Wednesday, October 30, 2013

BIG Government, Edward Snowden & internet privacy. Ladar Levison of Lavabit

 The US Federal Governmet has been in a bit of hot water lately for privacy rights infringement of both its citizens as well as foreign allies. Edward Snowden brought much of these controversial policies of the NSA and US Government to light. Whether you support or condemn his actions, it goes without saying that what he did will have long term repercussions.

One related story connected to Edward Snowden was about the private email service called Lavabit. Ladar Levison is the entrepreneur who developed the service that provided valuable secure email for it's clients. Apparently once the US Federal Government discovered Edward Snowden used this service, they initiated contact with Mr Levison and inevitably ordered him to hand over the encryption keys to ALL of his user's accounts.

This interview by Leo Laporte of the TWiT network is an excellent discussion with Mr Levison about his experience dealing with the FBI and the US 

You can use the links below to stream or download audio and video of this same broadcast. 


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Google implements controversial EVERYONE opted IN ad endorsement program.

You may have heard about the recent controversy over Google's ad endorsement program. Basically, anyone with a Google account can be used in their ads without permission by default. It can include you (your image, name & information) in ads across the web, saying you like or 'endorse' a product. This comes from data Google has from products you may have liked in the past such as a movie or an item you purchased.

The Google user does not get paid for this 'endorsement' and they are not notified when and where these ads appear. I saw this on the news numerous times as a headline, but I did not see any of the reports show how to OPT OUT.

Some have made the point that Google and other social media outlets give us these tools for free at great cost to them. It goes without saying that without ad revenue, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and others would go away pretty quickly.  I think most do understand this, but the objection is more about privacy concerns and that it's not been made really clear how to access the opt out area of the user's accounts. For others who are less concerned about privacy - the issue comes down to why they don't get to share in the 'involuntary endorsement'

Anyone who wishes to OPT OUT of this program can watch the video I created below, or follow text instructions below that if you prefer.

If you rather skip the video. Here are the instructions.

Log into your google account.

Go to this address.

Uncheck the box at the bottom. Click Save, then continue.

That's it. Unless you don't mind others seeing what you like and approve anywhere on the web, this is probably a good idea.

Contact me if you need any more info and share to anyone you think can use it.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Internet 'Sextortion' - How to prevent being recorded online without your knowledge.

September 29th, 2013

This is a sensitive topic I think needs to be talked about.

Laptop webcam
The arrest of Jarred Abraham (link) is a BIG +1 in the fight to protect people's privacy in this world of advanced tech being in the hands of everyday people. It's unfortunate that it took a high profile person like Miss Teen to bring it into the national spotlight. I for one commend her for being so brave in coming forward to catch this predator. Hopefully A LOT of awareness will come out of it and those who should be paying attention, will take heed.

I won't rant about what we already know. What Jarred did is vile and shameful. He should be prosecuted based on what is known. If it is fair and the evidence is true, he should be made an example of. He is a grown man, he knew full well what he was doing and to commit the crime as many times as he did, it was not just some harmless prank. I have a feeling he will not do so well in a prison community filled with Dads who have young daughters in their lives. That should be a wake up call to the other perpetrators who do this and think they will not get caught.

What I did not like about the CNN article is that it does not mention any means to prevent this even in the simplest of forms. This is a worldwide story. CNN had the perfect chance to get the word out to help those who this might happen to and they blew it.

The simple answer is this. If you own a device like a laptop or computer with a webcam, keep it covered at all times when not in use!!! This is the most significant way to stop these creatures in their tracks. There is no hack or work around to get by a piece of paper taped over the webcam eye. When you plan to use it, flip the paper off the cam. Replace it when you're done. Using a post-it works as well. That's the first step. The second is to educate your daughters, sisters, mothers about not sharing files from unknown sources on the web. Chatrooms are especially notorious for finding victims. "Oh hey, here is a picture of my kitty cat.... want to see?"  The malware used in these crimes is often passed just that way... attached to a seemingly harmless image or video or file. Do not access links sent by people in chatrooms or emails. Period. It's not worth it. Don't do it!!

The bottom line over all is to keep the lid on the laptop closed or camera covered when you walk away. Get in the habit of doing this and you won't be a victim. 

Here is a link to items that may help 

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Stop the Facebook Feed MADNESS!!

August 28, 2013

Ever wondered how in the heck your Facebook feed is piled with things that are of no interest to you? Who are these people anyway? Well, to avoid the drama and hurt feelings of unfriending people....(dun dunn dunnnnnnn) you are only mildly connected to, you can organize your facebook friends. The important ones will display the things you want to see in your feed and the less interesting posts won't show at all or less frequently, because let's be honest.... who has the time??

Clean up the Facebook Feed Clutter: 

Tip #1: Click on any friend's name and on the friends button, you will see a list of options to customize how that friend relates to you. Turn on/off notifications, turn on/off display updates in your feed. etc.
Tip #2: Go to to get your friends list in order.

Click below for a YouTube breakdown 

Here is a comical skit on Jimmy Kimmel Live about National Unfriend Day NUD as it's called on November 17th of each year. Help cut out some of the friend fat.  ;)


Saturday, August 17, 2013

TWIT Television (Podcast) Network

Leo Laporte runs a great tech television station that you can watch on your smartphone, tablet, computer or TV. They have shows 7 days a week including This Week in Tech,Tech News Today, Before you Buy, Mac Break weekly, iPad Today, All About Android and more.

He also video casts his syndicated weekly radio show The Tech Guy on there.

You can find the show here on the web.

TWiT Network:

Live Show:

IRC Chatroom:

Watch TWiT On:

Roku 2 or 3
Roku is an excellent Television streaming device. You simply add it to your home internet network, connect the HDMI port and you can watch thousands of channels  such as Netflix, Amazon streaming and TWiT even has an app. Go into the app store, search for TWIT and add channel. It's 100% free to install.
Watch TWiT Live or view the video casts, or download the audio on your MAC, PC or Linux computer. Access for more.

Smartphone or Tablet
For Android, you can access the google play store and search for TWIT. There is a variety, but my favorite is the f-con software version. I am not aware of any apps for iPhone or Windows phone as of yet.

Please don't hesitate to contact me with questions regarding TWIT. I have finally cut the cord and TWiT is one of the networks I watch regularly.

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