Britain's Great Firewall blocks access to official Disney sites, internet safety guides, VPNs, and coding sites for kids

In the decade since the UK rolled out its Great Firewall, the project of somehow dividing the entire internet into "good" and "bad" (or even "all-ages" and "adult") has run into a series of embarrassing gaffes, blocking rape crisis sites while letting through all sorts of ghastly porn -- and at every turn, the Conservative government's response has been to double down on internet censorship, expanding it from a parental filter to an opt-out porn filter, whose biggest backers have repeatedly demonstrated their technical incompetence. Read the rest

Amazon orders Signal to stop using AWS to defeat censorship

Repressive autocracies like Egypt, Oman, and the UAE ban Signal and other encrypted messaging apps, using national firewalls to try to block their traffic; Signal evades these blocks by using "domain fronting," in which the service's cloud provider shows up as the origin of its traffic, forcing countries to block Google or Amazon to get at a single service hiding behind them. Read the rest

The predictable dystopian trajectory of China's Citizen Scores

China's Citizen Score system combines surveillance of your social media and social graph with your credit report, your purchase history and state spy agencies and police files on you to produce a "trustworthiness" score -- people who score low are denied access to high-speed travel, financial products, and other services like private school for their kids. Read the rest

Russia's fumbling, heavy-handed Telegram ban is a perfect parable about the modern internet's promise and peril

Russia tried to get the creators of the private messaging service Telegram to create a back-door so its cops could spy on Telegram users; Telegram refused and Russia banned Telegram in retaliation. Read the rest

Russia blocks Google & Amazon IP addresses, saying they're used by Telegram app Putin just banned

Russia's communications regulator says it has blocked IP addresses owned by Google and Amazon because Moscow claims the internet addresses are used by the Telegram messaging service that was banned by Putin's regime this week. Read the rest

Cities' emergency sirens will play anything you send them over an unencrypted radio protocol

It's been a year since someone hacked all 156 of Dallas's emergency tornado sirens, setting them off in the middle of the night, and the security picture for cities' emergency PA systems keeps getting uglier. Read the rest

Paypal blacklists payments for a World Socialists pamphlet about the Iranian opposition

The Struggle Against Imperialism and for Workers' Power in Iran is a $3.50 pamphlet by Keith Jones of the Socialist Equality Party of Canada; published by Mehring Books and distributed by the World Socialist Web Site. Read the rest

Dropbox has some genuinely great security reporting guidelines, but reserves the right to jail you if you disagree

Dropbox has published a set of guidelines for how companies can "encourage, support, and celebrate independent open security research" -- and they're actually pretty great, a set of reasonable commitments to take bug reports seriously and interact respectfully with researchers. Read the rest

A proposal to stop 3D printers from making guns is a perfect parable of everything wrong with information security

Many people worry that 3D printers will usher in an epidemic of untraceable "ghost guns," particularly guns that might evade some notional future gun control regime that emerges out of the current movement to put sensible, minimal curbs on guns, particularly anti-personnel guns. Read the rest

Teen's devastating bug-report on a "tamper-proof" cryptocurrency wallet shows why companies can't be left in charge of bad news about their products

Saleem Rashid is a 15 year old self-taught British programmer who discovered a fatal defect in the Ledger Nano S, an offline cryptocurrency wallet that is marketed as being "tamper-proof." Read the rest

Facebook insists that Cambridge Analytica didn't "breach" data, but "misused" it, and they're willing to sue anyone who says otherwise

Yesterday's bombshell article in the Guardian about the way that Cambridge Analytica was able to extract tens of millions of Facebook users' data without their consent was preceded by plenty of damage control on Facebook's part: they repeatedly threatened to sue news outlets if they reported on the story and fired the whistleblower who came forward with the story. Read the rest

People are stashing irrevocable child porn links, dox, copyright infringement, and leaked state secrets in the blockchain

By design, data placed in the blockchain is visible to everyone in the world and can never be removed; everyone who mines bitcoin makes a copy of the blockchain, and so any illegal content stashed in the blockchain ends up on the computers of every miner. Read the rest

European Parliament ambushed by doctored version of pending internet censorship rules that sneaks filtering into all online services

For months, the European Parliament has been negotiating over a new copyright rule, with rightsholder organizations demanding that some online services implement censoring filters that prevent anyone from uploading text, sounds or images if they have been claimed by a copyright holder. Read the rest

Ban on discussing Poland's complicity in Holocaust draws worldwide attention to Poland's complicity in Holocaust

We all know that Poland resisted the Nazi invasion and that Poles and Polish Jews bore the brunt of the Holocaust. But the world is now finding out all about Polish complicty in the Holocaust, thanks to its government trying to ban discussion of it.

The new law, which took effect this week, prompted widespread criticism from Israeli officials and Jewish groups in the United States — as well as Polish historians, Germany’s foreign minister and the State Department. In an effort to defuse tensions, Poland’s far-right, nationalist government has promised that the law will not be enforced in the coming weeks, until it can be reviewed by the nation’s constitutional court.

But even if the law is never enforced, the debate over the text of the amendment has already profoundly damaged Poland’s past and present reputation.

The clearest impact of the legislation has been to draw fresh attention to recent historical research which makes it plain that Poles rarely opposed and were frequently complicit in the persecution of their Jewish neighbors by the Nazis following the annexation of western Poland to Germany.

Pictured is Poland's Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, whose cunning plan to distract attention from Polish complicity in the Holocaust involved telling an Israeli journalist that Polish Jews were in on the complicity. Read the rest

Lobbyists release push-poll in an effort to tank Right to Repair bills and control independent security research

The Security Innovation Center is a lobbying group backed by CompTIA, CTIA, TechNet and the Consumer Technology Association for the express purpose of fighting laws that would legalize repairing your own property, or choosing to have it repaired by third parties. Read the rest

Online security is a disaster and the people who investigate it are being sued into silence

The only thing worse than driving a car with defective brakes is unknowingly driving a car with defective brakes -- and learning about them the hard way. Read the rest

Report: iCloud plan puts China's Apple users at risk

According to The Hong Kong Free Press, Apple is set to hand over the keys to the the accounts of iCloud users in China to a company owned by the surveillance and censorship-happy Chinese government.

Guizhou-Cloud Big Data (GCBD) will take over the operation of Apple's Chinese data center at the end of February, making GCBD responsible for all legal and financial transactions between the Apple and China's iCloud users. Once GCBD is running the show, Apple will be responsible for investing one billion USD to build a new server farm in Guiyang and to provide technical support in the interest of preserving data security.

Apple's doesn't like telling folks what iCloud user data they're able to read. The information could be limited to the size of uploaded files and where those files were uploaded, or as comprehensive as being able to browse through the photos taken with an iPhone. That China's communist government, which is big on watching the digital doings of its citizens, censorship and political activism could will soon have access to the iCloud account information of every iPhone, iPad or Mac user in China pretty troubling. 

This isn't the first time that Apple has bowed to pressure from the Chinese government, either. At the ass end of 2017, they happily removed close to 700 VPN apps from the Chinese iTunes App Store, making it extremely difficult for iOS users to view uncensored content. So, say good bye to news stories about China and the rest of the world that hasn't been approved by Chinese state censors. Read the rest

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