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Protecting Your Privacy in Safari for OS X El Capitan

Every time you visit a website you are sharing information about yourself with the outside world. This article runs through a number of methods you can use to gain more control over what gets shared, and who it gets shared with, whenever you use Apple's Safari browser to access the web on a Mac. It also covers methods you can use to prevent traces of your browsing history from showing up on your computer. While you may trust friends and family not to go searching through your web history, it's possible for them to unintentionally discover what you've been looking at, just by using Safari or performing an innocent search on your Mac. If you're interested in a similar overview covering Safari on iOS, check out this guide. This guide assumes you are using the latest public release of OS X El Capitan (10.11.6 as of initial writing), which you can check by clicking the  symbol in the menu bar at the top left of your screen and selecting "About This Mac". The version number appears beneath the OS X version name. If you're not up to date, you can download and install the latest version of OS X via the Mac App Store located on the Dock or in the Applications folder. Cookies, Location Services, and Tracking Many websites attempt to store cookies and other web page data on computers used to access online content. Cookies are small data files that can include things like your IP address, operating system, web browser version, the date you last visited the site, as well as any personal information you may have provided, such as your name, email address, and any relevant

Protecting Your Privacy in Safari for iOS

Every time you visit a website on your iPhone or iPad, you are sharing information about yourself with the outside world. This guide runs through a number of methods you can use to gain more control over what gets shared, and who it gets shared with, whenever you use Apple's Safari browser to access the web on an iOS device. It also covers some methods you can use to prevent traces of your browsing history from showing up on your iOS devices. While you may trust friends and family not to go searching through your web history, it's possible for them to unintentionally discover what you've been looking at, just by using Safari or performing a simple Spotlight search on your iPhone or iPad. If you're interested in a similar overview covering Safari on OS X, check out this guide. The guide assumes you are using the latest public release of iOS 9.3 (9.3.3 as of initial writing). If your device is running an older version, a message should have appeared on the screen that an update is available. Connect your device to a power source and then tap "Install Now" on the message to download the update over the air, or open the Settings app and tap General -> Software Update, and then tap "Download and Install". Alternatively, connect your device to a computer with an internet connection and with the latest version of iTunes 12 installed. Open iTunes, select your device (a device icon should appear just below the playback controls), click "Summary" in the sidebar, and then click "Check for Update" in the Summary screen. Click "Download and Update" if an update dialog

'privacy' Articles

Privacy Concerns Loom as Congress Moves to Allow Internet Providers to Share Users' Sensitive Data

The House of Representatives voted this week to repeal a law previously passed by the Obama administration, requiring Internet Service Providers to gain permission from users in order to access and share certain pieces of personal information with advertisers (via The Washington Post). The law, which was approved last year prior to the Presidential election, limited what ISPs such as Verizon, AT&T and Comcast could do with sensitive data including user location, browsing history, and even their Social Security numbers. The law also required ISPs to strengthen protections against hackers and online data thieves, and would have officially gone into effect at the end of 2017. Image via The Verge The Republican majority House has now voted to repeal these measures, with critics of the previous law arguing that the move will allow ISPs to enter a level playing field -- and subsequently increase healthy competition in the targeted online advertising market -- with companies like Google and Facebook. With the repeal, ISPs will no longer need user consent to sell their data to marketers "and other companies that mine personal data." The vote ended with 215 in favor to 205 in opposition. In a party-line vote, House Republicans freed Internet service providers such as Verizon, AT&T and Comcast of protections approved just last year that had sought to limit what companies could do with information such as customer browsing habits, app usage history, location data and Social Security numbers. The rules also had required providers to strengthen safeguards for customer data

Apple Says Many of the Vulnerabilities Detailed in 'Vault 7' Leaks Already Patched

