WorldWideWebWizard

My Blog About Privacy In The Wake Of Digital Surveillance

Apple Is Not Your Friend

Recently, Apple has been putting out many commercials with the slogan “privacy, that's iPhone”. While Apple can say they're for privacy, you really can't trust that they really are. You also can't rely that Apple cares about your freedom. I'm here to explain why.

First off MacOS and iOS are both proprietary/closed-source systems. Apple doesn't want you to view the source code of their software. This affects privacy, because if you can't view the source code, then you can't determine what Apple is really doing behind the scenes is good or bad. Another reason is, you are already making connections to services such as iCloud, and since these services are proprietary, you can't trust Apple to handle your data.

Apple also doesn't respect your freedom, Apple has does this by embracing DRM. DRM stands for Digital Rights Management, DRM restricts your ability to use your product, how you like, wherever, whenever. Apple forces people to use their store on iOS for security reasons. Except, this isn't security, this is really control. Apple has put themselves as the gatekeeper of your system, they want you to use it how they want you to use it. Apple also solders their ram in the latest MacBooks, this is not okay. The consumer has the right to make a decision regarding their product. It isn't Apple's choice of how I upgrade my system.

If Apple wants to be respected, here is what they need to do.

  1. Let the user upgrade their hardware from other vendors without penalty

  2. Let the user review the source code

  3. Let the user install from other software sources on iOS

  4. Stop using DRM through iTunes

  5. Give better freedom towards experimenting with their system

Sources: https://gizmodo.com/apples-war-on-upgrades-continues-with-the-new-touch-bar-1789002979, https://www.defectivebydesign.org/apple

Family Privacy: Part 2

In our last discussion, I discussed about using Firefox to protect your privacy. Now, I will be talking about GNU/Linux, and how to you can get started.

What is GNU/Linux?, GNU, was started by Richard Stallman, and is run by the Free Software Foundation. Linux is a kernel, created by Linus Torvalds. The Linux kernel helped fill in the gap, that the Free Software Foundation had yet to fulfill. That is why any system using GNU software, and the Linux kernel, is called GNU/Linux. Many People just call it Linux, but this isn't technically correct, as Linux is just the kernel.

You may be asking. Why should I use GNU/Linux over Windows? Here are my reasons on why you should make the switch.

  1. Windows does not respect your freedom:

When you use Windows, you are using an operating system that is controlled by a software giant. Microsoft has many examples of not respecting the freedom of its users. Like when Microsoft employed DRM in Windows Vista, that controls what people can do with their media.

  1. Windows is closed source:

Windows is a proprietary operating system. Microsoft does not want you to know what Windows is doing behind the scenes. Because of that, you cannot trust what Windows is doing.

  1. Windows invades your privacy:

With the release of Windows 10, Microsoft has added many privacy invading functions in the operating system. There is location tracking, native advertising, and more. With Windows 10, you have become a prime target for tracking.

Here is a list of the benefits of GNU/Linux.

  1. Your freedom is respected:

With GNU/Linux, its your system. You can do whatever you wish with it.

  1. GNU/Linux respects your privacy:

You shouldn't have to worry about user tracking. With GNU/Linux you are free from tracking.

  1. Open-Source:

GNU/Linux is open-source, so you can look and see what is happening with your operating system.

Now on to getting started. My recommended distribution is Linux Mint. Mint provides a familiar desktop, for people who use Windows. Mint comes with support for multi-media out of the box. Mint is based on Ubuntu Long Term Support Release, so you get a stable experience with Mint. To get started download a ISO file from https://linuxmint.com. Next, write that image to a disk, or USB drive. I recommend balena etcher for writing to a USB drive. Then, boot into the live environment. Select what how you want to install Mint. If your family member won't be missing Windows, then select erase disk and install Mint. If your family member still needs Windows for some applications, then select install Mint alongside Windows. Follow the instructions in the install prompt. After that, you should be ready to go.

Note: For laptops, make sure you check “install third-party components”. The third-party components contain software and firmware, that allow your laptop to connect to Wi-Fi, and more.

Thanks for reading, I hope this was informative for you. Stick around for part 3!

