One thing that drives me crazy is that it is assumed that everyone has one of those surveillance machines named mobile phone. Many online products or even offline ones are asking for a mobile phone number that receives text messages and can be used for digital communication therefore surveillance.

And most of those services, products, or places don’t work or compute when one does not have that machine.

In a result of that, now many people have a mobile phone carrying around. Simply because life is now dependent on this machine, people are facing this kind of surveillance.

We worry about Big Tech and their friends putting us under their surveillance domain but many don’t even think about surveillance using sim cards or cellular data.

Many of us simply don’t have a choice. You see, if we don’t carry a mobile phone with us, life becomes almost impossible so we decide (or forced) to have one. Now, the bigger injustice, the bigger problem is that many companies are now selling a small computer as a mobile phone and they name it smart phones.

Smart phones are simply computers in a smaller form. Our desktop computer can do many things but this kind of computers, named smart phones, give us ability to do our computing and at the same time have a cellular connection and use it as a phone.

What makes it not good is that almost all of these smart phones are running nonfree software. A free (as in freedom) software (or software libre) lets you to be in control of your own computing. A libre program does what you want, however, a nonfree program forces you to do what it wants.

Being forced to have a mobile phone to be able to live your normal life is injustice and being forced to own a so-called smart phone makes it worse. One should be able to live one’s life without being forced to be under surveillance. One should be able to receive services without one’s privacy and freedom (both digital and non-digital) being violated. One should be able to live without this injustice being forced to one.

The Federal Trade Commission has filed a new antitrust lawsuit against Facebook claiming that it behaved in a monopolizing manner, TechCrunch has reported.

According to the report, both the FTC and various attorneys general have filed two individual but similar suits at the federal and state levels regarding the same matter.

Both allege that Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp and Instagram fall under monopolizing and anti-competitive behavior by effectively shutting down nascent competitors, and that the tech and social media giant used it platform to prevent the growth of emerging companies by leveraging access to it.

This would somehow increase competition and also reduce Facebook’s power/position for lobbying and it’s good. However, to make Facebook respect people and other companies, we should take away their surveillance power and make them respect people’s privacy and freedom.

Tutanota has been served with a court order to backdoor its encrypted email service, The Register has reported. Matthias Pfau, the founder of Tutanota, described this as “absurd.”

The court in Germany last month ordered Tutanota to help investigators monitor the contents of a user’s encrypted mailbox. Tutanota has until the end of the year to add functionality to perform this surveillance.

This would destroy Tutanota. They are a very great service, providing a privacy-focused encrypted mail, calendar, and contacts. Almost all of their customers/users are purchasing Tutanota’s services because of its privacy and security practices.

This decision harms Tutanota’s business plan and whole idea. It can also run them out of business as the whole business and trust was about security/privacy.

I don’t expect Tutanota to shut down its business or pay millions of euros to fight back the court’s decision, but I do expect honesty and transparency. If they do comply with court’s decision, I expect the word “secure” and “private” be removed from their site and advertisements and I expect them to change the “Mail. Done. Right.” slogan.

This order is not about all users but rather only targets one specific user. However, the fact that activists and other people fear this happening again possibly to them doesn’t change.

The Hill has reported that American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is ramping up efforts to obtain records of the Trump administration’s reported purchase of cellphone data to track locations of immigrants.

The ACLU on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) demanding the agencies release the records. The group says it has waited for more than nine months for DHS, CBP and ICE to produce the records through the Freedom of Information Act.

The nonprofit alleges the government agencies bought access to databases containing “precise location information for millions of people,” gathered by apps running on smartphones. 

The Wall Street Journal first reported in February that the Trump administration was buying access to such data through a company named Venntel that was selling access to a database to DHS, ICE and CBP.  

“The agencies’ purchase raise serious concerns that they are avoiding Fourth Amendment protection for cell phone location information by paying for access instead of obtaining a warrant,” the ACLU wrote in the lawsuit.

Google’s actions amid workplace organizing efforts, including the high-profile firings of several employees, were illegal violations of the National Labor Relations Act, federal regulators said this week, Ars Technica has reported.

The National Labor Relations Board filed a formal complaint [PDF] against Google Wednesday, alleging that the company has been “interfering with, restraining, and coercing employees” to interfere with their protected concerted activity—workplace organization rights that are protected by law.

Google fired several different workers late last year amid apparent efforts to organize company employees. Four former employees who were let go last November—Laurence Berland, Paul Duke, Rebecca Rivers, and Sophie Waldman—filed complaints with the NLRB almost exactly a year ago alleging that Google’s “draconian, pernicious, and unlawful conduct” was an unlawful attempt to prevent workplace organizing.

