Tag Archives | Privacy

Obama Wants Companies to Stop Stealing Your Data. Good Luck.

security-265130_640

Jenna McLaughlin writes at Mother Jones:

President Barack Obama’s sixth State of the Union address, which he will deliver on Tuesday, will focus on cybersecurity, according to a speech he gave last Monday at the Federal Trade Commission. Protecting our government and corporations from foreign threats will not be Obama’s only focus—he’s also pushing for a bill that would protect internet consumers. But online privacy advocates are far from optimistic. They say Obama’s new consumer privacy bill will need to be very strong and specific to fill all the existing holes in consumer privacy law. Even then, they warn, the bill is likely doomed, because tech-industry lobbyists will spend millions to block it.

Right now, there are now very few restrictions on what data companies are allowed to scoop up from our digital apps and how they are allowed to use it. Companies routinely gather information and use it in ways consumers’ didn’t know about, much less sanction.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

NSA Cyber War Will Use Internet of Things as Weapons Platform; Your Home is the Battlefield

Martin Beek (CC BY 2.0)

Martin Beek (CC BY 2.0)

Daniel Taylor at Activist Post writes:

World War III is a guerrilla information war with no division between military and civilian participation.” – Marshall McLuhan, Culture is Our Business, 1970

New Snowden documents recently revealed that the NSA is getting ready for future digital wars as the agency postures itself in an aggressive manner towards the world. “The Five Eyes Alliance,” a cooperation between United States, Canada, Britain, Australia, and New Zealand, is working hard to develop these weapons of Cyber Warfare.

So called “D” weapons, as reported by Der Spiegel, will paralyze computer networks and infrastructure that they monitor. Water supplies, factories, airports, as well as the flow of money are all potential targets.

The Der Spiegel report does not mention the wider issue of the expanding network of everyday objects and appliances that are connected to the Internet. According to CIA chief David Petraeus the Internet of Things will have a monumental impact on “clandestine tradecraft.” Richard Adhikari writes for Tech News World that the Internet of Things is “…ripe for exploitation by the NSA.”

Consumer appliances are now becoming activated and “smart.” RFID chips and wireless Internet connections enable devices like televisions, refrigerators, printers, and computers to communicate with each other and generally make life easier for us.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Security is Not a Crime—Unless You’re an Anarchist

1240417728_ee31561794_z

Jannes Pockele (CC BY 2.0)

Nadia Kayyali and Kattza Rodriguez write at Electronic Frontier Foundation:

Riseup, a tech collective that provides security-minded communications to activists worldwide, sounded the alarm last month when a judge in Spain stated that the use of their email service is a practice, he believes, associated with terrorism.

Javier Gómez Bermúdez is a judge of Audiencia Nacional, a special high court in Spain that deals with serious crimes such as terrorism and genocide. According to press reports, he ordered arrest warrants that were carried out on December 16th against alleged members of an anarchist group. The arrests were part of Operation Pandora, a coordinated campaign against “anarchist activity” that has been called an attempt  “to criminalize anarchist social movements.” The police seized books, cell phones, and computers, and arrested 11 activists. Few details are known about the situation, since the judge has declared the case secret.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Glenn Greenwald: Why Privacy Matters

Glenn Greenwald was one of the first reporters to see — and write about — the Edward Snowden files, with their revelations about the United States’ extensive surveillance of private citizens. In this searing talk, Greenwald makes the case for why you need to care about privacy, even if you’re “not doing anything you need to hide.”

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Welcome To The Matrix: Enslaved By Technology And The Internet Of Things

Via Western Journalism

“There will come a time when it isn’t ‘They’re spying on me through my phone’ anymore.
Eventually, it will be ‘My phone is spying on me.’” ― Philip K. Dick

If ever Americans sell their birthright, it will be for the promise of expediency and comfort delivered by way of blazingly fast Internet; cell phone signals that never drop a call; thermostats that keep us at the perfect temperature without our having to raise a finger; and entertainment that can be simultaneously streamed to our TVs, tablets, and cell phones.

Likewise, if ever we find ourselves in bondage, we will have only ourselves to blame for having forged the chains through our own lassitude, laziness, and abject reliance on internet-connected gadgets and gizmos that render us wholly irrelevant.

Indeed, while most of us are consumed with our selfies and trying to keep up with what our so-called friends are posting on Facebook, the megacorporation Google has been busily partnering with the National Security Agency (NSA), the Pentagon, and other governmental agencies to develop a new “human” species, so to speak.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Global Chilling: The Impact of Mass Surveillance on International Writers

Frédéric BISSON (CC BY 2.0)

Frédéric BISSON (CC BY 2.0)

Via the Electronic Frontier Foundation:

PEN America published a report this week summarizing the findings from a recent survey of 772 writers around the world on questions of surveillance and self-censorship. The report, entitled “Global Chilling: The Impact of Mass Surveillance on International Writers,” builds upon a late 2013 survey of more than 500 US-based writers conducted by the organization.

