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Smart phone users more and more wary of invasion of privacy by apps

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Users of mobile devices are rejecting or uninstalling some apps because of concerns about how much personal and private information is collected, a US survey showed Wednesday.

The Pew Internet Project survey found that 54 percent of mobile users who download apps have decided to not install a cell phone app when they discovered how much personal information they would need to share in order to use it.

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Additionally, 30 percent of app users have uninstalled an app that was already on their cell phone because they learned it was collecting personal information that they did not want to share.

The survey comes amid growing concern among US lawmakers and civil liberties groups that personal information may be collected by phones and other mobile devices, often without their knowledge.

The Pew survey found that owners of both Android and iPhone devices are also equally likely to delete or avoid apps due to concerns over their personal information.

“As mobile applications become an increasingly important gateway to online services and communications, users’ cell phones have become rich repositories that chronicle their lives,” said Mary Madden, a research associate and co-author of the report.

“The way a mobile application handles personal data is a feature that many cell phone owners now take into consideration when choosing the apps they will use.”

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The survey noted that many users are concerned that their phones could be lost or stolen and are taking steps to deal with such a scenario.

Some 41 percent of cell owners back up the photos, contacts, and other files on their phone and 32 percent have cleared the browsing history or search history on their phone.

Also, 19 percent of cell owners have turned off the location tracking feature on their device because of concern about others accessing that information.

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It found nearly one third of cell owners have experienced a lost or stolen phone, and 12 percent have had another person access the contents of their phone in a way that made them feel their privacy was invaded.

“The rise of the smartphone has dramatically altered the relationship between cell owners and their phones when it comes to monitoring and safeguarding their personal information,” said Aaron Smith, a report co-author.

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“The wealth of intimate details stored on smartphones makes them akin to the personal diaries of the past — the information they contain is hard to replace if lost, and potentially embarrassing in the wrong hands.”


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In a secluded region in Russia’s Arctic they are rejecting Putin in rare protest

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Lyudmila Laptander, an activist advocating autonomy for her mineral-rich Nenets region in the Russian Arctic, worries authorities are planning to sacrifice its traditions for the promise of economic enrichment.

"If Nenets is merged with another region, I worry that no one will look after our language or our traditions, and that our small villages in the tundra will be forgotten," said Laptander, 61, a member of the Yasavey cultural group.

The autonomous region on the edge of the Arctic Ocean was gripped by protests in May against the government's plans to integrate it with neighbouring Arkhangelsk.

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People are paying to hire this donkey to crash their Zoom meetings

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The coronavirus pandemic has led millions of people to embrace meetings via Zoom, but admittedly, those can be as tedious as in-person conferences.

So one animal sanctuary in Canada, in dire need of cash after being forced to close to visitors, found a way to solve both problems.

Meet Buckwheat, a donkey at the Farmhouse Garden Animal Home, who is ready to inject some fun into your humdrum work-from-home office day -- for a price.

"Hello. We are crashing your meeting, we are crashing your meeting -- this is Buckwheat," says sanctuary volunteer Tim Fors, introducing the gray and white animal on a Zoom call.

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Republican senators are suddenly trying to social distance — from Trump

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There’s something interesting in today’s news:

A number of Republican Senators have said they are skipping the Republican National Convention this year. The convention was originally scheduled in Charlotte, North Carolina, but at Trump’s insistence was relocated to Jacksonville, Florida, last month. The stated reason was that Democratic North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper would not commit to permitting a full convention out of concerns about the spread of coronavirus, but the abrupt switch to Florida, less than 80 days before the convention, still seems odd to me. Regardless, the switch has created a new problem: Florida is in the midst of a dramatic spike in coronavirus cases, setting a record for new cases in a single day during the weekend —11,458—and running low of ICU beds.

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