Bucharest – New York – San Francisco, June 27, 2017. CyberGhost is touring US — coast-to-coast — implementing its strategy to grow exponentially at global scale, by increasing awareness of firm and to promote its privacy and security solution.
In one of the world’s oldest modern democracies, the United States, the right to privacy seems to be taken less and less seriously.
Last year, after merely taking on the role of US President, Donald Trump signed an executive order threatening the 6-month-old EU-US Privacy Shield agreement. In March this year, Internet Service Providers got the green light to sell users’ web history. August could see the end of American net neutrality.
Now, the (extremely, we would say) sensitive personal details relating to almost 200 million US citizens have been accidentally exposed by a marketing firm contracted by the Republican National Committee. According to bbc.com, the 1.1 terabytes of data includes birth dates, home addresses, telephone numbers and political views of nearly 62% of the entire US population.
What’s worse, the data was available on a publicly accessible Amazon cloud server. Thus, absolutely anyone with the link could access the data.
But one topic was not brought up: bitcoin, the virtual currency that ransom hackers often ask to be paid in exchange for unlocking infected computers.
Net neutrality has been on everyone’s mind these days, since commissioners at the US Federal Communications Commission have voted to overturn rules that would force ISPs to treat all data traffic as equal.
“This is the right way to go,” said FCC chairman Ajit Pai ahead of the vote on May 18th, quoted by BBC. In an official statement, FCC officials added that they expected the proposed changes to “substantially benefit consumers and the marketplace”. They also mentioned that before the rules were changed in 2015, they helped to preserve a “flourishing free and open internet for almost 20 years”.
But what is net neutrality and why is it important to us, Internet users?
It’s simple. When we go online, we have certain expectations. We want to be able to connect to any site we want, without any data restrictions from ISPs, because we expect to be in control of our Internet experience.
This is basically what net neutrality is. This basic principle prohibits Internet Service Providers like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon from speeding up, slowing down or blocking any content, applications or websites you want to use. Net Neutrality is the way that the internet has always worked, preserving our right to communicate freely online.
After recently blocking access to Dutch-based online hotel booking platform booking.com, the Turkish government has now banned access to Wikipedia links. This came as a consequence of the online encyclopedia’s refusal to delete articles and comments that suggest the country is co-operating with “terrorist groups”.
Reportedly, Turkish officials have been in contact with the site’s administrators on numerous occasions to ask them to take down the disputed content, but Wikipedia has refused to comply.
The state-run Anadolou Agency in Turkey quotes Turkish officials from the Department of Communications as saying that Wikipedia has “has started acting as part of the circles who carry out a smear campaign against Turkey in the international arena, rather than being cooperative in fight against terror.”
When attempting to access the webpage using Turkish internet providers, users received a notice the site could not be reached and a “connection timed out” error.
According to certain online sources, the Russian government is working on a bill which requires VPNs and other anonymizing services to stop providing access to blocked domains. If they don’t, they will also end up being blocked. Search engines are also on the black list if they link to the banned websites.
This measure has been taken as a consequence of the fact that many Russians are trying to access censored websites with the help of VPNs, proxies, mirror sites and anonymity networks such as Tor.
The technical aspects of the bill were reportedly formulated by lawyers working for the Media Communications Union (MCU), a trade group established by the largest media companies in the country. The MCU has a particular interest in ensuring that web users do not bypass pirate site blockades by using anonymous web-based CGI proxies.
The new bill apparently lays out a new framework which will force search engines to remove frowned-upon links. Failing to do so could result in fines of up to $12,400 per breach, clearly a significant issue for companies such as Google and local search giant Yandex.
Starting today, Australian ISPs (Internet Service Providers) begin metadata harvest. The law forces internet providers and telecommunications companies to keep and store information generated by customers calling, texting or using the internet.
According to Australian digital rights activists “Digital Rights Watch“, this data collection program requires no warrants, has very little oversight and has received condemnation from human rights experts worldwide.
That is why today has been declared a national day of action or “Get a VPN Day“, an opportunity through which citizens can educate themselves about the scale of this surveillance and take all the necessary measures to protect themselves.