Latest Technology News
Moving Forward In A High-Tech World
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."—Arthur C. Clarke
Information and news about the latest technological breakthroughs, and products that are changing the way we conduct our everyday lives. Insight and discussion on everything related to the world of technology.
- Category: Technology
Search Engine Takes User Privacy Serious Even Under Government Pressure
In the web world user data is gold. This is why social networking companies such as Facebook want to know what you like, Google Maps wants to know where you go and Instagram wants you to add GPS tracking data to uploaded photos. The more information search engines, social networking sites and other companies know about users the better they can market to those users. Although mobile apps and websites continue to seek user data there has been a dynamic shift in government interest of user data. This has placed a lot of pressure on those companies that collect user-driven data, but the folks at Google are not responding lightly to the governments around the world inquiring about the private data of their users.
More and more frequently governments from all around the world are requesting that Google share private user data with them, and according to a Google Transparency Report it is the United States that is at the forefront of these user data requests. What many people fail to remember is that Google is a private enterprise and therefore does not have to follow the guidelines of the Fourth Amendment in the same way that the government does. Google users openly provide information about themselves in return for free use of Google services. The company then collects this data to better understand and meet the search needs of those users. They use this data to sell ads and generate revenue because let's face it, Google has to make money somehow. However, the issue of privacy becomes a very serious topic for Google and other search engines when government entities begin to demand that private user data, especially when it is a country known to exploit or infringe on the human rights of its citizens.
Google Will Fight Back
In an unprecedented move addressing the topic of government requests for private user data, the chief legal officer for Google posted on the companies' official blog how the search engine giant goes about dealing with such situations. What surprised many readers was the internal conflict at Google in dealing with such issues in an effort to protect its users from intrusive governments. In fact, Google has a quite strict process for how they deal with personal user data, explaining that, "laws [should] protect [users] against overly broad requests for personal information."
- Category: Technology
Copy Machine Hard Drives & Identity Theft
Every office has one and many homes do as well. Copy machines are now one of the common technological devices used in both the white and blue collar world. This is because no matter what the business is a copy machine can be helpful in record keeping. Insurance companies, police departments, hospitals, construction companies, law offices and about every other type of business with an office use copy machines for a vast amount of tasks from everything to copying pay stubs to medical records and anything in between. Although their is no argument that copy machines are a instrument of efficiency they also store copying activity on the internal hard drive of the device. This is actually a very dangerous thing because most people are unaware that their copiers are storing a wealth of personal and private data that can easily be accessed by criminals or identity thieves.
One of the biggest concerns people have in this technological era is keeping their personal information private. Social networking websites such as Facebook have had to make modifications to their terms and conditions due to the concern many Facebook users had about keeping their profiles private, GPS tracking devices have been a mainstream topic among those not wanting their automobiles tracked and cell phone users everywhere still are uneasy about their locational data being accessed by wireless providers, app makers and law enforcement agencies who do not need to even establish probable cause to see everywhere a person has been. Keeping data and personal information private is a huge concern due to the rising numbers of identity theft. Nobody would ever want to have their good name and credit ruined by identity thieves, but everyday people with access to your personal information are doing something that can make you a target. What they are doing is using a copy machine to scan or make a duplicate of your personal records.
Storing Your Personal Information
Every time a person uses a copier it stores the document that was scanned or copied as a file upon the system hard drive. This means over the course of life of the copy machine it can store upwards of a hundred thousand documents many of which contain everything from bank records to social security numbers. The worst part is that almost no companies wipe or erase hard drive data! That means once the copy machine basically stops working as effectively as it once did the business who owned it usually just sells the device or throws it away. Identity thieves are well aware of this and will purchase old copiers for usually around $200, remove the hard drives and download all the data from the copier to their personal computer. They then comb through all the saved documents over the years and look for everything from credit card numbers, banking activity and more. All of this information makes it easy for the identity thieves to ruin your credit and good name!
Unfortunately, their is not a whole lot of control people have over how businesses secure their personal data. If you have your medical, banking or other personal records being accessed or copied by an outside provider the best thing to do is talk with management on how they handle the data stored on the hard drive copy machine. If they are unaware of this new phenomenon of how identity thieves seek hard drive data then the best thing to do is send them this short video clip above detailing how criminals are accessing the data and using it maliciously.
- Category: Technology
Mobile Review App Is Must Have For Smart Phone Users
There are a number of different web-based review sites that allow people to rate and share their experience at local restaurants, stores or any service-based businesses. Some are obviously more efficient and user-friendly than others, but most people would agree that when it comes to review sites no company is probably more popular than Yelp. Yelp claims it created an easy to use mobile platform for people to rate their experience at places they visit, access daily deals, find nearby places and more. Looking to see what all the hype was about, GPS Tracker Shop downloaded the Yelp mobile app and tested the free review service on user-friendliness, GPS tracking accuracy and more.
