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Windows 8 - Deeper Impressions


JorgeA
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This is a problem. Microsoft did not RTM Update 1 with any sort of timeframe of past updates. It never went to OEMs (I'm using this term to include System Builders) first but went to MSDN/Technet. This meant that OEMs got the update pretty much at the time of GA and everyone else. Rather than the typical RTM period of 2-3 months of testing, it was less than 1 week. Now this news article comes out and says that 1 month from then, any PC not running 8.1 Update 1 cannot get updates? This could* be a support nightmare! What were they thinking?

*ahem... if it were a popular OS... :angel:whistle:

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Schneier: Internet has delivered a ‘golden age of surveillance’

Have we sold our souls to the devil?

Schneier, author, security guru, blogger and CTO of Co3 Systems, said the expectation that the Internet would mainly empower the powerless – grassroots groups, hackers, minorities and other relatively fringe groups – did come true for a number of years. But governments around the world have now caught up, he said. And they are better prepared to use power than small, disparate groups.

“Technology magnifies power, but adoption rates are fundamentally different,” he said. “The small and powerless are more nimble and quicker to adopt it. But, a decade later when the already powerful institutions discover it, they can make use of power more effectively.”

[...]

Reassurances from government officials that they are just collecting metadata, rather than listening to phone conversations or reading emails in real time, are a diversion, he said. “Metadata is far more intimate than our conversations. It shows where we go, our interests, our relationships – it shows who we are,” he said.

And, he added, it allows ubiquitous surveillance. “We’d never consent to the government telling us to carry a device that would let them track us 24/7, but we all carry cellphones,” he said. “We’d never agree to government saying we have to tell them when we make a new friend, but we tell Facebook.”

[...]

But the reality is that Internet users pay for “free” and convenient services with their data. “We are tenant farming for companies like Google,” he said. “We are on their land producing data. It’s all very seamless, but in exchange, you have to trust them with everything. Our email, contacts, etc. are no longer just on our computers – they’re on servers.“

And that means, even after IMs disappear from his phone, “Apple has them forever.”

It also means there are much more repressive uses of that data. “Government can tell if you attended a protest,” through cellphone geolocation, he said. “You can map people as they move around city. You can track people moving together who turn off their geolocation, and then turn on later. They can even tell if one phone is turned off permanently, but then another one is turned on in similar location and used similarly.”

It makes mass surveillance much cheaper and easier. While it would take five FBI agents to conduct human surveillance of a single car, technology enables the tracking of thousands of cars at far less expense. “Instead of, ‘follow that car,’ it’s ‘follow every car,’” he said.

--JorgeA

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This is a problem. Microsoft did not RTM Update 1 with any sort of timeframe of past updates. It never went to OEMs (I'm using this term to include System Builders) first but went to MSDN/Technet. This meant that OEMs got the update pretty much at the time of GA and everyone else. Rather than the typical RTM period of 2-3 months of testing, it was less than 1 week. Now this news article comes out and says that 1 month from then, any PC not running 8.1 Update 1 cannot get updates? This could* be a support nightmare! What were they thinking?

*ahem... if it were a popular OS... :angel:whistle:

Very important footnote, there. ;)

--JorgeA

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The Internet of Things: An exploding security minefield

As we go marching right into it...

Everybody from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to a unanimous crowd of security experts has been issuing increasingly insistent warnings that security is not being taken seriously in the explosive development of the Internet of Things (IoT).

But things are not improving – in fact they are getting worse, according to Mark Stanislav and Zach Lanier, security evangelist and senior security researcher respectively, at Duo Security.

[...]

The security problem is growing by orders of magnitude. Estimates of the number of embedded devices that will be connected to the Internet by 2020 range from Gartner’s 26 billion to more than 50 billion from FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez, speaking at a workshop last November.

[...]

