Access My Info Tool Lets Telecom Subscribers Know If Theyve Been Spied On | HuffPo

Canadians concerned about their online privacy have a new way to find out whether their telecom provider is collecting information about them — and sharing it with third parties like government entities.

The new tool, developed by some of the countrys top privacy experts, makes it easier for Canadians to force their provider to disclose their practices.

“What were trying to do as researchers is identify what kind of data telecommunications companies in Canada collect, obtain, and process, and disclose to third parties,” said Dr. Christopher Parsons, a fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs Citizen Lab.

“But we also wanted to make it easier for Canadians individually to engage in the same sort of action.”

Known as “Access My Info,” the web tool helps create a formal letter which, under Canadian privacy law, telecom companies are legally obliged to respond to within 30 days, the website offering the tool says.

Canadians requesting the information fill out a few basic details about themselves and their telecom provider, and can do so confidentially, the website says.

Read More: Access My Info Tool Lets Telecom Subscribers Know If Theyve Been Spied On | HuffPo

These Harvard And MIT Kids Say They’ve Made NSA-Proof Email | HuffPo

Those who worry that Gmail or the National Security Agency may be rifling through their emails now have a new alternative: ProtonMail, a super-secure email service created by students from Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“It was the Snowden leaks that got us started,” ProtonMail founder and front-end developer Jason Stockman told The Huffington Post. “A lot of us at the time were working at CERN, the nuclear research facility in Switzerland, and we started hearing about all this and we really freaked out. We ended up posting on Facebook about privacy issues, and it just grew from there.”

ProtonMail’s open beta launched [Saturday May 17th], and its security measures are intense: end-to-end encryption and user authentication protocols so rigorous even the creators can’t read user emails.

Read More: These Harvard And MIT Kids Say They’ve Made NSA-Proof Email | HuffPo

Stanley McChrystal: The military case for sharing knowledge |

When General Stanley McChrystal started fighting al Qaeda in 2003, information and secrets were the lifeblood of his operations. But as the unconventional battle waged on, he began to think that the culture of keeping important information classified was misguided and actually counterproductive. In a short but powerful talk McChrystal makes the case for actively sharing knowledge.

Stanley McChrystal: The military case for sharing knowledge | Talk Video |

Russia Bans Cursing in Movies, Books, Music and Media | Mashable

Russian President Vladimir Putin is not f*cking around.

The president signed a new law on Monday that will prohibit cursing in music, books, movies and at entertainment events throughout the country as of July 1. Existing books, CDs and hard copies of movies that contain curse words provide a warning label about the obscene language. Anyone who breaks the law is subject to a fine.

via Russia Bans Cursing in Movies, Books, Music and Media | Mashable

NASA’s About To Release a Mother Lode of Free Software | Gizmodo

If you’ve been thinking about getting started on the rocket project that’s been on your mind for ages, now is a good time to get serious. Next week, NASA will release a massive software catalog with over 1,000 projects. It’s not the first time the space agency’s released code, but it is the first time they’ve made it so easy.

The breadth and variety of the software projects that NASA’s about to give away are difficult to express. It’s not just a bunch of algorithms and star-finding software, though stuff like that is in there. The crazy geniuses that land rovers on Mars are actually releasing code for ultra high-tech NASA stuff like rocket guidance systems and robotics control software. There’s even some artificial intelligence.

And did I mention it’s all free? Read more: NASA’s About To Release a Mother Lode of Free Software | Gizmodo.

See also: NASA Technology Transfer Portal

Appeals court strikes down FCCs Net neutrality rules | CNET News

Broadband providers aren’t “common carriers,” court says, and that makes all the difference in a decision certain to shake up the fixed broadband and wireless industries.

Read more: Appeals court strikes down FCCs Net neutrality rules | Politics and Law | CNET News

Last chapter for many Environment Canada libraries | PostMedia |

Full Post

Last chapter for many Environment Canada libraries

Books and reports from a Department of Fisheries library at the Maurice Lamontagne Institute in Mont Joli, Que., tossed into a dumpster, according to scientists distributing the photo.

Photograph by: HANDOUT , Postmedia News

Environment Canada has a phone number for its library in Calgary. But a meteorologist answers, and he can’t say what’s become of the books.

It’s a similar story in Edmonton and Quebec City where federal libraries, with shelves loaded with reference books and scientific reports on everything from beluga whales to songbirds, now exist only in name.

