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Living Freedom by Claire Wolfe. Musings about personal freedom and finding it within ourselves.

Want to Comment on a blog post? Look for and click on the blue No Comments or # Comments at the end of each post.



Archive for the ‘Privacy and self ownership’ Category

Claire Wolfe

Links that say a lot about the USA

Saturday, July 26th, 2014
  • This story is about the best and brightest leaving Russia. It has nothing to do with the U.S. — except that my email brings me daily reports about American ex-pats that sound just like this.
  • “The leader of the unfree world.”
  • Not long ago, this sort of privilege, with its cruel disregard for the “little people,” was granted only to puffed-up Oriental potentates and pashas in lands of the notably unfree.
  • You already knew you were a terrorist in the eyes of “your” democratic, representative, passionately liberty-loving, and devoutly transparent government. Now read the criteria, such as they are, secretly used to terror-list you. Good work from the new Omidyar/Greenwald team and their contacts at The Intercept. (H/T jed)
  • And speaking of the land of the we don’t feel quite so free any more …
  • But worry not! Your safety is in expert hands! (Seriously, it would be hard to imagine how a public shooting could be handled worse than the one at the Navy Yard.)
  • On the lighter side: Darth Vader is more highly regarded than all potential 2016 presidential candidates.
Claire Wolfe

Canvas fingerprinting and evercookies: something new to beware of

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

You may have been hearing about it since yesterday: the new way of profiling your computer (and, with enough other data, you) without leaving either traditional cookies or flash cookies on your system.

Those cookies you can get rid of. The new “evercookie” you can’t even see — although your own system created it on orders from a site or sites you visited.

The underlying technique is “canvas fingerprinting.” Here’s some not-too-geeky info on how it works.

Using TOR apparently helps, but not completely. Firefox’s wonderful NoScript add-on does the trick. It prevents a nasty little company called AddThis from executing its scripts on your device. However, I’m not clear whether other sites you’ve previously marked as trusted can execute the same script on you even if you’ve blocked AddThis.

Lots of big sites are using the evercookie technology. They then sell the info to advertisers — apparently even if you’ve set all kinds of “do not tracks” and opt outs. Some sites (Hey, we’re talking to you, WhiteHouse.gov!) use the technology counter to their own stated privacy policies. Yes, they’re lying to you. What a shock, eh?

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has developed a countermeasure called Privacy Badger and is asking people to help them test it. They also recommend Disconnect as another possible method.

Of course, we know by now that merely having privacy settings on your computer makes you suspect. And we know that you can create your own unique fingerprint merely by having privacy software and settings, using non-standard browsers, etc.

Still … just one more thing to know about beware of.

Geeks, please chime in if you have better info.

(H/T JG)

Claire Wolfe

Wednesday links

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014
  • “I know where your cat has been.” Yes, even your cat pictures aren’t safe from Internet snoopers.
  • It’s time for conservatives to stop defending the police. Actually, it’s way, way, way past time. But the article is still a good beginning. (H/T Sipsey Street)
  • Sometimes early birds are too early. But ohboy do I understand wanting to “pick up the bucket” just to cross it off the to-do list.
  • That was a monster body blow Obamacare took yesterday. Not likely to be fatal, though we can hope.
  • I don’t know who did it or why. But the elaborate white-flag operation atop the Brooklyn Bridge is sure proof that monkeywrenching is alive and well even in the age of omni-surveillance.
  • Oh yes. “Gun control.” It’s always going to be soooooo very effective.
  • Be forewarned, this is slightly NSFW and a little raw for BHM. But funny. Very funny.
Claire Wolfe

Friday Freedom Question: What would be on your “mixtape”?

Friday, July 18th, 2014

Via jed: Artist sends the National Spy Agency a super-encrypted “mixtape.”

So why would Huerta create a mixtape no one else could open? Well for one, there’s no worry that someday he’ll regret sending our nation’s protectors a whole bunch of mushy love songs that will sound really, really cheesy 10 years from now. Oh, and there’s this, which he posted on his Medium blog: “The NSA can read my stupid Facebook updates but without my consent it will never be able to listen to my kick-ass mix tape, even if it’s sitting right in front of them.”

Actually, that simplifies things a little too much. Huerta explains in the same post that he was inspired to create his art statement because he has “[bleep] feelings about mass surveillance, and they are not warm and fuzzy. To take the Internet, which I grew up with so much hope for in being so much more free than the world I physically occupied and turn it into a panopticon brings out the tortured artist in me; I can’t help but respond.”

So the mixtape, which he says “contains a soundtrack for the modern surveillance state” is his response. It’s basically a giant “na-na-na-pooh-pooh” (my words, not his) to the NSA and a musical tribute to documentary filmmaker and journalist Laura Poitras and lawyer-journalist Glenn Greenwald, both of published news stories based on NSA documents leaked to them by Edward Snowden. It’s also “a reminder that the rules of mathematics are more powerful than the rules of even the most powerful states,” says Huerta.

So what would be on your freedomista mixtape?

P.S. Hope he’s right about the security of his encryption — even if there’s nothing on the “tape” but bad renditions of “Dancing Queen” and “Lady in Red.” Wouldn’t count on it, though.

