UK ISP Association, spies, censorship organsation jointly condemn Mozilla for supporting secure DNS because it breaks UK internet censorship rules

ISPs in the UK are required to censor a wide swathe of content: what began as a strictly limited, opt-in ban on depictions of the sexual abuse of children has been steadily expanded to a mandatory ban on "extreme" pornography, "terrorist content," copyright and trademark infringement, and then there's the on-again/off-again ban on all porn sites unless they keep a record of the identity of each user and the porn they request.. Read the rest

The Training Commission: an email newsletter from the future, after a civil war and digital blackout

"The Training Commission" is Ingrid Burrington and Brendan C Byrne's serialized science fiction tale, taking the form of an email newsletter that lets you eavesdrop on the correspondence between the story's principal characters: it's set after a civil war ("the Shitstorm"), sparked by misbehaving and easily abused machine-learning systems, and which was resolved after a protracted and catastrophic digital blackout. Read the rest

Mozilla's Internet Health Report: discriminatory AI, surveilling smart cities, ad-tech

Every year, the Mozilla Foundation releases a massive "Internet Health Report" summarizing the ways in which the internet is being used to both support and subvert human thriving; though these reports cover a wide range of topics, every year the foundation chooses a small number of themes to focus on. This year, they are Let's Ask More of AI; The Power of Cities and Rethinking Digital Ads. Read the rest

Common Voice: Mozilla releases the largest dataset of voice samples for free, for all

42,000 Mozilla supporters contributed to Common Voice, a free-open dataset of 1,361 hours of voice recordings in 18 languages, which is now free for anyone to use as a set of "high quality, transcribed voice data... available to startups, researchers, and anyone interested in voice-enabled technologies" -- in a field plagued with sampling bias problems, this is a dataset that aims to be diverse, representative and inclusive, and it's growing by the day (you can contribute your voice too!) -- the whole project is inspiring. (via Four Short Links) Read the rest

This is bad: the UAE's favorite sleazeball cybermercenaries have applied for permission to break Mozilla's web encryption

Remember Darkmatter, the UAE-based cybermercenaries who worked with the beltway bandit firm Cyberpoint to recruit ex-NSA spies to infiltrate and expose dissidents, journalists, even children who opposed the despotic regime in the Emirates? (Darkmatter is also one of the least-discriminating cybermercenary bands in the world, available to help torturers, murderers and thugs hang onto power by attacking opposition movements and letting the secret police know who to arrest, torture and kill). Read the rest

The Internet of Dongs remains a security dumpster-fire -- UPDATED

The Internet of Dongs is Brad Haines's term for the world of internet-connected, "teledildonic" sex toys, and Haines, along with Sarah Jamie Lewis, have exhaustively documented all the ways in which internet-connected sex toys can screw you, from leaking private data to physically attacking your junk. Read the rest

The next Firefox will block all autoplayed audio, video

There are plugins and obscure settings that will get this behavior, but, as the saying goes, "defaults matter": Firefox 66 will not play any audio or video until "a web page has had user interaction to initiate the audio." (via Four Short Links) Read the rest

Firefox is finally fixing its broken screenshot tool

Firefox's screenshot tool has a lot going for it, but after two days of trying to use it I gave up and went back to using Ksnapshot (now Spectacle) for the near-constant screenshotting I do, all day long: that's because when you hit "save" in Firefox's screenshot UI, it didn't save it to your hard-drive, rather, it uploaded it to a Mozilla server, which, in addition to being time-consuming and stupid, was also a potential huge privacy risk (if, for example, you were screenshotting a sensitive document to retain for later). Read the rest

Thunderbird team vows faster, easier-to-use, more stable versions in the year to come

In 2015, Mozilla announced that it would turn Thunderbird -- one of the last freestanding, cross-platform email clients -- into a freestanding, independent project, and in 2017, Thunderbird became a community-overseen project with institutional backing from Moz. Read the rest

Mozilla pulls a popular paywall circumvention tool from Firefox add-ons store

Bypass Paywalls is a popular extension for Firefox and Chrome that does what the name implies: allows your browser to manipulate its cookies so that websites with "soft paywalls" that allow a small number of free articles can't accurately determine if you've already exceeded your limit. Read the rest

"Privacy Not Included": Mozilla's guide to insecure, surveillant gadgets to avoid

"Privacy Not Included" is Mozilla's Christmas shopping (anti)-guide to toys and gadgets that spy on you and/or make stupid security blunders, rated by relative "creepiness," from the Nintendo Switch (a little creepy) to the Fredi Baby monitor (very creepy!). Read the rest

Firefox Monitor: get alerts if your data shows up in a breach

Firefox Monitor is a new service from Mozilla that draws on data from Have I Been Pwned? (previously) to keep you informed when your data is breached and shows up online. The service also includes important advice, including "Treat security questions like extra passwords" by creating "long, random answers." It's good advice: certainly, it's easier to put into practice than convincing your mother to travel back in time and change her "maiden name." Read the rest

Mozilla's Firefox & Apple's Safari browsers add anti-Facebook and Google privacy protections

Care about your data privacy? Here's a good reason to stop using the Google Chrome browser, and use Firefox or Safari instead on your desktop, laptop, and mobile devices. Read the rest

Meet the astounding Mozilla fellows for 2018

Mozilla's annual fellowships fund 10-12 months' of work by people who "put individuals in control of their personal data," "help connect the unconnected," "keep artificial intelligence accountable," and "make scientific research more open." This year's fellows are a particularly impressive lot. (via Four Short Links) Read the rest

Truthful security disclosures should always be legal. Period.

After a week of blockbuster security revelations from Defcon it's important to take a step back and address the ongoing battle by companies to seize a veto over who can reveal defects in their products. Read the rest

Mozilla announces $225,000 in grants for "artwork and advocacy exploring AI"

Kevin from Mozilla writes, "In a world where biased algorithms, skewed data sets, and broken recommendation engines can radicalize YouTube users, promote racism, and spread fake news, it’s more important than ever to support artwork and advocacy work that educates and engages internet users." Read the rest

At long last, open video formats are triumphing

Apple was the last major holdout on proprietary video codecs, the only major industry player that hadn't signed onto the Alliance for Open Media, home of the AV1 video format, a successor to On2's groundbreaking open formats of the early web years, which led to the company's acquisition by Google in 2010. Read the rest

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