Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Evil Wednesday roundup

The Washington Post adopts HTTPS. So that governments can’t see what articles you’re reading. It’s a welcome first step.

PayPal has backtracked on its plan to force its customers to accept robotic marketing calls.  We’re safe until it works out how to sneak it in another way.

UK health insurer extorts its customers into downloading a Facebook-owned fitness tracking app. They’ll lose a perk (a free cinema ticket each week) if they don’t. And they’re being very quiet about the Facebook connection, too.  The T&Cs say they can share data with Facebook.  This is not exactly helping users to make informed choices about their privacy.

Facebook can recognise you without seeing your face.

Surprising nobody, the police in America can arrest you for insulting them.

Tony Blair (and subsequent Prime Ministers) hate transparency of government, not surprising anyone not surprised by people being arrested for insulting US police. Spoiler alert: the UK government purges stuff it doesn’t want people to see. “Tony Blair is on record as hating the Freedom of Information Act, because it is used by journalists as "a weapon" against politicians.” Yeah, Tony, that’s kind of the point…

A housebuyer has £50k stolen after her emails were apparently somehow intercepted and scammers posed as her solicitors. I wonder if there’s a resource for finding solicitors who are encryption-aware?

Chrome can turn on your mic and listen to what you say.

Have an evil day.

Don’t ban photography in Europe

The European Parliament is voting on whether to remove the Freedom of Panorama in Europe.  When there’s Freedom of Panorama, you can take photographs if you’re on public ground and then do more or less what you want with them: publish them, sell them…  When there’s no Freedom of Panorama, you can’t.  You’d have to get permission from whoever holds the rights to the buildings that would appear in the photograph, which would be impossible in general.

This is bad for people who just want to take nice photos, but it’s also a bad thing for all of us.  If we can’t take photographs of, say, police behaving badly, then we don’t really have any freedom at all.

There’s a petition.