How the U.S. Military Buys Location Data from Ordinary Apps – Vice.com

Joseph Cox:

The most popular app among a group Motherboard analyzed connected to this sort of data sale is a Muslim prayer and Quran app that has more than 98 million downloads worldwide. Others include a Muslim dating app, a popular Craigslist app, an app for following storms, and a “level” app that can be used to help, for example, install shelves in a bedroom.

The focus on Muslims by a US anti-terror organization seems incredibly bigoted, especially when ultra-conservative white American males tend to pose a far bigger threat to our safety than Muslims do.

Bigotry aside, it’s been a bad few days for data privacy. Last week, Apple’s new OS update gave Apple’s own services the ability to sidestep the APIs Apple requires firewalls and VPN software to use, and the same trick could be exploited (easily!) by a bad actor.

The VPN provider I use says they’re looking into it to see if they’re affected. I hope they aren’t, but I bet they are.

Developers also found Big Sur to be phoning home, sending identifiable information about every app you open to Apple’s servers, and the data wasn’t even transmitted securely over HTTPS. Apple claims they’re going to patch that up, but we’ll see.

I was also shocked to see that iMessage is no longer considered secure if you’re using iCloud backup. Apparently that’s old news, but it was new to me. At least we still have Signal.

In the meantime, I’m evaluating Linux-based laptops.