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Eric Holder

In the article below Attorney General Eric Holder said ““It is fully possible to permit law enforcement to do its job while still adequately protecting personal privacy”

This is simply not true, and harkens back to the discredited arguments made by the FBI in the 1990’s about the Clipper Chip. It is hard enough to make secure computing systems, and we are not very good at it as all the breaches demonstrate. Intentionally introducing a vulnerability, which is the essential nature of back door or law enforcement access, is madness. If there is a back door, then keys exist, and can be compromised or reverse engineered. It is an added complexity to the system, which is almost certain to introduce other vulnerabilities. Its use would not be restricted to the US. Once it exists every government will demand access.

Social media and the cloud have tilted the balance of power absurdly towards law enforcement. This argument that they must retain access to encrypted cell phones is fatuous.

Holder urges tech companies to leave device backdoors open for police – The Washington Post

Lance Cottrell is the Founder and Chief Scientist of Anonymizer. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

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Hide head behind laptop

In many cases, a false sense of security causes people to put themselves at much greater risk.

The following article describes a “burner” phone service that re-uses the temporary phone numbers. It appears that number a security researcher received was previously used by a sex worker, who’s customers continued to send pictures and messages to the number after it had been re-assigned.

DOH!

 

Recycled ‘burner’ number sends sex worker’s clients to security researcher | ZDNet

Lance Cottrell is the Founder and Chief Scientist of Anonymizer. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

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Sep/14

2

Cosplay for Privacy!

Secret Identity

From https://projectsecretidentity.org/

All The Best Dragon Con Cosplayers Fighting For Online Privacy

In a brilliant campaign, IO9 and the EFF is having cosplayers pose with pro-anonymity, pro-privacy, and pro-pseudonymity signs. See the whole set here. The most popular seems to be “I have a right to a Secret Identity!”.

Lance Cottrell is the Founder and Chief Scientist of Anonymizer. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

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Unknown known

Your Anonymous Posts to Secret Aren’t Anonymous After All | Threat Level | WIRED

This article describes a clever attack against Secret, the “anonymous” secret sharing app.

Their technique allows the attacker to isolate just a single target, so any posts seen are known to be from them. The company is working on detecting and preventing this attack, but it is a hard problem.

In general, any anonymity system needs to blend the activity of a number of users so that any observed activity could have originated from any of them. For effective anonymity the number needs to be large. Just pulling from the friends in my address book who also use Secret is way too small a group.

Lance Cottrell is the Founder and Chief Scientist of Anonymizer. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

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Standard Profile PictureOn Sunday I appeared on The Social Network Show talking about general privacy and security issues. Follow the link below for the show’s post and audio.

The Social Network Show on KDWN Presents Lance Cottrell — The Social Network Station

Lance Cottrell is the Founder and Chief Scientist of Anonymizer. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

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Thanks to WhoIsHostingThis for providing this informative infographic (click to enlarge). They provide a cool service that allows you to look up the hosting service behind any website.

Digital_Fingerprint_WIHT_Anonimyzer (1)

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Standard-Profile-Picture.jpgThe Importance of Privacy & The Power of Anonymizers: A Talk With Lance Cottrell From Ntrepid — The Social Network Station A recent interview I did, talking about data anonymization and mobile device privacy. Lance Cottrell is the Founder and Chief Scientist of Anonymizer. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

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Play

Standard-Profile-Picture.jpgIn episode 20 of our podcast for May I talk about:

  • The need to target your privacy efforts
  • Why your secrets may not be safe with secrecy apps
  • The possibility of more light shining on National Security Letters
  • Conflicted feelings about censorship in the Russian government
  • Google and the right to be forgotten
  • What you need to do to deal with all these password breaches
  • A demonstration of a stealthy camera snooping app for Android
  • and a quick announcement about Anonymizer

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Shhh finger to lips man

The latest leaked messages to blow up in someone’s face are some emails from Evan Spiegel, the CEO of Snapchat. These were incredibly sexist emails sent while he was in college at Stanford organizing fraternity parties.

These emails are like racist rants, homophobic tweets, and pictures of your “junk”. They are all trouble waiting to happen, and there is always a risk that they will crop up and bite you when you least expect it. If you have ever shared any potentially damaging messages, documents, photos, or whatever then you are at risk if anyone in possession of them is angry, board, or in search of attention.

Even if it only ever lives on your computer, you are vulnerable to hackers breaking in and stealing it, or to someone getting your old poorly erased second hand computer.

This falls in to the “if it exists it will leak” rant that I seem to be having to repeat a lot lately. The first rule of privacy is: think before you write (or talk, or take a picture, or do something stupid). Always assume that anything will leak, will be kept, will be recorded, will be shared. Even when you are “young and stupid” try to keep a thought for how that thing would be seen in ten years when you are in a very different position. Of course, ideally you are not sexist, racist, homophobic, or stupid in the first place.

Lance Cottrell is the Founder and Chief Scientist of Anonymizer. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

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Do forget note

Earlier this month I talked about the ECJ ruling against Google on the “right to be forgotten.”

Google has now set up a web form and process for making these requests. You need to provide your name, the URLs you want hidden, and an explanation of why the URL is “irrelevant, outdated, or otherwise inappropriate”.

Google will then make the call about whether your request will be honored. They will “assess each individual request and attempt to balance the privacy rights of the individual with the public’s right to know and distribute information. When evaluating your request, we will look at whether the results include outdated information about you, as well as whether there’s a public interest in the information—for example, information about financial scams, professional malpractice, criminal convictions, or public conduct of government officials.”

Remember, this only removes that URL from Google searches for your name, not from other searches, other search engines, or from the underlying website.

Lance Cottrell is the Founder and Chief Scientist of Anonymizer. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

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