Facebook Improves App Permissions, Introduces Anonymous Logins

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8 Thought-Provoking Quotes From the Surveillance vs. Privacy Debate

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Minnesota Startup Theory.io Launches NoteSuite, A Safer Syncable Notebook

NoteSuite, Minnesota Startup, Theory.io, Startup Launch, Privacy

Ever since Prism and Edward Snowden became household words, people that resort to keeping their lives managed on their mobile devices have been worried about the security of their personal, professional, and most intimate notes.  If their notes are living in the cloud, are they actually safe from prying eyes?

The other big problem with note taking apps and notebook apps today is that users are worried about being trapped in a proprietary ecosystem. What happens if the app they’re using shuts the service down, or they just don’t feel like paying anymore? Sure there are a ton of simple notebook apps that may work. There are also a ton of Microsoft Office solutions, but familiar names like Evernote mean you’re stuck in the Evernote ecosystem.

That’s why Peter Tamte, President of Theory,io is releasing NoteSuite for iPad. This new notebook app has all the syncing functionality of other cloud-based note taking apps, but the notes live device side. Also, equally as important, they can be quickly exported.

NoteSuite for iPad is also the only mobile app that allows users to take notes, manage to-dos, clip web pages, annotate almost anything, and read/search PDFs, MS Office files, and web clips together in one app. It makes it easier to stay organized while mobile. NoteSuite for Mac automatically syncs with NoteSuite for iPad and combines note-taking, to-do management, web clipping, and document organization.

Different from most note-taking apps, NoteSuite does not require a subscription. NoteSuite stores users’ data safely on their iPad or computer, employing popular cloud services for syncing and backup rather than primary storage. This ensures users’ never pay extra to access notes offline, data will not vanish if their web service gets cancelled, access to notes will not be jeopardized by security concerns or lost Internet connections, and users’ data can never get held hostage for higher fees in the future.

NoteSuite is a sequel to Theory.io’s Projectbook, which launched in August 2012 as the #1 best-selling paid iPad productivity app. NoteSuite is an original app, with more than 100 new features and changes and is available as a free upgrade for Projectbook users.

“Web services are ideal for syncing, backup, and collaboration. But, our notes hold our most important ideas and information,”  Tamte said in a statement. “Our research shows that 62% of notes app users are worried about trapping their data inside a proprietary, subscription-based system. NoteSuite lets users stay on top of everything that matters in one organized place and never lose control of their data.”

EE-FORENTREPRENEURS

Here are just some of NoteSuite for iPad’s features:

– Capture Anything: Type, make lists, take photos, record audio, and capture to-dos collectively within notes pages. The iPad version also lets users draw and handwrite directly on notes pages.

– Clip Web Pages: Save clutter-free, fully searchable articles, shopping pages, recipes, and PDFs directly from the web into the app to enjoy anytime, anywhere – even offline.

– Manage To-dos: Track due dates and start dates, set reminders, and match to-dos and projects with relevant notes and documents using comprehensive to-do management features.

– Annotate PDFs: Markup, highlight, sign, fill out forms, type, draw freehand, write, and more on iPad using the PDF capabilities.

– Annotate Anything: Convert MS Office and Apple iWork documents to PDF on iPad, draw or type directly on photos, and convert PowerPoint slides into notes pages for note taking during meetings and lectures.

– Read and Search Documents: Read and search Word docs, PowerPoint files, PDFs, notes, web clips, and to-dos.

– Find Things That Aren’t Organized: Find notes, Word docs, PDFs, and PowerPoint files even if they haven’t been tagged or filed in folders, and without having to remember keywords.

– Sync Across Devices: Tapping one button allows users to sync their data automatically via iCloud from that point forward, without creating a new account or remembering more passwords.

Normally priced at $4.99, NoteSuite for iPad is available at a special introductory price of $1.99 through July 15, 2013 and is a free upgrade for Projectbook users. NoteSuite for iPad is available on the App Store here.

Normally priced at $9.99, NoteSuite for Mac is available at a special introductory price of $4.99 through July 15, 2013. NoteSuite for Mac is available on the Mac App Store here.

