from the ow!-my-foot!-shot-it-right-off! dept
In fact, as many quickly noted, Roskomnadzor's own website happens to be secured with a certificate from... Comodo:
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Jul 26th 2016 7:04am
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Jul 13th 2016 4:00pm
private internet access
To Our Beloved Users,Of course, the end result of this is going to make Russian internet users a lot less safe. The war on encryption is a really dumb idea, and kudos to PIA for taking a stand.
The Russian Government has passed a new law that mandates that every provider must log all Russian internet traffic for up to a year. We believe that due to the enforcement regime surrounding this new law, some of our Russian Servers (RU) were recently seized by Russian Authorities, without notice or any type of due process. We think it’s because we are the most outspoken and only verified no-log VPN provider.
Luckily, since we do not log any traffic or session data, period, no data has been compromised. Our users are, and will always be, private and secure.
Upon learning of the above, we immediately discontinued our Russian gateways and will no longer be doing business in the region.
To make it clear, the privacy and security of our users is our number one priority. For preventative reasons, we are rotating all of our certificates. Furthermore, we’re updating our client applications with improved security measures to mitigate circumstances like this in the future, on top of what is already in place. In addition, our manual configurations now support the strongest new encryption algorithms including AES-256, SHA-256, and RSA-4096.
All Private Internet Access users must update their desktop clients at https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/pages/client-support/ and our Android App at Google Play. Manual openvpn configurations users must also download the new config files from the client download page.
We have decided not to do business within the Russian territory. We’re going to be further evaluating other countries and their policies.
In any event, we are aware that there may be times that notice and due process are forgone. However, we do not log and are default secure against seizure.
If you have any questions, please contact us at email@example.com.
Thank you for your continued support and helping us fight the good fight.
Private Internet Access Team
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Jul 8th 2016 10:42am
After signing controversial anti-terrorist legislation earlier today, President Putin ordered the Federal Security Service (the FSB, the post-Soviet successor to the KGB) to produce encryption keys to decrypt all data on the Internet. According to the executive order, the FSB has two weeks to do it. Responsibility for carrying out Putin's instructions falls on Alexander Bortnikov, the head of the FSB.As the article notes, there's a lot of uncertainty here, because in many cases, when things are encrypted locally or where there are private keys, there isn't any way for service providers to turn over any keys.
by Karl Bode
Mon, Jun 27th 2016 11:44am
"Vladimir Medinsky, Russia's minister of culture and a loyal supporter of President Vladimir Putin, claims the online streaming service is on the US government payroll. Speaking to a Russian news service, he said the White House had realised "how to enter every home, creep into every television, and through that television, into the head of every person on earth, with the help of Netflix."Scary! Nobody denies that both countries have used oceans of disinformation and media propaganda to portray the other side in a negative light, but suggesting Netflix has much of a motivation beyond money is an entertaining leap. Medinsky's complaint is particularly amusing given that Russia was just exposed for running disinformation factories twenty-four hours a day whose sole function is to fill the internet with anti-Western bile. But regardless of which side is generating the propaganda; if your social values are so fragile they can be unraveled by a half-hour sitcom or a documentary, you may want to reconsider your ethos.
"It turns out that our ideological friends [the US government] understand perfectly well which is the greatest of the arts," he said, alluding Lenin's famous comment about the propaganda of cinema. "And you thought, what? That all these gigantic start-ups appear by themselves? That some boy student thought something up and billions of dollars flutter from above?"
by Glyn Moody
Thu, Jun 23rd 2016 8:33am
A new bill in the Russian Duma, the country's lower legislative house, proposes to make cryptographic backdoors mandatory in all messaging apps in the country so the Federal Security Service -- the successor to the KGB -- can obtain special access to all communications within the country.That's from a report in The Daily Dot. But it appears there's another angle here, too, as The Moscow Times explains:
Apps like WhatsApp, Viber, and Telegram, all of which offer varying levels of encrypted security for messages, are specifically targeted in the "anti-terrorism" bill, according to Russian-language media. Fines for offending companies could reach 1 million rubles or about $15,000.
