Boing Boing 

EFF backs new nonprofit free certificate authority "Let's Encrypt"

It will be overseen by Internet Security Research Group with backing from EFF, Mozilla, Cisco, Akamai and others, and will offer free HTTPS certificates to all comers, making it radically easier and cheaper to encrypt the Web and make it resistant to mass surveillance.

Currently, most Internet traffic is unencrypted, meaning most interactions you have with websites leave your accounts vulnerable to eavesdropping by everyone from a minimally competent hacker to the U.S. government. The HTTPS protocol—in contrast to HTTP—encrypts your connection and verifies the authenticity of sites, protecting your data and personal information. EFF has been campaigning successfully for a number of years to spread HTTPS from payment pages and banking sites to email, social networking, and other types of sites. But there are still hundreds of millions of domains that lack this protection.

The new Let's Encrypt project aims to solve that. Let's Encrypt is a new free certificate authority, which will begin issuing server certificates in 2015. Server certificates are the anchor for any website that wants to offer HTTPS and encrypted traffic, proving that the server you are talking to is the server you intended to talk to. But these certificates have historically been expensive, as well as tricky to install and bothersome to update. The Let's Encrypt authority will offer server certificates at zero cost, supported by sophisticated new security protocols. The certificates will have automatic enrollment and renewal, and there will be publicly available records of all certificate issuance and revocation.

Let's Encrypt

New, Free Certificate Authority to Dramatically Increase Encrypted Internet Traffic [EFF]

EFF makes DoJ admit it lied in court about FBI secret warrants

Department of Justice lawyers told a judge that when the FBI gives one of its secret National Security Letters to a company, the company is allowed to reveal the NSL's existence and discuss its quality -- it lied.

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When the FBI told MLK to kill himself (who are they targeting now?)


We've known for years that the FBI spied on Martin Luther King's personal life and sent him an anonymous letter in 1964 threatening to out him for his sexual indiscretions unless he killed himself in 34 days. Now we have an unredacted version of the notorious letter.

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Expat activists and journalists leave USA for Berlin's safety

From Laura Poitras to Jacob Appelbaum to Sarah Harrison, Berlin has become a haven for American journalists, activists and whistleblowers who fear America's unlimited appetite for surveillance and put their trust in Germany's memory of the terror of the Stasi.

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Surveillance and stalkers: how the Internet supercharges gendered violence


85% of domestic violence shelters work with women who have been GPS-tracked by their abusers; 75% have clients who were attacked with hidden mobile surveillance apps; cops routinely steal and share nude selfies from the phones of women pulled over in traffic stops, and NSA spies used agency's massive, illegal surveillance apparatus to stalk women they were sexually attracted to, a practice that was dubbed "LOVEINT."

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Potato-chip surveillance: once you start, you just can't stop

The ongoing revelations about UK domestic spying on political activists, continued in some case for decades, and which included an incident in which an undercover police officer fathered a child with the woman he was spying on, illustrate an important point: once you decide someone is suspicious enough to follow around, there's no evidence that you can gather to dispel that suspicion.

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Dissecting the arguments of liberal apologists for Obama's surveillance and secret war

Democratic party partisans like Sean Wilentz, George Packer and Michael Kinsley spent the Bush years condemning the tactics they now defend under Obama -- apart from sheer intellectual dishonesty, how can this be explained?

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Opsec, Snowden style

Micah Lee, the former EFF staffer whom Edward Snowden reached out to in order to establish secure connections to Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras, shares the methodology he and Snowden employed to stay secure and secret in the face of overwhelming risk and scrutiny.

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Edward Snowden interviewed by Lawrence Lessig

It's a fascinating, hour-long session in which Snowden articulates the case for blowing the whistle, the structural problems that created mass surveillance, and why it's not sufficient to stop the state from using our data -- we should also limit their ability to collect it. The Slashdot post by The Real Hocus Locus provides good timecode-based links into different parts of the talk.

CHP officer who stole and shared nude photos of traffic-stop victim claims "it's a game"

Officer Sean Harrington of Martinez California Highway Patrol says that when he stole nude photos from the cell phone of a woman he'd traffic-stopped and then shared them with other CHP officers, that he was just playing "a game" that is widespead in the force.

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Wouldn't it be great if a billboard could actually read your mind?

Said no one, ever. Except, apparently not: the "data scientists" of Posterscope are excited that EE -- a joint venture of T-Mobile and Orange -- will spy on all their users' mobile data to "give profound insights...that were never possible before"

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EFF launches a new version of Surveillance Self-Defense


Hugh from the Electronic Frontier Foundation writes, "We're thrilled to announce the relaunch of Surveillance Self-Defense (SSD), our guide to defending yourself and your friends from digital surveillance by using encryption tools and developing appropriate privacy and security practices. The site launches today in English, Arabic, and Spanish, with more languages coming soon."

Surveillance Self-Defense (Thanks, Hugh!)

