Posts tagged privacy

Home amnesty.org
image from Home
"Either we must submit to this pervasive surveillance machinery – where our data is easily weaponized to manipulate and influence us – or forego the benefits of the digital world. This can never be a legitimate choice."
Amnesty International the organization is wrestling with their use of Facebook in the wake of this report: We called out Facebook and Google but still need them. That's exactly the problem. They go on to say:
“We are trying to pull off the difficult balancing act of carrying out our duty to spread our human rights message while spending money with companies profiting from problematic surveillance. The reputational risk grows with every scandal. ”
I hope we see some progressive organizations start to distance themselves from Facebook. If they won’t, who will?
om.co om.co
Om Malik tapped into a current of mistrust around smart device features sponsored by the big services after he wrote about his hesitation: Hello HomePod. So Long Sonos & Bose. Even my first generation Sonos speakers attempt to phone home frequently (for use stats?) and I block that with pi-hole. When I wanted to add a speaker recently I purchased a used first gen on eBay because I don’t want yet another always-on microphone in my home. I mean, have you seen the headlines?
nrempel.com
This is another great post about changing digital habits, google edition. This is feeling more possible to me every day. I need to switch to Fathom Analytics here. Google Analytics is overkill for a personal website. And it wasn't mentioned in this post, but I still haven't found a good alternative to Google Maps on my phone. Apple Maps has been improving but it's still not as accurate in my experience.
banking.senate.gov banking.senate.gov
image by @thedansherman
"...there exists a sphere of life that should remain outside public scrutiny, in which we can be sure that our words, actions, thoughts and feelings are not being indelibly recorded. This includes not only intimate spaces like the home, but also the many semi-private places where people gather and engage with one another in the common activities of daily life—the workplace, church, club or union hall. As these interactions move online, our privacy in this deeper sense withers away."
Maciej Cegłowski, owner and operator of old-school bookmarking service Pinboard (which I use to power posts like this) spoke to the Senate Banking Committee about online privacy. His thoughtful written statement is an excellent description of privacy in our current tech environment and has some ideas about how regulation could change things. I have no idea how this public statement came about, but I hope our leaders were listening. The gif here is by @thedansherman.
pi-hole.net pi-hole.net
image from pi-hole.net
I'm a big fan of goofing around with a Raspberry Pi. At times I've used mine as a game emulator, media center, and caller ID server. Recently it has been sitting in a box, but now it's a DNS server that blocks ads on my home network thanks to Pi-hole. Pi-hole is software you install on a raspberry pi that filters the addresses you or your devices request through shared lists of known advertisers. It's simple to set up and it just works. I'm seeing 98% fewer ads across the web—no browser ad-blocker required. Once installed it has a nice web admin interface and it gives you statistics about which domains have been blocked. (8.7% of all my DNS queries have been blocked as I write this.) It was also easy to add my favorite ad-supported sites to a whitelist so they'll still get paid. It does bother me that this kind of tool leads to a nerds vs. everyone else experience (great interview, btw) but tracking, malware, and general browsing performance has gotten so bad due to ads that we need these tools. If you already have a tiny computer, Pi-hole plus an hour to set it up on a weekend will improve your web experience.
Gizmodo Gizmodo
image from Gizmodo
I never get tired of these stories where people change their digital habits. This piece by Kashmir Hill is an extreme example, but also a good illustration of how ubiquitous the major tech companies are. Understanding the often hidden architecture of our tech environment helps us make mindful decisions. A couple other posts in this genre I've enjoyed lately: Bye, Bye, Google by Bogdan Popa and Pulling the plug on Facebook by Drupal founder Dries Buytaert.
Motherboard Motherboard
image from Motherboard
10. We need strong regulation to protect our privacy
20. Goto 10


I think every large company has violated our privacy now—selling user data is the culture! So we need to change that culture via regulation. Congressional investigations with no follow-up are not scaring companies; so promises like this ring hollow: AT&T says it'll stop selling your location data. The week before it was IBM selling Weather Channel app location data: Los Angeles Accuses Weather Channel App of Covertly Mining User Data. With no repercussions we'll see these headlines over and over.
blog.chaddickerson.com blog.chaddickerson.com
This really rang true for me, especially: "I don’t sit there and think about what other people might think about what I’m writing — just the person who emailed me. To me, this is closer to what true friendship is like." I feel like we've collectively forgotten what private one-on-one relationships are.
  • Leonard has a great summary of the Apple security problem: "Either Apple’s security was so incompetent or negligent that they have not been aware of what was going on, or they knew, but actively ignored the issue and decided that it was not worth fixing."
  • Maciej is correct. Again. "Perhaps they didn't feel they had a say in the matter. Maybe the economic interests promoting car culture were too strong. Maybe they thought this was the inevitable price of progress."
« Older posts