Category - Weekly News Round-up

Welcome to the USA! Upon entering, please relinquish your privacy

Donald Trump has only just taken up the role of president of the US and he seems to be determined to take one controversial measure after another.

An executive order that he signed in his first days in office is potentially threatening the 6-month-old EU-US Privacy Shield agreement.

In short, the order strips non-US citizens of their privacy rights. Here is what section 14 of the freshly signed Executive Order says:

“Agencies shall, to the extent consistent with applicable law, ensure that their privacy policies exclude persons who are not United States citizens or lawful permanent residents from the protections of the Privacy Act regarding personally identifiable information.” (the entire Executive Order can be found on the White House’s website)

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Ghostie’s Weekly Digest: Gmail phishing, cybercrime surge and more

The week has been quite generous in terms of online privacy news. Our weekly digest aims to showcase what we regard as the most important headlines of the past seven days. Did we leave anything out? Are you directly affected by any of these measures? Drop us a line in the comment section and let’s debate!

Gmail phishing technique mimics past emails

An ingenious phishing technique that composes convincing emails by analyzing and mimicking past messages and attachments has been discovered by security experts. The new technique convinces Gmail users to click on an infected attachment which will then send them to a fake Gmail login page that will steal their credentials.

Read more on the topic here.

 

North Wales reports more cybercrimes than offline ones

It may seem like this is only a small region from a much bigger world, but this fact may be a reflection of a global trend.

According to the local police and crime commissioner (PCC) for the area, there are now more cybercrimes being recorded in north Wales than those in the offline world.

North Wales PCC Arfon Jones claimed that while traditional crimes such as burglary and shoplifting had decreased over the past decade, online crime has made up for the shortfall.

 

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Ghostie’s Weekly Digest: US expand surveillance powers and more

The year is starting on a more political note in terms of online privacy and surveillance, mainly because president-elect Donald Trump has only a few days until his White House inauguration. But this of course, is not the only reason why there’s a global turmoil around these matters. The constant threat of terrorism is lurking in the shadows, often calling for irrational or controversial measures.

Here’s what’s been happening in the last week, in a nutshell:

Obama expands surveillance powers during last days of presidency

With mere days left before President-elect Donald Trump takes the White House, current President Barack Obama’s administration just finalized rules to make it easier for the nation’s intelligence agencies to share unfiltered information about US citizens.

Under the new, relaxed rules, the NSA will grant access to the raw streams of data it collects easier to the FBI, the DEA and the Department of Homeland Security, among others. Before, the National Security Agency shared data with these agencies only after it had screened the data, filtering out unnecessary personal information.

Read more on the topic on eff.org.

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Ghostie’s Weekly Digest: Stricter privacy rules for Facebook and more

Even if the winter holidays are just around the corner and a breeze of hope and optimism seems to be in the air, privacy issues are happening at their usual pace. Here is what caught our attention in this week:

Snooper’s Charter already claims first victims

Hackers appear to already be exploiting the infamous Snooper’s Charter, by promoting fake privacy solutions to worried older Internet users across the UK, according to scmagazine.com.

In a recent survery, forty-four percent of over-55s said they would consider downloading software to protect themselves from government in a recent survey.

However, a VPN such as CyberGhost is the solution at-hand recommended by security experts.

Potentially stricter privacy rules for Facebook, WhatsApp and Skype

Popular platforms such as Google, Facebook and WhatsApp face a strict new privacy crackdown from the EU, as per some new proposals leaked from the European Commission.

The rules would force websites and browsers to ask for users’ consent before directing advertising at them based on their browser history. Users currently have to actively opt out of receiving such advertisements.

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Ghostie’s Weekly Digest: Facebook’s rumored censorship tool and more

In many other parts of the world, the holiday season has officially begun. Thanksgiving was just yesterday in the US and Black Friday has become a global frenzy, reminding us that in less than a month, our close ones would better find something underneath their Christmas trees (on sale or not).

