New Internet-Privacy Bill to address Ad Tracking or Online-Data Collection

digital-ad industry says that if it passes it could mean ‘Facebook won’t be free’

Tennessee Congresswoman Martha Blackburn says she wants to give consumers control of their internet experience.

She’s introduced a bill — the “BROWSER Act” — that would require internet users to actively opt in to say yes to any sort of ad tracking or online-data collection.

“Facebook won’t be free,” said Scott Howe, CEO of the data company Acxiom. Acxiom collects consumer data on millions of Americans — where they live and the kinds of things they shop for — that marketers and media companies use to target consumers and deliver more-relevant ads. So it’s looking out for any legislation in this realm closely.
Continue reading New Internet-Privacy Bill to address Ad Tracking or Online-Data Collection

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Bringing down the Net?

Security expert Bruce Schneier recently talked about how someone is learning how to take down the internet. We have seen lots of companies talk about attacks on their infrastructure, breaches, hacking and stealing accounts, etc. As per the companies, it seems name of the attacks are made out to seem like probing for ways to get into networks and do harm.

It reminds me of the US’s Cold War program of flying high-altitude planes over the Soviet Union to force their air-defense systems to turn on, to map their capabilities.
– Bruce Schneier

Continue reading Bringing down the Net?

Researchers find over 100 spying Tor nodes

Researchers find over 100 spying Tor nodes that attempt to compromise darknet sites

When it comes to accessing public websites, Tor has an intrinsic security problem: though the nodes between your computer and the public internet are unable to see where the traffic is coming from or going to, the final hop in the network (known as an exit node) gets to know what webserver you are connecting to. Continue reading Researchers find over 100 spying Tor nodes

How to Encrypt an Android Device

Privacy, Security; two words that you hear a lot these days after the Snowden Incidents and with all the Govt snooping, corporate data mining and all those data leaks like Target and Home Depot. More than ever, protecting your data and privacy should be a top priority to each and every one of us. With new tactics being employed all the time, we have to keep up with the game and encrypting your devices is one way to do just that.

What is Encryption

TechTarget has an awesome article on this.

Encryption is the conversion of electronic data into another form, called ciphertext, which cannot be easily understood by anyone except authorized parties. The word encryption comes from the Greek word kryptos, meaning hidden or secret. The use of encryption is nearly as old as the art of communication itself. As early as 1900 BC, an Egyptian scribe used non-standard hieroglyphs to hide the meaning of an inscription. In a time when most people couldn’t read, simply writing a message was often enough, but encryption schemes soon developed to convert messages into unreadable groups of figures to protect the message’s secrecy while it was carried from one place to another. The contents of a message were reordered (transposition) or replaced (substitution) with other characters, symbols, numbers or pictures in order to conceal its meaning.

Why Encrypt your phone

As described above, encryption scrambles all data on your phone in an unreadable format so if you loose your phone your data will remain secure. The basics of how this works is that at boot time you will have to enter a password or pin to unscramble (un-encrypt) your phone. If someone does not know your password or pin they cannot access your device nor data. An attacker won’t be able to access the data without the encryption key. with that in mind; if someone really wanted access to your data, they could employ the freezer attack. This basically employs freezing your device’s ram so it takes longer for the encryption key to be erased from RAM. 

If you recall Snowden made light of a little project called Prism, where Verizon and the Govt were working together to allow data mining. That is, they have been going through the call records of Verizon’s approximately 99 million users looking for, well, anything! and if you think that Verizon is the only place this has been happening then I got bad news for you. 

 Some recent legal rulings have suggested that encryption can protect against warantless searches. The California Supreme Court has ruled that police officers can lawfully search your cell phone without a warrant if it’s taken from you during arrest – but they would require a warrant if it was encrypted. A Canadian court has also ruled that phones can be searched without a warrant as long as they’re unencrypted. You may want to do your own searches to better understand these legal items or contact your attorney if you have one.

How do I encrypt my Android

You should have at least a pin, password or swipe pattern or even face or voice recognition setup right? If you are using any lock screen widgets, disable them ASAP; they can disclose your location and other sensitive information about you.

Before we continue

Some forewarning before we proceed.

  • Encrypting will cause your device to work a bit slower, not by too much tho. However, depending on your actual device it may be noticeable. Most newer devices shouldn’t make that much difference.
  • Encryption is one-way so if you loose your key or would like to go back to using a non-encrypted device then you will have to wipe your phone and restore to factory settings.

The encryption process should take about an hour or more depending on how much data is on your device. So, let’s start:

  • Go to Settings
  • Click Security
  • From the options, choose Encrypt Device or Encrypt Phone
    • Note that in the Security settings screen you can also choose to encrypt an SD card.
  • Enter your password (must be at least 6 characters with 1 number)

You’ll see a progress indicator appear. After it’s done, your device’s storage will be encrypted. You’ll have to enter the PIN or password each time you boot your phone or its storage will be unreadable, so don’t forget the password! Android uses dm-crypt, which is the standard disk encryption system in the Linux kernel. It’s the same technology used by a variety of Linux distributions.

That’s it, go enjoy your newly encrypted and secured Android phone.

Richard Stallman discusses Copyright at UofC

Richard Stallman lecturing about copyright at University of Calgary on 2009-02-03. Free/Libre formats & raw footage can be found here, as per Stallman’s request. (Transcode-SR1 contains wireless mic audio.)

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The singularity – Will it Happen?

What is the singularity?

I honestly was not aware of this topic so I set out to do some research to open my mind and man was my mind blown. Basically what I understand is that the singularity is a point in time when technology will surpass human intelligence and humans will start to become the minority in intelligence.

Vernor Vinge introduced the term Technological Singularity in his science fiction novel Marooned in Realtime(1986) and later developed the concept in his essay the Coming Technological Singularity (1993). His definition of Singularity is widely known as the event horizon thesis and in essence says that trans or post-human minds will imply a weirder future than we can imagine:

“Within thirty years, we will have the technological means to create superhuman intelligence. Shortly after, the human era will be ended. […] I think it’s fair to call this event a singularity. It is a point where our models must be discarded and a new reality rules. As we move closer and closer to this point, it will loom vaster and vaster over human affairs till the notion becomes a commonplace. Yet when it finally happens it may still be a great surprise and a greater unknown.” (1)

Continue reading The singularity – Will it Happen?

How to encrypt your Android Device

WARNING:

  • Once Encrypted you CANNOT go back to unencrypted status.
  • You may also notice a slight performance hit as your device will be using extra resources to encrypt and decrypt your data as needed.
  • If you interrupt the process you WILL lose some or all of the data on your device so let it finish before doing anything.

Basically, encrypting you device scrambles up all your files on your device and makes them unreadable unless you unlock your device with your password or pin; without these your device is unusable and your data is fully locked from anyone.

Some recent legal rulings have suggested that encryption can protect against warrantless searches. The California Supreme Court has ruled that police officers can lawfully search your cell phone without a warrant if it’s taken from you during arrest – but they would require a warrant if it was encrypted. A Canadian court has also ruled that phones can be searched without a warrant as long as they’re unencrypted.

Continue reading How to encrypt your Android Device