Big Brother 2.0

The US government is once again looking to break or hobble encrypted communications in the name of national security and law enforcement. They claim that we’re “going dark” – that modern end-to-end encryption used in apps like Signal and Wickr that protect user privacy are preventing them from keeping us safe and bringing the bad guys to justice. Cryptographers and technology companies have soundly squashed the idea of putting “backdoors” in these systems that supposedly only the “good guys” can go through. But now these agencies have come up with a proposal that neatly sidesteps these issues: they simply want to be added as another “end” to the end-to-end scrambled session. A “ghost” in the chat, and BCC that neither of the original participants are made aware of. But this has several problems, as well.

In other news, FigLeaf has conducted a survey of users about online privacy that shows major shifts in thinking since just before the Cambridge Analytica/Facebook scandal; “pre-saving” new releases on Spotify and other music streaming services is allowing music companies unbelievable access to your personal info; and Mozilla (maker of Firefox) has created a creative tool that let’s you fool online advertisers into thinking you’re someone completely different.