To figure out the spread of COIV-19, or other diseases, the technique of contact tracing gets used by researchers to decipher who is likely to have been exposed. When too many people are infected then contact tracing takes too much labour and subsequently becomes less useful, which has led tech companies and government to propose the ability to track you everywhere you go. You might think “what’s the big deal?”, the big deal is that this tracking will continue past the pandemic and it doesn’t need to happen in the first place. There are ways to build technical contact tracing without the government or an undemocratic mega-corporation spying or profiteering off of your personal location.
The wonderful Nicky Case put together a comic explaining how we can have technologically-driven contact tracing without spying on your everyday actions.
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.
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.
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 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?
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.
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.