In spite of this global “cheerfulness”, however, digital freedom and online privacy are becoming more and more elusive, with anti-democratic measures being taken all around the globe.

Here is the news of the week in brief, brought to you by CyberGhost VPN, the always at-hand solution to bypass censorship or surveillance:

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Facebook reportedly built a censorship tool to return to China

According to the NY Times, the social network has quietly developed software to suppress posts from appearing in people’s news feeds in specific geographic areas.

The social network giant has restricted content in other countries before, such as Pakistan, Russia and Turkey. China has not been on Facebook’s map since 2009 because of the government’s strict rules around censorship.

Speaking of China, on a funnier note…

Chinese websites have again blocked searches for “Fatty Kim the Third”, as many Chinese mockingly call North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, with China’s foreign ministry saying it did not approve of ridiculing foreign leaders, according to reuters.com.

Extra, extra, read all about it: #Facebook may have built a #censorship tool, #Thailand pushes #cybersecurity… Click to Tweet

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Ghostie’s Weekly Digest: Britain passes Snooper’s Charter and more

To paraphrase a Bob Dylan song, the times, they are a-scarying! Not only did Donald Trump win the US elections, which could have a major impact on global online privacy issues, but Great Britain and Russia are making efforts to catch up by rubber-stamping new surveillance laws. Here is the most important news of the week on the online privacy front, in a nutshell:

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Privacy-invasive law gets the green light in the UK

The Draft Communications Data Bill, a.k.a the “Snooper’s Charter”, was introduced by then-home secretary Theresa May in 2012, and took two attempts to get passed into law following breakdowns in the previous coalition government.

With May as prime minister, on Wednesday, November 16, the bill was finalized and passed by the Parliament.

The law will force internet providers to record every internet customer’s top-level web history in real-time for up to a year, which can be accessed by numerous government departments. On top of this and more worryingly, the law gives intelligence agencies the power to citizens’ computers and devices.

Do you live in Britain? Maybe you should consider installing CyberGhost VPN for free in order to protect your online privacy.

Russia to start blocking LinkedIn after court ruling

Russia’s communications regulator ordered public access to LinkedIn’s website to be blocked on Thursday to comply with a court ruling that found the social networking firm guilty of violating a data storage law.

LinkedIn will be blocked in Russia within 24 hours. One Internet service provider, Rostelcom, said it had already blocked access, according to Reuters.

LinkedIn, which has its headquarters in the United States, is the first major social network to be blocked by Russian authorities, setting a precedent for the way foreign Internet firms operate. It has over 6 million registered users in Russia.

The times are a-scarying! Britain passes Snooper’s Charter, Russia starts LinkedIn ban and more #OnlinePrivacy news Click to Tweet

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Ghostie’s Weekly Digest: Yet another social media shutdown in Turkey and more

The privacy front continues to witness numerous battles these days, with no potential winners emerging any time soon.

Just when we thought that things were going in the right direction, a new app emerges to pry into our personal lives or another country ruthlessly limits its inhabitants’ Internet access.

Here is the most important online privacy news of the week, put together by the freedom fighters at CyberGhost VPN:

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Turkey blocks access to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and WhatsApp

Turkey did it again. The TurkeyBlocks monitoring network has detected restrictions on access to multiple social media services Facebook, Twitter and YouTube throughout Turkey beginning Friday Nov 04 2016 1:20AM local time, ongoing as of Friday mid-morning. This is potentially related to the detention of multiple leaders of opposition political party HDP.

If you are from Turkey (or from any other privacy-challenged country for that matter) and would like to unblock your favorite social media channels, you can download CyberGhost for free, on your preferred device or OS, from here.

When sharing isn’t caring: WhatsApp asked by European regulators to pause sharing user data with Facebook

WhatsApp has been warned by the pan-European privacy watchdogs “Article 29” over its sharing of information with Facebook and asked to pause the transfer of personal data.

The data protection authorities also wrote to Yahoo over its massive data breach. Get the full story here.

Germany recently ordered Facebook to stop collecting WhatsApp user data.

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