Wozniak criticizes cloud dependence in light of NSA | CNET

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak says he has sympathy for companies at odds with the NSA and its surveillance tactics, but that their own dependence on server farms is part of the problem.

“I think most companies, just like Apple, start out young and idealistic,” Wozniak said at the Apps World North America convention here. “But now all these companies are going to the cloud. And with the cloud you don’t have any control.”

Ain’t that the god damn truth.


Open Automotive Alliance

If automakers abandon system updates as quickly as cellphone manufacturers do, this will mean vast numbers of cars on the road with always-connected built-in computers with an even larger number of remote execution vulnerabilities than currently exist.

It could also spell trouble down the road for car owners in a new way. As computing features such as navigation and automatic pilot begin to take over the driving experience, will forced obsolescence become the norm? Liability and cost of ownership could become enormous.


Encrypt the Web Report: Who’s Doing What | Electronic Frontier Foundation

We’ve asked the companies in our Who Has Your Back Program what they are doing to bolster encryption in light of the NSA’s unlawful surveillance of your communications. We’re pleased to see that four companies—Dropbox, Google, SpiderOak and Sonic.net—are implementing five out of five of our best practices for encryption.

Note these encryption methods relate to data in transit. Data at rest is still easily obtainable from the four providers on this chart who got perfect scores.

Your data will never be secure if you give it to other people. This is a basic concept.


With over 1 million users and 30PB synced, BitTorrent speeds up Sync, adds iPad support, and debuts an API | TheNextWeb

Back in April, BitTorrent launched its open alpha, after a select 20,000 users managed to sync over 200TB worth of files. When the public beta arrived in July, users had synced 8 petabytes of data using the tool.

This truly is a testament to the gullibility of users. This software hasn’t been vetted at all. “It’s decentralized and keeps your data private, we swear” is all the assurance you get. For over a million people to have bought that line hook line and sinker is really sad.

Don’t trust software that claims to protect your privacy unless it was developed publicly.

Zelizer: Don’t underestimate risks of spying | CNN Opinion

The United States is not alone in facing these risks. One of the reasons Germans have been so sensitive to the recent revelations is their own history of how surveillance has been used aggressively, and violently, to target their own citizens.

Even if the NSA officials play by the rules and regulate themselves, their ability to contain information that could be enormously damaging to the United States and to individual citizens is greatly diminishing in the current era. They no longer are in full control, whatever their intentions might be.

Good article. It goes on to wish for an insightful dialog in order to curb the NSA’s reach. I think that’s naïve to say the least.


Why Free Software Is More Important Now Than Ever Before | Wired Opinion | Wired.com

Much has changed since the beginning of the free software movement: Most people in advanced countries now own computers — sometimes called “phones” — and use the internet with them. Non-free software still makes the users surrender control over their computing to someone else, but now there is another way to lose it: Service as a Software Substitute, or SaaSS, which means letting someone else’s server do your own computing activities.

Both non-free software and SaaSS can spy on the user, shackle the user, and even attack the user. Malware is common in services and proprietary software products because the users don’t have control over them. That’s the fundamental issue: while non-free software and SaaSS are controlled by some other entity (typically a corporation or a state), free software is controlled by its users.

Why does this control matter? Because freedom means having control over your own life.



Google’s Gmail scanning unclear to users, judge finds | ITworld

“Google has cited no case that stands for the proposition that users who send emails impliedly consent to interceptions and use of their communications by third parties other than the intended recipient of the email,” Koh wrote.

Consumer Watchdog, a nonprofit consumer advocate group based in Washington, D.C., called Koh’s ruling a “tremendous victory for online privacy.”


Downloading Is Mean! Content Industry Drafts Anti-Piracy Curriculum for Elementary Schools | Electronic Frontier Foundation

“This thinly disguised corporate propaganda is inaccurate and inappropriate,” says Mitch Stoltz, an intellectual property attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, who reviewed the material at WIRED’s request.

“It suggests, falsely, that ideas are property and that building on others’ ideas always requires permission,” Stoltz says. “The overriding message of this curriculum is that students’ time should be consumed not in creating but in worrying about their impact on corporate profits.”
— David Kravets

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

EFF: https://www.eff.org/mention/downloading-mean-content-industry-drafts-anti-piracy-curriculum-elementary-schools

Wired article: http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2013/09/mpaa-school-propaganda/

BlackBerry says BBM for Android and iOS won’t relaunch this week as blocking leaked app ‘will take some time’ – The Next Web

The team is now focused on adjusting the system to completely block this unreleased version of the Android app when we go live with the official BBM for Android app. We are also making sure that the system is reinforced to handle this kind of scenario in the future. While this may sound like a simple task – it’s not. This will take some time and I do not anticipate launching this week.

This smacks of a considerable level of architectural inelegance. With all the experience the industry has in access control and registration, the pre-release cannot simply be blocked by version number? Maybe these guys should have a drink with Mozilla developers – forever adept at blocking old addons from Firefox with incredibly simplistic logic. That this wasn’t thought of in the case of BBM is shocking.

What kind of massively deployed messaging system would not ship with a method of blocking unauthorized clients, or at least a group of admins clever enough to accomplish it?

Sometimes I worry about the future.