Resources: https://fsf.org/, https://linuxmint.com/, https://www.fsf.org/windows/upgrade-from-windows#abuses, https://www.balena.io/etcher/, https://fossbytes.com/install-linux-mint-19-tara-guide/, https://www.fsf.org/about/what-is-free-software

Pointing Your Family In A Private Direction

Many of our family members use online services such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Today I'm going to give a brief rundown about taking your family in a better direction. I'm going to start with web browsing. In a second part, I will discuss about private messengers. So lets get right down to it.

Web Browser: A web browser, is an application that displays content on the world wide web. Many browsers have come and gone, but the popular ones active today are, Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Opera, Safari, and Microsoft Edge.

Many people in your family may use Google Chrome as their primary browser. However, many people are unaware that Google Chrome employs tracking to know more about you such as, your location, what you've recently visited, and your favorite things. Talk to your family about these concerns, and talk to them about trying out Firefox. Firefox is a web browser from Mozilla, an organization that has many people who strive for an open, and private web. Firefox supports a wide range of add-ons that can be used to help protect their privacy. Facebook container can restrict Facebook from tracking you around the web. Ublock Origin, can help block trackers and ads while you browse. Firefox also offers their own tracking protection in the browser. Firefox offers sync, to allow your family member to use their profile across their devices.

There are many more add-ons out there, visit addons.mozilla.org to get started. You can also visit support.mozilla.org, and walk your family member through the basics.

Stick around for part two!

Don't Expect Facebook To Fulfill Their Promises

Recently, Facebook has come under pressure, again. This time, it involves Facebook, blocking others from exploring their ad platform. This is a clear example, of why Facebook can't be expected to fulfill their promises. No matter what, Facebook will only focus on what they want. To maliciously spy and profit off of the user. This is why I'm currently using, and promoting, decentralized social networks. The current problem we face with getting people to join, involves the bad dependence that people have with Facebook. Most assume, that there is no other alternative out there, to replace Facebook. That is where the average Facebook user is wrong. Mastodon has proven to becoming a great alternative to using Facebook. The problem, also lies providing people with the proper information to using these services.

Once again this incident only proves one thing, Facebook is the big enemy in the tech triangle (Google, Facebook, and Microsoft).

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2019/04/29/facebook-accused-of-blocking-wider-efforts-to-study-its-ad-platform/

Tor Browser

Hello, I am here to explain the Tor Browser, and how it can benefit you. I am also here to ease any concerns you might have about Tor. Lets get started.

First, what is the Tor network? The Tor network, is a network started by the U.S Naval Research Group. Onion routing passes information through what are called nodes, also called relays. The information is encrypted at least three times and travels through many nodes and relays run by volunteers. As the information passes, each node is given the information on where to send the information to next. This happens until the information is fully decrypted after leaving the exit relay. This process is like peeling back the layers of an onion, hence why it's called onion routing.

Now onto the Tor Browser. The Tor Browser is a modified fork of Firefox ESR (Extended Support Release) that allows anyone to easily utilize Tor. The Tor browser is modified to prevent websites from fingerprinting and trying to DE-anonymous the user. When using the Tor browser, its best to leave the browser with the default configuration. Any change can result in the user becoming identifiable, thus defeating the purpose of the Tor Browser.

Bridges are ways for a user to connect and use Tor when you can't connect directly to Tor because you ISP blocks Tor, Your system administrator blocks Tor, or your nation censors Tor. Bridges work by connecting through, for example, a meek-azure connection. This tactic is called domain fronting. This allows a user to circumvent the censorship put in place and use Tor.

Now to talk about the downsides. Because the Tor network encrypts your connection, browsing the web will be much slower, so patience is key when using the Tor browser. Using any services like BitTorrent can use up a lot of the bandwidth and cause the Tor network to slow down much more for everyone. Using BitTorrent with Tor can also leave you vulnerable for being identified.

Some common fears about the Tor Browser is the Dark Net. These domains end with a .onion, which is the a domain with the purpose with remaining anonymous and accessible to everyone. This domain is meant for access through the Tor browser. While there are illegal services out there that use these domains. There are a majority of pages that are ethical legal to use, such as the DuckDuckGo onion site.

For more information visit the Tor Project FAQ here: https://www.torproject.org/docs/faq.html.en