2013 featured no shortage of news stories related to privacy and privacy invasion, as we’re sure you noticed. Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks and all of the subsequent stories that branched off from them made the amount and extremity of government snooping quite clear (that’s to say nothing of major personal security breaches, like those that occurred on Target’s watch).
So aside from validating all of the fears of the extremely paranoid, the NSA PRISM program also set a lot of people with reasonable fears about personal security and privacy on considerable edge, us included (we like to think we belong in the latter category). In that spirit, we thought it might be a good idea to resurrect our old privacy link roundups. After all, while our President may be promising to review the effects of the Big Data leaks, we think it’s good to stay vigilant and hyper-aware of the potential threats to our privacy and security on a seemingly daily basis.
Top Internet Privacy News Stories of 2014
Google Chrome Eavesdropping Bug – A pretty major bug has been discovered in Google Chrome – it would basically allow a malicious website to access your computer’s microphone and listen to it long after you’ve left the original site – and it would seem that Google has yet to do anything about it, despite having long since developed a patch for the issue.
President Obama to Review Impact of Big Data – We alluded to this one above, and the title pretty much says it all. Nonetheless, it’s heartening to learn that the President is willing to, at the very least, examine the potentially troubling affects of allowing federal agencies and major communications corporations unfettered access to the citizenry’s private information.
A Civil Liberties & Privacy Officer for the NSA – As part of the NSA’s Minor-And-Ceremonial-Demonstrations-of-Good-Faith program, the massive intelligence agency has hired a Civil Liberties & Privacy Officer (CLPO) to protect the very ideas inherent in the job title. The new hire, Rebecca Richards of the Homeland Security Privacy Office, is due to start the job next month.
Verizon’s First Transparency Report – And while we’re on the subject of major communications corporations and privacy, Verizon has released their first transparency report which details all of the requests for information they’ve received from government agencies. The staggering numbers include 164,000 subpoenas and 36,000 warrants.
A Possible Plea Bargain for Snowden? – Slate considers the circumstances around the President’s (and Attorney General Eric Holder’s) recent public consideration of a plea deal for famed NSA leaker, Edward Snowden. It’s unlikely that this signals that President Obama or Holder respect Snowden’s brave choice to leak classified information, and are more likely fearful of what else he might leak if a bargain isn’t reached.
Why, Oh Why, Do People Still Use These Passwords? – We know we’re more invested in the business of online security than most, but c’mon people: if you’re still using “Password” as your password, we’re not sure we can help you anymore.; That said, we’re glad something else has overtaken it for worst password (please stop using “123456”).
Angry Birds Say They Won’t Share Your Data – Rovio, the makers of the immensely popular Angry Birds game, are outright denying sharing your information with the NSA, although they do allow that their third-party ad networks might be used by governmental agencies to collect user data. Rovio says they will reevaluate whether or not they should continue using these ad agencies.
One More Snowden Story, We Promise – According to documents leaked by Edward Snowden, the British government is more than capable of spying on some of the most popular social media sites in the world, such as YouTube and Facebook. What is the name of this insidious and secretive monitoring program. You guessed it: Squeaky Dolphin (you didn’t guess it. Who could?).
Would You Allow the Police to Use Your Security Camera – A proposal from San Jose, Calif., City Councilman San Liccardo requests that citizens register their home security cameras for usage by law enforcement. The idea is that, should a crime commit around the area of your home security camera, the police could then use the feed from your house to determine what occurred. Unsurprisingly, some are taking issue with this proposal.
Tor Exit Relays Spying on Traffic – From Threat Post: “Researchers from Karlstad University in Sweden published a paper this week examining the malicious behavior of some Tor exit relays and found 25 that were either behaving maliciously, or were misconfigured to the point where they would raise a red flag on the network. The nearly two dozen relays in question are a small fraction of the available exit nodes—as many as 1,000 at a given time—that act as a final gateway for a user’s traffic to pass before it hits the open Internet.”