Exploiting GDPR to Get Private Information

A researcher abused the GDPR to get information on his fiancee:

It is one of the first tests of its kind to exploit the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into force in May 2018. The law shortened the time organisations had to respond to data requests, added new types of information they have to provide, and increased the potential penalty for non-compliance.

“Generally if it was an extremely large company — especially tech ones — they tended to do really well,” he told the BBC.

“Small companies tended to ignore me.

“But the kind of mid-sized businesses that knew about GDPR, but maybe didn’t have much of a specialised process [to handle requests], failed.”

He declined to identify the organisations that had mishandled the requests, but said they had included:

  • a UK hotel chain that shared a complete record of his partner’s overnight stays

  • two UK rail companies that provided records of all the journeys she had taken with them over several years

  • a US-based educational company that handed over her high school grades, mother’s maiden name and the results of a criminal background check survey.

UK’s Tax Authority To Delete Five Million Biometric Voice Records Because it Did Not Have Clear Consent From Its Customers

The UK’s tax authority is to delete the biometric voice records of five million people because it did not have clear consent from its customers to have those files. From a report: HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) uses the Voice ID biometric voice security system to make it easier for callers to pass its security processes when discussing their account. It says using the system will reduce the time it takes to speak to an advisor and will help prevent anyone else accessing accounts. But the UK’s data privacy watchdog the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) said that HMRC failed to give customers sufficient information about how their biometric data would be processed and failed to give them the chance to give or withhold consent. “This is a breach of the General Data Protection Regulation,” the ICO said.

Steve Wood, Deputy Commissioner at the ICO, said: “We welcome HMRC’s prompt action to begin deleting personal data that it obtained unlawfully. Our investigation exposed a significant breach of data protection law — HMRC appears to have given little or no consideration to it with regard to its Voice ID service.” Under the GDPR, biometric data is considered special category information and is subject to stricter conditions.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

‘Why Data, Not Privacy, Is the Real Danger’

“While it’s creepy to imagine companies are listening in to your conversations, it’s perhaps more creepy that they can predict what you’re talking about without actually listening,” writes an NBC News technology correspondent, arguing that data, not privacy, is the real danger.

Your data — the abstract portrait of who you are, and, more importantly, of who you are compared to other people — is your real vulnerability when it comes to the companies that make money offering ostensibly free services to millions of people. Not because your data will compromise your personal identity. But because it will compromise your personal autonomy. “Privacy as we normally think of it doesn’t matter,” said Aza Raskin, co-founder of the Center for Humane Technology [and a former Mozilla team leader]. “What these companies are doing is building little models, little avatars, little voodoo dolls of you. Your doll sits in the cloud, and they’ll throw 100,000 videos at it to see what’s effective to get you to stick around, or what ad with what messaging is uniquely good at getting you to do something….”

With 2.3 billion users, “Facebook has one of these models for one out of every four humans on earth. Every country, culture, behavior type, socio-economic background,” said Raskin. With those models, and endless simulations, the company can predict your interests and intentions before you even know them…. Without having to attach your name or address to your data profile, a company can nonetheless compare you to other people who have exhibited similar online behavior…

A professor at Columbia law school decries the concentrated power of social media as “a single point of failure for democracy.” But the article also warns about the dangers of health-related data collected from smartwatches. “How will people accidentally cursed with the wrong data profile get affordable insurance?”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

How to Find WiFi Anywhere You Go

Finding WiFi in a foreign country can be a hassle. You may be unsure of which WiFi network to choose or give up and switch to LTE, incurring expensive fees. Though WiFi isn’t a necessity when traveling, it does make life a lot easier. That’s why we put together a comprehensive guide on how to find WiFi anywhere you go. From using WiFi hotspot apps to taking advantage of free loyalty programs, there are many ways you can stay connected.

1. Find a Chain Establishment

Maybe you are in a foreign land and need to message a family member or take a last minute business call. Many restaurants and hotel chains around the world offer free WiFi for your convenience. Most of the time, it’s a simple login page with perhaps an ad or two. Some chains ask for an email address — we suggest providing your “spam email” or an unimportant email address.

