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Comment: Take the mobile phone battery out (Score 1) 319

by andrew3 (#45506647) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Do You Protect Your Privacy These Days? Or Do You?

I keep the battery out of my mobile phone when I'm not using it, which is 99% of the time. Apparently I am lucky to have a phone which makes it easy to do this. Various court releases, leaks, research papers and other publications suggest that mobile phones can easily be updated remotely by carriers (and maybe adversaries) to act as listening devices on command, which is why I do this.

I also use multiple web browsers for different purposes (e.g. one for normal web browsing when I don't reveal my identity, another for a few logins, etc.), use Tor, avoid using "cloud computing", use only free (-as in freedom) software, use encryption where possible, keep up to date with security updates, encrypt traffic in my local network (I don't trust my D-Link router very much), etc.

Comment: There is always a catch (Score 3, Interesting) 224

by andrew3 (#45352937) Attached to: Microsoft Donates Windows 8.1 To Nonprofit Organizations

Microsoft also gives free Windows licenses to students through various programs. But there is always a catch. In this case, Microsoft wants its users to adopt its own formats and use its network services, essentially pushing users into an endless cycle of relying on Microsoft software and services, allowing Microsoft to push for unreasonable terms, include more privacy-invasive features to gain more information about their users, increased OS reliance on Microsoft's network/cloud computing, and, of course, to make more money. Making money on its own, of course, is not usually a bad thing, but when a company like Microsoft controls a significant portion of the market it is certainly bad. I hear non-profits and governments are also often more likely to adopt free (-as in freedom) software such as LibreOffice and occasionally GNU/Linux, which could explain why they are a target of this campaign.

Remember people: this isn't being done to benefit you, it's done to benefit Microsoft.

Comment: PR stunt (they've been doing it for ages) (Score 1) 115

by andrew3 (#45287945) Attached to: Facebook Testing Screen-Tracking Software For Users

Facebook has been doing this for ages. It started years ago with the hovercards (hovering over a person's face brings up details and alerts Facebook each time) and grew from there. A few months ago I observed using the Firefox Web Developer tools that Facebook was monitoring when a user hovered over a Like button (not necessarily clicked), advertisements, possibly tracking what part of the page the user was on, and more. Quick analysis from a curious user didn't reveal the full details of exactly what they were tracking.

Basically Facebook would rather give the news itself rather than letting someone else spill the beans. It's a cheap PR stunt, no more.

Comment: Re:zero cost? (Score 1) 198

by andrew3 (#45161391) Attached to: Visual Studio 2013 Released

It takes five minutes and none of the info you give them is verified.

Oh, so that makes it okay, does it? Almost all Microsoft services contain a termination clause which allows them to cancel a service for a user, or delete their account at any time.

That's right, the software on your computer is now being tied into Microsoft's services, so that the rights you once had disappear.

Comment: Mandatory registration (Score 3, Informative) 198

by andrew3 (#45161343) Attached to: Visual Studio 2013 Released

Writing a program in Visual Studio requires mandatory registration, or the program will refuse to start up. This also gives Microsoft to arbitrarily deny specific programmers the ability to publish a program.

Oh, and this, from the VS 2010 Privacy Policy, suggests that Microsoft can remotely target your computer after it does error reporting:

In rare cases, such as problems that are especially difficult to solve, Microsoft may request additional data, including sections of memory (which may include memory shared by any or all applications running at the time the problem occurred), some registry settings, and one or more files from your computer. Your current documents may also be included. When additional data is requested, you can review the data and choose whether or not to send it.

It's somewhat disappointing that Slashdot is used to advertise software like this. Fuck that, I'll stick with free (as in freedom) compilers like GCC, MinGW, LLVM etc. and free IDEs.

Comment: DRM = encrypted for Microsoft software (Score 1) 101

by andrew3 (#45105895) Attached to: Would You Secure Personal Data With DRM Tools?

Let's not forget what DRM actually is. DRM-encrypted files are encrypted so that, at least in theory, only one program can read it. That program can arbitrarily impose restrictions on the user. How does that protect the user at all? From themselves and from their friends?

Encryption is a good way of protecting your privacy. Encrypting for Microsoft is a good way of losing control of your data.

Comment: Shame that Slashdot blocks Tor (Score 4, Insightful) 98

by andrew3 (#44214225) Attached to: Inside the Electronic Frontier Foundation

If Slashdot wants to promote and help EFF, they should stop censoring users from reading news on their own website.

At the moment, many attempts to access Slashdot via Tor give a blocked IP address message. So many Tor users can't read Slashdot at all.

I might be a little bit sympathetic if Slashdot temporarily banned IPs from posting when abuse is detected, but it's a real shame that IPs blocked by Slashdot can't read the news at all.

Comment: A sign of problems in the CA system (Score 1) 128

by andrew3 (#43717957) Attached to: Saudi Arabian Telecom Pitches to Moxie Marlinspike

From Ars Technica:

"One of the design documents that they volunteered specifically called out compelling a [certificate authority] in the jurisdiction of the UAE or Saudi Arabia to produce SSL certificates that they could use for interception," Marlinspike wrote in a blog post.

Clearly there is something wrong with the public key infrastructure on the web.

Comment: Restricted Boot (Score 1) 290

by andrew3 (#43345979) Attached to: Falling Windows RT Tablet Prices Signify Slow Adoption

Windows RT is worse than Windows 8 because it doesn't give its users the freedom to boot another OS, or control the computer at its very lowest level. Sure, maybe most users don't care, but they should. If tech-savvy users boycott the Surface RT, maybe users will as well.

I can't yet see any reason for not allowing users to control their own device at its lowest level. Maybe an "unlock" option like a few Android phones do would prevent users from making unwise decisions.

I feel like I had to say something, because many of the comments here are aimed at the technical qualities of the Windows RT/iPad/other proprietary OS. This is missing the point! If people aren't adopting Windows RT at the moment, let's tell them why they should avoid it forever.

Also, I believe the FSF's petition to stop Restricted Boot is still open. Please take a moment to sign it if you have the time - it's getting close to 50,000 signatures.

-- some crazy free software user.


+ - Facebook Locking Users Out, Demanding Photo ID->

Submitted by andrew3
andrew3 (2250992) writes "Facebook is reportedly locking out users who are suspected of infringing their Terms of Use. Facebook addict Karina Moreno received a message upon logging into her account asking for her government issued photo ID. According to Chris Morran of The Consumerist online magazine, this change is due to a recent crackdown on fake, malicious profiles. Moreno insists she didn't violate any of Facebook's rules. Facebook later restored her account and apologized, saying her account was suspended by mistake."
Link to Original Source

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