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Data honey pot...

Australian Government is quick to want to grab age verification data for its own uses

Link Here9th June 2024
Full story: Age Verification for Porn...Endangering porn users for the sake of the children
Another layer of secrecy is being stripped from Australian internet users. At a time when users are being forced to and over personal ID data in the name of age verification, it seems that governments will be quick in demanding that internet companies have to hand over such data to them.

It was announced that internet companies will now be forced to reveal the ages of active users supposedly so that the Australian Government can get a grip on the impact these platforms are having on Australian kids.

Last week the Albanese Government announced sweeping reforms intended to boost transparency and accountability for digital platforms used by Australians including popular social media, messaging and gaming services. Communications Minister Michelle Rowland said the government had amended the Basic Online Safety Expectations to better address new and emerging online safety issues and help hold the tech industry accountable.

The new Determination will also require companies to provide, on request of the eSafety Commissioner, a report on the number of active end-users of services in Australia, broken down according to the number of users who are children or adults.

eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant said that without information on users' ages, the Government was flying blind. Inman Grant said these strengthened powers meant her office would now be able to find out precisely how many children are on specific services. She said:

This needs to be a starting point of understanding how many under-aged users are on these platforms today, otherwise governments are flying blind. If we're serious about effectively managing the ages and stages at which a child can partake in social media, we need to move forward with all technology companies deploying effective age-assurance systems.



Patreon of indiscretion...

EFF Asks Court to Uphold Federal Law That Protects Online Video Viewers' Privacy and Free Expression

Link Here7th January 2024

As millions of internet users watch videos online for news and entertainment, it is essential to uphold a federal privacy law that protects against the disclosure of everyone's viewing history, EFF argued in court last month.

For decades, the Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA) has safeguarded people's viewing habits by generally requiring services that offer videos to the public to get their customers' written consent before disclosing that information to the government or a private party. Although Congress enacted the law in an era of physical media, the VPPA applies to internet users' viewing habits , too.

The VPPA, however, is under attack by Patreon. That service for content creators and viewers is facing a lawsuit in a federal court in Northern California, brought by users who allege that the company improperly shared information about the videos they watched on Patreon with Facebook.

Patreon argues that even if it did violate the VPPA, federal courts cannot enforce it because the privacy law violates the First Amendment on its face under a legal doctrine known as overbreadth . This doctrine asks whether a substantial number of the challenged law's applications violate the First Amendment, judged in relation to the law's plainly legitimate sweep. Courts have rightly struck down overbroad laws because they prohibit vast amounts of lawful speech. For example, the Supreme Court in Reno v. ACLU invalidated much of the Communications Decency Act's (CDA) online speech restrictions because it placed an "unacceptably heavy burden on protected speech."

EFF is second to none in fighting for everyone's First Amendment rights in court, including internet users (in Reno mentioned above ) and the companies that host our speech online. But Patreon's First Amendment argument is wrong and misguided. The company seeks to elevate its speech interests over those of internet users who benefit from the VPPA's protections.

As EFF, the Center for Democracy & Technology, the ACLU, and the ACLU of Northern California argued in their friend-of-the-court brief, Patreon's argument is wrong because the VPPA directly advances the First Amendment and privacy interests of internet users by ensuring they can watch videos without being chilled by government or private surveillance.

"The VPPA provides Americans with critical, private space to view expressive material, develop their own views, and to do so free from unwarranted corporate and government intrusion," we wrote. "That breathing room is often a catalyst for people's free expression."

As the brief recounts, courts have protected against government efforts to learn people's book buying and library history , and to punish people for viewing controversial material within the privacy of their home. These cases recognize that protecting people's ability to privately consume media advances the First Amendment's purpose by ensuring exposure to a variety of ideas, a prerequisite for robust debate. Moreover, people's video viewing habits are intensely private, because the data can reveal intimate details about our personalities, politics, religious beliefs, and values.

Patreon's First Amendment challenge is also wrong because the VPPA is not an overbroad law. As our brief explains, "[t]he VPPA's purpose, application, and enforcement is overwhelmingly focused on regulating the disclosure of a person's video viewing history in the course of a commercial transaction between the provider and user." In other words, the legitimate sweep of the VPPA does not violate the First Amendment because generally there is no public interest in disclosing any one person's video viewing habits that a company learns purely because it is in the business of selling video access to the public.

There is a better path to addressing any potential unconstitutional applications of the video privacy law short of invalidating the statute in its entirety. As EFF's brief explains, should a video provider face liability under the VPPA for disclosing a customer's video viewing history, they can always mount a First Amendment defense based on a claim that the disclosure was on a matter of public concern.

Indeed, courts have recognized that certain applications of privacy laws, such as the Wiretap Act and civil claims prohibiting the disclosure of private facts, can violate the First Amendment. But generally courts address the First Amendment by invalidating the case-specific application of those laws, rather than invalidating them entirely.

"In those cases, courts seek to protect the First Amendment interests at stake while continuing to allow application of those privacy laws in the ordinary course," EFF wrote. "This approach accommodates the broad and legitimate sweep of those privacy protections while vindicating speakers' First Amendment rights."

Patreon's argument would see the VPPA gutted--an enormous loss for privacy and free expression for the public. The court should protect against the disclosure of everyone's viewing history and protect the VPPA.



Encrypted Client Hello...

Internet company Cloudflare enables a feature preventing ISP website blocking at least for websites that use Cloudflare

Link Here9th October 2023
A few days ago, Internet infrastructure company Cloudflare implemented widespread support for Encrypted Client Hello (ECH), a privacy technology that aims to render web traffic surveillance futile. This means that site blocking implemented by ISPs will be rendered useless in most, if not all cases.

ECH is a newly proposed privacy standard that's been in the making for a few years. The goal is to increase privacy for Internet users and it has already gained support from Chrome , Firefox , Edge , and other browsers. Users can enable it in the settings, which may still be experimental in some cases.just

The main barrier to widespread adoption is that this privacy technology is a two-way street. This means that websites have to support it as well. Cloudflare has made a huge leap forward on that front by enabling it by default on all free plans, which currently serve millions of sites. Other subscribers can apply to have it enabled. Cloudflare writes in an announcement:

Cloudflare is a big proponent of privacy for everyone and is excited about the prospects of bringing this technology to life. Encrypted Client Hello (ECH) is a successor to ESNI and masks the Server Name Indication (SNI) that is used to negotiate a TLS handshake. This means that whenever a user visits a website on Cloudflare that has ECH enabled, no one except for the user, Cloudflare, and the website owner will be able to determine which website was visited.

If you're a website, and you care about users visiting your website in a fashion that doesn't allow any intermediary to see what users are doing, enable ECH today on Cloudflare

Tests conducted by TorrentFreak show that ISP blocking measures in the UK, the Netherlands, and Spain were rendered ineffective.



Offsite Article: Ducks vs trackers...

Link Here26th June 2023
DuckDuckGo are creating a privacy friendly internet browser

See article from

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