Is the NSA surveillance program really about spying on environmentalists? At the Guardian, Nafeez Ahmed, executive director of the Institute for Policy Research & Development, has an idea about what might be driving the massive expansion of the NSA’s domestic surveillance program that we’ve learned so much about lately. It’s not concerns about religious fundamentalists who hate America. Instead, he suggests, the government is worried about environmental activism: But why have Western security agencies developed such an unprecedented capacity to spy on their own domestic populations? Since the 2008 economic crash, security agencies have increasingly spied on political activists, especially environmental groups, on behalf of corporate interests.
Good to Know – Google If you’re the tablet owner, touch Settings → Users → Add user or profile. Touch Restricted profile → New profile, then name the profile. Use the ON/OFF switches and settings to manage access to features, settings, and apps. Press the Power button to return to the lock screen, then touch the new profile icon. It’s official: Password strength meters aren’t security theater If you've ever been nagged about the weakness of your password while changing account credentials on Google, Facebook, or any number of other sites, you may have wondered: do these things actually make people choose stronger passcodes? A team of scientists has concluded that the meters do work—or at least they have the potential to do so, assuming they're set up correctly. The researchers—from the University of California at Berkeley, the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, and Microsoft—are among the first to test the effect that the ubiquitous password meters have on real users choosing passwords. They found that meters grading the strength of passwords had a measurable impact in helping users pick stronger passcodes that weren't used on other accounts. But the group also discovered these new, stronger passwords weren't any harder for users to remember than weaker ones.
» City Cites “International Code” in Effort to Evict Off-Grid Woman Alex Jones Florida resident who generates her own electricity targeted for not being dependent on the state Paul Joseph Watson Infowars.com December 18, 2013 After a Fox affiliate did a feature story on the off-grid lifestyle of a Cape Coral, FL woman she was almost immediately hit with an eviction order from the city which cited “international code” as a reason for turfing the woman out of her own home because she was not dependent on city water or electricity supplies. Just one day after the feature story about how Robin Speronis was living off’ grid by generating her own power via solar panels and collecting rainwater, city code enforcement officers visited her home to declare it unfit for human habitation. The code enforcers were able to make this determination despite not even venturing inside Speronis’ house.
You Lookin' At Me? Reflections on Google Glass. - Jan Chipchase - Voices There is but one remedy for the Glass wearer — a bucket of ice water in the face whenever you suspect he has taken you unawares With the public beta launch of Google Glass, there has been a lot of discussion on why it will or won’t fail. The ultimate benchmark for success is high: After someone has tried Glass, can they imagine life without it? It’s the wrong question. Glass is Google’s unintentional public service announcement on the future of privacy. Our traditional bogeyman for privacy was Big Brother and its physical manifestation — closed-circuit TV — but the reality today is closer to what I call Little Sister, and she is socially active, curious, sufficiently tech-savvy, growing up in the land of “free,” getting on with life and creating a digital exhaust that is there for the taking.
Lavabit is defunct – so what's a fan of secure email to do now? The (unencrypted) writing's on the wall ... Lavabit, the email service, has abruptly shut down. Photograph: Demotix/Alex Milan Tracy/Corbis What was Lavabit? It was an extremely secure email service, set up by a group of programmers in Texas in 2004. Are normal emails not secure? » Teleprompter Reader at Corporatist Network Floats Money for Nothing Idea Alex Jones Global economic elite are sworn to stealing and consolidating wealth, not spreading it around Kurt Nimmo Infowars.com December 18, 2013 Krystal Ball, reading badly from her MSNBC teleprompter, is pushing the latest socialist idea tantalizing folks who are clueless about economics and human nature. Ball cites an idea seriously under consideration in Switzerland. The Social Democrat initiative would provide all citizens with an unconditional basic income of 2,500 francs, or about $2,800, per month. “For some, this might sound like some sort of cockamamie socialist scheme to give more handouts,” writes Joe Baur.
Sweden’s data protection Authority bans Google cloud services over privacy concerns In a landmark ruling, Sweden’s data protection authority (the Swedish Data Inspection Board) this week issued a decision that prohibits the nation’s public sector bodies from using the cloud service Google Apps. A risk assessment by the Board determined that the contract gives Google too much covert discretion over how data can be used The ruling – which bans Google cloud products such as calendar services, email and data processing functions – is based on inadequacies in the Google contract. A risk assessment by the Board determined that the contract gives Google too much covert discretion over how data can be used, and that public sector customers are unable to ensure that data protection rights are protected.
City of London calls halt to smartphone tracking bins 12 August 2013Last updated at 08:41 ET By Joe Miller BBC News Advertisers can buy space on the bins' LCD screens The City of London Corporation has asked a company to stop using recycling bins to track the smartphones of passers-by. Renew London had fitted devices into 12 "pods", which feature LCD advertising screens, to collect footfall data by logging nearby phones. Chief executive Kaveh Memari said the company had "stopped all trials in the meantime". » Government Using NSA to Change Amount in Bank Accounts, Warns Panel Alex Jones Americans at risk of enforced Cyprus-style bail-in Paul Joseph Watson Infowars.com December 19, 2013 A White House review panel report into the activities of the NSA suggested that the government was using the spy agency to launch cyber attacks against financial institutions and change the amounts held in bank accounts.
Surveillance Blowback: The Making of the U.S. Surveillance State, 1898-2020 The American surveillance state is now an omnipresent reality, but its deep history is little known and its future little grasped. Edward Snowden’s leaked documents reveal that, in a post-9/11 state of war, the National Security Agency (NSA) was able to create a surveillance system that could secretly monitor the private communications of almost every American in the name of fighting foreign terrorists. The technology used is state of the art; the impulse, it turns out, is nothing new. For well over a century, what might be called “surveillance blowback” from America’s wars has ensured the creation of an ever more massive and omnipresent internal security and surveillance apparatus. Its future (though not ours) looks bright indeed. Photo: Nicolas Nova/cc/flickr
Unauthorised YouTube adverts exposed by security firm 14 August 2013Last updated at 09:25 ET Spider.io said an advert for Snickers was among those added to YouTube A London-based team of security researchers has exposed a scheme which inserted unauthorised adverts into Google's YouTube. Spider.io discovered two programmes which placed ads on YouTube's website when viewed by affected PCs. It said the plug-in had been promoted as tools to download videos from the service. It said some directed users to malware.