The Russian State Duma has recommended new anti-terrorism measures requiring telecommunications operators to store phone and Internet records for three years.Of course, being able to read encrypted messages or inspect the internet activities of Russians for the last three years is hardly enough to keep everything locked down: what about all those websites stirring up trouble? The new measures wouldn't deal with them, would they? But don't worry, Russia's plucky Attorney General has spotted the problem, and is on it, as the Meduza site informs us:
Companies are currently only required to record and store connection details for six months. The new law would change the system to ensure that the content of any call or message would be saved for half a year, while the connection details would be stored for three years, the Interfax news agency reported Friday. All information would be available to state officials "on demand," the Meduza news website reported in May.
Russian Attorney General Yuri Chaika has proposed granting regional prosecutors the authority to block websites without any judicial oversight, if the websites spread information about preparations for unsanctioned political demonstrations and calls to mass unrest.Well, that's a relief: I was beginning to worry that Russia might be losing control of the situation.
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Jun 22nd 2016 9:33am
The memorandum reflects the principles and rules of self-regulation in the interaction of rights holders with internet facilities, essentially protecting copyright on the internet.That feels like something the reporter pulled straight from a press release and didn't bother to check what it meant. Still, the MPAA getting into bed with the Russian state internet censor should raise some pretty serious questions. The Russian government has, somewhat infamously, been known to use copyright law to intimidate and silence government critics. The government also has used SOPA-like laws to encourage spying on users.
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Jun 8th 2016 10:37am
As the Kremlin claims unequivocal support among Russians for its policies both at home and abroad, a crackdown is underway against ordinary social media users who post things that run against the official narrative. Here the Kremlin's interests coincide with those of investigators, who are anxious to report high conviction rates for extremism. The Kremlin didn't immediately comment on the issue.So what kind of "hate speech" on social media is now leading to Russians being sent to prison? Apparently anyone criticizing Russia's involvement in Ukraine:
At least 54 people were sent to prison for hate speech last year, most of them for sharing and posting things online, which is almost five times as many as five years ago, according to the Moscow-based Sova group, which studies human rights, nationalism and xenophobia in Russia. The overall number of convictions for hate speech in Russia increased to 233 last year from 92 in 2010.
Several months after his arrest, Bubeyev pleaded guilty to inciting hatred toward Russians and was sentenced to a year in prison. His offense was sharing articles, photos and videos from Ukrainian nationalist groups, including those of the volunteer Azov battalion fighting Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine. Among them was an article about the graves of Russian soldiers killed in Ukraine and a video describing Russia as a "fascist aggressor" and showing Russian tanks purportedly crossing into Ukraine.And it's not like this guy was a widely known individual. The article quotes his wife saying: "His page wasn't popular — he only had 12 friends."
Less than two weeks after the verdict, Bubeyev was charged again. This time, he was accused of calling for "acts of extremism" and "actions undermining Russia's territorial integrity." He had shared the picture of a toothpaste tube and also an article under the headline "Crimea is Ukraine" by a controversial blogger, who is in jail now, calling for military aggression against Russia.
by Karl Bode
Fri, Jun 3rd 2016 7:39pm
"In response to her reporting, pro-Russian activists in Helsinki organized a protest outside the headquarters of Yle, accusing it of being a troll factory itself. Only a handful of people showed up. At the same time, Ms. Aro has been peppered with abusive emails, vilified as a drug dealer on social media sites and mocked as a delusional bimbo in a music video posted on YouTube. “There are so many layers of fakery you get lost,” said Ms. Aro, who was awarded the Finnish Grand Prize for Journalism in March.Finland is an EU member but has contemplated joining NATO -- talks about which accelerated after Russia's not-so-subtle invasion of the Ukraine. Russia, in turn, has started leaning heavily on its online disinformation puppets to try and turn public sentiment against such a move. Part of the effectiveness of Putin's paid trolls is that it's impossible to differentiate them from the usual wash of vitriol and idiocy that coats online interactions on any given day. As such, it's not entirely unlike trying to have a fist fight with a running stream, reflected in the Finnish media's confusion on how to tackle the problem outside of things like "open letters":
...She (also) received a call late at night on her cellphone from a number in Ukraine. Nobody spoke, and all she could hear was gunfire. This was followed by text and email messages denouncing her as a “NATO whore” and a message purporting to come from her father — who died 20 years ago — saying he was “watching her.”
