June 9, 2014
I got all excited when I read the headline. I thought, “yes, everybody ought to read my book!” 🙂 But it turns out, that’s not what it’s about. Via SchwartzReport.
|How to Muddy Your Tracks on the Internet|
|KATE MURPHY – The New York Times|
|As it becomes ever clearer that all electronic communications of whatever nature are subject to surveillance I have begun to think about how this can be minimized if not eliminated. Here is an approach you might consider yourself, if this is an matter of concern to you.|
|Legal and technology researchers estimate that it would take about a month for Internet users to read the privacy policies of all the Web sites they visit in a year. So in the interest of time, here is the deal: You know that dream where you suddenly realize you’re stark naked? You’re living it whenever you open your browser.There are no secrets online. That emotional e-mail you sent to your ex, the illness you searched for in a fit of hypochondria, those hours spent watching kitten videos (you can take that as a euphemism if the kitten fits) – can all be gathered to create a defining profile of you.
Your information can then be stored, analyzed, indexed and sold as a commodity to data brokers who in turn might sell it to advertisers, employers, health insurers or credit rating agencies.
And while it’s probably impossible to cloak your online activities fully, you can take steps to do the technological equivalent of throwing on a pair of boxers and a T-shirt. Some of these measures are quite easy and many are free. Of course, the more effort and money you expend, the more concealed you are. The trick is to find the right balance between cost, convenience and privacy.
Before you can thwart the snoopers, you have to know who they are. There are hackers hanging around Wi-Fi hot spots, to be sure. But security experts and privacy advocates said more worrisome were Internet service providers, search engine operators, e-mail suppliers and Web site administrators – particularly if a single entity acts in more than one capacity, like Google, Yahoo, Facebook and AOL. This means they can easily collect and cross-reference your data, that is, match your e-mails with your browsing history, as well as figure out your location and identify all the devices you use to connect to the Internet.
‘The worst part is they sell this extremely creepy intrusion as a great boon to your life because they can tailor services to your needs,” said Paul Ohm, an associate professor at the University of Colorado Law School in Boulder who specializes in information privacy and computer crime. ‘But do most people want to give that much away? No.”
He advised logging off sites like Google and Facebook as soon as practicably possible and not using the same provider for multiple functions if you can help it. ‘If you search on Google, maybe you don’t want to use Gmail for your e-mail,” he said.
If you do not want the content of your e-mail messages examined or analyzed at all, you may want to consider lesser-known free services like HushMail, RiseUp and Zoho, which promote no-snooping policies. Or register your own domain with an associated e-mail address through services like Hover or BlueHost, which cost $55 to $85 a year. You get not only the company’s assurance of privacy but also an address unlike anyone else’s, like firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or you can forgo trusting others with your e-mail correspondence altogether and set up your own mail server. It is an option that is not just for the paranoid, according to Sam Harrelson, a middle-school teacher and self-described technology aficionado in Ashville, N.C., who switched to using his own mail server this year using a $49.99 OS X Server and $30 SpamSieve software to eliminate junk mail.
‘The topic of privacy policies and what lies ahead for our digital footprints is especially fascinating and pertinent for me, since I work with 13- and 14-year-olds who are just beginning to dabble with services such as Gmail and all of Google’s apps, as well as Facebook, Instagram, social gaming,” he said. ‘I have nothing to hide, but I’m uncomfortable with what we give away.”
But even with your own mail server, Google will still have the e-mails you exchange with friends or colleagues with Gmail accounts, said Peter Eckersley of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights advocacy group in San Francisco. ‘You’re less exposed,” he said. ‘But you can’t totally escape.”
Another shrouding tactic is to use the search engine DuckDuckGo, which distinguishes itself with a ‘We do not track or bubble you!” policy. Bubbling is the filtering of search results based on your search history. (Bubbling also means you are less likely to see opposing points of view or be exposed to something fresh and new.)
Regardless of which search engine you use, security experts recommend that you turn on your browser’s ‘private mode,” usually found under Preferences, Tools or Settings. When this mode is activated, tracking cookies are deleted once you close your browser, which ‘essentially wipes clean your history,” said Jeremiah Grossman, chief technology officer with WhiteHat Security, an online security consulting firm in Santa Clara, Calif.
He warned, however, that private mode does nothing to conceal your I.P. address, a unique number that identifies your entry or access point to the Internet. So Web sites may not know your browsing history, but they will probably know who you are and where you are as well as when and how long you viewed their pages.
Shielding your I.P. address is possible by connecting to what is called a virtual private network, or V.P.N., such as those offered by WiTopia, PrivateVPN and StrongVPN. These services, whose prices price from $40 to $90 a year, route your data stream to what is called a proxy server, where it is stripped of your I.P. address before it is sent on to its destination. This obscures your identity not only from Web sites but also from your Internet service provider.