In what they called “A Case Study in IoT Failure – IZON,” the two said they had found 19 vulnerabilities, including unencrypted storage of customer data, information leakage, poor password security, lack of authentication for customer data and poor mobile security in a single IoT device.

No wonder, then, that the “challenges” to the industry include the security of just about everything involved – the hardware, software, network and platform – along with user awareness and behavior. If they are not addressed, IoT vulnerabilities could result in attackers getting control not just of your refrigerator and thermostat, but your garage door, door locks – even the operation of your car.

Are you SURE that you want your car or your gas oven connected to the Internet??

--JorgeA

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The failure of Windows 8, viewed from a psychological angle. Some historical perspective back to Windows Me, and Paul Thurrott also comes in for some withering criticism:

Listen to the caveman

Fast forward again, we're now looking at Windows 8 and 8.1. From the technological perspective, there's nothing wrong there. You get all kinds of interesting new bits, you get supposedly more security, decent performance and other cool things that make the system tick, the sum of all the work invested by thousands of engineers at Microsoft.

But all of that means nothing really. Because when a user picks a laptop from a shelf and starts fiddling, trying to figure out what gives, the only thing that does count is their brief first impression, composed of kneejerk reaction response, ancient instincts, taste, and possibly some curiosity fused to a sliver of intelligence.

When you look at the operating system thusly, you can safely ignore the improved kernel and the enhanced security topography, because they cannot transcend the emotional barrier that governs our pockets.

So you can't blame Paul really, not unless he had a hidden agenda, which would be to remain good friends with Microsoft, in which case, all of the above becomes totally pointless. But assuming this is not the case, then he did make a mistake, because he observed, tested and evaluated a product by summing up its ingredients, instead of trying to taste the cake.

[...]I do try to look at products from a completely different, animalistic angle, and that's the one that ignores the kernel code, the spec sheet, and all the other geeky and unnecessary details.

I ask myself, whether this thing in front of me, p***es me off or not. That's the only test really. Do I want to be kicking bits of plastic and metal to death? Do I want to delete the software right there, right then? If the answer is yes, then it goes against my instincts as a human being, as a consumer, and therefore, it becomes a failure in making.

The same applies of course to a lot of other Win8 reviewers.

--JorgeA

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More on the spying and watching a person's every move ... maybe the regulars will post more information.

Who’s Watching Me? Police Took Photos of My License Plates

By Kathryn Watson / April 14, 2014

http://watchdog.org/138370/police-reporters-license/

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The police know exactly where my car has been — and when — during the past few months.

They could have the same information — or more — about you.

As a part of my series on the use of automatic license plate readers in Virginia, I wanted to find out what kind of information local police might have. By law, the only information I’m privileged to is my own.

Last week I filed a public records request with the Alexandria Police Department. I’ve lived in the lovely city of Alexandria for just two years, and my driving record — aside from the occasional parking ticket — is virtually spotless.

What I found, however, left me riveted.

In all, police captured 16 photos of my car — mostly at night — and recorded my license plate eight times on five dates — from October 2013 to as recently as April 1.

... more at the link

-----------------------------------------

FBI Will Have Up To One Third Of Americans On Biometric Database By Next Year

http://www.infowars.com/fbi-will-have-up-to-one-third-of-americans-on-biometric-database-by-next-year/

Privacy group warns “even if you have never been arrested you could be implicated as a criminal suspect”

Steve Watson

Infowars.com

April 15, 2014

A leading privacy watchdog has warned that the FBI plans to have up to a third of all Americans on a facial recognition database by next year.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation notes in a communique that some 52 million Americans could be on the Next Generation Identification (NGI) biometric database by 2015, regardless of whether they have ever committed a crime or been arrested.

The group managed to obtain information pertaining to the program via a freedom of information request.

The database will also hold fingerprints, of which the FBI has around 100 million records, as well as retina scans and palm prints. Profiles on the system will contain other personal details such as name, address, age and race.

The system will be capable of searching through millions of facial records obtained not only via mugshots, but also via so called “civil images”, the origin of which is vague at best.

