Online Privacy

Online Privacy

Washington DC's Public Library Will Teach People How to Avoid the NSA

%u200BLater this month, the Washington DC Public Library will teach residents how to use the internet anonymization tool Tor as part of a 10 day series designed to shed light on government surveillance, transparency, and personal privacy.

http://motherboard.vice.com/read/washington-dcs-public-library-will-teach-people-how-to-avoi...

Someone's Reading that ebook Along with You, Could Be the NSA

Via ars Technica : Adobe's ebook reader sends your reading logs back to Adobe in plain Text. Doesn't this go against a basic rule of librarianship?

How Ninja Librarians are Ensuring Patrons' Electronic Privacy

Librarians in Massachusetts are working to give their patrons a chance to opt-out of pervasive surveillance. Partnering with the ACLU of Massachusetts, area librarians have been teaching and taking workshops on how freedom of speech and the right to privacy are compromised by the surveillance of online and digital communications -- and what new privacy-protecting services they can offer patrons to shield them from unwanted spying of their library activity.

Library Patrons Are At Risk

One of the authors of this Boing Boing article, Alison Macrina, is an IT librarian at the Watertown Free Public Library in Massachusetts, a member of Boston's Radical Reference Collective, and an organizer working to bring privacy rights workshops to libraries throughout the northeast. Librarians know that patrons visit libraries for all kinds of online research needs, and therefore have a unique responsibility in helping keep that information safe. It's not just researchers who suffer; our collective memory, culture, and future are harmed when writers and researchers stop short of pursuing intellectual inquiry.

In addition to installing a number of privacy-protecting tools on public PCs at the Watertown library, Alison has been teaching patron computer classes about online privacy and organized a series of workshops for Massachusetts librarians to get up to speed on the ins and outs of digital surveillance.

Unwitting AddThis Experiment With Tracking Technology That Is Difficult To Block

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140721/14523127960/tons-sites-including-whitehousegov-ex...
ProPublica has a new story about the rise of "canvas fingerprinting," a new method of tracking users without using cookies. It's a method that is apparently quite difficult to block if you're using anything other than Tor Browser. In short, canvas fingerprinting works by sending some instructions to your browser to draw a hidden image -- but does so in a manner making use of some of the unique features of your computer, such that each resulting image is likely to be unique (or nearly unique). The key issue here is that the popular "social sharing" company AddThis, which many sites (note: not ours) use to add "social" buttons to their website, had been experimenting with canvas fingerprinting to identify users even if they don't use cookies. As ProPublica's Julia Angwin notes, it's very difficult to block this kind of thing -- and tons of sites make use of AddThis -- including WhiteHouse.gov (whose privacy policy does not seem to reveal this, saying it only uses Google Analytics as a third party provider).

Opting Out Is Nearly Impossible

http://time.com/83200/privacy-internet-big-data-opt-out/

The myth that users will “vote with their feet” is simply wrong if opting out comes at such a high price. With social, financial and even potentially legal repercussions involved, the barriers for exit are high. This leaves users and consumers with no real choice nor voice to express our concerns.

People Battle to Regain Online Privacy

Internet Users Tap Tech Tools That Protect Them From Prying Eyes
But all of these privacy products come with trade-offs. Blocking social-network posts or contact information from showing up on a Google search might protect people's privacy, but it could also mean old friends they'd like to hear from might not be able to track them down either. Deleting cookies means people may miss out on some targeted deals or services from companies that rely on the tracking files. Using secret or encrypted messaging services means people are limiting themselves to conversations with other people who use the same services.

U.S. needs to add student online privacy rules

U.S. needs to add student online privacy rules

As more of our children's education moves online, there are increased opportunities for abusing the collection of their personal data. Last month, state Senate leader Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) introduced a bill that would help close a loophole in federal regulations — at least in California — in an effort to safeguard personal information of public school students. The potential privacy violations could be significant, and it makes sense for the Legislature to act now.

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-school-software-privacy-20140305,0,685322.story

Facebook made my teenager into an ad. What parent would ever 'like' that?

I’ll get right to the worst part. The settlement authorizes Facebook, with the blessing of the court, to continue doing what California and six other states specifically prohibit by law: using children’s images to make money without asking their parents first. (The other states are Florida, New York, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin.)

With the support of privacy, consumer-rights and children’s-rights nonprofits, I and several other parents urged the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to throw out the settlement this week – because Facebook can’t buy our children, and it can’t sell them either.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/feb/15/facebook-advertising-opt-in-privacy-issues

You don’t want your privacy: Disney and the meat space data race

http://gigaom.com/2014/01/18/you-dont-want-your-privacy-disney-and-the-meat-space-data-race/

We’re all wringing our hands over the NSA, and meanwhile we’re handing our data as fast as we can to other entities for next to nothing. If the NSA were smart, it would buy Candy Crush Saga, change the permissions, and be done with it.

If we’re honest, we give privacy lip service, but we vote with our keypresses and our dollars, and the bands we strap to our wrists.

Expect your future meat space world to feel very much like your cyber space one. The next time your RFID tag lets Mickey know you’ve got diarrhea, maybe the stall door can make suggestions to you: “Customers who got funnel cake diarrhea also bought Maalox.”

[Thanks Elaine!]

Online Privacy: We Are The Authors Of Our Own Demise

Online Privacy: We Are The Authors Of Our Own Demise...
Lost in the furor over government spying on its citizens is an inconvenient truth: personal data is the new currency of the 21st century, and until we rein in our desire to spend it we can't really stop others' desires to spy on it.

