The Privacy BlogThoughts on privacy, security, and other stuff.

Archive for November 2012

Fast Company has a good article laying out the state of events regarding the Internet in Syria.

Here is the short version. Syria has changed tactics from keeping the Internet available but highly monitored and surveilled, to turning off apparently absolutely all Internet connectivity within the country. 

Syria was unique in its cyber response to their Arab Spring uprisings. Rather than lock down the Internet, they actually un-blocked some popular social media sites. They did this because of the incredible surveillance capabilities this makes possible. Business Week has a nice story on this aspect.

The change of face would seem to have a few possible reasons.

1) Dissident tactics like encryption are making the surveillance less effective.

2) The damage from dissident publishing is greater than the value of the intelligence.

3) The Syrian government is about to do something really nasty and they want to make it very hard to report about it.

We shall see. The fact that the Syrian government appears to have turned off even its own Internet access suggests that they are worried about any leaks through the wall, which makes reason 3 seem more probable.

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Play

Welcome to our November 2012 podcast. In this episode, I’ll be talking about the tactics websites use to charge one customer more than a customer in a different city, state, or country. After that, I’ll discuss the dangers of using the Internet while on the road – as many of you are likely to do this holiday season.

Don’t miss our video showing how your Facebook account can be compromised on an unsecured connection. Follow this link to Anonymizer’s site and select ‘Video 2′.

Download the transcript here.

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Dictionary apps post false piracy confessions on Twitter – Crave

The Oxford Deluxe dictionary app requests access to your twitter account when it is installed. In some cases it then uses that account to post hundreds of identical tweets saying that you will pledge to stop pirating software.

It is not exactly clear what criteria the software uses, but obviously there is a lot of backlash going on.

Another argument for taking great care about what applications and services you allow to take control of your social media accounts.

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Google Transparency Report shows government surveillance, takedown requests are up.

The number of information requests coming to Google from governments around the world is growing fast. It is up 55% for the first half of 2012 vs. the first half of 2010. The linked article has some nice graphs showing the trend.

It is interesting to note that the US leads the world with over a third of the total requests, followed by India then Brazil.

The other even faster trend is in takedown requests. Since they are s search engine, not a host, this is really pure censorship. It is up 88% between the first half of 2011 and the first half of 2012. That is a true hockey stick. A lot of it appears to be trying to suppress criticism of government or government activities.

The more such information is gathered, the more important it is to take control of your own personal privacy.

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EU officials ‘hacked’ at Azerbaijan Internet Governance Forum | ZDNet

It appears that the laptops of two EU officials at the Internet Governance Forum in Azerbaijan got hacked while they were in the hotel.

Suspicion is immediately falling on the Azerbaijan government.

No one is mentioning breaking and entering, so I would assume they were attacked via the insecure Internet in the hotel.

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