Payment App Privacy Sucks

Payment apps are fairly secure & very convenient, but NOT private. And Venmo is the worst. Venmo is the only payment app that is primarily a “social” app. That’s shorthand for “share as much info as possible, with as many people as possible”. If you weren’t already aware, all Venmo transactions are public by default. (That might come as an unwelcome surprise to the third of millennials who have used Venmo to pay for drugs.) Your Venmo friends list is also public by default, as Joe Biden recently discovered. But perhaps due to that event, Venmo at least now gives you a way to make it private. I’ll tell you how to change this and other Venmo privacy settings – and also which apps are better at privacy.

Lots of other news to cover today: Amazon Sidewalk has been activated for all new Echo and Ring devices (like it or not), but you can turn it off; Amazon Ring is offering more transparency on requests for video footage by law enforcement; Apple addresses some of the “stalker” privacy concerns with AirTags; apps are sidestepping Apple’s new App Tracking Transparency (shocker); TikTok just changed its privacy policy to mention the collection of your biometric info, including “faceprints” and “voiceprints”; we found out how the hackers got into the Colonial Pipeline computers and (maybe) how the FBI managed to get back some of the ransom money; the FBI secretly ran an encrypted communication platform marketed to criminals called Anom; and a new facial recognition service allows you (or come creeper) to search the web for anyone’s face for free.

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