“The FBI does not define either the ‘Special Population Cognizant’ database or the ‘new repositories’ category.” The EFF writes. “This is a problem because we do not know what rules govern these categories, where the data comes from, how the images are gathered, who has access to them, and whose privacy is impacted.”

... more at the link

--------------------------------

Virginia Cops Constantly Photograph Random People’s License Plates

http://dailycaller.com/2014/04/14/virginia-cops-constantly-photograph-random-peoples-license-plates/

04/14/2014

Police officers in Alexandria, Virginia, frequently take pictures of the license plates of random vehicles all over the city — meaning that people’s addresses, work locations and daily routines are well known to the authorities who collect such information and store it for stretches of time.

The disturbing discovery was made by Katie Watson, an investigative reporter with Watchdog.org’s Virginia bureau. Watson submitted a public records request with the Alexandria Police Department for all information the police had about her. Watson already knew that the police used automatic license plate recognition software to collect information. What she didn’t know was how pervasive the surveillance was.

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WOW, monroe, thanks for posting this.

I didn't know this kind of thing was going on to *this extent*.

It appears that, with ever-increasing modern technology, "Big Brother" will continue to get BIGGER BIGGER BIGGER BIGGER BIGGER.

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Thanks for the articles, monroe.

It's becoming pretty clear that the answer to why governments are doing this even in the face of constitutional limits and professional advice (such as the former state attorney general) is:

"Because we can."

I'm afraid that before we know it, the Constitution will be printed on toilet paper as that's all it'll be good for. And the law will be but a weapon to wield against political enemies and otherwise ignore at will.

--JorgeA

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In the "the Sun will rise tomorrow" department:

All sent and received e-mails in Gmail will be analyzed, says Google

Encourage your friends and family to stop using Gmail and seek out less intrusive alternatives (if there are any :unsure: ).

Maybe you can add to your signature a little note about how Google reads all the e-mail that goes through their servers and that, while your friend may be OK with that, you're not.

--JorgeA

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The statement from NSA :w00t:
Here:
http://www.csoonline.com/article/2142590/government/nsa-denies-knowing-about-heartbleed-flaw-for-years.html
What is written:

But an NSA spokeswoman called the report incorrect. "NSA was not aware of the recently identified vulnerability in OpenSSL, the so-called Heartbleed vulnerability, until it was made public in a private-sector cybersecurity report," she said by email. "Reports that say otherwise are wrong."

Seemingly misses a sentence in the middle.

Version 1:

Nsa was not aware of the Heartbleed vulnerability.

I am a spoleswoman from NSA. I know everything[1], and I always speak the truth[2].

Reports that say otherwise are wrong.

[1] because I have read all the e-mails ever sent in the world

[2] because I was trained to it by the CIA

Version 2, more probable:

Nsa was not aware of the Hearbleed vulnerability.

We make use of much more advanced vulnerabilities than that little one.

Reports that say otherwise are wrong.

;)

jaclaz

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JorgeA ... thanks for the article: "All sent and received e-mails in Gmail will be analyzed, says Google"

I just closed my Gmail accounts in the last two weeks ... first I was with Yahoo and got fed up with all the changes, went to Gmail and then all the Google news started to come out over the past year. I had started to move my e-mails away from Google about 5 months ago. I am always on the look-out for a good e-mail site. Perhaps we need a good discussion on what e-mail sites are OK to use at this time ... April 2014. Someone here mentioned Hushmail, so I went there for now. They seem to be OK, there are free and paid accounts available.

