Woody Leonhard's no-bull news, tips and help for Windows, Office and more… Please disable your ad blocker – our (polite!) ads help keep AskWoody going!
Home icon Home icon Home icon Email icon RSS icon
  • Patch Lady – 31 days of Paranoia – Day 16

    Posted on October 16th, 2018 at 23:23 Susan Bradley Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Today we live in a world where recording devices are ubiquitous.  There are recording devices on public streets, recording devices in the door bells of houses, and in general, there is often a video recording that Authorities can obtain to gain more information.  California has a law that states….

    California’s wiretapping law is a “two-party consent” law. California makes it a crime to record or eavesdrop on any confidential communication, including a private conversation or telephone call, without the consent of all parties to the conversation. See Cal. Penal Code § 632. The statute applies to “confidential communications” — i.e., conversations in which one of the parties has an objectively reasonable expectation that no one is listening in or overhearing the conversation. See Flanagan v. Flanagan, 41 P.3d 575, 576-77, 578-82 (Cal. 2002).  A California appellate court has ruled that this statute applies to the use of hidden video cameras to record conversations as well. See California v. Gibbons, 215 Cal. App. 3d 1204 (Cal Ct. App. 1989).

    If you are recording someone without their knowledge in a public or semi-public place like a street or restaurant, the person whom you’re recording may or may not have “an objectively reasonable expectation that no one is listening in or overhearing the conversation,” and the reasonableness of the expectation would depend on the particular factual circumstances.  Therefore, you cannot necessarily assume that you are in the clear simply because you are in a public place.

    If you are operating in California, you should always get the consent of all parties before recording any conversation that common sense tells you might be “private” or “confidential.” In addition to subjecting you to criminal prosecution, violating the California wiretapping law can expose you to a civil lawsuit for damages by an injured party.

    If you have security cameras in a location where there is no expectation of privacy – out in the street in front of your house – you would not be under a wiretapping law.  However if your security cameras are inside your house, there is an expectation of privacy and thus wiretapping laws would come into play.  Now let’s layer on how some of these video cameras have less than stellar security and now layer on the ability to search for such internet of things devices through a specially crafted search browser, it’s no wonder that we’re all a bit paranoid these days.  Make no mistake, video cameras often help law enforcement put evidence together.  Case in point a local homicide in my City was able to spot an assailant’s truck in several videos captured by surrounding homes and businesses and was able to use the video as additional evidence of proof that the assailant was in the area where the homicide occurred.  So video capturing helps a great deal.  BUT… as with all technology – it can be abused both in terms of privacy and as well as being used by attackers.

    If you set up a home video camera consider the vendor security features:  Make sure it doesn’t have embedded passwords, demands complex passwords, can be updated relatively easily among other things.

    Cameras can help make you safer, but they can also introduce security risks as well.

  • Reviews of the Surface Pro 6 and the Surface Laptop 2

    Posted on October 16th, 2018 at 09:43 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    The embargo must’ve been lifted overnight. You can see reviews all over the web.

    Bottom line:

    Surface Pro 6 is a little faster that the “Surface Pro (2017)” but not that much. i5, 8GB RAM, 256 GB and a keyboard for about $ 1,350.

    Surface Laptop 2 is a little faster than the Surface Laptop (1) but not that much. i5, 8GB RAM, 256 GB storage for $1,300.

    No USB-C.

    Compare with any Chromebook for a small fraction of the price. The ultimate Chromebook, the Google Pixelbook with i5, 8GB RAM, 128 GB storage runs half the price. Admittedly the Pixelbook lacks some key Surface features: Bluescreens, bugs, malware, slow reboots.

    Disclaimer: Unless it isn’t patently obvious, no, I’ve never held either a Surface Pro 6 or Laptop 2 in my hands. This isn’t a review. I wasn’t under embargo. Microsoft didn’t give me a test machine.

    But I have held a Pixelbook. In fact, my son still uses my original Pixelbook almost every day. Built like a brick spithouse.

  • Phone scam: Win7 license is “about to expire”

    Posted on October 16th, 2018 at 04:58 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Fascinating story/question from JW:

    I’m writing in reference to what my wife & I believe to be a phone scam related to the upcoming termination of Microsoft support for Windows 7. We have now received two phone calls (several weeks apart), from someone claiming to represent Microsoft, informing us that our Win7 license is about to expire, and that we must pay a fee by phone (credit card) in order to continue to use the software beyond a certain date (which has changed with each call). This strikes us as being illegitimate and a scam to get money and our credit card info. Have you heard of this previously and do you agree this is likely an illegitimate request? Is there some useful action we might take other than sharing this with you.

    No question it’s illegitimate.

    It’s also the first time I’ve heard this one.

    As Win7 approaches end of life (14 months to go!) I expect we’ll hear more variations on this theme.