Amnesty International’s Guide to Safe Messaging

safe texting

Thanks to the bravery of whistleblowers we know that the Five Eyes are monitoring all internet chatter regardless of who’s talking. This is a big concern for people who care about freedom and rights to have personal communication. As a result, Amnesty International put together a review of messaging apps so you can make an educated decision around what app you use. They cover the basics of what apps are available and what concerns there are around messaging security.

Why is end-to-end encryption important?

End-to-end encryption is important because it protects your personal data even as it passes through the company’s servers. It means that the company is not able to decrypt your messages or see the content. It recently emerged that Yahoo allowed US intelligence officials to scan hundreds of millions of YahooMail accounts. This could easily happen with instant messaging too, if it’s not end-to-end encrypted.

Read more.
Thanks to Delaney!

Easily Browse Online Anonymously

In a world where our digital lives are tracked by democratic governments (Canada and the UK amongst them) we need to ensure that we can have private conversations online. Over at Digg they have collected a very easy to follow setup to get your protecting your privacy online in only an hour!

Keep Your Private Conversations Private

It’s rude enough for a stranger to even eavesdrop on your conversations in a place as public as a park. So opting to use messaging services with end-to-end encryption doesn’t make you some sort of criminal or tin foil hat-wearing nut. Whether you mind or not, there are organizations out there that are just scooping up every chat (Hello NSA!) you send out over the internet. No one is actively looking at them, or might ever look at them, but they’re listening so you might as well turn some music on or something.

It’s sort of like taping over your webcam or looking both ways before you cross the street — it’s such an easy and painless thing to do that it far outweighs the consequences of not doing that thing.

Read more.

Think that because you have “nothing to hide” that you shouldn’t be concerned about being tracked? Or that it’s OK for the democratically elected governments to justify mass surveillance? Well, Edward Snowden has a nice and short counter argument:

Some might say “I don’t care if they violate my privacy; I’ve got nothing to hide.” Help them understand that they are misunderstanding the fundamental nature of human rights. Nobody needs to justify why they “need” a right: the burden of justification falls on the one seeking to infringe upon the right. But even if they did, you can’t give away the rights of others because they’re not useful to you. More simply, the majority cannot vote away the natural rights of the minority.

The 20 Safest Cities in the World

The Economist safe cities list (pdf link) has been released and the results are pretty neat! There are some cities that you’d expect to be there and some surprise too!

The analysts looked at digital, health, and personal security of every city on the list plus the condition of the city’s infrastructure.

Is you city on the list?

3. Osaka

The Japanese city of 2.6 million ranks second in personal safety and sixth in health security. As with Tokyo, Osaka is relatively wealthy, and it ranks second for GDP per capita among upper-middle-income cities.
The city ranks lower in digital security than Tokyo, as it has fewer cybersecurity teams and privacy policies.

See the full list.

Tinman smiles….ethics for robots

You’ve seen/read I, Robot …well everyone talks about doing it, but now someone’s actually doing something about it. Our robots, in the future, are going to have ethics! There’s something very “Star Trek” about this story – very “Data”. Or in this case Alex Hubo.

South Korea is drawing up a code of ethics to stop humans misusing robots — or vice versa.”

Safer Homes

A house in West Point, PEI, is the first Canadian home built under the “Designed for safer living” program.  This program is a joint collaboration between the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction, the Canadian insurance industry, and home builders.

This slide show details how the house was rebuilt after being badly damaged by fire last spring.  The Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction says it’s unclear how much the improvements added to the cost of the home, because the program is new.

Five more are expected to be built by December 2007, including one in the Prairies that will withstand wildfires, one in Vancouver that will handle earthquakes, and another in Sudbury to deal with wind and storms.

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