Source: This article was Published cbsnews.com - Contributed by Member: Bridget Miller

Even if "Location History" is off on your phone, Google often still stores your precise location.

Here are some things you can do to delete those markers and keep your location as private as possible. But there's no panacea because simply connecting to the internet on any device flags an IP address, a numeric designation that can be geographically mapped. Smartphones also connect to cell towers, so your carrier knows your general location at all times.

To prevent further tracking

For any device:

Fire up your browser and go to myactivity.google.com . Sign into Google if you haven't already. On the upper left drop-down menu, go to "Activity Controls." Turn off both "Web & App Activity" and "Location History." That should prevent precise location markers from being stored to your Google account.

Google will warn you that some of its services won't work as well with these settings off. In particular, neither the Google Assistant, a digital concierge, nor the Google Home smart speaker will be particularly useful.

On iOS:

If you use Google Maps, adjust your location setting to "While Using" the app; this will prevent the app from accessing your location when it's not active. Go to Settings - Privacy - Location Services and from there select Google Maps to make the adjustment.

In the Safari web browser, consider using a search engine other than Google. Under Settings - Safari - Search Engine, you can find other options like Bing or DuckDuckGo. You can turn location off while browsing by going to Settings - Privacy - Location Services - Safari Websites, and turn this to "Never." (This still won't prevent advertisers from knowing your rough location based on IP address on any website.)

You can also turn Location Services off to the device almost completely from Settings - Privacy - Location Services. Both Google Maps and Apple Maps will still work, but they won't know where you are on the map and won't be able to give you directions. Emergency responders will still be able to find you if the need arises.

On Android:

Under the main settings icon click on "Security & location." Scroll down to the "Privacy" heading. Tap "Location." You can toggle it off for the entire device.

Use "App-level permissions" to turn off access to various apps. Unlike the iPhone, there is no setting for "While Using." You cannot turn off Google Play services, which supplies your location to other apps if you leave that service on.

Sign in as a "guest" on your Android device by swiping down from the top and tapping the downward-facing caret, then again on the torso icon. Be aware of which services you sign in on, like Chrome.

You can also change search engines even in Chrome.

To delete past location tracking

For any device:

On the page myactivity.google.com , look for any entry that has a location pin icon beside the word "details." Clicking on that pops up a window that includes a link that sometimes says "From your current location." Clicking on it will open Google Maps, which will display where you were at the time.

You can delete it from this popup by clicking on the navigation icon with the three stacked dots and then "Delete."

Some items will be grouped in unexpected places, such as topic names, google.com, Search, or Maps. You have to delete them item by item. You can wholesale delete all items in date ranges or by service but will end up taking out more than just location markers.

Categorized in How to

Source: This article was Published legalreader.com By Olivia Ryan - Contributed by Member: Barbara Larson

Can you imagine life without Google or spending more than a few seconds searching for any information? I bet you can’t because it’s a privilege that makes your life much easier and more comfortable. But there is a big problem with search engines – they damage privacy and it becomes an issue.

It’s almost impossible to protect personal data since everybody is collecting information these days. For instance, Facebook recently announced that it can track even non-users when they visit a site or app that uses their services.

In such circumstances, it is crucial to understand how search engines function and what they do with your personal data. This post will explain to you how things work in this field.

How Search Engines Collect Data

Search engines possess every user’s browsing history. It may not sound like much, but let’s see what it really means in case of the biggest player on the search engine market, Google.

This company collects all sorts of user-related data, but it can be divided into three basic sections:

  • Things you do. Google monitors every action you take online, including search queries, websites you visit, videos you watch, ads that you click on or tap, your location, device information, and IP address and cookie data.
  • Things that you create. This section consists of emails you send and receive on Gmail, contacts that you add, calendar events, and photos or videos that you upload. Besides that, it holds documents, sheets, and slides on Drive.
  • Things about you. These are essentially personal information such as your name, email address and password, date of birth, gender, telephone number, and location.

It’s a short list of data mining units, but it obviously consists of everything you’ve ever done online. Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the last couple of decades, Google knows a lot about you and uses this information to provide you with tailored online experience.

Why Search Engines Accumulate Personal Information

The more you know about users, the easier you can approach them. Search engines know this very well and so they collect personal information to enhance their services. First of all, they do it to improve website ranking.

According to SEO specialists at aussiewritings.com, Google analyzes user behavior and learns how people react to online content, which helps this company to upgrade search engine algorithms. As the result, only the best and most popular websites can make it to the first page in search results.

Secondly, Google can serve you personalized ads because it knows what you do, feels, and like. It can put things into perspective and display the right advertisement at just about the right time. That way, Google drastically improves the effectiveness of digital advertising.

