When the Government Comes Knocking, Who Has Your Back?
Hat tip to Josh Stearns for making us aware of this 2012 report.
Via the Electronic Frontier Foundation:
When you use the Internet, you entrust your online conversations, thoughts, experiences, locations, photos, and more to companies like Google, AT&T and Facebook. But what happens when the government demands that these companies to hand over your private information? Will the company stand with you? Will it tell you that the government is looking for your data so that you can take steps to protect yourself?
The Electronic Frontier Foundation examined the policies of 18 major Internet companies — including email providers, ISPs, cloud storage providers, and social networking sites — to assess whether they publicly commit to standing with users when the government seeks access to user data. We looked at their terms of service, privacy policies, and published law enforcement guides, if any. We also examined their track record of fighting for user privacy in the courts and whether they’re members of the Digital Due Process coalition, which works to improve outdated communications law. Finally, we contacted each of the companies with our conclusions and gave them an opportunity to respond and provide us evidence of improved policies and practices. These categories are not the only ways that a company can stand up for users, of course, but they are important and publicly verifiable.
While some Internet companies have stepped up for users in particular situations, it’s time for all companies that hold private user data to make public commitments to defend their users against government overreach. The purpose of this report is to incentivize companies to be transparent about what data flows to the government and encourage them to take a stand for user privacy when it is possible to do so.
Read through for the report’s findings.
Showing 59 posts tagged security
- Understand legal regulations
- Choose trusted vendors (understand their privacy agreements and how they will use your data)
- Educate your school community on appropriate activity
photo via flickr:CC | Alan Cleaver
In a lot of cases, the OAuth authentication is all an app wants or needs. However, in other cases, you’re also granting apps and webapps access to your data.
Good personal security review here. Take the time, it’s worth it to:
- Think about why you may not want to use your social network logins with apps
- How to review your app permissions in Facebook, Google, and Twitter
photo via flickr:CC | soulzdead
And now, a privately funded deputy guarding elementary school kids.
The mother of a young girl in Florida is paying $32 an hour for an armed deputy to guard her daughter’s school, Old Kings Elementary, according to the Daytona Beach News-Journal.
photo via flickr:CC | Chris Yarzab
I gave a class of twelve year olds a selection of genuine spam emails and asked them to write down what their replies to these would be. It mostly purported to be from a distressed Nigerian monarch living in exile looking for a friendly Briton to share a fortune with. Some of the kids quickly twigged and wrote sarcastic, tongue-in-cheek responses. But a few of them seemed genuinely intrigued and happy to enter into correspondence; others tried to negotiate the terms to make more money. It was this naivety and innocence that I wanted to address in the pupils. They had to become aware of dastardly tricks.
photo via flickr:CC | Vince_Lamb
- 450,000 Yahoo accounts were compromised, along with large quantities of database information that hacker group “DD3Ds Company” say they found completely unencrypted
- 420,000 Formspring username and password hashes leaked this week, forcing the company to reset the passwords of all 28 million registered users in an effort to protect users’ data source
» It hasn’t been a great summer for cyber-security, particularly when you consider how many well-known companies keep getting caught with lackluster security in place. So, how many more of these stories do you think it will take before major corporations quit storing user data in plain-text format?
Sensationalistic Headline of the Day.
The Reality: According to Sophos, one in five Macs currently harbor malware made for Windows.
Either way: Install some virus scanning software, people. It doesn’t matter what system you’re running.
“Sometime last year computers at the U.S. Social Security Administration were hacked and the identities of millions of Americans were compromised. What, you didn’t hear about that? Nobody did.
The extent of damage is only just now coming to light in the form of millions of false 2011 income tax…
A new report by the Council on Foreign Relations spelled out the need for more science, history and foreign languages in U.S. schools — framing education in a global context. Jeffrey Brown, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein discuss the link to national security.
And change your passwords for good measure, “especially if any of yours look like one of these.”
Why you’ll soon be hearing all about ‘Terahertz Scanners’.
Several exciting new uses are being trialed for devices which can scan objects and create an image using beams of terahertz radiation. Much like an x-ray can see through clothes and skin to image your bones, T-rays can produce similar images, but with new techniques they could soon see uses in held held devices, as opposed to the room-sized scanners required for x-rays.
One report describes a device that is small enough to fit on a silicone chip and operate at room temperature, which could be used as a security screening device for weapons, for medical imaging, or even for drug ‘sniffing’. The Imperial College in London, who created the device, say that it can sense any molecule, because every one has a unique signature in the THz range.
Elsewhere, the New York Police Department and the Department of Defense are using similar technology specifically for weapons screening. Privacy issues aside, the Police hope to one day use the scanner in place of a more invasive pat-down to check for weapons. Their current prototype has a range of up to five metres, but they hope to extend that to 25 metres (85 feet).
That device scans for the terahertz waves which are naturally emitted by our bodies. The waves pass through any non-conductive material like clothing, but are blocked by conductors such as your keys, mobile phones, or more importantly a knife or gun.
Expect to see these techniques and even more uses for terahertz scanners in the news over the next few years. While privacy advocates will be upset at the thought of an invisible Police probe able to target you from down the block, nerds and geeks should be thrilled at the thought that it could soon be used to build a real life tricorder.
Allan Scherr, a Ph.D. researcher at MIT in the early ’60s, came clean about the earliest documented case of password theft.