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Posts tagged "privacy"

infoneer-pulse:

The mass-BitTorrent lawsuits that are sweeping the United States are in a heap of trouble. After a Florida judge ruled that an IP-address is not a person, a Californian colleague has gone even further in protecting the First Amendment rights of BitTorrent users. The judge in question points out that geolocation tools are far from accurate and that it’s therefore uncertain that his court has jurisdiction over cases involving alleged BitTorrent pirates. As a result, 15 of these mass-BitTorrent lawsuits were dismissed.

» via TorrentFreak

fuckyeahfeminists:

Just got this in an email

Apple wants to control the camera on your phone.

The maker of the iPhone wants to patent a sensor that would detect when people are using their phone cameras to do things like film concerts — and give corporations the power to shut them down.1

You think that’s bad? Imagine what would happen if this tool fell into the hands of repressive regimes. Thousands of people across the Middle East have used cellphone cameras to document violent government abuses. This kind of technology would give tyrants the power to stem the flow of videos and crack down on protesters with impunity.

Sign our letter to Steve Jobs: Demand that Apple stop developing technology that harms democracy and free speech.

Apple says this new technology was designed to stop concertgoers from taking unofficial video at live events. But you can bet that governments and corporations will take full advantage of it in other more dangerous ways – to silence the voices of protesters, political opponents or anyone else they dislike.

As Apple CEO Steve Jobs obviously knows, smartphones have become extensions of ourselves. They are incredibly powerful tools for communication, education, political expression, community organizing and just plain fun.

Tell Steve Jobs that WE control our phones: Neither Apple nor anybody else can dictate what we photograph and film with them.

Earlier this year, researchers discovered that iPhones recorded your every move for the past year in a hidden but unprotected file.2 The public was outraged, and Apple soon announced that it was updating its software to better protect users.

We must call out against Apple once again. This new camera blocking technology is a pre-emptive strike against free speech. If activated, it would be immensely harmful to our rights to connect and communicate.

Please take action now to urge Steve Jobs to pull the plug on this censorship technology.

Thanks,
Josh Levy
Online Campaign Manager
Free Press
www.freepress.net

1. “Now Apple wants to block iPhone users from filming live events with their smartphone,” Daily Mail, June 16, 2011: http://act2.freepress.net/go/4625?akid=2589.9845429.9NZzoK&t=6

2. “Got an iPhone or 3G iPad? Apple is recording your moves,” O’Reilly Radar, April 20, 2011: http://act2.freepress.net/go/4627?akid=2589.9845429.9NZzoK&t=8

well damn this is nothing short of fucking scary.

(via IT World)

by dan tynan

February 18, 2011, 01:10 PM —

On our last episode of Thank You For Not Sharing, I spoke with Ben de Vries, wrongfully accused by HBGary security wonk Aaron Barr of being the mysterious and elusive Commander X, alleged puppet-master behind the Anonymous collective.

 

(And if you’re not up to speed on the ongoing saga of HBGary and Anonymous, read this, this, and this. I’ll wait.)

It turns out Commander X is not that elusive, though he’s still somewhat mysterious. Because – unlike Aaron Barr — I just enjoyed a long and fascinating chat with him. 

[ See also: That new Facebook friend might just be a spy ]

Far from being a leader of the Anons, Commander X says he’s a “peon” in the organization, though he also says has the ear of the older members who are trying to keep the young’uns in check. But he is one of the co-founders of the People’s Liberation Front, a “cyber militia” formed in 1985 (“during a hella LSD party”) that’s working with AnonOps to disrupt communications in Iran and Bahrain, just as they did in Tunisia and Egypt.

AnonOps Iran

I got to chat with the Commander as he was coordinating DDOS attacks on the Web sites for the Iranian government. There are many things he declined to divulge – like the PLF’s source of funding, and the true nature of Anonymous’ relationship to WikiLeaks – but he was remarkably candid in other ways. Here’s an edited version of that conversation.

The popular impression is that Anonymous grew out of 4chan and is dominated by a younger participants — late teens and early 20s. But it’s clear you’re at least 40 years old. So is the popular impression wrong?

I didn’t say that. The PLF uses WikiLeaks to “leak” info on tyrants that we “find”.

I’d like to switch to a few questions about HBGary, if that’s alright. Have you ever had any contact with Aaron Barr or anyone else from HBGary?

