Category: privacy and licensing

Google Buzz Privacy Update

Google Buzz Privacy Update

Over the weekend, Google announced significant changes to its new social networking service, Buzz. Responding to criticism (including EFF’s), Google moved away from the system in which Buzz automatically sets you up to follow the people you email and chat with most. Instead, Google has adopted an auto-suggest model, in which you are shown the friend list with an option […]

Digital Books and Your Rights: A Checklist for Readers

Digital Books and Your Rights: A Checklist for Readers

I. Introduction After several years of false starts, the universe of digital books seems at last poised to expand dramatically. Readers should view this expansion with both excitement and wariness. Excitement because digital books could revolutionize reading, making more books more findable and more accessible to more people in more ways than ever before. Wariness because the various entities that […]

Protect Your Privacy on Google Buzz

Protect Your Privacy on Google Buzz

Google’s new social networking service, Buzz has upset a lot of people who have inadvertently posted the list of the people they email and chat with most frequently on their profile. If you took the default options and didn’t opt-out or edit this list during profile creation, the list becomes part of your profile. Since who you email with frequently […]

The Multiple Meanings of the Term “Open”

Over the last couple of months I’ve found myself involved, both actively and passively, in several conversations that contained terms like “open” or “openness”. The adjective “open” was associated to nouns like “format”, “standard”, “source”, “government”, “data”, and so forth. Quite often the use and misuse of the term “open” leads to almost hatred discussions, exuding religious fervor on both […]

Google Superbowl Ad Explains The Need for Search Privacy

Google Superbowl Ad Explains The Need for Search Privacy

Google’s ad during yesterday’s Superbowl explained in less than a minute how the story of someone’s life can be pieced together from their search queries. Using only the search terms and user’s clicks of the search results, Google told the story of a user who seeks love while studying abroad in Paris, finds it, moves to Paris, marries and has […]

How to enhance the physical security posture of your Linux/BSD-powered PC

How to enhance the physical security posture of your Linux/BSD-powered PC

Securing a computer goes beyond more than just using strong passwords. You should consider what happens if an unauthorized person gains physical access to your computer. If the only security feature protecting your data from an unauthorized person is a user account password, then you have not taken enough steps to protect your computer and your data. This article presents […]

Anonymity and the Internet

Universal identification is portrayed by some as the holy grail of Internet security. Anonymity is bad, the argument goes; and if we abolish it, we can ensure only the proper people have access to their own information. We’ll know who is sending us spam and who is trying to hack into corporate networks. And when there are massive denial-of-service attacks, […]

Internet Explorer’s dominant market share eroding

Internet Explorer’s dominant market share eroding

Remember when Internet Explorer ruled the Web, to the tune of about 98% of the browser market share? Those were happy days for Internet Explorer. Until Firefox rose from the ashes of Netscape. Internet Explorer’s market share has been sliding ever since, and I think it got worse when Safari and then Google’s Chrome joined the browser market. A new […]

Windows 7 Sins now in 9 languages!

Windows 7 Sins now in 9 languages!

Our campaign for computer user freedom, Windows 7 Sins, now has 6 language translations available with several more on the way. The translation effort, coordinated by FSF campaigns staff working with volunteer translators, has been gathering pace over the last few months. All the work has been done using free software tools with our collaboration efforts achieved via the GNU […]

FTC’s exploring privacy roundtable webcast

“The Federal Trade Commission will host a series of day-long public roundtable discussions to explore the privacy challenges posed by the vast array of 21st century technology and business practices that collect and use consumer data. Such practices include social networking, cloud computing, online behavioral advertising, mobile marketing, and the collection and use of information by retailers, data brokers, third-party […]

The Evil That Apple Does

The Evil That Apple Does

Apple’s new iPad is going to be a laptop supplement for some early-adopters, a laptop replacement for others, and a laptop instead-of for still other users, including some surprising late-adopters. In other words, it’s going to be the computer of choice for a number of us, perhaps millions of us, perhaps, if the iPhone is any guide, tens of millions […]

The Role of Privacy by Design in Protecting Consumer Privacy

The Role of Privacy by Design in Protecting Consumer Privacy

1) What is Privacy by Design? CDT has submitted comments to the Federal Trade Commission for the second in a series of public roundtable discussions the agency is sponsoring exploring the privacy challenges posed by 21st-century technology and business practices that involve the collection and use of consumer data. CDT views these roundtable sessions as a historic opportunity for the […]

Celebrating Data Privacy Day

Celebrating Data Privacy Day

I’m assuming most people already know this, but if you did not, today is Data Privacy Day. Given that those in control of the wheels of the digital market square we call the Internet do not value our privacy, we have to take this day, every day, to remind us – and them – that privacy matters. Everyday should be […]

Help EFF Research Web Browser Tracking

Help EFF Research Web Browser Tracking

What fingerprints does your browser leave behind as you surf the web? Traditionally, people assume they can prevent a website from identifying them by disabling cookies on their web browser. Unfortunately, this is not the whole story. When you visit a website, you are allowing that site to access a lot of information about your computer’s configuration. Combined, this information […]

Browser Versions Carry 10.5 Bits of Identifying Information on Average

Browser Versions Carry 10.5 Bits of Identifying Information on Average

This is part 3 of a series of posts on user tracking on the modern web. You can also read part 1 and part 2. Whenever you visit a web page, your browser sends a “User Agent” header to the website saying precisely which operating system and web browser you are using. This information could help distinguish Internet users from […]

A Primer on Information Theory and Privacy

A Primer on Information Theory and Privacy

If we ask whether a fact about a person identifies that person, it turns out that the answer isn’t simply yes or no. If all I know about a person is their ZIP code, I don’t know who they are. If all I know is their date of birth, I don’t know who they are. If all I know is […]