The Wolf That Guards the Door or Why Privacy Matters

The Tutanota Blog has published an interesting article:

On April 3, 2017, President Trump signed a bill which was designed to cut out all of the FCCs protective laws for consumer internet use in the US. This action effectively opened the floodgates for advertisers and increased the reach of government procurement on data generated by private citizens.

Unfortunately, in many other countries, the loss of privacy is already a common fact of life. With corporate giants and government entities finding new ways to spy on private citizens, there seems to be a dark void where peace and personal rights should be, leaving consumers the world over smiling nervously at their ISPs and wireless providers, like the proverbial sheep with the wolves that promise to guard them.

The article then goes on to detail:

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Always Keep Your Data on Foreign Servers

German news outlet Heise reported on the recommendation by computer magazine c’t to leave US clouds and keep data on European servers. An earlier analysis declared the USA ‘walling itself in’ after President Trump signed an executive order throwing heavy doubt on the successor of the data privacy protecting Safe Harbour agreement, Privacy Shield.

Then the magazine c’t hedges a bit and states, “Even European hosted solutions developed by American companies, like Telekom’s Microsoft Office 365, are far from safe with the last (Trump) executive order already shaking its foundations.”

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The Latest Dump of Alleged NSA Tools puts Millions of Windows Computers at Risk

Thanks to The Shadow Brokers, any hacker can now easily attack and take over millions of Windows computers on the Internet. Actually, the risk has existed for years although probably only the NSA knew about the majority of these weaknesses in the Windows operating system. However, with the latest release of all the previously confidential information by The Shadow Brokers, everyone now has access to the same hacking tools.

The systems affected include Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8 along with Windows Server versions NT, 2000, 2003, 2008 and up to 2012.

Microsoft says the company already has patched the majority of the exploits released by The Shadow Brokers. However, most of those “patches” require an upgrade to Windows 10. If you are using Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, or Windows 8, that isn’t such a simple “fix.” If you are using aversion of Windows older than Windows 10, hackers all over the world the tools can easily break into your computer and into millions of other older Windows computers.

Some security experts are recommending that Windows users, even those running Windows 10, should power off their computers right now and disconnect them from the Internet. Permanently. “It’s not safe to run an internet facing Windows box right now,” said a hacker who used to work in the US Department of Defense.

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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 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 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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Tim Berners-Lee calls Internet Privacy Rollback ‘Disgusting’

The inventor of the web isn’t happy about what’s happening to his baby. Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the world wide web, has hit out at lawmakers rolling back internet privacy laws in the US. Speaking to The Guardian after receiving the Turing award (often described as the Nobel Prize of computing), Berners-Lee said politicians’ attitude toward the internet was “really appalling” and that users were in danger.

Details may be found at:

It Happened: US Congress Votes to Eliminate ISP Privacy Rules

Your online privacy has been sold by your elected representatives in Washington.

The U.S. House of Representatives has just approved a “congressional disapproval” vote of privacy rules, which gives your ISP the right to sell your Internet history to the highest bidder. Congress has just given Big Cable an annual payday of between $35 billion and $70 billion. Of course, the “product” being sold is your personal information.

You can read the details and weep at:

When are YOUR elected representatives up for re-election?