Date: December 1st, 2012
Filed in: Concepts, Frontpage
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No place to hide. Anonymity – Online and Offline – Part III

In this article we are going to explore how anonymity in the physical world is eroded through technologies and conventions that have been introduced over the last 30 years. Most people assume that their physical behavior is mostly disconnected from the world of bits and bytes, databases and surveillance (see part I on the Theory of Anonymity, and part II about Online Anonymity). Sadly, this increasingly proves to be an illusion.

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Date: November 24th, 2012
Filed in: Frontpage, News
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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.

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Date: November 24th, 2012
Filed in: Frontpage, News
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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.

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Date: November 20th, 2012
Filed in: Frontpage, News
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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.

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Date: November 17th, 2012
Filed in: Frontpage, HowTo
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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):

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