Glyn Moody, PIA VPN Service

Glyn Moody

PIA VPN Service

United Kingdom

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Recent articles by glyn:

The next great platform shift is underway, and that could be really bad for privacy

The first computing era was based on the keyboard. Mainframes, minicomputers, personal computers – they were all controlled using fingers typing out commands. Later on, the graphical front end of the Macintosh and Windows allowed people to point and click, but the keyboard was still there for text to be entered at some point. The … Continue reading "The next great platform shift is underway, and… → Read More

Google says: "Privacy is paramount to us, in everything we do"; here's why that can't be true

Back in May Mark Zuckerberg proclaimed: the future is private“. Now Google is joining in: Privacy is paramount to us, in everything we do. So today, we are announcing a new initiative to develop a set of open standards to fundamentally enhance privacy on the web. We’re calling this a Privacy Sandbox. As a slogan, … Continue reading "Google says: “Privacy is paramount to us, in everything we do”;… → Read More

A major security breach raises a key question: what happens when your biometric data is exfiltrated from a system?

It’s no secret that password security is often terrible. Good passwords – ones that are long and include a mix of lower case, upper case, numbers, and special characters – are hard to remember unless you use a password manager, which few seem to do. As a result, people tend to choose easy-to-guess passwords like … Continue reading "A major security breach raises a key question: what happens when… → Read More

The future of privacy is already here — it’s just not evenly distributed

William Gibson is best known for his book “Neuromancer“, which popularized the word and concept of cyberspace. He also came up with the phrase “the future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed“. That was a general statement about technology, but it also applies to the technology that threatens our privacy. Around … Continue reading "The future of privacy is already here — it’s… → Read More

Open Source Is Good, but How Can It Do Good?

Open-source coders: we know you are good—now do good. The ethical use of computers has been at the heart of free software from the beginning. Here's what Richard Stallman told me when I interviewed him in 1999 for my book Rebel Code: > The free software movement is basically a movement for freedom. It's based on values that are not purely material and practical. It's based on the idea that… → Read More

What can we learn from Palantir's secret user manual for police users of its big data software?

Two years ago, Privacy News Online wrote about the mysterious Palantir Technologies. It describes itself as a company that makes “products for human-driven analysis of real-world data“. It is a data analytics supplier at heart, but one that is working on some of society’s most sensitive data, notably the kind used by law enforcement to … Continue reading "What can we learn from Palantir’s secret… → Read More

General Data Protection Regulation one year on: what has it done?

A year ago, arguably the most important event in the recent history of privacy occurred: the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) started to be enforced. To mark that anniversary Privacy News Online will look at what the GDPR has achieved in its first 12 months, and what is likely to happen next. The GDPR … Continue reading "General Data Protection Regulation one year on: what has it… → Read More

Why 5G is a huge future threat to privacy

The next-generation of mobile communications, 5G, is currently a hot topic in two very different domains: technology – and politics. The latter is because of President Trump’s attempts to shut the Chinese telecoms giant Huawei out of Western procurement projects. That might work in the US, but the move is meeting a lot of resistance … Continue reading "Why 5G is a huge future threat to privacy" → Read More

"Digital strip-searches": police increasingly downloading everything from smartphones – including from crime victims

Full-body scanners are now a routine sight at airports. Most people are resigned to these virtual strip-searches, despite the obviously intrusive nature of appearing naked to the machines’ operators. But it seems that what amount to digital strip-searches are becoming increasingly common around the world too. For example, it has emerged that victims of crimes … Continue reading "“Digital… → Read More

Here's how Internet of Things malware is undermining privacy

The Internet of Things (IoT) is increasingly part of our everyday lives, with so-called “smart” speakers especially popular, But for all their undoubted technical merits, they also represent a growing threat to privacy, as this blog has reported before. There are several aspects to the problem. One is that devices with microphones and cameras may … Continue reading "Here’s how Internet of Things… → Read More

China's AI-based prisons – both indoors and outdoors – offer a warning of how privacy may die elsewhere

Online freedom of speech is under attack around the world. The EU’s new Copyright Directive is about to become law, and brings with it a need to filter all uploads to most sites. Once filters are in place, it will be easy to use them for blocking things other than alleged copyright infringement. Australia has … Continue reading "China’s AI-based prisons – both indoors and outdoors – offer a… → Read More

If Software Is Funded from a Public Source, Its Code Should Be Open Source

If we pay for it, we should be able to use it. Perhaps because many free software coders have been outsiders and rebels, less attention is paid to the use of open source in government departments than in other contexts. But it's an important battleground, not least because there are special dynamics at play and lots of good reasons to require open-source software. It's unfortunate that the most… → Read More

Welcome to the burgeoning, globalized business of implementing government surveillance

That fact that massive surveillance is taking place around the world is hardly a secret, not least since Edward Snowden revealed the extraordinary scale and reach of Western spying. But what is less obvious is how globalized the business of surveillance has become. Snowden explained how important the Five Eyes partnership of the US, UK, … Continue reading "Welcome to the burgeoning, globalized… → Read More

What Is the Point of Mozilla?

Is Mozilla a software organization or an advocacy group? Few journeys in the world of open source have been as exciting as Mozilla's. Its birth was dramatic. Netscape, the pioneering company whose Netscape Navigator browser shaped the early Web, had enjoyed the most successful IPO up until then, valuing the 18-month-year-old company at nearly $3 billion. That was in 1995. Three years later, the… → Read More

Illegal memes? Weak Safe Harbor? Unpacking the proposed EU copyright overhaul

Overhaul would bring chilling effects, costs, and legal uncertainty along for the ride. → Read More

China's censorship czar falls, as its "Police Cloud" tracking system rises across the country

We write quite a lot about China here on Privacy Online News. Sadly, that’s generally because China is in the vanguard when it comes to bad things happening to privacy. That’s confirmed by an important new “Freedom on the Net” report, which summarized the situation in China as follows: “China was the world’s worst abuser … Continue reading "China’s censorship czar falls, as its “Police Cloud”… → Read More

Two ways to help preserve privacy in an age of massive leaks and deep hacks

We live in the golden age of leaks. That’s not to say that leaks didn’t happen before. But the move to digital data and the availability of high-speed Internet connections has made the exfiltration of data on a massive scale much easier. Where in 1971 Daniel Ellsberg had to photocopy 7,000 pages of what became … Continue reading "Two ways to help preserve privacy in an age of massive leaks and… → Read More

Welcome to the brave new world of workplace surveillance

Here on Privacy News Online, we write a lot about government surveillance and its impact on privacy. Sadly, constant spying has been normalized to such an extent that workplace surveillance is a thriving new business sector that startups and established companies are rushing to serve. For example, InterGuard promises “complete end-user auditing and control”, and … Continue reading "Welcome to… → Read More

What the Sci-Hub saga and DNA testing services can teach us about privacy

Privacy News Online has just written about an “unprecedented” injunction granted by a US judge against the site Sci-Hub. The reach of that injunction is clearly deeply problematic for lots of reasons, and creates a very troubling precedent. But there’s an aspect of the story that merits further consideration, since it has broader implications for … Continue reading "What the Sci-Hub saga and DNA… → Read More

US Senate hearing confirms Facebook is the perfect surveillance machine: what can we do about it?

Last week’s hearings before US lawmakers has provided us with new insights into the workings of companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter, and how they have been subverted by Russia to further its political aims. In his opening remarks, the Vice Chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, Mark Warner, said that 120 Russian-backed pages on … Continue reading "US Senate hearing confirms… → Read More