Earlier today a new series of WikiLeaks leaks revealed the United States Central Intelligence Agency's efforts to hack iPhones. The leaks detail a number of iOS exploits that can be used to bypass security on devices. Tonight, Apple said in a statement provided to TechCrunch that most of the vulnerabilities detailed in the leaks have been patched. “Apple is deeply committed to safeguarding our customers’ privacy and security. The technology built into today’s iPhone represents the best data security available to consumers, and we’re constantly working to keep it that way. Our products and software are designed to quickly get security updates into the hands of our customers, with nearly 80 percent of users running the latest version of our operating system. While our initial analysis indicates that many of the issues leaked today were already patched in the latest iOS, we will continue work to rapidly address any identified vulnerabilities. We always urge customers to download the latest iOS to make sure they have the most recent security updates."Apple says its initial analyses indicates that many of the exploits detailed were patched in the latest version of iOS, and that it will continue to patch identified vulnerabilities. The Cupertino company closes by saying that it always urges users to download and install the latest version of iOS to ensure that they have the most recent security updates. The Vault 7 revelations aren't the first time the CIA has targeted Apple's mobile devices. In 2015 it was reported that the CIA worked on ways to compromise both iPhones

Signal Privacy Messenger Users Advised to Turn Off CallKit Support in Latest Update

Encrypted communications app Signal received an update yesterday that enabled video calling for the first time, but the latest version also brings CallKit support to the platform, which may leave some privacy-conscious users wary. Introduced in iOS 10, the CallKit SDK allows incoming calls from third-party VoIP apps to appear on the iOS lock screen and recent calls list, just like standard cellular IDs do. The concern among the privacy community is that their call data – including who they called and how long they spoke for – could be synced to iCloud. In a blog post announcing the new beta features, Signal developers Open Whisper Systems noted that like video calling, CallKit integration is optional, and those concerned about data leakage can turn the support off in settings (Settings -> Advanced -> Use CallKit). The developers also told Wired that in the future, CallKit might only display "Signal users" in an iPhone's call log, to prevent the disclosure of identifying information. Back in August, Russian security firm Elcomsoft discovered that iPhones automatically send a user's call history to the company's servers if iCloud is enabled, but the data gets uploaded in many instances without any user notification. The fear among privacy-minded users is that state actors could theoretically gain access to this information through cooperation with Apple, or that hackers could crack iCloud passwords and break into accounts. More recently Elcomsoft revealed that when iPhone and iPad users permanently deleted their Safari browser history off their devices, iCloud

Apple Teams Up With Security Firm to Bolster Encryption Across Its CareKit Medical Platform

Apple has partnered with security firm Tresorit so that developers using Apple's CareKit platform will have access to increased privacy options (via Mashable). Tresorit's security technology, ZeroKit, will bring user authentication to patients and healthcare workers, while its end-to-end encryption smarts promise "zero knowledge" sharing of health data. The ZeroKit team announced the partnership in a blog post on Apple's CareKit blog. "Apple designed the iOS platform and CareKit with security at its core. When building apps where data is shared across devices and with other services, developers want to extend this security to the cloud. This is exactly what ZeroKit does."CareKit is Apple's open-source platform aimed at making it easer for developers and health care professionals to build health apps via a number of integrations, like monitoring of medical symptoms, sending images of an injury, and keeping tabs on medication schedules. CareKit also offers two-way benefits, as it not only helps doctors monitor patients but also allows patients to observe their progress over time. While patients won't get to choose whether to apply ZeroKit's encryption tools, the back-end integration will allow Apple's platform to fall in line with state privacy rules around patient

