Equifax Hack was Even Worse than Previous Estimates

“The 2017 hack of Equifax, already among the largest ever recorded, just got bigger. Well, they’re admitting that it was bigger than they had previously, which amounts to the same thing. Documents filed with the SEC reveal that more people, more IDs, and more info in general was stolen when the company utterly failed to protect its ‘users,’ many of which didn’t even know they were in the database.

“The company revealed various numbers around the time it disclosed the hack, though one it neglected to include was how many millions of dollars in stock were sold by executives before publicly disclosing it.”

You can read more in an article by Devin Coldewey in the TechCrunch web site at: https://tcrn.ch/2K3MnLO.

The Zello App Can Help Save Lives During Major Storms and Has Many Others Uses Also

NOTE: This article is off-topic: it has nothing to do with privacy. If you are looking for privacy articles, you might want to skip this one. However, it is something that I believe all cell phone users should be aware of. The online app called Zello could save your life. It is also a great way to communicate with groups of people, such as relatives or members of a search-and-rescue organization. I have been using Zello for non-critical communications for a couple of years now and would hate to be without it.

Zello converts your Android or Apple iOS or Blackberry cell phone or your Windows computer into a general-purpose walkie-talkie. It is sort of a high-tech replacement for CB radio except that Zello converts your cell phone into a free 2-way radio with worldwide range. I have used the free Zello app to talk with friends and relatives in North America free of toll charges while I was walking along the streets of Singapore as well as when I was in New Zealand. I have also used it to talk with communications hobbyists in South America and in the Sahara desert while I was driving in my automobile in Florida.

Zello also was recently used in the Houston area, New Orleans, all over Florida, Puerto Rico, and in other Caribbean islands during the recent hurricanes when wired telephones and emergency two-way radio towers (police, fire, ambulances, and others) were destroyed by the hurricanes. Cell towers also were sometimes knocked offline during the hurricanes but usually were the first communications systems to be restored to operation once the winds subsided.

Perhaps the greatest story of all was the use of Zello by the “Cajun Navy” during Hurricane Irma. According to Wikipedia:

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How to Fight Mass Surveillance even though Congress just Reauthorized It

Bruce Schneier is a security technologist and a lecturer at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He is also the Chief Technical Officer at IBM Resilient, a fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center, and a board member of EFF. Indeed, he is one of the leading experts in the field of computer security. He recently published an article in The Washington Post that describes the problems and the risks recently created when President Trump signed the renewal of Section 702, making domestic mass surveillance a permanent part of U.S. law. You can read his article at: http://wapo.st/2CnE7SD.

Voice RT: Perhaps the Biggest Threat Yet to Privacy

Ava Kofman wrote an interesting yet terrifying piece in The Intercept about Voice RT. You’ve probably never heard of Voice RT before because it’s been one of those things the U.S. Government does in secret; in this case, it was developing technology that can positively identify someone by the sound of their voice. Your telephone conversations are already being recorded. Now they are being de-anonymized.

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Is Your Rubbish Private or Open to the Public?

From the FARK.com web site: “Portland [Oregon]’s top officials say it’s OK for police to go through your garbage as it becomes ‘public property’ when you throw it out. Local rag decides to go through garbage of Portland’s top officials to see what they throw out. Hilarity ensues.”

That’s right. Portland, Oregon police, the mayor, and the district attorney all agreed that anyone who leaves trash on the curb waiting for the garbage truck to pick it up has given up all expectations of privacy for the contents of that trash. The claim is that anyone, including police, can legally examine someone else’s abandoned trash without permission and without a search warrant.

So a couple of local newspaper reporters, who obviously disagree, decided to turn the tables: they went through the trash left curbside by the mayor, the chief of police, and the local district attorney, all of whom have publicly stated that trash left curbside is not private.

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FBI Chief Calls Unbreakable Encryption ‘Urgent Public Safety Issue’

Depending upon your viewpoint and your own desire for personal privacy, you could say this story is good news or perhaps it is bad news. FBI Director Christopher Wray certainly thinks it is bad news. I think it is good news.

According to Director Wray, the FBI was unable to access data from nearly 7,800 devices in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30 with technical tools despite possessing proper legal authority to pry them open, a growing figure that impacts every area of the agency’s work, Wray said during a speech at a cyber security conference in New York. “This is an urgent public safety issue,” Wray added, while saying that a solution is “not so clear cut.”

You can read more about the FBI’s difficulties in spying on you in an article by Dustin Volz in the US News & World Report at: http://bit.ly/2AKfzlP.