Hashtag Trending – Google is tracking you at all times; Netflix’s CFO is stepping down; kids hacking election results?

Google is tracking your every move, despite privacy settings, Netflix’s chief financial officer is stepping down after 14 years and kids hacking election results?

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First, trending on Google: Google itself is watching you, well its tracking your location, even if you don’t want it. According to an Associated Press investigation Google services on smartphones are tracking and storing your location data even if you’ve changed your privacy settings to prevent that from happening. User are supposed to be able to pause GPS recordings by turning off Location History. However, according to the investigation some Google apps still automatically store time-stamped location info. For example opening Google Maps, automatic daily weather updates and even Google searches can pinpoint your location. This issue is affecting over two billion users of Google Android software and hundreds of millions of iPhone users with Google maps or search. The only way to stop Google from following you is to turn off another setting, Web and App Activity. According to Google, it has been very clear about its policies and says people can turn off tracking tools and delete histories at any time. This news comes in a year when big tech companies have been facing scrutiny over privacy policies. And just last year Google again faced criticism for tracking the location of Android users through cell towers, even with all location service tools being turned off.  

Next up, from LinkedIn: Netflix’s chief financial officer David Wells is stepping down from his role after 14 years. Wells joined Netflix in 2004 back when the company was still a DVD-by-mail service. He became chief financial officer in 2014 and in a statement announcing his move, says he very proud of everything the company has accomplished during his time there but has decided to move on and focus more on philanthropy. Wells played a role in making the streaming service which has over 130 million subscribers, into what it is today – helping with Netflix’s expansion into over 190 countries. He leaves in a year when the company has budgeted more than $8 billion to buy and finance TV shows and movies.

Finally from Flipboard: Election results are so easy to hack even an 11 year old can do it. At a hacking convention in Las Vegas the boy was able to hack into the Florida state election website and change voting results in under 10 minutes. Well, actually it was a replica of the website but according to the DEFCON conference organizers, very accurate replicas. The annual hackathon this year invited a group of 50 children to show the security vulnerabilities in the U.S. election system. 30 of the children were able to hack the state replica websites in under half an hour. In response to the event the National Association of Secretaries of State said it is ready to work on any security concerns but expressed skepticism about the accuracy of the replicas saying, “it would be extremely difficult to replicate these systems since many states utilize unique networks and custom built databases with new and updated security protocols.” With all the talk about election tampering, if an 11 year old can do it, it’s safe to say other countries most definitely have the capabilities to do as well.    

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Meagan Simpson
Meagan Simpson
Meagan Simpson is a staff writer for IT World Canada. A graduate of Carleton University’s journalism program, she loves sports, travelling, reading and photography, and when not covering tech news she can be found cuddled up on the couch with her cat and a good book.

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