How Does It Jeopardize Privacy?

With so much information hovering around the Internet, it is reasonable to assume that security breaches will happen from time to time. Identity theft is one of the biggest concerns because it’s getting easier to find someone’s personal information online and use it to steal their money.

Most websites ask you to leave your name, email, and birthday. Although it seems like nothing more than useless basic information, hackers can easily exploit it to access your bank account or any other digital property for that matter.

At the same time, continuous data accumulation also means humans are being treated primarily as consumers. You can’t hide from search engines – they will always find you and serve you customized ads.

If you are a 30-year-old mother, they will offer you baby clothing. If you are a high school boy, they will suggest you buy video games. In each case, there is no way to hide from search engines and that’s something that scares us all.

Final Thoughts

Search engines damage privacy and it becomes an issue because there is no way to protect yourself completely. Google and other platforms use personal information to improve user experience and customize advertising, but it comes with a cost.

Categorized in Search Engine

Source: This article was Published thehayride.com By Bethany Blankley - Contributed by Member: Alex Grey

DuckDuckGo is a search engine that doesn’t track its users and offers a level of privacy– for free– that hasn’t existed on the Internet because of Google.

Gabriel Weinberg, CEO & Founder at DuckDuckGo gives 10 reasons why DuckDuckGo is a better, safer service for users. Below are five:

DuckDuckGo doesn’t track its users. Google does.

All of a user’s personal information: medical, financial and anything else should be private, but on Google, it’s not. On Google, your searches are tracked, mined, and packaged up into a data profile for advertisers to follow you around the Internet.”

Weinberg says, “To keep your searches private and out of data profiles, the government, and other legal requests, you need to use DuckDuckGo. We don’t track you at all, regardless of what browsing mode you are in. Each time you search on DuckDuckGo, it’s as if you’ve never been there before.”

DuckDuckGo blocks Google trackers lurking everywhere.

Google tracks users on more than just their search engine. They track everyone on YouTube, Gmail, Chrome, Android, Gmaps, and all the other services they run.
Private alternatives like DuckDuckGo can enable people to live Google-free. Google trackers lurk behind the scenes on 75% of the top million websites. Facebook is the next closest with 25%.

DuckDuckGo provides unbiased search results.

Weinberg notes that when people google information they expect to find unbiased results, but that’s not what they get. On Google, results are tailored to what Google thinks the user is likely to click on, based on the data profile its built on each user over time from tracking everything everyone does online.

Users can search without fear.

“When people know they are being watched, they change their behavior” Weinberg notes. Called the chilling effect, an MIT study found that people began searching less online after Snowden revealed they were being watched. People became afraid that their personal medical issues might be publicized. It reported:

“Suppressing health information searches potentially harms the health of search engine users and… In general, our results suggest that there is a chilling effect on search behavior from government surveillance on the Internet.”

Weinberg says, “Your searches are your business, and you should feel free to search whatever you want, whenever you want. You can easily escape this chilling effect on DuckDuckGo where you are anonymous.”

Google is simply too big, and too powerful.

Weinberg notes that Google is a monopoly, with a market cap of at least $750 billion (at the time of writing) with at least 75,000 employees that dominate search, browsing, online advertising, and more. Its tentacles are in everything tech, online and offline Weinberg warns.

Because of their size, their influence on politics is disproportionate. Last year Google outspent every other company lobbying in Washington, D.C.

DuckDuckGo is a team of 45 worldwide. Its focus is narrow: helping people take control of their personal information online. “The world could use more competition, less focus on ad tracking, fewer eggs in one basket,” Weinberg says.

Categorized in Search Engine

Source: This article was Published searchengineland.com By Barry Schwartz - Contributed by Member: Clara Johnson

Some SEOs are seeing more fluctuations with the Google rankings now, but Google has confirmed the August 1 update has been fully rolled out.

Google has just confirmed that the core search algorithm update that began rolling out a week ago has now finished fully rolling out. Google search liaison Danny Sullivan said on Twitter, “It’s done” when I asked him if the rollout was complete.

Danny did add that if we are seeing other changes, “We always have changes that happen, both broad and more specific.” This is because some of the tracking tools are seeing more fluctuations today, and if they are unrelated to this update, the question is what they can be attributed to.

Here is Danny’s tweet:

@dannysullivan is the rollout of the core update complete? Seeing fluctuations today.

It's done. That said, we always have changes that happen, both broad and more specific.

Based on our research, the August 1 update was one of the more significant updates we have seen from Google on the organic search side in some time. It continued to roll out over the weekend and has now completed.

