Tag Archives: Congress

Congress Sells Out Online Privacy | Mar 31, 2017

How To Protect Your Online Privacy Now That Congress Sold You Out

| ZeroHedge

Authored by Eric Limer via Popular Mechanics

“All your private online data—the websites you visit, the content of your chats and emails, your health info, and your location—just became suddenly less secure. Not because of hackers, but because Congress just blocked crucial privacy regulations. This will allow your internet service provider to collect all your data and sell that info to the highest bidder without asking you first. Welcome to a brave new world.

A pair of resolutions, which passed through the Senate and House with exclusively Republican votes, roll back rules proposed by the Democratic leadership of the Federal Communications Commission during the Obama administration which, though passed in October, had not yet gone into effect.

The rules—which will be completely dead following the expected signature of President Trump—would have required ISPs to get explicit opt-in approval from customers before selling the following “sensitive data”:

This doesn’t just mean that sharing that information without your explicit permission will be fine and dandy. Since the rules were rolled back through the Congressional Review Act, the FCC is also barred from creating any “substantially similar” rules down the line.

In theory, the information collected will be stored under some sort of ID separate from your actual name. But that’s a cold comfort considering the level of detail in this sort of information would make your identity a dead giveaway, and ISPs can hardly be trusted to keep your identifying information suitably safe from prying eyes. After all, they’ll be building dossiers any hacker would love to steal.

What to do? There are a few things you can do to try and keep your data safe, and while they aren’t necessarily easy or free, they’re worth it if you value your privacy.

Opt out with your ISP

Your ISP may not need your permission to sell your data, but you can still go to them and tell them not to do it. The catch, of course, is this requires you to be proactive, and there’s no real guarantee that this will protect you completely. Still, do it. Get on the phone or visit the website of your ISP and opt out of every ad-related thing—and into every privacy-related thing—you can find. The process can be a little arduous—often requiring the use of your ISP-given email address that you probably never use—and it may not take effect immediately either. All the better reason to do it now.

Time Warner/Spectrum customers can find their privacy dashboard here. Comcast customers can opt out of some targeted programs using these instructions. Verizon customers can find opt out options here. Remember, your phone company is technically an ISP too, so look up your options on that front as well.

Opting out is an important first step, but it is not enough to actually preserve your privacy. Your ISP is not necessarily giving you the opportunity to opt out of all its ad-targeting programs. As the policy counsel at the Open Technology Institute, Eric Null, told Gizmodo, it is “highly unlikely” the new FCC will go after ISPs that aren’t offering robust opportunities to opt-out.

Keep your data out of your ISP’s hands in the first place

Your ISP is uniquely suited to snoop on your information. Anything you put online has to pass through its hands. Email you send through Gmail, chats through Facebook Messenger—they all travel through your ISP before they reach the service that actually sends them on. But while it is impossible to cut your ISP out of this exchange entirely, you can hide the data as you are sending it.

Apps with end-to-end encryption can encrypt your private information on the phone or computer you’re using, ensuring that it is coded and protected through the entire delivery process. So while your ISP can see the data go by, they can’t make sense of it.

The most seamless solution is to pay for a Virtual Private Network—a VPN—which allows you to encrypt all the data that passes through your ISP. This means that while your ISP is still doing the work of hauling your data around, it can’t understand any of it. The downside to this is that VPNs (at least any VPNs you can trust) are not free. Most good ones will require a yearly subscription. Furthermore, you aren’t hiding your personal data from everyone, you are just entrusting it to the VPN instead of your ISP, so do your research and choose a VPN you trust not to sell you out. Fortunately, since VPNs exist exclusively to keep your data private, they are pretty incentivized to keep you happy.

The only one you can really trust to protect you is you.”

….Continue reading more @ ZeroHedge

Cisco Learned of Security Vulnerabilities Because of WikiLeaks CIA Dump

| Breitbart

“When WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange disclosed earlier this month that his anti-secrecy group had obtained CIA tools for hacking into technology products made by U.S. companies, security engineers at Cisco Systems swung into action.

The Wikileaks documents described how the Central Intelligence Agency had learned more than a year ago how to exploit flaws in Cisco’s widely used Internet switches, which direct electronic traffic, to enable eavesdropping.

Senior Cisco managers immediately reassigned staff from other projects to figure out how the CIA hacking tricks worked, so they could help customers patch their systems and prevent criminal hackers or spies from using the same methods, three employees told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

The Cisco engineers worked around the clock for days to analyze the means of attack, create fixes, and craft a stopgap warning about a security risk affecting more than 300 different products, said the employees, who had direct knowledge of the effort.”

