Who Has Your Back?
Well, we all know our federal government’s been involved in monitoring US citizens, foreign nationals, and even people in foreign countries while they’re in their foreign countries. But did you realize that the federal government has been issuing orders from secret courts. Courts where you don’t get to defend yourself.
Who’s protecting your data from government requests and are they passing the information on to somewhere else?
Who Has Your Back? Government Data Requests 2015
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Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it might contain errors.
Airing date: 02/01/2017
Who Has Your Back
Craig Peterson: You, of course, have heard about security. You can’t listen to my podcast and radio show and TV appearances without really hearing a lot about it. Well, we’re gonna talk about it right now. The EFF security update. Now they publish this thing every year. And they go through and they list apps that have your back here. Who’s protecting your data from government requests and are they passing the information on. A lot of information here. We’re gonna talk about all of the major guys and where they fit in? What they’re doing? And then if you’re a business, have you ever wondered what you should do if perchance you do receive one of these secret court orders. What are some of the options there? We’re gonna do a bit of a TechSanity check. Craig Peterson here. Here we go.
Well we all know our federal government’s been involved in monitoring US citizens, foreign nationals, and even people in foreign countries while they’re in their foreign countries. But did you realize that the federal government has been issuing orders from secret courts. Courts where you don’t get to defend yourself. Courts where evidence is not presented in your defense. And by the way, you have no idea that you were even well, convicted, if you will in this court. The government then goes ahead and starts monitoring you, what you’re doing, and it can give gag orders in fact these orders come explicitly with the gag orders. So let me see. We’ve got a secret court issuing secret orders to monitor you, me, and other people. And then there’s the 3 degree rule. You probably heard about, you know within what, 5 degrees of Kevin Bacon you can get anybody almost in the whole world. But certainly in Hollywood, you can find them within 5 degrees. 5 people away from Kevin Bacon, you’ve got anybody in any movie ever. I guess he’s in so many movies.
Well this 3 degree rule our government’s been using with the NSA and others says that well, if you are someone that is a person of interest and they’re monitoring you because they got one of these secret orders. Or maybe you are a foreign national. And, or by the way, you’re speaking with someone who’s outside the country. And now they decide they’re going to look at you, they can go 3 people away from you to try and find more information. So your mother, your grandmother, etc. etc.
So, look at me. I have a radio show, right? I’m on TV. So I’m very frequently out there searching to find information that would be useful to my listeners, right? That makes sense, right? You probably would do the same thing. So I’m on websites trying to find stuff, trying to track things down. I’m sending emails off. I’ve interviewed more than 7500 CEOs of different companies. There’s got to be somebody in that whole quadra of people I’ve spoken to that has at least been within 2 degrees of under investigation, right? You gotta bet that. Absolutely bet that. So that means I’m probably under surveillance. I probably have been for years. So the government thinks it has the right to collect all of this information. Even though it seems to be quite clear constitutionally that we are supposed to be secure in our papers, in our correspondence, in our information. We have this absolute right to privacy in the United States.
So the Electronic Frontier Foundation is a company, an organization that’s been out there trying to defend our rights in the digital world. And they released these different little reports. And they released some pretty much annually. So when you have these types of reports that are coming out, are you paying attention to it? Do you realize what’s going
on? Well this particular report this year, as it has for the last few years, goes through and qualifies companies. And it talks about whether or not they follow industry-accepted best practices. Now a few years ago most companies didn’t. Today, they do. And I’m glad to say, looking at this article, and by the way you’ll find the link to this right there on my website at http://CraigPeterson.com. I also tweeted about it earlier. I think it was yesterday, so that you can find it online. But almost everybody has a little star showing that they industry-accepted best practices when it comes to protecting your data from government requests.
Now the big glaring one here that is not apparently following industry-accepted best practices is WhatsApp. Now, how many people are using WhatsApp? Most people seem to think that WhatsApp is really nicely secured. It’s a great little piece of software, right? It turns out it isn’t. WhatsApp is wide open. Now, there’s other categories here too. It tells users about government data demands. Discloses policies on data retention. Disclosed government content removal requests. And a pro-user public policy which opposes backdoors.
So all of these stuff is written up in this particular report and there’s a lot of details there but basically, I’m just gonna talk quickly about best companies first. So the best companies when it comes to protecting your information are: Adobe, Apple, CREDO Mobile, which most of us don’t have access to. Dropbox, that was a bit of a surprise to me, but congratulations to Dropbox. Sonic. Let’s see, Wikimedia, which are the guys that run a whole bunch of Wiki sites. WordPress.com and Yahoo. Now, Yahoo’s interesting because they’ve been under fire so much for security problems here over the last little while. But those are the best companies amongst all of the big ones. Now, you noticed a couple of lacking companies. Companies’ names you know. These are companies that don’t protect your data well or at all, in some cases, from government requests. And again you can get all of these information, all of the details online. You can go to http://eff.org and you can find it there. Or right there, it’s on my homepage at http://CraigPeterson.com.
So, companies that are not 5 star companies when it comes to protecting your data from government requests are: Amazon.com. AT&T, by the way, one of the worst enders. Comcast. Google, very bad. LinkedIn, not so good. Microsoft, bad. Pinterest, bad. Microsoft is worse. Slack is bad. Snapchat is bad. And by the way both of those don’t tell users about government data demands. And there’s this canary trick that many of these companies use and have used, I’ve talked about it in my radio show before. But the whole idea behind the canary is that they cannot reveal that they have received, got these secret government orders from secret government courts, right? Doesn’t that sound un-American to you? But anyways, they can’t reveal these. So what they do is they have a canary. Usually in their annual report, and sometimes more frequently like in quarterly reports. And the canary says we have not received any of these secret government orders. So the idea is keep an eye on their annual or quarterly reports and if all of a sudden they no longer say that they do not receive the secret government requests, guess what? They received those secret government requests, right? So keep an eye out on those types of canaries. But some of these companies won’t tell you at all about it and that includes Slack and Snapchat. Tumblr, bad. In fact, pretty bad here. They don’t even tell you about content removal notices over in Tumblr. Twitter is bad. Verizon is quite bad. WhatsApp is very bad. And that’s kind of the list here.
So we ran through a couple of dozen of the top companies and kudos again. Shout out to Adobe, Apple, CREDO Mobile, Dropbox, which by the way full disclosure. I’m a Dropbox reseller. I’ve used it for years. They’ve done some amazing things lately. So just full disclosure there. Sonic. Wikimedia. WordPress.com. And Yahoo, who are trying to do the best things they can.
So all of that stuff, again at http://CraigPeterson.com. You can find also there my direct phone number. You can text me ask questions. And make sure you sign up for my email list while you’re there and if you’re not on the podcast, sign up. Join the thousands of people that listen to my Daily podcasts as well as I podcast my As Heard Ons, where I’m on TV and
radio. I cover most of the Northeast, in fact, every week. So those are all in the podcast streams and my weekly radio shows as well.
Have a great day and we will chat a little bit tomorrow as we chat about Trump’s new cybersecurity executive order. It is in draft form. It’s supposed to come out yesterday or maybe today. It might take a little bit longer but we’re gonna talk about what President Trump is doing here with security and comparing a little bit to what President Obama did as well.
Take care. Have a great day. Will chat with you tomorrow.
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