Tag Archives: Privacy

A New Reason for Foreigners to Avoid Google and Facebook

By Leonid Bershidsky – A Philadelphia court has made the unfortunate decision to reopen the legal debate on whether the U.S. has the right to access e-mails stored on foreign servers if they belong to U.S. companies.

That’s a dangerous approach that hurts the international expansion of U.S. tech companies. Privacy-minded customers in Europe are already suspicious of the U.S. government’s cooperation with the tech giants, revealed by National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden. Nationalist politicians in some countries — for example, Marine Le Pen of the French National Front — want to ban cross-border personal data transfers, arguing that such data must be stored on servers inside the internet user’s country. That, however, does not appear to guarantee that the U.S. won’t get at it, either.

Those who are uneasy about the degree of the U.S. government’s reach into their private files and communications need to start thinking about alternatives, no matter how hard it may be to replace Google, Microsoft or Facebook. more> https://goo.gl/a1hqfP

The philosophy of privacy: why surveillance reduces us to objects

By Michael P. Lynch – Philosophers have traditionally distinguished freedom of choice or action from what is sometimes called autonomy.

To see the difference, think about impulse buying. You may “freely” click on the “buy” button in the heat of the moment – indeed, corporations count on it – without that decision reflecting what really matters to you in the long run. Decisions like that might be “free” but they are not fully autonomous.

Someone who makes a fully autonomous decision, in contrast, is committed to that decision; she owns it. Were she to reflect on the matter, she would endorse those decisions as reflecting her deepest values.

Systematic invasions of privacy are undermining our autonomy in precisely the same way in which the mind-meld case does. The government is not forcing us to make a decision. But it is undermining our autonomy nonetheless. more> http://tinyurl.com/mrd2obb

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How international relations theory shapes U.S. cybersecurity doctrine

By Henry Farrell – The fundamental logic of the security dilemma is straightforward.

Imagine two neighboring states, each of which wants peace while not being sure of the other’s intentions. Imagine further that one of the states decides to build up its military (perhaps by increasing its army), solely in order to defend itself if the other state turns out to have malign intentions.

It may well be that the second state looks at the first state’s decision to increase the size of its army, and worries that the first state is beefing up its military so that it can invade. The second state may then decide, too, to build up its army.

This may, in turn alarm the first state, which begins to fear that the second state is indeed intent on invasion, leading the first state to introduce conscription. And this process may go on, …

The world of the Cold War was, for better or worse, partly built on the foundation of political science ideas. The same is true of the emerging world of cybersecurity. more> http://tinyurl.com/kaecx8s

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Defeating NSA Surveillance Isn’t the Real Problem

By Max Eddy – The NSA wasn’t operating in a vacuum. Two key changes aided the creation of the massive spying operation we know today.

The first was the cost of search and storage, which Bruce Schneier said had dropped to the point where it was feasible to store and search huge amounts of data.

Second was a philosophical shift in both user behavior and technology companies. “We build systems that spy on people in exchange for services,” said Schneier. “Surveillance is the business model of the Internet.” more> http://tinyurl.com/m2qoqpf

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Spy Chief James Clapper: We Can’t Stop Another Snowden

By Eli Lake – James Clapper also acknowledges that the very human nature of the bureaucracy he controls virtually insures that more mass disclosures are inevitable.

“In the end,” he says, “we will never ever be able to guarantee that there will not be an Edward Snowden or another Chelsea Manning because this is a large enterprise composed of human beings with all their idiosyncrasies.”

Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, concurs: “I do think he recognizes that we are in a new normal after Snowden where we can’t operate with the expectation where nothing will get out.” more> http://tinyurl.com/myp6jx3

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How many criminals have NSA’s phone records busted? Maybe one

By Grant Gross – “Made in the U.S.A. is no longer a badge of honor, but a basis for questioning the integrity and the independence of U.S.-made technology,” Dean Garfield, president and CEO of the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) told lawmakers. “Many countries are using the NSA’s disclosures as a basis for accelerating their policies around forced localization and protectionism.”

Officials with the Obama administration haven’t accurately described the NSA programs to Congress, said Representative Trent Franks, an Arizona Republican. “We feel that we have been blatantly deceived on what some of these programs have done,” he said. more> http://tinyurl.com/m5txpo3

The Inside Story of Tor, the Best Internet Anonymity Tool the Government Ever Built

By Dune Lawrence – Tor provides privacy by separating identity from routing online.

In a normal session online, you’re browsing from your computer or a router that’s assigned its own IP address. Every request you send out carries that address, and information is returned there.

When you use Tor, instead of your chat message, or the URL you type going directly to its destination, it’s routed through Tor’s network of volunteer nodes, moving through at least three of them, before exiting the network and proceeding to the endpoint.

The website that receives it doesn’t know what your IP address is, nor does any point in the Tor circuit except for the entry relay.

For most users, a Tor session does not feel different from going on the Web with the Firefox browser. But all the winding through relays does slow things down. more>http://tinyurl.com/mc3e7e4

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Corporate espionage undermines democracy

By Ralph Nader – It’s not just the NSA that has been caught spying on Americans. Some of our nation’s largest corporations have been conducting espionage as well, against civic groups.

In effect, big corporations have been able to hire portions of the national security apparatus, and train their tools of spycraft on the citizens groups of our nation.

This does not bode well for our democracy. Our democracy is only as strong as the civic groups that work to preserve and protect it every day. more> http://tinyurl.com/m9uys9h

Web Privacy Worries Growing: Study

By Per Liljas – Whereas only 33% worried about the information available about them on the web in 2009, that concern now applies to half of the people surveyed.

Furthermore, 86% have tried to conceal their online activity by measures such as clearing cookies or using encryption. more> http://tinyurl.com/n7e9v7t

Obama’s bucket of worms

WASHINGTON TIMES – The president understands just how dreadfully complicated his health care plan is; he always has. He thought his golden tongue would carry the day. The White House is adding another layer of bureaucracy to make the impossible work. The latest are the “navigators,” government agents to help everyone through the maze of paperwork before an aspirin is dispensed.

“And it’s more than navigators,” Ms. Bondi says. “It’s people to assist the navigators. These navigators will have the consumers’ most personal and private information — tax-return information, Social Security information. And our biggest fear, of course, is identity theft. more> http://tinyurl.com/lpdq856

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