Signal, WhatsApp Co-Founder Launch ‘Open Source Privacy Technology’ Nonprofit

One of the first messaging services to offer end-to-end encryption for truly private conversations, Signal has largely been developed by a team that’s never grown larger than three full-time developers over the years it’s been around. Now, it’s getting a shot in the arm from the co-founder of a rival app.

Brian Acton, who built WhatsApp with Jan Koum into a $19 billion business and sold it to Facebook, is pouring $50 million into an initiative to support the ongoing development of Signal.

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23 Attorneys General Refile Challenge To FCC Net Neutrality Repeal

Despite overwhelming opposition from Congress, technical experts, advocacy organizations, and the American people, the FCC has voted by a 3 to 2 margin of the commissioners to eliminate 2015’s Open Internet Order and the net neutrality protections it established. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai gave a huge gift to his former employer, Verizon Communications, and other Internet Service Providers (ISPs) when he proposed to allow the the ISPs to spy on their customers’ online activities and then either use that information themselves or sell the information to the highest bidders. He managed to convince three of the five FCC commissioners to go along with the proposal and it became a fact this week. The new rules repeal the consumer protections put in place a few years ago that prohibited the online spying.

Consumers, privacy advocates, and many others have objected to the new rollback of consumer protection. Several states have recently enacted their own rules prohibiting prohibiting the online spying by ISPs within their own states. Now the Attorneys General from 22 states and the District of Columbia on Thursday refiled legal challenges intended to block the Trump administration’s repeal of landmark rules designed to ensure a free and open internet from taking effect.

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Tresorit’s Super Secure Online File Storage

NOTE: This is an update to an article I published in 2015. Tresorit recently made some major updates to the service and this article reflects those changes.

The big news in technology these days is “the cloud.” In fact, the cloud offers many different services but the most common one for consumers is file storage. Companies like Dropbox, Google Drive, SugarSync, OneDrive, and others provide off-site backup services and also allow users to access their own files on desktop, laptop, and tablet computers or even on cell phones. The file storage business has skyrocketed in the past few years as consumers have learned how useful such services can be.

Many consumers are reluctant to trust these services, however. Real and imagined security concerns have made many people slow to adopt file storage technology. Most of the concerns revolve around access to personal information by hackers as well as by government hackers and by anyone outside the government who wishes to steal personal information and identities. Experience has proven that any file storage service in the U.S. will quickly provide any and all personal information to any law enforcement officer who shows up at the company’s door with a court order. That willingness to share is a valid concern for anyone who values privacy.

One company solves the problem. That company’s product encrypts all data on the consumers computer BEFORE it is sent to the company’s servers. Nobody, not even the company’s own employees, can read your data. In addition, the company is based in Switzerland and has all of its servers in that country or in the European Union. Both Switzerland and the European Union have very strong laws about protecting the privacy of individuals. Swiss laws forbid the release of personal information to any government agency, not even to the Swiss government. A court order from a US court is useless in Switzerland and in the European Union when the data is stored on servers there.

That company has the strange name of Tresorit.

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Security 101: How To Keep Your Data Private, Step by Step

Got nothing to hide? Think again.

You may change your mind after reading this great article by Zack Whittaker in the ZDNet web site at http://www.Zdnet.Com/article/simple-security-step-by-step-guide/.

I will add one item to Whittaker’s statements about Signal, the popular cell phone app for encrypted messaging. Everything he wrote is correct but he neglected to mention that the app is only secure if both persons in the conversation are using Signal. If only one person uses Signal and exchanges text messages with non-Signal users, the texts sent and received are unencrypted and just as vulnerable to online spies and hackers as any other text messaging app.

I like Signal and use it often. You can download Signal here.


Facebook Loses Belgian Privacy Case, Faces Fine of up to $125 Million

A Belgian court threatened Facebook on Friday with a fine of up to 100 million euros (about $125 million US) if it continued to break privacy laws by tracking people on third-party websites. In a case brought by Belgium’s privacy watchdog, the court also ruled that Facebook had to delete all data it had gathered illegally on Belgian citizens, including people who were not Facebook users themselves.

The court finding was that Facebook “does not gain our consent to collect and store all this information.”

Details may be found at:

Don’t Respond to Texts You Receive From Facebook

Here’s another reason to stop using Facebook: If you get a text from Facebook, then you probably don’t want to respond —even if your response is something along the lines of “Stop texting me.” Beyond being an annoying, spammy, experience, it appears as though when you respond to those text messages with something like “STOP,” it doesn’t stop the messages and instead posts your frustrated request onto your timeline.

Details, and a suggestion for curing the problem, may be found in a short article by Emily Price in the LifeHacker web site at: