Briar – Next Step of The Crypto Messenger Evolution

Update: Há uma versão em português. Who still remembers ICQ, AIM and MSN? My first messenger was ICQ and I liked the fact that it was instant. In those days, I didn’t think much about security and was probably too young anyway. We can count ourselves lucky if those tools even used transport encryption. This means that our messages are encrypted on the way from our computer to the server, so nobody can see the content of the messages while they are in transit. Whoever has access to the server however can know the content since all messages get decrypted … Continue reading

What to use instead of WhatsApp and Threema?

WhatsApp is a messaging app for smartphones that allows you to send (text) messages free-of-charge. After WhatsApp’s recent acquisition by Facebook and in the face of the NSA revelations, many of the millions of WhatsApp users are looking for secure and trustworthy alternatives. Because this effects so many people, we at the Free Software Foundation Europe would like to be able to promote an alternative that respects your freedom and privacy. Therefore we decided to do some research and to hold a workshop on WhatsApp alternatives during our latest FSFE team meeting. While most tech-people really didn’t see the point … Continue reading

CyanogenMod removes tracking opt-out, reverses decision, but still uses Google Analytics

The most successful and best managed version of Android CyanogenMod is gathering data from users for statistical purposes. The statistics are public and users have the chance to opt-out of being counted. On March 31st this changed. The founder of the CyanogenMod initiative Steve Kondik removed the opt-out feature from the source code (commit). He explained his reasons in the commit message: Not having an accurate count of how many people are using CM is painful. I am making an executive decision to remove the opt-out and always turn stats on. The data is anonymized and there is nothing evil … Continue reading

Brave New Skyping World Revisited

A vigilant reader of my blog challenged my earlier criticism of Skype thoroughly and even though I felt his remarks could have been tempered a bit, here is my thoughtful response. I am very thankful for all of the comments I receive and encourage more people to express their opinions here. It is only when our opinions are constantly challenged, are we forced to rethink them and are less likely to believe in aged and false dogmas. Below I intend to counter the main points of his argument, but only after I have refashioned and strengthened my main argument. The … Continue reading

Ten Reasons Why You Should Boycott Skype

If you want to understand what Skype actually is, it might help to picture an almighty telephone and mail company. This company can not only spy on your private conversations and has total control over them, but it also forces you to use it. It owns the telephone lines and all mail transportation and does not let other companies use them. At the same time, you are bound to only use their telephone and mailboxes. Despite of these facts, more and more people are using Skype and even begin using the word “to skype” as a general term for talking … Continue reading

Facebook’s outragous Terms of Use

Many of us knew already that Facebook’s Terms of Use are unacceptable and that nobody should ever use Facebook, but work on a free (as in free speech) alternative to Facebook. A couple of weeks ago, Facebook changed their Terms of Use again without notifying its users. It basically grants itself an “irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license” to do anything they want with all our data. This license never expires and all your data will never be deleted, not even when you delete your account. The Blogosphere covers this in many places. Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg defended … Continue reading