Category: privacy and anonymity

getting close to the nsa

Since my last post there have been a couple more entrants to the Tor logo competition. Neither, strictly speaking, meets the original requested criterion that they be suitable for inclusion in Tor Project team presentations, but each has its merits. The first image below was posted by “David”. I think it captures rather nicely the …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2013/12/26/getting-close-to-the-nsa/

merry christmas

image of tor onion wearing crown

As I have noted before, 24 December is trivia’s birthday. My first post dates from 24 December 2006 so trivia is seven years old today. As is now becoming traditional I therefore post again today. And as a reflection of the story which has come to dominate trivia over the latter half of this year …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2013/12/24/merry-christmas/

tor boost

Moritz Bartl has just posted some good news. Torservers.net, a volunteer run organisation spread across eight countries which provides high bandwidth Tor servers to the network, has just been awarded $250.000 over two years by the Digital Defenders Partnership. According to Bartl’s press release, with this additional funding: participating Torservers organizations will be able to …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2013/12/14/tor-boost/

an historical perspective

El Reg commentards can get worked up about a whole range of topics. That is one of the reasons I so enjoy reading it. Back in May 2009, El Reg posted an article about the then Home Secretary’s decision to place the right wing US Radio commentator, Michael Savage, on a persona non grata list …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2013/12/10/an-historical-perspective/

ssl cipher check

My recent explorations of how to strengthen the ssl/tls certificates I use on both trivia and my mail service have given me cause to look for tools to help me test my configuration. The Calomel firefox plugin and sslabs site are very useful for checking HTTPS configurations, but they are fairly specifically aimed at that …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2013/12/10/ssl-cipher-check/

no more akismet

In common with (probably) all wordpress based blogs, trivia has the aksimet plugin in place. Akismet is shipped by default in the base wordpress installation and new users are encouraged to sign up for an API key. On first configuring the blog’s plugins, users are greeted with the following commentary about akismet: Used by millions, …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2013/12/08/no-more-akismet/

where are you now?

image of map in germany

The ongoing revelations from Snowden continued recently with reporting in the Washington Post about the NSA’s program to track mobile ‘phone location data. Reporting here and elsewhere suggests that the NSA is gathering nearly 5 billion records a day on the whereabouts of cellphones around the world. That reporting, and its obvious implications, reminded me …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2013/12/08/where-are-you-now/

data is imaginary. this burrito is real

XKCD cartoon

As usual, Randall Munroe over at xkcd has his own take on the NSA/GCHQ snooping reportage. My thanks as always.

Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2013/12/03/data-is-imaginary-this-burrito-is-real/

necessary and proportionate

image of website

Yesterday I received an email from the Open Rights Group asking me to sign an on-line petition set up in collaboration with nearly 300 other organisations. The email said: In 2013, we learned digital surveillance by governments across the world knows no bounds. Their national intelligence and investigative agencies capture our phone calls, track our …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2013/11/27/necessary-and-proportionate/

more ninjastiks

In July I noted that a company calling itself Ninjastik had popped up selling what looked to be essentially the Tor Browser Bundle on an 8 Gig stick for $56.95 or a 16 Gig stick for $69.95. As I expected, we have now seen one or two more companies attempting to sell products which leverage …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2013/11/26/more-ninjastiks/

Oliver Stone on PRISM

I am a big fan of Oliver Stone movies. Outside the pages of the Guardian and its sister paper the Observer, the level of comment in the UK on NSA/GCHQ surveillance capability remains bizarrely muted. In the US they are at least having a conversation. Whether that conversation results in any sensible decisions, and then …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2013/10/25/oliver-stone-on-prism/

