Privacy Archives

Freenet 0.5 News: Build 5110 soon to be released

I have heard it said several times over the last few years that Freenet 0.5, known as Freenet Classic Opennet, is dead.

This is untrue.

As a matter of fact, freenet 0.5 is once again being developed.  I have started learning Java programming specifically so that I can contribute a much needed new update of freenet 0.5 and within a couple of weeks I expect to have the first new build (5110) available for download.

Because I’m just getting started with Java this first new build will mostly be a long overdue maintenance build.  The default bookmarks will be updated and some very old code that directs people to the original freenetproject.org site will be updated to point to equivalent pages on my freenet site.  This is because the developers at freenetproject.org no longer support or have anything to do with 0.5.  Instead they’re devoting their efforts to 0.7.x, a branch of freenet that I and many others have long mis-trusted for an assortment of reasons which I won’t go into now because I’m not up to writing a long post right now.

Instead I’ll address the biggest concerns in a series of upcoming posts.

In the meantime I’ll be working on 5110 and will announce here and on the Frost boards when it’s available.

Technorati Tags: download freenet, stable freenet, freenet classic opennet, freenet update, classic freenet, freenet, freenet 0.5

Hardcopy Not As Secure As You Thought

I was going through some of my long neglected email this morning and among a collection of prototype 37c reviews, allegedly “breaking” news items about the antics of this or that sports figure and at least three people writing to say that they have discovered “the” secret to making money online and were willing to share it with me for anywhere from $47 to $597 there was a news item from CBS news that I very nearly overlooked.

It’s about the almost totally overlooked or ignored security risk of using copiers.  Not the risk that somebody in your office will use the copier to make copies of important proprietary company information.  Rather the risk that the contents of the copiers hard drive will fall into the wrong hands.

That’s right.  Copiers these days have hard drives just like computers do and every single copy that is made on that machine is stored as an image on that hard drive.  This may sound unrealistic but when you remember that the cost of disk space is dropping at an incredible rate these days it’s not unrealistic at all.

The problem, according to the article, is the fact that almost nobody even knows about the problem and of those that are aware of it, very few ever bother to take action to do something about it.  Read the article, you’ll find it and the accompanying video segment a real wake up call!

I strongly suggest that if you’re replacing a copier that it’s a VERY good idea to take some time and open up the old one, remove it’s hard drive and then connect it to a computer and use something like Eraser to thoroughly wipe the contents of it before allowing that copier to be sold, given away or even just thrown out.

Technorati Tags: privacy leak, privacy, digital copies, copier, hard drive, security

Matterhorn Remailer Back Up

I recently posted about the Matterhorn remailer being down.  This morning I found an announcement in alt.privacy.anon-server that it’s been restored to normal operation.

It does however, have a new mixmaster key.  The best way to get the new key is to send an email to remailer AT rip DOT ax DOT lt with the subject line: remailer-key

Technorati Tags: anonymous, type 1, mixmaster, anonymity, remailer, cypherpunk, type 2, anonymous email

4th Amendment Protection Eliminated In E-mail

I just read something on Slashdot that should be a great big red flag to anyone that has any interest in email privacy at all.

The 11th Circuit court handed down a decision in Rehberg v. Paulk which severely limits how much fourth amendment protection there is for Email.  The decision was that constitutional protection in stored copies of e-mail held by third parties disappears as soon as any copy of the communication is delivered.

The problem with this is that because of how email works, Just because a copy of the message was delivered to you when your email program downloaded it from the server it doesn’t mean that the copy on the server instantly ceases to exist.  This means that the government or any Law Enforcement Agency can just wait until email is delivered and then snag a copy from the server it was delivered from.

If you’d like an in depth look at why this decision is wrong I suggest you have a look at this article.  The author goes into the legal nuts and bolts of why the 11th circuit court is wrong.

Regardless of whether it’s ever overturned or not, this case serves as a reminder that even with forth amendment protections, email is NOT very private at all unless you take steps to MAKE it private.

The only real answer to the problem of course is to use encryption.  And before you start going with the “If you haven’t got anything to hide then you have nothing to worry about” crap think about this.  For the average person (even law abiding people), it’s not a question of having “something to hide” so much as having privacy.  Back in the days when everybody used postal mail, if you didn’t want the contents of your message to be read then you would use a security envelope or perhaps even put it into a package that was much more difficult to open.

The same thing applies to email.  People send emails every day the contents of which they very much do NOT want to be read by anyone but the intended recipient.  Those emails can be literally anything from important business matters about a new secret project to you Aunt Jane’s secret collection of home remedies for acne.  The point is that you want them to be read only by the person that you’re sending them to and that anyone else reading them is an invasion of privacy.

This is where encryption comes in.  For example if you use Thunderbird as your email program it’s a small thing to get a plugin called Enigmail and a copy of GnuPG, take a few minutes to read some instructions about how to set them up and create a keypair, publish the public part of the key and you’re ready to begin encrypting your email.

Ok, Granted, it’s not much use to encrypt email unless the other party has the same kind of setup but that’s really easy.  All of the programs I just mentioned are free and take only minutes to set up.

I have personally been using encryption for years.  Even when I don’t encrypt emails I use Enigmail & GnuPG to digitally sign all of my emails so that the recipients can A, verify that it was me that sent it and B, they can tell if the message has been altered in any way.

If you want your email to be private the ONLY way to insure this is to use encryption.  I think that it’s long overdue for encryption to come into mainstream use.  It’s not hard to do and does something that regular, unencrypted, email can’t do: It guarantees that you have an “Expectation of privacy” because you have taken extra steps to make it clear to anyone looking at the message that you don’t want anyone but the intended recipient to read it.

Technorati Tags: forth amendment, 11th circuit court, encryption, gnupg, enigmail, privacy, email

The Feds Are Watching Social Media

So says an article on Chicagotribune.com in which they point out what should be obvious to anyone.  Now that social media such as facebook, myspace, twitter and dozens more are such a huge part of most people’s lives, the feds are spending more and more time watching them.

Not only that but they’re also creating false profiles and connecting with people, searching out events, reading tweets, status messages, friends lists and so on looking for giveaway clues in careless tweets, status messages and pictures that will give them the proof they need for an arrest.

So that pic of the time you covered yourself in wrinkle cream pretending to be a ghost is up there for federal scrutiny along with the dumb criminal that posts a pic of him with the really expensive car that he bought financed by his drug sales or whatever.

On the one hand I can see this as a necessary step in the growth of law enforcement’s tactics.  On the other, there are entirely too many opportunities for this stuff to be misused and abused.

Then there’s the fact that most social networking sites have strict policies against making false accounts or providing false information to create an account.  When does it reach the point where they need to get a warrant before creating the account?  Will the account be deleted once it has served it’s purpose or will it be maintained and re-used on more cases?

The moral of this story is: Never post something online that you wouldn’t want the entire world to know.

Technorati Tags: feds, undercover feds, social networking, criminal investigation, fbi

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