Anonymity Can Connect People

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Anonymity isn’t just about hiding behind a computer. As you’ll see in the video, anonymity can connect people in real life and online. With regards to Youtube and Anonymity…

Anonymity + physical distance + rare & ephemeral dialogue = freedom to experience humanity without fear or anxiety

U.S. Outlines Strategy for Nation Wide Identity Management System

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The proposed identity management system would allow citizens of the United States to use two-factor authentication methods when shopping online or accessing private information such as health or banking records.

The reasoning behind creating such a system is to battle the increase in online crime. By implementing this method to verify people, corporations can decrease the chances of fraud.

However, this very same system could also be used as a ‘real name registration’ system, similar to those already in place in countries like China or South Korea. While this may not happen in western countries any time soon, I can see some over zealous politician propose the idea in the name of protection and security of the citizens. Anonymity would be a thing of the past if that were to happen.

This is actually a reality in countries like Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabians are required to request permission and acquire a license from a government agency before they can blog. Not only that, Saudi Arabia has already reached a deal with mobile phone manufacturer Research In Motion so that it can access messages sent over BBM. Normally those messages are encrypted, but in order for RIM to operate in Saudi Arabia and India, they must allow the government complete access to private messages sent by citizens using BBM.

It’s a threat to freedom of expression and anonymity.

It’s All Fun and Games Until Someone Gets Stalked Using Foursquare

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Stalking using FourSquare was inevitable with its rise in popularity in social networking. I’m not condoning stalking, but anyone who has half a brain can see the negative possibilities of using such services.

Some people realize the dangers of it and some don’t. Only when someone’s safety is jeopardized do people start to listen and think about the consequences.

The privacy and safety of users must be the primary objective of any service that offers social networking capabilities. We’ve all seen the backlash that Facebook has faced after it chose the opt-in strategy regarding its users and their personal, private data.

Blizzard, Maker of WoW, StarCraft Backs Down on Real Name Registration

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Interesting to see the maker of popular games World of Warcraft and Starcraft wanted to implement a system that uses only real names, but after listening to their customers they have decided to modify their plans.

Aliases and pseudonyms have always been a part of gamer culture even before the Internet became popular.

It’s interesting that a gaming company would want to move in the direction of requiring users to use their real names for their applications, which is very similar to what the Chinese and South Korean governments have implemented.

Real Name Registration System Implemented In South Korea

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Any South Korean websites with at least 100,000 users per day must supply  real names and resident registration numbers in order to submit comments on websites.

Government, media and foreign owned websites are required to comply with South Korea’s ‘Act on the Promotion of Information and Communications Network Utilization and User Protection’, which was in effect April 1, 2009.

Google is protesting this law by removing the ability to upload videos by users in South Korea.

Good for Google.

The disturbing trend is that this type of law is now being adopted in other countries like China, possibly even the United States.

Real-Name Registration Required for News Websites in China

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In China, in order to comment on a news website, you must register your true identity before you are allowed to post comments.

What’s next? Controlling which websites are allowed and not allowed if they don’t validate a users true identity? Probably…

While this isn’t surprising as it’s coming from China, what may be surprising is if this trend starts to spread to other democratic countries like Canada and the United States.

It’s likely that type of action would be part of a larger move, something such as the ‘Internet Kill Switch’ that’s been recently introduced by Senator Joe Lieberman.

This effectively means, no more anonymity on the Internet.

CIO Magazine Resorts To Fiction To Deliver Privacy Message

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I guess this is the only way to try and teach people a lesson about disclosing too much information about themselves.

Privacy, much like security, is an after thought to many people, especially when we are all closely connected more than before.

ATM Pin Pad(14)

Video: How ATM Card Skimming Works

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Has Your ATM Card Been Skimmed Before? This Is How It’s Done!

Information security is important even when you aren’t in front of your own computer or using your smart phone.

Remember, ATMs are computers as well, except you have no control over them.

In the video you’ll see a before and after picture of the ATM. Notice any differences?

When you are out and about, always try to use an ATM that is owned by an established bank and not the random machines you see in convenience stores etc. Try to be familiar with the location of the ATM as well.

You should really use your own bank’s ATM machines, so you avoid the unnecessary charges.

The video comes from the US version of the show ‘Real Hustle’, as it originally started out in the UK, much like many other TV shows.

Keep in mind, its not just ATM machines that are compromised. ATM pin pads are also affected by thieves attaching a device that is connected to the pin pad, reading all of the pertinent information as you enter it.

Sites Asking You To Test Out Your Password Is a Bad Idea

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I came across a website that tests out the strength of your password and had a few comments regarding it.

There maybe disclaimers that it doesn’t store any data. There is even links to the source code to prove it.

But the site doesn’t use SSL (I don’t see HTTPS in the URL of my browser) so your password is transmitted IN THE CLEARIT’S NOT ENCRYPTED.

Okay, you aren’t supplying a user name, but your IP address will most likely give you away as to what area you are from.

Sure the source code is available, but does the regular, every day person understand code? Who has tested it and verified that it works properly and it can’t be hacked. How secure is the website and the web host? The answer: You don’t know.

Bottom line: You shouldn’t be entering your password where it doesn’t belong.

Why Is Software Insecure?

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Here is a great article that gives some context regarding the software development process and how it relates to security vulnerabilities.

Software vulnerabilities will always exist in any platform, either in the past, present or future. This includes MAC OS X, Windows 7, any flavour of Linux and BSD etc.

Vulnerable software is a fact of life. However there are processes that companies can take to mitigate the vulnerabilities that exist.

As an aside, I’m noticing an increasing trend, particularly amongst MAC users, that believe they are impervious to malicious software who feel they don’t need to take the same precautions as WIndows users would. (running anti-virus, firewall etc.).

This lax behavior will only contribute to an increase in malicious software aimed specifically at MAC users.

The more users let their guard down, the more likely their computers will become infected.

Developing software to not be as vulnerable is a challenging process, therefore, users must take the initiative in protecting themselves and not depend on the vendor of the software.

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