Moreover, these services encrypt data traveling to and from their servers so it looks like gibberish to anyone who might be monitoring wireless networks in places like coffee shops, airports and hotels.
While V.P.N. providers generally have strict privacy policies, Moxie Marlinspike, an independent security researcher and software developer in San Francisco, said, ‘It’s better to trust the design of the system rather than an organization.” In that case, there is Tor, a free service with 36 million users that was originally developed to conceal military communications. Tor encrypts your data stream and bounces it through a series of proxy servers so no single entity knows the source of the data or whence it came. The only drawback is that with all that bouncing around, it is very S-L-O-W.
Free browser add-ons that increase privacy and yet will not interrupt your work flow include Ghostery and Do Not Track Plus, which prevent Web sites from relaying information about you and your visit to tracking companies. These add-ons also name the companies that were blocked from receiving your data (one social network, five advertising companies and six data brokers on a recent visit to CNN.com), which is instructive in itself.
‘Companies like Google are creating these enormous databases using your personal information,” said Paul Hill, senior consultant with SystemExperts, a network security company in Sudbury, Mass. ‘They may have the best of intentions now, but who knows what they will look like 20 years from now, and by then it will be too late to take it all back.”
May 5, 2012
I don’t know the ins and outs of this issue, but I sense that it is going to become of increasing concern. This from a friend:
The GalileO Project
VirginiaSupplement5/ 5 /2012
“Convenience and Communication without Radiation”
“The GalileO Project” is a grass-roots organization formed to educate individuals and groups about EM/RF radiation health issues and encourage support for personal, community, and planetary well-being. The GalileO Project will publish an occasional information-sharing Newsletter. Send your email address to receive it, and your news, articles, or letter contributions to: Georgia Pearson at: email@example.com
April 20, 2012
If true, this is hardly a bad thing! If you cast back far enough, you may remember that America’s love affair with the idea of the open road was fueled by much more than cheap gasoline. After WW I, for the first time people were able to escape from the cities – AND escape from the isolation of rural life. After WW II, the explosion of suburbia was, again, designed to allow people to escape having to live in the city while still having urban employment. The consequences weren’t foreseen, but the immediate feeling of liberation was well understood. From the 60s on, the car was the only way to get anywhere. But now, a combination of new restrictions and new opportunities may be turning a generation of kids away from cars. I like it. A friend of mine used to say, “America is the only country in the world where a poor man has to have a car whether he wants one or not.” Maybe that won’t always be true. Maybe we’re beginning to see the change.
This from today’s SchwartzReport.
|Young Americans Turn Away From Driving|
|SHANNON BOND and JASON ABBRUZZESE – Financial Times (U.K.)|
|This is a very interesting new trend. I think what we are looking at is a younger generation with less and less money to spend, as well as a growing sense that the way things are structured today is a recipe for disaster.|
|Young Americans are eschewing cars for alternative transport, leaving carmakers to wonder if this is a recession-induced trend or a permanent shift in habits.
For generations of American teenagers, the car was the paramount symbol of independence. But in the age of Facebook and iPhones, young adults are getting fewer drivers’ licences, driving less frequently and moving to cities where cars are more luxury than necessity.
Figures from the Federal Highway Administration show the share of 14 to 34-year-olds without a driver’s licence rose to 26 per cent in 2010, from 21 per cent a decade earlier, according to a study by the Frontier Group and the US PIRG Education Fund released this month. (Some US states allow 14-year-olds to get a learner’s permit to drive.) Another study from the University of Michigan showed that people under 30 accounted for 22 per cent of all licensed drivers, down from a third in 1983, with the steepest declines among teenagers.
At the same time, cycling, walking and public transport use rose among 16 to 34-year-olds from 2001 to 2009, the Frontier study said. This trend has probably been accelerated by the recession, which has seen young people lose jobs and suffer steep falls in working hours.
But he added that ‘even among young people who did have jobs, the amount of miles they were driving each year was falling”. The study also found that young people with incomes above $70,000 doubled their use of public transport and bikes between 2001 and 2009.
One answer is targeted marketing. Carmakers are increasing their online presence on social networks and emphasising the interactive technology built into many cars, such as streaming music from Pandora and Spotify.
Ford announced last week that it was joining forces with Yahoo to produce a web-only reality television series to promote the new electric version of its Focus car. Ford said it would market the car purely through online media at a fraction of the cost of a traditional advertising campaign while targeting a niche audience on the east and west coasts.
‘What we’re doing here is being very targeted and building awareness in a much more efficient way,” said John Felice, general manager of sales for the Ford and Lincoln brands.
But another shift in social attitudes among younger consumers may yet thwart carmakers’ efforts. ‘The conundrum for marketers is that this generation more than most doesn’t like being marketed to, ‘ Mr Anwyl said. ‘They really reject overtly commercial pitches.”
