Note on Internet Privacy (Updated)and a note on DNSCrypt

I noticed the brouaha on Google’s privacy policy. I am afraid that social networks capture much more private information than search engines (even if they integrate my browser history, my social network, my emails, my search engine keywords) – I am still okay. All they are going to do is sell me better ads (maybe than just flood me with ads hoping to get a click). Of course Microsoft should take it one step forward and capture data from my desktop as well for better ads, that would really complete the curve. In any case , with the Patriot Act, most information is available to the Government anyway.

But it does make sense to have an easier to understand privacy policy, and one of my disappointments is the complete lack of visual appeal in such notices. Make things simple as possible, but no simpler, as Al-E said.

 

Privacy activists forget that ads run on models built on AGGREGATED data, and most models are scored automatically. Unless you do something really weird and fake like, chances are the data pertaining to you gets automatically collected, algorithmic-ally aggregated, then modeled and scored, and a corresponding ad to your score, or segment is shown to you. Probably no human eyes see raw data (but big G can clarify that)

 

( I also noticed Google gets a lot of free advice from bloggers. hey, if you were really good at giving advice to Google- they WILL hire you !)

on to another tool based (than legalese based approach to privacy)

I noticed tools like DNSCrypt increase internet security, so that all my integrated data goes straight to people I am okay with having it (ad sellers not governments!)

Unfortunately it is Mac Only, and I will wait for Windows or X based tools for a better review. I noticed some lag in updating these tools , so I can only guess that the boys of Baltimore have been there, so it is best used for home users alone.

 

Maybe they can find a chrome extension for DNS dummies.

http://www.opendns.com/technology/dnscrypt/

Why DNSCrypt is so significant

In the same way the SSL turns HTTP web traffic into HTTPS encrypted Web traffic, DNSCrypt turns regular DNS traffic into encrypted DNS traffic that is secure from eavesdropping and man-in-the-middle attacks.  It doesn’t require any changes to domain names or how they work, it simply provides a method for securely encrypting communication between our customers and our DNS servers in our data centers.  We know that claims alone don’t work in the security world, however, so we’ve opened up the source to our DNSCrypt code base and it’s available onGitHub.

DNSCrypt has the potential to be the most impactful advancement in Internet security since SSL, significantly improving every single Internet user’s online security and privacy.

and

http://dnscurve.org/crypto.html

The DNSCurve project adds link-level public-key protection to DNS packets. This page discusses the cryptographic tools used in DNSCurve.

Elliptic-curve cryptography

DNSCurve uses elliptic-curve cryptography, not RSA.

RSA is somewhat older than elliptic-curve cryptography: RSA was introduced in 1977, while elliptic-curve cryptography was introduced in 1985. However, RSA has shown many more weaknesses than elliptic-curve cryptography. RSA’s effective security level was dramatically reduced by the linear sieve in the late 1970s, by the quadratic sieve and ECM in the 1980s, and by the number-field sieve in the 1990s. For comparison, a few attacks have been developed against some rare elliptic curves having special algebraic structures, and the amount of computer power available to attackers has predictably increased, but typical elliptic curves require just as much computer power to break today as they required twenty years ago.

IEEE P1363 standardized elliptic-curve cryptography in the late 1990s, including a stringent list of security criteria for elliptic curves. NIST used the IEEE P1363 criteria to select fifteen specific elliptic curves at five different security levels. In 2005, NSA issued a new “Suite B” standard, recommending the NIST elliptic curves (at two specific security levels) for all public-key cryptography and withdrawing previous recommendations of RSA.

Some specific types of elliptic-curve cryptography are patented, but DNSCurve does not use any of those types of elliptic-curve cryptography.

 

Chrome Extension- MafiaaFire

The chrome extension MafiaaWire basically gives you an updated list of redirected websites. So the next time , your evil highness shuts down your favorite website- the list promises to give you an update.  While obviously entertainment intellectual property is a very obvious site category for such redirects, in some cases these extensions can be used for simple things like hosting dissents or protesters against govt corruption in non US countries .

Basically under the new SOPA act (an oline version of pepper spray http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stop_Online_Piracy_Act) even browsers like Firefox and Chrome would be liable for any such extension that can be used to download American Intellectual property illegally.

In the meantime – this is an interesting and creative use case of technology and sociology merging in the brave new world.

You can read about it here-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MAFIAAFire_Redirector

MAFIAAFire works by downloading a list which contains the names of the “blocked” sites as well as the sites to redirect to. This list is downloaded every time Firefox starts up or every two days on the Chrome version (although the user has the choice to force an update on the Chrome version instead of waiting for two days).

When a user types in a domain name from the list of blocked domains, the add-on recognizes this and automatically redirects the user to the secondary site. Since this happens before the browser connects to the DNS server, this renders any DNS blocks useless.

Although the add-on checks for which sites are entered into the address bar every time (as it needs to check if that site is on its block list), it does not log these requests nor send these requests to any central server. In other words: it does not track the user.

or

Download it from

https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/hnifiobpjihmmjgiokkaalgomddebhng

Interesting times indeed!

Related-

Encryption

http://poemsforkush.wordpress.com/2011/12/17/encryption/

 

2010 in review and WP-Stats

The following is an auto generated post thanks to WordPress.com stats team- clearly they have got some stuff wrong

1) Defining the speedometer quantitatively

2) The busiest day numbers are plain wrong ( 2 views ??)

3) There is still no geographic data in WordPress -com stats (unlike Google Analytics) and I cant enable Google Analytics on a wordpress.com hosted site.

 

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 97,000 times in 2010. If it were an exhibit at The Louvre Museum, it would take 4 days for that many people to see it.

