Raymond Cote

Don’t let Google, Facebook, Twitter, Advertisers and other third parties track, clutter, and slow down your web browsing.

Rob Reid: The $8 billion iPod (by TEDtalksDirector)


  • Abine - A Firefox / Internet Explorer plugin that blocks third party advertising networks, manages HTTP, DOM, and Flash cookies, and securely manages site logins. Currently in private beta, but invites aren’t hard to get. Abine Privacy Suite
  • Ad Blockers for Browsers - Firefox: Adblock Plus Chrome: AdBlockSafari: AdBlock
    • Anon email services - Send anonymous email awxcnx.de Email dropdrop.io
    • Anonymouse - A Web search portal hosted on an island off the coast of Somalia. This PET seemingly allows you to access any webpage without leaving a trace. (I tried MSN.com and found that Ghostery detected no web bugs.) Anonymouse
    • aTube Catcher - Download videos and watch anytime and without needing to be online and thus frustrate tracking and monitoring aTube
    • BetterPrivacy Firefox Plug In - Add on for Firefox that creates “super-cookie blocker,” including flash cookies and most DOM storage objects.BetterPrivacy
    • BleachBit - BleachBit quickly frees disk space, removes hidden junk, and easily guards your privacy. Designed for Linux and Windows systems, it wipes clean 70 applications including Firefox, Internet Explorer, Flash, Google Chrome, Opera, Safari, Adobe Reader, APT, and more. BleachBit
    • BugMeNot - Bypass many webpages requiring free registration with the click of a button. BugMeNot
    • CCleaner - application for Windows. Analyzes and facilitates deletion of various items of data stored on your PC, including state management cookies (HTTP, flash and other), cached temporary Internet files, etc.CCleaner
    • Certificate Patrol - Firefox plugin that saves SSL certificates of pages when encountered to act like SSH’s “known_keys” feature and alarm the user when the presented certificate is different from the usual one [1].
    • Darik’s Boot and Nuke (DBN) - Free self-contained boot disk that securely and completely deletes the contents of any hard disk that it can detect. DBN
    • Diaspora - the privacy aware, personally controlled, do-it-all distributed open source social network Diaspora
    • Documents over HTTPS - View online documents over HTTPS, just enter web link after = GoogleDocs Alternatively upload document or enter URL through Zoho Viewer Note: ixquick and google search results do not provide direct links to view documents over https.
    • Eraser - Secure data removal tool for Windows. (Open Source) Eraser
    • FireGPG - FireGPG is a Firefox add-on which brings an interface to encrypt, decrypt, sign or verify the signature of text in any web page using GnuPG. FireGPG
    • Freenet - Decentralized, censorship-resistant distributed data store which aims to provide freedom of speech through a peer-to-peer network with strong protection of anonymity. Freenet works by pooling the contributed bandwidth and storage space of member computers to allow users to anonymously publish or retrieve various kinds of information.Freenet
    • Ghostery - Scans visited web pages to find web bugs used to track user behavior on the web. GhosteryCIS Ghostery review (note: Ghostery has been purchased by a behavioural advertising firm)
    • GoogleSharing - A system for anonymizing requests to Google services which don’t require a login. Consists of both a Firefox Addon and a free proxy. GoogleSharing
    • Hosts file domain blocking - A slightly technical (but very easy) procedure that provides you nearly complete invisibility from all data aggregation engines of your choosing. The principle behind the technique is simple: you use your own computer’s local domain name information repository (known as the hosts file) to associate a privacy-infringing domain (ie, doubleclick.net) with an incorrect IP address - usually your own. See the following link for more details and resources, including a pre-made hosts file that takes care of most of the technical details for you. MVPS.org
    • HTTPs Everywhere - A Firefox plugin that defaults supporting websites to HTTPs. HTTPs Everywhere
    • I2P - Mixed-license free and open source project to build an anonymous network that other applications can use to anonymously and securely send messages to each other. Uses include anonymous surfing, chatting, blogging and file transfers. I2P
    • IPREDator - “IPREDator is a network service that makes people online more anonymous using a VPN.” (Note: This service appears to involve a monthly fee. Added: it costs 50SEK/month - roughly $10) IPREDator
