Hurricanes and Your Personal Data

The recent Hurricane Harvey, the present Hurricane Irma, and Hurricane Jose presently in tropical waters that might head northward all bring to mind questions, such as “How do I protect my personal belongings and information?”

I cannot speak to protecting belongings. However, procedures are well known and can be used to protect your family documents, insurance policies, photographs, and much more of the paper we all accumulate.

Many of the people who live through hurricanes will lose all paper documentation of their existence. Some cannot even not prove they ever lived. This is where going paperless can help.

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More on the Equifax Data Breach

This is an update to the brief article I published last week at: http://bit.ly/2wTe9VF.

Equifax, which supplies credit information and other information services, said Thursday that a data breach could have potentially affected 143 million consumers in the United States. Literally over one third of the entire US population is at risk of identity theft now thanks to Equifax’s bungling. In reality, it will only affect adults as children normally do not have credit cards. 143 million is roughly half of all American adults.

The data breach obviously was criminal. What is perhaps even more criminal is that this is the third such data breach at Equifax in 16 months and yet the senior executives at Equifax continue to keep their data in unencrypted databases that are available to hackers! That’s beyond dumb!

In fact, it may be criminal.

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When Visiting Political, Religious, Sexual, Drug-Related, or other Controversial Web Sites, Always Use a VPN

This is a bit of a follow-up to the previous article, Trump Administration Demands Data on over a Million Visitors to anti-Trump Site.

The Trump administration is demanding web host provider Dreamhost turn over the logs of over 1.3 million visitors to an anti-Trump website it hosts, the company has revealed. The demand asks for the IP addresses and other information that could be used to identify anyone who visited the site. “The request from the DOJ demands that DreamHost hand over 1.3 million visitor IP addresses — in addition to contact information, email content, and photos of thousands of people — in an effort to determine who simply visited the website,” the company said in its blog post. The warrant, DreamHost argues, would also require it to hand over any communications that are even tangentially related to the website.

Such a request has a chilling effect on the rights of free speech, the rights of association, and numerous other rights that Americans have enjoyed for more than 200 years.

The request probably is illegal and also displays an appalling ignorance of the technology involved. In short, the politicians apaprently are not aware that anyone who uses a VPN (virtual private network) or Tor networking has a hidden IP address.

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In Less Than Five Years, 44 Billion Cameras Will Be Watching Us

As jaw-dropping as that figure is, it doesn’t seem so crazy when you realize that today there are already about 14 billion cameras in the world, according to data from research firms such as Gartner. Next to phones, other camera-hungry products will include robots (including autonomous cars), security cameras, and smart home products like the new Amazon Echo Show, according to LDV Capital, a VC firm that invests in visual technologies such as computer vision.

Is there no privacy left? Read the article by LDV Capital at http://www.ldv.co/insights to learn more.

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5 Ways Your Security Is at Risk in the Office

Dan Price has written an article that I will suggest should be required reading for anyone who uses an employer’s computer(s). 5 Ways Your Security Is at Risk in the Office at http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/ways-security-at-risk-office outlines some risks you should be thinking about.

I especially agree with a recommendation near the end of the article: “don’t keep any personal data on your employer’s network.”

Again, the article is available at: http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/ways-security-at-risk-office.

Saturday is Data Privacy Day

dataprivacydayJanuary 28 is the yearly Data Privacy Day or Data Protection day. The purpose of this day is to raise awareness and promote privacy and data protection best practices and it is observed in the US, Canada, India and Europe. This day offers an opportunity to inform citizens about their rights with regards to their personal details as used by various governmental and private organizations.

Data Privacy Day’s educational initiative originally focused on raising awareness among businesses as well as users about the importance of protecting the privacy of their personal information online, particularly in the context of social networking. The educational focus has expanded over the past four years to include families, consumers and businesses.

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