Security

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Google is a massive company that does a lot of things. It gives you email, a cool search engine, a fantastic Maps app and plenty of cloud storage, all for free. We also tend to forget that it's an ad company. Until an ad pops up on someone's Google Home device, anyway.

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Whether it's poorly reported stories of hacked Samsung TVs, sadly hilarious tales of hacked teddy bears, or even more bizarre claims about wiretapped microwaves, real, fake and overblown accounts of all the things that can happen with the devices we choose to connect to the internet dominate the news. We've brought this stupid future on ourselves.

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Dear Lifehacker, I want to set up some security cameras to deter would be thieves but they cost an arm and a leg. I've checked out some dummy ones, and must say they look extremely convincing. My question is, if I install fake security cameras and get robbed, would it give my insurance company an excuse not to pay me?

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On Monday, Facebook updated its platform policies to prohibit mass surveillance on its platform by explicitly blocking developers from using "data obtained from us to provide tools that are used for surveillance". The move came after sustained pressure from civil rights organisations to make it harder for police agencies to surveil Facebook and collect data on users without their knowledge.

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Bittorrent users are looking for ways to hide their identities from the outside world. Even the less concerned among them are now thinking about their privacy as the threat of online surveillance grows, and Australian ISPs are blocking torrent sites left right and centre. So once you do get your hands on those torrents, how do you download them without broadcasting your actions to the world?

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Not all emails are what they seem. Many messages come with embedded code designed to tell the sender when (and even where) you open them up. It's a trick often used by marketing companies to work out if you're actually paying any attention to them, but there are ways of spotting this kind of email tracking.