HOUSTON - A couple of recent 'tech' notes may have missed your notice, but you'll want to pay attention to help protect your privacy.
The first involves the nearly one billion iPhones currently in service.
About 75% of them have been updated to the latest operating system, iOS 13, that was introduced late last year. Unfortunately, the OS has had a lot of glitches, that Apple has had to fix, and the latest includes a flaw that could track your whereabouts without your permission.
"The iOS was actually letting all these apps get into the location data at all times, regardless if you say no," says Houston tech expert Juan Guevara Torres. He says the flaw, discovered in December, allows apps and anyone else who could track your iPhone, to keep tabs on wherever the phone goes, even if the location feature is turned off.
Users may have missed a prompt on their phone, to download Apple's new patch to plug the leak. Guevara Torres says it's smart to check in your phone's settings and update apps, to make sure they're all in synch. "The easiest way to avoid being compromised is to have the latest version of the operating system," he says.
This is also the year the government is required to count everyone in the country.
The 2020 Census begins this spring, and the process will include new technology to collect the statistical information of hundreds of millions of people. For the first time, people will be encouraged to submit their information online.
Guevara Torrres is working on technology and outreach, for the Census, and says he's been impressed that the process appears well-protected from would-be hackers.
"The only way to have something 'unhackable' is to not have them exposed to the internet," says Guevara Torres, "In this case, all the major databases; all the major security threats have been minimized to, almost, zero... because they don't have access to anybody who is not a census employee."