April 18, 2012
The following story, and the initial paragraphs in italics, came from the morning’s SchwartzRepert. When I clicked through, I did not find any photos, yet the captions are there, so perhaps you will have better luck.
The BP oil spill seems like ancient history, doesn’t it? And i think that points us to one of the prime culprits in our current situation, the fact that we all find it harder and harder to hold an historical perspective. When we’re continually inundated with “the latest” as opposed to “the most enduringly important” our public life and even our private thought becomes increasingly trivialized, and we become more and more susceptible to demagogues and charlatans with their quick fixes and panaceas.
And that, in turn, makes it suicide for politicians to try to explain root causes, systemic problems, long-term solutions. And this means, inevitably, that the only pols who are able to speak the truth are those with safe seats who also understand what’s going on. How many can there be at any given time?
This is why, incidentally, in the bad old days of the Solid South, we had so many statesmen among the Southern Democrats. As long as they didn’t buck the status quo on race, they were free to think, speak and vote as they pleased on other matters. Thus, Richard Russell, William Fulbright, Sam Ervin, etc.
It wasn’t a good thing that the South was one-party, especially given why it was one-party, but it had the good effect of producing politicians who could take the longer view. Today, that’s nearly impossible. Not a good thing.
April 10, 2012
Last year when the scope of the Fukushima metldown began to become obvious, a scientifically-minded friend of mine was speculating on what would have to be done in order to fix it. I said it couldn’t be fixed. It’s too big. It can’t even be contained.
And that is the problem with nuclear power generation, of course — that, plus the problem of waste material that remains dangerous for hundreds of thousands of years!
The radiation is in the ground water, and must be spreading.
It is in the seawater, and it is making its way across the Pacific on the Japan Current, and guess which country is at the far side of the Japan Current?
It is being emitted into the air, and exactly how does one wall off one portion of air from the rest of the world?
It is in the food, and in the soil, and since the contaminated area hasn’t been (can’t be) walled off, the contamination is continuing to spread.
And as usual government officials are explaining it all away, explaining how it is still safe. And speaking of lying bastards, there is (as usual) the United States government, you know, the one that represents us. It isn’t monitoring radiation for fear of officially finding what it knows damn well it would find. It isn’t recommending or mandating detection and decontamination measures either. It’s pretending that everything is fine, lest the facts affect the Dow Jones, or distract the electorate from whatever stupid non-issue is being waved in front of their faces at the moment.
This via Gary Sycalik’s distribution list.
From: Gary Sycalik [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Tuesday, April 10, 2012 9:02 PM
One Year After Fukushima – Defining and Classifying a Disaster
The Intel Hub
By Lucas Whitefield Hixson
March 5, 2012
This is the first in a series of articles dedicated to preserve the facts revealed about the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.
A disaster is a natural or man-made (or technological) hazard that has come to fruition, resulting in an event of substantial extent causing significant physical damage or destruction, loss of life, or drastic change to the environment, as the consequence of inappropriately managed risk. These risks are the product of a combination of both hazard/s and vulnerability.
All disasters are the result of human failure to introduce appropriate disaster management measures.
This coming week will mark the first anniversary of Fukushima’s multiple meltdown nuclear disaster. There is little data on how badly contaminated the now-abandoned area of forced evacuation is in the 20-kilometer (12-mile) zone around the Fukushima plant.
The mainstream media has already begun trotting out assorted “experts” to assure anyone who might be still interested in Fukushima that all is well and no one’s been harmed by all the radiation the reactors released.
There’s no getting past the fact that the nuclear accident dumped radioactive particles into the atmosphere, soil and sea, which is a serious concern for the Japanese, who consume about 9 million tons of seafood a year, second behind China.
Those poisons “rained out,” creating hot spots over the Northern Hemisphere. Radioactive material can get into water from steam or smoke which is carried by wind, rain or other precipitation onto land, surface reservoirs or the ocean.
It could also be discharged directly into the ocean or leak onto land and eventually seep into groundwater. There are still traces of Cesium lingering from nuclear weapons tests in the Pacific in the 1950s and 1960s.
“The Japanese people no longer trust the nuclear industry and the government. People do not know whether their food and their land is safe,”
– Kim Kearfott, an expert on radiation health risks at the University of Michigan, who toured Japan in 2011.
Japan is under pressure to enhance food inspections as it has no centralized system for detecting radiation contamination. Japanese products including spinach, mushrooms, milk and beef were contaminated with radiation as far as 360 kilometers from the Fukushima Daiichi site which was destroyed by the disaster.
Adding to concerns, basic radiation checks with handheld dosimeters failed to detect the ingested cesium in the cattle.
The government argues that food fears are overblown. It says hundreds of food samples are tested daily for radiation, and few exceed government standards for radioactive cesium.