Environment Canada lists the libraries on its website but the books are long gone.

“It’s been moved to Saskatoon,” said a woman named Susan who picked up at the phone number for the Edmonton library. In Yellowknife an answering machine said the Environment Canada library “is closed.” And the number listed for the federal conservation and environment library in Winnipeg is no longer in service.

Environment Canada, like the department of Fisheries and Oceans, is closing and consolidating its science libraries to the dismay of some observers who worry valuable books and materials are being lost.

“My sense is that the Environment Canada policy has been to essentially hack one arm off to save the other,” said one scientist, who asked not to be identified for fear of losing his job. He said the big worry is the loss of so-called “grey literature” — material that hasn’t been widely published, with as few as one or two copies in existence — and historical reports on wildlife and the environment that exist nowhere else.

Environment Canada libraries in Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary and Yellowknife have closed and the collections have been shipped to Saskatoon. A skeleton staff of one librarian and a couple of co-op students are said to be dealing with the consolidated collection in Saskatoon, which includes 650 boxes stashed in a “caged” storage areas awaiting sorting and cataloguing.

Several Environment Canada libraries in the East — including the ones in Quebec City and Sackville, N.B., have also been shuttered, others have been downsized, and some cases valuable materials has been tossed, scientists say.

Cuts to the federal science library programs have been underway for years but concern and controversy has grown as the books have been cleared off the shelves, with excess and outdated material landing in dumpsters. Peter Wells, an ocean pollution expert at Dalhousie University in Halifax, describes the closing of the DFO libraries as a “national tragedy.” And recent reports have likened it to burning books.

Barbara Clubb, interim executive director of the Canadian Library Association, said the group’s members are concerned. The reports of loss of access to valuable materials are “very, very worrying,” said Clubb.

The government defends the closures saying they are part of an effort to modernize its science libraries.

Environment Canada’s media office said in a statement Thursday that the department is closing and consolidating 12 libraries and reading rooms as part of a “modernization initiative” and “digitization plan.”

And Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans insisted this week that the closing of DFO libraries will save taxpayers’ money and not impact access.

“It is absolutely false to insinuate that any books were burnt,” Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans said in a statement this week.

Seven DFO libraries across Canada, including two that have been amassing books and technical reports on the aquatic realm for more than a century, are being consolidated at two primary locations in Sidney, B.C., and Dartmouth, N.S.

Shea said duplicate materials were offered to other libraries. “They were also offered to the DFO staff on site at the library, then offered to the general public, and finally were recycled in a ‘green’ fashion if there were no takers,” the statement said.

Shea also said “the decision to consolidate our network of libraries was based on value for taxpayers.”

“An average of only five to 12 people who work outside of DFO visit our 11 libraries each year,” she said. “It is not fair to taxpayers to make them pay for libraries that so few people actually use.”

Science historian Jennifer Hubbard at Ryerson University in Toronto said Shea’s argument is misleading because people cannot “just waltz” into federal research libraries. Hubbard, who has worked extensively with the DFO collection, said a security pass is needed to visit the consolidated DFO library in Nova Scotia.

She also said it made “no economic sense” to close the brand new climate-controlled DFO library at the St. Andrews Biological Station in New Brunswick built by the Harper government at a cost of several million federal tax dollars.

Environment Canada media officer Danny Kingsberry said in the statement much work remains to be done as the department consolidates material from five staffed libraries, seven unstaffed reading rooms and material from retiring scientists who “leave their books, journals behind.”

“There are approximately 650 boxes of print material in a storage cage at the National Hydrology Research Centre in Saskatoon, where the Saskatoon library is located,” Kingsberry said.

“The bulk of it is transferred material from consolidated EC libraries and EC Programs that has not yet been reviewed by local library staff,” he said. “This material will be sorted and either added to the collection or not, based on the relevance of each item.”

Both DFO and Environment Canada have online library catalogues and will arrange interlibrary loans, but many federal librarian jobs have been eliminated with the libraries. Kingsberry said the plan is to digitize “rare, historical and ‘one-off’ ” holdings but it is not clear how long that costly job will take.

“What is the plan for digitization and how much is being done,” said Clubb, at the library association. The association is also looking for information on the government plan for ensuring “information professionals” are available to help people find and access material. “You can not get everything you need on Google, by any means,” said Clubb.

