22 States Ask US Appeals Court To Reinstate Net Neutrality Rules

A group of 22 state attorneys general and the District of Columbia late Monday asked a U.S. appeals court to reinstate the Obama administration’s 2015 landmark net neutrality rules and reject the Trump administration’s onerous efforts to preempt states from imposing their own rules guaranteeing an open internet. The states argue the FCC reversal will harm consumers. The states also suggested the FCC failed to identify any “valid authority” for preempting state and local laws that would protect net neutrality. The FCC failed to offer a “meaningful defense of its decision to uncritically accept industry promises that are untethered to any enforcement mechanism,” the states said.

The state attorney generals suing represent states with 165 million people — more than half the United States population — and include California, Illinois, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Virginia. The states argue the FCC action could harm public safety, citing electrical grids as an example. They argue “the absence of open internet rules jeopardizes the ability to reduce load in times of extreme energy grid stress. Consequently, the order threatens the reliability of the electric grid.”

You can read more in the Reuters News Agency web site at: https://tinyurl.com/y8a5vqyq.

U.S. Government Reportedly Wants to Wiretap Facebook Messenger

According to an exclusive report from Reuters, Facebook may be about to receive one of its stiffest challenges yet from the U.S. government. The U.S. government is trying to force Facebook Inc. to break the encryption in its popular Messenger app so law enforcement may listen to a suspect’s voice conversations in a criminal probe, three people briefed on the case said, resurrecting the issue of whether companies can be compelled to alter their products to enable surveillance. Such a mandate would be a clear violation of the company’s and the customers’ First Amendment speech and expression rights.

The encrypted text messaging and voice conversation applications, such as Facebook Messenger, Signal, WhatsApp, and others are so secure that even the employees of the producing company cannot wiretap the conversations and listen in. These highly secure, end-to-end encrypted, communications go directly from one user to another user without revealing anything intelligible to providers or to anyone who wiretaps the conversations.

The U.S. Government reportedly wants to change that, despite the fact that such an order appears to be unconstitutional.

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Australians Who Won’t Unlock Their Phones Could Face 10 Years In Jail

Big Brother is alive and well and living in Australia. The Australian government wants to force companies to help it get at suspected criminals’ data. If they can’t, it would jail people for up to 10 years(!) if they refuse to unlock their phones.

The government’s explanatory note says that the Bill could force a manufacturer to hand over detailed specs of a device, install government software on all cell phones (before the phone is sold to a customer), help agencies develop their own “systems and capabilities”, and notify agencies of major changes to their systems.

You can read more about the Australian government’s proposed legislation at: http://bit.ly/2MqWTlV.

Gmail For Mobile Gets Confidential Mode but That’s Not Enough

If you use Gmail’s mobile app on your cell phone or tablet, you may soon notice changes that will be of interest to anyone interested in personal privacy. It lets users put a self-destruct mechanism to conversations to “protect sensitive information from unauthorized access.”

With Confidential Mode, users can set an expiration date to all emails, similar to a Snapchat message, and they can also revoke access to a confidential email at any time. The recipient can’t copy, forward, print, or download an email that’s marked as confidential, although there’s no preventing them from taking screenshots.

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Facebook must be Broken Up and Face Strict Privacy Controls, Coalition Urges FTC

A coalition of organizations is planning to ask the Federal Trade Commission to break up Facebook in order to restore control to its 2 billion users and prevent further abuses of privacy.

Freedom from Facebook, which has decried the tech giant’s mishandling of user data during the Cambridge Analytica scandal, says that Mark Zuckerberg’s company is likely in violation of a 2011 consent decree it signed with the FTC.

The FTC is currently examining whether the tech behemoth did, in fact, violate the 2011 consent decree. If the commission finds that it did, Facebook could be facing fines in the trillions of dollars that would likely bankrupt the company.

Details may be found at https://fxn.ws/2Mnx8TC.

The Cajun Navy Deploys Modern Technology to Assist a Louisiana Family

I have written before about the Zello app and its use by the Cajun Navy. You can see my earlier article, The Zello App Can Help Save Lives During Major Storms and Has Many Others Uses Also, at http://bit.ly/2Ej5vlB. Now Todd Terrell, Admiral of the United Cajun Navy and head of the non-profit organization bearing the same name, was recently called to action when a 32-year-old woman from his hometown of Baton Rouge disappeared in Lake Pontchartrain off the coast of New Orleans.

The story did not have a happy ending but nonetheless proved the worth of the communications app Zello and of non-profit search-and-rescue organizations, such as the Cajun Navy. You might want to read my earlier article at http://bit.ly/2Ej5vlB and then read the latest update at: http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/3895794.

Tutanota’s Open Source Email App Now Available on F-Droid

TutaNota is a secure email service that focuses on security and privacy. Tutanota’s encrypted open source email app recently became available on F-Droid, making it the go-to secure email service that enables everybody to stop using Google. To date, no other email service has published their Android app on F-Droid, the number one platform for free and open source apps.

NOTE: F-Droid is an installable catalogue of FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) applications for the Android platform. The client makes it easy to browse, install, and keep track of updates on your device. Since the applications are available on F-Droid, not on Google’s Play Store, they are not constrained by Google’s privacy-invasive policies. The main repository, hosted by the project, contains only free libre software apps. In addition, the source code is also available for all the applications available via F-Droid. The result is that anyone can examine the source code to verify there are no viruses or other malware (malevolent software) embedded in the apps.

With the app release on F-Droid, Tutanota now proves that it is possible to build a secure email service that is completely Google-free, giving people a real open source alternative to the data-hungry market leader Gmail. So far, Tutanota’s open source email service is the first Android app to get rid of Google and Google’s tracking mechanisms.

You can learn more in TutaNota’s blog at https://tutanota.com/blog/posts/open-source-email.