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.

Why You Need a Temporary Credit Card Number

This may not be a true privacy issue but it certainly is important for security and peace of mind. One of the things I detest about many web sites is that when you sign up for a subscription and pay with a credit card, the site automatically renews your subscription when it expires. Some web sites will automatically renew without even the courtesy of notifying you in advance. They keep […]

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Your Wireless Keyboard is a Security Risk

On the outside, the KeySweeper looks like a regular wall wart, but on the inside is an Arduino microcontroller that allows the KeySweeper to connect to nearby wireless keyboards and passively sniff, decrypt and log all of the keystrokes. These keystrokes can then be transmitted over the Internet by a wireless connection by using an optional GSM cell phone module, or stored on flash memory inside the device.

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Your Computer Knows You Better than Your Family, Friends or Spouse Will Ever Know You. It Has All Your Secrets

By studying just 10 “likes” on someone’s Facebook page, a computer can build a more accurate picture of a personality than a work colleague, Cambridge University researchers say. Examining 150 “likes”, it can be a better judge than a parent. At 300, they have more knowledge than a spouse. Lead author Wu Youyou said: “In future, computers could infer our psychological traits and react accordingly, leading to socially skilled machines.” […]

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Why You Want to Use Open Source Software

Software developed by corporations is usually the property of the company that produces it. Those companies usually keep the source code secret, considering it to be trade secrets. However, this proprietary software also means the producing company can easily insert malicious code or secretly collect information about the user and, even worse, allow others to see that information. One example is Skype, a company acquired by Microsoft. Recent documents released […]

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NSA Documents Show that the Agency can Grab All Skype Traffic

Skype used to have a reputation as a safe and secure voice communications tool. Sadly, that is no longer true. A National Security Agency document published this week by the German news magazine Der Spiegel from the trove provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden shows that the agency has full access to voice, video, text messaging, and file sharing from targeted individuals over Microsoft’s Skype service. The access, mandated […]

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Firefox Improves Privacy with History-Wiping ‘Forget’ Button and DuckDuckGo Search Support

Firefox version 33.1 adds a new button called “Forget,” which lets users wipe only their most recent browsing history and cookies. Users can choose to forget the last 5 minutes, 2 hours or 24 hours of activity, while preserving all history and cookies prior to that timeframe. Of course, Firefox has had a Private Browsing feature for some time that wipes all history and cookies once users close the private […]

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A Prescription Savings Card can Steal Your Private Information

I recently received an unsolicited piece of mail with membership cards and a letter welcoming me to “American Prescription Discounts.” In glowing terms, the letter states: “American Prescription Discounts was created to make prescription medications more affordable for everyone living in the United States. “To begin saving, present your card to the pharmacist the next time you fill a prescription medicine. You may see average savings of nearly 50% on […]

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