Loss of Privacy

Keeping you informed on recent losses to privacy and civil rights worldwide.

Browsing Posts tagged free speech

Washington County public school officials announced they will be using new software to monitor students’ social media posts.

The county will be one of only four school districts in the nation to enlist a new software program called Social Sentinel that tracks social media accounts for certain keywords.

To those that question the legality of such monitoring in the face of privacy rights, school officials said the software uses “geofencing” protocol to only track posts that are made while the student is on school property.

School officials said the goal is to protect student safety. Examples of such posts that will be tracked include those that feature keywords like “kill,” “bomb” and others.

Some student will kill it on that Science test while others bomb it. This system will be completely useless as soon as everyone figures out euphemisms for search words.

School officials said they will also be consulting with parents and members of student government for feedback on what additional keywords should be added to the watch-list.

Threats will be flushed out, officials added – if a keyword is caught, the post will be read to check for threats of violence, bullying or harassment, reference to using drugs or alcohol, references to weapons, and the like.

One of two things is going to happen. The school is going to quickly be overloaded and realize what a waste of money this systems is. The students will not communicate on any system that’s monitored by the school and will have a “school” social media account and their real account.

Neither of these situations should be happening. The first forces students to protest a system that is hindering their free speech. The second forces them to either self-censor or be deceitful.

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The film follows the story of programming prodigy and information activist Aaron Swartz. From Swartz’s help in the development of the basic internet protocol RSS to his co-founding of Reddit, his fingerprints are all over the internet. But it was Swartz’s groundbreaking work in social justice and political organizing combined with his aggressive approach to information access that ensnared him in a two-year legal nightmare.

It was a battle that ended with the taking of his own life at the age of 26. Aaron’s story touched a nerve with people far beyond the online communities in which he was a celebrity. This film is a personal story about what we lose when we are tone deaf about technology and its relationship to our civil liberties.

Source.

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Tor-Anonymity-Tor-path

In a shocking story on the German site Tagesschau (Google translate), Lena Kampf, Jacob Appelbaum and John Goetz report on the rules used by the NSA to decide who is a “target” for surveillance.

You can read more at Boing Boing.

From Panorama:

The investigation discloses the following:

Two servers in Germany – in Berlin and Nuremberg – are under surveillance by the NSA.
Merely searching the web for the privacy-enhancing software tools outlined in the XKeyscore rules causes the NSA to mark and track the IP address of the person doing the search. Not only are German privacy software users tracked, but the source code shows that privacy software users worldwide are tracked by the NSA.
Among the NSA’s targets is the Tor network funded primarily by the US government to aid democracy advocates in authoritarian states.
The XKeyscore rules reveal that the NSA tracks all connections to a server that hosts part of an anonymous email service at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It also records details about visits to a popular internet journal for Linux operating system users called “the Linux Journal – the Original Magazine of the Linux Community”, and calls it an “extremist forum”.

The authors of the Tagesschau story have seen the “deep packet inspection” rules used to determine who is considered to be a legitimate target for deep surveillance, and the results are bizarre.

According to the story, the NSA targets anyone who searches for online articles about Tails — like this one that we published in April, or this article for teens that I wrote in May — or Tor (The Onion Router, which we’ve been posted about since 2004). Anyone who is determined to be using Tor is also targeted for long-term surveillance and retention.

Bruce Schneier thinks there may be a second leaker.

I do not believe that this came from the Snowden documents. I also don’t believe the TAO catalog came from the Snowden documents. I think there’s a second leaker out there.

EDITED TO ADD (7/3): More news stories. Thread on Reddit. I don’t expect this to get much coverage in the US mainstream media.

Hacker News and Slashdot threads. ArsTechnica and Wired articles.

There is also the live blog [in German] of William Binney in front of the German Parliament.

There is also another post on reddit. After reading all of these links the last few days, I’m probably on the NSA’s list now too.

The facts also bear out that all this surveillance to protect us is useless. You are eight times more likely to be killed by a police officer and 6 times more likely to die from hot weather than a terrorist attack.

Feel free to download Tor.

Read/download the XKeyscore rules.

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free_speech

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Jacob Appelbaum’s keynote at LibrePlanet 2014. The talk was delivered remotely via Tor-anonymized, 100% free software videochat.

Original here.

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