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Ask Slashdot: How Do You Protect Your Privacy These Days? Or Do You?

andrew3 Re:Take the mobile phone battery out (319 comments)

Oh, and before anyone asks about the mobile phone paranoia, I should also add that some companies are already monetising your use of mobile phones and your movements. Expect this to become far more commonplace in the next few years.

about 5 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Do You Protect Your Privacy These Days? Or Do You?

andrew3 Take the mobile phone battery out (319 comments)

I keep the battery out of my mobile phone when I'm not using it, which is 99% of the time. Apparently I am lucky to have a phone which makes it easy to do this. Various court releases, leaks, research papers and other publications suggest that mobile phones can easily be updated remotely by carriers (and maybe adversaries) to act as listening devices on command, which is why I do this.

I also use multiple web browsers for different purposes (e.g. one for normal web browsing when I don't reveal my identity, another for a few logins, etc.), use Tor, avoid using "cloud computing", use only free (-as in freedom) software, use encryption where possible, keep up to date with security updates, encrypt traffic in my local network (I don't trust my D-Link router very much), etc.

about 5 months ago
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Microsoft Donates Windows 8.1 To Nonprofit Organizations

andrew3 There is always a catch (224 comments)

Microsoft also gives free Windows licenses to students through various programs. But there is always a catch. In this case, Microsoft wants its users to adopt its own formats and use its network services, essentially pushing users into an endless cycle of relying on Microsoft software and services, allowing Microsoft to push for unreasonable terms, include more privacy-invasive features to gain more information about their users, increased OS reliance on Microsoft's network/cloud computing, and, of course, to make more money. Making money on its own, of course, is not usually a bad thing, but when a company like Microsoft controls a significant portion of the market it is certainly bad. I hear non-profits and governments are also often more likely to adopt free (-as in freedom) software such as LibreOffice and occasionally GNU/Linux, which could explain why they are a target of this campaign.

Remember people: this isn't being done to benefit you, it's done to benefit Microsoft.

about 6 months ago
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Facebook Testing Screen-Tracking Software For Users

andrew3 PR stunt (they've been doing it for ages) (115 comments)

Facebook has been doing this for ages. It started years ago with the hovercards (hovering over a person's face brings up details and alerts Facebook each time) and grew from there. A few months ago I observed using the Firefox Web Developer tools that Facebook was monitoring when a user hovered over a Like button (not necessarily clicked), advertisements, possibly tracking what part of the page the user was on, and more. Quick analysis from a curious user didn't reveal the full details of exactly what they were tracking.

Basically Facebook would rather give the news itself rather than letting someone else spill the beans. It's a cheap PR stunt, no more.

about 6 months ago
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Visual Studio 2013 Released

andrew3 Re:zero cost? (198 comments)

It takes five minutes and none of the info you give them is verified.

Oh, so that makes it okay, does it? Almost all Microsoft services contain a termination clause which allows them to cancel a service for a user, or delete their account at any time.

That's right, the software on your computer is now being tied into Microsoft's services, so that the rights you once had disappear.

about 6 months ago
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Visual Studio 2013 Released

andrew3 Mandatory registration (198 comments)

Writing a program in Visual Studio requires mandatory registration, or the program will refuse to start up. This also gives Microsoft to arbitrarily deny specific programmers the ability to publish a program.

Oh, and this, from the VS 2010 Privacy Policy, suggests that Microsoft can remotely target your computer after it does error reporting:

In rare cases, such as problems that are especially difficult to solve, Microsoft may request additional data, including sections of memory (which may include memory shared by any or all applications running at the time the problem occurred), some registry settings, and one or more files from your computer. Your current documents may also be included. When additional data is requested, you can review the data and choose whether or not to send it.

It's somewhat disappointing that Slashdot is used to advertise software like this. Fuck that, I'll stick with free (as in freedom) compilers like GCC, MinGW, LLVM etc. and free IDEs.

about 6 months ago
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Would You Secure Personal Data With DRM Tools?

andrew3 DRM = encrypted for Microsoft software (101 comments)

Let's not forget what DRM actually is. DRM-encrypted files are encrypted so that, at least in theory, only one program can read it. That program can arbitrarily impose restrictions on the user. How does that protect the user at all? From themselves and from their friends?