Google’s current advice on this update is that webmasters do not need to make any technical changes to their websites. In fact, the company said, “no fix” is required and that it is aimed at promoting sites that were once undervalued. Google has said that you should continue to look at ways of making your overall website better and provide even better-quality content and experiences to your website visitors.

Now that the rollout is complete, you can check to see if your site was impacted. But as Danny Sullivan said above, there are always changes happening in search.

 

Categorized in Search Engine

 Source: This article was Published techworm.net By DION DASSANAYAKE - Contributed by Member: Logan Hochstetler

GOOGLE Chrome users can now download a new update which could make surfing the web on the market-leading browser faster than ever before.

Google Chrome is undoubtedly the world’s most popular browser - and it doesn’t look like it will be giving up that crown anytime soon.

Latest figures from NetMarketShare analyzing web browser usage for the first seven months of 2018 put Google Chrome in a hugely commanding lead.

Their stats give Google Chrome a massive 62.43 percent slice of the web browser market.

Chrome’s nearest rival, Internet Explorer, languishes behind on 11.90 percent with Firefox is not far off on 10.30 percent.

Microsoft’s newer Edge browser, which is bundled in with Windows 10, has just a 4.38 percent share of the web browser market.

But despite having such a huge lead over the competition, Google isn’t resting on its laurels.

The search engine giant has just pushed out an update for Google Chrome which could make web browsing faster than ever before.

Chrome version 68 was rolled out recently and brings with it a number of improvements to the browser.

And one of the update’s most eye-catching features was revealed by a programmer working on Chrome.

The new feature, revealed by Philip Walton, is called Page Lifecycle API.

But while it doesn’t have the catchiest of names, the update could bring a big performance improvement to Chrome users.

The new feature helps with RAM usage, suspending web pages which Chrome is not using so the browser doesn’t take up memory unnecessarily.

On Twitter, the Google engineer posted: “I just published a massive article on the new Page Lifecycle API, which allows browsers to better manage resources if you have a zillion tabs open!

“It's full advice + best practices that's the result of months of research & cross-browser testing”.

Google Chrome extensions explained

In a post online, Walton added: “Modern browsers today will sometimes suspend pages or discard them entirely when system resources are constrained.

“In the future, browsers want to do this proactively, so they consume less power and memory.

“The Page Lifecycle API, shipping in Chrome 68, provides lifecycle hooks so your pages can safely handle these browser interventions without affecting the user experience.”

The catch, however, is that web developers have to enable this as well on their end for Google Chrome to help free up RAM resources.

In other Chrome news, Express.co.uk recently reported on how the browser has been given a hidden new redesign.

However, it is only available to users that navigate through some simple tricks.

Google has been busy at work on the huge new look for Chrome and now iPhone users can get their hands on an early version.

Chrome has now moved the tab button to the bottom of the screen in addition to the forward and back buttons on the iOS app.

Google Chrome

Google Chrome - Latest update includes the feature to help free-up RAM (Image: GOOGLE)

A search feature also sits in the middle of the two for quick Google queries.

While the top of the screen stays mostly clear when browsing and is only disrupted to bring down the URL bar.

And Incognito mode is easily accessed from the top of the tab page while a large blue button exists at the bottom to open a new web page.

Apple users need to head to a special URL to access the redesign.

If you’re wondering how to access the new look Chrome on your iPhone then click here.

Categorized in Search Engine

Source: This article was Published business.com By Katharine Paljug - Contributed by Member: Grace Irwin

Good content marketing, which makes use of long-tail keywords, can be key to making sure your small business ranks well on Google.

As the internet continues to change consumer behavior, more marketers are turning to content marketing to reach customers. But the rules for this new form of consumer outreach are different than those of traditional ads. Rather than creating a slogan or image to catch customers' attention, content marketing requires the careful use of long-tail keywords.

What are long-tail keywords?

Trying to figure out long-tail keywords can feel overwhelming, especially if you aren't a marketing professional. For instance, a simple Google search for the phrase returns more than 77 million results. At its core, long-tail keywords refer to a phrase or several words that indicate precisely what a user has typed into Google. If you tailor your SEO properly, you will rank high in the search results for the phrase that directly corresponds to what your customers are searching for online as it related to your business. 

For example, say your Atlanta-based company makes doodads that are only meant for use within restaurants and bars. Someone looking to buy those doodads might search for "where to find doodads for restaurants in Atlanta." And if you're positioned well in search results (because you've made effective use of that long-tail keyword phrase on your website), you may show up in the first- or second-page search results. 