Claire Wolfe

Monday links

Monday, July 7th, 2014
  • A different way of fighting addictions. Article is a little vague on whether these newish ways are more effective than the old. But it’s certainly good to see the old “you’re helpless, forever sick, and dependent only on a higher power” model of treatment getting some competition.
  • Kim Jong Un is terrified of … poor-quality imitation Moon Pies??? Well, take it with a grain of salt, but stranger things have helped bring down tyrants.
  • Yes, some cops should be charged with murder. And conspiracy. And attempted coverup. And …
  • Obama The Great. Or why he thinks he is and is expects us peasants to acknowledge it. (Presidents do tend to be a scurvy lot, but I don’t believe we’ve ever had one more narcissistic than this guy.) UPDATE: G**gl* cached version, H/T. M. Original article has slipped behind a paywall.
  • It figures. There are actual scientists studying that great (and I really mean it) problem of modern life: why the heck all those electrical cords tangle into Gordian knots just by being left lying around.
  • Via jed: Order restored to universe as Microsoft gives back all those other-people’s domains it managed to crash.
Claire Wolfe

Monday links

Monday, June 30th, 2014
Claire Wolfe

The lighter side of keep out, go away, get lost, drop dead, and no soliciting

Sunday, June 29th, 2014

During those horrible late-teen years of not knowing what I wanted to do with my life but knowing I needed money to do it, I managed to grind my way through three weeks as a door-to-door salesthing.

My one good memory from those endless years of days was (tellingly, I suppose) a hand-made No Soliciting sign. It said:

If you’re selling something
GO AWAY.
I don’t want your magazines, your cookies, or your religion.

I was tempted to knock on the door just to tell the people how cool I thought it was. I figured I have my own someday.

Most of my life since then I’ve lived in places where few commercial peddlers and only the most determined religionists dare venture, so I’ve had no need for a No Soliciting sign on my various hermitages.

Now, however, I live where we have mobs of door-to-doorists. It’s time to take defensive measures.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Claire Wolfe

Saturday linkfest

Saturday, June 28th, 2014
  • I guess this has been around a while, but I just saw it: David Codrea’s Physician Liability Form. Print this out and hand it to any boundary-violating doctor who tries to poke into your gun ownership!
  • I found that via Kurt Hofmann who delivers a hearty smackdown to Mike the anti-gun “Gun Guy.” Anti-gun Mike’s latest BS is that the doesn’t think disabled people should be “allowed” to defend themselves.
  • Speaking of people who want to determine what’s good for you, the push to data-mine more of our health info is getting stronger and creepier.
  • Larry Page of the increasingly Don’t Be Evil Google thinks he could save “100,000 lives” a year if we’d all just trust him more. This is the same Google that’s basically an arm of the NSA. The same Google that just announced plans to ban all “dangerous” advertising. Which (she sighs with weary resignation) of course includes ads for you-know-what.
  • Oh yes, and it’s the same Google whose already-creepy surveillance products can be hacked so pathetically easily that real hackers wouldn’t even consider it a challenge.
  • But that ain’t nothin’, folks. Ain’t nothin’. You want to see real fanboy worship of Total Control Through Technology (TM)? Read this Economist article on birth-to-death e-ID. Wow. Such glowing. Much foolish. (Doge meme for anyone who thinks I’ve just lost all sense of grammar.)
Claire Wolfe

Wednesday links

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014
  • The federal no-fly list is unconstitutional. So says a judge. Not (apparently) because the fedgov is arbitrarily and secretly denying people their right to travel, but because it’s not offering a good enough appeals process for arguing our way off. Don’t expect much to change.
  • Gadzooks, it appears that the pampered darling Chelsea Clinton is even more out-of-touch than Mommy C. (Via Never Yet Melted)
  • Church knowingly hires registered sex offender (pedophile) as pastor. The predictable happens. But I suppose you could say this dude was a step above their previous pastor. Or … um, maybe not.
  • The security state as a bumbling giant. Gads, I love you, Borepatch. Love that bit of coding you blogged about, too.
  • Happiness is being a loser. Well, maybe not exactly. But this 2012 article nails how I perceive matters. I know positive thinking works for natural-born positive thinkers. But those of us who were born to see the glass as half empty have reasons — and a certain wisdom. Trying to force optimism has never done anything but make me grumpy from disappointment.

If you’re wondering when part II of my “observations on being obsolete” piece might be coming along — fear not. I’m working on it. it’s just that I’m also deadlining on three articles, too. So a little more patience.

In the meantime, always remember: We Our Lords and Masters Shall Overcome.”

And if that isn’t the most inspiring embarassing thing you’ve seen all year, I’d like to know what is.

Claire Wolfe

Friday links

Friday, June 20th, 2014

That fascinating musical group Ok Go (they of the mind-bendingly geeky videos and the slightly forgettable music) have done it again. They’ve released their first new video in several years. Despite its sad dearth of dogs, this maze of optical illusions done in their standard one-shot (or so they make it appear) technique is still pretty awesome.

Claire Wolfe

Monday links

Monday, June 16th, 2014
Claire Wolfe

Computer security and privacy links roundup

Saturday, June 14th, 2014

Been saving these to write some larger think-piece about e-privacy. But not happening, so here you go — the good and bad news about what “they” are doing to you online and on cell. And how some smart people are resisting.

  • Internet biggies adding privacy protections. (Thank you, Edward Snowden.)
  • And speaking of Snowden, he’s joined up with the Reset the Net effort.
  • In case you missed it, NPR’s Steve Henn did an interesting series this week (more here and here) with some jaw-dropping creepiness (with special relevance to smartphone users). Hm. Seems those added privacy protections aren’t doing much for users yet.
  • And why are those big Internet companies pretending to care about our privacy? Because it’s good marketing, these days. They position themselves as protectors while they gather and plan to share our fitness data and use more of our browsing data to advertise at us.
  • The newest air-gap hack. And yes, this involves cellphones, too.
  • Meanwhile, “the most transparent administration in history” intervenes down to the local police level to ensure that we don’t find out how they’re monitoring us. (H/T O.)

Cheers!

 
 


 
 

 
 
 
 
 
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