Mobile Privacy

California consumers get new smartphone kill switch law, plus tips for iPhone users

California Governor Jerry Brown signed a new law today that requires smartphone phone manufacturers to put a “kill switch” in phones, and to turn it on by default. Lawmakers have stated that they see this as an important way to reduce smart phone crimes. For consumers, it’s a way to prevent our personal information from getting into the wrong hands when we misplace, lose, or otherwise are missing our smartphones. Apple users can already use Find My iPhone as a kill switch. See more …

Consumer Alert: Be aware of unauthorized in-app charges

First, we heard about consumers saddled with unauthorized in-app purchases made by children via Apple’s iTunes store apps. Now we are learning that Amazon account holders were also burdened with unauthorized in-app purchases by children, in this case, also to the tune of millions of dollars. It is worth taking the time to ensure children cannot ring up unlimited charges via apps. Using parental controls wisely can be a big help with this…. (Consumer tips)

Supreme Court Ruling on Cell Phone Privacy: Encouraging for Privacy

At the end of its 2013-14 session, the Supreme Court stood up for privacy in a case involving cell phones. In Riley v. California, the Court held that the police cannot search a cell phone’s contents incident to an arrest without a search warrant. As a result of this ruling, when the police arrest someone, perhaps for a traffic violation, a misdemeanor, or even a serious crime, all information in a cell phone should not be automatically accessible to the police without any further review. Police must obtain a search warrant.

Snapchat Settles FTC Charges; FTC says Snapchat transmitted user location and collected address books without notice or consent

Mobile messaging app Snapchat, which promised its users ephemeral, disappearing picture and video messages, has settled FTC charges that pics and videos sent through its app weren’t as ephemeral as the company promised. According to the FTC, Snapchat transmitted users’ location data, and collected users’ address books without notice or consent. Also, the snaps weren’t