Lauren Weinstein writes "You'd think that with so many concerns these days about whether the likes of AT&T, Verizon, and other telecom companies can be trusted not to turn our data over to third parties whom we haven't authorized, that a plan to formalize a mechanism for ISP and other "man-in-the-middle" snooping would be laughed off the Net.
But apparently the authors of IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) Internet-Draft "Explicit Trusted Proxy in HTTP/2.0" (14 Feb 2014) haven't gotten the message.
Lauren Weinstein writes ""This then may be the ultimate irony in this surveillance saga. Despite the current flood of protests, recriminations, and embarrassments — and even a bit of legal jeopardy — intelligence services around the world (including especially NSA) may come to find that Edward Snowden’s actions, by pushing into the sunlight the programs whose very existence had long been dim, dark, or denied — may turn out over time to be the greatest boost to domestic surveillance since the invention of the transistor."" Link to Original Source top
Microsoft's Bizarre Anti-Google "Scroogled" Campaign Jumps the Shark -- Again!
Lauren Weinstein writes "Yet, Microsoft's increasingly bizarre, anti-Google "Scroogled" campaign is doing exactly that, and while we thought Microsoft had "jumped the shark" in the past, their new chapter is even more strange and inexplicable. In fact, when I mentioned this to a few people this morning, I got responses back suggesting that perhaps the new campaign hadn't really been approved, or that the site had been hacked. One person told me they did a WHOIS lookup just to verify that it really was a Microsoft site at all (it is)." Link to Original Source top
False Attack on Google Highlights the Web's "Idiot Echo Chamber"
Lauren Weinstein writes "This sorry sequence began when Consumer Watchdog breathlessly proclaimed that Google had been caught in a legal brief proclaiming that "Gmail users have no expectation of privacy." RT picked up the story, and sites that we normally would consider to be reasonably reputable started echoing it without further investigation, playing on the current climate of government surveillance furor (and in many cases, related hyperbolic and unjustified paranoia). Unfortunately for the fearmongers, there was a problem..." Link to Original Source top
Lauren Weinstein writes "Once upon a time, I knew a spy.
He died long ago, and honestly I don't even remember his name — or at least the name by which I knew him.
He was about as much a polar opposite from James Bond as it would be possible to imagine. He was big and loud, rather vulgar, and frankly quite ugly. He had a loud, annoying laugh that made him an embarrassment to be with in a restaurant or other public places. You wouldn't want to even look at him twice — which of course is exactly what you really want in a spy — not the suave look of the fictional 007.
Lauren Weinstein writes "Great Britain had two princes to talk about last week. One was the widely celebrated birth of the new Prince George, a joyful occasion indeed.
The other "prince" — actually a "clown prince" named David Cameron to be more precise — was playing the fool somewhat under the radar, and we can excuse the British people for not noticing him as much amid the celebration of George's arrival.
To call Prime Minister Cameron a "clown" at all might reasonably be taken by some as an affront to clowns and jesters reaching back through history. Because Cameron's style of clowning is far more akin to the nightmarish, sneering "clowns" of "B" horror movies, not the bringers of entertainment under the big top.
Cameron, through a series of inane and grandstanding statements and pronouncements both deeply technically clueless and shamelessly politically motivated, has been channeling Napoleon by placing the clown prince crown on his own head.
Laughing at his antics would be a terrible mistake. For his wet dream of Internet censorship poses an enormous risk not only to the UK, but to other nations around the world who might seek comfort in his idiocy for their own censorship regimes (already, calls have been made in Canada to emulate Cameron's proposed model)." Link to Original Source top
If You Have a Rooted Android Device, Don't Rush to Install Android 4.3
Lauren Weinstein writes "If you have a rooted Android device, I recommend against rushing to install Android 4.3 for now. It appears that 4.3's new protection model may require re-rooting devices in various situations..." Link to Original Source top
UK and Canada Internet Censorship Madness (Hangout On Air)
Lauren Weinstein writes "This Hangout On Air is scheduled to discuss UK Prime Minister David Cameron's expanding plans for broad Internet censorship, content blocking, flagging, and criminalization in the UK (and his increasingly confused and ignorant responses to questions about his plans) plus similar proposals that are now being made in Canada. What are the implications of these ideas for civil rights and free speech in these nations and in other countries around the world?" Link to Original Source top
As Feds Demand the Keys, Preparing for the Death of Public-Key Encryption
Lauren Weinstein writes "With further confirmation of the longstanding rumor that the U.S. government (and, we can safely assume, other governments around the world) have been pressuring major Internet firms to provide their "master" SSL keys for government surveillance purposes, we are rapidly approaching a critical technological crossroad.
It is now abundantly clear — as many of us have suspected all along — that governments and surveillance agencies of all stripes — Western, Eastern, democratic, and authoritarian, will pour essentially unlimited funds into efforts to monitor Internet communications." Link to Original Source top
Lauren Weinstein writes "With increasing signs of conflict between the UK government and ISPs regarding mandatory filtering and blocking of Web sites that users would have to opt-in to disable, now comes word that the government's actual mandatory form that UK users will be required to submit has been leaked. I've created a local alias for easy access:
Lauren Weinstein writes "Rather than explicitly banning adult materials per se, Yahoo is in the midst of a full court press to bury them all in a "red light district" in the deepest, darkest corner of their data centers, ideally in locations where cooling unit condensation will drip directly onto the servers and render associated data unreadable as soon as possible.
