Folded Note Could Be Unfolded Too Easily For Strong Anonymity

www.foldednote.com is another in the long list of web based services that offer some form of anonymous email messaging.  Theirs is somewhat different than most I’ve seen in that it involves a four step process and even allows the anonymous sender to recieve a reply.  All this while ostensibly remaining anonymous.  Of course, I decided to check it out.

Step one

You’re presented with a form where you enter the recipient’s email address and write your message (which is limited to 500 characters).  When you’re done, you click on “Review your note” which takes you to a page that allows you to preview the note and, if need be, continue editing.

I have to say that I also found it interesting that they actively prevent users from sending messages to themselves.  Fortunately I have plenty of secondary email addresses to use for testing the site.

Once you’re satisfied, you then need to enter your email address and solve a captcha.  This causes a confirmation to be sent to your email address.  The confirmation contains a link that you must use in order to sent the email.  I’ll give ’em one thing, their use of confirmation of the sender’s email combined with a captcha means that this system is like pantry moth traps for spammers so the site will definitely not be abused by spammers.

It also insures that they’ve got your email address because the system will not send your message unless it’s got yours confirmed by clicking the link in the confirmation email they send you.

Step two

The next thing that happens is that the recipient get an email from folded note saying that there’s a message waiting for them and gives them a link to click on to pick it up.  Once they click on the link they get the note presented on the folded note site.

Step three

At this point you have the option to rate the note, block the sender permanently or send a reply.  The reply can only be up to 200 characters long

Step four

Finally the sender gets to see the response if any.

The folded note site makes it clear in their terms of service that they’ll cooperate with law enforcement, court orders and the like.  Anyone using this system should make very certain not to trust it with anything important at all and certainly not anything illegal.  Remember, it makes a point of not only collecting, but confirming a real email address that can be used to reach you.

In addition to that there’s the usual reminder that because this is web based, they have your IP address in their server logs from the moment you connect.

In terms of the level of anonymity and security you get from this site, I would class it as little more than a toy that should never be used for anything serious or trusted with any real secrets.

Technorati Tags: review, anonymous email, send anonymous email, anonymous email site, hotmail, website review, web mail, weak anonymity, anonymity, not anonymous

UK ISP’s To Get More Into Data Mining

In spite of how things have been going over recent years we have to remember that Here in the “good old U. S. Of A.” is not the only place where freedoms and privacy are under constant attack.  I was again reminded of this when I heard about a recent story on the website of a London television station.

The headline read “‘Black boxes’ to monitor all internet and phone data”

It seems that part of a recent communications data bill ISP’s in the UK will be required to collect all records of communications and store them for at least a year.

There is, in my opinion, considerable doubt about governmental guarantees that the content of messages will not be kept or snooped upon.  Allegedly copies of the header information in emails is what will be saved.

Then there’s the issue of encrypted connections.  These days more and more webmail services use HTTPS (ssl) to encrypt the contents of their pages before sending them.  You would think that this makes it impossible to tell what part of the page is the email, and further which is the header and which the content of the message.

According to the story, ISPs will have to route everything through a government approved “black box” that decrypts the page and sends the decrpted message headers back to the ISP where it gets stored for a year.

They don’t say just exactly what this “black box” is but it sounds to me like part of it is using deep packet inspection, otherwise how will they know that a page contains an email that needs to be decrypted?

Also, if this “Black Box” is so easily able to decrypt SSL encrypted pages then either SSL is now too weak to be considered safe or somewhere there is a backdoor in the system that allows them to decrypt stuff that is not meant for them.

Personally, I suspect both.

This is why more people should learn to encrypt their emails with something like PGP or GnuPG in addition to any encryption that is applied by using https pages.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, “Your privacy is your responsibility”.  If you do not actively work to maintain your privacy then you DO NOT HAVE ANY.

Edward Langenback liked this post

AudioMicro Stealing Youtube Partner Revenue

I have been using royalty free creative commons licensed music from incompetech.com for well over a year.  Not only that but anytime anyone talks about needing music that they can use in monetized videos that doesn’t cost them a fortune I’ve encouraged them to check out the huge list of royalty free titles at incompetech.com

Recently, Kevin MacLeod (the genius behind the music) decided to use the services of a company called AudioMicro 1 to earn some money from his music.

They are using Youtube’s content id system to claim his music in the videos of anyone that uses it.  For NON-partners this has almost NO effect.  For Partners however, things aren’t so good.

When the content id match happens youtube automatically rejects the partner’s claim submitting that video for revenue sharing.  Instead, AudioMicro 1 is getting the benefit of any and all revenue generated by views and ad clicks on that video, presumably on behalf of the artist.

