Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Is Your Information Secure, Confidential, and Private ?

When it comes to the 4th Amendment of the Constitution: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” it covers our persons, houses, papers (both electronic and physical), and our effects: “...personal effects (things) include clothes, cosmetics, and items of adornment...” from: http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/personal+effects So this means that your right to privacy allows you to own property, a home, yourself or your person, and the things you write both electronically, and physically. Things you write also include software code, or any type of code. Art work you create is also your property.
In a world where your right to privacy is enforced perfectly, no one would have the information you share, accept the companies, and people you share that information with. Because terrorist and other criminals exist, and constantly try to attack buildings, people, and steal or modify information, projects such as PRISM must exist.
PRISM has saved thousands of lives already by preventing bombings at stadiums and other public places. PRISM (with the NSA) monitors calls sent and received, and other transmissions such as e-mail to find out who is communicating with terrorists. This information is kept anonymous unless terrorist activity is detected. If the authorities were the only entity with the ability to access this and other information there would be no problem, but the information has to come from somewhere. Prior to the discovery of PRISM the FBI tried to get something passed so they could insert monitoring software / devices (they called wiretapping devices) into every electronic device that would help PRISM, so they could get information directly.
Back in 1999 an
insider told me that Microsoft was planning to build software that would be included in Windows and other Microsoft software, to send information back to the NSA. The first confirmed Microsoft Software I found that contained this type of program was Windows Vista, and Windows XP Service Pack 3. The problem with this was that Microsoft (and other companies) were “selling” the information to the NSA, and to anyone registered as a Microsoft Partner (I was told this by an anonymous insider at Microsoft, and also looked at similar writings in the Microsoft EULA). The Microsoft End User Licence Agreement states that they have the right to share your private information with their Partners to improve the quality of service, and software their partners offer. Last week several articles confirmed this: http://rt.com/usa/microsoft-nsa-snowden-leak-971/ http://www.kxly.com/news/technology/Report-Microsoft-collaborated-with-NSA/-/5622068/20956742/-/k3ky37z/-/index.html According to some articles Microsoft claimed it was court ordered to do this by the NSA. Several other companies such as Google and Yahoo also do this. Every time you search for something, or use their e-mail or other services, your private information is shared with the NSA, and is used by the company that collects the information to make a prof fit. Anyone with access to all this information could use it to target a specific political group, religious group, or other types of groups. Sense it is used to target people for adds and products they are interested in, anyone with your private information could send you robo-calls, telemarketer calls, junk mail, junk e-mail, and also target your region's TV and radio commercials. Also in regards to Microsoft, this recent artcle: http://tech.slashdot.org/story/13/07/09/0020241/the-black-underbelly-of-windows-81-blue explains how Microsoft has included even more data tracking spyware in Windwos 8.1. According to Forbs http://www.forbes.com/sites/adriankingsleyhughes/2012/05/30/windows-8-eula-prohibits-class-action-lawsuits-against-microsoft/ if anyone wanted to file a class action lawsuit against Microsoft for any of this, it would be prevented by their End User License Agreement, and that sounds unconstitutional too me.
There are several reports of how this information has been used against people.
A good explanation of this can be found here: http://donttrack.us/ Your information collected about where you search, what you search for, what you do, where you live, and what your interested in, who you know, who you talk to... is all used to create a social profile or digital fingerprint about you, your devices you use, credit cards, and other information. Other problems are programs like Skype that have been allowing China (and others) to listen in and watch conversations between people. Commercial applications you buy and trust such as name brand anti-virus programs include spyware, adware, and malware. Spyware is what software is called that spies on you and sends your private information elsewhere. Adware is software that displays adds that you probably don't want to see. Malware is software that restricts what you can do on your device, or restricts the way you can access your device. These malicious types of software are included with most proprietary software that you buy. I find it interesting that antivirus programs are being sold for Linux systems that can't get viruses, and these antivirus programs are proprietary so I have no way of knowing if they are spying. I can only assume they are. If anyone with access to this information doesn't like you, what your doing, who your talking to, or anything else about you, you may be turned down when you apply for credit cards, insurance, a permit, loan, US Citizenship, or anything else you can apply for.
On your cell phone most apps you install have full access to your call records, and all your other information. Free apps often also display adds.
I was shocked to discover that Facebook has complete access to everything on your phone including your location (the facebook app). Of course you should know that companies like Google and Microsoft buy out other software and services all the time like Skype and Facebook. Anything they buy will spy too. Mac isn't much better. I've been told by people that if people's information is centrally located somewhere, “it's too tempting for someone not to eat up that tasty data.”