Encryption is a good way of protecting your privacy. Encrypting for Microsoft is a good way of losing control of your data.

about 6 months ago
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Inside the Electronic Frontier Foundation

andrew3 Shame that Slashdot blocks Tor (98 comments)

If Slashdot wants to promote and help EFF, they should stop censoring users from reading news on their own website.

At the moment, many attempts to access Slashdot via Tor give a blocked IP address message. So many Tor users can't read Slashdot at all.

I might be a little bit sympathetic if Slashdot temporarily banned IPs from posting when abuse is detected, but it's a real shame that IPs blocked by Slashdot can't read the news at all.

about 10 months ago
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Saudi Arabian Telecom Pitches to Moxie Marlinspike

andrew3 A sign of problems in the CA system (128 comments)

From Ars Technica:

"One of the design documents that they volunteered specifically called out compelling a [certificate authority] in the jurisdiction of the UAE or Saudi Arabia to produce SSL certificates that they could use for interception," Marlinspike wrote in a blog post.

Clearly there is something wrong with the public key infrastructure on the web.

about a year ago
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Debian 7.0 ("Wheezy") Released

andrew3 Re:Why Debian? (191 comments)

We're at Firefox 20 and Debian has only version 10.

From the Debian perspective there was only Firefox 10 ESR and Firefox 17 ESR. Since the freeze was made before 17 was released, version 10 was included.

about a year ago
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Falling Windows RT Tablet Prices Signify Slow Adoption

andrew3 Restricted Boot (290 comments)

Windows RT is worse than Windows 8 because it doesn't give its users the freedom to boot another OS, or control the computer at its very lowest level. Sure, maybe most users don't care, but they should. If tech-savvy users boycott the Surface RT, maybe users will as well.

I can't yet see any reason for not allowing users to control their own device at its lowest level. Maybe an "unlock" option like a few Android phones do would prevent users from making unwise decisions.

I feel like I had to say something, because many of the comments here are aimed at the technical qualities of the Windows RT/iPad/other proprietary OS. This is missing the point! If people aren't adopting Windows RT at the moment, let's tell them why they should avoid it forever.

Also, I believe the FSF's petition to stop Restricted Boot is still open. Please take a moment to sign it if you have the time - it's getting close to 50,000 signatures.

-- some crazy free software user.

1 year,21 days
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Defend the Open Web: Keep DRM Out of W3C Standards

andrew3 Re:Regional Control (351 comments)

i think the whole point of this is that it shifts control from the companies you despise to the W3C, which is less dispicable

The proposed standard is designed as infrastructure to give power to despicable companies.

about a year ago
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Defend the Open Web: Keep DRM Out of W3C Standards

andrew3 Re:Not putting in DRM isn't going to eliminate DRM (351 comments)

some people do want access to DRM protected content

Some people want access to content and will do just about anything to get it. That doesn't mean they want DRM itself.

about a year ago
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Defend the Open Web: Keep DRM Out of W3C Standards

andrew3 Re:Not putting in DRM isn't going to eliminate DRM (351 comments)

I just want to control my computer

that has nothing to do with DRM... learn a programming language

DRM is a system designed to prevent users from controlling their computer. DRM has everything to do with control.

there's nothing stopping people from using or downloading DRM-protected content... if you do it legally

Actually, there is. You must (a) run their software to do it (technical restriction), and (b) agree to a contract (legal restriction). "Use" is essentially defined by whoever wrote the software. The content is crippled so only one or a few programs can run it. And you can download a DRM'd file, but that would be useless on its own. The system that plays it could easily refuse to play it.

if you have a problem with that, it's pretty obvious that your preference is to download content illegally

No I don't. And you should also remember that fair use and fair dealing are legitimate uses of content which DRM inherently prevents.