Leaked Documents Reveal What Kind of Data Cellebrite Can Extract From iPhones

Israeli mobile software developer Cellebrite gained media attention earlier this year when rumors suggested the FBI recruited the company to unlock San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook's iPhone. While the FBI did not enlist Cellebrite's help, the company does have technology licensed by governments that can extract iPhone data. ZDNet has obtained documents that reveal the scope of this technology. The leaked files are "extraction reports," which are organized to allow investigators to easily see and analyze data from a phone. Extraction is conducted by plugging the phone into a Cellebrite UFED device. While the device is primarily for extracting information currently on the phone it can, in some cases, extract recently deleted items. The phone at the heart of ZDNet's extraction report was an non-passcode protected iPhone 5 running iOS 8. The first couple pages of the report include case numbers and unique identifying information for the device, including phone number, IMEI numbers and Apple ID. In these first pages, the report also divulges which plugins the software used to extract information from the device. These plugins can help the software extract data from QuickTime and iPhone backups. The report compiles geolocation data from every photo taken on the device and visualizes it on a map, allowing an investigator to easily see when and where a person was. Text messages are organized in chronological order, which makes it easier for investigators to track conversations. The wireless networks a device has connected to are also logged, including the MAC

U.K. Surveillance Powers Are 'Illegal', Rules E.U.'s Highest Court

The European Union's highest court has ruled that the "general and indiscriminate retention" of electronic communications by governments is illegal, in a direct challenge to the U.K.'s recently passed Investigatory Powers Act, the so-called "Snooper's Charter" (via The Guardian). The U.K. bill requires that internet service providers retain a record of all websites visited by citizens for 12 months at a time, but today's decision by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg ruled that the collection of data in such a manner puts citizens under "constant surveillance" and enables governments to draw "very precise conclusions" about their private lives. The European Court of Justice The interference by national legislation that provides for the retention of traffic data and location data with that right must therefore be considered to be particularly serious. The fact that the data is retained without the users of electronic communications services being informed of the fact is likely to cause the persons concerned to feel that their private lives are the subject of constant surveillance. Consequently, only the objective of fighting serious crime is capable of justifying such interference. It's unclear at this point whether the ruling can be used to overturn the United Kingdom's surveillance laws. The U.K.'s Home Office has said it will appeal the ruling, which could eventually prove academic once the country has withdrawn from the E.U. and the ECJ loses judicial authority over the U.K. Martha Spurrier, director of the human rights group Liberty, said the

Evernote Will Not Implement Controversial New Privacy Policy

Evernote tonight announced that it no longer plans to implement a controversial new privacy policy that caused some Evernote users to threaten to stop using the service. The policy was scheduled to go into effect on January 23, 2017 and allowed Evernote employees to read users' notes. After receiving a lot of customer feedback expressing concerns about our upcoming Privacy Policy changes over the past few days, Evernote is reaffirming its commitment to keep privacy at the center of what we do. As a result, we will not implement the previously announced Privacy Policy changes that were scheduled to go into effect January 23, 2017.Evernote explained that the new privacy policy was intended to let employees read notes to make sure machine learning algorithms were working as intended. The privacy policy itself only states that employees could look at notes "for troubleshooting purposes or to maintain and improve the Service," wording that was criticized as too vague. The company attempted to clarify its statements earlier today with a note from CEO Chris O'Neill, promising that the company is still committed to user privacy and the "Three Laws of Data Protection." Instead of instituting the new policy, Evernote says it will revise its existing privacy policy to address concerns and "reinforce that [users'] data remains private by default." In regards to its machine learning algorithms, Evernote says employees will not read notes unless users opt-in to help the company "build a better product." Evernote CEO Chris O'Neill also issued a statement, saying the company

Evernote's New Privacy Policy Lets Staff Read Customers' Notes 'to Improve the Service' [Updated]

Some users of Evernote have threatened to stop using the note-taking service after the company announced a new privacy policy scheduled to go into effect on January 23 that allows employees to read customers' notes. The policy changes are related to machine learning algorithms, says Evernote, which are being tested on user content that the company has accumulated since going into operation. Specifically, Evernote explained that staff may need to read customer notes in order to ensure the algorithms are working as they should. The latest update to the Privacy Policy allows some Evernote employees to exercise oversight of machine learning technologies applied to account content. While our computer systems do a pretty good job, sometimes a limited amount of human review is simply unavoidable in order to make sure everything is working exactly as it should.In describing this position more succinctly, Evernote's privacy policy states that employees will look at notes "for troubleshooting purposes or to maintain and improve the Service". But some users are concerned about the vague wording of the clause, which journalist Stacy-Marie Ishmael has called "so broad as to be all inclusive". Meanwhile, some users have taken to social media to join a growing chorus of revolt. Evernote says that only a limited number of employees who have undergone background checks will be able to access note content and that users can encrypt notes to prevent staff from reading them. But while users can opt out of having their notes reviewed for machine learning purposes, Evernote can