 

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Facebook Passwords Protected In California And Illinois

Facebook, Privacy, Password Protection, ACLULast March one of the hottest issues involving privacy and security online was in regard to employers. One of the biggest stories was about a correctional officer in Maryland named Robert Collins who had been laid off from his job in 2010. Unlike many lay-offs Collins was actually asked to come back into work, however before he could do that there was one stipulation. Collins needed to give up, not just his Facebook user id, but his password as well.

Collins had been out of work for a while and needed the money so he had no choice but to give up his Facebook login credentials.He said that the employer wanted to make sure he wasn’t into any “gang activity” (because gangs are planning their activities on Facebook and all).

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) quickly got involved in Collins case and many others that were popping up across the country. Some employers were making Facebook and other social media credentials a stipulation of employment and others were making it a stipulation of continued employment.

Maryland lawmakers quickly rushed a piece of legislation that outlaws employers from seeking employee or prospective employee’s login credentials for any personal service.

Now California and Illinois have both jumped on the login protection bandwagon, and rightfully so. New laws in both states, that went into effect January 1st 2013, makes it illegal for employers to demand access to their workers protected Facebook accounts.  The laws passed in both states protect employees privacy and passwords for many different social networks and not just Facebook.

What on earth is everywhereelse.co?

Toronto Startup: Kytephone Is A New Android UI Just For Kids

A Toronto startup, that was also a member of the winter Y-Combinator class, is hoping to lure parents who are equipping their children with Android powered smartphones. The startup is called Kytephone and it provides a new “launcher” or “UI” to Android phones that it is installed on, with parental controls, great kid friendly graphics and access to apps and functions that children of any age could use.

The best part about Kytephone is it’s customization ability. What Kytephone does, is it allows parents to lockdown certain things on their children’s Android phones. In some cases it could be for younger children so they don’t go off and dial 900 numbers by accident and in other cases it can be customized for tweens or teens to restrict access to features that could get them in trouble.

Kytephone allows the parent to customize access to just about every function of an Android phone. For instance Kytephone could be set up for a younger child, say 4-7 who could use the Kytephone UI to make calls to mom, grandma and brothers and sisters. They could also have access to the phones camera for taking pictures, and maybe a few games.

For tweens and teens, Kytephone allows the parents to set parameters for texting times, and even game playing times. When time is up, the child could be restricted to just texting mom and dad, and they may have to wait until the next day to finish that level on that game they played for an hour.

Kytephone has also found that some of their users are installing the Android app onto phones of senior citizens and elderly folks who may not want the bells and whistles of a full fledged Android smartphone.

kytephone,kids android app,kids android phone,nibletz, google play, androidThere are all kinds of companies out there that are offering some sort of software, similar to Kytephone however it seems that in customization and design Kytephone may have a leg up. In fact one of the competitors, Play Safe, has very similar functionality to Kytephone because their founder, Beakit.com reports, was in the Y-Combinator class with Kytephone co-founder Renat Gautaullin.

Kytephone has since graduated out of Y-Combinator and moved back home to Canada where they are part of the RyersonDMZ Incubator.

Overall Kytephone seems a little more customizable and a lot more robust than competing products. It’s also not tied exclusively to a carrier which means down the road if a user got a new Android phone on a different carrier they could just download Kytephone again and reuse it.

Kytephone is available free in the Google Play store. Gautaullin reports that they are working on some premium features, like timers to close off certain types of apps like games, and other things in the pipeline.

Linkage:

Find out more about Kytephone here

Download it here in the Google Play Store

Source: Betakit

Nibletz is the voice of startups “everywhere else” please help us out if you can

California Company Creates New Search Startup Called Gooey Search INTERVIEW

Google is the goto search for most of the people out there on the internet. Sure there is Bing and Yahoo (powered by Bing) that we use occasionally but we tend to default to Google. However, we’ve all noticed as Google grows bigger and bigger, and now especially after the implementation of Google+ in the search results, searching isn’t as accurate as it used to be.

Couple the accuracy issue with privacy concerns, and you may be looking for a new search engine. Privacy is a growing concern for many. While there is a novelty in searching for something and seeing like ads on the side bar, sometimes the ads get in the way and feel downright stalkerish.

