Three weeks ago I received a very flattering email from the University of Cambridge, asking me to judge the Adam Smith Prize for Economics:
As the creator of TAGS privacy and surveillance often sit at the back on my mind. From the beginning TAGS was designed to help show people the amount of data we personally share and how easy it is for anyone to access. We all know that technology is not neutral and whilst there is a long list of people using TAGS for positive purposes by its nature there are some who turn to the darkside.
Virtual private networks are now a must-have privacy tool. But good luck figuring out which ones will actually make you safer.
One of the only definitive takeaways, besides “steer clear of free VPNs,” is that your choice of VPN should depend on what you’re using it for. If you’re just trying to stay safe online, it may make sense to steer toward a larger, U.S.-based company that’s clear about both who owns it and how it treats your data. If your goal is to torrent pirated files, view blocked content, assassinate an ambassador, or otherwise evade the long arm of your government (or the governments it shares intelligence with), one based offshore might be a better bet—provided you’re quite sure it doesn’t have secret ties to the government you’re trying to evade.
via Ian O’Byrne
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So if you’re looking for an alternative to the phone number, start with something more easily replaceable. Hardjono suggests, for example, that smartphones could generate unique identifiers by combing a user’s phone number and the IMEI device ID number assigned to every smartphone. That number would be valid for the life of the device, and would naturally change whenever you got a new phone. If you needed to change it for whatever reason, you could do so with relative ease. Under that system, you could continue to give out their phone number without worrying about what else it might affect.
We took a hacker to a café and, in 20 minutes, he knew where everyone else was born, what schools they attended, and the last five things they googled
These technologies provide amazing opportunities to provide real services to our lives. I experienced this first hand as we enjoyed our time in this road race, and will look forward to the next one together. I was impressed by the use of technology as I was interacting with these sources and signals. At the same time, I was still plagued by a number of questions as I was thinking about these tools, and other possible uses. In our current and future societies, we need to examine these uses and think about how or why we use these solutions.