Tag Archives: App

Police want app ‘Waze’ to be disabled

A smartphone app called Waze, which allows drivers to mark where they spot police cars along roadsides, is under fire by police officers who want the app disabled.

Waze, which was bought by Google in 2013 for $966 million, is a free, social media type app which allows drivers to interact in real-time with other drivers on the road. The app currently has 50 million users in over 200 countries.

Traffic conditions are constantly updated within the app and any route detours or bad road conditions are also made visible for other drivers to see. The app also allows users to mark where they spot police cars on the road, but whether the police cars are part of a speed trap or a DUI checkpoint is not viewable.

Sheriff Mike Brown of Bedford County, Virginia has a problem with the app though. According to the Inquisitr, Brown said, “The police community needs to coordinate an effort to have the owner, Google, act like the responsible corporate citizen they have always been and remove this feature from the application even before any litigation or statutory action.”

A reserve deputy sheriff in Southern California is also calling the app a “stalking app” according to Gulf News. Sergio Kopelev believes allowing people to mark where police officers are puts officers in danger because anyone with a grudge against police can then easily locate officers.

Jim Pasco, an executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police, agrees with Kopelev saying, “I can think of 100 ways that it could present an officer-safety issue. There’s no control over who uses it. So, if you’re a criminal and you want to rob a bank, hypothetically, you use your Waze.”

While police officers are asking for the app to be disabled, others are defending the app.

Nuala O’Connor, the head of the Washington Civil Rights group the Center for Democracy and Technology, has said according to NBC Washington, “I do not think it is legitimate to ask a person-to-person communication to cease simply because it reports on publicly visible law enforcement.”

O’Connor did raise concerns about how much privacy Waze users can expect since their movements are being tracked when the app is turned on.

As of now, Google reportedly has no plans to disable the app or restrict it in anyway.

Exclusive: Top 10 Flashlight Apps Are Stealing Your Data, Even Pics Off Your Phone

Nashua NH- The makers of some of the most widely used flashlight apps for smart phones are doing more than just helping you find your lost car keys, they are geo-locating you and stealing your data. At least, that is the claim being made by Snoopwall LLC. Snoopwall is the world’s first “counterveillance” company and according the founder, Gary Miliefsky in a web exclusive interview with Benswann.com, the top ten flashlight apps are stealing you data.

Snoopwall has just released a THREAT ASSESSMENT REPORT
Summarizing privacy and risk Analysis of top 10 Android flashlight Apps. According to Snoopwall, all of the top 10 apps are doing more than what consumers are expecting from a flashlight. For instance, the number 1 flashlight app for Android is the “Super Bright LED Flashlight”. This app has between 100 million and 500 million installs worldwide. So what does the app actually have the ability to do?
• retrieve running apps
• modify or delete the contents of your USB storage
• test access to protected storage
• take pictures and videos
• view Wi-Fi connections
• read phone status and identity
• receive data from Internet
• control flashlight
• change system display settings
• modify system settings
• prevent device from sleeping
• view network connections
• full network access

Others like the Brightest Flashlight Free App, have been sued by the FTC . According to Snoopwall, “But while the FTC.gov has gone after Flashlight Free App, it seems they are still at it and the other 9, as well.  It seems time to ask “where’s the outrage?” – shouldn’t you UNINSTALL your FLASHLIGHT APP today?  The answer is yes!  You might also want to contact the FTC and tell them you are concerned.”

If you are looking for a flashlight app that won’t steal your information, Snoopwall is providing a solution.

“We developed the SnoopWall Privacy Flashlight for Google Android, Apple iOS and Microsoft Windows smartphones and tablets.  The file size of the SnoopWall Privacy Flashlight application is approximately 72 kilobytes.  It only accesses the light of the webcam and the screen display which is all a flashlight app should be doing anyway.”

Get it today at: http://privacyflashlight.snoopwall.com

Family’s First App Makes Apple’s List of Best New Apps for Kids

On Thursday, the idea that came from a drawing done by 4-year-old Kalley Alexander in the spring of 2012 was launched into an App for iOS devices, which is currently featured on Apple’s list of Best New Apps.

The Alexander Family came to a crossroads two years ago, when patriarch Jon Alexander was forced to obtain a conventional job, outside of the comfort of his home office. His daughter Kalley created a drawing of a machine that she wanted her dad to build, which would make food for the family, so that he didn’t have to work anymore.

Jon, who works as a freelancer, was touched by his daughter’s attempt to bring the family together. Although he wasn’t able to build the exact machine Kalley had in mind, he found a way to make something out of the drawing, while spending quality time with his family.

Kalley’s drawing was a wake-up call for both Jon, and his wife Carrie. They found that the way they were living life was leaving their family fragmented, and they wanted to spend more time with their daughters, Kalley, 7, and Corbett, 8.

We questioned a lot of our presuppositions,” Jon tells Benswann.com. “We were re-examining family in general, and realizing that family wasn’t working for us, with the way it was.”

You teach your kids by being with them,” said Jon, who began to ask himself the question, “How do I give the best of myself to my kids?”

Jon was able to use his background in motion graphics and video game development to turn his daughter’s drawing into an interactive App, called Kalley’s Machine Plus Cats, which is targeted at children aged two to eight.

The creation of the App was an experience that brought all four members of the Alexander family closer together, and from illustrations to voice-overs, they each had a part in bringing the idea to life.

A big part of it was trying to bring everybody along,” said Jon, who explained that working with his children was entirely different than working with professionals. “It was fun to make it something we all wanted, we just had to figure out how to make it happen.”

In the process of creating the App, the family launched an App developing company called RocketWagon, which they hope to use for future collaborations.

