Germany Might Pass a Law Requiring Backdoors in Any Type of Modern Device

Thomas de Maizière, Germany’s Interior Minister, is preparing a bill that allows the government to mandate backdoors in encryption. says that police officers are having a hard time investigating cases because smart devices are warning owners before officers could do anything about it. The Minister cites the cases of smart cars that alert an owner as soon as the car is shaken, even a little bit. He says he’d like police to be able to intercept that warning and stop it when investigating a case.

However, privacy advocates say the text also contains wording that would allow the German state to intercept any traffic on the Internet, effectively setting up a surveillance state with full snooping powers over everyone’s online communications. Experts called for caution before approving the new law, which could easily be abused in its current state.

You can read more in an article by Catalin Cimpanu in the Bleeping Computer web site at: http://bit.ly/2kxSywt.

The Biggest Lies Expressed at the FCC’s Net Neutrality Meeting

FCC commissioners employed dubious information and curious logic before voting to repeal net neutrality rules. Over the objections of the commission’s two Democrats, the three Republican members, including Chair Ajit Pai, voted to overturn protections put in place in 2015—but not before fudging a few facts.

You can read more at: https://www.wired.com/story/the-biggest-whoppers-from-the-fccs-net-neutrality-meeting

The FCC Officially Votes to Kill Net Neutrality

Another victory for the Internet Service Providers and their paid lobbyists, throwing American consumers to the wolves: The FCC officially votes to kill net neutrality.

You can read the sad news in many web sites, including https://techcrunch.com/2017/12/14/the-fcc-officially-votes-to-kill-net-neutrality.

That article says, in part: “Despite overwhelming opposition from Congress, technical experts, advocacy organizations and, of course, the American people, the FCC has voted to eliminate 2015’s Open Internet Order and the net neutrality protections it established.

Yes, your Internet Service Provider probably will be spying on your online activities soon.

Find Out if Your VPN is Leaking Data with this Set of Tools

ExpressVPN has unveiled a suite of free online security tools that allow consumers to test if their VPN provider is leaking data. Leaks occur if a VPN fails at protecting a device’s DNS queries (despite the fact that the rest of the traffic is safe behind a VPN). This can result in ISPs or other third parties having access to the consumer’s browsing history or app usage, rendering a VPN essentially useless.

Using a VPN helps prevent hackers, ISPs, and others from viewing your personal data, compromising your online accounts, seeing what sites and apps you use, and tracking your activity across the web. However, leaks occur when a VPN application fails to fully secure a user’s traffic, sending some or all of it outside the secure tunnel.

The testing software from ExpressVPN is available free of charge.

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How You Can Protect Your Secrets with Encryption

News stories over the past few years about the unconstitutional actions of the National Security Agency (NSA) and other government agencies should serve as a wake-up call for all of us. Yes, there are many people and organizations trying to obtain information about you. From hackers in third-world countries, to companies trying to sell you products, to semi-secret agencies of the U.S. Government, it seems as if nearly everyone is trying to find information about you. Indeed, many people seem to have a phobia about storing their personal information on servers on the Internet.

What saddens me most of all is that the entire issue is so easily avoided: encrypt the information. When you leave your house, I suspect you lock the door. When you leave your automobile in a parking lot, you probably lock it up, too. The same should be true with your information. When you leave your information unattended, whether it is in your home when you are not present or someplace in the cloud, you should lock it up.

Simply put, encryption programs scramble data within the file or files that you specify so that no one else can access that data without the key that you keep. If anyone does manage to obtain a copy of your file, all they will see is something that looks similar to this:

lj,Rn’G9%$#ho\mG{njbhdmnRle=iuwHdwk|,mfmn~jJYle

Security is under your control at all times because you have the key and you decide who gets copies of that key. Encryption is easy to do, requiring only a few seconds, and (in many cases) it is free of charge.

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Ricochet: Anonymous Instant Messaging for Real Privacy

Instant messaging is a wonderful invention. It allows for real-time communication that is easy to use. There’s only one major problem: it isn’t private. While we don’t know the details, it appears that NSA, the FBI, repressive governments, and hackers all over the world are monitoring your instant messages. Luckily, there’s an easy-to-implement solution that offers real privacy.

Ricochet is an open source program for Windows, Macintosh, and Linux that uses the Tor network to reach your contacts without relying on messaging servers. It creates a hidden service, which is used to rendezvous with your contacts without revealing your location or IP address.

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