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Daily Archives: 27/01/2011

(EFF.org) 2011 01 24 – Earlier today, Mozilla announced plans to incorporate a Do Not Track feature into their next browser release, Firefox 4.1. Google also announced a new privacy extension today, but we believe that Mozilla is now taking a clear lead and building a practical way forward for people who want privacy when they browse the web.

Why We Need Do Not Track

Privacy advocates have been calling attention to issues of pervasive online tracking for some time. Often intertwined with the issue of behavioral targeting, online tracking refers to the difficult-to-elude mechanisms by which most or all of our reading and other activities on the Web are recorded by third parties, without our knowledge or permission.

The technical details of online tracking are multifarious. They include traditional HTTP cookies as well as flash cookies and many other kinds of supercookies, web bugs, JavaScript trackers, HTTP Referrers, and fingerprinting. And new ways to track browsers will continue to be invented. Even consumers who take steps to delete their cookies or use private browsing mode remain unable to prevent third parties from observing their clickstreams.

Currently, a subset of advertisers offer a mechanism for opting out of behavioral advertising through the Network Advertising Initiative — a project that has been widely criticized for failing to provide consumers with meaningful control. The NAI opt-out suffers from several problems: the biggest is that there is no consistency on what “opt out” means. Some tracking companies recognize that an “opt out” should be an opt out from being tracked, others insist on interpreting the opt out as being an opt out for receiving targeted advertising. In other words, the NAI allows its members to to tell people that they’ve opted out, when in fact their web browsing is still being observed and recorded indefinitely.

The cookie-based opt-out scheme also suffers from serious technical drawbacks. Some of these are issues of complexity — tracking companies need to opt-in before it can work and new types of cookie need to be created for each of them. There is also the issue of fragility — privacy conscious users delete their cookies regularly, which means the opt-out keeps turning itself off.

The “Keep Your Opt-Outs” Chrome extension announced by Google today is an attempt to address that last problem. In that respect it is similar to the TACO Firefox Extension, though it doesn’t set any opt-out cookies for companies that are not NAI members. It also doesn’t fix the other fundamental problems with the NAI’s approach: complexity, the lack of a clear signal that can be observed and interpreted by any website, and allowing fake opt-outs that only protect you from targeted advertising but don’t prevent any tracking.

For these reasons, we believe that the only sensible way forward for privacy opt-outs is a Do Not Track header, and we’re very pleased to see Mozilla planning to offer this option in their future browser versions.

How Will Do Not Track Work?

Every time your computer sends or receives information over the Web, the request begins with some short pieces of information called headers. These headers include information like what browser you’re using, what language your computer is set to, and other technical details. The Do Not Track proposal is to include a simple, machine-readable header indicating that you don’t want to be tracked.

The header-based Do Not Track system appeals because it calls for an armistice in the arms race of online tracking. Currently, advertisers constantly invent new ways of tracking consumers and security researchers work to block this tracking with new technology. A header-based Do Not Track model sends out a signal with every online communication indicating a user’s preference not to be tracked. This puts the onus on the tracking companies to comply with Do Not Track mechanisms — rather than on the user to discover and counter every type of possible online tracking.

Some important things to note about this proposal:

  • There is no “list” that consumers need to sign up for. Early discussion of Do Not Track included proposals about a list-based registry of users, similar to the Do Not Call Registry. This proposal does not collect data on consumers in a central list. (Security and privacy researcher Christopher Soghoian has more about the history of Do Not Track.)
  • Consumers won’t need to update software for Do Not Track regularly. Early versions of Do Not Track proposed installing software on an individual’s computer that listed all the known tracking companies. As more companies were identified, the list would need to be updated. The current proposal does not store a list of companies on your computer and so does not need to be repeatedly updated.
  • You can still clear your cookies without fear of disrupting the header-based Do Not Track.
  • The header-based Do Not Track model won’t threaten ad-supported businesses.

The Next Steps

EFF will be submitting formal comments to the Federal Trade Commission responding to questions they raised in their privacy report. In the meantime, users should consider using some of the Mozilla Firefox addons that have already incorporated the header-based advertising opt-out. The Universal Behavioral Advertising Opt-Out is the easiest way to set the header today, though it is also set by development versions of AdBlock Plus and NoScript, and will be in future stable releases of those extensions. Because many advertisers do not yet respect the header, for the time being, we recommend installing it along side beef TACO and AdBlock Plus (with EasyPrivacy) for the time being.

We plan to continue posting articles that will explore and explain Do Not Track. Our next article will discuss the semantics and server side responses that are appropriate in response to a Do Not Track header. In other words, what does the “Track” in Do Not Track mean?

by Rainey Reitman

 

Source : https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2011/01/mozilla-leads-the-way-on-do-not-track


(medialens.org)

(…) Last month’s UN climate talks in Cancun, Mexico, were never going to save the planet. Indeed, they seem to have been regarded as a minor side-show by much of the world’s political leaders and news media. Amy Goodman of the US-based Democracy Now! was a rare exception with daily in-depth reports and interviews. Here is how she presented one item with a wry note of irony:

‘Well, I’m Amy Goodman, here in Cancun. We’re covering the UN global warming summit. You know, last year this time, we were covering the Copenhagen summit. The press room was packed. There were thousands of journalists. It’s empty now. I mean, it’s nice to have printers and computers galore, but with no one in the room but folks who are cleaning up and keeping it tidy and IT people galore, well, I don’t think this was just meant for me. But I think there’s a bigger story here about the lack of interest in the Cancun meeting as the world is getting warmer.’ (Amy Goodman, ‘Pressing the Silence: At the UN Climate Change Conference, the Media Center is Oddly Quiet’, Democracy Now!, December 6, 2010) (…)

Full article: http://www.medialens.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=599:the-empty-press-room-how-corporate-journalism-happily-lost-interest-in-climate-change&catid=24:alerts-2011&Itemid=68

(privacylover.com) Bitcoin is a virtual peer to peer currency that can be sent to anyone with a Bitcoin wallet address, it has no central authority to issue new money or keep track of transactions, these tasks are managed collectively by the nodes of the network, Bitcoin utilizes cryptographic digital signatures during mining and they can not be tampered with.

