Posts categorized "PRIVACY" Feed

Another Day, Another New Threat to Internet Privacy ~ 'Pacific Standard'

from article

The constant, buried & insidious corruption of an individual's privacy will be our doom. We rank it right up there with mismanagement of our earth's resources. 

It can seem, on days when I stop and contemplate the depth of companies' greed, that there is a substantial reason for despair for the future of both the individual and 'society' that I mark with quotes because the word does not apply in any sense that we recognise from one day to the next.

Be prepared to be alarmed about this article's content.

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what is happening to the U.S.P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act

2015_P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act changes
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Let me begin by clarifying something we all seem to have forgotten - or perhaps never knew.  The "Patriot Act" is accurately called the following: the US PATRIOT ACT which is a cleverly if contorted distillation of the following: Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act.

What bent, cynical staffer thought that one up?

To get to the point the correctly referenced U.S.P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act is being amended. Here's the scoop from in its entirety, which begins like this:

"You might have heard in the news that “the Patriot Act is expiring.” This isn’t technically true. The Patriot Act, as a whole, is still in effect. There are a lot of parts that are not controversial (or at least, not as controversial) and they will remain in place. However, certain provisions that give the NSA authority to spy on both Americans and foreigners were set to expire. At midnight on Monday, that finally happened. They’re probably going to return, but one thing at a time. Here’s what the provisions in question entail:

  • Section 215: Bulk metadata collection: 
  • Unidentified roving wiretaps: 
  • Lone wolf warrants: 

All of these provisions (as well as many others) have been set to expire multiple times over the last decade, but Congress and the President(s) have ultimately decided to extend the programs repeatedly until now. While some in Congress have tried to prevent reauthorization or tweak the law, all those attempts have failed. This time around, for the first time Congress has allowed the above provisions to expire, which means the opposition is getting somewhere. They’ll likely be back, but with a few key limitations.

Those limitations came in the form of the USA FREEDOM Act, a bill with an acronym so silly it sounds like Marvel made it up.(my emphasis - they've done it again!) In its current form, the bill makes some important changes to the Patriot Act, but most privacy groups such as the EFF and the ACLU don’t think it’s enough."

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"Information Doesn't Want to Be Free"...but people do. Cory Doctorow-6June'15-NYC

CoryD CC
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From his web site

Cory ... is a science fiction author, activist, journalist and blogger — the co-editor of Boing Boing ( and the author of many book, most recently IN REAL LIFE, a graphic novel; INFORMATION DOESN’T WANT TO BE FREE, a book about earning a living in the Internet age, and HOMELAND, the award-winning, best-selling sequel to the 2008 YA novel LITTLE BROTHER.

screen shot from NYAM

Cory has the capacity to distill the issues of privacy and human rights to a space in your head that immediately stores it and takes it away for further use. We loved his play in Chicago - "Little Brother"; difficult but necessary information. Without it we will surely lose our way.

He is speaking about INFORMATION DOESN’T WANT TO BE FREE, a business book (he wrote) about creativity in the Internet age (2014).

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Privacy Matters - short short

From The Office of the Privacy Commissioner, New Zealand on YouTube:  

Published on May 3, 2015.

Information is changing the way we live.

Every day brings new demands from government and business for access to your information.


Surv cam
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Privacy. Giving it away. What that means.

ThermostatAll your (electronically) recorded information is up for grabs, making you (and your information) accessible to organizations you’ve never even heard of (and never will!).PhoneApps

Companies and governments realise that your electronic devices - mobile devices, lap tops, home appliances with links to the internet and even implanted biometric devices are "powerful data collection tools." 

ArBioscanEye-colpncle you a victim or a willing participant in sharing of information about your life?

Have a look at this short, clearly written article to learn more about things you probably don't want to know about but must ...3 Ways Technology Can Be Used To Limit Your Privacy & Freedoms, By Rick Delgado on 5th March, 2015 - on the makeuseof site

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FCC's Tom Wheeler backs "free and open Internet"

WheelerQuotePart14 Million comments on social media to the FCC led to this: WheelerSaveTheInternetScreenShot Obama netneut






Obama urges FCC support net neutrality, "the internet is an essential part of everyday life." Treat it as "a utility."

