The Internet is a surveillance state. Whether we admit it to ourselves or not, and whether we like it or not, we’re being tracked all the time. Google tracks us, both on its pages and on other pages it has access to. Facebook does the same; it even tracks non-Facebook users. Apple tracks us on our iPhones and iPads. One reporter used a tool called Collusion to track who was tracking him; 105 companies tracked his Internet use during one 36-hour period.
Increasingly, what we do on the Internet is being combined with other data about us. Unmasking Broadwell’s identity involved correlating her Internet activity with her hotel stays. Everything we do now involves computers, and computers produce data as a natural by-product. Everything is now being saved and correlated, and many big-data companies make money by building up intimate profiles of our lives from a variety of sources.
Facebook, for example, correlates your online behavior with your purchasing habits offline. And there’s more. There’s location data from your cell phone, there’s a record of your movements from closed-circuit TVs.
This is ubiquitous surveillance: All of us being watched, all the time, and that data being stored forever. This is what a surveillance state looks like, and it’s efficient beyond the wildest dreams of George Orwell.
folks with disabilities, no matter the kind, please pass this around! get the word out, in case there are other folks that are unaware of the addon since it could be of great help for accessibility throughout the incredibly inaccessible internet.
so in my attempts to replace the now thoroughly fucked and now money-subscription-based Readability project, the page/addon meant to alter web pages to actually make them readable, i found a neat little addon this morning for firefox that is completely free.
behold, Blank Your Monitor and Easy Reading [link is to the official Mozilla addon hub, not third party].
Blank Your Monitor can change the colors of the pages you’re viewing to anything you configure them to with the click of one button, or by hitting Ctrl-Alt-B. the options to alter these colors are located in a drop menu next to the addon button.
Easy Reading allows you to change the colors for specific portions of text, be it through highlighting them and hitting Ctrl+Alt+Z or clicking Easy Reading in the righthand menu, or hovering over them with your mouse if you have that option enabled. this one is especially important to me bc i have a hard time picking out text to follow in paragraphs, as sometimes i accidentally read words from other lines and getting sentences mixed up as a result. this feature can be helpful not just for folks with visual impairments, but also cognitive disorders and conditions such as AD/HD [i learned my habit of highlighting specific portions of text to read from someone with AD/HD and it’s been a godsend]
note, tho, that the project’s last update was from november 2011. so it may not work for everyone, depending on their installed version of firefox, and i do not know if they are still actively updating it. but if it does work for you, dear god is it amazing. technically the options available through this addon are available in firefox itself, but it makes the configuration and ability to switch between the settings significantly easier since all you have to do to switch is hit the button or use the hotkeys.
here are some similar tools for chrome users!
This is a great piece by Gary Younge. I am only quoting a short paragraph because I wanted to copy/paste the whole thing.
If you’re using BitTorrent or uTorrent or any torrenting program, please, do yourself a favor (if you haven’t already) and go to Preferences.
In Preferences, under BitTorrent or uTorrent or the name of whatever program you are using, there should be a section labled Protocol Encryption.
Where it says “Outgoing,” click the drop-down box and select “Enabled,” (also allow incoming legacy connections).
It’s not 100% effective, and apparently Comcast is notorious for seeing through this (but not really doing anything about it), but it can provide some protection against ISP trackers.
In any case, don’t freak out too much about the upcoming July “crackdown” on downloading. One commenter on SuprBay put it really well:Because, whether they’re evil or not, spending money on systems to cut off your paying customers, to protect the incomes of third parties, is commercially ridiculous.
If you’re really worried about all this, I suggest you start doing some research into the older torrenting communities and see what they have to say. A lot of it is jargon speak, but you can usually get someone to explain it for you in laymen’s terms if you need it. Protect yourselves, but don’t worry too much. It’s technically against international law to take away someone’s Internet, according to the UN.
Yes, this whole thing could get very, very ugly, but there is no need to panic. A lot of these sites reporting about the download caps and ISP cooperation are sensationalizing and making it sound more dangerous than it is. We’ve known about the six-strikes thing for a while, and ISPs have already been fond of sending nasty letters to people. Just chill, watch your back, check comments on the torrent to see if people know it’s being tracked by ISPs, and protect yourselves.