 

In 2010, there were 367 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 1191 posts. There were 411 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 121mb. That’s about 1 pictures per day.

The busiest day of the year was September 22nd with 2 views. The most popular post that day was Top 10 Graphical User Interfaces in Statistical Software.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were r-bloggers.com, reddit.com, rattle.togaware.com, twitter.com, and Google Reader.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for libre office, facebook analytics, test drive a chrome notebook, test drive a chrome notebook., and wps sas lawsuit.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Top 10 Graphical User Interfaces in Statistical Software April 2010
8 comments and 1 Like on WordPress.com,

2

Wealth = function (numeracy, memory recall) December 2009
1 Like on WordPress.com,

3

Matlab-Mathematica-R and GPU Computing September 2010
1 Like on WordPress.com,

4

About DecisionStats July 2008

5

The Top Statistical Softwares (GUI) May 2010
1 comment and 1 Like on WordPress.com,

Privacy Browsing Extensions in Google Chrome

coat of arms of the Palaiologos dynasty, the l...
Image via Wikipedia

Using two Chrome Extensions, Disconnect and AdBlock you can be sure of having a vary very clean browsing experience-it is recommended especially if you dont like the auto sharing of your personal preferences and cannot be bothered by the Byzantine maze of social media privacy fineprint.

https://chrome.google.com/extensions/detail/jeoacafpbcihiomhlakheieifhpjdfeo

Disconnect by Brian Kennish

(184) – 44,284 users – Weekly installs: 24,086

Stop major third parties and search engines from tracking the webpages you go to and searches you do.

* Search depersonalization is now optional and off by default. Click the “d” button then the “Depersonalize searches” checkbox to turn this feature on (or back off in case you have trouble getting to Google or Yahoo services). For help with anything else, see the known issues below and ask questions at http://j.mp/dnewgroup.

§

If you’re a typical web user, you’re unintentionally sending your browsing and search history with your name and other personal information to third parties and search engines whenever you’re online.

Take control of the data you share with Disconnect!

From the developer of the top-10-rated Facebook Disconnect extension, Disconnect lets you:

• Disable tracking by third parties like Digg, Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Yahoo, without requiring any setup or significantly degrading the usability of the web.

• Truly depersonalize searches on search engines like Google and Yahoo (by blocking identifying cookies not just changing the appearance of results pages), while staying logged into other services — e.g., so you can search anonymously on Google and access iGoogle at once.

• See how many resource and cookie requests are blocked, in real time

and
https://chrome.google.com/extensions/detail/gighmmpiobklfepjocnamgkkbiglidom
ExtensionsAdBlock

AdBlock

(6937) - 1,615,373 users - Weekly installs: 153,032
The most popular Chrome extension, with over 1.5 million users! Blocks ads all over the web.
Verified author: chromeadblock.com
=================

New in version 2.1: Translated into dozens of languages!
New in version 2.0: Ads are blocked from downloading, instead of just being removed after the fact!

=======================

The official AdBlock For Chrome!  Block all advertisements on all web pages.  Your browser is automatically updated with additions to the filter: just click Install, then visit your favorite website and see the ads disappear!

FAQs:1. This is the official AdBlock extension: the original ad blocker written from the ground up to be optimized in Chrome.  There's an unrelated, older Firefox project called Adblock Plus, and they're working on making a Chrome version out of the old AdThwart codebase.  At the moment AdBlock blocks some ads that AdThwart only hides, but they're working to improve it.  It's available at bit.ly/id2Gqx; if you have trouble with AdBlock, they're good guys and a fine alternative!

 

LibreOffice News and Google Musings

Tux, the Linux penguin
Image via Wikipedia

Official Bloggers on LibreOffice- http://planet.documentfoundation.org/

Note- for some strange reason I continue to be on top ranked LibreOffice blogs- maybe because I write more on the software itself than on Oracle politics or coffee spillovers.

LibreOffice Beta 2  is ready and I just installed it on Windows 7 – works nice- and I somehow think open Office and Google needs an  example to stop being so scary on cautioning—— hey,hey it’s a  beta – (do you see Oracle saying this release is a beta or Windows saying hey this Windows Vista is a beta for Windows 7- No right?)-

see screenshot of solver in  LibreOffice spreadsheet -works just fine.

We cant wait for Chromium OS and LibreOffice integration (or Google Docs-LibreOffice integration)  so Google starts thinking on those lines (of course

Google also needs to ramp up Google Storage and Google Predict API– but dude are you sure you wanna take on Amazon, Oracle and MS and Yahoo and Apple at the same time. Dear Herr Schmidt- Last German Guy who did that ,  ended up in a bunker in Berlin. (Ever since I had to pay 50 euros as Airline Transit fee -yes Indian passport holders have to do that in Germany- I am kind of non objective on that issue)

Google Management is busy nowadays thinking of trying to beat Facebook -hint -hint-

-buy out the biggest app makers of Facebook apps and create an api for Facebook info download and upload into Orkut –maybe invest like an angel in that startup called Diaspora http://www.joindiaspora.com/) see-

Back to the topic (and there are enough people blogging on Google should or shouldnt do)

-LibreOffice aesthetically rocks! It has a cool feel.

More news- The Wiki is up and awaits you at http://wiki.documentfoundation.org/Documentation

And there is a general pow-wow scheduled at http://www.oookwv.de/ for the Open Office Congress (Kongress)

As you can see I used the Chrome Extension for Google Translate for an instant translation from German into English (though it still needs some work,  Herr Translator)

Back to actually working on LibreOffice- if Word and Powerpoint is all you do- save some money for Christmas and download it today from