To use long-tail keywords, you don't need to know everything about them. You just need to understand six things about the changing world of marketing, how long-tail keywords fit in that picture and where you can find them. The answer, generally speaking, is content marketing.

Content marketing has a low cost and high ROI.

Though you can still purchase ads online, one of the most cost-effective and valuable ways to reach customers is through content marketing. That involves creating online material, such as blog posts, website pages, videos or social media posts, that do not explicitly promote your brand. Instead, the messaging stimulates interest in your business and products by appealing to the needs and interests of your target customers. 

Content marketing is a form of inbound marketing, bringing consumers to you and gaining their trust and loyalty. It generates more than three times as many leads as traditional outbound marketing while costing about 62 percent less. 

However, blogging and other forms of content marketing aren't effective unless you make effective use of keywords, particularly long-tail keywords.

Long-tail keywords are essential to content marketing.

When creating online content, you want customers to be able to find it. The most common way that customers find content online is through search engines. The average business website receives more than three-quarters of its traffic from search, but that level of traffic is impossible without using keywords. 

When you incorporate relevant keywords in your content, you optimize your website for search, making it more likely that customers searching for the keywords you have used will find your business. This search engine optimization, or SEO, increases your web traffic and exposes new audiences to your brand. 

Just using keywords isn't enough. To create effective content that makes it to the top of a search engine results page, you need to use a specific type of keyword known as long-tail keywords.

Long-tail keywords attract customers who are ready to buy.

Long-tail keywords are phrases of three or more words, but their length isn't where the name comes from. Long tail describes the portion of the search-demand curve where these keywords live. 

In statistics, the long tail is the portion of a distribution graph that tapers off gradually rather than ending sharply. This tail usually has many small values and goes on for a long time. 

When it comes to online marketing, a small number of simple keywords are searched for very frequently, while keywords that fall into the long-tail are searched for more sporadically. For example, a simple keyword that is searched for hundreds of thousands of times would be "fitness." A long-tail keyword would be "dance fitness class in Boston." Because the tail is so long and there are so many of them, these keywords account for about 70 percent of all online searches, even though the individual keywords themselves are not searched as often. 

Long-tail keywords are not searched for as frequently as simple keywords like "hotel" or "socks," because they don't apply to everyone. They're what a customer plugs into a search engine when they know exactly what they want and need an online search to help them find it. These search terms communicate a consumer's intent – especially their intent to buy – rather than their general interest. 

This means that when you use the right long-tail keywords, you appeal directly to customers who are looking for what you are selling. You want to determine what your audience might be searching and then work those phrases into your content marketing.

Look for high search volume and low competition.

Because long-tail keywords are so niche, there is much less competition for them. If your long-tail keyword is "dance fitness class in Boston," you aren't competing for search traffic with every dance class out there or even every gym in Boston. You are only competing with Boston studios that offer dance fitness classes. That is a much smaller field. 

However, you still need enough people to search for your keywords for your investment in content marketing to be worthwhile. The best long-tail keywords are low in competition but higher in search volume. High volume in this context doesn't mean thousands of searches every day. But several dozens to a couple hundred searches shows that many of your potential customers are actively searching for that keyword.

There are many tools to help you find long-tail keywords.

The best way to find low-competition, high-volume long-tail keywords is with a keyword tool. These tools allow you to plug in a seed keyword related to your business or audience, and they will return relevant long-tail keywords. 

Keyword planners, such as Answer the Public and Keywords Everywhere, are free, though the number of keywords and the information they provide about them is limited. You can also plug seed keywords into a Google search and use the auto-complete and related search term features to find new long-tail keywords. 

Paid keyword research tools, such as LongTailPro or Ahrefs Keyword Explorer, return not only thousands of relevant long-tail keywords but also statistics on the number of monthly searches and the level of competition for those keywords. They also include tools for project planning, search filters, and additional traffic stats. However, these tools can be expensive, costing several hundred dollars to use. 

The type of tool you select depends on your budget and the scope of your content marketing, and the keywords that get you the best results depend on your business and your customers.

Long-tail keywords tell you what content to create.

If you know who your target customer is, you can use their interests and concerns as seed keywords to find related long-tail keywords. For example, if you know that your customers are interested in travel, you can search for those words to find related keyword such as "which travel insurance is best" or "tax deductible travel expenses." 

Once you have a list of these high-volume, low-competition keywords, they provide you with ideas for blog posts, social media, video content, web pages and more. You can create a series of blog posts comparing kinds of travel insurance. You can make an infographic about tax-deductible travel expenses. Rather than wondering what content to create, the long-tail keywords themselves can serve as your topics. 

