The Party of Open: Open Government, Open Culture, Open Innovation & People First

Monthly archive: December 2015

Sen. McConnell vs the IRS on strong encryption

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A few weeks ago, the IRS began publishing a set of Security Awareness Tax Tips; they’ve also come out with Publication 4524, “Security Awareness for Taxpayers”. These documents are basically checklists, but they’ve got some reasonable advice. For example (quoting from Pub 4524): Treat your personal information like cash, don’t leave it lying around Give personal information only over encrypted websites – look for “https” addresses. Keep old tax returns and tax records under lock and key or encrypted if electronic. Point one is well taken — if more companies treated personal information like cash, we might reduce the number of data breaches, and fewer people would be at risk for social engineering and identity theft. This point also applies to your smart phone (i.e., don’t leave it laying around). Points two and three deal with encryption. “https” means using secure (encrypted) versions of web pages; you should do this whenever possible. Point three involves encrypting data at rest; you should also do this whenever possible. It’s nice to see the IRS talking about the importance of encryption, and I applaud them for doing it. On the other hand, some of our Washington politicians are dead set on demonizing encryption, even if it means undermining security and privacy. For example, take this recent press release from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (with emphasis added) [President Obama] “should tell us what legal authorities he needs to defeat encrypted online communications, and what is needed to reestablish our capture, interrogation, and surveillance capabilities. He should tell us how the coalition or NATO will forge a ground force capable of not just attempting to ‘contain’ ISIL within its interior lines in Iraq and Syria — even as the group expands its reach into other countries — but actually driving it from Raqqa. He … Read more

published under Main Topic, Privacy, Security | Comments Off on Sen. McConnell vs the IRS on strong encryption

CISA Just Getting Worse

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Leaders in Congress are looking to expand CISA, the Cyber Information Sharing Act, far beyond the awful bill it already is. They are pulling what little privacy protections it had and would encouraging ISPs like Comcast to log everything you send so they can scoop it up.  And that is only what we know about.  We have heard that bill changes include: Expanding the definition of “cyber threat” to include non-cyber crimes; Expanding liability protection for companies that hand over their data to the government; Reversing DHS – civilian side – as lead for information sharing.  Perhaps making the NSA the point of collection? Getting rid of the directive to ensure data integrity. Will it put backdoors in encryption as some have asked for?  Possibly.  This bill may turn out to be a Patriot Act II. Of course, the terrorists who attacked Paris weren’t identified by meta data analysis and didn’t use encryption.  We have had far too many mass killings in the US and none were stopped by government mass surveillance. A revised CISA is likely a week or two away.  Now is the time to contact your Congress people and urge them to vote against it. In Massachusetts, only Representatives Neal (202-225-5601), Kennedy (202-225-5931), Moulton (202-225-8020) & Keating (202-225-3111) voted for CISA.  If you aren’t sure whether they are your US House Representative, visit Where Do I Vote MA and enter your address to find out. 1st CD Representative Richard Neal – Facebook / @RepRichardNeal / (202) 225-5601 / (413) 785-0325 4th CD Representative Joseph P. Kennedy III – Facebook / @joekennedy / (202) 225-5931 / (617) 332-3333 6th CD Representative Seth Moulton – Facebook / @sethmoulton /  (202) 225-8020 / (978) 531-1669 9th CD Representative William Keating – Facebook / @WilliamKeating / (202) 225-3111 / (617) 770-3700 The rest of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation voted against CISA, but with the fear mongering we shouldn’t assume they will vote against it. Please thank them … Read more

published under CFAA, Main Topic, Privacy, Security | Comments Off on CISA Just Getting Worse

New Cyber Information Sharing Act (CISA) likely to be worse. Stop it!

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The House and Senate Intelligence committees are working a version of CISA, the Cyber Information Sharing Act, that is even worse: We have heard that bill changes include: Reducing privacy protections; Expanding the definition of “cyber threat” to include non-cyber crimes; Expanding liability protection for companies that hand over their data to the government; Reversing DHS – civilian side – as lead for information sharing.  Perhaps making the NSA the point of collection? Getting rid of the directive to ensure data integrity. Fight for the Future and others have called for people to urge Congressman McCaul, the Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, to slow the process down.  You can send him a message if you live in his district, and it will reject a zip code that is not in his district.  If you wish to contact him that way, the zip codes for his offices are posted.  His DC office number is 202-225-2401 and you can reach him on Twitter at @RepMcCaul. In Massachusetts, only Representatives Neal (202-225-5601), Kennedy (202-225-5931), Moulton (202-225-8020) & Keating (202-225-3111) voted for CISA.  Now is the time to urge them to vote against this surveillance bill!  If you aren’t sure whether they are your US House Representative, visit Where Do I Vote MA and enter your address to find out. 1st CD Representative Richard Neal – Facebook / @RepRichardNeal / (202) 225-5601 / (413) 785-0325 4th CD Representative Joseph P. Kennedy III – Facebook / @joekennedy / (202) 225-5931 / (617) 332-3333 6th CD Representative Seth Moulton – Facebook / @sethmoulton /  (202) 225-8020 / (978) 531-1669 9th CD Representative William Keating – Facebook / @WilliamKeating / (202) 225-3111 / (617) 770-3700 The rest of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation voted against CISA. Now would be a good time to thank them and urge them to get more congress people to vote against it: Senator Elizabeth Warren – Facebook / @SenWarren … Read more

published under Main Topic, Privacy | Comments Off on New Cyber Information Sharing Act (CISA) likely to be worse. Stop it!

Campaign Planning Meeting This Sunday

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Our third 2016 campaign meeting is this Sunday, the 6th.  The notes of our two previous meetings are up. If you want to ensure that Pirates shake up our one party state, join us.  Our last meeting of the year will be Saturday, December 19th. We will meet at Pizzeria Regina, 353 Cambridge St., Allston (Boston), just off the Pike. It starts at 3pm and ends at 5pm. Tell us you are coming so we know how big to make the reservation.  Thanks!

published under Elections, Main Topic, Organizing | Comments Off on Campaign Planning Meeting This Sunday

Governor and legislature side with banksters over families

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Governor Baker signed S.2015 and chose to take away the property rights of people who have been illegally foreclosed on. Advocates of S.2015 say it will clear titles to foreclosed properties. In reality it will reduce the time someone has to challenge the legality of their foreclosure from 20 years to just one. From banksters making up paperwork such as titles and deeds in the robosigning scandals to Florida’s rocket dockets, the deck has been stacked against people challenging illegal foreclosures.  Now the legislature and governor have made their struggle to keep their houses even more difficult. This fight isn’t over and we will work with MAAPL to build their website that will be used to defend Massachusetts’ families against illegal foreclosure.

published under Corporate Welfare, Main Topic | Comments Off on Governor and legislature side with banksters over families
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