I wouldn't create a program and not release the binary without the source code

that would be your choice, not the user's

Sure, but I think users should choose to only use free (-as in freedom) software.

the programmer/artist/musician/tv studio should have the choice whether to release their intellectual property freely or not...

I think I should be able to control my computer. I don't think a media company should be able to command my computer.

By "intellectual property" I would assume you are talking about a potentially copyrighted work, since "IP" is an umbrella for lots of other laws. Keep in mind that public domain works can be crippled with DRM as well, not just "IP".

about a year ago
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Defend the Open Web: Keep DRM Out of W3C Standards

andrew3 Re:Not putting in DRM isn't going to eliminate DRM (351 comments)

but you don't own whatever content is secured by DRM

I don't want ownership of any content. I just want to control my computer.

if you don't like DRM content, don't use it... nobody is holding a gun to your head

Sure, I don't. And I don't think anyone else should use it either. DRM is anti-social and an oppressive use of computers.

i know the open source movement allows the use of code for free, but that is the choice of the developers.

Maybe it is, but I don't think it should be that way. And I don't think the W3C should help those types of developers either.

how would you feel if you spent your time developing a program and your users simply demanded the source code because they think any kind of digital rights management sucks ass?

I wouldn't create a program and not release the binary without the source code. If I was the user, I wouldn't make "demands" either. I would just recommend that other users avoid the program.

about a year ago
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Defend the Open Web: Keep DRM Out of W3C Standards

andrew3 Re:Not putting in DRM isn't going to eliminate DRM (351 comments)

It's going to keep the existing PC DRM solutions (Flash and Silverlight) alive and competing with HTML5 for a long time.

People are still using them? I stopped a few years ago and I haven't run into many problems.

Hmm... maybe this is why Microsoft is shipping Flash by default in Windows 8.

about a year ago
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Defend the Open Web: Keep DRM Out of W3C Standards

andrew3 Re:Not putting in DRM isn't going to eliminate DRM (351 comments)

Suppose a user sends me a threatening message on some site online. With DRM I can't save it. Suppose I want to save a video so I can play it later (maybe I need to play it offline for my assignment work). Again, if it's DRM'd I can't do that. I don't want my computer to work against me, and I don't think that should be a "standard".

Perhaps the better question is why should DRM be a standard? Why should computers disobey their owners for the sake of corporate greed? Why do media companies pretend that the world will end if DRM isn't added to HTML5?

It might also help to read what media companies have proposed for HTML5 DRM. The BBC wants to be able to take legal action against anyone that bypasses the DRM (even if the user isn't infringing copyright itself).

about a year ago
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Trisquel 6.0 'Toutatis' Is Now Available

andrew3 Re:Defeat the purpose (109 comments)

In Linux-land "blob" normally refers to proprietary firmware.

When it comes to 3D support, Intel and nouveau provide free drivers and firmware for many cards. AMD/ATI users are often out of luck though. I believe nouveau in Linux 3.8 brings 3D support to even more NVIDIA users than previously.

When it comes to firmware, the main area which Linux-libre lacks support in is for wireless cards. But luckily compatible wireless cards come cheap these days, in both PCI-e and USB forms. I recently bought an Atheros card for my laptop for < $20 and it works fine with Trisquel.

about a year ago
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Trisquel 6.0 'Toutatis' Is Now Available

andrew3 Re:Defeat the purpose (109 comments)

Trisquel doesn't stop proprietary software from running. You can set it to use PPAs or the Ubuntu repositories if you want.

However, they don't exactly support or recommend doing that. The Trisquel package repos are only supposed to contain free software as well.

about a year ago

Submissions

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Facebook Locking Users Out, Demanding Photo ID

andrew3 andrew3 writes  |  about a year ago

andrew3 (2250992) writes "Facebook is reportedly locking out users who are suspected of infringing their Terms of Use. Facebook addict Karina Moreno received a message upon logging into her account asking for her government issued photo ID. According to Chris Morran of The Consumerist online magazine, this change is due to a recent crackdown on fake, malicious profiles. Moreno insists she didn't violate any of Facebook's rules. Facebook later restored her account and apologized, saying her account was suspended by mistake."
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