According to the FTC, Zoom lied to users about end-to-end encryption for years. This is one of the obvious perils of nonfree (proprietary) software: you can’t verify that the software isn’t abusing you, you just have to take their word.

Ars Technica has reported that Zoom has agreed to upgrade its security practices in a tentative settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, which alleges that Zoom lied to users for years by claiming it offered end-to-end encryption.

“Since at least 2016, Zoom misled users by touting that it offered ‘end-to-end, 256-bit encryption’ to secure users’ communications, when in fact it provided a lower level of security,” the FTC said in the announcement of its complaint against Zoom and the tentative settlement.

Despite promising end-to-end encryption, the FTC said that “Zoom maintained the cryptographic keys that could allow Zoom to access the content of its customers’ meetings, and secured its Zoom Meetings, in part, with a lower level of encryption than promised.”

After removing the popular tool for claims of copyright infringement, GitHub has done a 180-degree turn on that decision. Vice has reported that GitHub reversed its decision over removing youtube-dl and reinstated it.

Following a counter-notice from EFF, and severe criticism and threats from software communities (including Free Software Community), GitHub is now claiming that it stands with [free] software developers.

“We are taking a stand for developers and have reinstated the youtube-dl repo,” GitHub CEO Nat Friedman tweeted on Monday. “Section 1201 of the DMCA is broken and needs to be fixed. Developers should have the freedom to tinker. That’s how you get great tools like youtube-dl.”

“Although we did initially take the project down, we understand that just because code can be used to access copyrighted works doesn’t mean it can’t also be used to access works in non-infringing ways,” Abby Volmer, director of platform policy at GitHub, wrote in an announcement posted to GitHub that said the tool is coming back online. “We also understood that this project’s code has many legitimate purposes, including changing playback speeds for accessibility, preserving evidence in the fight for human rights, aiding journalists in fact-checking, and downloading Creative Commons-licensed or public domain videos.”

It is really funny how they are now claiming that they stand with people (and developers) while we know for a fact that Microsoft (the owner of GitHub) really doesn’t care about communities and software other than its own.

Microsoft is one of the biggest violators of software freedom and privacy of people. They are famous for calling software libre and GNU+Linux a “cancer” and we never never forget they did and still do everything they can to make all software proprietary for their own benefit.

However, someone/something’s past should not affect our judgement on its future. I hope Microsoft and GitHub learn from the past and do good in future regarding software libre communities.

The Register has reported that Google on Thursday was sued for allegedly stealing Android users’ cellular data allowances through unapproved, undisclosed transmissions to the web giant’s servers.

The complaint contends that Google is using Android users’ limited cellular data allowances without permission to transmit information about those individuals that’s unrelated to their use of Google services.

Google, among other GMAFIA, are heavy privacy violators. “Google designed and implemented its Android operating system and apps to extract and transmit large volumes of information between Plaintiffs’ cellular devices and Google using Plaintiffs’ cellular data allowances,” the complaint claims.

RT has reported that protesters in Bangkok have shown their disrespect for the Thai King by turning their backs on a royal motorcade as it passed. People have been rallying for months, demanding the resignation of the PM and reform of the monarchy.

I’ve never been to Thailand and I’ve never spoken to Thai person so I don’t know how much, generally, people respect the king. However, no matter how good or bad he is and no matter how much power he really has, a kingdom is against people.

Being a king means being in power, which is not given to by people, and the result of being in power for a long time is corruption. Sadly, some countries are still kingdoms.

I personally can’t accept a person being considered higher level just because long time ago its tribe or family took over some land and forced people to live under their ruling.

People should throw down kingdoms and establish real democracy all around the world so everybody can live in peace in justice. All humans are born equal and should live equally and nobody should be considered better or premier.

The Guardian has reported that the Dalai Lama has appealed to world leaders to take urgent action against climate change, warning of ecological destruction affecting the lives of billions and ruining the planet, including his birth country, Tibet.

As declaring this, he has brought a new book saying if Buddha returned to this world, “Buddha would be green”.

He warned that “global warming may reach such a level that rivers will dry” and that “eventually Tibet will become like Afghanistan”, with terrible consequences for at least a billion people dependent on water from the plateau “at the roof of the world”.

Often when companies and some authorities talk about privacy, they start bringing “data protection” in discussion which means nothing than violating people’s privacy in a nicer way.

Data protection means the company or authority can actually collect data and use them but it can’t share or sell it to others, well at least publicly. This is exactly the way Apple advertises about its privacy policies.

Even many privacy activists are promoting Apple because of its privacy policies while Apple is in fact one of the biggest violators of people’s privacy. For example, it wasn’t a long ago that we found out Apple was (or maybe still is) letting contractors (actual humans, not even bots) to listen to people’s conversations with Siri.

Privacy comes when there’s no identifiable personal data involved. A company promising that it won’t jeopardize our privacy is not enough for people. We need mechanisms and products that will protect our privacy and it comes only when they don’t collect our data.

Well of course some products only work with our data. For example, a mobile phone map application for routing only works when we give it our location. Well, as far as I know, data can be purged or even be collected in a way that no personally identifiable data would be stored or transmitted.

We have a lot of services like EteSync that provide what they intend to provide and they actually work with very personal data. EteSync for example is a service that syncs your contacts and calendar but encrypts all data in a way that nobody except you yourself can see them.

This is what we want as a privacy service/product. If a corporation like Google follow policies like ‘data protection’, they would still violate our privacy while deceiving us about how they value our rights.

We need privacy, not data protection. Nobody should have access to our data to whether they want to protect it or not.

Google announced that its Google Photos unlimited plan will end on 2021 June 01 and free (as in cost) users will be limited to 15 gigs.

After years of advertisements over this dis-service and after millions of people trusted Google and uploaded millions of photos on it, now Google decided to shut down the free unlimited plan and make money over users’ trust.

Please avoid using any of Google’s products. For a complete Cloud solution, you can use Nextcloud or other software-libre.

There are a lot of things wrong with Google including privacy and freedom.

Amazon is now facing a prosecution in Europe as it is keeping track of other companies’ sales though Amazon’s platform and uses these data to compete with them.

This is not shocking nor new. Margrethe Vestager, the European Commission’s vice-president, said the commission’s preliminary conclusion was that Amazon used “big data” to illegally distort competition in France and Germany, the biggest online retail markets in Europe.

EU also decided to open a second investigation into Amazon’s business “over concerns that the Seattle-based company set rules on its platform to benefit its own offers and those independent retailers using its logistics and delivery services.”

EU should not only be content with fines, well unless the fines are billions. EU should force appropriate laws on these companies to be sure other companies, that are not as big as Amazon, won’t get hurt again and if they do get hurt, their losses will be compensated.

The Danish government has dropped an attempt to pass emergency legislation allowing it to cull all mink in the country, The Guardian has reported.

While ago, Denmark government announced that it will cull 15 million (or all) of its minks due to fear of COVID-19 mutation moving from minks to human could jeopardize COVID-19 vaccine.

But opposition to the move swiftly emerged. “Massive doubts over whether this cull is properly scientifically based [have] come to light now,” said Jakob Ellemann-Jensen, the leader of Denmark’s largest opposition party, Venstre. “At the same time the government is taking away the livelihood of a large number of people without actually having the legal rights to do so.”