….Continue reading more @ Breitbart

 

Congress to US citizens: Want online privacy? Pay up!

| Computerworld

Worried consumers may resort to buying VPN services and paying higher fees to ISPs to protect their privacy

“A congressional vote to repeal U.S. restrictions on broadband providers doesn’t mean that online privacy is dead. Consumers will just have to pay for it.

The coming repeal, which President Donald Trump is expected to sign into law, paves a clearer path for broadband providers to sell customers’ internet browsing history and other online data, without their consent.

Privacy advocates are worried. Imagine corporate giants snooping on your internet activities, and then bombarding your PC, phone and TV with targeted ads.

However, the privacy rule rollback might have an opposite effect, too. Expect broadband providers and other internet services to emerge offering online privacy protections, but at a price.”

…..Continue  reading more @ Computerworld

 

The Ultimate Online Privacy Guide

| BestVPN

Edward Snowden’s NSA spying revelations highlighted just how much we have sacrificed to the gods of technology and convenience something we used to take for granted, and once considered a basic human right – our privacy.

It is just not just the NSA. Governments the world over are racing to introduce legislation that allows to them to monitor and store every email, phone call and Instant Message, every web page visited, and every VoIP conversation made by every single one of their citizens.

The press have bandied parallels with George Orwell’s dystopian world ruled by an all-seeing Big Brother about a great deal. They are depressingly accurate.

Encryption provides a highly effective way to protect your internet behavior, communications, and data. The main problem with using encryption is that its use flags you up to organizations such as the NSA for closer scrutiny.

Details of the NSA’s data collection rules are here. What it boils down to is that the NSA examines data from US citizens, then discards it if it’s found to be uninteresting. Encrypted data, on the other hand, is stored indefinitely until the NSA can decrypt it.

The NSA can keep all data relating to non-US citizens indefinitely, but practicality suggests that encrypted data gets special attention.

If a lot more people start to use encryption, then encrypted data will stand out less, and surveillance organizations’ job of invading everyone’s privacy will be much harder. Remember – anonymity is not a crime!”

Continue reading more @ https://bestvpn.com/

FBI’s James Comey Talks About Sony Hack and ‘Privacy’ in the USA | Mar 09, 2017

CNN Must Think All Black People Look Alike Mix Up Two Black Politicos | Jan 19 2017

Proof That CNN Thinks All Black People Look The Same

– Daily Caller

“CNN’s “New Day” tweeted out an interview with Elijah Cummings Thursday morning.

Unfortunately, instead of including an image of the Maryland congressman, they threw in a pic of Georgia Rep. John Lewis.

It took nearly 15 minutes for anyone — other than The Daily Caller — to notice the blunder.”

– Chris Cuomo co-host of CNN’s Newday.

….Continue reading @ Daily Caller

 

 

Digital Security in an Age of Terror – Feb 2016

Federal Court Orders Discovery Into The Clinton Emails And Suggests The Possibility of Subpoenas To Force Disclosures

– Jonathanturley.org

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“U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan sent shockwaves through Washington yesterday by ruling that State Department officials and top aides to Hillary Clinton will be subject to discovery on whether they intentionally violated federal open records laws by using or allowing the use of a private email server throughout Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state from 2009 to 2013.

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The case opens up another front for Clinton who is facing rising criticism over her decision to exclusively use her own private server for communications as Secretary of State — a decision that gave her control over her email system but exposed classified information to interception. The State Department supplied a secure system for her use but Clinton opted not to use that system. Over 1,700 emails on Clinton’s private email system have been classified (22 at the highest level of “top secret”).

While Clinton insists that the information was not marked classified at the time, that is not the test under federal law. Yet, this case concerns the use of the private server to circumvent open record laws. The court also indicated that it may order subpoenas for Clinton officials in light to the failure to fully disclose information. Sullivan, who I have appeared before regularly over the last two decades, is a widely respected judge and a Clinton appointee.

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Sullivan noted that it is not clear that senior State Department officials were aware that Clinton had decided not to use the protected or secure State Department system. He cited a January 2009 email exchange including Undersecretary for Management Patrick F. Kennedy, Clinton chief of staff Cheryl D. Mills and Huma Abedin about establishing a “stand-alone network” email system. Now that it is also confirmed that top secret information was discussed on Clinton’s private server, any discovery is likely to cause both political and legal problems for the Clinton camp. First, any depositions might result in refusals to testify by key officials. The invocation of Fifth Amendment protections against self-incrimination would have significant political impacts. After all, no one would suggest that Sullivan is part of a right-wing conspiracy or runaway investigation. The refusal to testify would reflect the real danger of tripping the wire on federal classification laws as well as more general concerns that statements conflicting statements with those government investigators could trigger charges under 18 U.S.C. 1001. Second, depositions raise the explosive potential of an aide admitting that the email system was understood to be an effort to retain control of the email system and evade federal laws.”

