Your Facebook Friends could be Leaving You Vulnerable to Major Privacy Invasions

You read the news about Cambridge Analytica and all the other shady companies and decided to stop using Facebook? That’s a good idea but you are still vulnerable to Facebook stealing and misusing your private information.

If any of your friends or relatives were less careful, you could have ended up with Cambridge Analytica collecting private information like your phone number, who your family members are, all the places you or your friends or family have “checked in,” and which groups they’ve joined — including those whose very names and subjects might reveal private information, such as support groups for health conditions.

And really, who can trust that none of their hundreds of friends is careless?

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Communities in Scotland Adopt Zello for Residents to Use for Emergency Situations

This is a follow-up to my recent article about Zello at http://bit.ly/2Ej5vlB. Perhaps your community needs a similar plan?

Largs, Fairlie and Skelmorlie can suffer gale force winds in the winter and the roads are often affected by flooding or heavy snow. A new project by the town’s community resilience team plans to improve communications with the public during adverse weather conditions, such as the recent Beast from the East storm which cut off certain areas of the town.

The new Zello app would run in the background of people’s mobiles. It provides communications amongst residents of the towns along with highway maintenance personnel and emergency responders.

Zello is free to download for iPhone and Android. Once installed, users can search and add the following channels: Largs Community Information, Largs Community Chat 1, Largs Community Chat 2.

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Is It Time To Stop Using Social Media?

Bulk data collection isn’t the work of a couple of bad apples. Corporate social media is largely predicated on stockpiling and mining user information. As Zuckerberg explained to lawmakers, it’s their business model…

While Zuckerberg has offered public apologias, spurring genuine regulation will probably be left to the public. Having said that, confronting an economic sector which makes up one of the country’s largest political lobbying blocks might not be a tenable path in the short term.

The best immediate option for netizens may be to opt out of social media entirely.

You can read more in an article by Bill Blunden in the CounterPunch.org web site at http://bit.ly/2qy6sSR.

ZeroNet: a Better (?) and More Private Version of the Internet

A new technology is emerging that will allow individuals to use their computers to access and deliver information without fear of censorship, government-mandated blockages, or other threats to individual liberties.

ZeroNet is a decentralized web-like network of peer-to-peer users. The software involved is fully open source, and relies on a private key system, similar to bitcoin, instead of the traditional IP address based internet. In ZeroNet, there is no need for web servers. No big corporation (Google, Facebook, AT&T, Verizon, etc.) can control access to information. No government agency can order Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block access to certain web sites simply because the technology doesn’t allow for blocking web sites. In fact, there are no web sites! Repressive governments (including China, Russia, the Arab countries, the United States of America, and others) will not be able to decide what their citizens may or may not see.

In fact, these same repressive governments cannot block their citizens from publishing information or from carrying on e-commerce as they wish. The reality is that all users of ZeroNet will be free from censorship and the various regulatory bodies cannot trace the ZeroNet site owners or users. The ZeroNet’s web publishers will instead depend upon decentralized bodies to trust the integrity of the publisher(s).

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Russian Court Blocks Popular Messaging App Telegram in Still Another Privacy Row

First it was Zello, a walkie-talkie emulation app for smartphones. Now a Russian court has ordered that a popular text messaging app be blocked for the same reasons.

A Russian court on Friday ordered the blocking of a popular messaging app, Telegram, after it rejected to share its encryption data with authorities. The Moscow court on Friday ruled in favor of the Russian communications watchdog, which had demanded that Telegram be blocked in Russia until it hands over the keys to its encryption.

Russian authorities insist they need access to the encryption keys to investigate serious crimes, including terrorist attacks.

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Cops Around the Country Can Now Unlock Apple iPhones

Law enforcement agencies across the country have purchased GrayKey, a relatively cheap tool for bypassing the encryption on iPhones, while the FBI pushes again for encryption backdoors, Motherboard reported (at http://bit.ly/2JJygfg) on Thursday. From the report:

FBI Director Christopher Wray recently said that law enforcement agencies are ‘increasingly unable to access’ evidence stored on encrypted devices.

Wray is not telling the whole truth.

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Russia Blocks 500+ IPs & Domains, Fails to Shutdown the Encrypted Zello Voice Chat App

This is a follow-up to two different articles I published recently:

The Zello App Can Help Save Lives During Major Storms and Has Many Other Uses Also at http://bit.ly/2Ej5vlB

The Russian Government wants to Block Zello, But Can It Really Do that? at http://bit.ly/2qsKmR8

Indeed, the Russian government wants to block all usage of Zello. It seems that Zello is another example of the type of secure communications service which the Russian regime is determined to stop its people from using. While the software has been used for humanitarian causes, it also has reportedly been used by workers coordinating strikes and even terrorist groups. The same can be said of any communications system, of course, but since Zello is end-to-end encrypted, the authorities want the ability to listen in.

The Russian government published an edict requiring all Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the country to block 15 million IP addresses known to be used by Zello and its users. The blocks are now in place but appear to have little effect on Russian users of the Zello app. Apparently, VPNs (virtual private networks) are being used and IP addresses often can be changed multiple times per day, possibly every per hour.

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