Retailers

  1. Apple Store
  2. Barnes and Noble
  3. Best Buy
  4. Bloomingdales
  5. Gap Inc.
  6. H&M
  7. IKEA
  8. Lowes
  9. Macy’s
  10. Michaels
  11. Microsoft Store
  12. Nordstrom
  13. Office Depot
  14. Safeway
  15. Sam’s Club
  16. Sephora
  17. Staples
  18. Target
  19. Urban Outfitters
  20. Whole Foods

Restaurants

  1. Applebee’s
  2. Arby’s
  3. Boston Market
  4. Buffalo Wild Wings
  5. Burger King
  6. Chick-Fil-A
  7. Denny’s
  8. Dunkin
  9. Einstein Bros.
  10. Jimmy John’s
  11. Hooters
  12. IHOP
  13. Krispy Kreme
  14. McDonalds
  15. Panera
  16. Peet’s Coffee
  17. Qdoba
  18. Quiznos
  19. Starbucks
  20. Subway
  21. Taco Bell
  22. The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf
  23. Wendy’s

Hotel Chain

  1. Marriott (free for all rewards members)
  2. Hyatt (free for all guests)
  3. Extended Stay America
  4. Best Western
  5. Comfort Inn
  6. Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts
  7. Holiday Inn
  8. Ritz Carlton (free for reward members)
  9. Walt Disney Resorts
  10. Motel 6  

2. Use WiFi Hotspot Apps

While finding free WiFi is great, many question whether the network is safe to join. While we always advise that you use a VPN when accessing free WiFi, you can also download WiFi hotspot apps. These can pinpoint WiFi locations that you can connect to, including networks that are hidden from view. The apps can also show you WiFi networks that are outside your vicinity.

  1. Wiffinity

This app offers free WiFi connectivity in just about every city in the world. It contains an interactive map that pinpoints all the hotspots near you. By clicking on the Free WiFi Near Me button, Wiffinity will show you how far you are from the nearest WiFi hotspot and how to get there. Users can also add WiFi networks that are not in the database.

  1. WifiMapper

This WiFi app stores nearly half a billion WiFi networks in its database. It also can remove all hotspots that have a fee, time limit or require you to register using a filter system. Much like other apps, this app allows users to agree whether the hotspot is free or requires a paid subscription.

  1. Facebook

The Facebook mobile app is an easy way to find quick WiFi if you have already installed the app. To find free internet on the app, open the More menu and then tap Find Wi-Fi. You may need to select See More at the bottom to show it. If you cannot find WiFi networks where you are located, you can select a different area on the map and select Search this area to look there.  

  1. WeFi

This WiFi app automatically connects your device to the best network in your location. It also contains a map where it shows WiFi hotspots around you. WeFi delivers up to two times faster data transfer speeds on average in comparison to manual WiFi selection.

3. Go to a Public Shared Space

Sometimes you might not want to purchase something to gain access to free WiFi. That’s where public shared spaces come in handy. We listed some of the most popular public transit services and museums that offer free WiFi services.

Here are some popular public places that host free WiFi:

  • Most U.S. public libraries
  • US. Metro locations
  • Amtrak
  • Boltbus
  • Megabus
  • Art Institute of Chicago
  • National Mall
  • Museum of Modern Art
  • Louvre (certain hot spots)
  • Byzantine Museum
  • British Museum
  • National Museum of China

4. Rent a Travel WiFi Router

Depending on where you are headed, it may be worth it to rent travel WiFi. Free public WiFi can have slow connection speeds, unreliable security and a plethora of other travelers taking up signal. Mobile hotspots can offer reliable, fast internet that does not cause you to change your cell phone plan or purchase a travel router.

This is best for someone who will need strong, reliable WiFi that keeps data secure. It also charges in less than 3 hours and has about 6 hours of device usage. Renting travel WiFi starts at around $10 a day, but the longer you rent it for, the cheap the rate becomes. You can purchase most travel WiFi devices online.

A few of the best rent travel WiFi devices:

  1. TEP Wireless
  2. Roaming Man
  3. Travel WiFi
  4. Google Project Fi
  5. Keepgo
  6. Always Online Wireless
  7. Skyroam
  8. HooToo
  9. GlocalMe

5. Use Your Internet Service Provider’s Hotspots

One simple way to find travel WiFi? Use your home provider. If you’re a Comcast user, you will have access to Xfinity WiFi networks when traveling. For most ISP networks, check their WiFi page on the main site or download the hotspot app for your ISP. Find a hotspot by entering an address or form of location. Then connect to your ISP’s available hotspots.