To remedy the situation the partner has to dispute that claim.  This can take anywhere from one to four or five days.

Once the dispute is processed and AudioMicro1 drops the claim, the partner can finally submit that video for revenue sharing.

The problem is that by then it’s too late.

You see, unless a video suddenly goes viral, most of the views it will ever get happen in the first day or two after it’s uploaded.  Because of the content id claim the revenue those views generate is lost forever to the partner.

Essentially this means that AudioMicro1 is STEALING that revenue from the partners.

On his website (incompetech.com), Kevin Macleaod has said that all anyone has to do is email AudioMicro1 and request that they be whitelisted to “opt out” of this mess.

Even though I shouldn’t have to, I did this.  I got an email from AudioMicro1 telling me that I was whitelisted and that there would be no problems, that claims would have no effect on me or my partner status.

I made a test video that used several pieces of music from incompetech.com.

The video had barely finished uploading when I got two emails from youtube.  One was an automated notification that the video had content owned or licensed by AudioMicro1.  This in spite of the fact that they had just told me this wouldn’t happen anymore.

The second email was from Partner Support informing me that they could not approve my claim for revenue sharing on that video.

Obviously the claim that shouldn’t have happened is very definitely having an effect that AudioMicro1 said would not happen.

This means that once again I have to dispute that claim (and they then have to drop it) before I can submit that video for revenue sharing.

In short, it means that once again they have stolen whatever revenue I might have earned from that video in it’s first couple of days.

Angry as hell, I made this video in response to this crap: Whitelist FAIL http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4W7brpInTMI

I then sent this video to Kevin MacLeod via twitter ( http://twitter.com/kmacleod ) in hopes that he would finally see the truth of what this company is doing in his name and do something to put a stop to this thievery.

In order to insure that he actually sees this, I’m asking everyone to send this video to him, by twitter or whatever other means you can use.

The way AudioMicro1 is doing business is flat out WRONG and it needs to stop.

When they do this to a non-partner it doesn’t cost anybody anything.  Doing it to a partner is costing that partner potential income, however small it might be the partner still has a right to that income.

Please, help me make sure that Kevin Macleod finally understands how these “people” are ruining his good name.

As it is now, in spite of how much I love his music and how well it fits what I’m using it for, I will have to stop using it until this mess is over with.  This means I’ll be spending a large part of the next month or two searching out new music, listening to hundreds, perhaps thousands of titles to find the dozen or two that I need.

[Update Apparently Kevin Macleod is not insensitive to the needs of youtube partners trying to earn a living with their videos.  It seems he’s working on getting things straightened out so that this kind of thing does not continue to be a problem.]

Technorati Tags: tinfoilchefdotcom, bogus claim, bogus copyright, royalty free music, free, audiomicro1, theft, music, royalty free, copyright, revenue, yto, incompetech, creative commons license, content id, bogus claim, false claim, troll, creative commons, royalty, Kevin MacLeod, content id match, stealing, attribution 3.0, orbit

Missing The StormTeam

I’m one of those people that likes to keep track of the weather even when there is nothing “severe” going on.  For years all I needed to do was tune my tv to KAIT and I could catch up to date weather conditions and forecasts on any of their newscasts.  They have also had a long standing policy of cutting in on regular broadcasts when weather conditions get severe so that they can do the best job possible of keeping viewers informed as to what was going on.  This all added up to make KAIT and their “StormTeam” being the absolute best tv station I have ever watched in terms of local weather coverage.

Then came the “Big Switch” to all digital broadcasting.  All of a sudden the just passable analog signal that I was accustomed to, living at the edge of their broadcast area as I do, was gone.  It was replaced by a digital only signal that, for reasons that nobody has been able to satisfactorily explain to me, has about half of the power of the old analog signal and is therefore useless to me.

Yes, I got a digital converter box back when everybody was scrambling to get one.  NO, it doesn’t help because it cannot receive the new signal.  I looked into the possibility of putting up an outside antenna and found the cost prohibitively expensive.

I even emailed some helpful folks at KAIT and they provided me with links to sites like www.antennaweb.org where I researched the possibility of building an antenna and I was able to determine that in order for an outside antenna to be of any use at all I would have to mount a directional antenna with a gain of at least 35db on a tower no less than 100 feet tall.  It was quickly obvious that buying or building such an antenna was entirely beyond my means.

People have told me that I should just get cable or satellite tv and that would solve the problem.  Well, actually, no it would not.  For one thing it’s unlikely that either would carry the station whose weather reports I want to see, KAIT.  For another, aside from news and weather broadcasts, I don’t even WANT to watch tv.  I have absolutely zero use for all of the channels that would be included in such a package and I REFUSE to pay for something (even if I could afford it, which I cannot.) that I have no intention of using.