Mozilla and Tor Warn of Critical Firefox Vulnerability, Urge Users to Update

Mozilla and Tor have published browser updates to patch a critical Firefox vulnerability used to deanonymize users (via ArsTechnica). Privacy tool Tor is based on the open-source Firefox browser developed by Mozilla, which received a copy of the previously unknown JavaScript-based attack code yesterday. Mozilla said in a blog post that the vulnerability had been fixed in a just-released version of Firefox for mainstream users. The code execution flaw was reportedly already being exploited in the wild on Windows systems, but in an advisory published later on Wednesday, Tor officials warned that Mac users were vulnerable to the same hack. "Even though there is currently, to the best of our knowledge, no similar exploit for OS X or Linux users available, the underlying bug affects those platforms as well. Thus we strongly recommend that all users apply the update to their Tor Browser immediately."The exploit is capable of sending the user's IP and MAC address to an attacker-controlled server, and resembles "network investigative techniques" previously used by law-enforcement agencies to unmask Tor users, leading some in the developer community to speculate that the new exploit was developed by the FBI or another government agency and was somehow leaked. Mozilla security official Daniel Veditz stopped short of pointing the finger at the authorities, but underlined the perceived risks involved in attempts to sabotage online privacy. "If this exploit was in fact developed and deployed by a government agency, the fact that it has been published and can now be used by

Facebook Suspends WhatsApp Data Sharing in the U.K. Following Privacy Probe

Facebook has agreed to pause data collection from WhatsApp users in the United Kingdom following a government probe into the company's privacy policy (via Engadget). Back in August, Facebook-owned WhatsApp updated its terms of service and privacy policy to reflect that it would begin sharing select data with the social media network, including the phone number a user verifies during the registration process and the last time a user accessed the service. Facebook argued that the new policy would allow it to better fight spam and abuse, deliver better friend suggestions and more relevant ads. However, the company soon came under fire from European Privacy watchdogs who cited "serious concerns" over the policy change, while the U.K.'s Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) is now eight weeks into its own probe. The U.K.'s Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham explained the reasons for the probe on the ICO website: "I had concerns that consumers weren't being properly protected, and it's fair to say the enquiries my team have made haven't changed that view. I don't think users have been given enough information about what Facebook plans to do with their information, and I don't think WhatsApp has got valid consent from users to share the information. I also believe users should be given ongoing control over how their information is used, not just a 30-day window."ICO said it was "pleased" that Facebook had agreed to pause using data from U.K. WhatsApp users for advertisements or product improvement purposes. As part of the inquiry, the ICO has also asked

Yahoo Secretly Scanned Millions of Customer Emails for U.S. Authorities [Updated]

Yahoo secretly built a custom software program to search all of its customers' incoming emails for specific information at the behest of U.S. intelligence authorities, according to people familiar with the matter. Reuters spoke to three former Yahoo employees who revealed the existence of the custom code, apparently written in compliance with a classified U.S. government demand. The program scanned hundreds of millions of Yahoo Mail accounts for the NSA or FBI, said the former employees and a fourth person with knowledge of the events. Surveillance experts say the revelation represents the first case to surface of a U.S. internet company agreeing to an intelligence agency's request by searching all arriving messages, as opposed to examining stored messages or scanning a small number of accounts in real time. According to two former employees, Yahoo Chief Executive Marissa Mayer's decision to obey the directive did not sit well with some senior executives and led to the June 2015 departure of Chief Information Security Officer Alex Stamos. Stamos now holds the top security job at Facebook, which incidentally just completed the rollout of end-to-end encrypted privacy features for its hugely popular Messenger app. "Yahoo is a law abiding company, and complies with the laws of the United States," the company told Reuters in response to the claims, but stopped short of denying them. It declined any further comment. The NSA referred questions to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which also declined to comment. According to Andrew Crocker, an

