The Environmental Protection Agency is Being Sued for Using Encrypted Messages

The conservative group Judicial Watch is suing the Environmental Protection Agency under the Freedom of Information Act, seeking to compel the EPA to hand over any employee communications sent via Signal, the encrypted messaging and calling app. In its public statement about the lawsuit, Judicial Watch points to reports that EPA staffers have used Signal to communicate secretly, in the face of an adversarial Trump administration.

But encryption and forensics experts say Judicial Watch may have picked a tough fight. Delete Signal’s texts, or the app itself, and virtually no trace of the conversation remains. “The messages are pretty much gone,” says Johns Hopkins crypotgrapher Matthew Green, who has closely followed the development of secure messaging tools. “You can’t prove something was there when there’s nothing there.”

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How to Obtain True Online Private Web Browsing Despite Trump’s Recent Repeal of US Broadband Privacy Rules

I assume you do not want your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to snoop on your online activities and then to sell your web surfing information to commercial companies. Your data should be valuable, private, and most important, it’s yours. You should be the owner of your data and no one else, especially not a commercial company interested in selling your private data, should have access to your data.

Luckily, there are easy ways to block the snooping. I have already written about using a Virtual Private Network (see https://privacyblog.com/?s=vpn for my articles). However, that may require a bit more technical knowledge that may scare away computer novices.

A second solution is to use the Tor web browser and networking package. See https://www.torproject.org/ for details. Tor is a well-known and reliable privacy solution. However, Tor does slow your network connections significantly and does require a bit of technical knowledge to use it effectively.

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Canada’s RCMP National Police Force Reveals Use of Secretive Cellphone Surveillance Technology

The RCMP for the first time is publicly confirming it uses cellphone surveillance devices in investigations across Canada — but at the same time says the potential of unauthorized snooping in Ottawa, as reported by CBC News, poses a threat to national security.

Details may be found in an article by Dave Seglins, Matthew Braga, and Catherine Cullen in the CBC News web site at: http://bit.ly/2o9h761.

Trump Administration Considers Far-Reaching Steps for ‘Extreme Vetting’

Big Brother is getting bigger. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, visitors from other countries visiting the U.S. could be forced to reveal their mobile phone contacts, social media passwords and financial data. Travelers who want to enter the U.S. could even face questioning over their ideology.

You can read the article at http://on.wsj.com/2nIEaSo although a Wall Street Journal subscription is required.

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Bill Would Stop Warrantless Border Device Searches of US Citizens

Senators Ron Wyden and Rand Paul as well as Reps. Jared Polis and Blake Farenthold have introduced legislation that would require law enforcement to first obtain a warrant before they can search our electronic devices when we enter the United States.

“Americans’ constitutional rights shouldn’t disappear at the border,” Wyden said in a statement. “By requiring a warrant to search Americans’ devices and prohibiting unreasonable delay, this bill makes sure that border agents are focused on criminals and terrorists instead of wasting their time thumbing through innocent Americans’ personal photos and other data.”

Details may be found on CNN at http://cnn.it/2oFrQ63.

Trump Signs Repeal of US Broadband Privacy Rules

As expected, Donald Trump has signed a bill that invades your online privacy. On Monday, Trump signed a repeal of Obama-era broadband privacy rules, a victory for internet service providers and a blow to privacy advocates.

Internet service providers are expected to earn an extra $35 billion to $70 billion per year because of this act. Consumers get shafted.

Read the sad details at http://cnb.cx/2oFbD0G.

Luckily, most of the privacy invasion can be blocked simply by using a good VPN (Virtual Private Network) all the time when online.

Minnesota Senate Votes To Bar Selling ISP Data

Hooray for Minnesota! At least a few legislators possess Common Sense.

The Minnesota Senate on Wednesday voted to bar internet service providers from selling their users’ personal data without express written consent. The move was a reaction to a Tuesday vote in Congress to lift a ban on that practice imposed in 2016 by the Federal Communication Commission. (A brief history of the problem can be found here.)

Details may be found in an article by David Montgomery in the Twin Cities Pioneer Press web site at: http://bit.ly/2nneWYO.