FBI chief demands an end to cellphone security

If your phone is designed to be secure against thieves, voyeurs, and hackers, it'll also stop spies and cops. So the FBI has demanded that device makers redesign their products so that they -- and anyone who can impersonate them -- can break into them at will.

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Adobe responds to scandalous news of secretly spying on readers (not really)

A week ago, Adobe was caught spying on people's reading habits -- they index all your books and send a full dossier to themselves, in the clear. Now, they've responded to the American Library Association (whose members are the major customers for this terrible stuff) by saying they'll say something next week. (Thanks, Jay!)

NSA agents may have infiltrated the global communications industry


Leaked Snowden documents published by Laura Poitras and Peter Maass in The Intercept describe the NSA's SENTRY EAGLE program describe six programs aimed at weakening the capacity of people all over the world to communicate in private.

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Laura Poitras's Citizenfour: the real story of Edward Snowden

The award-winning, fearless filmmaker's documentary on her work with Snowden premiered yesterday, and it's full of bombshells.

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There's no back door that only works for good guys

My latest Guardian column, Crypto wars redux: why the FBI's desire to unlock your private life must be resisted, explains why the US government's push to mandate insecure back-doors in all our devices is such a terrible idea -- the antithesis of "cyber-security."

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Hong Kong Transparency Database: tracking HK gov't requests to ISPs

The data were extracted from the excellent Hong Kong Transparency Report as well as transparency reports from various online service providers' global transparency reports from 2010 onward-- its shows a steep increase in surveillance requests, and hints that the HK government's stats omit a large slice of its activities.

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Dutch IT contractor lays out the case for spying on everyone's wearables, always

A promo video from Pinkroccade, a prominent IT contractor to Dutch local governments, makes the case for spying on wearables (if your heart-rate rises because you're about to be mugged, the police could be alerted, and get GPS from your phone, find nearby phones belonging to people with criminal records, check the view from your Google Glass, and respond -- case closed).

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NSA conducts massive surveillance without ANY Congressional oversight


An ACLU Freedom of Information request reveals that the NSA considers Reagan's "Executive Order 12333" (previously) its "primary source" of spying authority -- and so it conducts this surveillance without reporting to Congress on it.

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Tickets for the UK ORGCon on sale now!


Ruth from the Open Rights Group says, "We are really proud of the amazing people Open Rights Group are bringing you as speakers at this year's national digital rights conference."

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Mobile malware infections race through Hong Kong's Umbrella Revolution


The protesters are dependent on mobile apps to coordinate their huge, seemingly unstoppable uprising, and someone -- maybe the Politburo, maybe a contractor -- has released virulent Ios and Android malware into their cohort, and the pathogens are blazing through their electronic ecosystem.

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CEO of stalkerware company arrested

Hammad Akbar, a Pakistani national and CEO of Invocode, marketers of Stealthgenie, was arrested in LA on Saturday and charged with a variety of offenses related to making, marketing and selling "interception devices."

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Faced with network surveillance, Hong Kong student demonstrators go P2P


The makers of Firechat, a wireless P2P chat app that works phone-to-phone over Bluetooth and wifi, say they've seen a surge of new users from Hong Kong's student demonstrators, who are locked in pitched battle with the territory's police as they fight for the right to choose HK's leaders without interference with Beijing, against a backdrop of growing wealth inequality.

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OK Sheriff LARPs "Welcome to Nightvale"


Logan County, Oklahoma Sheriff Jim Bauman created an extensive set of secret files on the citizens in his jurisdiction, inadvertently recreating Welcome to Nightvale's running gag about the Sheriff's Secret Police -- but the ACLU isn't laughing, they're suing.

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Cops who use Stingray surveillance must sign company nondisclosure first

Michael from Muckrock sez, "Advanced cell phone tracking devices known as Stingrays allow police nationwide to home in on suspects and to log individuals present at a given location."

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Apple's Patriot-Act-detecting "warrant canary" dies


It's been less than a day since the company published its new, excellent privacy policy -- but Gigaom has noticed that the latest Apple transparency report, covering Jan 1-Jun 30 2014, has eliminated the line that says that the company has received no secret Patriot Act "section 215" requests, which come with gag orders prohibiting companies from discussing them.

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How your smartphone betrays you all day long


Ton Siedsma, a lawyer for the Dutch civil liberties group Bits of Freedom, volunteered to have a week's worth of his phone's metadata collected and analyzed by researchers from Ghent University and by Mike Moolenaar.

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Feds wanted to fine Yahoo $250K/day for fighting PRISM


We've known since the start that Yahoo fought the NSA's Prism surveillance program tooth-and-nail; but as unsealed court docs show, the Feds made the process into a harrowing ordeal, and sweet-talked gullible judges into dropping the hammer on Y.

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BBC tells Australian govt to treat VPN users as pirates

BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the UK public broadcaster, has told an Australian government proceeding that people who use VPNs a lot should be assumed to be engaged in piracy, that ISPs should surveil their users, that websites should be censored by Chinese-style national firewalls, and that the families of people accused of watching TV the wrong way should be disconnected from the Internet.

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