Creating content around these relevant keywords automatically optimizes your web platforms for search. And since your initial seed keywords were based on what you know about your target customer, you are designing content that directly appeals to the people searching for a business like yours. Using long-tail keywords effectively works with search engines to bring customers directly to your website, rather than hoping that they see an ad and decide your business is worth visiting.

Categorized in Online Research

 Source: This article was published searchengineland.com By Barry Schwartz - Contributed by Member: Jennifer Levin

New markup from Schema.org including HowTo, QAPage, and FAQPage can be used to potentially show your content in Google in a brand new way. Google previewed this in Singapore a couple weeks ago.

Google has confirmed with Search Engine Land that it has been testing for the past several months a new form of search results snippets — the way the search results appear to searchers. These new search snippets are in the form of FAQs or frequently asked questions, Q&A or question & answers and How-Tos.

Akhil Agarwal notified us about this feature on Twitter, and Google has just sent us a statement explaining the test. Here is the screenshot presented at a recent Google event in Singapore:

A Google Spokesperson told us:

We’re always looking for new ways to provide the most relevant, useful results for our users. We’ve recently introduced new ways to help users understand whether responses on a given Q&A or forum site could have the best answer for their question. By bringing a preview of these answers onto Search, we’re helping our users more quickly identify which source is most likely to have the information they’re looking for. We’re currently working with partners to experiment with ways to surface similar previews for FAQ and How-to content.

These new snippet features give more insights into what the searcher can expect from that web page before deciding to click on the search result. Webmasters should be able to mark up their content with structured data and to have their search results be eligible to have the question and answer previews shown. Similar to how supporting metadata around the number of upvotes and the Top Answer feature works.

Google will soon open up an interest form to allow publishers and webmasters to participate in the FAQ and How-to formats shown in the screenshot above.

Categorized in Search Engine

Source: This article was published thefutureofthings.com - Contributed by Member: Issac Avila

Research is the most critical step when writing an academic paper. It’s nearly impossible for students to impress and inspire the assessor with their academic paper if it’s not well-researched. It needs to contain authentic and genuine information for credibility, and that requires a credible source with authoritative reference materials.

While most academic resources can now be easily accessed online, using search engines like Google can be quite frustrating. The reason is that popular search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo are full of advertisements and click baits that can really deter your effectiveness. And if you’re lucky enough to find some nearly relevant information with the aforementioned search engines, you will notice that it is improperly (rarely) referenced, poorly formatted and casually presented

We both know that you can’t get away with citing WikiHow, Hubspot or Wikipedia in your research paper. So what’s next? You need a list of search engines for students which will provide credible and authentic scholarly material for your use and reference – and for that, we’ve got you covered. Below is a list of the top 9 Educational Search Engines for Students that you will find rich in authoritative, accurate and credible information for your academic projects and assignments.

If for some reason you still can’t find what you’re looking for or you are overloaded with other research papers or essays and still want to provide a high quality work with credible resources, you may try custom writing service like www.copycrafter.net/custom-writing. CopyCrafter company has qualified and experienced authors that will deliver high-quality custom essays or research papers on pretty much any subject area. And for now, you may try yourself, with the help of the following resources:

1.Google Scholar

Google Scholar is a free, customized academic search engine designed specifically for students, tutors, researchers and anyone interested in academic materials. It’s the most popular research search engine for students and it lists academic resources across a wide range of sources. It allows students and researchers to find credible information, research papers and search journals, and save them in their personal library.

2.iSEEK- Education

iSeek is another widely used and one of the best search engines for students, educators and scholars. It’s a reliable, smart, and safe tool for your academic research and paper writing. Since the search engine was specially designed with students, educators and researchers in mind, you will be able to find credible and relevant resources that will ultimately save your time.

3.Microsoft Academic Research

Most people can associate with Microsoft products and brands, and there is no denying that the company delivers some incredible quality and consistency in its project. Microsoft Academic Research is no exception; the search engine indexes a wide range of scientific journals and research publications from engineering and computer science to biology and social science. It has over 47 million publications written by more than 20 million authors. Microsoft Academic Research allows you to search resources based on authors, conferences, and domains.

4.ResearchGate

If you’re a science major, you will love ResearchGate. In fact, chances are you’ve already searched for certain academic topics in Google and ended up on the ResearchGate platform. It’s a networking site for students, researchers, and scientists and provides access to more than 100 million publications and over 15 million researchers. Other than accessing the information, the platform also lets you ask researchers questions.

