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Russia: No, we don’t want to curb online freedoms – we want to protect internet

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Russia opens case against Facebook and Twitter over data-localization law
Facebook and Twitter are in breach of laws requiring personal data to be kept on Russian soil, say the authorities.

The Russian government has denied claims by activists that its plan to make the Russian internet separable from the rest of the internet has anything to do with clamping down on online freedoms.

Legislation for the potential independence of the Russian internet space — the so-called Runet — was proposed at the end of last year. 

The idea, which is roughly analogous to China’s Great Firewall, is to be able to block outside content and keep Russian traffic within the country’s borders. A test of the idea’s viability is scheduled to take place on April 1.

Last weekend, as many as 15,000 protesters rallied in Moscow against the internet sovereignty law, which was cleared in February by the Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament. An estimated 30 people were arrested before and during the rally.

The protests were spearheaded by the country’s Libertarian Party. According to an account by The Moscow Times, organizers and participants maintained that the legislation is designed to ease the way for censorship of the internet in Russia, and to make it harder for opposition figures to organize protests.

On Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied these claims, arguing that “everyone is calling for internet freedom”.

“We cannot support their misunderstanding and deception that the passed bills are somehow aimed at limiting internet freedom,” Peskov told reporters, according to TASS news agency.

“On the contrary, they are designed to ensure [the] internet’s viability amid potential aggressive steps in cyberspace against our country.”

Regarding a televised interview with a protester who apparently claimed the Kremlin wants to be able to cut Russia off the rest of the internet with the press of a button, Peskov said: “This is absolutely a deception. However, this participant somehow is not afraid that someone overseas will press this button and disconnect him from the internet.”

SEE: Can Russian hackers be stopped? Here’s why it might take 20 years (TechRepublic cover story) | download the PDF version

The law has always been pitched as a defensive measure. It would involve the completion of a national Domain Name System (DNS), and the localization of all content that the Russian authorities are prepared to let people see, in the event of the plan being activated. 

Russian internet exchange points and internet service providers would be “required to ensure the possibility of centralized control over traffic, in the event of a threat”.

The aggressor in that scenario is most likely the US, which repeatedly cited Russia as an online aggressor in last year’s National Cyber Strategy — though there is no evidence to suggest the US is planning to cut any countries off the internet.

As for Peskov’s claim that “as far as internet freedom is concerned, the position of [the protesters] can be backed,” there is an awful lot of evidence to suggest that the Kremlin is no fan of the concept.

In recent years, Russian authorities have introduced draconian data-retention and data-localization laws, banned virtual private networks (VPNs), prosecuted many people for sharing “extremist” memes, told mobile operators to record which people are using which messaging apps, banned the messaging app Telegram for refusing to hand over encryption keys, cracked down on bloggers, and called on citizens to help scour the internet for content that should be blocked.

Previous and related coverage

Russia to disconnect from the internet as part of a planned test

Russia’s internet contingency plan gets closer to reality.

Russia: We’re suing Facebook, Twitter for snubbing law on storing users’ data locally

Facebook and Twitter are in breach of laws requiring personal data to be kept on Russian soil, say the authorities.

Russia: Now everyone who uses a messaging app must be identifiable

New decree means messaging services will have to check users’ registration data with their mobile operator.

Google warned: Your YouTube ads interfere with our elections, says Russia

Google has drawn the ire of Russian authorities for running opposition-paid adverts about upcoming protests.

Telegram starts to play nice with security agencies over user data, but not in Russia

Under Telegram’s new privacy policy, it could hand over user IP and phone details given the right court order.

Russian cyber spies busted by Netherlands ‘left behind evidence of many operations’

Equipment seized by Dutch intelligence points to Russia’s involvement in hacking incidents around the world.

Stop jailing people for likes and memes, says Russia’s biggest social network

Mail.ru, which runs leading Russian social network Vkontakte, is calling for a change in the law.

Russia: We want volunteers to help us censor the internet

Russia’s interior minister says he wants citizens to scour the internet for banned material.

Russia’s ‘Big Brother’ data law now in force: Kremlin spies are the big winners

To help Russian security services, providers will now have to keep customers’ texts, calls, and chat logs in full.

Google, Amazon drawn into Telegram ban as Russia blocks millions of IP addresses

Russia’s quest to stop encrypted messaging app Telegram also blocks thousands of Amazon, Google addresses

Microsoft: We’ve just messed up Russian plans to attack US 2018 midterm elections

Claiming a win over Russian plans to hack US politicians, Microsoft unveils a new security service to detect attacks expected in the lead-up to the midterms.

What chief data officers can learn from Facebook about building better big data security practices TechRepublic

Here are four tips for improving big data governance strategies in light of the news about Cambridge Analytica’s harvesting of Facebook user profiles.

