EU inches closer to ban on end-to-end encryption

Found on IT Pro on Tuesday, 10 November 2020
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The Council of the European Union appears to have a near-completed resolution that would propose a ban on the use of end-to-end encryption on off-the-shelf apps such as WhatsApp and Signal, according to a leaked document.

It’s argued that, moving forward, the EU hopes to “establish an active discussion” with the tech industry in order to create a “balance” between maintaining the principles of strong encryption and allowing authorities to access data in a lawful manner.

There is no discussion. Any E2E encryption that has a backdoor is considered broken and insecure. Simple as that. Plus, let's be honest: the real bad guys will just switch to systems that don't care at all about what EU laws want.

The Battle for the Soul of Digital Freedom Taking Place Inside Your Printer

Found on EFF on Monday, 09 November 2020
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Since the turn of this century, the company's changed its name to HP and its focus to sleazy ways to part unhappy printer owners from their money.

The company's just beat its own record, converting its "Free ink for life" plan into a "Pay us $0.99 every month for the rest of your life or your printer stops working" plan.

With the HP Instant Ink program, printer owners no longer own their ink cartridges or the ink in them. Instead, HP's customers have to pay a recurring monthly fee based on the number of pages they anticipate printing from month to month; HP mails subscribers cartridges with enough ink to cover their anticipated needs. If you exceed your estimated page-count, HP bills you for every page (if you choose not to pay, your printer refuses to print, even if there's ink in the cartridges).

Buy from a competitor. This will only work until someone decides to file a lawsuit.

Can you trust that Amazon review? 42% may be fake, independent monitor says.

Found on Chicago Tribune on Sunday, 08 November 2020
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About 42% of 720 million Amazon reviews assessed by the monitoring service Fakespot from March through September were unreliable, up from about 36% for the same period last year. The rise in fake reviews corresponded with the stampede online of millions of virus-avoiding shoppers.

Based on past experience, Khalifah expects the volume of fake reviews to worsen as Amazon heads into the holiday shopping season, which will be busier than usual as shoppers continue to avoid stores amid an uptick in COVID-19 cases. “If it’s too good to be true,” he says, “it probably isn’t.”

It's been pointless to read reviews and ratings for years now. That's one of the reasons to avoid Amazon.

RIAA Takedowns Backfire as Pirated MP3s Now Surface on GitHub

Found on Torrentfreak on Saturday, 07 November 2020
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Two weeks ago the RIAA asked GitHub to remove the open-source stream-ripper software youtube-dl. This request wasn't well-received by developers, many of whom retaliated by posting copies of the code.

We have seen similar requests in the past but this one struck a nerve, especially among developers. They believe that the RIAA went too far. As we highlighted earlier, hundreds of new copies of the youtube-dl code appeared online in response, also on GitHub.

This is yet another example that shows how the RIAA’s takedown request has actually made things worse for the music group, at least for now.

This was so obvious right from the start. Anybody could have told you this will happen.

Movie Industry: VPNs and Tor Pose a Threat to Legitimate Streaming Platforms

Found on Torrentfreak on Friday, 06 November 2020
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The Motion Picture Association says that circumvention services such as VPNs, DNS masks and Tor networks can pose a direct threat to legitimate streaming services.

For example, if Netflix is not available in country X, people could use a VPN to make it appear they come from country Y, where the service is legally available. This is a problem, MPA notes, particularly in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

This is just a problem for MPA and people couldn't care less.

What it's like to get locked out of Google indefinitely

Found on Business Insider on Thursday, 05 November 2020
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Cleroth, a game developer who asked not to use his real name, woke up to see a message that all his Google accounts were disabled due to "serious violation of Google policies."

Google had determined he had broken their terms of service, though they didn't explain exactly what had happened, and his account wouldn't be reinstated.

Others professed to have been barred from using Microsoft services, while losing access to Facebook accounts can be equally damaging.

Everything you have not saved and backuped locally, totally under your control, can be considered deletable. Don't be so naive and assume that the big companies are there for you.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX will ‘make its own laws on Mars’

Found on Independent on Wednesday, 04 November 2020
Browse Astronomy

SpaceX will not recognise international law on Mars, according to the Terms of Service of its Starlink internet project.

Elon Musk’s space company will instead reportedly adhere to a set of “self-governing principles" that will be defined at the time of Martian settlement.

Oh it will respect international law. Very quickly. Unless SpaceX completely cuts its ties with earth to avoid any pressure.

RIAA Obtains Subpoenas Targeting 40 YouTube-Ripping Platforms & Pirate Sites

Found on Torrentfreak on Tuesday, 03 November 2020
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Two DMCA subpoenas obtained against Cloudflare and Namecheap require the companies to hand over all information they hold on more than 40 torrent sites, streaming portals and YouTube-ripping services. Also included in the mix are several file-hosting platforms.

First youtube-dl, now this. RIAA will never learn that they cannot win this game.

Facebook is losing users in the US and Canada

Found on Engadget on Monday, 02 November 2020
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User growth in the United States in Canada — the company’s most lucrative ad market — has declined, Facebook reported as part of its third-quarter earnings.

“In the fourth quarter of 2020, we expect this trend to continue and that the number of DAUs and MAUs in the US & Canada will be flat or slightly down compared to the third quarter of 2020.”

MySpace can tell you where this ends.

New Windows 10 update permanently removes Adobe Flash

Found on ZD Net on Sunday, 01 November 2020
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Microsoft has released a Windows update that removes Adobe's Flash Player before it reaches end of support on December 31, 2020.

Microsoft is releasing the Flash-removing update ahead of the end of support so that enterprise customers can test the impact on business applications when Flash is removed from a Windows PC or server. But the company says it will continue to deliver Flash security updates until support ends.

The sooner this software is gone, the better.