ZDNet: Privacy outrage causes bank to ditch plans for targeted ads based on customers’ spending habits

ZDNet reports on a privacy controversy over a Dutch bank’s plans to use its customers’ payment histories for targeted behavioral advertising: Dutch bank ING has stepped back from plans to serve ads to its customers based on their banking habits. In an open letter to all ING customers published on Monday, the company’s chairman Nick Jue [...]
Privacy Lives

Washington Post: Official: Court’s sign-off for queries on Americans’ data would be impractical

The Washington Post reports on surveillance programs revealed by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, programs that have raised significant privacy and civil liberty questions:  A senior government lawyer said Wednesday that the high volume of searches that the National Security Agency makes of a database that holds Americans’ and foreigners’ communications would make [...]
Privacy Lives

Check your phone for evil Tor app


Fake Tor browser for iOS laced with adware, spyware, members warn | Ars Technica

There are a number of different Tor anonymity service apps in the Apple iOS app store. According to several people at Tor, one of them is unofficial and loaded with adware and spyware.

The bad one is “Tor Browser”. If you have it, you should un-install it immediately.

Apple has been requested to remove the app from the store, but no action has been taken so far.

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

The Privacy Blog

Australians, you need to start taking ownership of your own encryption

Australia computer mouseAttorney General’s new war on encrypted web services – Security – Technology – News – iTnews.com.au

Australia’s Attorney-General’s department is proposing that all providers of Internet services ensure that they can decrypt user communications when so ordered. Any services where the provider has the keys will obviously be able to do this.

Australians may want to start to start taking steps to protect themselves now.

End to end encryption is your friend. At least that way, you need to be informed and compelled if they want access to your data.

Another important step is to get your “in the clear” communications into another jurisdiction using a VPN service like Anonymizer Universal.

Finally, let your voice be heard on this issue by reaching out to your members of parliament.

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

The Privacy Blog

New York Times: Privacy in the War Without End

The New York Times considers the question of balancing privacy rights and national security: How should we think about balancing civil liberties and national security? It may depend on what a speech later this year tells us about how a modern war really ends. At the end of 2014, most of the United States military [...]
Privacy Lives

Lies, media integrity and the new digital environment

Review by David Robie

Stop Press: The Last Days of Newspapers, by Rachel Buchanan (Melbourne: Scribe, 2013)
The New Front Page: New Media and The Rise of the Audience, by Tim Dunlop (Melbourne: Scribe, 2013)

WHEN Rachel Buchanan penned a commissioned article entitled “From the classroom to the scrap heap” for The Age last September, she railed against Australian journalism schools, in
Café Pacific – David Robie | Media freedom and transparency

Apple SSL vulnerability

Cracked EncryptionEverybody has been talking about the Apple SSL vulnerability, but just in case you have missed it….

It turns out that for several years Safari has failed to properly check the cryptographic signatures on Server Key Exchanges allowing attackers to mount man in the middle attacks against your browser sessions. Anyone with the ability to intercept your traffic could read and modify the data to or from any secure website you visit (of course they can always do it with insecure websites). This would include any WiFi you are using, the local ISP, backbone ISPs, and government entities wherever you might be, or anywhere along the path yo the server you are trying to reach.

This vulnerability impacts both iOS as well as Mac OS X. You can test whether you are vulnerable here.

There is a patch already available for iOS so update your device now!

If you are on a Mac, switch to using some browser other than Safari. Chrome and Firefox are both safe from this particular attack.

If you are on Windows, Linux, BSD, or Android, you would appear to be safe.

The Privacy Blog


“Won’t be a traffic study” but traffic will be studied.”

We really do believe Mr. Speck says whatever pops into his head without forethought at all. ,000 is just another EASY pay check and some free beer to him.

Talk about a Conflict of Interest.

Why are they wasting ,000 of our money when there are “more important issues” that need dealt with?

A message to Mr. Warren Nash: How do you sleep at night?

Mr. Baylor if you want a walkable city, why don’t you just do us all a big favor – move and stop “bullying downtown business owners.”  Several businesses have told us, they put those stupid signs up just to shut you up!

Like the bible says: “the truth shall set you free.”

Mt. Gox bitcoin exchange appears to have failed, coins are missing.

Bitcoin Pile

The Mt. Gox Bitcoin Exchange Has Disappeared — Is Bankruptcy Next? | Re/code

Here is another example of he problem with storing your cash in an untrustworthy entity. Many Bitcoin services are based on having some third party store your coins for you.This has now lead to major thefts or losses of coins on a number of occasions. There is no insurance or mechanism for restitution to the people who have lost their coins. Reports suggest that 740,000 Bitcoin have gone missing. The precipitous loss of value on exchanges has also cause a further hit to the value of everyone’s coins

I strongly encourage Bitcoin users to follow one of the following strategies to protect themselves.

1) Only purchase Bitcoins immediately prior to use, and convert your coins back to a conventional currency in an insured bank account as quickly as possible after receiving them. This minimized your exposure to loss, theft, or market volatility.

2) Keep your Bitcoins securely stored in your own, ideally offline, wallet. Only allow third parties to have the minimum possible amount of coins for as short a time as possible.

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

The Privacy Blog

Why you need to double check your iPhone Bluetooth settings

iPhone control panelApple Keeps Turning Bluetooth On When You Update Your iPhone

Recent iOS updates have automatically re-enabled Bluetooth for many users who keep it turned off for battery conservation or privacy reasons.

The increasing use of iBeacons and other Bluetooth based tracking systems make this a bigger privacy worry than before. Tracking via Bluetooth is now a widely and actively used tool in retail and other areas.

Conspiracy theorists suggest that Apple is doing this intentionally to increase the usefulness of iBeacons to track people, and thus encourage their adoption. While this is an appealing idea, the jury is still out on this one.

If you are concerned about this kind of tracking, you can quickly disable Bluetooth in the control center on your iPhone by sweeping up from the bottom of just about any screen and tapping the Bluetooth button. It is fairly easy and convenient to keep Bluetooth turned off most of the time, and just enable it when you want to use a wireless headset or other Bluetooth device for a short while.

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

The Privacy Blog