…Continue reading @ JonathanTurley.org

 

Federal Court Grants Judicial Watch Discovery on Clinton Email Issue

– Judicial Watch

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Judicial Watch Will Seek Testimony from Current and Former Obama Administration Officials

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced that District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan today granted Judicial Watch’s motion for discovery into whether the State Department and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton deliberately thwarted the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for six years.  The developments come in a Judicial Watch FOIA lawsuit that seeks records about the controversial employment status of Huma Abedin, former Deputy Chief of Staff to Clinton.  The lawsuit was reopened because of revelations about Clinton’s separate email records (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:13-cv-01363)).

Judge Sullivan initially announced his ruling from the bench during a hearing this morning and, over the objections of the State Department, authorized Judicial Watch to submit a plan for “narrowly-tailored discovery.”  Judge Sullivan is also considering whether to order the State Department to subpoena all the emails on the clinton.com email system.”

….Continue reading @ JudicialWatch.org

 

McCaul and Warner want to build an army of tech experts and spies to try and catch terrorists when they ‘go dark’

– BusinessInsider.com

senator-mark-warner-reuters

“Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) and Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) will soon formally propose a digital security commission with aims to bring stakeholders together to discuss and propose solutions to “security and technology challenges in the digital age.”

“The technology is way in front of the policymakers and the law,” McCaul said at an event at the Bipartisan Policy Center on Wednesday.

Warner remarked on his fear that the relationship between the intelligence community and the tech sector had become adversarial as the two sides “talk past each other” when the they ought to be cooperating.

At the heart of the committee is the delicate balance between the needs (and wants) of investigators seeking encrypted information and the rights and privacy of the American public.

“There are tensions,” Warner said, “but we want to maintain American innovation, we want to maintain America’s privacy rights, and we definitely want to make sure Americans are safe from acts of terror and criminal acts.”

The pairing of McCaul, the chair of the House Committee on Homeland Security and a former federal prosecutor, and Warner, a former tech and telecommunications investor , is emblematic of the cooperation that the two hope to bring forth with a committee that would include representatives from Silicon Valley, the FBI, privacy advocates, encryption experts, and law enforcement agencies.

The issue of criminals using encryption to hide their tracks — known as “going dark” — has been brought into the spotlight by Apple’s public battle with the FBI over creating a “backdoor” for investigators to access the encrypted iPhone of Syed Farook, the suspected shooter in the San Bernardino attack last December.

A similar discussion arose surrounding the assertion that encryption was used in the planning of the November 2015 Paris attacks, though the extent to which encryption was actually used remains unclear.”

Read more @ Business Insider

– Actually the headline from BI is a bit over the top the content, outrunning it as it were.

– A more in depth article was done by the Hill in Dec 2015:

 

Homeland chair moves to rein in ‘dark’ networks

-TheHill.com

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“The head of the House Homeland Security Committee is pushing a new initiative to deal with the proliferation of encrypted devices that critics say allow terrorists to communicate without detection.

The effort by Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) will not force concessions on tech companies, he said Monday.

Instead, it would create “a national commission on security and technology challenges in the digital age,” which McCaul promised would be tasked with providing specific recommendations for dealing with an issue that has become a priority for law enforcement officials.

McCaul is planning to introduce his bill in the coming days. The new commission would be composed of tech industry leaders, privacy advocates, academics and law enforcement officials.

McCaul’s push could prove to be a middle ground in the debate over encryption, which has created a rift between Silicon Valley and federal officials in Washington.

Leaders at the FBI and elsewhere warn that the increasingly common use of unbreakable encryption makes it impossible for them to obtain a suspect’s communications even with a warrant.

Yet tech companies and privacy supporters say that weakening the technology would make everybody less safe. A vulnerability allowing the FBI to access someone’s messages could easily be exploited by Chinese spies or nefarious hackers, they note.

McCaul’s idea went over well with at least one of Capitol Hill’s staunchest encryption defenders.

Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas), a former cybersecurity consultant and CIA agent who chairs an important House subcommittee on information technology, said McCaul’s proposed commission could help define “specifically, what are those challenges that law enforcement is facing?”

“The problem that I’ve seen is that the tech community and the law enforcement community, everybody’s talking past each other,” he told The Hill.”

…Read more @ The Hill by Julian Hattem.

– My question would be, why set  up whole infrastructures to spy and investigate US citizens, when the people at the top are fully capable of exposing top secrets to our most serious adversaries?

Another point would be to shut access to money and techologies. If most wireless carriers requires several serious forms of ID for a cell phone account, why is it still so easy to buy a ID-less cell phone?