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  • Earthling 11:29 pm on June 27, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Evgeny Morozov, Internet, , , Public domain of personal data, Public domain of personal information   

    Belarus: Evgeny Morozov and the “public domain” of personal information 

    In 2017, the Belorussian-American essayist Evgeny Morozov gave an interview for the podcast Soft Power, in which he gives an interesting summary of the rather iconoclastic views he defends on personal information. There, where digital activists emphasize the defense of privacy, Evgeny Morozov explains that the main issue is economic and the struggle with the digital giants (GAFAM and others) should be dealt with by considering personal information as a “public good” which will be taken from a “public domain.” He has already presented this idea in an article that appeared in the Guardian in December 2016, translated into French by Le Monde Diplomatique under the title “Pour un populisme numérique (de gauche)”.

    Here is what he said in his interview with Soft Power:

    “I defend this solution [of the public domain of personal information] because I don’t think one can regulate all the problems presented by Google, Facebook and others with the traditional tools of market regulation, that is, making them pay taxes and putting anti-trust laws in place […] The digital industry has the power to profoundly change all the other markets; it would be naïve to think that the information wouldn’t fundamentally rebuild the realms of health, transportation, education, etc. And also accelerate this process of automatization and data analysis, because it’s not all negative. There is nothing bad about cancers being detected faster thanks to data, but we shouldn’t do it by giving so much power to Silicon Valley companies that are held by a few billionaires.

    The main good that needs to be tackled is information. If you control information, you can develop artificial intelligence, which is not to say that private companies don’t have a role to play in that. One can certainly imagine how information could be in the public domainwhile companies make use of it by paying for a license. There are countries where land is dealt with like that. The land belongs to the State: you can’t own it, but you can rent it to cultivate it and make use of it.

    This system where information would be in the public domain would also have the advantage of truly democratizing innovation. Today, they would have us believe that innovation is within the reach of all, but this is untrue. You have four or five companies today that decide who can innovate and who can’t. For sure, you can develop a fun application in your garage, but you will never have the power to build automatic cars or invent a system that can detect cancer, because you don’t have access to the data.

    A system in which information belongs to the community allows one and all to take this information to do something with it. Even at the local level, at the neighborhood scale, in order to better focus public policies, I don’t see why all this information has to pass through a big company in the United States, who uses it to create artificial intelligence on a grand scale and make money.”

    There is much to say about these different propositions, but I would like to begin by highlighting the “epidermic” impression everyone must feel when they first hear the expression “public domain of personal information.” In intellectual property law, the public domain is the status when works reach the end of their period of exclusive ownership and thus become freely reusable (on condition of respecting moral rights), including commercial ends. Hence, talk of wanting to put personal information in a “public domain” is of such a nature as to evoke a certain unease, because it is unclear how personal information, which concerns the private lives and intimate affairs of individuals, could fall under such a generalized right of use. Yet Evgeny Morozov doesn’t really connect his propositions with this “metaphor” of the public domain of private property. Rather, what he describes resembles the system called “state-owned public domain,” which regulates goods owned by public persons. This system is applied notably to the usage of sidewalks and public places by businesses (temporary occupation of the public domain) while respecting certain conditions and paying a fee.

    Translated from a French article which can be found here.

  • Earthling 12:57 am on June 22, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Avoid creepy targeted ads, Avoid data mining, Creepy privacy invaders, E-reputation, How not to get hacked, How to avoid spyware, Internet, Internet privacy, Maintaining online reputation, , Protecting your data   

    How to protect one’s identity and personal data? 

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    Revolutionary for some, data mining, or the automated exploration of data, is a considerable technological breakthrough that benefits not only research but also civil society. For now, this process is not framed by any legal status. From a purchase on a site to your discussions on social networks, all your actions on the internet are monitored and collected. With the rise of corporate spyware and the internet of things, we are heading in the direction of our offline life being heavily monitored as well.

    Our data has become a resource that will soon be more important than oil.


    Data mining comes to know your tastes, your political opinions, your religious beliefs, your love life, and even your desires! Indeed, companies use our tracks on the web to profile us for marketing purposes, or even to produce TV series specially designed to meet the expectations of the audience (as in the case of House of Cards, the series produced by Netflix). Some years ago, the Target affair caused a stir in the United States. This company was able to predict the pregnancies of its customers and offer them adapted products, before they were pregnant or before the pregnancy was officially announced. Scary, isn’t it?

    Here are some ways we can protect our data and avoid the creepiness of governments and targeted ads:

    1) Surf in private mode, which among other things prevents other users of the computer from accessing your search history. To surf fully anonymously you can use Tor.

    2) Most search engines collect information about their users (keywords, IP address). Use confidential search engines that do not collect your data:

    • DuckDuckGo
    • Ixquick
    • Qwant
    • YaCy

    3) It is possible to guard against profiling by using modules that block cookies:

    • AdBlock for Chrome and Adblock Plus for Firefox
    • FlashBlock for Chrome or Firefox
    • Disconnect for Chrome or Firefox

    4) While many websites support secure connections, which are critical for your security and privacy, a number of sites do not activate it by default. To enable this security wherever possible, you can use HTTPS Everywhere.

