The French Election in a Nutshell

Disclaimer: I do not claim that this article is an unbiased professional analysis of the French election.  I am just another dilettante in politics, my qualification? I read the news.

Originally, this is just a gathering of information that happened in chat. I added a few links for reference and tried to clarify a few things. The first round of the French presidential election is over at the time of this writing, the second is yet to come.

Why I care, and why you should, too

Continue reading “The French Election in a Nutshell”

Privacy – Why I care!

TL;DR: someone went through emails I thought were private collected the email addresses and sold them to linkedin who offered me these addresses as possible contacts I should Invite. Several of these people have passed away, I feel violated.

I think everyone should care about online privacy and so do others like the EFF. Which is why they collect #privacystorys on twitter.

Online privacy has mattered to me for a long time not only since watching Citizen Four or Democracy or reading Little Brother.

I started thinking that privacy must be important when bringing PGP outside the US was considered “munitions export without a license”  in the early 90s .  And every time someone wanted to forbid encryption after that. Just this week I wrote an article on how to improve online privacy. Oh the irony.

When I talk to people about why it is so important that they should care about their privacy, the most common reaction is:

“Why should I care? I have nothing to hide.”

And my answer is always the same also: “Everyone has something to hide.”

We all have secrets, we just don’t always realize what they are. And in this age of technology all of these secrets are constantly in danger of getting into the wrong hands.

Here’s just a few examples that have already happened to me this year. Read on to see all the stuff I thought wasn’t going to be a problem and now I wish I had protected my privacy better. Continue reading “Privacy – Why I care!”

We want Privacy – the 2017 edition

This started out as an email to a concerned friend, so it may not be complete or a bit unfocused. Please discuss, I welcome your thoughts and input on this.

A note to start. Privacy and security intersect so much on the internet that it is quite hard to see if a problem is more one or more the other. With the current state of things the biggest threat to the average user does not come from the state but rather from big corporations analyzing our data 1. The second biggest threat is not for our privacy but security … being hacked is much more likely to hurt us in some way than the [insert your favorite spook agency here].

So in my opinion one cannot ignore one or the other. They go hand in hand.

It helps to be aware of all the data you have, and that you want to protect and to know what you care to keep secret from whoever it may not concern. A possible list could include: passwords, emails, chats, contacts, calendars, photos …

  • To get started you may want to check out: privacytools.io
  • Also: The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)
  • Another good starter is to read the Cory Doctorow book Little Brother and its sequel. He explains quite a few concepts much better than I ever could.
  • Don’t buy into privacy snakeoil, easy solutions or cheap VPNs are just as likely to hurt you as they are to help you
  • Never follow advice blindly – even this!
  • Open source software is often better to use because people (may!) have looked at the code and vouched for it, but OSS is not per definition secure or private
  • Don’t put all your eggs in one basket is a good strategy. It may seem tempting to use one service to rule them all … but don’t, just like you shouldn’t use the same password everywhere, diversification helps to protect you.

A few easy fixes: Continue reading “We want Privacy – the 2017 edition”