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Submission + - Windows 10: A Potential Privacy Mess, and Worse->

Lauren Weinstein writes: I had originally been considering accepting Microsoft's offer of a free upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10. After all, reports have suggested that it's a much more usable system than Windows 8/8.1 — but of course in keeping with the "every other MS release of Windows is a dog" history, that's a pretty low bar.

However, it appears that MS has significantly botched their deployment of Windows 10. I suppose we shouldn't be surprised, even though hope springs eternal.

Since there are so many issues involved, and MS is very aggressively pushing this upgrade, I'm going to run through key points here quickly, and reference other sites' pages that can give you more information right now.

But here's my executive summary: You may want to think twice, or three times, or many more times, about whether or not you wish to accept the Windows 10 free upgrade on your existing Windows 7 or 8/8.1 system.

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Submission + - What Google's New Changes to Google+ and YouTube REALLY Mean->

Lauren Weinstein writes: In a pair of blog posts today, Google announced major changes in the operations of their Google+ (G+) and YouTube services:

http://googleblog.blogspot.com...

http://youtube-global.blogspot...

There are a number of changes noted, but my executive summary would be that Google is ending the enforced connection of Google+ user profiles to other Google services, notably YouTube.

The popular clickbait analysis appearing on many sites today is that this is the death knell of Google+, proof that it cannot compete with Facebook.

This is incorrect.

Taking the longer view — and my experience with networked social media reaches back to the dawn of the ARPANET and the earliest email lists — my own analysis is that the changes are great both for YouTube AND for Google+.

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Submission + - Encryption Rights Community: Protecting Our Rights to Strongly Encrypt->

Lauren Weinstein writes: Around the world, dictatorships and democracies alike are attempting to restrict access to strong encryption that governments cannot decrypt or bypass on demand.

Firms providing strong encryption to protect their users — such as Google and Apple — are now being accused by government spokesmen of "aiding" terrorism by not making their users' communications available to law enforcement on demand.

Increasingly, governments that have proven incapable of protecting their own systems from data thefts are calling for easily abused, technologically impractical government "backdoors" in commercial encryption that would put all private communications at extreme risk of attacks.

This new G+ community will discuss means and methods to protect our rights related to encrypted communications, unfettered by government efforts to undermine our privacy in this context.

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Submission + - UI Fail: How Our User interfaces Help to Ruin Lives->

Lauren Weinstein writes: A couple of months ago, in "Seeking Anecdotes Regarding 'Older' Persons' Use of Web Services," I asked for stories and comments regarding experiences that older users have had with modern Web systems, with an emphasis on possible problems and frustrations.

I purposely did not define "older" — with the result that responses arrived from users (or regarding users) self-identifying as ages ranging from their 30s to well into their 90s (suggesting that "older" is largely a point of view rather than an absolute).

Response rates were much higher than I had anticipated, driven significantly by the gracious endorsement of my survey by Leo Notenboom of ASK LEO!, who went out on a limb and assured his large readership that I was not some loony out to steal their personal information.

Before I began the survey I had some preconceived notions of how the results would appear. Some of these were proven correct, but overall the responses also contained many surprises, often both depressing and tragic in scope.

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Submission + - DOJ vs. Google: How Google Fights on Behalf of Its Users->

Lauren Weinstein writes: Over the last few days the public has gained an unusually detailed insight into how hard Google will fight to protect its users against government overreaching, even when this involves only a single user's data.

The case reaches back to the beginning of 2011, when the U.S. Department of Justice tried to force Google to turn over more than a year's worth of metadata for a user affiliated with WikiLeaks. While these demands did not include the content of emails, they did include records of this party's email correspondents, and IP addresses he had used to login to his Gmail account.

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Submission + - Just Say "NON!" - France Demands Right of Global Google Censorship->

Lauren Weinstein writes: I've been waiting for this, much the way one waits for a violent case of food poisoning.

France is now officially demanding that Google expand the hideous EU "Right To Be Forgotten" (RTBF) to Google.com worldwide, instead of just applying it to the appropriate localized (e.g. France) version of Google.

And here's my official response as a concerned individual:

To hell with this ...

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Submission + - Governments of the World Agree: Encryption Must Die!->

Lauren Weinstein writes: Finally! There's something that apparently virtually all governments around the world can actually agree upon. Unfortunately, it's on par conceptually with handing out hydrogen bombs as lottery prizes.

If the drumbeat isn't actually coordinated, it might as well be. Around the world, in testimony before national legislatures and in countless interviews with media, government officials and their surrogates are proclaiming the immediate need to "do something" about encryption that law enforcement and other government agencies can't read on demand.

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Submission + - Seeking Anecdotes Regarding "Older" Persons' Use of Web Services->

Lauren Weinstein writes: Experiences of the "elderly" in any aspect and how ever you wish to define this would be especially appreciated. I believe this category to be of critical importance. This rapidly growing group increasingly must deal with Web services to conduct routine affairs (for example, email or other Web-based contacts with relatives or businesses, government communications, and so on.) This is also a group that could benefit greatly from calendar systems, person-to-person chat and video systems, search services as memory aids, and social networking environments (particularly given the social isolation that is so typically part and parcel of advancing age) — if and only if these persons are able to use these services effectively.
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Submission + - Why Consumers Hate Us->

Lauren Weinstein writes: It's not usually an all-encompassing kind of hate. Nor is it typically some form of "I hate you so much I won't have anything to do with you!" category of hate. And rarely is it really a "fear of evil" model of hate.

No, it's much more of a simmering, situationally specific kind of anger. It's mostly (but by no means exclusively) directed at large Internet technology firms, and by proxy at the technologists (like many of you, and certainly me) who either directly or indirectly create, deploy, influence, or otherwise impact the Web and its services as experienced by ordinary, mostly non-techie consumers — who increasingly must use our products whether they really want to or not, at the risk of being left far behind ...

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Submission + - When Web Experiments Violate User Trust, We're All Victims->

Lauren Weinstein writes: If you ever wonder why it seems like politicians around the world appear to have decided that their political futures are best served by imposing all manner of free speech restrictions, censorship, and content controls on Web services, one might be well served by examining the extent to which Internet users feel that they've been mistreated and lied to by some services — how their trust in those services has been undermined by abusive experiments that would not likely be tolerated in other aspects of our lives ...
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Submission + - One of the Most Alarming Internet Proposals I've Ever Seen->

Lauren Weinstein writes: You'd think that with so many concerns these days about whether the likes of AT&T, Verizon, and other telecom companies can be trusted not to turn our data over to third parties whom we haven't authorized, that a plan to formalize a mechanism for ISP and other "man-in-the-middle" snooping would be laughed off the Net.

But apparently the authors of IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) Internet-Draft "Explicit Trusted Proxy in HTTP/2.0" (14 Feb 2014) haven't gotten the message.

What they propose for the new HTTP/2.0 protocol is nothing short of officially sanctioned snooping.

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Submission + - Unintended Consequences: How NSA Revelations May Lead to Even More Surveillance->

Lauren Weinstein writes: "This then may be the ultimate irony in this surveillance saga. Despite the current flood of protests, recriminations, and embarrassments — and even a bit of legal jeopardy — intelligence services around the world (including especially NSA) may come to find that Edward Snowden’s actions, by pushing into the sunlight the programs whose very existence had long been dim, dark, or denied — may turn out over time to be the greatest boost to domestic surveillance since the invention of the transistor."
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