Posts tagged AOL
WHICH INTERNET COMPANY HASN’T GIVEN THE U.S. GOVERNMENT ITS RECORDS?
NEW YORK: Outraged Internet users searching for an alternative to the privacy-busting companies they’d trusted are turning to a company that provides what it calls, “the world’s most private search engines.”
StartPage and its sister search engine Ixquick were launched in 2006 to staunchly defend their users’ privacy and civil liberties. StartPage provides a private portal to Google results, while Ixquick provides private results from other search engines.
The services have not participated in PRISM, nor have they ever provided user data to the U.S. government or to any other government or agency in the U.S. or anywhere in the world.
That is more than nine of the biggest Internet companies — Apple, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Facebook, YouTube, PalTalk, AOL and Skype — can say.
“The Privacy of our users rests on three important foundations,” explains StartPage and Ixquick CEO Robert Beens. “We are based in the Netherlands, we use encrypted connections, and — most importantly — we don’t store or share any of our users’ personal search data.”
- No User Data Stored: StartPage and Ixquick never store user data, including IP addresses and search queries, so government agencies have no incentive to ask for these. This privacy is so complete; the company doesn’t even know who its customers are, so it can’t share anything with Big Brother.
- Encrypted (HTTPS) Connections: StartPage and Ixquick were the first search engines to use automatic encryption on all connections to prevent snooping. When searches are encrypted, third parties like ISP’s and the NSA can’t avesdrop on Internet connections to see what people are searching for.
- Not Under U.S. Jurisdiction: StartPage and Ixquick are based in the Netherlands, so they are not directly subject to U.S. regulations, warrants, or court orders. They can’t be forced to participate in spying programs like PRISM. The company has never turned over a single bit of user data to any government entity in the 14 years it has been in business, which is not surprising since there is no data in the first place.
StartPage and Ixquick are also the only search engines whose privacy practices have been independently verified and third-party certified through the European Union’s Privacy Seal program.
“Unfortunately, it takes a scandal like PRISM to wake people up to the erosion of privacy”, says Harvard-trained privacy expert Dr. Katherine Albrecht, who helped develop StartPage. “As people get fed up with being spied on, they look for alternatives. We already serve nearly 3 million private searches each day, and we expect that number to grow as people seek shelter from search engines that store and share their private information.”
The company will expand its privacy services this summer with the addition of a new private email product called StartMail. StartMail will offer a paid, private email platform with strong encryption. Anyone interested in beta testing the program on its release can sign up at www.StartMail.com
My choice since mid 2009, thanks to Katherine Albrecht.
Second NSA PRISM Spy Leak Shows Govt, Tech Companies Are Lying to You
A second leaked slide from the NSA’s top secret PRISM operation details how the NSA actually goes straight to the servers of top tech companies like Skype and Google in order to compile your personal chats and information — exactly what the U.S. Director of National Intelligence and major corporations said wasn’t happening in statements made yesterday.
Quite frankly, it looks like The Guardian has absolutely side swiped the Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper, Facebook, Skype, Google, and a host of others who denied that the NSA PRISM program was directly tied into the tech company servers. More specifically, there was heavy denial in regards to how the NSA spy program actually worked, which is actually now detailed on the second slide. A slide that, at the time of writing this, has not even hit the front of Drudge or other sources. Here is the slide from the top secret PRISM project, which utilizes the top tech companies in order to watch and hold every letter you type through their services:
Image added to original post.
By Charles Arthur, The Guardian
Usernames and unencrypted passwords posted online after hack attack on Yahoo Voice network
More than 450,000 usernames and unencrypted passwords appear to have been stolen from Yahoo Voice, a user-contribution services on Yahoo’s network, and posted online.
Similar attacks have been reported separately against other online services, including Android Forums and Formspring, where users are being encouraged to change their passwords immediately, and to check whether they used the same password on other services.
By Lois Beckett
Microsoft and Yahoo are selling political campaigns the ability to target voters online with tailored ads using names, Zip codes and other registration information that users provide when they sign up for free email and other services.
The Web giants provide users no notification that their information is being used for political targeting.
In one sense, campaigns are doing a more sophisticated version of what they’ve always done through the post office — sending political fliers to selected households. But the Internet allows for more subtle targeting. It relies not on email but on advertisements that surfers may not realize have been customized for them.
Campaigns use voters records to assemble lists of people they’re trying to reach — for instance, “registered Republicans that have made a donation,” Yahoo’s director of sales Andy Cotten told ProPublica. Microsoft and Yahoo help campaigns find these people online and then send them tailored ads.
These messages don’t just pop up in Yahoo Mail or Hotmail. Because Microsoft and Yahoo operate huge networks that provide advertising on some of the most popular web destinations, targeted ads can appear when a voter visits a swath of different sites.
