Tag - surveillance

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Ghostie’s weekly digest: the Germany Facebook ban and more
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Unblocking websites and apps is still a big problem in 2016
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What is the FBI trying to achieve?
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Use LinkNYC wireless public network from New York in a secured way
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Full proof – ‘Regin’ Trojan is an NSA Tool
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One year after Snowden declared war to the NSA…
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The Red Couch – Episode 9

Ghostie’s weekly digest: the Germany Facebook ban and more

You win some, you lose some, they say. Well, this could sum up the week just perfectly on the online privacy front, since we had both a victory when Germany ordered Facebook to stop collecting data from WhatsApp users and an important step back, when Swiss voters decided to give new surveillance powers to authorities.

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German privacy regulator orders Facebook to stop collecting data from users; Facebook to appeal

The Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information said Facebook was infringing the data protection law and had not obtained effective approval from WhatsApp’s 35 million users in Germany, according to Reuters.

“After the acquisition of WhatsApp by Facebook two years ago, both parties have publicly assured that data will not be shared between them,” commissioner Johannes Caspar said in a statement.

Facebook is however not pleased with this decision and said it would appeal it.

Read More

Unblocking websites and apps is still a big problem in 2016

More than 2 billion people are living under online censorship

This is more than enough for CyberGhost team to continue our fight for the free internet in 2016 with even more power and over 650 servers worldwide.

But the news from the Web Index Report is not great: “The internet is less free, more unequal, and web users are at increasing risk of indiscriminate government surveillance”. In 2013, the report showed over 30% of Web Index countries were blocking politically or socially sensitive Web content to a moderate or extreme degree. In 2014 that figure went up to 38%.

Here is a good definition of content filtering, as a form of online censorship, from Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF):

“Many governments, companies, schools, and public access points use software to prevent Internet users from accessing certain websites and Internet services. This is called Internet filtering or blocking and is a form of censorship. Content filtering comes in different forms. Sometimes entire websites are blocked, sometimes individual web pages, and sometimes content is blocked based on keywords contained in it. One country might block Facebook entirely, or only block particular Facebook group pages—or it might block any page or web search with the words “falun gong” in it.”

Use CyberGhost to access safely censored content and protect your online privacy! Click to Tweet

And in recent days, other massively used apps, such as Whatsapp, have been blocked for short periods in Brazil and United Arab Emirates.

The current censorship situation around the world

Censorship map

At the same time, there is a fragile legal frame to support online freedom, with 84% of the countries having no effective laws and practices to protect the privacy of online communications. China is leading the top of countries blocking and filtering the web content. According to the same report, Uruguay allows its citizens the most online freedom.

When governments really cross the line, violating fundamental rights, like Turkey, during the “Big Ban” from March 2014, when the government blocked several web pages and access to YouTube, Twitter and Soundcloud,  international organizations and companies react strongly.  Several countries pressured Erdogan’s government to release the ban and CyberGhost offerd 30.000 Premium keys to Turkish citizens so they can use the internet unrestricted.

So there is hope. Out of the 45 Web Index countries with extensive constraints on speech, only seven (about 16%) seem to censor more heavily online than offline.

What can you do?

Use a trusted VPN to access safely the censored content and protect themselves and their online privacy.  In some cases, like the case of some journalists in conflict areas, even their life.

Here’s a video that explains how hiding your IP helps you unblock restricted websites and banned apps:

If you want to learn more on how to avoid being tracked online, read these 3 essential tips.

Does your government block access to an app or website? Enter here and tell us which ones and we will fight to help you unblock them with Cyberghost.

Does your government block access to an app or website? Use #CyberGhost to unblock them safely! Click to Tweet

So we just have to keep on reporting the abuses and demanding better laws to sustain online privacy for everybody, while using encrypted online connection.

What is the FBI trying to achieve?

In the past few days, media reported about how parts of the US IT industry resist the espionage plans of the US government – triggered by Apple’s refusal to hack the phone of a suspect and prospectively install backdoors for secret services. What exactly is Apple required to do? And why is the company’s resistance so important? Also concerning VPNs …

For the first time in history, the government asks a company not just to assist in the investigation of an offense, request that no one would actually complain about; but publicly demanding Apple to develop a completely new software that makes the onsite security of its devices and features superfluous. This demand is affecting the security features that impact all Apple users and anyone who communicates with Apple’s users, and which are essential in the prevention of digital crimes. Bottom line, the company is forced to develop a master key that unlocks every single iOS device.