There is the Tor Project, which is meant to anonymize all of your internet traffic. Better yet, unlike many other services, it is free. You can make it work with bittorrent or vuze (from what I understand, I haven’t installed it yet).
The ministry statement slammed the false report as serving “the propaganda wing of the West and providing its hostile media with a pretext emanating from a baseless claim.” Iran, however, does have plans to establish a “national information network” billed as a totally closed system that would function like a sort of intranet for the Islamic republic.
by Steven Musil April 9, 2012
Country’s minister of information and communication says national intranet will create a “clean Internet.”
Millions of Internet users in Iran could soon be permanently cut off from the Web, social networks, and e-mail.
In a statement released last week, Reza Taghipour, the Iranian minister for Information and Communications Technology, announced it plans to establish a national intranet within five months in an effort to create a “clean Internet,” according to an International Business Times report. “All Internet Service Providers (ISP) should only present National Internet by August,” Taghipour said in the statement.
Web sites such as Google, Hotmail, and Yahoo will be blocked and replaced by government-administered services such as like Iran Mail and Iran Search Engine, according to the report. The government has already begun a registration process for those interested in using the Iran Mail that will verify and record user’s full name and address.
Iranian Internet users have grown accustomed to censorship. The country’s government cut off access to the Internet a few times earlier this year, the latest of which blocked access to all encrypted international sites outside the country that operate on Secure Sockets Layer protocol. Many Iranians use proxy servers over Virtual Private Networks to circumvent government efforts to block access to foreign news sites and social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.
Taghipour told the Islamic Republic News Agency in January that a firewalled national Internet would soon become operational but no specifics were given as to when that would happen. The creation of such a vast “intranet” has worried cyber activists in Iran because it would give the government an advantage in its cyber cat-and-mouse battle with opponents.
More on C-Net: Iran expected to permanently cut off Internet by August
An onrush of condemnation and criticism kept the SOPA and PIPA acts from passing earlier this year, but US lawmakers have already authored another authoritarian bill that could give them free reign to creep the Web in the name of cybersecurity.
As congressmen in Washington consider how to handle the ongoing issue of cyberattacks, some legislators have lent their support to a new act that, if passed, would let the government pry into the personal correspondence of anyone of their choosing.
H.R. 3523, a piece of legislation dubbed the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (or CISPA for short), has been created under the guise of being a necessary implement in America’s war against cyberattacks. But the vague verbiage contained within the pages of the paper could allow Congress to circumvent existing exemptions to online privacy laws and essentially monitor, censor and stop any online communication that it considers disruptive to the government or private parties.
On Sunday, the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister David Cameron and the Interior Ministry were forced to defend a sweeping wiretapping proposal, which would aim to monitor every single email, text message, and phone call flowing through the whole country. The proposal would likely force all UK Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to install “black boxes” on their systems that use Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) technology, which would give authorities access to all communications data without a warrant or any judicial oversight.
Law enforcement would have access to IP addresses, email addresses, when you send an email, to whom you send it, and how frequently—as well as corresponding data for phone calls and text messages. The government has claimed this proposal is needed to fight “terrorism and serious crimes,” but of course, it would be available to law enforcement for all purposes.
As the Washington Post reported, many privacy advocates in the UK say, “the move would intrude so deeply into the lives of British citizens that it would rival or exceed measures used by totalitarian governments.” While there’s still no public draft of the proposal, the government insists that law enforcement will not have access to the content of communications; however, retaining allother identifying information can easily reveal vast troves of information about a user’s private life. Mathematician and security researcher George Danezis explains:
Basically you can think of blanket traffic data retention and access as having a policeman following you around 24h a day / 7 days a week, and making notes about where you have been, what you have looked at, who you are talking to, what you are doing, where you are sleeping (and with whom), everything you bought, every political and trade union meeting you went to, … – but not actually hearing any of the conversation or seeing what you wrote. Traffic data provide an X-ray of your whole life, and the policy suggests they should be available to law enforcement and the intelligence services without any judicial oversight (only political review or police oversight).
Unfortunately for the UK government, a lot of popular email and social media services, like Google and Facebook, use SSL encryption to protect their users’ data, so the government may not be able to access the information through DPI. Under this proposal however, Google and Facebook would be forced to comply with every data request.