The Privacy BlogPrivacy, Security, Cryptography, and Anonymity

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Welcome to Episode 10 of The Privacy Blog Podcast, brought to you by Anonymizer.

In July’s episode, I’ll be talking about the storage capacity of the NSA’s data center in Utah and whether the US really is the most surveilled country in the world. Next, I’ll explain why the new royal baby is trying to hack you and how your own phone’s SIM card could be putting your privacy at risk.

Lastly, I’ll discuss the current legal status of law enforcement geolocation, Yahoo!’s decision to reuse account names, and  some exciting Anonymizer Universal news.

As always, feel free to leave any questions in the comments section. Thanks for listening!

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In the March episode of The Privacy Blog Podcast, I’ll run down some of the major privacy news events of the last month. Learn how Facebook “Likes” can paint an extremely detailed and eerie picture of your real-life character traits. I’ll provide my take on Google’s Street View Wi-Fi sniffing controversy along with how “Do Not Track” flags are affecting the everyday Internet user. We’ll then touch on the implementation of the “Six Strikes” copyright alert system that was recently adopted by all five major ISP providers.

Stay tuned until the end of the episode to hear about Anonymizer’s exciting new beta program for Android and iOS devices. Thanks for listening!

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New look for the blog

If you have been reading this blog for a while, you have probably noticed the new look.

I would appreciate feedback and please do let me know if we have broken anything in the process.

I am very excited that we have finally released our new free “Anonymizer Nevercookie” product. You can download it here from our facebook account. It enhances the private browsing mode in Firefox to protect against a whole range of new kinds of tracking cookies that currently are nearly impossible to delete.

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Today we are releasing the results of a survey on how people understand the risks of going on-line, and what does and does not work to protect against various threats.

One of the most interesting results was that a significant majority of respondents thought that firewalls provided identity protection on line. While important, they are addressing a very different threat.

More information on our results can be found here.

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RIM averts BlackBerry ban in UAE | Security – CNET News

The announcement provides very little information about what RIM did to avert the ban, whether they made significant changed (compromises) to their system, or whether the UAE blinked and backed down from the threatened ban.

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We discovered a major security hole in Facebook almost by accident. The exploit is so trivial I can’t justify calling it hacking. Any time you are on an open WiFi and accessing Facebook, anyone else on the same network can easily grab your credential and access Facebook as you with full access to your account.

We have posted a video demonstrating this to YouTube as well as putting it in the Anonymizer Labs section of our website.

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We are working hard to improve our website and would welcome your suggestions and feedback on how to improve it.

One new addition is our Knowledge Center where we are trying to share information about privacy and security issues. Within the Knowledge Center we have a section we call “The Lab” (click the tab in the Knowledge Center).

Anonymizer’s R&D team is always discovering new and interesting things so we decided we should set up some place where we can share them. To kick off the new section we have posted two videos. The first is a frightening video about Facebook security, and the second is a video of me which introduces the issue of on-line privacy. We plan to post more articles, white papers, and videos going forward.

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The European Parliament appears to be trying to create a regulation to require search engine companies to retain total information about their user’s searches for a period of years. If you are in the EU area, I strongly encourage you to reach out to fight this.

Declaration29: “A group of members of European Parliament is collecting signatures for a Written Declaration that reads: ‘The European Parliament […] Asks the Council and the Commission to implement Directive 2006/24/EC and extend it to search engines in order to tackle online child pornography and sex offending rapidly and effectively’.

The Data Retention Directive 2006/24/EC requires that details on every telephone call, text message, e-mail and Internet connection be recorded for months, for the entire population, in the absence of any suspicion. As to what is wrong with data retention please refer to DRletter. The Written Declaration even wants to extend data retention to search engines, meaning that your search terms could be tracked for months back.

The proposed declaration has been signed by 371 MEPs (list of names here) – and thus reached the 368 members needed to pass it. Many MEPs signed because of the title of the document (‘setting up a European early warning system (EWS) for paedophiles and sex offenders’), not knowing that they are endorsing blanket data retention as well. More than 30 MEPs decided to withdraw their signature, one even on the day of adoption.”


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I am very excited to be organizing a couple of panels at this year’s “Computers Freedom and Privacy” (CFP) Conference in San Jose June 15-18.

Historically the conference has focused on personal privacy / freedom issues, technologies, and policies. That was certainly my focus as well when I started Anonymizer. Over time I have become aware of some other aspects to the privacy issue that I have not seen discussed. In addition to corporations impacting privacy of their customers, users, employees, etc. they also have issues and needs for privacy themselves.

Companies activities are monitored, analyzed, blocked, misinformed, and censored. While these have analogs in the personal privacy world, the details, impacts and scale, and solutions to the problems are often very different.

I am organizing a panel to discuss these issues at the conference and would love to hear from others who may have experienced these kinds of issues and would be willing and able to share them at this conference.

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