5.Wolfram Alpha

Wolfram Alpha presents itself as a computational knowledge engine’ that provides results as answers. All you need is to type in the question or topic that you’re interested in like “What is the diameter of the observable universe?” and the answer will pop up. The best part is it doesn’t make you scroll through tens of pages of results. It doesn’t present search results as the other engines, but it’s great for students looking for quick, snappy answers to bits of questions as they go about their assignments and projects.

6.ScienceDirect

ScienceDirect presents itself as a leading and reliable full-text scientific database that offers access to journal publications, book chapters, and research papers. It’s one of the most popular science search engines for students with more than 20,000 books and over 2,500 journals across various scientific topics and domains. You will be able to access articles, book chapters, peer-reviewed journals and content from topics and subjects like Chemistry, Computer Science, Energy, Earth and Planetary Sciences, Engineering, Materials Science, Physics and Astronomy, Mathematics and so on.

7.RefSeek

RefSeek employs a minimalistic design, which doesn’t look like much at first, but there is a lot going on in the background. It’s probably the most aggressive search engines for students as it pulls from more than 1 billion journals, research papers, book, encyclopedias and web pages. It works more or less like Google, but it only focuses on or academic and scientific results without the distraction of paid links. So you can expect the most results from .edu and .org sites.

8.Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC)

ERIC is reliable and informative online digital library that is populated and maintained by the U.S. Department of Education. The platform provides academic and educational resources for educators, students and researchers with over 1.3 million publications. Students can find materials such as books, research papers, journals, technical reports, policy papers, dissertations, conference papers and so on. The platform receives over eight million searches per month, meaning it’s a reliable and authoritative source of academic and research information.

9.The Virtual Learning Resources Center (Virtual LRC)

Virtual LRC is a search engine for college students which allows students to search and explore educational websites with authoritative and high-quality information. The search engine indexes thousands of scholarly and academic information sites ensuring that you get the most refined and relevant results. The platforms and the results you get have been organized by researchers, library professionals and teachers around the globe to ensure that students easily get resources for their projects and academic assignments.

Conclusion

The above-named directories and databases are among the most trusted and highly reputable search engines for students to find credible, authoritative and reliable academic resources. They offer information and references on all subject areas including chemistry, biology, physics, business, social science, mathematics, computer and technology and environmental science.

Categorized in Search Engine

 Source: This article was published icij.org By Spencer Woodman - Contributed by Member: Dorothy Allen

Reporters are navigating a more treacherous environment than at any time in recent memory, and despite a plethora of digital tools to keep them safe – many are failing to adopt new strategies.

It’s a bleak reality: Last year alone, a record number of journalists were killed in Mexico, reporters were imprisoned in Myanmar and journalists in Turkeyfaced criminal charges en masse.

The press’s enemies have been boosted by U.S. President Donald Trump, who has lodged almost daily attacks against journalists, and many have followed his lead. Wealthy private interests have launched their own crusades: a private firm was hired to undermine New Yorker reporter Jane Mayer’s reporting on Koch Industries, and Harvey Weinstein offered big bucks to a military-grade surveillance firm to spy on reporters and their sources breaking the story of his sexual harassment.

“The World Press Freedom map is getting darker,” according to the 2017 World Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders, “and media freedom is under threat now more than ever.”

[Journalists] frequently disregard their sense of insecurity even when they feel unsafe in public or cyberspace.
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression

These threats are compounded by increasingly potent hacking tools falling into the hands of governments around the world and, in some cases, hackers serving government interests. This makes personal cybersecurity an essential first line of defense for reporters everywhere.

Yet many journalists are failing to utilize some of the most basic tools to keep them and their sources safe from digital attack. A recent study by the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression found that some of the most at-risk journalists “frequently disregard their sense of insecurity even when they feel unsafe in public or cyberspace.”

So what can journalists (and citizens) do to better protect themselves online? Here are five security tools that have emerged as among the most commonly recommended for reporters and news organizations as well as their sources.

1. Signal and other end-to-end encrypted apps

Phone calls and digital messaging often comprise the bulk of a journalist’s workday. But conventional lines of communication can leave the contents of conversations vulnerable to hacking. And, even if someone is not able to intercept to the contents of these chats, a hacker can still access extensive archives of related metadata, including who you talked to and when.

But there are an increasing number of options to help you communicate securely with a high degree of confidence.

As we settle into 2018, the app Signal — possibly you’ve already heard of it – is a clear favorite for secure voice calls and messaging between journalists, their editors, and sometimes their civil servant sources.

You can easily use the Signal app on your phone.

“Everyone is really enthusiastic about Signal,” said Harlo Holmes, director of newsroom digital security with the Freedom of the Press Foundation. “Right now it’s the state of the art in terms of encrypted communication.”

