The “On Tech” newsletter from The New York Times typically has great content. I encourage people to subscribe to this. The current edition is Why Your TV Spies on You, which is a fact of life for most smart TV’s and streaming services. But while some lawyers may find that discussion interesting, I want everyone to scroll down to the next feature, “Three must-have apps for every smartphone” by Brian X. Chen, the personal technology columnist for The New York Times. I would guess few lawyers have all three of these apps and many do not have any of them.
Brian’s three must-have apps are 1. A password manager, 2. An ad blocker and 3. An encrypted messaging app, like Signal.
I’ve written several times about how a password manager is an important security tool because it allows one to use long and complex passwords without having to remember them. But there are many other benefits. See my video and post on selecting a password manager with legal tech expert Tom Mighell.
According to Brian X. Chen, “Many online ads are loaded with scripts that collect your personal information and suck up your phone battery; some even contain links to malware. Until the ad industry comes up with a better way, our best bet is using an ad blocking app like 1Blocker to prevent ads from loading in the web browser.” He also notes that the Google Play store does not allow ad blockers to be downloaded. Google loves online ads. Android users who wish to install the apps need to use a method known as sideloading. Chen directs us to 5 best ad blocker apps for Android!
Encrypted messaging using tools like Signal or Telegram is very secure. But these tools only function if both parties download and use the app. At ABA TECHSHOW 2016 I attended a panel that included the lead attorney for NSA leaker Edward Snowden. The panelists recommended Signal. Afterwards I wrote You Are Not Paranoid If They Really Are Watching You Attorney-Client Privilege, Confidentiality and Cybersecurity in the 21st Century for the Oklahoma Bar Journal.
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