    • Internet Privacy Forum - Reports on what a website can know about you just by visiting it. IPF
    • Internet Proxy - Free internet web based proxy. Conceals your IP address from visited sites. Internet Proxy
    • Ixquick - Metasearch engine that returns the top ten results from multiple search engines. Can be used over encrypted SSL/HTTPS and has a facility to view search results via it’s SSL/HTTPS proxy option. Ixquick was the first search engine to delete private details of its users—IP addresses and other personal information are deleted within 48 hours of a search. Ixquick also does not share its users’ personal information with other search engines or with the provider of its sponsored results. IxquickNote: View docs over HTTPS Zoho Viewer or GoogleDocs
    • Java Anonymous Proxy - Free, cross-platform proxy system designed to allow browsing the web with revocable pseudonymityJava Anonymous Proxy
    • JonDoNym - German-based software that encrypts and mixes Internet communications to render them anonymous. Fee based and slower free services available JonDoNym
    • KeePass Password Safe - Open source password manager. KeePassLinux version KeepassX
    • MelonCard - Removes you from a vast number of people search and people lookup websites (e.g. RapLeaf, MyLife, Spokeo) for free. MelonCard automates the process of removing yourself from these websites, sending forms, letters, and faxes on your behalf. The basic level of service is free with an option to upgrade for additional opt-outs (e.g. Intelius and ZabaSearch) and monitoring for your information.MelonCard
    • Mixmaster - Type II anonymous remailer which sends messages in fixed-size packets and reorders them, preventing anyone watching the messages go in and out of remailers from tracing them. Mixmaster
    • MyTube - A free script for website designers intending to use embedded videos, which is designed to prevent cookies from being sent to external sites or advertising networks unless the embedded video is actually played. MyTube
    • NoScript - Firefox add on that protects against certain types of web hacks. NoScript
    • OptimizeGoogle - Firefox add-on to enhance Google search results, remove click-tracking, ads, spam, enable Google over https options and more. OptimizeGoogle
    • Password Generators (online) - Ultra High Security Password Generator GRC. Plus online password generators/hashers, using Master Keys that when remembered can be used to recover forgotten passwords! Password Hasher PwdHash Password Chart
    • Panopticlick - A tool for measuring how rare/unique a browser configuration is. Rare configurations may function as fingerprints that allow websites to track the browser even if the user limits or deletes cookies Panopticlick.
    • Peer Block - PeerBlock lets you control who your computer “talks to” on the Internet. You can block communication with advertising or spyware oriented servers, p2p activity monitors, even entire countries! They can’t get in to your computer, and your computer won’t try to send them anything either. Best of all, it’s free! Peer Block
    • pidder - A host-proof service that lets you build an encrypted, private social network where you stay in control what data you wish to share and with whom. Includes encrypted messaging and password management. Free Base Edition. pidder
    • Privacy Bird - Free software designed to automatically read full P3P privacy policies of websites and compare them to your personal privacy preferences, providing warning messages when a site’s policies do not match your own. Privacy Bird
    • PrivacyBox - The PrivacyBox provides primarily for journalists, bloggers and other publishers the possibility to offer non-tracked (and also anonymous) contact forms. privacybox.de
    • PrivacyChoice Opt-out - Gathers opt-out cookies from over 150 ad companies, with an optional Firefox add-on to preserve and automatically update preferences. Opt-out from all companies or opt-out selectively based on industry certifications and policy terms. PrivacyChoice Opt-out
    • Privacy Collections - Users compilations of Firefox add-ons with a focus on Privacy 200+ “Privacy” Collections
    • PrivacyFinder - Privacy-enhanced search engine allowing users to state privacy preferences and order search results based on how sites’ computer-readable privacy policies comply. PrivacyFinder
    • Privatix Live-System - Free portable encrypted system on an usb flash drive or an external hard drive for safe editing and carrying along of sensitive data, for encrypted communication and anonymous web surfing. Privatix
