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2022: July-Sept

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Offsite article: DoHoT...

Link Here30th September 2022
Better security, privacy, and integrity via load-balanced DNS over HTTPS over Tor. By Alec Muffett

See article from



Extract: The Media Demanded That Airbnb Do More Background Checks...

Now It's Upset That Airbnb Is Banning People With Criminal Records

Link Here 19th September 2022
For years, the media has hyped up the idea that Airbnbs may be dangerous and used by criminals. At some point, it's no wonder that the company would start to just cut off people with criminal records, because of the PR problems it causes. The company even went so far as to buy a background check company that it had used.

Either way, it seems clear that Airbnb is going too far in banning people like Hallam, but it really shouldn't be a surprise. If we keep pushing moral panic style stories about the dangers of criminals using services like Airbnb, we shouldn't then be surprised when the company says okay, no more people with a criminal record no matter how totally unfair that might be.

See full article from

Can't we find a way to recognise good people from bad? Are we paving the way for the acceptability of Chinese style social scoring?



Signing up for personalised power cuts...

Colorado 'smart' home temperature control apps find that they can be used by the power company to forcibly turn down your settings

Link Here3rd September 2022
Thousands of Xcel customers in Colorado were locked out of their 'smart' thermostats, meaning they had no control of the temperatures in their homes.

The thermostat displayed a message saying he could not turn up the cooling because he had been locked out due to an energy emergency.

The app users had signed up for a scheme whereby they receive discounts in exchange for volunteering for a personalised power cut when the electricity company is running out of capacity.

Xcel confirmed that some customers had been locked out of their thermostats for hours. Vice President of Customer Solutions and Innovation Emmett Romine said that the 22,000 customers who could not control their thermostats had registered for the Colorado AC Rewards program. He explained:

It's a voluntary program. Let's remember that this is something that customers choose to be a part of based on the incentives. For participating in the program, customers received $100 in credit and $25 annually.

He added that it was the first time in the six years since the program was launched that customers were not able to override their thermostats. He said there was an energy emergency caused by hot weather, heavy usage of air conditioners, and an unexpected outage in Pueblo.

Presumably the same sort of 'emergency override' capability is one of the reason that UK power companies are so keen on getting people to have 'smart' meters.



Gambling on surveillance...

ICO called on to investigate the massive scale of data mining and snooping at the online betting company Sky Bet.

Link Here8th August 2022
Internet censors of the Information Commissioner's Office has been called on to implement  a full-scale probe into how the online betting industry is exploiting new technology to profile and target gamblers.

The move follows a complaint by  the campiagn group Clean Up Gambling. It alleges that Sky Bet and its partners are creating detailed behavioural profiles of customers and sharing thousands of data points with dozens of third parties.

Clean Up Gambling alleges that one advertising partner, Signal, owned by TransUnion, has a dossier of 186 attributes for an individual, including their propensity to gamble, their favourite games and their susceptibility to specific types of marketing.

TransUnion said it assists gambling companies in preventing fraud, confirming age and identity, checking affordability and protecting vulnerable customers, to support responsible gambling.



Better safe than sorry...

WhatsApp would rather be blocked in Britain rather than submit to UK demands for encryption backdoors

Link Here31st July 2022
The boss of WhatsApp says it will not lower the security of its messenger service. Will Cathcart told the BBC.

If asked by the government to weaken encryption, it would be very foolish to accept.

We continue to work with the tech sector to support the development of innovative technologies that protect public safety without compromising on privacy.

End-to-end encryption (E2EE) provides the most robust level of security, because - by design - only the intended recipient holds the key to decrypt the message, which is essential for private communication.

The technology underpins the online exchanges on apps including WhatsApp and Signal and - optionally - on Facebook messenger and Telegram. Only the sender and receiver can read those messages - not law enforcement or the technology giants.

The UK government wants phone software to scan people's phones for banned material prior to being encrypted for a message.

Cathcart explained:

Client-side scanning cannot work in practice. Because millions of people use WhatsApp to communicate across the world, it needs to maintain the same standards of privacy across every country.

If we had to lower security for the world, to accommodate the requirement in one country, that...would be very foolish for us to accept, making our product less desirable to 98% of our users because of the requirements from 2%.

What's being proposed is that we - either directly or indirectly through software - read everyone's messages. I don't think people want that.

Ella Jakubowska, policy adviser at campaign group European Digital Rights, said:

Client-side scanning is almost like putting spyware on every person's phone. It also creates a backdoor for malicious actors to have a way in to be able to see your messages.

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