WordPress.com To Start Serving Pages Over SSL As Anti-Surveillance Measure

reset-the-net-600 Automattic, the company that created and owns the WordPress publishing platform, is joining the battle against government surveillance. The company announced today that it'll begin serving pages on all of its WordPress.com subdomains only over SSL by the end of 2014. Paul Sieminski, Automattic's General Counsel, explained the move this way: In the face of intrusive surveillance, we believe that everyone in the tech community needs to stand up and do what they can, starting with their own sites and platforms. For us, that means working to secure the connection between users and our websi [...]

Yahoo Makes Secure Search The Default

yahoo-new-logo-featured Yahoo has now joined Google in making all searches people do automatically go through a secure server, to help prevent eavesdropping by outsiders. Unlike Google, however, Yahoo has failed to make an important change to how "referrer" data is passed along, which will result in people thinking Yahoo Search has suddenly dropped in popularity. Yahoo.com Goes Secure The switch only seems to be happening on Yahoo.com, not on other Yahoo properties I've checked like Yahoo UK, Yahoo Germany, Yahoo France or Yahoo Japan. Yahoo did confirm to us that the switch happened but didn't clarify on exact [...]

Microsoft Calls For International Conference On Government Surveillance

online privacy Last week President Obama announced reforms to curb NSA domestic spying abuses. There was a range of reactions but many critics contend he didn't go far enough. The proposed reforms also probably don't help the tech industry very much. Perhaps feeling let down or skeptical that the US reforms will change much Microsoft's General Counsel Brad Smith is calling for an international conference on data privacy and government surveillance: While there is no substitute for American leadership and action on these issues, the time has come for a broader international discussion. We need an int [...]

Tech Leaders Join To Demand “Global Surveillance Reform”

privacy-security-online-computer Major US tech companies have joined together to urge the US government and the governments of other countries to limit internet-based spying on individuals and to promote new legal frameworks to resolve related international issues. The group is demanding "global government surveillance reform." The companies are Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, AOL and Twitter. Others will likely follow their lead and join the effort. The group drafted an open letter to President Obama and Congress and set forth principles that they would like to see guide policy development. Here's the bulk [...]

The Questions Google Refuses To Answer About Search Privacy

google-logo-glow-featured Last month, Google made one of the biggest changes in search privacy ever, by routing all searches through its Google Secure Search service. Why did it make the change? Why didn't it close some loopholes that leave some search data vulnerable? Google -- which is demanding more transparency from the US government over privacy issues -- is preferring not to be transparent about its own moves. What's The TL;DR? The too long; didn't read is that more people should read stuff that they deem too long. The world would be a better place. But OK: Google claims it has improved search privacy but [...]

Google Makes First Amendment Challenge To Publish FISA Request Counts

google-legal-law Google wants to be transparent to its users about the number of super-secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) requests it is served by the US government -- and it is claiming a First Amendment right to do so, in a new legal challenge the company has mounted. The Washington Post has news of the filing, along with the first page of it. The Wall Street Journal also has news, along with the full document. Google has also published a statement on Google+ explaining its move: We have long pushed for transparency so users can better understand the extent to which governments request [...]

Yahoo: We Take User Privacy Seriously Too!

yahoo-legal Following missives from Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Apple over the past 72 hours, Yahoo issued its own disclosure statement last night about law-enforcement data requests. Signed by CEO Marissa Mayer and General Counsel Ron Bell, the statement said that there had been "between 12,000 and 13,000" data requests during the past six months: We’ve worked hard over the years to earn our users’ trust and we fight hard to preserve it. To that end, we are disclosing the total number of requests for user data that law enforcement agencies in the U.S. made to us between December 1, 2012 and [...]

Apple: iMessage, FaceTime More Secure Than Cell Phones

Apple logo Following the NSA-PRISM surveillance revelations last week and "direct-access rebuttals" by other major tech firms, Apple has released a similar statement denying that the government has unfettered access to its users' data. Apple said, "We do not provide any government agency with direct access to our servers, and any government agency requesting customer content must get a court order." The company said it was "authorized [by the US] to share" and that in the past six months "Apple received between 4,000 and 5,000 requests from U.S. law enforcement for customer data. Between 9,000 and [...]

Google, Facebook In Transparency Battle Over PRISM Disclosures

online privacy Last night, what might be called a "transparency battle" erupted between Google and Facebook following Facebook's disclosure of government-related user-data requests: For the six months ending December 31, 2012, the total number of user-data requests Facebook received from any and all government entities in the U.S. (including local, state, and federal, and including criminal and national security-related requests) – was between 9,000 and 10,000. These requests run the gamut – from things like a local sheriff trying to find a missing child, to a federal marshal tracking a fugitive, to a p [...]

Google, Facebook & Microsoft Ask US Gov’t For Permission To Report FISA Data Requests

google-legal-law Google, Facebook and Microsoft have all asked the US government for permission to include data requests made under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), requests that are currently so secret that they're not even allowed to acknowledge if they've received any. During the whirlwind of news about the PRISM/NSA scandal, news has circulated that all three companies are providing large amounts of data to the US National Security Agency (NSA) because of FISA. Google Asks To Talk About FISA In today's letter to the US Attorney General's office and FBI, Google's top legal officer, [...]