Wickr may have a workaround for Russia’s crackdown on encrypted chat CNET

A partnership with censorship-evading experts at Psiphon aims to keep the service going everywhere.

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Here’s What Hackers Are Really Doing With Your Info

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F1 Solutions explains what hackers are really doing with your data: selling it, exposing it, holding it for ransom, mining it for valuable info like credit card numbers, using it for other hacks, or simply showing it off. Some hacks have nothing to do with money; instead, the attackers are out for revenge. Others hack into “unhackable” systems or organizations just to show off or leak data in retaliation for something.

However, most cybercriminals are out for financial gain, and stolen data can contain valuable information. From credentials to credit cards and social security numbers, everything today is stored online. Hacked data is also sold in bulk on the dark web. F1 Solutions says social security numbers can sell for as low as $1, credit or debit cards from 50 cents to $1 per card (they’re often sold in bundles), and Paypal credentials can be worth as much as $200. Driver licenses, digital and physical passports, and even medical information are also sold online.

Ransomware, meanwhile, is a growing trend where hackers usually target small and medium organizations, take control of their systems and data, and then offer the company the chance of recovering their computers once a ransom is paid. Given the rise of blockchain technology, it’s also not surprising to learn that digital wallet credentials and credentials to NFTs sites are also increasingly stolen. Finally, data can be used to steal identities, commit fraud, do more hacking, and even vandalize websites.

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How To Send An Email Draft From Google Docs Directly To Gmail

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Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) is arguably the most tightly integrated office productivity suite available. The services it features — Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Form — already interconnect with other apps like Google Meet, Keep, and Drive, and with smart chips, Google Docs now seamlessly links with Gmail. The update makes the two apps more cohesive, allowing you to draft and send your emails without leaving Docs.

Smart chips belong to the Google Smart Canvas project, which is Google’s vision for tying all of its Workspace products together. You can access smart chips by simply typing @ in Docs. In addition to the new email feature, Google offers chips for rapid formatting and quickly attaching files, media, menus, and even calendar events (via Google Blog). You can also collaborate on your email drafts with other people just like you would a regular document. These other users can make suggestions, comments, or edits without hopping to a different window. Plus, Google Docs’ grammar and spelling checker now works on Gmail, too.

How to send a Gmail draft directly from Google Docs

You can draft emails within Google Docs, and when you’re ready, you’re given a preview inside a pop-up window and the option to directly send the message (via Google Support).

  1. Create a new Google Docs file (you can use this shortcut to create new documents quickly).

  2. Type @ and select Email Draft from the drop-down menu. Alternatively, you can navigate to Insert > Building blocks > Email draft.

  3. You’ll be greeted with the standard template for an email.

  4. In the “To” section, you can use @ to add saved people or type out their email addresses manually.

  5. Write the subject and email message.

  6. Hit the blue Gmail icon floating next to the template.

  7. A small pop-up window will load the Gmail Compose panel with the relevant text fields already filled out. If Gmail doesn’t support your Google Docs font, you might see a related warning.

  8. You can also make additional formatting changes at this point, attach files, insert signatures, schedule the draft to be sent later, or discard it within the Compose Mail pop-up.

  9. Hit send and close the preview window.

Why you should draft an email in Google Docs

Google’s powerful AI grammar and spellcheck tools will help you write strong, clear, and error-free messages. That may not be a big deal if you’re sending a straightforward reply or question, but you should consider drafting your next important email in Google Docs. Long-form emails sometimes require outlines, charts or tables, which can’t be designed in the Gmail Compose window. You can create, integrate, and email those tables, outline menus, and charts directly from Google Docs, saving you the hassle of copying and pasting them back and forth.

Google Docs also saves a copy of the draft; it can be quickly found with search, retrieved, and edited on the fly. The autosave feature should come in handy when sending an email to multiple addresses, as well. Instead of loading a new window for each recipient, you can simply hit the mail button next to the Gmail template every time. For emails that require approval or contribution from your team members, turn on the share feature built into Docs (via Google). You can then collaborate on emails and receive suggestions without leaving the Google Docs window.

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Elon Musk Just Put Up Even More Of His Money To Fund Twitter Takeover

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Musk has at least one reason to pull away from the Twitter purchase: the company’s shareholders are already beginning to push back against him. The board opted against re-electing longtime Musk supporter Egon Durban, who is the co-CEO of Silver Lake, a private equity firm that Musk could potentially have planned to tap for financial assistance in his campaign to build equity towards the Twitter buy.

Noted by Insider, the deal can be terminated at any point before it becomes finalized in October, for a meager $1 billion. Twitter has asserted that the deal will indeed go through at the full price agreed upon by both parties — $54.20 per share — regardless of any reasoning put up by Elon Musk to back away from the deal, or to drive the price down. Regardless, the Twitter purchase debacle hasn’t been good for Elon Musk’s net worth, which is still heavily tied into Tesla stock prices.

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