Be in control with what info your apps have from your phone. Privacy is possible but it will take a little work.
Facebook is at it again with a new (unhelpful and unwanted!) feature in their new version of their iOS and Android app. The app automatically uploads photos that you’ve taken on your smartphone or tablet. Given Facebook’s propensity to mine its users data, this feature has serious privacy implications that you should consider before you opt in to the service. (Yes, Facebook is making you opt in to a new feature, not opt outafterthey’verolledit out!)
This tutorial only covers iOS 6, since those are the devices that I have. If anyone could help out with Android instructions, that would be great.
There are two ways to approach this. The first one is to disable the feature from within the Facebook app. There are numerous posts out there that outline how to do this but the best one that I have found is from the Sophos “Naked Security” blog. The post outlines many privacy implications of this new service (which I hope you’ll read in its entirety!) but I’ll share a few highlights here:
2. If you enable the feature, your last 20 photographs and every subsequent photo you take, will be automatically uploaded in the background to a private Facebook album. So you may want to check what photos you have already taken first.
6. Automatic uploading of every photo you take means every photo you take. Yes, including the ones you took for that guy you’re flirting with, or the one you snapped of that part of your body you can’t quite see properly with a mirror. Furthermore, if someone takes a photograph of you without your permission it will be automatically uploaded to Facebook – you may demand that they delete the photo off their phone, but will it also have been removed from their private Facebook album?
7. Every photograph synced from your phone will be able to be mined for information by Facebook. Photos taken on mobile devices can include meta data such as the location where the photo was taken – and this could be used to determine where you are, and help Facebook display localised advertising. Furthermore, Facebook could integrate its facial recognition technology with Photo Sync, analyse your photos to see whose faces it recognises and automatically tag their names. Over time a comprehensive database of where you have been, and who with, is built up.
8. You are no longer in charge of what photos you upload to Facebook. In the past, you could decide what images you uploaded to the social network, and which pictures it could analyse for its own purposes. Now, all photos – good and bad – will be available to Facebook. That doesn’t mean anyone apart from you and Facebook’s servers will be able to see them, but there’s clearly a reduction in your level of control. [source, emphasis mine]
So now, take control. You can certainly not opt in to the feature from the Facebook app. Or, you can do what I did and disable Facebook’s access to my photos entirely. If I need to upload a photo to Facebook, I can use the native iOS 6 uploader and not have to go into the Facebook app. Here’s how to disable Facebook’s access to your iOS pictures completely:
On your iOS 6 device, tap Settings and scroll down (up?) to Privacy. It’s in the third grouping, right below General and Sounds. Once you’re in the Privacy menu, tap Photos. It should be the penultimate item in the first grouping. Finally, move the slider for Facebook from ON to OFF. Facebook will no longer be able to access your photos.
Here are some screen captures from my iPhone:
Online privacy takes a little creativity and a lot of knowledge. Sometimes, being proactive is the best thing to be.
The news is generally welcome. The verdict is still out on whether the new Apple Maps app will have transit directions. As to be expected, very few sources are reporting on this. Some places say yes, many many places are silent. Of course, the fallback will be using Google Maps in the browser.
Another feature that is very welcome is the addition of per-account signatures for each of your email addresses. And, for educational use, I’m welcoming the new Guided Access feature, which will enable device administrators (e.g. parents or teachers) to lock down their device so only one app may run.
A theme that emerged at today’s WWDC keynote — and made very evident by the launch of the latest MacBook Pro (you know, the one with the Retina Display) — was that it’s time to look forward in technology and leave some technologies behind. If you have the first iPad, you won’t be able to upgrade to iOS 6. Likewise, only the fourth generation of iPod touch will be the only iPod touch that can get the iOS 6 upgrade. The iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S are also upgradeable…and so is the iPhone 3GS, announced at WWDC three years ago.
I’m sure that it will be aesthetically pleasing. And that the graphics will be great. But one of the best features of Google Maps — and the big reason why I use it — is that Google Maps offers transit directions. You see, I don’t have a car. The option for me to get reliable directions to get from Point A to Point B via transit, as in the screen capture on the right, is absolutely mission-critical.
The other problem, at least for Phoenix, is that Valley Metro is very protective of their transit schedules. It took several years after Google Transit’s launch before one could plan transit trips here in Phoenix. If there is a transit feature in Apple’s new maps, what data will be there? I highly doubt that Phoenix’s will be there at launch.
Thankfully, we can still access Google Maps via the browser. But a native app was so much better. Ah, there’s something to be said about restricting an ecosystem.
Apple is ending the iWork.com public beta service and rolling that into iCloud. Here’s what Apple has to say about that.
We at Downtown Technology Company and edwardjensen.net have used the iWork.com public beta for sharing our documents with our clients, friends, family, and those with whom we want to share our work. This morning, we received this email from Apple that the iWork.com service will close at the end of July, being replaced with the iCloud documents sync.
Here’s the email from Apple:
Dear iWork.com user,
Thanks for participating in the iWork.com public beta.
Last year, we launched iCloud, a service that stores your music, photos, documents, and more and wirelessly pushes them to all your devices. Today, there are already over 40 million documents stored on iCloud by millions of iWork customers. Learn more about iCloud.
With a new way to share iWork documents between your devices using iCloud, the iWork.com public beta service will no longer be available. As of July 31, 2012, you will no longer be able to access your documents on the iWork.com site or view them on the web.
We recommend that you sign in to iWork.com before July 31, 2012, and download all your documents to your computer. For detailed instructions on how to save a copy of your documents on your computer, read this support article at Apple.com.
The iWork team
Keep that in mind when creating and sharing content. We’ll report when we fully test the iCloud documents sync.