"The false claim that Ms. Aro was a drug dealer triggered an unusual open letter signed by more than 20 Finnish editors infuriated by what they denounced as the “poisoning of public debate” with “insults, defamation and outright lies.” The Finnish police began an investigation into the website for harassment and hate speech.The European Union doesn't appear to be particularly prepared for this new world of online information warfare either, and has embraced arguably outdated concepts like "the truth" or by cataloging the most egregious claims in a weekly report dubbed the "Disinformation Review." And while disinformation and propaganda is certainly nothing new (especially here in the west), it's clear that Putin has taken online information warfare to an entirely new level. One the international community isn't quite ready for -- and is certain to respond to with no limit of bad ideas and even worse laws over time.
“I don’t know if these people are acting on orders from Russia, but they are clearly what Lenin called ‘useful idiots,’” said Mika Pettersson, the editor of Finland’s national news agency and an organizer of the editors’ open letter. “They are playing into Putin’s pocket. Nationalist movements in Finland and other European countries want to destabilize the European Union and NATO, and this goes straight into Putin’s narrative.”
by Karl Bode
Wed, Jun 1st 2016 10:41am
"Bio: The bio should indicate that the user is not affiliated with the account subject by stating a word such as "parody," "fake," "fan," or "commentary," and be done so in a way that would be understood by the intended audience.An archived copy of the account indicates it did use the word parody in the byline, just apparently not clearly enough for the parody police at Twitter's support department:
Account name: The name should not be the exact name of the account subject without some other distinguishing word, such as "not," "fake," or "fan," and be done so in a way that would be understood by the intended audience."
by Glyn Moody
Tue, May 17th 2016 11:40am
As hardware and software advance, so facial recognition becomes more accurate and more attractive as a potential solution to various problems. Techdirt first wrote about this area back in 2012, when Facebook had just started experimenting with facial recognition (now we're at the inevitable lawsuit stage). Since then, we've reported on an increasing number of organizations exploring the use of facial recognition, including the FBI, the NSA, Boston police and even the church. But all of those pale in comparison to what is happening in Russia, reported here by the Guardian:
FindFace, launched two months ago and currently taking Russia by storm, allows users to photograph people in a crowd and work out their identities, with 70% reliability.
One of FindFace's founders, Alexander Kabakov, points out the service could have a big impact on dating:
It works by comparing photographs to profile pictures on Vkontakte, a social network popular in Russia and the former Soviet Union, with more than 200 million accounts. In future, the designers imagine a world where people walking past you on the street could find your social network profile by sneaking a photograph of you, and shops, advertisers and the police could pick your face out of crowds and track you down via social networks.
"If you see someone you like, you can photograph them, find their identity, and then send them a friend request." The interaction doesn't always have to involve the rather creepy opening gambit of clandestine street photography, he added: "It also looks for similar people. So you could just upload a photo of a movie star you like, or your ex, and then find 10 girls who look similar to her and send them messages."
Definitely not creepy at all.
Of course, a 70% hit rate isn't that good: perhaps FindFace isn't really such a threat to public anonymity. The trouble is, the Guardian article reports that the company has performed three million searches on its database of around a billion photographs using just four common-or-garden servers. It's easy to imagine what might be achieved with some serious hardware upgrades, along with tweaks to the software, or with access to even bigger, more complete databases. For example government ones: according to the Guardian, FindFace's founders think the big money will come from selling their system to "law enforcement and retail." Although they've not yet been contacted by Russia's FSB security agency, they say they'd be happy to listen to offers from them. Perhaps comforted by the thought of all that future business coming his way, Kabakov is philosophical about the social implications of his company's technology:
"In today’s world we are surrounded by gadgets. Our phones, televisions, fridges, everything around us is sending real-time information about us. Already we have full data on people's movements, their interests and so on. A person should understand that in the modern world he is under the spotlight of technology. You just have to live with that."
That may well be true. But the question is, are we ready to do so?
Explore some core concepts:
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