Is Internet Access a Fundamental Human Right? France's High Cour France's highest court, the Constitutional Council, ruled that access to the internet is a "fundamental human right" this week in striking down a controversial "three strikes" anti-piracy law called Loi Hadopi, according to a report today from the UK Daily Mail. Were such an opinion agreed upon by other governments around the world, the implications would be striking. Conversely, are peoples' fundamental human rights being violated when they don't have access to the internet? Internet access in a time of democratized online publishing may be understood as a contemporary form of the right to self-expression. Legal theory trailblazer Corey Doctorow wrote the following bold prediction in an article about homeless people and internet access last week: What do you think? France is a nation that decided earlier this year to give its citizens free one year subscriptions to a newspaper of choice on their 18th birthdays.
Is Google Watching You? New Plugin Will Let You Know [APPS] Another rad browser plugin called Google Alarm hit the Internets this week, which alerts you every time your personal info is sent to Google's servers. How? Via notifications, a running tally of dangerous sites and, naturally, a super annoying, vuvuzela-like alarm. After seeing this new plugin — which works with both Firefox and Chrome — on F.A.T., I contacted the developer who made it: Jamie Wilkinson, who also created Know Your Meme and Mag.ma. According to Wilkinson, "Google makes great products and gives them all away for free, which has made them into a ubiquitous and omniscient force on the Internet. So how does the plugin work? We've been seeing a ton of interesting plugins like this lately — Shaved Bieber, BP Oil, Ex-blocker (which, disclosure, I helped come up with). What do you think of this plugin? [img credit: twicepix]
Cocoon and Cocoon+ Now Approved as a Download on Mozilla's Firefox net.wars: An affair to remember Politicians change; policies remain the same. Or if, they don't, they return like the monsters in horror movies that end with the epigraph, "It's still out there..." Cut to 1994, my first outing to the Computers, Freedom, and Privacy conference. I saw: passionate discussions about the right to strong cryptography. The counterargument from government and law enforcement and security service types was that yes, strong cryptography was a fine and excellent thing at protecting communications from prying eyes and for that very reason we needed key escrow to ensure that bad people couldn't say evil things to each other in perfect secrecy. Eventually, the Clipper chip was cracked by Matt Blaze, and the needs of electronic commerce won out over the paranoia of the military and restrictions on the use and export of strong crypto were removed. Cut to 2000 and the run-up to the passage of the UK's Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act. And so to this week. Wendy M.
What's Good About iPhone's Location Tracking - Darkreading The iPhone tracking disclosure this week showcases an unfortunate tendency for device manufacturers to focus excessively on their needs and forget those of their users Over the past week there has been a lot of time spent by seemingly outraged people finding that the iPhone tracks and records the user's location. The problem, as I see it, is that the file isn’t secure -- not that Apple was misusing the information, but there has yet been no identification of anyone misusing that information yet. Granted, now that folks know it is there, that will likely change. I think the real problem with this capability whether it is found in an Apple or Android device (Android phones have this capability built in as well, and you can generally turn it off) is that it isn’t overt and used for our benefit. I’ve actually been a big believer in location-tracking but that is because I’m concerned about protecting loved ones and getting help should I need it quickly. More Insights
Commissariat à la protection de la vie privée du Canada » Blog A C’est un aperçu des premiers temps de la surveillance publique par caméras : un tramway circule lentement sur la rue Market à San Francisco en 1905 ou 1906*, avec une caméra installée à l’avant du véhicule. Produit par des cinéastes locaux, les frères Miles, le film semble montrer la vie urbaine de l’époque sans trop l’embellir. Les commentaires des archivistes de la Bibliothèque du Congrès, qui ont restauré le film il y a près de 40 ans, indiquent que certaines séquences semblent mises en scène : « […] un examen attentif du trafic montre que presque toutes les autos aperçues tournent autour de la caméra, c’est à dire du tramway, plusieurs fois (10 fois dans un cas). La circulation a apparemment été mise en scène par le producteur pour donner l’impression que la rue Market est un boulevard moderne prospère où circulent un grand nombre d’ automobiles […]. » Malgré tout, le comportement des nombreux piétons nous donne une idée des premières réactions à la présence d’une caméra en public.
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Hacker exposes 40,000 Credit Cards from Digital Playground Hacker exposes 40,000 Credit Cards from Digital Playground A new hacking group called The Consortium has hit the scene and their first take down is the porn site Digital Playground deface it and Mirror is available here. Everything, including credit card information, was stored in plain text. "The Consortium" claim to have broken into the servers of DigitalPlayground.com last weekend and stolen 72,000 usernames and passwords and 40,000 credit-card numbers. In addition to the theft of credit card numbers, the hackers also claim that they made off with the personal information of 72,000 other users. The Consortium, which claims affiliation to hacktivist group Anonymous, claims the Digital playground site was so riddled with security holes that it acted as a irresistable target. All of the 100 user passwords given as examples were in plaintext, not encrypted as security best practices demand.
On Facebook Apps Leaking User Identities The Wall Street Journal today reports that many Facebook applications are handing over user information—specifically, Facebook IDs—to online advertisers. Since a Facebook ID can easily be linked to a user’s real name, third party advertisers and their downstream partners can learn the names of people who load their advertisement from those leaky apps. This reportedly happens on all ten of Facebook’s most popular apps and many others. The Journal article provides few technical details behind what they found, so here’s a bit more about what I think they’re reporting. The content of a Facebook application, for example FarmVille, is loaded within an iframe on the Facebook page. The content loaded by farmville.com in the iframe contains the game alongside third party advertisements. And there’s the issue. Facebook policy prohibits application developers from passing this information to advertising networks and other third parties.