current conditions and law enforcement tactics, diversify their criminal activity, and employ new strategies and technology to enhance their criminal operations, while facilitating lower-risk and more profitable schemes, such as white collar crime.

The expansion of communication networks, especially in wireless communications and the Internet, will allow gang members to form associations and alliances with other gangs and criminal organizations—both domestically and internationally—and enable gang members to better facilitate criminal activity and enhance their criminal operations discreetly without the physical interfacing once necessary to conduct these activities.

Globalization, socio-political change, technological advances, and immigration will result either in greater gang expansion and gang-related crime or displace gang members as they search for criminal opportunities elsewhere. Stagnant or poor economic conditions in the United States, including budget cuts in law enforcement, may undercut gang dismantlement efforts and encourage gang expansion as police agencies redirect their resources and disband gang units and taskforces, as reported by a large number of law enforcement agencies.

Maps. Gang Presence in the United States

FBI Uniform Crime Report (UCR) Violent Crime, 2009

Linda


It’s not Just British Tabloids; Cell &Email Snooping is Increasing

August 3, 2011

The phone hacking scandal that’s rocked Britain, shut down the 168-year-old News of the World tabloid, led to the resignation of high ranking British police officials and Downing Street’s communications director, and put Rupert Murdoch in the hot-seat is but one symptom of an overall increase in cell and email snooping.

While the British scandal centers around the hacking of a murdered schoolgirl’s phone, and the subsequent hacking of phones belonging to rich and famous people, relatives of slain servicemen killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, and possibly the families of British victims of the 9/11 attacks, most cell phone and email hacking is much more mundane.

According to a July 2011 Retrevo Gadgetology Report, snooping by romantic partners via email and cell phone is on the rise. – And they didn’t survey those who are snooping on ex’s.

Among their findings:

  • Overall, 33% of respondents said they had checked the email or call history of someone they were dating without them knowing in 2011, up 43% from 23% in 2010.
  • 47% of respondents younger than 25 have snooped, up 24% over 2010.
  • 41% of women admit to having checked the email/call history of a romantic partner or spouse, 28% higher than the 32% of men who have done so.
  • 32% of overall respondents say they would secretly track a spouse/partner using an electronic device if they suspected wrongdoing. This includes 33% of women and 31% of men, giving women a 6% edge.
  • 59% of overall parents say they would secretly track a child using an electronic device if they suspected wrongdoing. This includes 64% of mothers and 53% of fathers, making women 21% more likely to snoop on a child.
  • Slightly more married couples snoop on their spouses (37%).
  • The number of parents snooping is highest among parents of teenagers, with 60% snooping on their kids and possibly for good reason, as 14% of those parents reported finding something they were concerned about.
  • Overall, adults are 84% more likely to secretly track a child than a spouse/partner. This differential is 94% for women and 71% for men.
  • 34% of parents of children age 13-19 have used Facebook to learn more about the parents of their children’s friends. This makes parents of teens the most likely of all parents of children younger than 20 to snoop on Facebook in this way, followed by parents of children age 6-12 (29%) and children age 0-5 (25%).

­­­­9 Steps to avoid becoming a phone or email hacking victim

A few basic precautions can significantly reduce the chances your phone or email will be hacked by friends or romantic partners, ex-friends or -romantic partners, students, teachers, parents, children, or others you know.