    5) When possible, provide disposable email addresses when you leave your email address on a site.

    6) Do not divulge too much personal information on the internet. It is up to everyone to be vigilant on this point. Make sure you control your e-reputation by making an inventory of your presence on the web. Enhance your image by becoming active: create an online CV, set the confidentiality of your social networks…

    Besides mass-surveillance, there are other risks to your data.

    7) Avoid all viruses, spyware, and hacker attacks. These could compromise all of your data.

    8) Don’t let nosy or malicious people access your electronic devices. Keep them password-protected and encrypted.

    9) Don’t use unsecured wi-fi networks. If you do, use a VPN.

    10) When traveling, back up your data and wipe your phone if you do not want government creeps looking at your data and possibly keeping a copy.

    11) Use Linux. Especially avoid Windows 10, which is notorious for spying on its users. Qubes and Tails Linux have been endorsed by Mr. Snowden.

    12) Keep your operating systems and software updated. Reinstall frequently if you are paranoid.

    13) For maximum privacy, stay away from electronics. Turn them off when possible. Go somewhere where there is no internet access and bond with your ancestors who lived in such privacy that we hardly know anything about them.

    Translated from http://bibliotheque-blogs.unice.fr/neurones/2014/06/10/david-contre-goliath-comment-proteger-son-identite-et-ses-donnees-numeriques/

    With some original additions.

  • Earthling 5:08 pm on June 21, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: banned meat, banned meat in Russia, beef, Internet, , , Kukmorsky, Kukmorsky district, Kukmorsky district prosecutor, Kukmorsky prosecutor, offal, pork, , , , , Russian sanctions,   

    Russia: Prosecutors seek to block online information about forbidden meat 

    In Tatarstan, the local prosecutor’s office is seeking to block websites selling prohibited products from a number of countries to Russia.

    In the Kukmorsky District of the Republic of Tatarstan, the prosecutor’s office, while monitoring the internet for banned information, found two websites that contained information about direct imports of beef, pork and offal from a number of countries that Russia had imposed sanctions on.

    However, from the information published on the website of the Kukmorsky Prosecutor’s Office, it is not entirely clear from which countries the Russian users are offered to purchase beef, pork and offal. Although at first the prosecutors talk about Ukraine, South America and the EU, when they refer to the RF Government decree, it is already about North America:

    “In accordance with Clause 1 of the Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation ‘On measures to implement the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation of August 6, 2014 No. 560 On the Application of Special Economic Measures to Ensure the Security of the Russian Federation’, by December 31, 2018, the importation to the Russian Federation of agricultural products, raw materials and food products originating from the United States of America, the countries of the European Union, Canada, Australia, the Kingdom of Norway, Ukraine, the Republic of Albania, Montenegro Iceland, the Republic of Iceland and the Principality of Liechtenstein.”

    Perhaps the work of the prosecutors from Tatarstan was affected by the blocks by Roskomnadzor, which led to the malfunctioning of Google services, including geographic focus?

    In order to suppress unlawful activities, the district prosecutor requested the court to recognize this information as prohibited for distribution throughout the Russian Federation and to block the resources. The prosecutor’s request is currently under consideration, as reported on the website of the Kukmorsky Prosecutor’s Office.

    Translated from RosKomSvoboda: https://roskomsvoboda.org/39741/

  • Earthling 4:23 pm on May 31, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: digitalization of small settlements, Expansion of internet access in Russia, Fiber optics in Russia, Internet, internet access in Russia, LDPR Russia, Liberal party, On Communication Article 57, Putin Six-year Internet Plan, Putin's internet plans   

    Russia: Government to address limited internet access in remote places 


    Representatives of the LDPR (Liberal Democratic) party proposed a way to increase the digitalization of small settlements, expanding the possibilities of installing means of collective internet access for settlements of at least 250 people.

    The corresponding changes to Article 57 of the Federal Law “On Communications” were sent to the State Duma for consideration by a group of deputies from the LDPR, headed by the deputy speaker of the Chamber, Igor Lebedev. In the explanatory note to the bill No. 475951-7 “On Amending Article 57 of the Federal Law On Communications”, it is stated that under existing legislation at least one internet access point is guaranteed to settlements where at least 500 people live. As for telephone services, according to current legislation at least one access point must be provided for settlements with a population of 250 to 500 people.

    To overcome the digital inequality, the MPs propose “to amend Article 57 of the Federal Law, to reduce the required number of people residing in settlements for provision of internet access from 500 to 250 people, and the required number for provision of access to telephone services from 250 to 100 people.”

    In early March this year, in his message to the Federal Assembly, Russian President Vladimir Putin promised that within six years Russia will be provided with fast internet access. By this time, according to Putin, the construction of fiber-optic lines in settlements with more than 250 people will be completed. Also, inhabitants of small settlements in the North, Siberia, and the Far East will receive satellite access. The message of Putin is invoked in particular by representatives of the LDPR party, who suggest that the State Duma adopt the aforementioned bill.

    Translated from RosKomSvoboda: https://roskomsvoboda.org/39305/

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