Microsoft and Yahoo said they safeguard the privacy of their users and do not share their users’ personal information directly with the campaigns. Both companies also said they do not see the campaigns’ political data, because the match of voter names and registration data is done by a third company. They say the matching is done to target groups of similar voters, and not named individuals.
According to Microsoft, President Obama’s re-election campaign has recently done this kind of targeting, and both national political parties have done so previously.
The marketing site ClickZ, the Wall Street Journal, Slate and others have previously noted the ability of campaigns to target online ads to specific groups of voters. But what has not been detailed is which companies are now making the targeting possible by providing users’ personal information — and which have decided it’s off-limits.
The Navy was all set to roll out its upgraded spy drone, a 44-foot behemoth. Then one of its Global Hawks crashed into an eastern Maryland marsh on Monday. It’s the latest setback for the Navy’s robotic aircraft.
An unarmed RQ-4A Global Hawk went down during a training exercise near the Naval aviation base at Patuxent River, Maryland on Monday, CNN reports. Local news has footage of the wreckage. No one was hurt except the Navy’s pride.
But ouch, that pride. As AOL Defense reports, Thursday marks the debut of a new pimped-out Global Hawk at Pax River, as part of the Navy’s newest iteration of its Broad Area Maritime Surveillance Program. BAMS, as it’s known, uses a Global Hawk outfitted with Navy-specific sensors to spy on a whole lot of ocean and beach. In this case, the Navy was set to debut two new, powerful 360-degree radars aboard its Global Hawks, with range in the hundreds of miles, as part of a $1.16 billion contract signed in 2008.
It’s unclear if the Global Hawk that crashed was actually carrying the new radars. Even if it wasn’t, the drone programs run by Naval aviation look increasingly star-crossed. In April, technical glitches forced the Navy to ground its robotic Fire Scout helicopters despite praising their performance in counternarcotics operations to the high heavens. Then the Navy decided to spend another quarter billion dollars on an upgrade.
A more ambitious Navy drone program would, for the first time, allow an armed drone to take off and land from the deck of an aircraft carrier. But the so-called X-47B won’t be ready until 2018 at the earliest. For now, the stealthy, batwing-shaped robot makes people who see it fear an alien invasion. Don’t ask about drone submarines, since they’re an immature technology.
Drones crash, and however embarrassing this current crash is, the Global Hawk is a robotic workhorse. But it didn’t take long for the Twitter-borne drone watcher @drunkenpredator to rechristen BAMS “Bits of Aircraft in Maryland Soil.”
Confidential guidelines telling police how to access Facebook, Microsoft, Blizzard, and AOL user accounts have appeared online this week.
The files, known colloquially as law enforcement guidelines, typically tell police what types of user data are stored, how long they’re retained, and what procedures to use to gain access to them.
A few types of requests–for e-mail less than 180 days old, for instance–tend to require search warrants. In general, basic subscriber information can be disclosed with a subpoena, and a court order is required for more extensive information (whether that’s sufficient is the subject of ongoing litigation in the Twitter-WikiLeaks case).
Here are some highlights from each company’s policies:
Blizzard:Logs of Internet Protocol addresses are kept “indefinitely,” according to the company behind World of Warcraft. Sent mail is not retained. Deleted mail messages are not retained.Facebook: An earlier version of the company’s manual from 2008 said that “IP log data is generally retained for 90 days.” That statement is missing from the newly-released 2010 version, indicating that Facebook now may store data longer (a company spokesman did not respond to that question).
Microsoft/MSN: Hotmail IP logs are kept for 60 days. MSN TV’s Web site logs are kept for 13 days. No logs are kept for conversations taking place through MSN chat rooms and MSN instant messenger. The leaked document is from April 2005, though, and may be out of date.
AOL: IP logs for the AIM and ICQ messaging services are stored for up to 90 days. Customer logs are kept for 6 months. All AOL e-mail, including from portals such as AOL.ca, AOL.fr, and AOL.mx, is stored in its Northern Virginia data center.
The AOL, Blizzard, and Microsoft manuals were leaked as part of a recent data dump from Anonymous. The 2010 Facebook manual was posted by PublicIntelligence.net, a WikiLeaks-like effort that describes itself as an “international, collaborative research project.”
By far the most extensive collection of not-meant-for-the-public law enforcement guidelines has been assembled by John Young, a retired architect who runs the Cryptome.org document repository from his Manhattan flat.
After its law enforcement manuals for Windows appeared on Cryptome last year, Microsoft has attempted to remove it from the Internet using the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The DMCA complaint was withdrawn a few days later. (See a related CNET Q&A with Young.)
A House of Representatives panel voted in July to require Internet providers to store customers’ names, addresses, phone numbers, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, and temporarily-assigned IP addresses. Previous Justice Department proposals envisioned forcing social networking sites to keep records for a few years of who uploads which photographs or videos.
In what may or may not be a coincidence, Facebook plans to post the 2011 law enforcement guide in its help center by the end of the day.