Hubbard agrees.

Claims by DFO that “all material has been scanned and made available online is simply untrue,” said Hubbard. She said she has been having trouble locating historic reports about East Coast marine science that were on the selves of DFO libraries that closed.

Hubbard and other researchers say historical data and reports are increasingly valuable given the change underway in the world’s ecosystems.

“DFO is dumping documents, including grey literature that exists in limited quantities, just at a point when fisheries biologists around the world have been turning to historical studies, data, and graphical information to reconstruct the effects of fishing and fisheries policies, and to document environmental change,” said Hubbard.

“The Department of the Environment’s scientists would similarly need to have access to older data and documents for doing historical time series to investigate environmental change in terms of populations, climate, etc, or even — ironically — potentially to critique some of the current scientific narratives of which the Conservative government is suspicious,” she said.

Environment Canada’s collections include reference materials like the 16-volume Handbook of the Birds of the World, historic photographs of glaciers in the Rockies and reports produced by federal scientists over the decades, some found nowhere else.

Insiders at Environment Canada say a lot of material was discarded as a result of the closures of the regional libraries and renovation and downsizing at the department’s reference library in Gatineau, Que. They said the loss includes dozens of boxes full of historical environmental reports and studies from around the world that had been translated for use by Canadians.

“They were immaculate translations,” said one scientist. While the original reports may still exist in foreign libraries, the translations are lost. “If you knew about the obscure Russian papers from the 1930s, the librarian could probably bring it in for you, but you’d have to read Russian.”

Nelson Mandela dies at 95: Five touchstone film moments about his life |

Nelson Mandela passed away Thursday at the age of 95. Imprisoned from 1962 to 1990, the former South African president (1994-1999) fought to abolish apartheid and worked to end poverty. Known as “The Father of a Nation” the celebrated leader was the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize winner and received the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom, among many other honors.

It’s no surprise that his inspirational story has made its way to the big screen. In addition to the current film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, which is in theaters now, the South African leader has been the subject of several feature films and documentaries in recent years. Check out five iconic portrayals of Mandela in pop culture.

Read: Nelson Mandela dies at 95: Five touchstone film moments about his life | PopWatch |

Our Government Has Weaponized the Internet. Here’s How They Did It |

The internet backbone — the infrastructure of networks upon which internet traffic travels — went from being a passive infrastructure for communication to an active weapon for attacks.

According to revelations about the QUANTUM program, the NSA can “shoot” (their words) an exploit at any target it desires as his or her traffic passes across the backbone. It appears that the NSA and GCHQ were the first to turn the internet backbone into a weapon; absent Snowdens of their own, other countries may do the same and then say, “It wasn’t us. And even if it was, you started it.”

If the NSA can hack Petrobras, the Russians can justify attacking Exxon/Mobil. If GCHQ can hack Belgacom to enable covert wiretaps, France can do the same to AT&T. If the Canadians target the Brazilian Ministry of Mines and Energy, the Chinese can target the U.S. Department of the Interior. We now live in a world where, if we are lucky, our attackers may be every country our traffic passes through except our own.

Which means the rest of us — and especially any company or individual whose operations are economically or politically significant — are now targets. All cleartext traffic is not just information being sent from sender to receiver, but is a possible attack vector.

Here’s how it works.

Read more: Our Government Has Weaponized the Internet. Here’s How They Did It | Wired Opinion |

How to Opt Out of Data Tracking on Your Most-Used Sites | Mashable

Google’s latest updates to its terms of service have left many privacy advocates crying foul. One new feature called “shared endorsements” allows your name and photograph to be used in targeted advertisements on Google property sites.

Google’s support page for shared endorsements claims the feature will allow for more friend-based recommendation of music and restaurants, working much like Facebook’s Sponsored Stories.

Shared endorsements are not unique. Many sites, apps and browsers are using your information in ways you might not entirely comply with if you’d take the time to read their privacy policies. Often, opting out is only a click away, though it may be difficult to find out where exactly to click.

We’ve compiled this list of ways various Internet companies are tracking and using your data — plus, given you the tools to opt out, if you wish.

Reviews how to opt out for:

  • Targeted Advertisements
  • Search History
  • Disable Third-Party Cookie Tracking

Read: How to Opt Out of Data Tracking on Your Most-Used Sites | Mashable