Hits and Misses

Stop Calling Tor ‘The Web Browser For Criminals’

Screen Shot 2014-09-15 at 11.40.38 PM

Yesterday, a rumor surfaced on deep web blog DeepDotWeb that Comcast was going to start blocking users of Tor, an anonymous web browser. Comcast Vice President Jason Livingood immediately and rightfully called bullshit, because for all of its customer service foibles, Comcast knows that preventing people from browsing the Internet anonymously would be a daring infringement on user privacy.

The confusion came to rest shortly after the posting of a Business Insider story called “Comcast Denies It Will Cut Off Customers Who Use Tor, The Web Browser For Criminals.” Besides reaffirming the simple notion that you shouldn’t just believe something you read on a subreddit, the story — which was viewed over 22,000 times — reaffirms the notion that Tor is a tool for evil. Read More

Facebook Faceoff

No, Facebook Is Not Deliberately Blocking Logins from TOR

(Photo: Wikipedia)

A post on the blog Arabcrunch.com went viral this morning, hitting the front pages of both Reddit and Hacker News. The post stated that Facebook had begun blocking logins from users attempting to access it from the anonymized browser TOR. For activists and political dissidents who use the Internet to communicate with the outside world in countries where doing so is a crime, being unable to login to Facebook using TOR posed a huge problem. Read More

Linkages

Booting Up: People Love Their Chat Heads

(Photo: Facebook)

Facebook Home has already passed 500,000 installations on Google Play a week after launch, which just goes to show people love to throw away their friends. [The Next Web]

A cadre of Silicon Valley companies, including Google, Facebook and Microsoft, are quietly trying to kill a privacy bill in California that would give residents the right to know how tech companies are using their personal information. [insideBayArea]

Japan wants to stymie access to TOR by asking ISPs to flat out block it. [Wired]

Comedy Central is planning to host a comedy festival on Twitter because this is what the future is like now. [New York Times]

How technology helped the FBI track down the Boston Marathon bombers. [Washington Post]

It’s baaaaaaaack. [Valleywag]

Privacy is Dead

Have Yourself a Merry Little CryptoParty

cryptoparty

“CryptoParty” sounds like an event involving strangers in balaclavas and Guy Fawkes masks sipping cocktails and staring unblinkingly at each other.  That might be fun, but a CryptoParty is really, according to this wiki, a gathering of “Interested parties with computers and the desire to learn to use the most basic crypto programs.” CryptoParties are practical efforts to assist private citizens in learning how to combat what many activists contend is a creeping Orwellian surveillance state in developed countries worldwide.

In a post published a few days ago, the  Australian edition of SC Magazine elaborated: Read More

Law and Order

Australian Law Enforcement: Use Silk Road At Your Peril

A hypothetical Silk Road customer. (Getty Images)

Australian authorities have put supposedly anonymized users surfing Silk Road for weed and other sundries on notice: the coppers are one step ahead of you. A joint press release published by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Australian Customs and Border Protection Service on Wednesday may serve as notice to anyone who is happily booting TOR and using the miracle of the Internet to score weapons-grade kush: Read More