privacy posts on CNET

privacy

Get Ashampoo WinOptimizer 11 free for 40 days -- at 30 percent off

Clean out your PC just in time for spring with the new Ashampoo WinOptimizer 11. Try it out for free with full support for 40 days (details below) or just purchase it now for $27.99, at 30 percent off the regular price.

Consistently one of our users' favorites in the optimization category, WinOptimizer 11 is the Pro version of the free WinOptimizer 2013 with some great additional features:

A comprehensive User Right Manager module, giving you more control of Windows operations. Game Booster to free up resources for those intensive applications. Detailed System Information to give you the scoop … Read more

Hotspot Shield VPN for Android review

Hotspot Shield VPN for Android secures your Wi-Fi connection with HTTPS encryption, grants you access to Web sites that in your region may be blocked by a firewall, and enables you to browse the Web privately. It's the most popular app of its kind and for good reason -- it works as intended and runs unobtrusively in the background, requiring minimal configuration.

Pros

Effective: Hotspot Shield VPN for Android's encryption, private browsing, and virtual location work effectively with just one tap, bringing you peace of mind when you're connecting to the Web using public Wi-Fi networks, which … Read more

Microsoft revises privacy policy in wake of Hotmail search case

Microsoft promised to toughen policies regarding the company's potential reading of Hotmail users' emails, after an outcry over Microsoft searching a user's Hotmail account to discover the identity of someone now charged with stealing company secrets.

John Frank, Microsoft's deputy general counsel, said that in the future, the company would meet a more rigorous standard before peeking into a non-employee's Hotmail account.

There are four parts to the new standard, Frank said:

We will not conduct a search of customer email and other services unless the circumstances would justify a court order, if one were available. … Read more

Google: No, no. You've got Glass all wrong

Something I've learned over the last few years is that Google is always right.

It criticizes the NSA for snooping, when it quite happily crawls all over your e-mails. But it's right, because it's for your own good.

It pumps ads at you even when you're writing e-mails, but it's right to do so. Because these ads are far better than all the other ads you'll see on the Web.

And then there's Google Glass, which Google insists isn't a creepy, awkward intrusion into public and private life. So Google must be right.

Well, except that those who have so far resisted a Google chip being implanted into their brains still feel that Glass might be for the self-righteous, rather than the normal human being.

Of late, Google seems to have adopted a crouching posture, as the criticisms and humor have rained its way. … Read more

How to remove spammy notifications from your Facebook feed

Recently I installed Goodreads on my Android phone. It's kind of rough around the edges compared with the iOS version, but no matter -- the service is invaluable for keeping track of the books I'm reading and want to read.

So today, when I added Nic Pizzolatto's "Galveston" to my "now reading" list, imagine my surprise at discovering the following Goodreads post on my Facebook feed: "Rick Broida is now reading 'Galveston.'"

I don't really mind anyone knowing that, but I don't like it when apps share things on … Read more

Despite assault on privacy, Page sees value in online openness

While Larry Page bemoans the deterioration of Internet privacy, the Google CEO also sees real benefit in more openness with medical histories.

In a rare public appearance at Wednesday's TED conference in Vancouver, Page called the US electronic surveillance programs, detailed in leaks to the media by Edward Snowden, and its lack of transparency in the matter a threat to democracy.

"For me, it's tremendously disappointing that the government sort of secretly did all these things and didn't tell us," Page said in a wide-ranging interview with Charlie Rose.

"I don't think we … Read more

NSA top lawyer says tech giants knew about data collection

The top lawyer for the National Security Agency and others from the Obama administration made it clear to the US government's independent oversight board that tech titans knew about government surveillance while it was going on.

NSA general counsel Rajesh De told the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board on Wednesday that tech titans were aware that the NSA was collecting communications and related metadata both for the NSA's "PRISM" program and for "upstream" communications crossing the Internet. PRISM is a surveillance program designed to collect and process "foreign intelligence" that passes … Read more

Twitter reportedly nixes plan to secure messages from snooping

Twitter has reportedly put the kibosh on a project that would have protected your personal data from hackers and government snoops.

Purportedly dropping the project earlier this year, Twitter had initiated it as a way to secure direct messages, protected accounts, and personal information, The Verge said on Wednesday, citing anonymous sources. The aim was to make it more difficult for the government to gain hold of such information without a court order.

Twitter has been an outspoken critic of the methods used by the National Security Agency to vacuum up user data. Last month, the company revealed that it … Read more

Glassholes: At least you know who they are

Google Glass has provoked a lot of angst among those worried about the electronic eyewear is rude, weird, or creepy -- and for good reason.

Among the concerns Glass raises are that the wearer could be recording video, audio, or photos of other people or that the wearer could be looking up online information about those people. For a good illustration of the social difficulties of Google Glass, check Becky Worley's report from South By Southwest on Google Glass at Yahoo Tech, in which wearers report problems at a supermarket, customs, a business meeting, and a trip to the … Read more

Snowden at SXSW: The NSA set fire to the future of the Internet

Edward Snowden accused the National Security Agency and the US government today of "setting fire to the future of the Internet."

In a high-profile video appearance at the South by Southwest festival -- his video was beamed over Google Hangout from Russia to Austin, Texas, apparently jokingly through "seven proxies" -- Snowden touched on myriad topics, ranging from privacy to the ramifications of government spying, as he answered questions from the Internet at large via Twitter.

"The NSA...they're setting fire to the future of the Internet. And the people in this room, you … Read more