tracking – PrivaSecTech Wed, 13 Nov 2019 18:34:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Duck Duck Go Fri, 22 Jul 2011 18:23:07 +0000 Continue reading Duck Duck Go]]> You’re likelty using Google as your default search engine; and they’re undoubtably good at search. The challenge to me is what are they doing with the information they receive, and that is what this article is about. In the last year I’ve started using DuckDuckGo as my search engine of choice. The main reason is their excellent privacy policy. You can read their one line of “DuckDuckGo does not collect or share personal information” which is something that Google, Bing, or no other search engine I’m aware of offers, and I suggest you read through their entire policy which explains why this is important.

For the techies reading this, check out these enhanced techy search queries, and for the rest of you, check out their general enhanced goodies not to mention their handy bang! shortcuts, like “!define privacy“.

In Chrome, if you right click in the URL bar and choose “Edit search engines”, you can make DuckDuckGo your default, which is what I’ve done.

In Firefox 6, you can choose “Manage search engines” from the google search logo pulldown beside the URL bar and add DuckDuckGo.

Congratulations, your searches are no longer being collected, leaked and shared by your search engine!




I’m showing your MAC with my Apple Thu, 21 Apr 2011 20:49:27 +0000 Continue reading I’m showing your MAC with my Apple]]> News broke yesterday that iPhones have been keeping user’s travel patterns in both the iPhone, as well as the computer it is being backed up to. Thanks to Alasdair Allan ( @aallan) and Pete Warden ( @petewarden) for releasing this finding, they even released an open source app that can demonstrate these maps called the iPhone Tracker.

Last night at Ideas – Victoria, my good friend Kevin McArthur (@kevinsmcarthur) started looking at the files that the iPhone left. We quickly realized that not only was his travel logged and can be mapped, we started seeing some other interesting tables. After a little more digging, we realized that his iPhone was also logging MAC addresses with latitude and longitude! This is what Google Streetview took all of the heat for in regards to privacy in many countries around the world.

To put this in perspective, every single iPhone or iPad with cellular plan has been doing this since iOS4 was installed on said device! The amount of data that apple users collectively has is unprecedented. It is being stored unencrypted on these devices.
In Kevin’s case, in about 6 months this equated to approximately 60,000 MAC addresses in Victoria, BC, that he had no idea he was logging.

MAC addresses around Victoria

A few questions to ask:

  • Why is Apple logging all of this information?
  • What it is intended to be used for?
  • Under what conditions is a MAC address considered personally identifiable information? When included with complete geo-referencing? IP address?
  • Is there a difference between people and corporations recording or logging MAC address information? Does it matter if there is consent (consent both from the collector and the collected) or not?
  • Is there a difference between having this information personally and it being published?


Technical details

Do you want to know what MAC addresses your iPhone or iPad has logged?
Requirements: You will need to have to have Xcode to complete the following.

If you take the source code tarball, open it, you’ll want to modify the following two lines of iPhone TrackingAppDelegate.m:

 const float precision = 100;


 const float precision = 3000;

* Warning, this will significantly slow down the loading of the map, as you will have a lot more reference points visible

now change:

 NSString* queries[] = {@"SELECT * FROM CellLocation;", @"SELECT * FROM WifiLocation;"};


 NSString* queries[] = {@"SELECT * FROM WifiLocation;"};

That will remove the griding, and include wifi MAC address location instead of cell tower locations. The next steps will allow you to reduce the granularity from 7 days to one:

 const float weekInSeconds = (7*24*60*60);


 const float weekInSeconds = (1*24*60*60);

Load in in Xcode, recompile and run!

Detect and block website trackers with Ghostery Tue, 19 Apr 2011 07:10:38 +0000 Continue reading Detect and block website trackers with Ghostery]]> For anyone that attended the Privacy and Security talk tonight at Social Media Club – Victoria, I mentioned a browser plugin that allows you to see who is tracking you on a given website, as well as the ability to block them. This browser based plugin is called Ghostery. They currently have a plugin for Firefox, Safari, Chrome or Internet Explorer. It’s free, and open source! Download now.

Your printer is giving you up! Fri, 07 Jan 2011 18:25:26 +0000 Continue reading Your printer is giving you up!]]> Did you know that most printer manufacturers have secretly ensured there are watermarks on everything you print? These are tiny tracking dots barely visible by the human eye that allow one determine which printer a given printed piece of paper came from!

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has started a list of printers which do or do not display tracking dots. You should bookmark this URL, and make sure you give it another look over before your next printer purchase.