OK, they haven't gone the condensation route yet, but Yahoo wants Tumblr adult content out of sight, out of mind, and out of search engines." Link to Original Source top
Lauren Weinstein writes "All sorts of theories have been postulated for why women tend to avoid CS and the related computer technology fields, ranging from "different nurturing patterns" to inept school guidance counselors.
But I suspect there's an even more basic reason, that women tend to detect quickly and decisively.
Lauren Weinstein writes "It was only late last year that freedom-loving Internet users around the world were transfixed with concern regarding a possible United Nations takeover of the Internet — largely pushed by Russia and other repressive regimes.
A massive effort to fight back against this was triggered, including this strong campaign by Google, which I supported.
The threat from the UN's International Telecommunications Union (ITU) was fought back for the moment — and we all gave a sigh of relief.
But now, in a clear demonstration that actions do have consequences, often unintended ones, "The New York Times" reports that Russia is again demanding a UN Internet takeover of exactly the sort repressive governments around the world have long been lusting after, and using Edward Snowden's continued presence in Russia as a foundation for this new thrust.
Acting as a catalyst for a crackdown against freedom of speech on the Net was certainly not Snowden's intention — quite the opposite, it's reasonable to assume." Link to Original Source top
Google's New +1 Sharing Has Some Issues, but It's Not a Privacy Problem
Lauren Weinstein writes "Google made some significant changes to the way sharing works on Google+ today, and all day long I found myself being pulled into conversations discussing the topic, some of whose participants seem upset to the level of semi-ranting ("semi-ranting?" Is that anything like "semi-pregnant?" But I digress...)" Link to Original Source top
Lauren Weinstein writes "I'm not at all a fan of conspiracy theories. Yet it isn't necessary to believe them to smell a smokescreen of government misdirection aimed at diverting attention from enormous personal privacy abuses by governments, through repeatedly trying to scapegoat Google policies that not only don't do damage to consumers, but actually serve consumers' key interests far better than government does nowadays." Link to Original Source top
Lauren Weinstein writes "Have you heard the news? Europe is up in arms about reports that the U.S. has been spying on EU countries! It's incredible! It's an outrage! It's... March 17, 2000? Damn, did the Flux Capacitor go out of alignment again?" Link to Original Source top
Addendum re Google Blogger Shutdown Issues / Speculation re COPPA
Lauren Weinstein writes "In reference to the Blogger shutdown warnings discussed above, it has been suggested (and it occurred to me as well) that the timing of this sudden policy change by Google somehow relates to the new COPPA (Children's Online Privacy Protection Act) regulations coming into force on 1 July (Monday).
Lauren Weinstein writes "Yesterday, in New Info About Google's Blogger "Adult Sites" Deletion Notification, I attempted to provide some clarity to concerns about Google's sudden announcement that adult-content Blogger sites containing ads or other monetization links to commercial porn sites were subject to shutdown starting only a few days later, and I mentioned that apparently all (not just adult-oriented) Blogger sites could be affected.
I noted at the time (based on what I've been told by Google) that the short notice will likely (somehow) be taken into consideration, but there is no formal grace period, and no promises about what will actually happen after the deadline hits this Monday. Nor is there any explanation for why this incredibly short notice is in effect, given the logistical issues involved for users forced to alter their sites in such a rush.
It's the point about all Blogger sites being affected — not just the adult sites — that appears to have triggered more panic among some Blogger users, judging from my inbox this morning. So below are a few suggestions and a request." Link to Original Source top
New Info About Google's Blogger "Adult Sites" Deletion Notification
Lauren Weinstein writes "Outside of hitting like a bolt out of the blue with an extremely short fuse, the notice itself was not particularly well worded. Was it talking only about adult ads or all ads? Ads running only on "adult" Blogger sites or all Blogger sites?
And was Google actually serious about starting to shut down offenders in just a few days, with the notice coming just two days before the weekend? Many site owners couldn't even reach their webmasters in time to push through changes like this on such a truncated schedule — or even make the required alternations themselves quickly enough, especially with the weekend looming.
In response to my queries, a Google spokesperson has provided me with some more information, but not as much as I would have hoped." Link to Original Source top
The Spoils of Secrecy: Media Madness and NSA Conspiracies Run Amok
Lauren Weinstein writes "Barack Obama and later congressional officials voluntarily chose to keep this nightmarish behemoth alive and well fed — the responsibility now falls directly on their own heads.
A vacuum of truth is easily filled with fear, hysteria, and insanity. Paranoia breeds where facts are sparse.
It's time for the administration and congress to come clean with the American people and the rest of the world. The reality of what you're doing is almost certainly far less dramatic and invasive than the conspiracy theories you've allowed to flourish are now insisting." Link to Original Source