All of those reasons are why San Luis Obispo, CA based company Visual Purple is bringing their Gooey Search product to market. GooeySearch is an app that compliments your Google experience.  We got a chance to talk with GooeySearch for an interview here it is:

What is Gooey Search and Visual Purple

“Like most people, Google is our go-to search engine and we love the iPad.” Heinbockel says, “With the exception of PageRank, search has changed little compared to other technologies over the years and has yet to successfully venture beyond 10 blue links. That inspired us to optimize for the iPad our proven, professional-grade search technology for analysts and researchers, GisterPRO. Gooey makes search fun and brings a new dimension of accuracy, privacy, anonymity and content transparency to Google searches. We have set out to make an app for the iPad that will allow you to interact and explore Google results like never before.” The search app is slated to launch December 2012, pending full funding from Kickstarter supporters.

 

David Ostby and Ed Heinbockel were founding figures when Visual Purple. The Company has enjoyed being an industry leader in intelligent training simulations and technologies throughout the Virtual World, Embedded and Decision-Based training sectors. In 2011, Visual Purple publicly introduced GisterPRO, a Cloud-Powered Exploratory Search Tool that delivers precision, high-quality search results while often revealing unanticipated yet highly insightful concepts and relationships. The tool has been in continuous use since Fall 2010.

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Maryland Passes Law: Employers Cannot Ask For Social Media Credentials

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The biosphere went into a frenzy when a story broke about Robert Collins.  Collins had been laid off from his job as a correctional officer in the state of Maryland.

In 2010 Collins was invited to re-apply for his job back. That’s when things got interesting. Collins said that the interviewer asked him, for not only his Facebook page information but his login credentials as well.

Since had been out of work and needed his job back he felt he had no choice but to comply with the interviewers request.  Before giving up his login information he did inquire about the reasoning behind this odd request.

More after the break

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Hackers Get 181,000 Medicaid Records And 25,000 SSNs From Utah Department Of Health.

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On March 30th hackers believed to have been from Eastern Europe, hacked into a vulnerable server within Utah’s Department Of Health.  UDOH has said that records were moved to a new server that had a configuration problem which allowed hackers to circumvent the department’s security protocols.

Although the breach occurred on March 30th UDOH waited until last Wednesday to publicly announce that the breach occurred. On Friday they revealed the damage.  Hackers made off with 24,000 files. Each file can contain information on hundreds of Medicaid patients.  UDOH tallied up all the damage and said that 181,000 patients have had information compromised. 

The information that was taken includes patient names, birth dates, addresses, provider information, procedure codes answer social security numbers.  The patients affected ranged from children kn Utah’s CHIP program to senior citizens.

More after the break

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Washington Gets In On The Facebook Password Debate

Last week a huge privacy issue came out involving Facebook and the protection of user accounts. According to reports from a man in Baltimore Maryland and another from New York, employers are requesting Facebook login credentials from employees and prospective employees.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has gotten involved defending the rights of people against employers asking for private information. The ACLU likened the practice of asking employees and prospective employees for their Facebook credentials to asking to open their private U.S. mail.

The ACLU also pointed out that the practice by employers was a violation of Facebook’s terms of service.  Facebook concurred and posted a lengthy statement to their official blog page denouncing the practice and reminding users to keep their login credentials protected.

More after the break
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Apple Rejecting Apps That Ask For UDIDs

Privacy and Apps has become a huge concern for both Android and iOS lately. Ever since Path made worldwide news when they uploaded user address books in their entirety to their private servers, users and even congress has been screaming foul play. Privacy pundits everywhere are demanding a crack down on what phones can tell an app about the user and their device.

Apple and Google are under the scrutiny of Congress to crackdown on privacy especially on mobile devices.

About six months ago, around the time a Wall Street Journal study revealed that several apps on both platforms were taking more data off phones than they really needed, Apple let developers know they were going to start rejecting apps that called for the devices UDID. It looks like Apple is going to ramp that up starting now.

