Stories by Ms. Smith

'Largest DDoS attack' in GitHub's history targets anticensorship projects

GitHub has been hammered by a continuous DDoS attack for three days. It's the "largest DDoS attack in github.com's history." The attack is aimed at anti-censorship GreatFire and CN-NYTimes projects, but affected all of GitHub; the traffic is coming from China as attackers are reportedly using China's search engine Baidu for the purpose of "HTTP hijacking."

Ms. Smith | 30 Mar | Read more

Great privacy essay: Fourth Amendment Doctrine in the Era of Total Surveillance

When you signed up with your ISP, or with a wireless carrier for mobile devices, if you gave it any thought at all when you signed your name on the contract, you likely didn't expect your activities to be a secret, or to be anonymous, but how about at least some degree of private? Is that reasonable? No, as the law currently suggests that as a subscriber, you "volunteer" your personal information to be shared with third-parties. Perhaps not the content of your communications, but the transactional information that tells things like times, places, phone numbers, or addresses; transactional data that paints a very clear picture of your life and for which no warrant is required.

Ms. Smith | 31 Jul | Read more

9 of 10 online accounts intercepted by NSA are not intended surveillance target

Although NSA officials were not sure about what all documents Edward Snowden took with him, they've changed their tune a few times after some new leak proves their previous proclamations to be false...like when former NSA Chief Keith Alexander admitted to lying about phone surveillance stopping 54 terror plots. Despite a year of NSA officials claiming that Edward Snowden had access to reports about NSA surveillance, but no access to actual surveillance intercepts, that ends up being lie too.

Ms. Smith | 07 Jul | Read more

Microsoft hammers No-IP, collateral damage includes Hacking Team's legal malware

Microsoft brought the hammer down on No-IP and seized 22 of their domains. They also filed a civil case against "Mohamed Benabdellah and Naser Al Mutairi, and a U.S. company, Vitalwerks Internet Solutions, LLC (doing business as No-IP.com), for their roles in creating, controlling, and assisting in infecting millions of computers with malicious software--harming Microsoft, its customers and the public at large."

Ms. Smith | 02 Jul | Read more

PayPal locks out ProtonMail, asks if encrypted email service has government approval

We previously looked at the huge demand for ProtonMail, an easy-to-use and free NSA-proof email service created by CERN and MIT scientists. It is based in Switzerland, meaning the U.S. government can't just hoover it up without an enforceable Swiss court order, which is hard to come by since the Swiss legal system has "strong privacy protections." The demand for the end-to-end encrypted email service was so high that ProtonMail ran out of a month's worth of server capacity in three days.

Ms. Smith | 02 Jul | Read more

Facebook manipulated 689,003 users' News Feeds to 'prove' emotions are contagious

If you are exposed to negative person, then that negativity might bleed over to infect you. If you are exposed to a positive person, then those positive emotions might put you in a more positive frame of mind as well. Since you likely have experienced that in real life, then you probably don't need research to back that up. Facebook's data scientists were out to prove if emotions expressed digitally would also be contagious.

Ms. Smith | 30 Jun | Read more

Liquid surveillance privacy bashfest: Brave Citizens vs Scorched Earth?

Like everything in life, there are a plethora of varying opinions when it comes to protecting privacy, freedom and civil liberties. Even when just looking among different privacy advocates, it's painfully clear that not everyone agrees. While I'm personally not a fan of finger-pointing or name-calling, and I do not know either of the authors concerned with privacy, there are bits and bytes from each that are worth pondering.

Ms. Smith | 25 Jun | Read more

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