Bitcoins can be sent to anyone without using a middleman and its transactions are designed to be irreversible, Bitcoin inflation system’s money supply is distributed evenly (by CPU power) throughout the network, not monopolized by banks.

Bitcoins are entering circulation gradually, at a steady pace over many years, to nodes supporting the network in proportion to the CPU time they contribute. The total eventual circulation will be 21 million Bitcoins, there will never be more coins than that, Bitcoins can be sent to anyone with a Bitcoin address.

Note that having a powerful CPU would not make you wealthier as more coin creation will drive the price of electricity needed for generating a coin up, hence making it more profitable to buy Bitcoins directly from the market. Read more…

 

Useful Bitcoin links:

BitCoin home page: http://www.bitcoin.org
Bitcoin Trade: http://www.bitcoin.org/trade
BitCoin Economy Watch: http://www.bitcoinwatch.com
Bitcoin Exchange: https://www.mtgox.com
Bitcoin escrow service: https://clearcoin.appspot.com
Bitcoin e-commerce platform: https://www.mybitcoin.com

(nosweat.org.uk) 2011 01 18

A WOMAN employee at electronics maker Foxconn jumped to her death in south China’s Shenzhen City, People’s Daily reported yesterday.

The 25-year-old female engineer, who was not named, jumped from the 10th floor of the building where she lived in Yantian District in Shenzhen in Guangdong Province on January 7, the paper said.

Foxconn said the woman joined its factory in Shenzhen’s Longhua town in 2005. She was on sick leave when she jumped from the building.

Earlier, Hong Kong media said the woman was on leave after she had been scolded by her supervisor and ordered to quit.

The suicide is this year’s first such incident involving a Foxconn employee.

Last year, a total of 10 young migrant workers jumped to their deaths at Foxconn’s Longhua factory.

Foxconn hires around 450,000 workers at the Longhua factory, most of them migrant workers from inland provinces.

A key manufacturer of Apple’s iPhones and iPads and computer gadgets for other global tech giants such as Hewlett-Packard and Dell, Foxconn raised workers’ wages, improved working conditions and reduced overtime hours after it came under fire due to the spate of suicides.

Some employees accused the factory of treating them like nonpersons, according to previous reports.

Foxconn built a factory in Zhengzhou, central China’s Henan Province, last August to improve working conditions and reduce costs and ensure workers could be employed closer to their hometowns.

Elsewhere, ‘a large conflict’ broke out at the Foxconn facility in Chengdu leaving two employees injured.

As Apple CEO Steve Jobs goes on sick leave, No Sweat wish him well but would also like to remind him that the workers making his products are people too and urge him to think long and hard about the contractors he engages – if he actually cares.

Source http://www.nosweat.org.uk/story/2011/01/18/yet-another-suicide-and-disruption-foxconn-factories-china

(www.anarchistnews.org) On April 16, 2000 upward of 20,000 anti-globalization protesters descended on Washington, DC to resist the destructive neoliberal policies of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. On the heels of the stunning victory in Seattle on N30, hopes were high that the A16 demo would shut down the meetings and once again show the world the power of bottom-up, horizontal resistance.

A16 didn’t turn out to be another Seattle, but the worldwide struggle against neoliberalism was largely successful nonetheless. The relentless pressure of mass demonstrations at every summit meeting, coupled with ever more militant resistance from the residents of the affected countries, left the so-called Washington consensus in ruins. IMF capitalization plummeted in the following years as more and more poor nations opted out of the financial straightjacket of exorbitant interest rates and austerity measures demanded of IMF loan recipients.

Today, the tentacles of neoliberalism are encircling previously exempt populations in Europe and the US, as international bankers demand their speculative losses be made good by people already on the verge of
destitution. In countries like Greece and Latvia, massive cuts in social services are forcing millions into poverty, in order to repay the IMF the billions that went to bailing out casino capitalists. In other countries,
like the US, neoliberals wreak their havoc without middlemen, but the results are the same. Here in Washington, DC, home of the IMF and World Bank, school budgets are being slashed, homeless shelters closed, city employees laid off, and Metro fares raised, all to make up budget shortfalls caused by rescuing multi-billion dollar banks from their own greed and stupidity. DC is also the target of an invasion by Wal-Mart, who plans to open four stores here in 2012. This is the same Wal-Mart that received millions from the World Bank for energy projects in Haiti and Mexico.

The rest of the world is not taking this lying down. In Greece, strikes and protests are near daily occurrences, to the point that the economic disruption may be costing the government more money than they save through austerity measures. Students in England have rioted in response to tuition hikes, destroying the lobby of the Liberal Democrat party headquarters and attacking Prince Charles’ car – with him inside it. A spontaneous, leaderless revolt in Tunisia has driven one president into exile, and the
transition government is already falling apart.

Here in the US we live at the heart of the capitalist empire. More than any other people in the world, we have the opportunity, and the responsibility, to derail the imperial machine. This year the IMF and
World Bank will once again begin their spring meetings on April 16. The IMF Resistance Network invites all enemies of neoliberal capitalism to join us in the streets of DC to fight for a just and free world.

Source: http://www.anarchistnews.org/?q=node/13590

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