The iPhone’s Secret Snapshot History of Your Life

By  |  Friday, September 12, 2008 at 10:36 am

There are privacy threats that are scary because hackers are already taking advantage of ‘em. There are ones that are theoretically dangerous. And then there are ones that are just plain weird.

Think Before You Press That Home Button
Over at Wired, Brian X. Chen has a story about an oddball privacy issue with iPhones: According to forensics expert Jonathan Zdziarski, whenever you press, the Home button, the phone creates a screenshot of what ever you’re doing, which it uses to create the transition animation. It doesn’t save ‘em, but someone who knew what he oe she was doing might be able to find old screens–in fact, Zdziarski says that criminals have been caught based on incriminating iPhone screens. I’m not too worried–my iPhone screen trail would be pretty boring, and I willingly use Google’s far more privacy-threatening Web History feature. But if you use your iPhone to do anything illegal sleazy, or just plain embarrassing, be forewarned.
Read more at: Wired

iTunes Works Blue
My first impressions of iTunes 8 were based on using the Mac version, and they were fairly positive. Some folks who downloaded the Windows version probably weren’t as impressed: After they installed the upgrade, plugging an iPod or iPhone into their PC caused a spontaneous blue scrren of death. Apple has acknowledged the problem and posted a fix. It would make great fodder for a “Get a Mac” ad that the company will never make: Imagine PC going into convulsions after installing iTunes…

Mozilla Goes Private
In the past few weeks we’ve gotten betas of Internet Explorer 8 and Google Chrome with private-browsing features that let you surf without leaving tracks–often known by the inelegant but possibly accurate name of “porn mode.” Apple’s Safari already had one. Firefox hasn’t…but that might change soon. Computerworld’s Gregg Keizer reports that the Mozilla site includes development notes indicating that the Firefox team is working on private browsing for Firefox 3.1, which is supposed to show up later this year. Good news, since there are plenty of uses for private browsing that aren’t icky–it would be handy any time you use the Web on another person’s computer and want to do that person the favor of leaving his or her browser exactly as you found it.
Read more at: Computerworld

Spore: Groundbreaking, Annoying
Spore, the innovative new game from visionary designer Will Wright, is out, and getting good reviews…except for its aggravating copy protection, which only lets you install the game three times, and which seems to cause multiple installation problems for some users. And despite what the Spore manual says, multiple family members can’t all sign up for accounts using one copy of the game–they’ve all got to spring for their own copies. It sounds like folks who simply want to use the game they paid for are getting tangled in overweening antipiracy tactics, and it’s kind of a bummer to see an important game’s debut damaged by self-inflicted snafus. Wonder if EA will pull back on its DRM, either for Spore or future games?
Read more at: Techdirt, PC World

Yahoo Goes Open…or At Least Tries To
What’s next for Yahoo, now that it seems that it’ll stay an independent company for the time being? It’s rolling out the Yahoo Open Strategy, an interesting-sounding initiative that involves allowing third parties such as Netflix to build apps and functionality that lives within Yahoo, including on its homepage. If it takes off, it could transform the Yahoo experience, but it sounds like it’ll only take off it lots and lots of companies embrace it. And it’ll be a big change if it happens: My Yahoo, which was once the best start page on the Web, has fallen behind iGoogle, Netvibes, and other rivals in part because it doesn’t let you add third-party widgets.
Read more at: Cnet

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