I was reading a post about Google+ on The Burnman Experience, and it made me think about current trends, Google, and Facebook. Burnman's position is that the Google+ name policy is not the biggest threat to privacy or online safety coming from Google, Inc.
Protections for anonymous speech are vital to democratic discourse. Allowing dissenters to shield their identities frees them to express critical, minority views . . . Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority. . . . It thus exemplifies the purpose behind the Bill of Rights, and of the First Amendment in particular: to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation . . . at the hand of an intolerant society.
———— 1995 Supreme Court ruling in McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission*
Google's new Google+ (G+) service was off to a roaring start. In it's first few weeks it gained 20 million users and is reportedly currently at 25 million. But it has done one thing that could turn that impressive growth rate around. Requiring your "common name" on your account. This is a serious issue for a large number of people. People with serious illnesses, jobs that don't allow employees to express their opinions online, views that differ from their community, etc all may be harmed if they can't use a pseudonym.
Whitelisting defends computers from malware by only allowing programs from a pre-approved list of known safe programs to run. The opposite technique, blacklisting, doesn't allow programs from a list of forbidden programs to run.
Whitelists can be an excellent addition to your security strategy. Unlike a blacklist, a whitelist only changes when you want to add a new program. Even if an attacker manages to load a malicious program onto your computer it won't run because it's not on the list of approved programs.
Jack Wallen put out an Android phone security primer on Tech Republic. I don't have an Android phone, but a lot of people do, so I thought it would be a good idea to go over some of the steps here.
The first best thing you should do is set a pin to unlock it. Then lock the phone. There are still ways to get at the data on your phone, but that will stop the casual pickpocket/guy who picked up your phone when you left it at the bar.
Today the Justice Department announced that Google is paying half a billion dollars for allowing Canadian pharmaceutical companies ads to show up in US browsers, enabling the illegal international sale and importation of controlled and uncontrolled substances.
I don't know how many people made those purchases, but if the USDJ decided to go after them, everyone could be charged and possibly convicted of illegal purchase and/or possession of controlled substances.
At the Naked Security blog Chester Wisniewski talked about a paper presented at the Senix Security Symposium. The paper, "Heat of the Moment: Characterizing the Efficacy of Thermal Camera-Based Attacks" looked at using thermal cameras to steal PIN numbers in skimming attacks.
CNN.com reports that former Mount Dora, Florida Teacher of the Year Jerry Buell has been reassigned to administrative duties while comments on his Facebook page are investigated. Mr. Buell allegedly made some anti-homosexual comments that caused someone to take screenshots and report them to the school District.
I'll post a full entry this evening, but the short version is that Jerry Buell posted his reaction to the news that New York had legalized gay marriage on his Facebook page. It was rude, it was insensitive, but apparently not the kind of thing he normally posted. Unfortunately for Jerry, he is a high school teacher, and it got him into trouble.
More this evening.