Wait, Privacy Is Cool Again?

Oversharing is over, as signs indicate the “Age of Narcissism” is coming to a close. A widely circulated story about some nameless Austrian teenager’s lawsuit against her parents for posting 18 years’ worth of embarrassing photos on social media captured the attention of dozens of news outlets last month, because it told us what the young web editors on these papers want to hear — that the Age of Narcissism is coming to a close. “They knew no shame and no limits,” she reportedly told Austria’s Heute newspaper, or maybe it was Die ganze Woche magazine, accounts vary. But there’s no denying our teen’s outrage over her parents’ predilection for posting her images on Facebook.  “They didn’t care if I was sitting on the toilet or lying naked in the cot, every moment was photographed and made public.” I feel her pain. I didn’t see her photos, of course, despite the […] Read More

Orwellian: Feds Spend $500,000 to Tap “Extensive Tracking Infrastructure” to “Combat Online Trolling”

The National Science Foundation has issued two quarter-of-a-million-dollar grants for “Leveraging Personalized Internet Services to Combat Online Trolling”. The grant defines online trolling as, “scenarios in which various groups deploy tactics to influence public opinion on the Internet, by leaving biased, false, misleading, and inauthentic comments, and then artificially amplifying their ratings,” so you can immediately see where that’s a slippery slope to shutting down free speech and dissent because who decides what is “false, misleading, and inauthentic” online? The government’s researchers? Creepier, the grant admits that we are increasingly tracked as our privacy is increasingly going extinct on the internet, and it is this built-in “extensive tracking infrastructure” that will be tapped to combat trolling online: Users have often expressed concern about the lack of privacy and control over their personal data. Nonetheless, despite a substantial effort to expose and control this prevalent behavior, the reality is that users […] Read More

Yahoo! Just Exposed One Of The FBI’s Most Secretive Tricks To Unethically Obtaining Your Info

By Claire Bernish For the first time since the implementation of the USA Freedom Act, Yahoo! published three National Security Letters — perhaps the most secretive and contentious method the FBI has for obtaining information on individuals — after the lifting of repressive and equally-contentious gag orders. Mainstays of the USA PATRIOT Act, National Security Letters (NSLs) generally request customer data information from businesses such as banks, internet service providers, travel agencies, and phone and telecommunications companies — without a warrant required. Worse, NSLs include onerous, mandatory orders prohibiting their recipients from disclosing to anyone — including coworkers, friends, and family — that they even received the letter. “Yahoo has always maintained a strong commitment to protecting our users’ safety, security and privacy,” the company said in an announcement of the disclosure. “The release of these documents and information regarding NSLs today is consistent with our commitment to share […] Read More

How Big Tech Convinced Us to Become Our Own Informants

In exchange for the digital goods we crave, we willingly give Google, Facebook and others access to our entire private lives. In 1992, two years after East and West Germany reunited, the new government made an unprecedented gesture in response to demands from the people: It released the archives of East Germany’s former security administration, the dreaded Stasi. Probing the vast files, German artist Simon Menner compiled a collection of the Stasi’s photographs which he published in 2013, affording a voyeuristic glance at the former voyeurs. Or as the artist puts it, giving us a look at what Big Brother “gets to see when he’s watching us.” Some of the photos are frankly hilarious. We’re privy to a seminar on disguises—basically, pics of men with dad bods wearing fake mustaches. The agents of the notorious surveillance state look oddly harmless with their double chins and 1980s turtlenecks. Other images are […] Read More

Vista 10 Inherently Broken, Anti-Competitive (Against GNU/Linux and Free Software), Privacy-Infringing, and Definitely Not Secure