To the user, Signal looks and operates like a traditional chat app, and also allows you to avoid expensive international call and text fees. But Signal also offers what’s called end-to-end encryption, meaning communications can only be deciphered on the physical devices of the communicating users. Even if a government tried to compel the group of developers that administers Signal to turn over your communications, it couldn’t provide information: Signal simply has no ability to figure out exactly what you’re doing on its platform.

An increasing number of digital platforms are using end-to-end encryption, but some popular products differ from Signal in one key way: While some of these firms may not be able to access the content of your communications, they can often access valuable metadata that may reveal who you were communicating with and when. These apps also may allow users to inadvertently send messages without end-to-end encryption.

To learn more about Signal, Holmes recommends checking out the foundation’s page on Security Planner, a project of the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab.

2. Secure file storage and encrypted sharing

A large portion of our lives is often stored on our laptops and the messaging platforms, social media sites and work portals they access. For journalists, this can mean a lot of sensitive material, including leaked documents, identities of sources and unpublished story drafts.

Bill Budington a security engineer at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a group dedicated to digital privacy, points to the particularly risky situation of crossing a border and recommends a series of products and measures journalists and others can adopt to keep files safe in the most at-risk circumstances.

His first tip: When most under threat, ditch your primary laptop or smartphone completely. If you have a burner phone or a cheap netbook that doesn’t contain sensitive data, bring this secondary device along instead while traveling.

But when burner devices aren’t an option, Budington says, “the most powerful thing” a person can do to keep devices safe at a border-crossing is to make sure the hard drive is fully encrypted beforehand – helping to ensure that only those with the device’s passphrase will be able to access its files. This step is also among the easiest – for Mac iOS and some Windows users, it can be as simple as clicking a few buttons to activate built-in encryption programs.

Even with an encrypted hard drive, hackers can attempt to “brute-force” a password, potentially gaining access to the encrypted data. (In many jurisdictions, courts and law enforcement agencies can try to compel you to turn over your password under threat of punishment, including incarceration.) An open-source program called VeraCrypt can add an additional layer of encryption, so that, even if hackers get access to your hard drive, they then must enter what amounts to a highly-fortified folder to gain access to your most sensitive information.

Yet even the most highly secured hard drive will provide little help in protecting your data when you inevitably need to transfer a sensitive document to someone else via the internet. Some of the most prominent file-sharing programs, such as Google Drive and Dropbox, do not provide what Budington calls “client-side” encryption by default.

“For cloud storage, the most important feature for secure storage is for the program you’re using to encrypt files locally on your own machine before they are uploaded to the cloud servers,” Budington told the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). There are some services that provide local encryption prior to upload – Budington recommends SpiderOak, the Keybase filesystemtresoritand Jungle Disk.

You can learn more about device security and document storage by watching a security talk Budington gave in December.

3. Password managers

As hackers become more sophisticated, maintaining strong and up-to-date passwords that aren’t reused across different services is a must. But for reporters who use numerous online services and databases, this can become burdensome: Memorizing a series of complex and ever-changing passwords isn’t feasible and storing them in your computer or email makes them prone to fall into the hands of hackers.

Chris Walker, Digital Security Advisor at the Tactical Technology Collective, a cyber security initiative based in Berlin, recommends solving this problem with an encrypted password manager, which can both generate and store your passwords for you.

“Writing down your passwords and keeping them all in one place might not sound like a good idea at first,” Walker says, but he assures that with the right password manager, users will be more secure with fewer hassles. These apps can both generate stronger passwords and remember them for you.

KeyPass is just one Password manager available.
 
Walker recommends one tool in particular: KeePassXC, a system he describes as highly secure. “It is well maintained, free and open-source software that relies on well understood, standards-based encryption to protect your passwords,” Walker says. “It is also quite simple. It does not try to store your data online or sync between multiple devices. This simplicity helps protect KeePassXC from many potential avenues of attack.”

KeePassXC also has competitors that have been highly rated, including Lastpass, which both Securityplanner.org and online consumer guide Wirecutter recently recommended.

4. Two-factor authentication and its innovations

But Walker is quick to point out that even the most well-managed passwords must be used, when possible, alongside two-factor authentication – an extra layer of security that most often requires users to enter a temporary code that is only accessible from a personal device, usually a cell phone, in addition to their passwords. The idea is that, even if hackers have cracked your password, they still must somehow get their hands on a physical device that only you carry.

This is a basic step that should be used whenever you need to log in to an online service – including email portals, Twitter, Facebook, bank accounts and wherever else you use passwords to protect and to prevent hackers obtaining sensitive information.