A few weeks later, another former Google employee, Kathryn Spiers, was fired after she developed a tool for the company’s internal build of Chrome that notified Google workers of their legal rights to organize. Spiers, too, filed a complaint with the NLRB claiming that Google’s retaliation against her was unlawful.

SWI has reported that Swiss public television, SRF, has found a second company besides Crypto AG was involved in manufacturing manipulated devices allegedly used for spying by foreign intelligence.

According to SRF sources, the Swiss company Omnisec AG had ties to US intelligence services. This follows revelations in February by SRF, German television ZDF and The Washington Post that Zug-based firm Crypto AG was at the heart of a huge international spying operation led by the CIA, and to a lesser extent by the German BND spy agency. Omnisec was one of the largest competitors of Crypto AG.

Swiss cryptologist and professor Ueli Maurer was a consultant for Omnisec for years and told SRF that in 1989 US intelligence services (National Security Agency) contacted Omnisec through him.

Of concern are the OC-500 series devices. Devices were sold to several Swiss federal agencies. However, Swiss authorities only noticed the devices weren’t secure in the mid-2000s.

This is the world we live in. Everything, everything can be dangerous to our privacy.

Business Insider has reported In a letter to pro-privacy nonprofits, including Human Rights Watch and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Apple accused Facebook of collecting “as much data as possible” while showing a “disregard for user privacy.”

Facebook shot back saying Apple is abusing its dominance to “self-preference their own data collection.”

Apple’s letter was defending the delayed rollout of a privacy feature that will require users to opt in to being followed by ad-trackers on apps. Facebook previously complained this feature would gut its advertising revenue.

This is good. A fight between two of the biggest violators of people’s privacy can be really good as more people now can understand how these companies are abusing their ability to collect people’s data and misusing this power.

Apple is a privacy hero in the mind of a lot of people while it’s just another one of the biggest privacy-violating companies in the world.

Facebook also accused Apple of sending the letter as a “distraction” from privacy concerns that emerged last week after a series of Mac computers had difficulties opening apps. Security researcher Jeffrey Paul claimed in a blog this was because macOS has started harvesting data from users.

“The truth is Apple has expanded its business into advertising and through its upcoming iOS 14 changes is trying to move the free internet into paid apps and services where they profit,” Facebook said.

“As a result, they are using their dominant market position to self-preference their own data collection while making it nearly impossible for their competitors to use the same data. They claim it’s about privacy, but it’s about profit,” the statement read.

“This is all part of a transformation of Apple’s business away from innovative hardware products to data-driven software and media.”

The Google’s decision about limiting people to 15 gigs of free storage and asking for money for more storage reminded me how terrible are these companies.

Before, they used to give people free (as in price) storage and products and in exchange, they collected, or better to say harvested, people’s data. Now, they’ll charge people but still use their personal data.

This should be an alert for people but sadly most people are dependent on these privacy-violating proprietary software products that they are afraid.

I can see that in future Google and other privacy-violating companies will charge people for everything and nothing would be free (as in price) and still people will get their privacy violated by these giants.

People should understand that Google and similar companies to it (like Big Tech) are not their friends and are using them. When you use something brought by Google (or similar companies), you’re not using a service, you’re the product and the service. It’s your data that is valued for them, not you as a human being.

I’ve talked about Apple’s definition of privacy before and explained how horrible it is but they took this to the next level. Apparently the new version of Apple macOS informs Apple every time a user runs a program on its machine.

Many Apple fans and/or developers including Apple Inc. itself have tried to justify this privacy violation by explaining how it is secure or is not a big deal but sadly they are wrong.

Apple is not a privacy hero. They are not keeping all data to themselves and even if they were, it does not justify stealing our data and sneaking in our machines and collecting our very personal data.

What they did is stealing. Exactly like a thief who sneaks into our homes and collects/steals our belongings.

I have explained about the ridiculous “data protection” and how companies are misleading people about their privacy by using this word. This is exactly how Apple is doing it. Apple claims that it doesn’t share data with others while we know for a fact that it’s a lie. Now with that claim, they suddenly decided to consider themselves entitled to control everything.

It’s a disaster. Imagine how insecure and horrible this is. Apple doesn’t even follow the terms of stupid data protection. Jeffrey Paul, a security expert who reported this, wrote:

  1. These OCSP requests are transmitted unencrypted. Everyone who can see the network can see these, including your ISP and anyone who has tapped their cables.
  2. These requests go to a third-party CDN run by another company, Akamai.
  3. Since October of 2012, Apple is a partner in the US military intelligence community’s PRISM spying program, which grants the US federal pigs and military unfettered access to this data without a warrant, any time they ask for it. In the first half of 2019 they did this over 18,000 times, and another 17,500+ times in the second half of 2019.