Aaron Barr knows better than to contact me. Trust me, he is losing sleep waiting for what comes next. His life is basically destroyed now. And he deserves it. As for what else I could do to Mr. Barr, that is for me to delight in and him to lose sleep over.

Did you have any involvement in the hack that exposed all those emails?

Actually, no. I was contacted by Anon Ops the moment they had perused his “report” to let me know the PLF and myself figured prominently. The HBGary attack was done by Anonymous. As for who? Confidential.

One of the stories floating about after the hack is that HBGary had decompiled code for Stuxnet, and now that’s in the hands of the Anons. Any truth to that?

Absolutely none. Anonymous does NOT create viruses or other malicious code. Ever. It’s one of the guiding principles and it is never broken.

So if the PLF had access  to Stuxnet, you wouldn’t use it against an evil dictatorship?

We have different rules, that’s all I can say. We have a bit more flexibility in those areas with the choices we can make. But IF we did something like that it would be a completely Black Op and no one would ever know of it.

Have you ever been contacted by US law enforcement as a result of your activities with PLF or Anon?

Contacted? Yeah they send me Xmas cards. LOL.

I have been in FBI custody for my “unlawful activities,” and I have had computers and other communications devices confiscated, or stolen as I see it.

So they know who you are?

I didn’t say that. They have not made a connection between Commander X and any one of the 40 people they have f***ed with. They are trying though.

You’ve said “I don’t want to be famous I want to be free. Not hunted like an animal or stalked like a criminal.” Do you feel hunted and stalked?

F*** wouldn’t you?

Yes. So why do it?

Because I live to protect the innocent and defenseless. Because it’s the right thing to do and someone has to do it. Because it’s fun kicking the ass of tyrants and human rights violators. Because it’s who I am.

ITworld TY4NS blogger Dan Tynan wishes he had his own action figure. Experience his less serious side at eSarcasm (Geek Humor Gone Wild) or follow him on Twitter:@tynan_on_tech.

(via ACLU at DailyKos)

By Christopher Calabrese, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office

The new model of Internet advertising scares the heck out of us.  It’s called behavioral targeting. What that amounts to, in a nutshell, is following you around the web from site to site recording your movements and using that record to sell you personalized ads. All those ads that pop up on the side of articles on your favorite websites like ESPN.com or NYTimes.com are often not provided by those sites, they are from third parties that you’ve never heard of, with names like Lotame Solutions Inc.  Using a variety of techniques, those companies are tracking where you go throughout the web.

Some advertisers like this because they can charge a premium for this personalization. For example, when someone visits an automotive website, knowing his or her income level allows the advertiser will know whether to highlight a Subaru or a Range Rover.  According to one online advertising CEO’s statement “[m]oving from site-targeting to people-targeting is the central dynamic of the industry”. But the inevitable byproduct of all of this tracking is the creation of an extremely detailed profile on all of us — what we read, what we do and where we go online. And this information is not anonymous. Using clues — from pages we log into or visits to our profiles on social networking sites — we reveal our identity.

Worst of all, these online profiles do not stay with the advertisers. They are merged with “offline content,” namely the information that advertisers, background check companies and data aggregators have been collecting on us for years. All of these companies have contracts with employers and the government. One company boasts it’s “the silent partner to municipal, county, state, and federal justice agencies who access our databases every day to locate subjects, develop background information, secure information from a cellular or unlisted number, and much more.”

To boil it down: private companies are tracking all our movements online, selling that information to other companies who in turn share it with law enforcement and the government.

Wow.

As this practice spreads, the chilling effect on our First and Fourth Amendment rights will be immense.

So what do we do about it?  We have to break this new surveillance model at the source — with the advertisers who are collecting all this information. One of the best ways to do that is to give everyone a universal way to opt-out of tracking, specifically a “Do Not Track” list. Modeled on the popular “Do Not Call” registry, people would visit a central site overseen by the government where they could register their desire not to have their online movements tracked. While a number of technical details have to be worked out, such a mechanism represents the best way to short-circuit this new type of private spying before it can forever alter the Internet and our freedoms.

To learn more, read the ACLU’s comments to the administration on how it can better protect online privacy. A good start would be an update to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA): Tell Congress you demand a privacy upgrade!