However, they are often seen as being habitual late-responders, critics point to contaminated beef that has turned up on the market. Broccoli, spinach and shiitake, too — all discovered after they were already on sale. The Japanese youth face years of uncertainty about what’s safe to put on the table.
The Fukushima disaster has been marked by such confusion, much of it due to TEPCO’s bungling response, which has been severely criticized by the government and the independent press.
Most recent reports also suggest that the Japanese government is seriously downplaying the real amount of radioactive substances that leaked from Fukushima. Experts said the Japanese government must decide what to do about contamination spread across the nation, especially since radiation releases from the plant could continue for years.
The contamination will affect Japan for decades, studies in Belarus found that in 2000, 14 years after the Chernobyl disaster, fewer than 20 percent of children were considered “practically healthy,” compared to 90 percent before Chernobyl.
Thousands of people continue to inhabit areas that are highly contaminated, particularly northwest of Fukushima. Radioactive elements have been found in tap water in Tokyo and concentrated in national products such as tea, beef, rice and other food.
Many want answers: How did radioactive cesium from the reactors at Fukushima end up here?
Tetsuo Iguchi, a specialist on radiation monitoring at Nagoya University, says experts don’t know. Iguchi is working as a consultant with a government group that is urging thousands of tons of contaminated soil to be cleared off and then sent to storage, possibly inside the Fukushima complex.
“Nothing like this has ever been seen before.” He said.
Radiation from Fukushima has been discovered on the other side of the globe in British Columbia, along the West Coast and East Coast of the United States and in Europe, and heavy contamination has been found in oceanic waters.
Radioactive cesium, xenon and iodine have been detected over a wide area of North America. Other radioactive particles have been detected in the waters near the plant, and some have made their way into fish. Trace amounts of radioactive cesium-137 have been found in anchovies as far away Tokyo.
Radiation is more dangerous for infants because their cells are dividing more rapidly and radiation-damaged RNA may be carried in more generations of cells.
Radioactive iodine has been detected in the thyroids of half of 1,000 Fukushima children, NHK reported, citing findings from a group led by Satoshi Tashiro, a professor at Hiroshima University. Prolonged exposure to radiation in the air, ground and food can cause leukemia and other cancers, according to the London- based World Nuclear Association.
“Usually the contamination happens in a nuclear facility, inside a controlled area, but this type of contamination is global environmental contamination – it’s completely different,”
-Shunichi Tanaka, the former acting head of Japan’s Atomic Energy Agency.
The contamination has also begun to seep into the sea, and tests iodine was found in nearby Fukushima seawater at levels 4,385 times the legal limit. Radioactive iodine is short-lived, with a half-life of just eight days, and in any case was expected to dissipate quickly in the vast Pacific Ocean. Radioactive contamination in groundwater underneath reactor No 2 was measured at 10,000 times the government health standard, according to media reports.
The release of radioactivity from Fukushima is the largest accidental release of radiation to the ocean in history, and it is still on-going. It will likely take decades before results are available to fully evaluate the impacts of this accident on the ocean.
Groundwater, reservoirs and sea water around Japan’s earthquake damaged nuclear plant face “significant contamination” from the high levels of radiation leaking from the plant, a worrying development that heightens potential health risks in the region.
A Kyodo News survey showed Sunday that 83 percent of local governments have anxiety about distributing iodine preparations to their residents in the event of a nuclear crisis, partly because they do not know how to instruct residents to take it. The results of the survey indicate that many local-level authorities are still having difficulty preventing internal exposure.
Most of Japan is skeptical about the Japanese governments’ objectivity because of their general mistrust of those who repeatedly have shown more loyalty to the nuclear industry than their own fellow citizens, and repeatedly delayed disclosing key data and revised evacuation zones and safety standards after the accident.
Some even wonder whether the government-organized studies are in fact really using them as human guinea pigs to examine the impact of radiation on humans. Some experts have voiced their concerns as well, stating that Japan has repeatedly only released data related to the “most popular” radioactive isotopes, and only looked at the “most widely known” effects and abnormalities that may infer internalized contamination.
They continue to call for the Japanese government to check for as many potential problems as possible.
Lucas Whitefield Hixson is a nuclear researcher based out of Chicago IL. Readers may contact the author at email@example.com and visit his website Enformable.com
December 30, 2011
The folk saying has it that “if it sounds too good to be true, probably it is.” OTOH, sometimes what sounds too good to be true sounds too good to be true only because many people have made it their business to make it sound too good to be true. Cases in point, from Global Research:
The World Of Free Energy
By Dr. Peter Lindemann
URL of this article: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=28365
August 15, 2011
My good friend Rich Spees alerted me to this archived article from Widred magazine. Read it and weep. Or, read it, anyway.