    • Privoxy - Privoxy is a non-caching web proxy with advanced filtering capabilities for enhancing privacy, modifying web page data and HTTP headers, controlling access, and removing ads and other obnoxious Internet junk. Privoxy has a flexible configuration and can be customized to suit individual needs and tastes. It has application for both stand-alone systems and multi-user networks. Privoxy
    • Qubes - Open source operating system designed to provide strong security for desktop computing. (Under development) Qubes
    • RefControl - Control what gets sent as the HTTP Referer on a per-site basis. RefControl
    • RetroShare - Open Source cross-platform, private and secure decentralised communication platform. It lets you to securely chat and share files with your friends and family, using a web-of-trust to authenticate peers and OpenSSL to encrypt all communication.RetroShare
    • Scroogle.org - A service that functions as a search-engine proxy, taking your queries, passing them to google, and returning the results to you without ever passing along any identifying information. The service claims to scrub its own logs after 48 hours. Scroogle
    • Seeks - Open and social websearch infrastructure featuring anonymous nodes and proxies based on Privoxy. Seeks
    • SpoofStick - An explorer and Firefox plug in that helps detect phishing attacks. SpoofStick
    • Stealthier - A great new Firefox add on that can pause most online tracking activities. Stealthier
    • Swipe Toolkit - The Swipe Toolkit from Turbulence.org features several elegant tools to educate users on what personal information is collected about them and how it is used. There is a tool that decodes your license info and another that calculate the value of your PII. Swipe
    • TAILS: The (Amnesic) Incognito Live System - The (Amnesic) Incognito Live System (Live CD, Live USB) is aimed at preserving your privacy and anonymity, all outgoing connections to the Internet are forced to go through the Tor network, no trace is left on local storage devices unless explicitly asked. TAILS
    • Targeted Advertising Cookie Opt Out - Sticky opt out for behavioral profiling in the form of a browser plug in. Non commercial verion BEEF TACO See: Firefoxers howl as (TACO) privacy add-on auto updates with ‘bloatware’ TACO (Abine’s Commercial version
    • Tor - Free software implementation of second-generation onion routing, a system enabling its users to communicate anonymously on the Internet.Tor
    • TrackerScan - Available as a Firefox extension or a bookmarklet (no download required), TrackerScan shows you ad companies present on any webpage, with summaries of key privacy policies, industry certifications, and opt-outs. TrackerScan
    • TrackMeNot - Browser extension that helps protect web searchers from surveillance and data-profiling by search engines. Hides users’ actual search trails in a cloud of ‘ghost’ queries, using noise and obfuscation to significantly increase the difficulty of aggregating such data into accurate or identifying user profiles. TrackMeNot
    • TrueCrypt - Free, open-source disk encryption software for Windows Vista/XP, Mac OS X, and Linux. Encryption is automatic, on-the-fly, and transparent. TrueCrypt
    • User Agent Switcher - The User Agent Switcher extension adds a menu and a toolbar button to switch the user agent of the browser. User Agent Switcher.
    • Vanish - Enhancing the Privacy of the Web with Self-Destructing Data (Under development) Proof of concept under development Vanish
    • Vuze - Browser plug-in designed to reveal network management practices. Vuze
    • Web of Trust - Firefox add on that warns users of risky websites. WOT
    • WhatApp.org - Website that reviews apps for privacy and security.WhatApp?
    • Wikileaks - Website that allows for the anonymous posting of documents. Wikileaks
    • WordPress Privacy Plug In - Plug in for WordPress that creates Adsense compliant privacy policy. Wordpress Plug In
    • Yauba Privacy Safe Search Engine - World’s first Privacy Safe Search engine, with no cookies, no storage of personal data, and built in anonymising proxy for private surfing of third party websites. Yauba is the only search engine in the world that offers this level of privacy protection. Yauba’s searches across multiple categories of filetypes including websites, videos, image files, social networks, pdf files, powerpoint files, word files, and more. Yauba