What Surveillance Valley knows about you

What Surveillance Valley knows about you
http://pando.com/2013/12/22/a-peek-into-surveillance-valley/
This isn’t news to companies like Google, which last year warned shareholders: “Privacy concerns relating to our technology could damage our reputation and deter current and potential users from using our products and services.”

Little wonder then that Google, and the rest of Surveillance Valley, is terrified that the conversation about surveillance could soon broaden to include not only government espionage, but for-profit spying as well.

The Best Essay On Privacy You'll Read Today

Privacy And Why It Really Matters
https://markopolojarvi.com/privacy.html
"As much as privacy is about one's ability to control what others know about one, it's also about protecting the freedom of the modern democratic society.

The processes that make our democratic and free society possible are built on transparent and fair decision-making. If you strip out transparency you end up with totalitarianism. The current practice of harvesting and analysing individual's private and public data jeopardises the whole system of fair decision-making."

Searching Google For Pressure Cookers and Backpacks Leads To A Visit From Federal Agents

I'll put this in the "It's on the internet so it's true" category, but assuming it IS true.... wow:

pressure cookers, backpacks and quinoa, oh my!:

"It was a confluence of magnificent proportions that led six agents from the joint terrorism task force to knock on my door Wednesday morning. Little did we know our seemingly innocent, if curious to a fault, Googling of certain things was creating a perfect storm of terrorism profiling. Because somewhere out there, someone was watching. Someone whose job it is to piece together the things people do on the internet raised the red flag when they saw our search history."

[Update a few hours later] Unsurprisingly there's more to the story: Updates At The Atlantic Wire.

[And a few hours later another update] Employer Tipped Off Police To Pressure Cooker And Backpack Searches, Not Google

NSA tool collects 'nearly everything a user does on the internet'

The NSA Has Some Really Cool Tools:
• XKeyscore gives 'widest-reaching' collection of online data
• NSA analysts require no prior authorization for searches
• Sweeps up emails, social media activity and browsing history

Google's Data-Trove Dance

Internal Debates Arise Over Using Collected Information and Protecting Privacy.
After much wrangling and many attempts to build the "slider" tool, whose three main settings were nicknamed "kitten," "cat" and "tiger," the idea was abandoned last year, according to people familiar with the matter. Because Google has so many Web services that operate differently, executives found it impossible to reduce privacy controls to so few categories, these people said. Also, allowing people to select the maximum-protection setting, known as the "tin-foil-hat option," went against Google's newer efforts to get more people to share information about themselves on the Google+ social-networking service, they said.

Obscurity: A Better Way to Think About Your Data Than 'Privacy'

Woodrow Hartzog and Evan Selinger:

Obscurity is the idea that when information is hard to obtain or understand, it is, to some degree, safe. Safety,here, doesn't mean inaccessible. Competent and determined data hunters armed with the right tools can always find a way to get it. Less committed folks, however, experience great effort as a deterrent.

Online, obscurity is created through a combination of factors. Being invisible to search engines increases obscurity. So does using privacy settings and pseudonyms. Disclosing information in coded ways that only a limited audience will grasp enhances obscurity, too.

Facebook private status updates made public by Storify

Pippert concludes, “It might ultimately be a human problem to solve: capture content from others mindfully and use it thoughtfully, with good communication. Let others know you’re using the content and make sure you are clear to friends your preference about your content being redistributed.”

This is yet another reminder that anything you say anywhere on the web, private or not, is always subject to being shared via third party apps, screenshots, or good old fashioned copy and paste, so never say something online that you wouldn’t say in public, because there really is no such thing as privacy, which is sad and unacceptable, but true.

3 Big Privacy Issues Of 2013 - And What You Can Do About Them

Facebook can still track users through its "Like" function. And Web surfers' online data can still be used by law enforcement and "market research" for the employment, credit, healthcare and insurance industries. And let's not even get into denial of service attacks and cybersecurity...

That said, here are three major privacy issues that everyone should pay attention to in 2013:

1.Transparency
2.Data sharing
3.Dodgy QR codes

Microsoft STALKS YOU even more than supermarkets do

The developers behind ad-tracking browser plug-in Ghostery said they'd logged 137 different trackers on the Microsoft website and 107 on Apple's site, while they logged 66 on Samsung's site and 65 on HP's. Dell has 106. All of these tech sites make greater use of trackers associated with behavioural advertising than specialist retail sites such as Tesco (64), John Lewis (46) and Dabs (12).

E-Reader Privacy Chart, 2012 Edition

Who's Tracking Your Reading Habits? An E-Book Buyer's Guide to Privacy, 2012 Edition
See the chart here

The holiday shopping season is upon us, and once again e-book readers promise to be a very popular gift. Last year's holiday season saw ownership of a dedicated e-reader device spike to nearly 1 in 5 Americans, and that number is poised to go even higher. But if you're in the market for an e-reader this year, or for e-books to read on one that you already own, you might want to know who's keeping an eye on your searching, shopping, and reading habits.

Unfortunately, unpacking the tracking and data-sharing practices of different e-reader platforms is far from simple. It can require reading through stacked license agreements and privacy policies for devices, software platforms, and e-book stores. That in turn can mean reading thousands of words of legalese before you read the first line of a new book.

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