  1. PIN/password protect your cell phone and email.  Strong, unique, PIN numbers and passwords are a must.  Choosing ‘password’ or something else obvious doesn’t cut it. The same goes for PIN numbers. You must change your phone’s default PIN number to something unique. Choosing easy to guess numbers like your birthdate or ‘1234’ is asking for trouble.
    1. Once you have created safe logins don’t tell anyone what they are and change them periodically.
  2. Be consistent about locking your phone and email accounts. All the passwords in the world are useless if you leave your account/phone unlocked and unattended. Make a habit of locking accounts whenever you are not in control of the device – whether it’s your phone or your computer.
  3. Do not use any automatic sign-in functionality or password reminder tools on shared computers.  If you do, everyone who shares the computer may have full access to your accounts.  XXXXXX Similarly, many phone services allow you to call your own voicemail without having to enter your PIN if you call from your own phone number. While this is convenient for you, it’s even more convenient for someone else who wants to hear your voice messages.  The problem is that your voicemail isn’t actually checking to see if the call came from your phone, it just checks to see if it came from your phone number which is very easy to spoof or fake.  All someone has to do is use a service like SpoofCard that allows a user to make their number appear to be whatever number they want it to be – like yours. Then they dial ‘their’ number to hear your messages.  By the way, SpoofCard now allows you to spoof SMS’s as well. Just imagine how much additional damage this can cause in the hands of a bully, stalker, or other freak with malicious intent.  To best protect yourself, skip the convenience of automatically retrieving your voice messages, and set your voicemail to require your PIN to keep would-be snoopers at bay.
  4. Use strong, up-to-date security products on your cell phone and computers. All it takes to learn everything on your device is one little piece of malware – and there are only two things between you and an infection: 1) Strong security software, and 2) your ability to spot fraud.
    1. Strong security software: Most professional hackers collect passwords using malware that has been installed on your computer or mobile phone, and savvier snoopers can do the same. Be sure your anti-virus and anti-malware programs are up to date.  Also be sure that any operating system updates are installed. See my blog Are You a Malware Magnet? 4 simple steps can make all the difference and Malware reaches New Highs, Spam Dips; Mobile Malware New Frontier.
    2. Your ability to spot fraud: Spam and scams come at us from all angles; in the mailbox in front of your home (junk mail) in your email inbox, via IM, social networking sites, chats, forums, websites, and sadly, now also on your phone. Learn these  14 Steps to Avoiding Scams, and practice on some of the examples (scroll further down the webpage) to see how well you can avoid the common consumer pitfalls scammers want you to stumble over.
  5. Avoid logging into accounts when using public wireless networks – you don’t know if these are safe or compromised. See my blog Like Lambs to the Slaughter? Firesheep Lets Anyone be a Hacker. Since many smartphone users use free WiFi hotspots to access data (and keep their phone plan costs down) smartphones are also more susceptible when leveraging public networks.
  6. Validate the legitimacy of any program/game/app before downloading it.  See my blogs Windows Getting Safer, but Study Finds that 1 of Every 14 Programs Downloaded is Later Confirmed as Malware and More Mobile Apps Caught Inappropriately Collecting User Info and Installing Malware.
  7. Check your computer and phone for monitoring tools. Family safety tools are designed to help parents protect their children, but all too often these tools are used to monitor spouses, friends, ex’s, etc. To know if you are being monitored – and all your interactions recorded and reported – you’ll need to check for monitoring tools. Online Tech Tips has an article titled How to detect computer & email monitoring or spying software that can be quite helpful.
  8. On phones, consider who sees your monthly statement. If family members have access to your statements, they can see who you called (phone number look up), who called you, and the times of day these occurred. This is also true of your text messages. If this is more information that you want snooped through, get your own plan and don’t leave your statements lying around.
  9. Don’t use location tools that track and broadcast your location.  There are two types of location tools, those that you can ping to get information like driving directions, and those that track your location to broadcast to others. If you don’t want to be snooped, tracked or stalked, don’t use a tool that can track you.

Applying these precautions to your mobile and email usage will not guarantee that you aren’t snooped or hacked, but they will go a long way towards protecting you from the snoops in your life.  If nearly half (47%) of the under-20 crowd are snooping, the non-snooping half had better start defending.

Linda


Kudos to Verizon and Phonebooks.com for Deleting Cell Phone Numbers from Directory

July 20, 2011

In a significant win for mobile consumer’s privacy, Verizon wireless has worked with Phonebooks.com to remove cell phone numbers from the internet phone directory company’s service. Phonebooks.com has been the only to offer free cell phone number information.

Verizon has a history of actively opposing publication of mobile phone numbers, and this collaboration with Phonebooks.com to take a joint stance supporting consumer privacy is fantastic news for users.

From the joint press release:

“Even if a consumer’s mobile number is obtained lawfully by Phonebooks.com, we believe that Verizon Wireless customers should have the opportunity to provide informed consent before it is published,” said Steve Zipperstein, vice president of external affairs for Verizon Wireless. “We are pleased that the leadership team at Phonebooks.com agrees that the safety and privacy of all consumers is a high priority.”

“Our wireless phone database was provided at no charge, to benefit the public and assist people in finding the information they were looking for,” said Aaron Rosenthal, president of Phonebooks.com. “While anyone, at any time, was free to remove themselves from this directory, we understand that some people may have specific privacy concerns in regard to their cell phone number. The feedback we’ve received has been overwhelmingly positive. However, the concerned minority cannot be overlooked.”

To help raise awareness regarding this and the ways cell phone numbers are collected, Phonebooks.com has launched a ‘Question & Answer’ website, CellPhoneNumber.com. The site allows visitors to ask a cell phone related question; it also maintains an ongoing poll to help gauge the public’s interest in the existence of a cellular directory.

Step up and vote NO.

That last sentence in the press release should give you cause for concern – as should the current voting tally. If 90% of respondents continue to want a cell phone number directory Phonebooks.com may change their position.

Your job is to make sure your voice is heard. If you want to protect your privacy take 4 seconds RIGHT NOW to vote. http://www.cellphonenumber.com/. Then take 4 more seconds to virally ask all your friends/tweeps/associates/family, etc. to do the same.

Linda