Here's the latest post from Democracy Now: (click arrow to play vid)



The FCC "Federal Communications Commission has unveiled what he calls "the strongest open internet protections ever proposed by the [agency]." Tom Wheeler backed the regulation of Internet service like a public utility in order to uphold net neutrality, the principle of a free and open Internet. The new rules would prevent Internet service providers like Comcast from blocking access to websites, slowing down content, or providing paid fast lanes for Internet service. It would also extend such protections to Internet service on cell phones and tablets. The proposal comes after the FCC received a record-setting number of public comments — nearly four million, almost all in support of strong protections. President Obama also released public statements in support of Internet protections. The FCC will vote on the plan February 26, ahead of an influx of lobbying by the telecom industry, which has also threatened to sue if the measure passes."



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Internet of Things Privacy Index-79% of consumers concerned about personal data

79% of consumers are concerned

about the idea of their personal data

being collected through smart devices

2015_01_28_ScrnSht_IoT summit

Here are some detailed findings from 2015 U.S. Internet of Things Privacy Index:

“…research found that 79% of consumers are concerned about the idea of their personal data being collected through smart devices, while 69% believed they should own any such data being collected.

More than 1 in 4 (27%) mentioned concerns about the security or privacy of the data collected as a reason why they did not currently own a smart device.

When asked how concerned they were about specific privacy and security issues that smart devices connected to the internet can lead to, consumers showed strong concerns over the use and control of their personal data

  • with the highest concern being personal information collected and used in ways they were unaware (87%)
  • followed by identity theft (86%),
  • the concern that their device would be infected by malware (86%) and
  • concern that their location might be revealed without their knowledge (78%).

To address the privacy concerns of the IoT era, TRUSTe held the first Internet of Things Privacy Summit in Silicon Valley last July, which provided a forum for privacy experts, policy makers and innovators around the world to come together and define the privacy needs of the increasingly connected world. In response to the success of the event, TRUSTe will host the 2nd annual IoT Privacy Summit on June 18, 2015 at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California.

2015_01_28_ScrnSht_IoT summit venueIoT industry experts and privacy leaders who are interested in speaking at or sponsoring the summit should go to for further details.”

for more:Press

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there is no free anything ... ever

We aren't pleased that our warnings to our colleagues, friends and family are proving accurate.

The truth about 'free apps' for your Smart Phone has hit mainstream media and the news isn't pretty.

IPhone SamsungInformation is being harvested from mobile phones... information and money, out of bank accounts, all approved automatically because users are giving permission to access bank accounts and credit cards. We'd like to say that these people are victims and unsuspecting but more accurately one would have to say that they are willingly ignorant of warnings that have been common knowledge in a large chunk of web-time.

This willingness to guard our private information on our home computers whilst completely pretending that security isn't an issue on our mobile phones is inexplicable and perhaps lays somewhere in the area of cognitive dissidence.

Whatever the reasons, we have to sit up and take note. Our information is being mixed up with that of our places of business, compromising our and our employers' privacy, this information is a commodity. It is used legally (because we give them permission) by the app developers and of course, illegally by those people who will always be with us, stealing whatever and whenever, to make money at all costs.

This article - "As Facebook changes Messenger, 'risky' app behavior on the rise. A new report out says that the risks associated with mobile apps is continuing to rise, particularly for free apps on the iOS and Android platforms." by Jacob Axelrod, Staff Writer, The Christian Science Monitor, August 11, 2014, succinctly describes further the ways people are finally waking up to this theft of and permission to use, our private data.

We are particularly interested in the reports that parents are finally paying attention to privacy now that charges are arriving on their credit card bills from 'purchases' made by their children when they downloaded apps. If only we could understand more about about privacy because it IS an issue and not just because it hits us in the bank account.

Here's one of the links in the CSM article that is worth a look if you haven't the time to read the whole article now.

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Privacy by Design: ensuring privacy, gaining personal control over your information

Today more than 300 committed citizens of the world are working to help you control your private and personal information. They are all global Ambassadors for PRIVACY by DESIGN. (PbD)

The "PbD framework" for the "unanimously (adopted)... resolution by International Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners in Jerusalem at their annual conference in 2010 ensures that privacy is embedded into new technologies and business practices, right from the outset – as an 'essential component of fundamental privacy protection'.”