Snowden paranoia

A recent exchange on the tor-talk mailing list about conspiracy theories elicited this gem from “Ted Smith” (obviously a Bob Heinlein fan). “One of the more Gibsonesque theories I’ve heard is that Snowden is a CIA operative working to destabilize the NSA’s surveillance system on behalf of the CIA and other elite that feel too …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2013/10/09/snowden-paranoia/

that’s completely ludicrous

Glenn Greenwald on Newsnight. The full episode of Newsnight’s report including Greenwald’s interview and comment from Sir David Omand (ex Director GCHQ) can be seen here on BBC’s iplayer. Gordon Corera, the BBC’s Security respondent reports here on the Newsnight episode. As an aside, I was amused by Ross Anderson’s claim that many academics had …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2013/10/05/thats-completely-ludicrous/

the guardian on tor

My last post noted that the Guardian had posted a series of articles on the Tor network and Snowden’s latest revelations about how the NSA has been attacking that network. All those posts are worth reading, but my favourite is the one by Bruce Schneier explaining how the NSA has attacked Tor users through browser …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2013/10/05/the-guardian-on-tor/

good news for tor

The past couple of days have seen a flurry of news stories about Tor. Some of the news has hit the mainstream media, some of it hasn’t. Yet. A couple of day ago, a rather plaintive post to the tor-talk mailing list read: “looking for a way to contact silk road.Site shut down.money at stake.” …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2013/10/05/good-news-for-tor/

that’s another password I have to change

Michael Horowitz has posted an interesting article over at Computer world. In it he points out that, by default, most android devices (tablets and ‘phones) routinely ‘phone home to Google to back up Wi-Fi passwords along with other assorted settings. Google sells this option as a convenience to help you regain settings after you upgrade …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2013/09/20/thats-another-password-i-have-to-change/

Naughton’s ten tips

Back in July I commented on one of John Naughton’s “networker” columns in the Observer. Last Sunday, Naughton wrote another nice article titled “10 ways to keep your personal data safe from online snoopers”. Naughton begins the article by recalling that Tim Berners-Lee called the technology he devised a “web” of interrelated documents. He notes …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2013/09/17/naughtons-ten-tips/

neil doesn’t get it

A couple of days ago I received an email from an old friend (let’s call him “Geoff”) which said: Following last Friday night discussion I have created a facebook page as a shared repository of our photos etc. I have kickstarted with most of mine. You can either make yourself a friend of this page …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2013/09/11/neil-doesnt-get-it/

tor node upgrade

I have switched my tor node to the experimental branch and it is now running version 0.2.4.17-rc. The huge load on the network seen since the botnet starting using it on about 19 August last has forced the tor project team to recommend that all relay operators move to the 0.2.4 branch (and this release …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2013/09/10/tor-node-upgrade/

openPGP usage

Over at the the cypherpunks mail list, one Tony Arcieri posted a graphic showing an interesting rise in the number of OpenPGP keys registered on the SKS keyserver in the last month or so. The graphic comes from the SKS statistics page. The overall trend is clearly upwards, and has been for some time, but …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2013/08/25/openpgp-usage/

thank you citizen

Imagine Dave’s censorship (^W) surveillance program outsourced to G4S.

Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2013/08/23/thank-you-citizen/

untrusted dod certificate

Chris Williams over at El Reg posted a nice article about the kind of crypto best practice you need to follow if you care about privacy. The article questions the wisdom of using David Miranda as what Williams calls a “data mule” to carry physical electronic media (possibly) containing sensitive data through Heathrow and goes …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2013/08/23/untrusted-dod-certificate/

tor usage on the rise

A couple of weeks ago I noted that the release of tails 0.20 seemed to be popular – at least if the traffic on my mirrors was anything to go by. The statistics published by the Tor project itself show an interesting rise in (probable) Tor usage since June. The graphic shows that the number …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2013/08/22/tor-usage-on-the-rise/

aunty doesn’t get it

The BBC has today commented on the Guardian story about David Miranda’s detention for nearly nine hours at Heathrow under Schedule 7 of the UK Terrorism Act 2000. The BBC’s on-line report ends with a web feedback form asking: Have you been detained under schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 at a British airport, …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2013/08/20/aunty-doesnt-get-it/