Raymond Cote

“I cannot imagine a more ‘indiscriminate’ and ‘arbitrary’ invasion than this systematic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every single citizen for purposes of querying and analyzing it without prior judicial approval,” Judge Leon wrote. “Surely, such a program infringes on ‘that degree of privacy’ that the founders enshrined in the Fourth Amendment.”

Selling you to the highest bidder !

Read full post @ online.wsj.com

The online industry’s data-collection efforts have expanded in the past few years. One reason is the popularity of online auctions, where advertisers buy data about users’ Web browsing…

In real-time bidding, as soon as a user visits a Web page, the visit is auctioned to the highest bidder, based on attributes such as the type of page visited or previous Web browsing by the user.

The bidding is done automatically using computer algorithms. Forrester Research estimates that real-time bidding will constitute 18% of the online display-ad market this year, up from 13% last year.

Read full post @ online.wsj.com


  • 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< 

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

Apple and Dropbox have become two of the first technology companies named in a call-to-action by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) to agree to stand up against the U.S Government’s demands for user’s data, by signing an agreement to protect user privacy by joining the Digital Due Process coalition.

Read the full post @ thenextweb.com

Protections for anonymous speech are vital to democratic discourse. Allowing dissenters to shield their identities frees them to express critical, minority views … Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority… . It thus exemplifies the purpose behind the Bill of Rights, and of the First Amendment in particular: to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation … at the hand of an intolerant society.

———— 1995 Supreme Court ruling in McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission

Read the full post by Kee Hinckley @ Google+

"On the internet , nobody knows you’re a dog."

Peter Steiner’s cartoon for The New Yorker in 1993 

Revised ‘Net censorship bill requires search engines to block sites, too

Source: cartoon source

Read full story @arstechnica.com

Surprise! After months in the oven, the soon-to-be-released new version of a major US Internet censorship bill didn’t shrink in scope—it got much broader. Under the new proposal, search engines, Internet providers, credit card companies, and ad networks would all have cut off access to foreign “rogue sites”—and such court orders would not be limited to the government. Private rightsholders could go to court and target foreign domains, too.

As for sites which simply change their domain name slightly after being targeted, the new bill will let the government and private parties bring quick action against each new variation.

… . .

The PROTECT IP Act goes even further than forcing these intermediaries to take action after a court order; it actively encourages them to take unilateral action without any sort of court order at all. The bill summary makes clear that ad networks and payment processors will be protected if they “voluntarily cease doing business with infringing websites, outside of any court ordered action.” If a search engine decides that the next YouTube is a copyright infringer—and rightsholders have often sued sites like Veoh and YouTube in the past—it can simply cut off advertising for that reason and be immunized under the law. So can Visa.

Get ready for the


Read full story @arstechnica.com

Goodbye Dropbox and other file storage sites ?

Bruce Schneier:

In the security mirage

explains that true security results only when we learn how to effectively triangulate our emotional views of the world with our intellectual models of the world in such a way that both exhibit working symmetry with the underlying factual realities of the world.

He outlines the challenging mismatch that exists between our evolved emotional/cognitive habits and the unprecedented demands made on those evolved habits by our present high tech information society. He further points out how these perceptual habit mismatches are exacerbated by a rogues gallery of political and corporate spinmeister, all to ready, willing and able to prey on this weakness. 

Interview with Julian Assange

Assange focuses on Facebook calling it the

“most appalling spy machine that has ever been invented”

"Here we have the world’s most comprehensive database about people, their relationships, their names, their addresses, their locations, their communications with each other, and their relatives, all sitting within the United States, all accessible to US Intelligence.”

He believes the social network is joined by Google, Yahoo and other major US organisations

"It’s not a matter of serving a subpoena, they have an interface they have developed for US Intelligence to use. Now, is the case that Facebook is run by US Intelligence? No, it’s not like that. It’s simply that US Intelligence is able to bring to bear legal and political pressure to them."

"It’s costly for them to hand out individual records, one by one, so they have automated the process".

Digital Millennium Copyright Act

Read full story @michaelgeist.ca

Wikileaks Cables Show Massive U.S. Effort to Establish Canadian DMCA Friday April 29, 2011 Wikileaks has released dozens of new U.S. cables that demonstrate years of behind the scenes lobbying by U.S. government officials to pressure Canada into implementing a Canadian DMCA. The cables include confirmation that Prime Minister Harper personally promised U.S. President George Bush at the SPP summit in Montebello, Quebec in 2008 that Canada would pass copyright legislation, U.S. government lines on copyright reform that include explicit support for DMCA-style digital lock rules, and the repeated use of the Special 301 process to “embarrass” Canada into action. In fact, cables even reveal Canadian officials encouraging the U.S. to maintain the pressure and disclosing confidential information. This post highlights some of the key cables. An earlier post discussed confirmation that public pressure delayed the introduction of a copyright bill in 2008 and a parallel post focuses on the linkages between CRIA and the U.S. government lobbying effort.

Read full story @michaelgeist.ca

The Internet in Society

Empowering or Censoring Citizens?

by -  theRSAorg