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

Computers at the I.R.S. Allowed Employees to use Weak Passwords Like “password”

No wonder they got hacked! One report detailed 7,329 “potential vulnerabilities” at the I.R.S. because software patches had not been installed. Auditors at the Department of Education, which stores information from millions of student loan applicants, were able to connect “rogue” computers and hardware to the network without being noticed. And at the Securities and Exchange Commission, part of the network had no firewall or intrusion protection for months. Details […]

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Privacy Needs to Be the Default, Not an Option

Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin HAS a wake-up call for the world’s digital citizens: Beware of the tech giants lurking behind your screens and keyboards. Falque-Pierrotin—current head of France’s CNIL (National Commission on Informatics and Liberty) and the “Article 29 Working Party,” a group of European Union data-protection advocates—believes we are sleepily handing over personal data in droves without truly understanding the consequences. Comprehensive privacy protection should be an enforced requirement, she argues, […]

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Do You Use Facebook or Google to Log Into Other Sites? You May Want to Rethink That.

A security researcher recently discovered a vulnerability in the Login with Facebook feature found on many thousands of sites. Similarly, a bug within the Google App domain name interface exposed hundreds of thousands of individuals private data to the public. If you use either of these features to log into web sites, you need to read How Facebook & Google Website Logins Can Lead To Data Theft by Gavin Phillips […]

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Rand Paul Claims “Big Victory” for Privacy

Sen. Rand Paul on Monday hailed a “big victory for privacy” in his fight against the National Security Agency’s bulk data collection program after key provisions of the post-9/11 Patriot Act lapsed late Sunday. “Actually, I think we’re winning,” the Kentucky Republican said on Fox News when asked if the legislative fight was over for the moment. “The president will be rebuked and the president will no longer be able […]

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The Hola “VPN” is actually a Botnet

Users of the virtual private network Hola got more than they bargained for when they signed up for accounts. When they enrolled in the popular free Israel-based VPN service—presumably to conceal their IP addresses to circumvent Internet restrictions abroad, or to evade eavesdroppers—they actually inadvertently enlisted their devices in a robot army. In effect, using Hola INCREASES security problems instead of decreasing problems. Details may be found at

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Germany Sues E-Commerce Sites for Sharing Data with Facebook

Germany’s consumer watchdog has sued two e-commerce companies for using the “Like” button on their websites because, the Wall Street Journal reports, the sites didn’t warn visitors that their personal data would be shared with Facebook. The state-backed Consumer Advice Center of North Rhine-Westphalia alleged that the transfer of user data infringed German privacy laws because visitors to the sites were not told that their personal information was being sent […]

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