Decided to post the Hushmail link ... I am not endorsing them, they seem OK with the free account but there might be something better out there. They seem to be ad free but they do try to get you to sign up for a "paid" account when you sign out, that sort of can be expected ... but nothing really terrible. I guess this site could be OK unless they get bought up by AOL, Yahoo or Google in the future.

https://www.hushmail.com/

Probably today a person can say ... that another name for the NSA is Google! The NSA is the hidden face and Google is the public face. As of today can anyone truly imagine what Google will be like in 5 years ... 10 years. They really seem to dig this spy stuff ... I don't remember seeing this mentioned but maybe it was ... about Google buying a drone maker ... just came out a few days ago. I don't care what they are saying about providing internet service ... probably just a cover, they like collecting and storing everything "forever".

So as I said earlier, what will be the Google story in 5 or 10 years ... the real story?

Google Buys Drone Maker Titan Aerospace

http://money.cnn.com/2014/04/14/technology/innovation/google-titan-drone/

By James O'Toole - April 14, 2014

The technology company announced Monday that it has acquired Titan Aerospace, a start-up founded in 2012 that makes high-altitude, solar-powered drones.

The purchase is part of the new push in Silicon Valley to find ways of delivering Internet service to underserved areas, particularly in the developing world.

"Titan Aerospace and Google share a profound optimism about the potential for technology to improve the world," Google said. "It's still early days, but atmospheric satellites could help bring internet access to millions of people, and help solve other problems, including disaster relief and environmental damage like deforestation."

The Titan team will operate separately from Google, but will collaborate with divisions including Google Maps and Project Loon, which has been working on delivering Internet service from high-altitude balloons.

----------------------------------------

Google Buys Drone Company Titan Aerospace

http://www.businessinsider.com/google-buys-drone-company-titan-aerospace-2014-4

...

Edited by monroe
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I have a friend who used to scoff at me when I'd tell him that Gmail was a threat to his privacy. Funny, he's not doing that any more.

A number of email services claiming to offer secure and private communications have come out recently. As to whether they're actually fronts for government spy agencies ;), we can't be sure, but the StartPage/Ixquick people, whom I do trust, will soon be rolling out their StartMail service.

Thanks for the articles about Google and the drones. There's a lot of, uh, interesting possibilities for this technology. How long do you think it'll be before the entire planet's surface is monitored in real time by a network of these thingies?

--JorgeA

Edited by JorgeA
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The statement from NSA :w00t:

Here:

http://www.csoonline.com/article/2142590/government/nsa-denies-knowing-about-heartbleed-flaw-for-years.html

What is written:

But an NSA spokeswoman called the report incorrect. "NSA was not aware of the recently identified vulnerability in OpenSSL, the so-called Heartbleed vulnerability, until it was made public in a private-sector cybersecurity report," she said by email. "Reports that say otherwise are wrong."

Seemingly misses a sentence in the middle.

Version 1:

Nsa was not aware of the Heartbleed vulnerability.

I am a spoleswoman from NSA. I know everything[1], and I always speak the truth[2].

Reports that say otherwise are wrong.

[1] because I have read all the e-mails ever sent in the world

[2] because I was trained to it by the CIA

Version 2, more probable:

Nsa was not aware of the Hearbleed vulnerability.

We make use of much more advanced vulnerabilities than that little one.

Reports that say otherwise are wrong.

;)

jaclaz

I'm afraid you're right -- version 2 is more probable. :ph34r:

--JorgeA

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Facebook to Notify Users When Friends are Nearby

With a cc: to the NSA...

Users will have to opt in separately to the feature, called “Nearby Friends,” and agree to give Facebook permission to track them at all times, even when not logged into Facebook.

[emphasis added]

Because Facebook users tend to be “friends” with co-workers and family members, Vaccari didn’t want users blasted with notifications every time someone arrived at home or the office. Vaccari’s team developed algorithms so that Facebook could learn about its users’ relationships and limit notifications.

[emphasis added]

Vaccari said Facebook deliberated about whether to show friends’ locations on a map, but decided against it because some users might have viewed it as an invasion of privacy.

Really! You don't say...

At least this is an "opt-in" service -- for now. Facebook has a history of quietly changing its TOS away from privacy.

--JorgeA

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