Mostly, we wanted RocketWagon to bring us together,” said Jon. “I realized that I had great relationships with my freelance clients because we created cool stuff together, fought hard deadlines, and pulled all-nighters together. I wanted that with my wife and kids.”

Throughout the process, Jon and Carrie’s mission was to teach their daughters to “be confident in their ability to create things.” They did this by spending extra time with their girls, “re-working artwork and learning the basics of digital production.

Jon pointed out that the stories children hear shape the way they view the world, due to the fact that, “Storytellers create the lenses through which a culture sees itself.”

The stories you tell your kids are so powerful. We want to write stories that we think matter,” Jon tells Benswann.com. “Kalley’s Machine just happened to be the story our family needed to hear.”

While “Kalley’s Machine” started as a drawing that took on a life of its own, the second part of the App’s name, “Plus Cats,” was the Alexander girls’ signature stamp.

Jon explained that when it came to illustrating, the girls often became bored with drawing machines, and were more interested in drawing things like animals. In fact, one cat drawn by his oldest daughter, Corbett, was so good; it ended up becoming the icon for the App.

Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 3.45.38 PM

While Jon is pleased with the fact that he and his family were able to turn a “really time-consuming hobby” into a business, he sees the App as the icing on the cake. He puts more value in the lesson he was able to teach his daughters, and in the quality time he was able to spend with his family in the process.

Now that Kalley’s Machine Plus Cats is currently featured in Apple’s Best New Apps section, the Alexander girls are able to see their cats joining the ranks with popular characters from Dora the Explorer and Sesame Street.

We put it in the App Store and it’s competing against Apps made by huge companies like Disney and Nickelodeon,” said Jon. “It’s exciting to think that our little company at our house was able to compete with those big media conglomerates.”

Watch the video detailing the story behind Kalley’s Machine:


Teenagers Design App to Document Police Encounters

Situations such as the recent shooting of unarmed teenager, Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri, have left the nation in a state of unrest. Brown’s death has sparked riots in his hometown, and those riots have been met with military-like force from local police officers.

While many Americans are in fear that their town will be the next one to receive such treatment, three teenagers from Georgia are doing their part to speak up against the unjust actions of local police officers.

Ima Christian, 16, Asha Christian, 15, and Caleb Christian, 14, have created an app called “Five-O,” which will be released on August 18, for iOS and Android devices.

Five-O gives users a space to document their interactions with law enforcement. This App is the third one created by the trio, who have also created an App-developing company called Pinetart Inc.

The Christian siblings advertise the App as one that lets you, “Take charge of your interactions with Law Enforcement,” by rating and describing your encounters. In addition to rating interaction with individual officers, citizens can also express their opinions in a community message board that is specifically for their county.

Caleb hopes that they can use the collection of testimonies about certain officers and incidents to attract the attention of local activists, media, and other forms of law enforcement, and to highlight both positive and negative encounters.

Ima credits her parents with encouraging their children to not just focus on the problems, but to also search for solutions. “They always try to reinforce that we should focus on solutions. It’s important to talk about the issues, but they try to make us focus on finding solutions,” Ima told Business Insider. “That made us think, why don’t we create an app to help us solve this problem.”

You’re never too young to learn, and you’re never too young to make a difference,” said Caleb.

Google Update Turns Phone Into Possible Tool For Others To Spy On You

According to TechNewsDaily.com, last week Google implemented a new update to its Chrome browser. The update has a new feature called WebRTC (real time communication). This new standardized feature allows for websites and applications to use your system’s camera and microphone. Google

If you think your privacy is safe with Google- think again. According to Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., who is co-chairman of the Congressional Privacy Caucus, “The new Google privacy policy is: You have no privacy.” Combine this with Google recently handing over more than 11,000 individuals’ personal information to the government, and you can probably see how this new standard feature could become a go to tool for those seeking to see and hear you without you knowing.

Previous to the new update, apps and websites had to use a browser plug-in for audio and visual correspondence with a user. A user could easily disable, or choose not to install one of these plug-ins if they so happen to be concerned. However, users who try and disable the feature on Chrome will not be allowed to do so.  Furthermore, you cannot refuse the automatic update either, unless you have the know-how to turn off automatic updates on chrome. Chrome does require websites and apps to “ask for permission” to use the feature. However, anyone with even limited computer technology can bypass this in moments.

“The risk isn’t really larger than having Flash installed,” Ullrich told SecurityNewsDaily via email. “Flash already had the ability to access the camera and microphone, and had some vulnerabilities that allowed websites to trick the user into enabling the camera/microphone via clickjacking.”  However, users can choose whether or not to have flash, or disable it.

Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Internet Explorer are working on including WebRTC in future versions.

Google did not immediately respond. However, days after news started to circulate they provided the following statement:

“We are working closely with the W3C [World Wide Web Consortium] to ensure there is a high standard of security and transparency with the GetUserMedia API [which enables WebRTC in Chrome], including ensuring the user is in control of whether and how media is used, and to make any usage transparent through in-product notifications. For example, the user needs to give permission for a site to use the camera by clicking ‘allow’ and a persistent notification that the camera is turned on will be present until the camera is turned off to remind users. Because both the user consent (infobar) and notification mechanisms (system tray and persistent bubble) are in the browser, it’s isolated from website content and therefore much harder to be broken by malicious sites.”

It is not immediately clear how this new technology may affect those who use Chrome and other browsers. However, it does seem to raise some valid concerns.

Tip: If you are concerned about your browser privacy while searching try ditching Google for DuckDuckGo. Using DuckDuckGo allows you to search completely free of most any privacy concerns.