There seems to be an increased amount of spam activity happening on Facebook lately, and you may have noticed an increase in the amount of bogus friend requests you've received. As a general rule, if you don't know the person in real life, they shouldn't be a Facebook friend. There is a way to at least reduce the amount of requests by making an adjustment in Facebook's settings.
Jack is a teacher and he uses Facebook to keep an eye on his at-risk students in case they post suicidal thoughts online. Now Facebook is questioning whether he is a real person or not. Leo says Facebook's new policy requires users to use the same name as is on their ID. This is to prevent bogus accounts from being created, or from identities being stolen. It's likely someone complained to Facebook that Jack wasn't using his right name, even though there's a very good reason not to. Jack could Google student names and then look at their Facebook page without logging in, though.
The EFF has released a new browser plugin called "Privacy Badger," which aims to block spying ads and invisible trackers. It will prevent advertisers from loading anymore content in your browser, even if they're tracking you across multiple websites.
Dave wants to know more about Microsoft accessing user data in Windows 10. Leo says that Steve Gibson refuses to ever use Windows 10 because of the security features. But Leo has read the Microsoft EULA and it's no different than an ISP or any other online service. Microsoft is at least disclosing it. We have a 4th amendment right to privacy, but we also live in a dangerous time of terrorism and we have to make a provision for fighting it. There must be a balance and that's the debate that's raging.
Bob says thanks to iFix it, he's been able to fix his own iPhones when they've broken. Leo says that what iFixIt does is great because they believe in the "right to repair," and will show how to do it. (Disclaimer: iFixIt is a sponsor).
Derek wants to know how secure cellphones are today versus 20 years ago. Leo says that they are secure because of digital networks that are encrypted. Back in the 90s, cell phones were analog, making them really easy to eavesdrop and "snarf." It was even possible to clone them. But just because you have digital security, doesn't mean you're completely secure. Law enforcement can pay a small fee and get the meta data from your wireless company via a pen register request. Also, there's GPS data, super cookies, and social interaction.
Anthony wants to know if someone can track his email address to where he lives. Leo says no. It can list the servers it's been through, but not the physical location. If the server was in his house, then maybe. But if he's not running his own mail server, then he's OK. Unless he's broken the law and the authorities can find him through his internet address.
Although they promised customers that they would protect private information, Radio Shack has announced that they will be selling off customer information as part of the Fire Sale portion of their Bankruptcy. State governments and even AT&T have announced lawsuits to stop it. AT&T says that the privacy information should remain confidential through the sale and that Radio Shack should only sell to companies in the same business. But the lesson is clear, if you gave Radio Shack your information, they're now considering it an "asset." So much for privacy policies.
Jan has a friend who is a model and she's had some embarrassing private photos appear on the net. Leo says that could fall under the revenge porn law, and it could allow her to prosecute them. Most reliable places will take the images down if they had been contacted. If she's having trouble getting them taken down, the sites may be outside the US and it's hard to prosecute across international borders. But in time, that will change.