    There are also a variety of resources describing or otherwise devoted to privacy enhancing technology. Please add your favorite.

    • Berkman Center - Harvard’s Berkman Center has put together this comprehensive report on the state of technologies that circumvent government monitored Internet connections. Circumvention Landscape Report
    • CDT - The Center for Democracy and Technology describes the role of PETs. CDT
    • EPIC - The Electronic Privacy Information Center has a very good list of PETs, not all of which appear above. EPIC
    • ICO - UK Information Commissioner’s Office discussion of PETs. ICO
    • Inside Facebook - Inside Facebook’s guide to protecting your privacy on Facebook. Facebook Privacy Guide
    • LCNS - 2003 computer science book devoted to designing privacy enhancing technologies. LCNS
    • Microsoft - Microsoft has put together a privacy education toolkit. MSFT Privacy Toolkit
    • PET Awards - Annual award through IPC of Ontario and Microsoft for best privacy enhancing technology. PET Awards
    • PRC - Privacy Rights Clearinghouse has assembled a list of info brokers and instructions on how to opt out of their activities. Opt Out List
    • Privacy Resources - Consultant Marcus Zillman has assembled a variety of privacy resources, including PETs. Privacy Resources
    • PrivacyChoice Index of Tracking Companies - A comprehensive index of companies involved in user tracking, including key privacy policies, industry certifications, tracking methodologies and opt-out specifications. Look up by company name or tracking domain.PrivacyChoice Index
    • Radialpoint.net - User community around protecting yourself and your computer from spyware, viruses, and fraud. Radialpoint
    • SSD - The Electronic Frontier Foundation has assembled resources around “Surveillance Self Defense,” including defensive technology.Surveillance Self Defense
    • Surfing Anonymously - A blog about surfing anonymously on the interner. It covers legal, technical, political discussion on how to protect your anonymity online Surfing Anonymously
    • Telecomix Crypto Munitions Bureau A focus area of the internet activist cluster Telecomix that functions decentrally as a mix between a study group / interest fellowship The Interfax - News releases regarding cryptography and privacy-enhancing use of software (from the “Department of Defense” Propaganda and mission statementcryptoanarchy.org - the practical documentation wiki (temporarily down as of Jul 20th 2010)

UK anti-terror plan to sweep up email, phone, online records

Data on all phone calls, text messages, email traffic and online visits would be stored for a year in vast databases under a new anti-terrorism plan in Britain, The Telegraph reported Saturday on its website.

read full story @ telegraph.co.uk

Block 580 tracking technologies

Block 200 tracking companies

Download >Do NOT Track Plus< 

The Mega Song

Break Through Advertising


A Kick in the Balls for Music Industry Censorship 

With Siri TV, Apple Will Dismantle the TV Networks

Steve Jobs died without fully transforming television, but the day after he passed away, Apple unveiled Siri, its natural language interface. Though it’s currently only embedded in the new iPhone 4S, Siri could eventually change the face of the TV industry.

… .

But from my perspective, Siri’s greatest impact won’t ultimately be on users, or on device manufacturers (though they certainly risk losing market share to Apple). It will be on the TV industry’s content creators and packagers. Why? Because a voice-controlled television interface will fundamentally disrupt the six-decade-old legacy structure of networks, channels and programs. And that’s a legacy that — until now, at least — has been carried forward from analog to digital. 

Read the full article @ allthingsd.com

WikiLeaks: The Spy Files

It sounds like something out of Hollywood, but as of today, mass interception systems, built by Western intelligence contractors, including for ’political opponents’ are a reality. Today WikiLeaks began releasing a database of hundreds of documents from as many as 160 intelligence contractors in the mass surveillance industry.

But the WikiLeaks Spy Files are more than just about ’good Western countries’ exporting to ’bad developing world countries’. Western companies are also selling a vast range of mass surveillance equipment to Western intelligence agencies. In traditional spy stories, intelligence agencies like MI5 bug the phone of one or two people of interest. In the last ten years systems for indiscriminate, mass surveillance have become the norm. Intelligence companies such as VASTech secretly sell equipment to permanently record the phone calls of entire nations. Others record the location of every mobile phone in a city, down to 50 meters. Systems to infect every Facebook user, or smart-phone owner of an entire population group are on the intelligence market.


Spotify Becomes a Music Platform

A kid coding away in a basement, anywhere in the world, should be able to build apps within the most popular music subscription service in the world. Want to play your friends’ Facebook preferences? Create a party playlist automatically based on the people attending? Tag songs to locations so that others can stumble across them? They’re working on it.

Read full story @ http://evolver.fm

Brilliant analysis by Horace Dediu

Revolutionary User Interfaces

… the smart money should be focusing on the next shift. From the time frame in the diagram above, it’s clear that the cycle time between “Revolutionary User Interfaces” is shrinking. It’s been five years since multi-touch. Is the next “RUI” already here? Is Siri the next RUI? … 

My disruptive hypothesis for Siri is that it shifts the competition from platforms positioned on a device to a “coupled” super-platform deponent on broadband and infrastructural computing.

Just after collecting enough data and observing patterns in it that give us clarity, It looks like things are about to change all over again.

Read full post by Horace Dediu @ asymco.com 

Looks like Congress has declared war on the internet

That might make for the kind of internet that media and entertainment conglomerates would prefer, but it would clearly be a much diminished version of the internet we take for granted. 

