Turkey passes new laws to enable rapid Internet censorship.

Turkey Rubber StampTurkey passed legislation to allow the government to censor access to websites within four hours of receiving an allegation of privacy violations. WSJ Article behind paywall.  CNET Article

The law also requires web hosts to store all traffic information for two years. While the putative purpose of the legislation is privacy protection, it is widely assumed that this is an attempt to grab more control of the Internet, which has been repeatedly blasted by the Turkish government reporting on government corruption and graft.

As usual with these attempts at censorship, interested citizens can generally get around them. VPNs like Anonymizer Universal allow anyone to punch a hole through the national censorship firewalls to access any content.

I would be very interested to hear about efforts to block tools like Anonymizer in countries enforcing Internet censorship, like Turkey and the UK. Blocking of circumvention tools is already well documented in both China and Iran, and has been seen sporadically in many other countries.

Lance Cottrell is the Founder and Chief Scientist of Anonymizer. Follow me on Facebook and Google+.

The Privacy Blog

Christian Science Monitor: Privacy concerns? What Google now says it can do with your data (+video)

The Christian Science Monitor considers the issue of privacy and Internet services giant Google: Against a backdrop of growing privacy concerns, with every week bringing revelations of data breaches at government or corporate websites, online search behemoth Google quietly updated its terms of service Monday, spelling out just how much personal data it mines as […]
Privacy Lives

TechCrunch: HP Finds Mobile Tax Apps Lacking On Security, Privacy

TechCrunch reports on security and privacy problems with some mobile tax apps: As the clock ticks toward midnight, putting an end to tax day 2014, Hewlett-Packard is warning consumers of mobile tax and finance apps that they may want to audit their own usage. According to the HP Audit, more than 90 percent of the applications the […]
Privacy Lives

A novel use for Anonymizer Universal

AU screenshot

INFO: Maintaining a connection on the Verizon Novatel MIFI 4510L | Kurt Shintaku’s Blog

The linked blog is from last year, but just came to my attention. It discusses a use for Anonymizer Universal that I had not thought about before.

The author’s problem was that his MiFi mobile hotspot kept dropping the connection any time it was idle for more than a short time.

His solution was to enable the Anonymizer Universal VPN, which then generates frequent “keep alive” traffic to maintain the VPN connection, and at the same time keeps the MiFi awake.

Very cool.

Lance Cottrell is the Founder and Chief Scientist of Anonymizer. Follow me on Facebook and Google+.

The Privacy Blog

Center for Investigative Reporting and KQED: Hollywood-style surveillance technology inches closer to reality

The Center for Investigative Reporting and KQED looked into emerging surveillance technologies that could have a significant impact on the privacy rights of individuals: [Ross McNutt] and his Ohio-based company, Persistent Surveillance Systems, persuaded the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to use his surveillance technology to monitor Compton’s streets from the air and track suspects […]
Privacy Lives

DHS Releases First Annual Privacy and Civil Liberties Assessment Report

The Department of Homeland Security’s Privacy Office has released its first annual “Privacy and Civil Liberties Assessment Report” (DHS pdf; archive pdf). The office said, “Executive Order 13636, Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity, requires that senior agency officials for privacy and civil liberties assess the privacy and civil liberties impacts of the activities their respective departments and agencies […]
Privacy Lives

Fighting PNG corruption and social media gags with … outspoken blogs

Graphic: shutterstock.com

THE BLOGGING war is hotting up in Papua New Guinea – just when things are getting riskier with draconian proposals over cybercrime law on the horizon. The state target for Prime Minister Peter O’Neill’s government appears to be social media. Trample on any possible dissent.

O’Neill is seen as a proxy for Canberra’s strategic interests in the region. As PNGexposed
Café Pacific – David Robie | Media freedom and transparency

Center for Public Integrity’s Dark Journalism

Occasionally, I go onto job boards to see what’s out there in the job market.  In one of those searches last fall, I stumbled across this – an opening at the Center for Public Integrity for a “Politics of Broadband” reporter:

CPI Allan Holmes

The CPI is a self-appointed watchdog that takes its main support from progressive advocacy foundations such as Ford, MacArthur, Knight, Open Society (Soros) and Park, among others. These groups fund CPI not for journalism, per se, but for outright special interest advocacy to shape public policy and tool Americans.

By painting a patina of “disinterested journalism” on top of its reporting, CPI can launder “truths” into the information spin cycle, where they get picked up by news agencies for broad, uncritical consumption and acceptance by an unwitting public.

The abovementioned job description is telling.  Using the “tools of investigative journalism,” the ideal candidate will focus on the political influence of “mainly of the nation’s largest cable and telecommunications companies,” and report from a “public interest rather than an industry perspective.”

Hmmm.  Looks like CPI was looking for someone with a preordained point of view – one who automatically paints some types of lobbying (i.e., that of the largest cable and telecommunications companies) as contrary to the First Amendment; sees large corporations (such as the largest cable and telecommunications companies) as repugnant to Democracy; and favors the “public interest,” whatever the heck that is, as the lone shepherd of all that is good, fair and right.

Do such closed-minded individuals really exist?  Answer: Yes – just look at the mainstream media.  It’s larded with those types of people.

Anyway, on December 2nd last year CPI hired Allan Holmes, a “veteran” reporter, for the position.  He’s been busy of late, writing stories that fulfill the myopic job description well.  Biased stories, cleverly painted to look like acts of real journalism.

Make no mistake about it, though, Holmes’ work is “dark journalism,” the very opposite of disinterest and objectivity.  No truth can escape this black hole other than what the foundation supporters want and pay for.  Consequently, a “journalist” working in this milieu is no more than a press secretary, writing press releases for the special interests which pay him.

It’s mercenary work – but don’t call it journalism.

More to come…

Media Freedom

Border ‘butchers’, absentee poll reps and West Papua’s growing strife

A West Papuan in handcuffs at a recent “Free West Papuans” rally in Auckland. Photo: Del Abcede/PMC

THE INDONESIAN parliamentary elections this week were disappointing on a number of fronts, especially for presidential frontrunner Jakarta Governor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo. His Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) which gained just 19 percent of the vote, was far less than the expected 25 percent.
Café Pacific – David Robie | Media freedom and transparency

Do sanctions prevent dissidents from accessing secure communications tools?

Stomp by boot

US Tech Sanctions In Sudan Are Empowering The Regime, Tamping Down Opposition | Techdirt

This article makes an interesting argument that sanctions against repressive regimes, particularly sanctions that block providing communications and security technologies to end users, harm dissidents more than they do the repressive regimes they are designed to target.

In particular, companies are unable to provide cryptography and anonymity tools to the people who really need them.

Lance Cottrell is the Founder and Chief Scientist of Anonymizer. Follow me on Facebook and Google+.

The Privacy Blog