Security or Bust

In the wake of Edward Snowden’s release of info on top-secret NSA spying programs, his reported encrypted email service is now shutting its doors rather than, allegedly, complying with U.S. government requests to release confidential information.  Silent Circle, an encrypted email, phone, and text service, reportedly used by not only Snowden, but by the rich, famous, and very private, said it would no longer provide its email services, but would continue to provide its phone and text services.  Lavabit, a similar encrypted email service, also appears to be additional Snowden collateral damage, shuttering its doors in the wake of government requests.  You can check out messages from the founders on their homepages here- Lavabit, Silent Circle.

These takedowns come on the heels of Freedom Hosting, which provides various anonymous services through the Tor network (one of privacy enthusiasts favorite tools), being shut down.   Although the Freedom Hosting takedown appears to be directly related to the site’s hosting of child pornography and its founder reportedly arrested, the FBI has been implicated in infiltrating Freedom Hosting with the use of Malware.  More info from Wired available here.

Whether you think Snowden is a traitor or Jason Bourne (so say young people according to Sen. McCain here), the repercussions for his release of classified info do not appear to be waning any time soon.

Still want the best encrypted email out there?  Check out this post by Extreme Tech.

What about the best encrypted cloud services, you say?  LifeHacker out of Australia has some great recommendations- including ways to encrypt your current non-encrypted more mainstream services (eg dropbox, box.net, SkyDrive, etc.) here.


Dark Side of Pandora

The popular music streaming website Pandora has recently been gathering support for its proposed Internet Radio Fairness Act, which is meant to change how much internet radio platforms must pay in royalties.  Pandora states that they pay over 50% of their revenue in royalties, whereas satellite and cable music platforms only pay 7.5% and 15% respectively.  The difference, according to Pandora, is due to the discrimination against online media inherent in the royalty system.

However, Pandora’s bill has received staunch opposition from artists, who claim that the bill would substantially reduce what they receive for each time one of their songs is played.  David Gilmore, Roger Waters, and Nick Mason (the surviving members of Pink Floyd) recently posted a statement railing against the bill, claiming it would represent an “85% pay cut” for artists.  What’s more, they claim that Pandora has been deceptively seeking artist support for their bill by couching it in terms of internet freedom, without giving mention of the effects it would have on artist’s royalties.  See the link above for Pink Floyd’s full statement.