Data breaches are winning the privacy wars, so what should privacy advocates do?


My latest Guardian column, "Why is it so hard to convince people to care about privacy," argues that the hard part of the privacy wars (getting people to care about privacy) is behind us, because bad privacy regulation and practices are producing wave after wave of people who really want to protect their privacy. Read the rest

Right to Encrypt is under fire in America. is fighting for your crypto rights.


The Intercept just published an amazing article by Jim Bamford yesterday talking about how the NSA exploited a backdoor in Vodafone to spy on Greek politicians and journalists during the 2004 Olympics.

Bamford is an American author and journalist best known for his writing about United States intelligence agencies, and in particular the National Security Agency.

In a meticulous investigation, Bamford reports at the Intercept that the NSA was behind the notorious, legendary “Athens Affair”. After the 2004 Olympics, the Greek government discovered that an unknown attacker had hacked into Vodafone’s “lawful intercept” system, the phone company’s method of wiretapping voice calls. The attacker spied on phone calls of the president and other Greek politicians and journalists before the hack was found out.

Freedom of the Press Foundation director Trevor Timm wrote for the Guardian about why this is exactly why encryption backdoors are so dangerous.

What are encryption backdoors? For non-techie readers, basically these are ways the government can unencrypt your "locked" communications if they decide they want to see your private material for any secret reason.

And in related news, rumor has it the White House is nearing a decision on whether to embrace the right to encryption for American citizens, or join the FBI in calling for backdoors.

Dozens of civil liberties groups, including Freedom of the Press Foundation, launched this site and petition today that feeds into the White House petition system:

If you care about this issue, right now is the time to take action. Read the rest

In online censorship arms race, Thailand vows a China-style “Great Firewall”


“Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content,” reports Voice Of America Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok.

The plan is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall," after the colloquial term used to describe the Chinese government's extensive and effective internet censorship system. Read the rest

Ad server will respect Do-Not-Track headers


Adzerk, who serves ads for Bittorrent, Stackexchange, Reddit and other high-profile sites, will honor Do-Not-Track messages from readers' browsers, and its ads will not be blocked by the major ad-blocking software. Read the rest

After OPM hack, CIA pulls agents from Beijing for their safety


22 million Americans' most compromising data (from fingerprints to criminal records to identities of family and lovers) was breached in the Office of Personnel Management hack, presumably by hackers working for the Chinese government. Read the rest

Hundreds of Canadian artists call for repeal of surveillance law


Bill C-51 is a sweeping, radical mass-surveillance bill proposed by the current Canadian Tory government, which will be fighting an election next month. Read the rest

Obama and China's Xi Jinping make a deal on commercial cyber espionage

The Financial Times reports that U.S. President Barack Obama has negotiated a commitment from Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping that China will not conduct commercial cyber espionage. In what were reportedly tense, prolonged talks, Obama communicated to the Chinese leader that the United States was ready to impose sanctions on Chinese companies accused of profiting from stolen industrial secrets. Read the rest

KARMA POLICE: GCHQ's plan to track every Web user in the world


The KARMA POLICE program is detailed in newly released Snowden docs published on The Intercept; it began as a project to identify every listener to every Internet radio station (to find people listening to jihadi radio) and grew into an ambitious plan to identify every Web user and catalog their activities from porn habits to Skype contacts. Read the rest

How to save online advertising


My latest Guardian column, How to save online advertising, looks at the writing on the wall for ad-blockers and ad-supported publishing, and suggests one way to keep ads viable. Read the rest

Yet another pre-installed spyware app discovered on Lenovo computers


A factory refurbished Thinkpad shipped with Windows 7 and a scheduler app that ran once a day, collecting usage data about what you do with your computer and exfiltrating it to an analytics company. Read the rest

Tell-all free-to-play-game dev's confessions


An anonymous developer for a free-to-play game explains how his company stalked its most prolific players, creating fake sexy-lady Facebook accounts to friend them in order to gain insight into their proclivities so that super-expensive, one-off virtual goods could be made and targeted to them. Read the rest

Kilton Library's Tor node is back online


Kilton, New Hampshire's public library was the first library in the USA to offer an Tor node on its computers, giving its patrons a technological assist in maintaining their privacy and anonymity -- until the DHS sent them a letter demanding that they switch it off.

Now, ninja librarian Alison Macrina has tweeted the good news: "WE'VE DONE IT. THE KILTON LIBRARY WILL TURN THEIR #TOR RELAY BACK ON!!!"

(Image: Tor Project) Read the rest

Jeb Bush: Leave NSA Alone

Jeb Bush Campaign 2016 photo
“We must stop demonizing these quiet intelligence professionals and start giving them the tools they need.”

Data is a liability, not an asset

Programmers know it, management reject it: code is a liability, not an asset. Read the rest

Library offers Tor nodes; DHS tells them to stop

John writes, "After a library created a Tor node on its network, the DHS and local police contacted them to ask them to stop. For now they have; their Board of Trustees will vote soon on whether to renew the service." Read the rest

Cosplayers and EFF team up for privacy

Dave from EFF writes, "More than 125 Dragon Con cosplayers posed for privacy during EFF and Access Now's Project Secret Identity 2015 campaign." Read the rest

NYC to-do: "Art, Design, and The Future of Privacy," Sept 17

A night of talks and conversations about privacy and tech, centered on humane design and user-experience -- I'm speaking there! Read the rest

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