After our team of technology specialists downloaded the Yelp app and set-up an account we were ready to rock (The mobile app was downloaded onto an iPhone 4S during the testing process). When the mobile app is opened the user is presented with nine options on the homepage. These options include nearby, about me, bookmarks, newsfeed, friends, check-in, deals, recent and talk. There is also a search bar and settings option in the navigation. Here is a breakdown of some of the homepage options once we tested them.
Nearby: When this feature was selected we were presented with a wide variety of categories. These categories inlcuded things like bars, coffee, restaurants, gas stations and more. When one of the categories was selected we were taken to a mapping program that showed all the local services associated with that category. The coolest part was the business that was closest would be the first one we saw and the business rating was accompanied with it. Not to mention, whether or not the business was open or closed at the time of the search. Our first thoughts were that this was an ideal feature for people in a unfamiliar area looking for a reputable mechanic, fuel station or simply some recreational fun.
About Me: Nothing really glamorous about this feature. The about me simply shows past check-ins, reviews, daily deals acquired and a variety of personal information we created during the account set-up process.
Bookmarks: A useful feature that allows users to save their favorite services and have access to some of the favorite services of their friends.
Feed/Talk: The newsfeed option is almost like a local social networking feature that allows people to post questions about where to find the best ice cream or coffee store. This is a great way for people to actually communicate with other Yelpers to learn about local businesses.
Check-In: This feature was what impressed the team at GPS Tracker Shop more than any other Yelp feature. Basically, the check-in uses the GPS tracking system in the user's cell phone to determine where they are located. Once position is determined, a list of nearby businesses will pull up. This is where the user then selects what business they are at. Users can leave a customer tip, photograph or information about their experience at that business. What makes this particular feature so cool is that businesses understand the value of people "checking in" their place. This is why so many companies offer discounts or freebies to those who use the feature to check in at their place! When using this feature our testing team was able to get 10% off our bill at one restaurant and free popcorn at a comedy club.
- Category: Technology
Social GPS & Mapping Could Be Huge
The only thing that people remember from the infamous iOS6 update was that it brought the guillotine upon Google Maps. This was a premeditated move by the usually smart thinking brains at Apple to push their own mapping program (Apple Maps) on their ever-growing customer base. Unfortunately, they greatly over estimated the efficiency of Apple Maps and it was only a matter of time before the technology blogs were blowing up with stories about people getting lost because of the inaccuracies of the mapping program. Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote an open letter of apology, Google Maps was re-introduced and Apple was left figuring out what to do next in order to gain market share in mapping programs designed to store user locational data via GPS tracking.
Apple has always been on the cutting edge of technological products in both software and hardware. This is why it was so surprising to see the Cupertino-based company debut something stamped with the iconic Apple logo have so many shortcomings. However, the launch did provide some valuable insight in that smart phone users wouldn't accept anything but the most efficient mobile apps on their cell phones. That has resulted in Apple looking outside of their offices to find a mapping solution for mobile devices, and the rumor is they may have found it in a tech start-up company called Waze.
Waze: A New Type of Mobile Navigation GPS App
Waze is a combines social networking and real-time GPS navigational technology to offer users a different type of experience with their mobile navigation apps. What makes this navigation GPS app so different is that it shows the constant changing road conditions that other GPS systems fail to reflect. Through the assistance of an online community contributing to Waze, users are guaranteed to have access to the most accurate traffic conditions. The coolest thing is that users make this passive contribution by simply allowing the Waze app access to the user's GPS tracking data stored on their smart phones! The routing features and real-time traffic conditions are standard features of many GPS navigation systems, but one of the things that makes Waze stand out from the pack is that the mobile app also gives users the ability to report automobile accidents, police traps, or any other potential hazards that can slow or stop traffic.
- Category: Technology
Why This Instagram User Is Ditching App
Facebook places almost no value on the privacy of its users and that is why it came as little shock that once they acquired Instagram that policy changes would be fast coming. The most recent policy change that infuriated users basically stated that Instagram would be given the ability to take the images of its registered users and sell or use those photos without needing any form of consent. The idea that family photos, personal images or any digital photograph displaying artistic expression captured by users could be taken without permission by Instagram and used for profit or exploitation was simply ridiculous. The uproar among users was swift and it only took minutes before technology blogs were blowing up about the absurdity of the policy. And this is just one of the many changes to policy that Instagram pushed forward that reeked of legal BS. Policy changes that make it almost impossible for its users to keep photos private.