The SDK: 2015.09.14

Can You See Me Now?
Does That Look Like Me? How Planting False Digital Footprints Can Help You Regain Some Privacy Online, Slate, Sept. 14, 2015

Our lives rely on always being connected.

“The social cost of opting out has become so high that opting out is essentially a fantasy.. . . New York University professors Helen Nissenbaum and Finn Brunton have a proposal. In their new book, Obfuscation: A User’s Guide for Privacy and Protest, they advocate taking evasive action, or what they call obfuscation.. . .  They define obfuscation as “the deliberate addition of ambiguous, confusing, or misleading information to interfere with surveillance and data collection,” and they see its potential as a means of redress. For example, they discuss software that generates misleading Google queries (so the tech giant can’t get a read on you) to Tor relays, which hide IP addresses.”
Note: This article gives users some real hope – don’t admit defeat yet!

EFF Provides Evidence to Courts of Verizon Wireless, Sprint and AT&T Participation in NSA Spying, EFF, Sept. 11, 2015
“This is important because, despite broad public acknowledgement, the government is still claiming that it can dismiss our cases because it has never confirmed that anyone other than Verizon Business participated and that disclosing which providers assist the agency is a state secret. This argument was successful recently in convincing the D.C. Circuit to reverse and remand the case of Klayman v. Obama.”

Mapping How Tor’s Anonymity Network Spread Around the World, Wired, Sept. 14, 2015
“Online privacy projects come and go. But as the anonymity software Tor approaches its tenth year online, it’s grown into a powerful, deeply-rooted privacy network overlaid across the internet. And a new real-time map of that network illustrates just how widespread and global that network has become.”

The Depths of The Cyber Mind
Ashley Madison Passwords Like “Thisiswrong” Tap Cheaters’ Guilt And Denial, Ars Technica, Sept. 13, 2015

“New analysis of cracked passcodes shines a light into mindset of account holders.. . . With entries including goodguydoingthewrongthing, ishouldnotbedoingthis, thisiswrong, and whatthehellamidoing, the list suggests some of the people felt guilty about setting up accounts on the site, or at least feigned feeling guilty. Others demonstrated just how oblivious many users were to the weakness of their own passwords. Examples include passcodes such as thisisagoodpassword, thebestpasswordever, superhardpassword, and mypasswordispassword.” The Washington Post also reported in “Yet Another Thing Exposed In The Ashley Madison Hack: Ridiculously Bad Passwords” (The Washington Post, Sept. 14, 2015) “The top password uncovered so far: 123456, according to Ars Technica. The other passwords that made the top five aren’t much better: 12345, password, DEFAULT, and 123456789. But those (awful) passwords shouldn’t be too surprising: By some surveys, “123456” has been the most popular password uncovered in data breaches during the past two years.”
Note: I have always thought peoples’ passwords must be super revealing, and that it would be interesting to study them from a psychological perspective. I mean, if you’re smart enough not to use 1234 as your password, what is your password (okay, I really hope you have more than one)? Why did you choose it? If it’s not saved on all of your devices, that means you’re actively thinking about it likely at least once per day. That’s pretty often to be thinking about a particular thing/topic/person/etc. I’m very interested to know what it is!!

A Video-Game Algorithm to Solve Online Abuse , MIT Technology Review, Sept. 14, 2015
“How a team of psychologists and scientists at Riot Games is unlocking the secret to eliminating abuse within [League of Legends].. . . Justin Reich, a research scientist from Harvard’s Berkman Center, who has been studying Riot’s work . . .  Reich believes Lin’s work demonstrates that toxic behavior is not a fixture of the Web, but a problem that can be addressed through a combination of engineering, experimentation, and community engagement.”

Cyber Corps. Facing the Music
Lyft Tweaks Terms Of Service After Warning, The Hill, Sept. 14, 2015 Lyft is revising its terms of service to allow users to continue to use the ridesharing service even if they opt out of receiving promotional messages.. . . Previously, if users wanted to stop receiving promotional messages, they had to unsubscribe from all messages — meaning they would no longer be able to hail rides using the service. That option is still available by sending the word “STOPALL” to 46080.”

Mt. Gox CEO Embezzled User Funds From Bankrupt Bitcoin Exchange, Officials Charge, Forbes, Sept. 14, 2015 After arresting the former Mt. Gox CEO at the beginning of August, Japanese prosecutors filed formal charges against Karpelès on Friday and accused him of stealing 321 million Yen ($2.67 million) from users of Mt. Gox, reported Reuters. According to the Japanese news outlet Jiji, the French-born Karpelès used the money stolen from clients to purchase software licensing and personal items such as a “custom-built bed.”

Watcha Gonna Do When She Comes For You?
Hoax Hunter: This Woman Finds People Faking Illnesses Online, Fusion, Sept. 14, 2015
“My day job is as a futures trader in Chicago, but since exposing the Dirr hoax, hunting Internet fakers has become my main pursuit outside of work. In the last three years, I’ve chronicled 17 different hoaxes on my blog, often exposing the identities of the people behind them. A few of the hoaxers were scammers trying to make money, but the majority manipulated people online just for the attention that comes when you have a sob story.. . . But when someone makes up a story online and gets people invested in the characters, it’s an incredibly cruel thing to do to their audience. “

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