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Technology 25 October 2021

The Week in Internet News: Snowden Warns of Anti-Encryption Efforts

Grant Gross
By Grant GrossGuest AuthorTechnology Reporter

The power of privacy: Surveillance whistleblower Edward Snowden warned that several governments across the globe, including the U.S., Russia, China, and the European Union, are trying to break encryption, CNBC reports. Speaking during the first Global Encryption Day, Snowden suggested that “privacy is power”. Privacy is “an insulating layer that allowed those of us who wield very little power in society, because we are individuals, to think and act and associate freely,” he added.

The power to censor: Meanwhile, the government of Russia has been taking several steps to censor Internet communications, the New York Times reports. In addition to demands from regulators going to Internet companies, the government has installed “black boxes” on the networks of telecom providers there, with the equipment “giving authorities startling new powers to block, filter and slow down websites that they did not want the Russian public to see.”

No broadband, no housing: A lack of broadband service is limiting the ability of U.S. residents to apply for state and federal housing assistance programs, available to people hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, reports. “Housing assistance programs shifted online during the pandemic, leaving behind many without broadband access,” the story says, and end-of-year deadlines for renters to apply for assistance are coming soon.

New name, same deal? Facebook may rename itself to rebrand itself after many months of bad publicity, with the company planning to focus on the so-called metaverse, The Verge says. “The coming name change … is meant to signal the tech giant’s ambition to be known for more than social media and all the ills that entail.” The rebranding effort could position the Facebook app as one of many products during a parent company that also owns Instagram, WhatsApp, and Oculus. 

Trump compromised: Former U.S. President Donald Trump soft launched a Twitter-like social network called Truth Social, and the site was immediately hacked, with a picture of a pooping pig posted to the “donaldjtrump” account, the Washington Post says. That’s not the only problem. The site runs on Mastodon, an open-source social media site tool, but Mastodon’s founder says Truth Social may violate the software’s licensing rules.

Strong encryption keeps people and nations safe online. Put security and privacy back in your own hands and make the switch to use an encrypted service today.

Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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