DuckDuckGo Isn’t as Private as You Think

After another week of sadly tragic news and moral failures of the powerful, it’s good to know that you can at least depend on the little things, such as the search engine and the “privacy-focused” browser DuckDuckGo resist the temptation to run out and help corporations to monitor its users. . Oh, wait.

Yes, a security researcher revealed this week that even DuckDuckGo, which is marketed as the “Internet Privacy Company,” made an exception for its Microsoft business partner by blocking its browser from ad crawlers. on websites, prompting accusations of betraying their alleged privacy ethos. DuckDuckGo milkshake comes amid growing awareness of how the interests of online surveillance are growing as indications grow that the U.S. Supreme Court will overturn Roe against WadeProtections on abortion rights: A new report this week from the Surveillance Technology Monitoring Project presented all the technological means available to law enforcement and private litigants to monitor those seeking abortion. . Roe be achieved. And more than 40 members of Congress have asked Google to stop tracking location data on Android ahead of potential Roe reversal.

In other privacy news, we looked at how the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation has failed to significantly curb Big Tech’s privacy abuses four years after its adoption. Australia’s digital driving licenses turn out to be too easy to falsify. China has been revolting with accusations of American cyberespionage. We talked to the inventor of the browser “cookie” about how to manage cookie settings for privacy, and these pop-up cookies related to ubiquitous cookies on websites. And we also interviewed the CEO of Protonmail, now rebranded as Proton, about his ambitions to offer a wider range of privacy-focused services beyond email, hopefully with no surveillance exceptions for its partners. commercial.

But there is more. As usual, we have compiled all the news that this week we have not disclosed or dealt with in depth. Click on the headlines to read the full stories. And stay safe out there.

Cybersecurity and privacy researcher Zach Edwards discovered a glaring hole in browser privacy protections allegedly focused on DuckDuckGo’s privacy: by examining browser data streams on the Facebook-owned website, Edwards went find that ads placed by Microsoft on the site continued to communicate. to Microsoft-owned domains such as Bing and LinkedIn. DuckDuckGo CEO Gabriel Weinberg responded to Edwards on Twitter, admitting that “our search syndication agreement prevents us from stopping the loading of Microsoft scripts,” basically admitting that a collaboration agreement that DuckDuckGo reached with Microsoft includes the creation of a hack that allows Microsoft to track its users. browsers. Weinberg added that DuckDuckGo is “working to change that.” Meanwhile, the revelation dropped a glaring hole in the company’s reputation as a rare technology company that preserves privacy. It turns out that this thing about surveillance capitalism is pretty hard to escape.

Continuing with this issue of surveillance capitalism, Twitter agreed this week to pay a $ 150 million fine after the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice accused it of selling user data it had collected under the guise of security. Twitter had asked users to share emails and phone numbers for security reasons, such as two-factor authentication and account recovery, but eventually sold the data to advertisers who wanted to target ads to their users. This bait and switch violated a deal the Twitter made with the FTC in 2011 after a previous privacy misbehavior.

If the world doubted that China’s “re-education camps” for Muslim minorities in its Xinjiang region were in fact prisons with euphemistic names, a massive leak known as the Xinjiang police archives should correct this illusion. · Illusion. The leak, provided by an unknown source to researcher Adrien Zenz, who in turn provided the information to a global media group, includes a large collection of tens of thousands of internal files, manuals and even and all detailed photos revealing life in one of Xinjiang’s prisons. The files reveal, for example, shooting orders to kill any prisoner trying to escape the camps and guidelines for chaining inmates when they are transferred between different parts of the facility, almost not the practices of a “vocational school”. as China describes the fields in the world. It also includes photos of detainees in the camp, who were only 15 years old and up to 73, often imprisoned for years without trial for crimes as simple as studying Islamic texts.

In a strange repeat of the events of 2016, researchers from Google and the UK government revealed that a site that published leaked documents from a group of pro-Brexit British politicians was in fact created by hackers based in in Russia. The site, called the Very English State Coop, described its collection of leaked emails as coming from an influential group of right-wing Brexit supporters, including former MI6 chief Richard Dearlove. But Google’s threat analysis group told Reuters that the site appears to have been created by a group of Russian hackers called Cold River. The former intelligence chief of the United Kingdom, Dearlove, warned that the leaking of his e-mails should be understood as an operation of Russian influence, especially in view of the current frozen relations between the West and Russia. for its illegal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

An accidentally dropped order, discovered by Forbes, revealed that an Iraqi man had allegedly tried to assassinate former President George W. Bush in Dallas, leading to a video of Bush’s house in November. According to the order, the FBI says it thwarted the plot by using a confidential informant and monitoring the metadata of the possible killer’s WhatsApp messages. The case shows how, despite claims by law enforcement that end-to-end encryption can hinder their investigations, the FBI has managed to control encrypted applications such as WhatsApp and even penetrate communications through use of covert informants.

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