Facebook Completes Rollout of Messenger App End-to-End Encryption

Facebook has announced that the rollout of cryptographic features for its massively popular Messenger chat service has completed, bringing end-to-end encryption to the largest messaging network in existence. Back in July, the social network company said it was testing the privacy feature on a limited basis which would eventually be rolled out to all 900 million users of the app. On Tuesday, Facebook told Wired that rollout had finished. Messenger now implements the same highly regarded cryptographic Signal Protocol that the company's WhatsApp platform uses to encrypt messages, but the Messenger app needs to be updated and the feature turned on for it to work. A new "Secret Conversations" option can now be found at the top-right of the app's New Message screen, provided that users have enabled the option from the Me profile settings screen. The encryption protocol covers one-to-one text chats and stickers used within threads, but does not currently support the use of videos and GIFs. Messenger users who update the app will also get to use a new Snapchat-style option that erases messages after a specified duration. Messenger is free on the App Store [Direct Link] for iPhone, iPad, and Apple

Tim Cook Tells Utah Tech Audience: Encryption 'Makes the Public Safe'

Apple CEO Tim Cook drew cheers from a Salt Lake City audience on Friday as he reiterated the company's unwavering commitment to encryption and privacy protections for its customers, according to local media reports. The comments were made during a Q&A session at the yearly meeting of the Utah Technology Council (UTC), a trade and advocacy group representing more than 5,000 technology and life-sciences companies across the U.S. state. The 55-year-old CEO was invited along with Utah senator Orrin Hatch to take the stage at the Grand America Hotel and field questions from a public audience. Tim Cook in Q&A with senator Orrin Hatch Calling encryption "one of the biggest issues we face," the CEO noted that most iPhone users have more personal data on their phones than in their homes. "Encryption is one of the things that makes the public safe," he said. "We feel we have a responsibility to protect our customers." "We believe the only way to protect both your privacy and safety from a cyberattack is to encrypt," Cook told about 1,400 industry executives, tech workers and Apple fans. "We throw all of ourselves into this and are very much standing on principle in this."Cook was responding to questions regarding the lingering impact of Apple's dispute with the FBI over the agency's demand that it build a "back door" into its software, following the use of a locked iPhone by the primary suspect in the San Bernardino mass shooting last December. Apple refused to comply with the request from the federal agency, which dropped its pursuit of the company when investigators

Apple Tracks Who You Contact on Messages, Stores Logs for 30 Days

Conversations in the Messages app feature end-to-end encryption that makes the content of the messages impossible to decipher, but according to documentation found by The Intercept, Apple tracks who its customers send iMessages to and is able to hand that information over to law enforcement when compelled to do so through a court order. When a text message is sent to someone, the Messages app pings Apple's servers to see if the person has an iPhone or iPad in an effort to determine whether to send a message via iMessage or SMS. Each ping records date, time, number, and IP address, all of which is kept in a log that Apple says it stores for 30 daysApple confirmed to The Intercept that it only retains these logs for a period of 30 days, though court orders of this kind can typically be extended in additional 30-day periods, meaning a series of monthlong log snapshots from Apple could be strung together by police to create a longer list of whose numbers someone has been entering.The data on how Messages works was reportedly obtained by The Intercept from a document entitled "iMessage FAQ for Law Enforcement" that was given to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's Electronic Surveillance Support Team. While labled "Law Enforcement Sources" and "For Official Use Only," it is not clear who wrote it. Click to enlarge. Image via The Intercept As The Intercept points out, the documentation suggests that each number entered into the Messages app is transmitted to Apple when a new chat is opened, even if a conversation does not end up taking place. An Apple spokesperson

