Archive for November, 2012

Date: November 24th, 2012
Cate: Frontpage, News

News: Salt Lake City police about to adopt head cameras

The police chief in Salt Lake City, Utah, wants to make head cameras mandatory at his police department:

  • This US police force wants to clip cameras on the side of all their officers’ heads via glasses, helmets or hats.
  • The head cameras can record a crime scene or any interaction with the public, in addition to the footage already produced by dashboard cameras in their cars.
  • Supporters of the technology claim that the head cameras are made in such a way that officers cannot edit the footage, helping to ensure transparency.
  • The AXON Flex devices considered in Utah are manufactured by US firm TASER (they are an upgrade of the earlier AXON Pro system).
  • Currently, there are 274 US law enforcement agencies using one or both version (some for all officers, others are just testing a few).
  • UK police forces are also testing similar technology.
  • For example, Grampian Police officers in Aberdeen have been using body cameras which attach to their helmets and vests since 2010.


Date: November 24th, 2012
Cate: Frontpage, News

News: Bill to authorizes warrantless access to Americans’ email

A vote on a bill which authorizes warrantless access to American’s email is scheduled for next week:

  • A Senate proposal touted as protecting Americans’ email privacy has been rewritten to give government agencies more surveillance power than they possess under current law.
  • It would allow more than 22 agencies (including the SEC and the FCC) to access Americans’ email, Google Docs files, Facebook wall posts, and Twitter direct messages without a warrant.
  • In some circumstances the FBI and DHS could get full access to Internet accounts without notifying the owner or a judge.
  • This is a setback for Internet companies, which want to convince Congress to update the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act to protect documents stored in the cloud.
  • Currently Internet users enjoy more privacy rights for data stored on hard drives than for data stored in the cloud.


Date: November 20th, 2012
Cate: Frontpage, News

News: UK plans to block online porn for minors

UK government is moving forward with its plans to block online porn for minors:

  • Anyone buying a new computer or signing up with a new Internet service provider (ISP) will be asked whether they have children on first login.
  • On ‘yes‘ further questions will be asked to determine the stringency of the anti-pornography filters which will be installed.
  • ISPs have to impose appropriate measures to ensure that those setting the parental controls are over 18.
  • ISPs also have to prompt existing customers to install the filters.
  • This plan differs from earlier opt-out plans which would have blocked online porn automatically.
  • The Open Rights Group consider this ‘active choice’ proposal to be better than the earlier opt-out plans.


Date: November 17th, 2012
Cate: Frontpage, HowTo

Full disk encryption with Ubuntu Linux

Ubuntu is one of the most popular Linux distributions and a good start for a secure and yet easy-to-use computing environment. In order to install it go to Ubuntu’s website to download the current release for your desktop or laptop computer and follow the installation guidelines there.

Setting up full disk encryption in Ubuntu

During the installation of Ubuntu check the “Encrypt the new Ubuntu installation for security” box in the graphical installer to activate full disk encryption (dm-crypt with the symmetric AES encryption algorithm  is then used for that purpose):


Date: November 14th, 2012
Cate: Frontpage, Opinion

Spying on Petraeus, or how emails quickly become incriminating evidence [Updated 2012-11-15]

The current story of Gen. PETRAEUS and his affair BROADWELL shines a light at the possibilities of digital surveillance and tracing of crumbs of information. It can serve as an example and a warning against insufficient digital tradecraft. Though news reports about the exact order and nature of the events are imprecise, unreliable and contradictory, we are trying to put them together into a plausible series of events and give some background on techniques that were, or might have been, used to intrude on the privacy of both BROADWELL and PETRAEUS.

Date: November 14th, 2012
Cate: Frontpage, News

News: NEC offers face recognition analysis for retailers

  • Technology only requires off-the-shelf personal computer and video camera.
  • It can estimate gender and age based only on video footage.
  • Furthermore, repeat customers even across stores can be automatically recognized.
  • The underlying face recognition product, NeoFace, is also used in services like intruder recognition and surviellance.
  • NeoFace is a cloud service provided by NEC.
  • NEC claims that the face templates generated cannot be reconstructed into images of faces.

ShadowLife comment:

Date: November 14th, 2012
Cate: Frontpage, News

News: Google compliance to reveal user data and remove content

  • Report covers the 6 months between January and June 2012.
  • Requests for user data increased by 30% compared to July-December 2011.
  • Google received more than 20,938 requests to reveal user data of 34,614 accounts.
  • Google complied in more than 13,900 cases.
  • Majority of user data requests were made by the USA.
  • Google complied in above 90% of US requests.
  • During the same timespan Google received 1791 court orders and requests by executive branch (police etc.) to remove 17765 items from his search results or other services.

Source: Google Transparency Report

Date: November 12th, 2012
Cate: Concepts, Frontpage
Comments Off on Anonymity – Online and Offline – Part II

Anonymity – Online and Offline – Part II

This article explores how much anonymity really exists online, and how anonymity is reduced by everyday technologies used in Internet communication (please check out Part I of this series for the theory behind anonymity).
Many people expect their actions online to be far removed from their physical identity which often leads them to behave in ways they would never dare when their name were connected to it. But how well founded is this belief in online anonymity?

Date: November 11th, 2012
Cate: Frontpage, News

News: Chrome adds Do Not Track header

Chrome has added the Do Not Track (DNT) header:

  • DNT was added to the Chrome 23 release.
  • Mozilla’s Firefox browser implemented the feature in June 2011.
  • The upcoming release of Internet Explorer 10 (IE10) will enable DNT by default.
  • The Apache webserver was recently updated to ignore DNT in IE10.
  • Yahoo recently said it will also ignore DNT in IE10.

Source: Ars Technica

Date: November 11th, 2012
Cate: Frontpage, HowTo

How to choose a secure password

This article explains how to choose a secure password. For example, this is necessary to secure encrypted data or private keys against brute-force attacks. An introduction to encryption algorithms is given in the corresponding primer (brute-force attacks are also explained there).

You should never use the same password for multiple purposes. It is fine to use the build-in password manger of the Firefox web browser to store your website passwords, but only if they are secured properly (by using hard disk encryption with a strong password as described below and the master-password feature).