…but some people install it because it doesn’t cost them anything upfront “I’m going to f—ing kill Google.”  – Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO Summary: A roundup of recent reports about Windows 10, which is akin to Windows Vista in many ways VISTA 10 is a mess. Ask the management of Microsoft what it thinks of it (while no cameras or microphones point at the management’s direction). When Vista was released the company gloated and dubbed it the “best ever” although later E-mails (requested by subpoena) showed that internally the opposite was being said. Ask Microsoft’s engineers what they think of Vista 10 (I have). Look at how a third mega patch got released within just 2.5 weeks, essentially acting almost like a re-release of the whole operating system given its massive size (almost everything at the core gets replaced). See “Bill Gates dumped a huge amount of Microsoft stock this year” […] Read More

Backdoors… for Everything: “Citizens Should Have No Secrets Gov’t Can’t Access”

This article was written by J.D. Heyes and originally published at NaturalNews.com. Editor’s Comment: The Thought Police are here, and they want preemptive full access to every electronic activity you ever make — whether or not you are ‘doing something wrong.’ The potential for abuse is enormous, and privacy advocates have argued that weakening encryption for authorities to have access will destroy consumer protections for things like bank accounts, creative and patent activities, not to mention that people had before technology… yes, privacy. The 4th Amendment has been reduced to a specter; and there is much rolling around in graves. FBI says that citizens should have no secrets that the government can’t access: the Orwellian cyber police state has arrived by J.D. Heyes The police and surveillance state predicted in the forward-looking 1940s classic “1984” by George Orwell, has slowly, but steadily, come to fruition. However, like a frog […] Read More

Windows 10 spies on you by default

Microsoft’s new Windows 10 operating system is immensely popular, with 14 million downloads in just two days. The price of the free upgrade may just be your privacy, though, as changing Windows 10’s intrusive default settings is difficult. Technology journalists and bloggers are singing Windows 10’s praises, often using the words such as “amazing,”“glorious” and “fantastic.” The operating system has been described as faster, smoother and more user-friendly than any previous version of Windows. According to Wired magazine, more than 14 million people have downloaded their upgrade since the system was released on Wednesday. While the upgrade is currently free of charge to owners of licensed copies of Windows 8 and Windows 7, it does come at a price. Several tech bloggers have warned that the privacy settings in the operating system are invasive by default, and that changing them involves over a dozen different screens and an external […] Read More

WikiLeaks publishes the Healthcare Annex to the secret draft “Transparency” Chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP)

WikiLeaks publishes the Healthcare Annex to the secret draft “Transparency” Chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) Today, Wednesday 10 June 2015, WikiLeaks publishes the Healthcare Annex to the secret draft “Transparency” Chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), along with each country’s negotiating position. The Healthcare Annex seeks to regulate state schemes for medicines and medical devices. It forces healthcare authorities to give big pharmaceutical companies more information about national decisions on public access to medicine, and grants corporations greater powers to challenge decisions they perceive as harmful to their interests. Expert policy analysis, published by WikiLeaks today, shows that the Annex appears to be designed to cripple New Zealand’s strong public healthcare programme and to inhibit the adoption of similar programmes in developing countries. The Annex will also tie the hands of the US Congress in its ability to pursue reforms of the Medicare programme. https://wikileaks.org/tpp/healthcare/ WikiLeaks […] Read More

Surveillance Self-Defense, EFF’s global guide to protecting your privacy online, is now available in four new languages

APRIL 29, 2015 | BY DANNY O’BRIEN Defend Yourself Against Surveillance: New Languages, New Animations When we re-launched Surveillance Self-Defense (SSD) last year to tackle the growing threat of online spying, we knew our greatest challenge was reaching everyone who urgently needed its advice. Technical knowledge about what to do, and what not to do, to protect your privacy online, is only truly useful if it can be understood by those who need that information the most. We’re delighted to note a few important steps in increasing the reach of SSD. Six months ago we launched the site in English, Spanish, and Arabic. Now our amazing network of translators have expanded SSD’s coverage to include French, Thai, Vietnamese, and Urdu. Adding around 230 million native speakers to our potential audience is great news. It’s even better when someone takes our suggestions and turns it into a form that makes […] Read More