Apple and Others File Support for Microsoft in Fight for Government Data Access Disclosures

Apple and other companies today filed friend-of-the-court briefs to support Microsoft in its legal fight with the U.S. Department of Justice. Microsoft's lawsuit is aimed at striking down a law that prevents companies from telling customers about government data requests, reports Reuters. Apple joined a wide array of companies to support Microsoft, including Fox News, The Washington Post, BP, Delta Airlines, Google, Snapchat, Amazon, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Mozilla and more. Microsoft filed its lawsuit against the Justice Department in April, saying that the government is using the authority of the 30-year-old Electronic Communications Privacy Act to prevent companies from informing customers when they hand over private data stored in the cloud. Microsoft argues that the government is violating the Fourth Amendment, which guarantees the right for people and businesses to know if the government is searching or seizing their property, and the company's First Amendment right to free speech, which it would use to inform customers. The Department of Justice, which filed a motion to dismiss the suit in July, argues that the public has a "compelling interest in keeping criminal investigations confidential" and that Microsoft has no standing to bring on the case. It also contends that there are procedural safeguards to protect constitutional rights. Apple has also been embroiled in a legal fight with the DoJ, asserting that the FBI's use of the All Writs Act to force Apple to unlock the iPhone used by San Bernardino

Apple Touts 'Differential Privacy' Data Gathering Technique in iOS 10

With the announcement of iOS 10 at WWDC on Monday, Apple mentioned its adoption of "Differential Privacy" – a mathematical technique that allows the company to collect user information that helps it enhance its apps and services while keeping the data of individual users private. During the company's keynote address, Senior VP of software engineering Craig Federighi – a vocal advocate of personal privacy – summarized the concept in the following way: We believe you should have great features and great privacy. Differential privacy is a research topic in the areas of statistics and data analytics that uses hashing, subsampling and noise injection to enable…crowdsourced learning while keeping the data of individual users completely private. Apple has been doing some super-important work in this area to enable differential privacy to be deployed at scale.Wired has now published an article on the subject that lays out in clearer detail some of the practical implications and potential pitfalls of Apple's latest statistical data gathering technique. Differential privacy, translated from Apple-speak, is the statistical science of trying to learn as much as possible about a group while learning as little as possible about any individual in it. With differential privacy, Apple can collect and store its users' data in a format that lets it glean useful notions about what people do, say, like and want. But it can't extract anything about a single, specific one of those people that might represent a privacy violation. And neither, in theory, could hackers or intelligence

Apple-Opposed 'Investigatory Powers' Surveillance Bill Moves Closer to Legality in UK

The United Kingdom's House of Commons this week passed the controversial "Investigatory Powers" bill, which gives spy and government agencies the ability to "engage in bulk surveillance and computer hacking," and has met stern opposition from various technology companies, including Apple. In the House of Commons, the bill passed by a vote of 444 to 69 (via Bloomberg). The original wording of the bill required companies to build anti-encryption backdoors into their software -- a point of contention Apple fought over repeatedly against the FBI this year -- and the storing of website records for every UK citizen by web and phone companies. The updated version of the bill passed this week introduced slight alterations to these rules, which could ultimately play in the favor of companies like Apple, Google, and Microsoft in the UK. The updated bill clearly states that companies aren't required to install backdoors to get around encryption when a government agency requests it, with one exception: if taking such an action "is technically feasible and not unduly expensive," the company could face the same request the US government gave Apple earlier in the year. Of course, the exact definition of what would be "technically feasible and not unduly expensive" isn't divulged in the bill. If the bill ultimately becomes law, these definitions would be left to the decision-making of a British judge on a case-by-case basis. According to Apple and CEO Tim Cook, if the company would have been required to introduce a workaround to grant unlimited access to terrorist Syed Farook's