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Privacy by Design is a concept that was developed by Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commissioner, Dr. Ann Cavoukian, back in the 90’s, to address the ever-growing and systemic effects of Information and Communication Technologies, and of large–scale networked data systems.

"At the time, (when PbD was started) the notion of embedding privacy into the design of technology was far less popular – taking a strong regulatory stance was the preferred course of action. Since then, things have changed considerably and the Privacy by Design approach is now enjoying widespread popularity.

Privacy by Design advances the view that the future of privacy cannot be assured solely by compliance with legislation and regulatory frameworks; rather, privacy assurance must ideally become an organization’s default mode of operation.

Initially, deploying Privacy–Enhancing Technologies (PETs) was seen as the solution. Today, we understand that a more substantial approach is required – extending the use of PETs to taking a positive–sum, not a zero-sum, approach."

More: The Origins of Privacy by Design

Quoting directly from their site:

Privacy by Design does not wait for privacy risks to materialize, nor does it offer remedies for resolving privacy infractions once they have occurred – it aims to prevent them from occurring. In short, Privacy by Design comes before-the-fact, not after.

PdD (ensures that) privacy and gaining personal control over one’s information and, for organizations, gaining a sustainable competitive advantage — may be accomplished by practicing the 7 Foundational Principles.

Proactive not Reactive; Preventative not Remedial

Privacy as the Default Setting

Privacy Embedded into Design

Full Functionality – Positive-Sum, not Zero-Sum

End-to-End Security – Full Lifecycle Protection

Visibility and Transparency – Keep it Open

Respect for User Privacy – Keep it User-Centric


We are honoured and proud to announce that with Robert's acceptance at PbD,PLAN22 has just become a member Ambassador.

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PbD keeps up to date with international Privacy Precedents.

"Increasingly, courts in Canada and the U.S. are deciding vital issues related to law enforcement, technology, and our right to privacy. In an effort to counter any impression that privacy is somehow dead or dying in this area, we will be pointing you to the latest privacy-protective decisions that caught our eye. You are invited to actively participate. Please submit any judicial decisions you see to to be considered for the site."

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Canada's top court upholds users' privacy

Good news America - there is sanity in the North.

Internet providers in Canada can't provide customer names and addresses to police without a warrant. 2014_13June_CanSuprCrtPrivDecis

The Canadian Conservative Government must rewrite it's proposed bill to limit our right to privacy on the net.

Link to the following excerpt: article here.

"Canadians have the right to be anonymous on the internet, and police must obtain a warrant to uncover their identities, Canada's top court has ruled.

The landmark decision from the Supreme Court Friday bars internet service providers from disclosing the names, addresses and phone numbers of their customers to law enforcement officials voluntarily in response to a simple request — something ISPs have been doing hundreds of thousands of times a year."

The decision has law enforcement people scrambling to ensure that there are lawful ways to track those who prey on victims of internet crime.





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Hardcore privacy & DuckDuckGo

Co.LABSCheck out this article at by John Paul Titlow, the Associate Editor for Fast Company's FastCoLabs

I've lifted some points out of the article to pique your interest...


When Gabriel Weinberg launched a search engine in 2008, plenty of people thought he was insane. How could DuckDuckGo, a tiny, Philadelphia-based startup, go up against Google? One way, he wagered, was by respecting user privacy. Six years later, we're living in the post-Snowden era, and the idea doesn't seem so crazy.

In fact, DuckDuckGo is exploding

In 2008, launching a search engine seemed like a crazy idea. Here's how Gabriel Weinberg proved the critics wrong. 

But t DuckDuckFastCohings didn't start out that way. Weinberg, who says he has "always been a privacy-minded person," wasn't particularly concerned with search privacy issues when he first started building the service. In fact, he knew very little about the matter at all. Then early users started asking questions.