One problem with this: The text messages containing these codes can be intercepted. This year may also see a growing adoption of a new sort of two-factor authentication that security engineers believe may be safer than receiving a code on your iPhone: Google is now offering to provide people at high risk of surveillance a program that requires users deploy two physical authenticator keys as a final step for unlocking an account. The devices can fit on a keychain and use USB or bluetooth technology to communicate with your computer and smartphone.

Google’s two-factor authentication requires an extra login step.

Runa Sandvik, the senior director of information security at The New York Times, is a fan of Google’s new initiative, known as the Advanced Protection Program. “I think the Advanced Protection Program (APP) is a great option for at-risk users,” Sandvik told ICIJ. “I have, personally, used APP for a few months and see no reason not to turn it on.”

For more information on Google’s APP and its physical security key, the New York Times has a good article on it and you can also visit the Google’s website. (Unfortunately, this feature isn’t free – each key costs about $20.)

5. Slack alternatives for your office

Over the past several years, new technology known widely by the brand-named Slack has pervaded American office culture. It’s part chat, part email, highly distracting and can archive everything you say and all the documents you upload. Slack has been criticized for its lack of full encryption, and, last year, a web security researcher discovered that a vulnerability in Slack’s code would allow hackers to gain access to millions of users’ private conversations – a particularly sensitive potential exposure for some, given that Slack’s private channels are infamous for encouraging fierce workplace gossip.

Slack does not offer end-to-end encryption, so the contents of your communications may be retrievable if the firm receives an order from, say, an intelligence agency or law enforcement office. Martin Shelton, a data security researcher who works with at-risk groups, says that, although Slack may be the most user-friendly service of its kind, organizations seeking a higher level of security have other options. Semaphor, designed by the tech security firm SpiderOak, is a prominent alternative to Slack. Shelton recommends it as a “nice choice for an end-to-end encrypted chat,” but notes that its “user experience is a little clunky.”

Shelton also points to Mattermost, another potentially appealing chat application for organizations on perhaps the more established side. Like Signal, Mattermost’s code is open source, meaning that anyone can inspect its architecture for vulnerabilities.

“This is great because it’s regularly audited by security researchers,” Shelton says. “You can also host it on your own server, so you know where your data is located,” Shelton notes that this last feature can, however, mean a bit more work. “News institutions will need administrators who know what they’re doing to maintain the server,” Shelton says.

As the Electronic Frontier Foundation reminds us, good data security is a process, not just a series of products. The tools above only offer a start. Some commonly used digital security products that didn’t make the list also include email encryption – which can be a pain to set up but can ensure your encrypted emails are all but impenetrable – as well as secure and private web browsing with Tor and DuckDuckGo.

For more tools and a more detailed explanation of how to use them, take a look at the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Surveillance Self-Defense project and the Citizen Lab’s SecurityPlanner.org. Threats to journalists may be building, but, luckily, so are our defenses against them.

Categorized in Internet Privacy

 Source: This article was published searchengineland.com By Barry Schwartz - Contributed by Member: Barbara Larson

Data nuts, here is your chance to get your data and charts looking pretty in the Google search results snippets.

Google has announced support for datasets markup schema in the Google search results. This makes it possible for searchers to better visualize data represented on a web page directly in Google’s search results.

Google explained that “news organizations that publish data in the form of tables can add additional structured data to make the dataset parts of the page easier to identify for use in relevant Search features.” Google added, “News organizations add the structured data to their existing HTML of a page, which means that news organizations can still control how their tables are presented to readers.”

Here is what it looks like, with the markup version on the right:

Google’s developer site explains this is a “pilot” release of this markup. Google wrote:

Datasets are easier to find when you provide supporting information such as their name, description, creator and distribution formats are provided as structured data. Google’s approach to dataset discovery makes use of schema.org and other metadata standards that can be added to pages that describe datasets. The purpose of this markup is to improve discovery of datasets from fields such as life sciences, social sciences, machine learning, civic and government data, and more.

Around two years ago, Google first announced this as Science datasets in the search. Google is now calling them simply “Dataset” and expanding it beyond the science community to any data-driven agency.

Here are some examples of what can qualify as a dataset:

  • A table or a CSV file with some data.
  • An organized collection of tables.
  • A file in a proprietary format that contains data.
  • A collection of files that together constitute some meaningful dataset.
  • A structured object with data in some other format that you might want to
    load into a special tool for processing.
  • Images capturing data.
  • Files relating to machine learning, such as trained parameters or neural network structure definitions.
  • Anything that looks like a dataset to you.

Categorized in Search Engine

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