Facebook Considering Optional End-to-End Encryption for Messenger

Facebook is planning to introduce an optional end-to-end encryption mode for its Facebook Messenger chat platform, currently used by more than 900 million people, reports The Guardian. Citing sources "close to the project," The Guardian says the encryption will be an opt-in feature because turning it on will impact some of the new machine learning features being built into the Messenger app like chat bots. Google's upcoming "Allo" messaging app also offers an opt-in end-to-end encryption option it calls "incognito mode." Many major technology companies have taken a stronger stance on privacy, embracing end-to-end encryption following Apple's standoff with the FBI. Earlier this year, the FBI demanded Apple unlock the iPhone 5c used by San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook by bypassing Apple's own passcode security features. Apple refused, and the FBI eventually found an alternate way to access the iPhone, but the dispute has scared technology companies into bolstering security. Dozens of major technology companies supported Apple during its fight with the FBI, all of whom were concerned about the precedent the FBI's demand could set. Popular Facebook-owned messaging app WhatsApp enabled full end-to-end encryption in April, and in March, Swiss software developer Proton Technologies released ProtonMail, an email app offering end-to-end encryption. Apple is also rumored to be working on enhanced security measures for its software and hardware, and apps like Telegram Messenger have grown in popularity. It is not clear exactly when Facebook might introduce new

Opera Web Browser for OS X Gains Free Unlimited VPN Feature

Norway-based company Opera Software has integrated a virtual private network (VPN) feature into the latest developer version of its free Opera web browser for OS X. A VPN creates an encrypted tunnel from the user's computer to the VPN server, hiding browsing activity from other users on the local network and enhancing security and privacy online. A VPN shields a user's real IP address, allowing them to bypass firewalls, block tracking cookies, and access geo-restricted content regardless of their true location. VPNs usually come in the form of separate plug-ins or apps that require a paid subscription, making Opera one the first major browsers to include one as standard. The launch of the feature comes after Opera's acquisition of U.S. VPN company SurfEasy last March. Currently Opera's built-in VPN allows users to choose virtual locations in the US, Canada, and Germany. Opera says more countries will be available when the feature makes it to the stable public release of the browser. Mac users can download Opera 38 developer release and give the free, unlimited VPN a try. After installation, simply click "Opera" in the menu bar, select "Preferences" and toggle the VPN switch on. According to Global Web Index, more than half a billion people (24 percent of the world’s online population) have tried or are currently using VPN services. According to the research, the primary reasons people use a VPN are for better access to entertainment content, browser anonymity, and the ability to access sites restricted by their workplace or country. In January,

Siri and iAd Restricted by Apple 'Policy Czars' to Limit Customer Data Collection

As Apple's battle with the FBI and Department of Justice appears to have hit a crescendo, with the Tuesday hearing between the DoJ and Apple having been postponed, Reuters has published a new report outlining how a team of "policy czars" has impacted Apple's data collection policy and restricted Siri and iAd in the process. Unlike Google, Amazon and Facebook, Apple is loathe to use customer data to deliver targeted advertising or personalized recommendations. Indeed, any collection of Apple customer data requires sign-off from a committee of three "privacy czars" and a top executive, according to four former employees who worked on a variety of products that went through privacy vetting. The three "policy czars" are Jane Horvath, a lawyer who served as global policy counsel at Google, Guy Tribble, a member of the original Macintosh team and the vice president of software technology who spends a significant amount of time on privacy, and Erik Neuenschwander, who reviews lines of engineer's code to confirm that they're following policy. Product managers start collaborating with the privacy task force early, steering complicated privacy issues to senior vice presidents or Tim Cook himself when needed. Key principles behind many of the data decisions for Apple's services and products include keeping data on the hardware rather than in the cloud or Apple's servers and isolating data so it cannot be used to form a profile of a customer. However, Apple's privacy stance has resulted in restrictions to products like Siri and iAd. Employees had wanted to use iTunes' user