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What would be the new changes? If FBI is successful, three major changes should be implemented by Apple:

  • Currently, iOS can be adjusted so that it clears the internal keys after 10 unsuccessful password entries. FBI wants the software without this feature.
  • After each unsuccessful password entry to unlock a device, iOS prolongs the time until another attempt can be made. The FBI wants the new software to accept an infinite number of entries without breaks.
  • iOS requires that passwords are entered manually. The FBI would like the possibility to enter passwords electronically, so one can run automatically a variety of options in a short period of time.
FBI's demand is affecting all Apple users and anyone who communicates with them. #PrivateLivesMatter Click to Tweet

If FBI’s requests will be approved, not only would Apple suffer of a bigger image loss than the one triggered by the Snowden revelations, but there would arise a fatal situation for citizens and businesses alike. By default, built-in back doors would not only be available for the US government, but potentially for others as well, especially for known enemies of the western countries like Iran, North Korea and Russia, but also the competing national economies, hackers and cybercriminals.

It’s rather naïve to believe that for the sake of all citizens, governments are the only ones trying to keep an eye on encrypted data. This rather reveals how much the thinking of law enforcement agencies has developed in only one direction: understanding total surveillance with themselves as luminaries of the planet, morally unassailable and almost uncontrollable anyway.

Another step towards 1984 2.0

And it would be only the first step, because once the protection of devices is gone, VPNs are just the next target on the hit list. If Apple’s refusal fails in court, the enforcement of backdoors for encrypted Internet access via virtual networks is only a matter of time. And besides: US companies operate globally. What arguments will be used for denying the Chinese government to do the same? And the Iranian? Who then has the last word when it comes to separate the evil from the good? And how exactly is the Russian mass surveillance different from the US one?

 

Use LinkNYC wireless public network from New York in a secured way

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Credit: The Verge

New Yorkers have a new subject to talk about!

A network of Wi-Fi public hubs will replace over 7,500 pay phones across the entire New York with new street hubs called Links.

The first Links were launched, and there are many more to come, helping more than 8 million people to connect to the fastest and free metropolitan Wi-Fi.

Even more, according to PC magazine, the speed of these Wi-Fi’s is really super fast, gigabite internet, faster than Starbucks they say, so whatch out, Starbucks.

Cool facts about Link networks: Read More

Full proof – ‘Regin’ Trojan is an NSA Tool

If the world really needed more proof to realise the scale on which the NSA machinery operates, a new and irrefutable proof was released today.

On January 17 2015, Spiegel.de published an article based on documents obtained from Edward Snowden and provided a copy of a malicious program named “QWERTY” ), supposedly used by several governments in their Computer Network Exploitation (CNE)operations.

Today, the same news publication released an article, demonstating the same code provenience and indentical  functionality of  “QWERTY” malware to the Regin 50251 plugin.

Regin/Querty Vergleich Kaspersky

 

Given the fact that the QWERTY keylogger doesn’t function as a stand-alone module, only in tandem with kernel hooking functions provided by the Regin module 50225, it was concluded that the QWERTY malware developers and the Regin developers are the same or working together.

You can read here all the mind-binding conclusions of this ground breaking analysis that states once again that mass-surveillance is more than a fact, it’s a threat.

One year after Snowden declared war to the NSA…

One year has passed since Edward Snowden left the US. He showed the world the NSA abusive use of online surveillance and how a real hero looks like.

One man sacrificed his life and welfare so that a world could benefit again from their privacy and dignity. We will never be able to thank you enough for this, Edward Snowden!

We want to celebrate this important moment with you, our readers, and encourage every internet user once more to start using one of the best anti-NSA weapon there is: CyberGhost VPN!

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Now, there are some things that all of us can do, from professionals to every single citizen of this world and that is to take our online privacy seriously and do the right steps to protect it, starting from today.

This means using the right privacy protection tools, being more aware of what we post online and generally, being more aware that what we say online may be interpreted different by different entities and organizations.

Even if you're not doing anything wrong

For one year now, we know that 2.7 billion people are possibly being mass surveyed by the NSA huge systems (physical size of 6 of the biggest IKEA stores, capable to store our entire lives).

Facebook doesn’t even charge for giving away data to NSA and 98% percent of the PRISM data has been collected from Google, Yahoo and Microsoft, but AOL, YouTube, Apple or Skype are also involved, according to Wikipedia and other important sources. Read More

The Red Couch – Episode 9

Hey there,

Episode 9 of our YouTube show on privacy, the Red Couch, is out! In this episode, our host, the British journalist, Michael Bird, is raising a really good question: Should the Internet of Things terrify us?

Find out the answer in the video bellow: Read More

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