Privacy Blog

"Friends don’t let friends get spied on.' – Richard Stallman, President of the Free Software Foundation and longtime advocate of privacy in technology.

Online Privacy & Security

Whatsapp Enables End-to-End Encryption for Hundreds of Millions of Users

On Tuesday, Whatsapp announced that it’s implementing end-to-end encryption, an upgrade to its privacy protections that makes it nearly impossible for anyone to read users’ messages—even the company itself. Whatsapp will integrate the open-source software Textsecure, created by privacy-focused non-profit Open Whisper Systems, which scrambles messages with a cryptographic key that only the user can access and never leaves his or her device. The result is practically uncrackable encryption for […]

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Twitter’s Entire Archive of Public Tweets is now Indexed and Searchable

Twitter has announced via its engineering blog that it’s making its entire public tweet archive searchable to everyone. Previously it had only made the archive accessible to select partners. Twitter’s search engine will index roughly half a trillion tweets, including every public Tweet since 2006. The move means historic tweets will now be accessible to everyone through Twitter’s public search. You can read the details in Twitter’s Engineering Blog at […]

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AT&T Stops Using ‘Perma-Cookies’ to Track Customer Web Activity

In late October, researchers discovered that AT&T and Verizon had been engaging in some unsavory customer tracking methods, using unique identifying numbers or “perma-cookies” to track the websites that customers visited on their cellular devices to deliver target advertisements. See my earlier article at for details. Following significant negative attention from the media, AT&T has now told the Associated Press that it is no longer injecting the hidden web […]

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How to Find a Lot of Personal Information about Anyone

Subtitle: How Anyone can Find a Lot of Personal Information about You Numerous online sites have been available for years that sell personal information about you or about anyone else in the United States. However, one site seems to take this “service” to new heights: The service isn’t free, but it is low-cost. The service is available to anyone with a credit card and an Internet connection. Instant Checkmate […]

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Why Are We Still Using Social Security Numbers to Identify Ourselves?

Writing in the CNN Money web site, Jose Pagliery asks the question, “Why are we still using Social Security numbers to identify ourselves?” Good question. However, I think Pagliery overlooked the reality of those numbers. Hackers have stolen more than 6.5 million Social Security numbers so far this year, according to a different report on CNN Money. The biggest hacks included the 750,000 that were exposed with the recent U.S. Postal […]

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The Easy Way to Store Backups on Multiple Online Services

I admit that that I am a backup fanatic. I will suggest that having backups of your important data can be a lifesaver. I believe that everyone should have a MINIMUM of three copies of every digital file that is important: the original file stored in the computer’s hard drive, plus a copy of that file stored on a backup device (hard drive, flashdrive, CD-ROM disk, or whatever you choose) […]

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Mozilla Improves Privacy in the Firefox Web Browser

Firefox 1.0 was released ten years ago, on Nov. 9, 2004. At the time, Microsoft’s web browser, called Internet Explorer, dominated the marketplace despite its many security holes. Firefox was designed to be more secure, faster, and to not be encumbered by Microsoft’s advertising. Indeed, it has achieved all those aims and still continues to add new improvements. Johnathan Nightingale, vice president of Firefox, has made a number of new […]

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Windows Blamed for Home Depot Hack; Company Executives Get Macs

The Home Depot recently revealed that its systems had been hacked, leaving approximately 56 million customer credit cards and 53 million email addresses vulnerable to cybercriminals. The company says Microsoft’s Windows operating system is the problem. Apparently the hackers gained access to Home Depot’s supposedly secure servers because of the security vulnerabilities within Windows. The Home Depot has now reportedly switched many top-ranking employees to Macintosh computers and iPhones because […]

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