The latest survey found that writers living in liberal democratic countries “have begun to engage in self-censorship at levels approaching those seen in non-democratic countries, indicating that mass surveillance has badly shaken writers’ faith that democratic governments will respect their rights to privacy and freedom of expression, and that—because of pervasive surveillance—writers are concerned that expressing certain views even privately or researching certain topics may lead to negative consequences.”

Specifically, more than 1 in 3 writers living in “free” countries (as classified by watchdog Freedom House) stated that they had avoided speaking or writing on a particular topic since the Snowden revelations, and only seventeen percent of writers in these countries felt that the United States offers more protection for free speech than their countries.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Going ‘Off-the-Grid’ is Nearly Impossible

sony hack screen

The infamous “Hacked By #GOP” screen on Sony Pictures’ computers. Photo: reddit

The “Surveillance Economy” is here to stay. Mega-ad agency Omnicom’s Media Pulse suggests you can forget about going off-the-grid:

As surveillance technologies decline in cost and increase in sophistication, tracking our every day activities—from what we purchase to where we eat to how often we look at pictures of cats online—has become the norm. Recently, a BBC reporter happily disconnected by trying to go off the grid for an entire day, with mixed results; what emerged was a rather unsettling portrait of the ways in which our constant connection is exploited, and whether that mined data helps or hurts consumers in the long run.

As he embarked on his “no data diet,” technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones had a daunting task. Not only did he have to surrender all electronic devices (cell phone, computer, tablet), Jones also was forbidden from using some of the more mundane tools we don’t normally think of as trackable: his BBC identity badge (a microchip inside it monitors his entrances and exits from the office building), his travel card (which again gives away location), even the cash from his wallet (yup, banks track big notes via their serial numbers).

Read the rest
Continue Reading

The dark web: what it is, how it works, and why it’s not going away

via Vox:

2014 saw the continued growth of the dark web, a collection of underground websites that allow people to engage in often-illegal activities beyond the reach of law enforcement. Here’s what the dark web is, how it works, and why it’s not going away any time soon.

What is the dark web?

The dark web is a general term for the seedier corners of the web, where people can interact online without worrying about the watchful eye of the authorities. Usually, these sites are guarded by encryption mechanisms such as Tor that allow users to visit them anonymously. But there are also sites that don’t rely on Tor, such as password-protected forums where hackers trade secrets and stolen credit card numbers, that can also be considered part of the dark web.

People use the dark web for a variety of purposes: buying and selling drugs, discussing hacking techniques and selling hacking services, trading child pornography, and so forth.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Take it and Like it: Corporate America and the Manipulation of Public Opinion

Brad Clinesmith (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Brad Clinesmith (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Absurd Illusions of a Shining City on a Hill by Mark Weiser at Dissident Voice:

The average natural born citizen in any country is continuously indoctrinated into the national culture starting about the time they begin understanding the meaning of words. There’s one country in particular where reality is staring the public in the face, but the truth has been grossly distorted for decades by government, and mass media, bias and propaganda. If the citizens would suddenly see the truth, instead of what they’ve been conditioned to believe, they would find themselves in a strange and bizarre foreign land that’s contrary in many ways to their personal beliefs regarding home. For those who experience this sudden revelation, as soon as the truth is realized, it’s likely to provoke a profound and immediate sense of disbelief. Like emergency room personnel making insensitive jokes, laughter at some point becomes a self-defense mechanism for offsetting continuous parades of the absurd realities and outright horrors.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Billions of Dollars + Zero Wisdom = Google Hires Resident Philosopher

Picture of italian philosopher Luciano Floridi (Stefano Oreschi via Wikimedia Commons).

Picture of italian philosopher Luciano Floridi (Stefano Oreschi via Wikimedia Commons).

via Pacific Standard:

How an Oxford don is helping the tech giant understand the nature of modern identity—and stay out of court.

One day this past September, Google’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, sat down with a group of experts in Madrid to begin publicly discussing how Google should respond to a recent, perplexing ruling by the European Union’s Court of Justice. In May, the court had declared that, in accordance with the European “right to be forgotten,” individuals within the E.U. should be able to prohibit Google and other search firms from linking to personal information that is “inaccurate, inadequate, irrelevant, or excessive.”

In an age of revenge porn, social media gaffes, and all the infinite varieties of embarrassment that can attend one’s name in a Google search, the ruling was, in spirit, an attempt to keep ordinary Europeans from being unduly tyrannized by an Internet that, famously, never forgets.

Read the rest
Continue Reading