With all of the issues surrounding online privacy and internet snooping many are very concerned about having their personal information reviewed, logged, scanned and then stored away for sale by the companies that are tracking this. This issue is a very real one and as the companies we work for can (and do) put system in place to monitor, log and block certain types of traffic we are not surprised to see this become a very hot topic. The issue has become so large that there are multiple protests about privacy and personal data security happening in many countries. So what are you to do if all you really want is to check your Hotmail or maybe do some quick shopping without giving up all of your details? A Canadian company by the name of SurfEasy has a possible answer for you. So sit back, relax and read along as we talk about the SurfEasy Plug-in Privacy device.
As we wrote earlier today the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act has passed through the US House of Representatives. This is not an act that anyone, other than the corporations that lobbied for it, wants. CISPA brings nothing to the table that agencies already do not have, or cannot get with the right requests to the courts. Instead it removes many (almost all) individual rights and turns your private data into a commodity that can be passed around without any legal recourse.
The online movement known as Anonymous had a fairly busy weekend and even managed to push their “fun” into Monday. According to several of the Anonymous twitter accounts they are now rather upset at PasteBin. It seems that the owner of PasteBin is unhappy about the uses that Anonymous has put his “code sharing” site to. He laments that it was never intended for the sharing of sensitive information and has even stated he is going to hire additional workers to help remove these types of posts. This had an interesting effect on the collective where tweets saying things like “Srsly Pastebin, f*** you - @Pastebin to hire staff to tackle hackers' 'sensitive' posts” .
Apple is truly ramping up the PR machine and has even managed to get a few people in government to make some rather outrageous statements on the new phone and iOS 8. One of the new stories going around is about how the new iPhone and iOS8 are suddenly “NSA Proof” because they have added data encryption. The fallacy of this claim is almost beyond belief and shows once again that most in the technical press have absolutely no memory.
Wow, file this one under both stupid and scary. It would seem that EA is seriously pushing the boundaries of acceptable behavior. Someone read the full EULA for this new service and has found a clause that is incredibly frightening. We went ahead and downloaded the installer and read and printed the EULA
Under a section marked “2. Consent to Collection and Use of Data” we found the following;
“You agree that EA may collect, use, store and transmit technical and related information that identifies your computer (including the Internet Protocol Address), operating system, Application usage (including but not limited to successful installation and/or removal), software, software usage and peripheral hardware, that may be gathered periodically to facilitate the provision of software updates, dynamically served content, product support and other services to you, including online services. EA may also use this information combined with personal information for marketing purposes and to improve our products and services. We may also share that data with our third party service providers in a form that does not personally identify you. IF YOU DO NOT WANT EA TO COLLECT, USE, STORE, TRANSMIT OR DISPLAY THE DATA DESCRIBED IN THIS SECTION, PLEASE DO NOT INSTALL OR USE THE APPLICATION.
EA then goes on to say “EA will never share your personal information with third parties without your consent. We may, however, share anonymous, non-personal, aggregated and/or public information with third parties. There may be circumstances where you may share information on your own. Please see section XI for more details about your rights to information you share publicly on EA and other third party sites and forums. You may also opt in to allow EA to share your personal information with companies and organizations that provide products or services that we believe may be of interest to you. To opt out of further communications from a marketing partner or sponsor with whom your information has been shared, please contact that partner or sponsor directly.”
The hitch here is that by clicking on the “I agree” check box you are giving your consent. We wonder how many people will be ok with this once they take a look at all of the facts. We will also be looking at EULA’s from other software distribution companies to see if theirs are any better in the next few days and will let you know what we find. For now we would advise people to take caution with Origin, it is not only the online content distribution application, but the replacement for the EA Downloader for patches and updates… This makes me consider removing some of the EA games that I have.
The Whole EULA can be seen on our forum in PDF format
About a month ago a memo was “leaked’ by the DEA to CNET that started a storm of articles about how secure some online messaging systems were. The memo appeared to indicate the Apple’s iMessage service was so secure that it could not be broken by government agents. They claimed that they were not able to get message details or information. Sadly, the memo ended up making the DEA look incompetent and showed that it was just an attempt to sway public opinion on the need for more surveillance powers for law enforcement.
Well we knew it was just a matter of time before this happened, but it looks like Facebook was intent on forcing the Timeline view on everyone. We opened up the DecryptedTech page this morning and were greeted with a new message telling us that Facebook was moving to a new page type on March 30th and that we could preview it now.
Privacy on the internet is a hard thing to achieve. For starters there are tons of companies that are very interested in what you do and where you go online so they can get you to buy things. On top of that there are the spying eyes of the government watching to make sure you are not a bad guy and storing all of this data in massive warehouses. This mass data collection seems to exist in every single device we own; from laptops to phone to smart TVs. It is enough to make someone paranoid, or at least to look for some form of privacy when connected to the internet.
When you hear people talking about anonymity on the internet it most people will think privacy. When companies hear anonymity on the internet they think piracy, crime, hacking and lost revenue. This is probably the biggest disconnect in the internet age, companies want to monetize your personal information. This is big money and (as we have said more than once) is a commodity that they have been trying to legalize for more than a decade.
Remember when we told you that BitTorrent was coming out with their very own chat app called Bleep? No well they are and from the information we have so far it is looking like a pretty cool application. The concept is to take basic chat and run it, encrypted, through Torrent swarms. This move, in theory, should prevent the big guys from being able to store or grab your communications in transit.