More after the break
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Facebook Responds On Employer Password Issue

Robert Collins of Baltimore Maryland was asked for his Facebook password when he went to be rehired in the state of Maryland (AP)

Privacy and Facebook are once again making the news. This time though, the Paolo Alto social network giant is not the cause of the debate but rather the catalyst.

It’s been reported, and documented in Maryland and New York, that employers are asking current and prospective employees for their login credentials for their Facebook accounts. The issue has come under fierce debate. Some proponents of the practice feel that since most states fall under “right to work” or “at will” work status’ the employers can pretty much get away with whatever they want.

Opponents of the practice, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), agree that it’s a violation of an employee and especially a prospective employees rights. During the job interview process a prospective employer is not allowed to ask deep personal questions like if a candidate is married, pregnant or their sexual orientation. These are all things a prospective employer could easily find out with a Facebook username much less the name and password combination.

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YouTube remotely accesses the camera on your tablet or phone

According to a “security expert” YouTube can remotely access the camera on your tablet or phone reports Read Write Web via The London Times (paywall).  The reason I even paid attention to this was the fact that it was found at the bottom of the article and was mentioned in passing.  If this were truly the case, would this not be the headline?  With all the discussions of privacy and contacts happening lately certainly this would make waves with different government agencies. This is a very serious accusation to make and yet there is no solid evidence to support this claim; actually the “evidence” provided by the “security expert” uses the description found in the permission description (read below).

In an article about Facebook reading users emails (more on that later) the London Times and RWW accused Google owned YouTube of remotely accessing the camera found on tablets and smartphones. “Facebook, according to the report, joins several high-profile Web firms that have been caught snooping on their customers. Flickr, dating site Badoo and Yahoo Messenger have all been accused of accessing users’ private data, and YouTube can remotely access and operate a smartphone’s camera, security experts told the Times.”  We pinged Google for an official statement and received this reply;

This is so silly…it requests the camera permission so you can launch camera to take a video from within the YouTube app. It’s not like the app can turn on your camera without asking you.

The permission being discussed is found in Hardware Controls and reads as follows:

TAKE PICTURES AND VIDEOS
Allows application to take pictures and videos with the camera. This allows the application at any time to collect images the camera is seeing.

The idea that Google or YouTube would give themselves the ability to remotely access your video camera is, well, silly.  It illustrates the very real issue that companies are facing when it comes to permissions and users privacy.  What is needed is more education regarding permissions and the use of data by these companies.

 

Sources: Read Write Web via The London Times

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Path, your contacts, and disaster response: Dave Morin takes the high road

Path co-founder Dave Morin takes the high road today, after the news that your complete contact list is being uploaded to their servers. This morning a developer named Arun Thampi released an article titled: Path uploads your entire address book to their servers.  Included in the article were a number of screenshots and detailed instructions to replicate his findings.  Though there is no time stamp on the article, the first comment was left by Dave Morin, instead of ignoring or running from the issues he chose to immediately respond.  First with the comment:

Arun, thanks for pointing this out. We actually think this is an important conversation and take this very seriously. We upload the address book to our servers in order to help the user find and connect to their friends and family on Path quickly and effeciently[sic] as well as to notify them when friends and family join Path. Nothing more.

We believe that this type of friend finding & matching is important to the industry and that it is important that users clearly understand it, so we proactively rolled out an opt-in for this on our Android client a few weeks ago and are rolling out the opt-in for this in 2.0.6 of our iOS Client, pending App Store approval.

Dave Morin
Co-Founder and CEO of Path

*Italics – Emphasis mine

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Zuckerberg Admits To Making Mistakes While Settling US Regulator Privacy Complaint

“I’m the first to admit that we’ve made a bunch of mistakes,”, Mark Zuckeberg said today in regards to settling a privacy complaint by the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Facebook today agreed to settle complaints by the Federal Trade Commission that they knowingly failed to protect users privacy. They are now subject to a 20 year agreement that requires Facebook to clearly get user consent before sharing material that was previously protected by more restrictive measures.  Facebook also agreed to independent reviews of the companies privacy policies.

“Companies must live up to their promises about privacy,” FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said on a conference call with reporters. The settlement “will protect consumer choices and ensure they have full and truthful information about their data.”

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