Terminology: Blank

blank - noun - Someone who has scrubbed or never created any substantial presence on the Internet. No social media accounts (or deleted ones), no domains registered, no known e-mail addresses, no photographs, no projects of any kind. While an impressive privacy-related feat in the twenty-first century, it is not without its drawbacks.

e.g., "I'm sorry, but we can't hire you, because we can't complete the background check. As far as we know you don't have any kind of background. You're a blank."

Announcing the Washington, DC Cryptoparty!

On 14 October 2012, HacDC will be hosting the first #cryptoparty in Washington, DC. Everyone in the DC metroplex who is concerned about privacy, anonymity, surveillance, stalking, journalism, or activism are invited to attend, regardless of your level of technical expertise or field of endeavor. At the #cryptoparty, experts will be on hand to teach you what you need to know to evade surveillance, protect your e-mail from eavesdroppers, protect the data on your hard drives and USB keys from theft, and communicate safely.

The #cryptoparty begins at 5:00pm sharp on 14 October 2012, so bring your laptops, smartphones …

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HacDC: Privacy, anonymity, and operational security.

On Saturday, 8 October 2011 I will be at HacDC giving an impromptu class on personal privacy, online anonymity, and operational security for activists. I will be talking about some of the online surveillance technologies in use right now, risks inherent in organizing online and how to mitigate them, practical cryptography, practical anonymity, and operational security. If you are not familiar with using PGP or GnuPG and would like to generate and distribute a key or learn how to send and receive encrypted and signed e-mail, I can walk you through the process during the class. I will probably be …

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DCLUG presentation: Tor

I'll be giving a presentation on Tor for the Washington DC Linux Users' Group the evening of 19 May 2010. The LUG meeting will start at 1900 EST5EDT (7:00pm) and run until 2100 EST5EDT (9:00pm) or thereabouts; afterward folks usually go to dinner nearby and hang out for a while. The meeting location is 2025 M Street NW; Washington, DC; 20036. From the street look for the big Tux the Linux Penguin poster or a sign for the LUG.

I hope to see everyone there!

NOVALUG presentation: Anonymity and Tor.

Confirmation's just hit the NOVALUG website - I will be presenting at the next meeting on 10 April 2010 on the topic of anonymity technologies in general and Tor in particular. Tor is the name of a free/open source utility which protects the user from traffic analysis and some content monitoring by passive attackers. I will discuss the origins of Tor as well as the threat model it was designed for, its capabilities, and potential attacks against the network as a whole and individual users thereof. I will also talk about operational security for users and Tor nodes. I will …

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Tor infrastructure compromised. Upgrade now!

A most disturbing announcement was posted to the or-talk mailing list by Roger Dingledine, one of the core developers of Tor. Earlier this month it was discovered that moria1 and gablemoo, two of the seven directory authorities of the Tor darknet were compromised along with a server added to the project's domain to track and serve metrics. One of the boxen was imaged for later analysis but all were reconstructed. New crypto keys were cut for the directory authorities due to the compromise, necessitating a new release of the software. Scarily, moria also hosted the Subversion and git repositories for …

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Privacy, anonymity, and security, part the first.

Longtime readers of my weblog are no doubt familiar with my preoccuptation with security, which lead to my working in that field of endeavour, and also my interest in personal privacy. A couple of weeks ago, some of my readers asked me what they, as computer users who aren't experts but aren't starting from square zero either could do on a personal level. I thought and thought for a couple of days and put together a list of things, and then realized that making all of it make sense would take much more than a single post because it's not …

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Fun and games in the dark.

If you've read my website for any length of time, you're probably aware of the fact that I am very much a privacy advocate - I think that it is none of anyone's business what you search for on the Net, what you read, or where you go. Furthermore, it is also a closely held belief of mine that so long as you aren't bothering anyone, aren't causing trouble, and aren't doing anything to anyone of legal age in your country of residence that's hurting anyone (or if it is, it's consensual and has been negotiated for in advance), it is …

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A significant blow to anonymity - E-Gold indicted!

E-Gold is an online bank which allows customers to anonymously deposit money into an account and transfer it electronically to other accounts on financial networks around the world, very much like Swiss or South American banks allow you to do if you've got enough money. The thing about E-Gold is that you don't have to be as rich as a James Bond villain to open an account, you only need a small amount of money to open one of their numbered accounts. For the past couple of years, however, the United States government has been investigating them, and brought the …

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