So what can you do about this ? Well if you can trust yourself :) not to be a criminal then you should use “Open Source” software. Open Source means that others have seen the source code, and you can see it too, and verify exactly what the software does, and doesn't do, before installing it on your device. You can replace the Android Operating System on your phone with Replicant, and find many other alternatives at https://prism-break.org/ and https://alternatives.tacticaltech.org/. Also switch your default search engine to http://www.duckduckgo.com or another one you trust listed on Prism Break. After learning about Privacy issues and other concerns on computers, I have made privacy and security a top concern in my JULinux distribution release. Most people like JULinux because it's very much like Windows (JULinuXP) and Macintosh (JULinOX OS) and can do what they need to do, but currently JULinux includes the Adobe Flash Player and it spies on people too, so I'm going to make a freedom version of JULinux without any proprietary software, so that people can trust their computers 100% not to share their information. Riseup.net is a private e-mail service to switch over too from Gmail, Yahoo mail, hotmail, or other services. It takes a few days to get approved, and you have to configure it just like your first step e-mail threw Thunderbird or another e-mail client, but it gives you privacy. Further privacy can be achieved threw encrypting your e-mails before they are sent, you just have to make sure the recipient can decrypt the message.
One reason
privacy is necessary is because of corrupt government officials who may target people who may oppose their agenda. Another reason is because of all kinds of criminals who may clone your cell phone, hack into your computer, or other devices in order to stalk you, track you, and attack at your most vulnerable. Criminals have done this in the past and continue to, and in my experience although cell phone companies may determine you are being tracked, they can not often determine who is tracking you. Another important thing to consider is what businesses, hospitals, schools, doctor offices, and other organizations have confidential private information on computers using Proprietary Operating Systems, Software, and Services that make your information readily available to hackers, criminals, and those who pay for the information.
No one should ever have the right to share, or sell your information without your consent, but most of the time people agree to
contracts, terms of service agreements, and other agreements when they use an app, service, program, or sign papers for a credit card, bank account, or other services. By refusing to use services, products, or do business with entities that use proprietary software that violate our fourth amendment rights we will make a difference. Many Businesses and organizations don't know they are sharing your information by using Proprietary software. Just imagine if police departments, sheriff departments, and other law enforcement departments used Microsoft Windows, Mac, or other proprietary operating systems on their computers ? Imagine what a violation of privacy that would be ! Not only would it be a violation of our privacy and National Security, it would be a violation of the Constitution, and all government entities are obligated to uphold the constitution. Merely installing firewalls and anti-virus software isn't enough to secure the information of the American people. Even a private VPN can be hacked at one end or the other. The only effective way for government entities to secure the information of the American people, is to install only free software (as in freedom and open source) that has been verified not to contain any spyware, encrypt all Internet and network traffic, and to send it all over an encrypted vpn, with no proprietary software on any devices that have any kind of access to the network. Then and only then would the 4th Amendment be upheld.
Convenience is often the reason people allow their private information to be shared. It may be inconvenient some times to use Open Source alternatives such as gnash instead of Adobe Flash Player, but consider this. It's inconvenient to check all your doors at night to see if they are locked, it's inconvenient to purchase and install security devices, and it's inconvenient to pay your taxes so that the local sheriff's department can patrol the neighborhood. It may also be inconvenient to make sure that the organizations you share your information with, aren't using proprietary software. In this age it seems that convenience is all that matters to people. They don't care what the devices, services, and software do with their information as long as the job gets done as fast and conveniently as possible.
One more thing is social media sites. I recognize as others do that communicating with your friends via Social Media is some times the only way they communicate. There is a new social media site called Diaspora ( https://joindiaspora.com/ ) that does not participate in any spying. The code for the website is completely open source, so you can download it and look at it. If you still don't trust them, you can start your own Diaspora site and integrate it with other diaspora sites and ask people to join. The information you want public can be shared also with Facebook, Twitter, and Tumbler from Diaspora. Diaspora does not yet have pages and groups, but they are going to be added. Also remember that like with any other social media site, all that information being collected in one place is a target for those who seek to get their hands on it, so it's only a matter of time before any personal data you share on that site is available to others. Don't share it in the first place. For private communications use encrypted e-mails to send the most private information to people you trust, and make sure they can decrypt the information, or see them in person. Dur ring confidential conversations and actions shut off any mobile devices, or devices with Microphones and GPS capabilities. No one needs to know where you are except those you trust. If a criminal knows you are gone, they can rob your house and property.
There is also a new controversial app that invades people's privacy called “Gun Geo Marker” that allows users of this app to publish the location of anyone owning a Gun, and that's private information. If people know you own a Gun, they may be more apt to try to steal the gun(s) while you are away. This also endangers non-gun owners because criminals will know what houses do not have armed citizens inside. Be careful who you share information with, and what information you share. You don't want other people publishing your private information.
If you are interested in Netflix, Steam, Windows Live, Adobe Flash Player, or other entertainment services, I would suggest either not using these services or using separate devices that are dedicated only for these uses, so that your private information on your other device stays on that device. Even threw HTML5 Netflix may access files on your computer and share them. If any information you don't want everyone to see is on the same computer or device (maybe even the same network) then it is extremely likely that others will have access to it that you didn't intend.
If anyone is interested in making sure their information is secure and safe, or if they need data erasure services, I am more than capable of helping them to achieve their goals.
Other Content From Justin Breithaupt:
My Diaspora page:
https://joindiaspora.com/u/justuselinux ,Try out JULinux http://www.justuselinux.com , http://www.facebook.com/JULinux , Check Distrolist.org http://www.DistroList.org