Apple & Google quiet on security vulnerabilities + E-carceration tech threatens parolees | Tech for the People Today – November 11, 2020

Apple & Google quiet on security vulnerabilities + E-carceration tech threatens parolees | Tech for the People Today – November 11, 2020

Last week, Apple and Google released a number of urgent software updates that fixed a bunch of really big security vulnerabilities. The technical details of each are interesting, but the big story has been that Google’s research team (Project Zero) has acknowledged that the issues have been “actively exploited in the wild.” Sometimes security bugs are theoretical when they’re fixed – a researcher found them and to their knowledge no one has been attacked with them. That’s not the case here. But Google and Apple won’t say who’s been using the vulnerabilities – or who’s been targeted. In any case, make sure you run software updates on all your devices.

E-carceration is a term I hadn’t heard before today. According to a great new piece in Wired, private-sector startups are replacing ankle bracelets with smartphone apps for people on parole to track their movements. Such software could theoretically require the person to grant significant permissions on their phones, or face re-imprisonment if they refuse in defense of their privacy rights; smartphone or GPS glitches could lead to at the very least a stern message from a probation officer. And there’s always the question of who owns, monitors and stores the data.

COVID-19 is on the rise again in the US – and many other countries. You’re still washing your hands all the time and wearing a mask, right? Right? You should also clean your smartphone regularly. Consumer Reports has a nice guide.