Creating a firewall around the internet, just like China According to Techdirt, which has been a vocal critic of the bill and its predecessors, the new legislation would create a “Great Firewall of America,” similar to the firewall that the Chinese government uses to keep its citizens from accessing certain websites and servers that it deems to be illegal… 

The bottom line is that if it passes and becomes law, the new act would give the government and copyright holders a giant stick — if not an automatic weapon — with which to pursue websites and services they believe are infringing on their content. With little or no requirement for a court hearing, they could remove websites from the internet and shut down their ability to be found by search engines or to process payments from users. DMCA takedown notices would effectively be replaced by this nuclear option, and innocent websites would have to fight to prove that they deserved to be restored to the internet — a reversal of the traditional American judicial approach of being assumed innocent until proven guilty — at which point any business they had would be destroyed.

Read full story @gigaom.com

Technological innovation is the engine
that driving human social evolution

This framing of history has a long established pedigree.

In this interview Carlota Perez put some serious meat on the bones of this historical framework. She zooms in on the inevitable boom, bubble, bust economic cycles that are endemically linked to all paradigm-shifting technological innovation cycles, examining the risk-reward investment psychology that makes these synchronous boom-bust cycles inevitable.

Carlota makes the McLuhanesque point that the old guard, status-quo, business / government leaders will need to be dragged kicking and screaming into the ground frame of a new network driven less-is-more political economy.

Less-is-more obviously doesn’t cut it when you are the dominant kingpins overseeing a production / leverage based profit era.

Fred asks what business and government must do to move forward?
Carlota responses by framing the problem as: 

  • an appalling lack of leadership
  • the political delusion of returning to business as usual
  • how to incentivize the financial industry out of the leveraging-casino and back into making legitimate capital allocation in the real economy via tax law behaviour shaping
  • the need to regulate and incentivize a green shift
  • the need for a global financial regulatory framework

Fred wilson asks who will provide the gateway leadership required to transition into this new way of living organizing consuming?
Carlota respondes with:
We need the new IT industrialists to take a political stand and push back against the business and political dinosaurs.

Don’t get me wrong I thing this is a brilliant historical framework and the long term gravity well of history is on her side.

But still this all seems like a very daunting and fuzzy challenge, much of which seems to fly in the face of mainstream American social and political memes.

Here is the powerpoint version

View more presentations from fredwilson

Sorry about the advertisement!
But I couldn’t find any other video source for this.

The Truthy Project Website

Has an interactive filter tool for looking at tweet patterns
graphically by user,  by @ or by # etc… .

What we are seeing here is the infancy of
Media Ecology - analytic tools for the rest of us.
Tools targeted at empowering organically networked communities to self police truthyness, accountability and reputation with the use of organic visualization tools. It will be interesting to see what visualization techniques surface to become the dominant mass culture memes for visualizing organic community distribution patterns.

Media Ecology :
All the ways we influence each other through the use of communications technologies all the way up from natural language > smoke signals > radio > TV > internet

Discover Magazine 

Follow the “Truthy” Tweets to Find Twitter’s Political Spammers

Karen and her sister account @HopeMarie_25 are examples of political “astroturf,” fake Twitter accounts that create the illusion of a “grassroots” political movement. In the diagram above, the two accounts are connected by a very thick band, which indicates that Marie constantly re-tweeted everything Karen said. Together they sent out over 20,000 tweets in the last four months promoting the Twitter account and website of Republican congressional leader John Boehner.

Such messages were cataloged and analyzed by Indiana University’s Truthy project, which takes its name from Stephen Colbert’s concept of “ truthiness.” The goal of the project is to seek out propaganda and smear campaigns conducted via false Twitter accounts.

Read full story @ discovermagazine.com

Building Crowds of Humans into Software
By using crowdsourcing for difficult tasks such as understanding speech or images, the software could enable smarter apps.

MobileWorks takes on jobs sent in by software via Application Programming Interfaces ( APIs are a software messaging system) which allow one piece of software to tap into or call on another piece of software to do some small piece of work on its behave.

MobileWorks’s software translates the job sent in over its APIs(Software Messaging interface) into tasks distributed to the company’s crowd of workers.

The results are then collated and sent back to the software that made the request, which behaves as if it got the answer from another piece of software, not a crowd of humans.

"It’s a black box for human intelligence," says Kulkarni

"Software can treat us like another piece of software with the intelligence of a human."

Read the full post @ technologyreview.com

We’re in the process of being demoted to mere computer sidekicks called on to do visual and other real world visceral dirty work that computers find too tedious to perform.