Category Archives for "News"

Wikipedia Founder Says Banning Data Encryption is “Moronic”

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​“Human rights don’t go away just because you’re on the internet. We still have rights that governments need to respect.” - Jimmy Wales (Wikipedia Founder)

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales responded to UK government plans to consider banning online data encryption. Wales criticised the government by stating that encrypting online data is equal parts impossible to prevent and a demonstration of overly invasive national digital surveillance. 

The Wikipedia founder mentioned during his talk at the London-based IP Expo Europe this week of the comments made by UK Prime Minister David Cameron, who stated: "in our country do we want to allow a means of communication we cannot read? My answer to that question is, "no, we must not"." Wales responded to this comment with a convicted, "too late, David. It is not possible in any sense of the word for the UK to ban encryption. More to the point, it's a moronic thing to do."


UK Prime Minister David Cameron

Wales has made his stance clear on being non-apposed to having governmental access to data, as long as it is warranted by the court. However, adding further to his scathing response to the UK Prime Minister's aforementioned statement, Wales said, "What I’m opposed to is to have zero privacy and scan everyone’s data all the time in case we see something. [...] Human rights don’t go away just because you’re on the internet. We still have rights that governments need to respect.”

We here at are of course inclined to strongly agree with Wales' opinion. Unfortunately (and unsurprisingly) though, governing bodies do not share his sentiment, with many governments the world over using browsing data as grounds to arrest citizens. This can lead to some extreme ends, like that of the Wikipedia editor who made anonymous edits to some articles on the site, only to be arrested and tortured for some of the published edits.

There is an irony in how encryption has developed in recent years as a result of governmental attempts to increase surveillance though - a positive irony for the internet's population. 

Wales highlighted this great twist of fate, saying that "the overreach [of governments' attempts to increase surveillance] has actually cost the security services in a legitimate sense, because they've been so ridiculous, people are moving to end to end encryption."

The Wikipedia founder went on to say that such security services attempts of allowing legal data access has resulted in such services getting less data regarding actual threats (which they initial use as justification of getting data access) than they ever would have had, had they not gone through with such programs as the infamous one launched as a result of the Snowden revelations. 

Wales concluded his point by stating how incredibly fast the level of online data SSL encryption has risen in the past few years, and how this will continue to rise at an exponential rate, with such goliath online media streaming providers as Netflix switching to SSL encryption. Such an establishing level of end-to-end data encryption is a huge step in the right direction with regards to increasing protection of online user data privacy. 

What do you think about Jimmy Wales' comments? Do you genuinely believe a western government will ban encryption across an entire nations internet data? Let us know in the comments. 


US Encryption Policy Imminent

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Encryption without any 'backdoors' is imperative for protecting public privacy, but with the US Encryption Policy just around the corner - is a backdoor unavoidable?

In the US, the Whitehouse is approaching reaching a decision on it's national encryption policy. 

This is certainly a significant development in the country's tech policy, and potentially one that may be serious cause for concern to all citizens of the US. Why? Just as this policy is reaching a decision, the FBI have been strongly pushing goliath tech companies like Google and Apple to implement "backdoors" into their mobile devices in order to allow the Government access to users' data. 

Citing the now legendary (among the world of surveillance and internet freedom activists at least) Athen's Affair, it is clear that having such backdoors inserted en mass across millions of mobile phones would not bode well for the US population. 

With highly reputable long-time reporter James Bamford detailing meticulously his finger-pointing to the NSA as being responsible for the Athen's Affair, it is no surprise that concern is strong regarding putting backdoors in mobile devices. 

A monumental level of trust would need to be placed in the hands of the US government by the nation to treat such backdoors legally and above board, and even if the government did this -- the main concern among security experts regarding such backdoors is the ability for others to hack and access them without anyone knowing. 

Such malicious hackers like that of the NSA, or even international organisations in China or Russia for example. Backdoors on mobile devices are ultimately just too big a risk in our opinion. 

Luckily, in spite of obvious and outward pushing from the NSA and FBI for the Whitehouse for laws mandating backdoors, it seems that the Whitehouse is not bowing down - in fact they are apparently about to "openly condemn" the FBI and NSA for such pushes. 

We of course hope that the Whitehouse stay strong and come through with their smart decision to include no backdoor-mandating laws in the policy on encryption -- since the alternative would be a big hit to cyber security, not to mention a huge violation of basic human rights for US citizens. 

Here's to hoping that Obama maintains his positive legacy of maintaining a strong and just Internet as opposed to a weakened one.

What do you think the decision will be? Can you see any benefit of having such backdoors mandated on your mobile device? Let us know in the comments. 


Stock Trading Service Hacked

Stock trading service Scottrade has been hacked - resulting in 4.6 million customers losing data. 

Any user that registered a Scottrade brokerage account before February of last year (2014) will have been affected by this hack. 

Unsettlingly for Scottrade users, the stock trading service was not even aware of the hack until externally notified by the FBI. 

The hackers, whom are still unknown (and make likely never will be identified, such is the case with most cases like this these days) hacked into a huge database of Scottrade users, obtaining both full names and geographic addresses of users. 

At present neither the FBI nor Scottrade have any idea as to what the hackers have done with the pulled data, although it is common for such data to be put up for sale via online "black market" type portals. 

In an attempt to remedy this embarrassing and dangerous hack, Scottrade is offering users a full year's worth of complimentary identity protection. The stock trading service attempted to calm user unease by stating that no user's trading information was leaked or pulled by the hack, and that their service is still completely safe for use.

Do you think Scottrade handled this hack in the right way?  Let us know in the comments.

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