This left their website, kait8.com as my only possible means of getting access to ANY of their weather broadcasts.  While far from complete, it was at least helpful for quite a while.  The weather broadcast was posted on the weather home page of the site for the morning and evening broadcasts.  A far cry from what I was used to because the weather cut-ins that I have come to value so much are never available on the website.

Then recently they’ve decided to redesign the page (Side Note:: WHY do sites insist on changing stuff that works??? WHY do they constantly “improve” things to the point where somebody on an older computer can no longer use it?).  Now, instead of having the weather broadcasts viewable on the weather page, when you click on the video you want to see you get redirected to a “video page” that is so heavy with flash players that the thing barely functions at all.

In addition to that, the daily posting of morning and evening weather broadcasts has been falling off for some time.  The site would often go days without being updated and almost never updated on the weekend.  It got to the point where I considered myself blessed to find even ONE new weather broadcast video posted there per week.

Now some bright genius has decided to change things yet again.  The weather videos disappeared completely from the weather page and was nearly impossible to find.  I commented about this to KAIT’s Sarah Tipton on Twitter and this morning the video link re-appeared on the weather page but it still drops you back onto that overly bloated video page that barely functions.  I’ll give her credit though, at least now I can FIND the thing again!  Thanks Sarah.

I realize that I’m not exactly a majority here.  I’m just a guy on a fixed income that really misses the up to the minute weather information, INCLUDING the cut-ins for severe weather.  I live a the edge of the area that their old analog signal reached and well outside the reach of the new digital signal.  I have no intention of moving (couldn’t afford to if I wanted to!), cannot afford cable or satellite (and can’t see paying for a whole package when I only want ONE channel!  Not that a cable or satellite company would permit you to order only one channel!  They won’t, I’ve asked.).

However, in spite of all that, I will say that Just because I can no longer receive their signal doesn’t change the fact that I live in “Region 8” and they are still the best source of up to the minute weather coverage that is available.  Yes, there’s sites like weather.com and intellicast.com and they are useful, however those along with all the other resources out there on the web simply don’t add up to even one minute of live coverage when they cut-in to provide severe weather coverage.

I think that KAIT is missing an opportunity here.  If their weather page had the morning and evening weather broadcasts viewable on that page and was updated in a timely fashion every single day they would be the station that looks out for the “little guys” like myself that lost their great weather coverage in “The Big Switch”.

In fact if they REALLY wanted to do something exceedingly cool they could arrange for their cut-ins to be simulcast live on their weather home page!  It would be just the ticket for those like myself that cannot get but very much want those live cut-in broadcasts.  Those cut-ins have saved a lot of people a lot of trouble and I sincerely wish that they were still available.

Technorati Tags: kait, live cut in, digital tv, weather, stormteam, severe weather, wish list, cherokee village, too expensive, jonesboro, cable, antenna, no signal, channel 8, arkansas, satellite

DARPA’s Latest Video Surveillance Project

There’s an article on the Washington Post site that I think everybody should read and think about.

It talks about some of the details of the capability to mount visual surveillance from orbiting satellites and other sources.  For one thing, lets not make any mistake about just what these things can see.  How does a resolution of from four inches to one foot sound?

With that kind of resolution they could read the headlines off of the morning newspaper while you’re outside picking it up.  The thing is that with all the video they’re able to get, once they come up with a way to index all of this material handling it and searching it will become really fast.

Does this sound a bit like Big Brother’s dream toy?  Yeah, I thought so too.  The question is “How do we pull the plug on it?”.  This growing trend of allowing more surveillance, censorship and government control of our lives in the name of things that on the surface, sound like good causes is really alarming.

Yeah, I get it.  The big argument in favor of asinine nonsense like this is the “war on terror” that we keep being told about.  Now I don’t discount the fact that there are terrorists out there that would be only too happy to die in the process of killing as many of us as they could.  However I’ve come to have some really serious doubts as to whether the terrorism problem is *quite* as bad as it’s being painted.  I doubt seriously that it is.

Just like the growing internet censorship that’s being allowed to happen in the name of stopping child pornography.  I know that stuff like that is out there, I’m also pretty sure that it’s not nearly as widespread as government, law enforcement and the media would have us all believe.  If it was, most people could probably expect to accidentally surf into a child porn site at least a couple of times and / or occasionally receive email spam with graphic images.

I’ve absolutely never heard of either thing happening in over a decade of being online.

Not once.

Ever.

I think that’s telling all by itself.

It’s past time for the sheeple to wake up and reclaim their humanity and human rights.

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