Helpful ISP Hotspot pages:

6. Sign Up for a Loyalty Program

Maybe you are in a hotel that does not offer free WiFi or are in a store with a long line and want a quick distraction. Loyalty programs are great ways to connect to free WiFi when password-free connections are not available. Hotels like Hilton give free WiFi for those who sign up for Hilton Honors Rewards, a free service that offers discounts and a points system for members.

7. Use Your Phone As a Hotspot

When in doubt, you can always use your phone as a hotspot device (also known as tethering), although this may be a costly choice unless you have an unlimited data plan. Some carriers have restrictions or fees associated with tethering, like only being able to use a certain amount of data for tethering, so be sure to check with your provider.

Android Tethering

  1. Open Settings and tap the More option under Wireless & Networks.
  2. Tap Tethering & portable hotspot.
  3. Tap Hotspot & tethering and this is where you’ll be able to configure your phone’s WiFi hotspot. You can also change its SSID and password.
  4. Keep the security set to WPA2 PSK.
  5. Click Save.

iPhone Tethering

Note: iPhone must be 3G or later to support tethering.

  1. Go to Settings > General > Network.
  2. Tap the Personal Hotspot option.
  3. Select the WiFi password option to prevent unwanted devices from connecting.

8. Find WiFi in Your City

When you are exploring a new city or on a mission to find a location, internal city WiFi can be a big help. Many large cities around the globe offer free WiFi to those within a certain mile radius of the city’s center. These are some of the best cities on earth to pick up free WiFi.

  • Malmö, Sweden
  • Tel Aviv, Israel
  • NYC, U.S.
  • Seoul, South Korea
  • Bangladore, India
  • Osaka, Japan
  • London, U.K.
  • Dublin, Ireland
  • Paris, France
  • Florence, Italy
  • Vienna, Austria
  • Perth, Australia
  • Barcelona, Spain

9. Join a Community

Lastly, before embarking on your journey, you may want to consider joining a community. With an app like Instabridge, you can find crowdsourced WiFi connections all in one place. WiFi communities help you connect with others who have been to your locations and rated the WiFi quality. This is a good way to plan ahead if you’ll need WiFi for more than a few hours.

10. Connect to a Hidden Network

You can also use tools like NetSpot. Once a hidden network is identified and you’ve located the SSID, type of security used, and password, here’s how you connect to it:

Windows 10

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Choose Network and Internet.
  3. Select WiFi from the left menu.
  4. Choose Manage Known Networks.
  5. Select Add a new network.
  6. Enter the SSID, select the security tape and enter the password.
  7. Select Connect Automatically in order to connect this network whenever available.

Android

  1. Open WiFi application.
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the list and then click on Add WiFi.
  3. Add the WiFi network name from the router.
  4. Then select the encryption type in Security. Ie. WPA, PSKWPA2-PSK.
  5. Enter the password and click connect.

iPhone

  1. Go to Settings > Wi-Fi and toggle Wi-Fi on.
  2. Select Other and enter the SSID in the Name bar.
  3. Select the Security type. Ie. WEP, WPA.
  4. Tap Other Network to return to the previous screen.
  5. Enter the network password in the password field and click Join.

Apple

  1. Click on the WiFi icon at the top right of your screen next to the power icon.
  2. Select Join Other Network near the bottom.
  3. Type in the hidden network SSID in the Network Name field.
  4. Choose the Security type.
  5. Select Remember This Network if you’d like your computer to connect each time.
  6. Click Join.

How to Stay Safe on Public WiFi

As you can see, there are a variety of ways you can find yourself free WiFi. Whether you are on vacation, traveling to see family during the holidays or on a business trip, the internet is essential to stay connected. While public WiFi may be convenient, it’s important to be cautious when connecting. One of the most foolproof ways to stay safe on public WiFi is with a VPN. A VPN encrypts your data, hides your location and allows you to surf the web anonymously.

Other ways to stay safe:

  • Use HTTPS sites only
  • Refrain from accessing confidential data (ex. bank account)
  • Give a secondary “spam” email for sign-ups
  • Avoid performing online transactions
  • Cover your keyboard when entering any passwords or credentials
  • Install an antivirus that includes parental controls for kids accessing public WiFi
  • Always make sure paid WiFi is legitimate and use a third-party payment system
  • Keep antivirus up-to-date

Sources:

The Simple Dollar | PC Mag | Consumer Reports | Boost and Co | Slideshare | Netspot App | Lifewire | Profandroid.com | The Windows Club | Hilton Honors | How to Geek | PC World | CN Traveler | World of Wanderlust |

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