When you do a search from DuckDuckGo's website or one of its mobile apps, it doesn't know who you are. There are no user accounts. Your IP address isn't logged by default. The site doesn't use search cookies to keep track of what you do over time or where else you go online. It doesn't save your search history. When you click on a link in DuckDuckGo's results, those websites won't see which search terms you used. The company even has its own Tor exit relay, allowing Tor users to search DuckDuckGo with less of a performance lag.

Simply put, they're hardcore about privacy.

Like any company with a mostly remote team, DuckDuckGo experiments with all the latest online collaboration tools.

Skype. Yammer. HipChat. Asana. "We've tried everything that we know of," says Pappis.

Lately, they've been toying with Sqwiggle, an online collaboration tool that uses persistent video and periodic screenshots to let coworkers see each other--or know who's away from their desk."

We are early users of The Duck, won't leave home without it. Give it a try, you'll be pleased (and secure) that you did.

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Understand the privacy risks associated with public access computing

Choose privacyThis is Choose Privacy Week.

So many of us are completely unaware of the easy-to-use strategies that will help  guard our personal information from theft or inadvertent disclosure.

A new tip sheet, from ALA -" Public Computers and Wi-Fi Privacy, helps individuals understand the privacy risks associated with public access computing and outlines how they can protect their privacy while using public computers and public networks.  The tip sheet is available here at as a free, downloadable PDF file."

Here are the main tips you should be aware of and practice in your day to day life on line in public places and while using Wi-Fi:

  • Delete your browsing history
  • Log out
  • Do not enable "remember me" on a public computer
  • Look for the 's".  https:// and shttp:// sites make sure your information is secure.  An http:// site is NOT secure.
  • Do not conduct personal transactions  that request personal and sensitive information (bank account numbers; home address; SIN etc.) on Wi-Fi hotspots or public computers.
  • If you have any doubt about your ability to guard your privacy on line anywhere and in your library - ask your Librarian!
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Privacy Simplified - free service - ICONS

We need to know and show clearly and simply what the privacy policies are on sites we design and visit. McLean's Magazine's Jesse Brown reports on a system of icons that can simplify and our understanding of a site's privacy policies.

This site develped by students at Yale will allow youto generate code to place ICONS on your site to alert vistors about your privacy policies.  Take a look.

Privacy icon set1

Privacy icon set2

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Canada to accept Access to Information requests via cyberspace

Topic: Open and Accessible Governments.  Soon we we will be able to both request information and pay for it on line.

Magnifying glassAs reported in the Winnepeg Free Press this morning, Canadian Delegates join others from 53 countries in Brasilia on April 17-18 at the Open Government Partnership.  They will spell out commitments on making government more open and accountable.

One of the more important pieces of the proposal is a  "new directive on open government that will provide guidance to 106 federal departments and agencies on maximizing the availability of online information;".

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you and your private life are worth billions

"Facebook collects....(and) it records a user’s online usage patterns, including the browser they use,the user's IP address and how long they spend logged into the site." 

Bits in the data mine tunnel


There is no excuse for not knowing the degree to which we are giving away our rights to privacy.  This article will outline the threats:  You Are Being Tracked Online: Here Are 5 Ways to Protect Your Privacy

They are not alone in doing this.  And neither are you, any more, ever. "Once you connect to the digital ether, whether via a computer, smartphone or tablet, your ostensible private information becomes public and prime for commercialization."

The Federal Trade Commission issued a warning earlier in February over apparent violations of children’s privacy rights involving the operating systems of the Apple iPhone and iPad as well as Google’s Android and their respective apps developers. Its report, "Mobile Apps for Kids," examined 8,000 mobile apps designed for children and found that parents couldn’t safeguard the personal information the app maker collected.


credit: David Rosen for Alternet Photos: Shutterstock
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Facial Recognition Software Update - hope your privacy antenna is way up!

This scares me to the core.  Makes me wish I'd never seen Blade Runner.

I've seen the future in my mind and now it's here - taking our photos, accessing our very personal information.

Entries to libraries, city hall, town squares, the street where you walk; your face is worth a lot of money.

Facial recognition software design Sept2011
Do you know about the research being done to develop tracking facial recognition software?  Do you know how it will be used and by whom?  Do you care?  You better!

BBC News - Facial recognition marks the end of anonymity


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