Defensive computing and why we need it

Mike Loukkides defines defensive computing through a few examples and more importantly argues in broad strokes why we need it. Definitely bolsters my argument that neither technology nor policy on their own are sufficient to defend our online interests, such as privacy. We need smart technology that deals with the actual realities of how networks work and smart policy that shores up our expectations with strong accountability.

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House Republican unveils internet privacy bill

The Hill has the details of Blackburn’s bill which are exactly what the right said they wanted when they repealed the FCC’s pending privacy rules. Worth noting is that this would apply to ISPs and content companies alike along with moving oversight and enforcement to the FTC. No idea if this will shore up the FTC’s authority but the concern I have is its track record in this space, which is not great, and the fact that it traditionally has had far fewer staff technologists to help with efforts like these than the FCC.

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2017-05-07 The Command Line Podcast

This is an episode of The Command Line Podcast.

I talk about the privacy rules repeal at the FCC and the fight starting to shape up again over network neutrality.

You can directly download the MP3 or Ogg Vorbis audio files. You can grab additional formats and audio source files from the Internet Archive.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Fingerprinting TCP/IP headers may reveal browsing activity despite encryption

I submit that this trend of revealing private online activity through second and third order effects, like fingerprinting network packet headers as described in this research, is why we still need to push for better privacy norms and regulations. There is never likely to be a perfect privacy solution, we’ll always need some reasonable expectations and legal protections as well.

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Berners-Lee’s new work to re-decentralize the web

The article mentions Berners-Lee receiving the Turing Award, often called the Nobel prize for computing. The really interesting part is the description of Solid, his work to try to crack loose personal data from the central stores where it accumulates today, in order to restore control to users of where and how their data is accessed and used. Efforts along this line aren’t new, as the article notes the are increasingly relevant as traditional protections for online privacy are increasing eroded.
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Minnesota working to protect consumer privacy from ISPs

The proposal in Minnesota still has a few steps before becoming state law. Proponents are definitely capitalizing on the attention garnered by the repeal of the FCC rules. ISPs may not have liked the federal rules, I can almost guarantee that if other states follow suit, they will like it even less. A state level push back could create a minefield that the larger ISPs would have to navigate, likely leading to them taking the most conservative approach rather than incurring the cost of state by state compliance.

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