As Early As 2000 NSA Set Out To “Live On The Network”

Great Seal of US An enormous amount has already been written about the National Security Agency's (NSA's) "domestic spying" since The Guardian's initial revelations about the secret collection of telco company records just a couple of days ago. That was followed 24 hours later by even more explosive revelations from The Washington Post of supposedly direct NSA access to the servers of major US Internet companies such as Apple, Google, Yahoo and Facebook. Almost all the companies named in top-secret slides exposed by The Washington Post have issued strong denials -- in the case of Google, multiple denials [...]

US Gov’t: PRISM Isn’t Data Mining System, Doesn’t Pull Data Off Servers

prism The United States government has declassified details of its "PRISM" program today, saying it is not a wide-spread data mining system and doesn't "unilaterally" pull information off tech company servers. "PRISM is not an undisclosed collection or data mining program. It is an internal government computer system used to facilitate the government’s statutorily authorized collection of foreign intelligence information from electronic communication service providers under court supervision," the US said about the program, in a fact sheet (PDF) that was released today. Statement Slams [...]

Google: Government Has No Back Door, Front Door Or Side Door To Our Data

google-g-logo-2012 The US government has no back door, front door or side door into our data, Google effectively said today, with its third PRISM-related denial. Each denial keeps stressing that Google doesn't provide any type of constant stream of data to the government, that Google only hands over data on a case-by-case basis, after a legal order and review. I'll do today's statement from Google, but I thought it would be better to do all of them, in the order issued. Thursday: No "Back Door" Here's the first, which came out on Thursday. I've bolded the key parts: Google cares deeply about the security o [...]

PRISM, The Tech Companies & Monitoring Versus Requests

online privacy Tech companies are hand-in-hand cooperating to let the US government perform on-going monitoring of people, or at least their data. Right? Probably not. They are probably doing something very different, providing data when legally compelled to on a case-by-case basis. Understanding these two things is helpful to avoid some of the PRISM hysterics going on right now. The PRISM Monitoring System Around this time Thursday, the Washington Post and the Guardian had made the case that major tech companies were involved in a PRISM program that, to quote the whistleblower who provided the information [...]

Did Tech Companies Have Checkout & Delivery System For Gov’t Access To Their Data?

NSA PRISM Slide Tech companies named in reports to be part of the NSA's "PRISM" data gathering program have strongly denied participating in programs giving "direct access" to their servers. But the New York Times is now reporting this may be because they provided indirect ways for the system to at least selectively request and receive data, after legal review. The New York Times story, Tech Companies, Bristling, Concede to Federal Surveillance Program, may give the impression that all the named companies were part of the PRISM system, for those who have been following the story. But it never names PR [...]

Evolution Of The PRISM Denials: This May Be Why They Seem So Similar

NSA PRISM Slide [caption id="attachment_47324" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Source: Washington Post, The Guardian[/caption] Quite a bit of debate has emerged by how similar these various denials of PRISM involvement are from the tech companies involved. I think they've all evolved naturally from each other and from the stories they were responding to. This is my reasoning. Google & The "Back Door" Both the Washington Post story and the Guardian story had this statement from Google in their stories when they initially ran: Google cares deeply about the security of our users' data. We disclose use [...]

Imaginary Letter: Google CEO Larry Page Writes Congress, Asks “What’s Up With PRISM?”

google-congress-featured Over the years, Google has received several letters from the US Congress worried that it is somehow invading people's privacy. Now Congress, along with the Obama Administration and the US judicial system, is accused of invading the privacy of people who use Google's services. I thought the turnabout would be fair play, a letter from Google back to Congress. The letter below isn't real, but the points and unanswered questions are. I've written in the style of the latest letter Google received from Congress, last month about Google Glass. As Google professes it is not part of any data g [...]

Google & Facebook CEOs To Users: We’re Not Part Of PRISM & Government Needs More Transparency

data-privacy-featured Both Google and Facebook gave the press statements yesterday denying involvement with the US National Security Agency's PRISM data gathering program. Today, both are making that statement more strongly and taking it directly to its users. Google To Users Writing today on the Google blog, Google CEO Larry Page and Chief Legal Officer David Drummond said: We have not joined any program that would give the U.S. government—or any other government—direct access to our servers. Indeed, the U.S. government does not have direct access or a “back door” to the information stored in our d [...]

Scope of Alleged Spying On Americans’ Internet Activity Massive, “Beyond Orwellian”

privacy-security-online-computer It turns out that for the past roughly 6 years, the US government has been "collecting" or "mining" US citizens' personal data and communications from telcos and Internet companies -- effectively "spying" on US citizens. Those data, it has been alleged, come in large part from direct access to the servers of most of the Internet's biggest brands: Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, AOL and others. (Dropbox was apparently cited in leaked documents as “coming soon.”) These bombshell disclosures follow yesterday's discovery that the US government was collecting Verizon telephon [...]

Google, Apple, Facebook & AOL Deny Participating In Alleged NSA “PRISM” Program

NSA PRISM Slide [caption id="attachment_47324" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Source: Washington Post, The Guardian[/caption] Both the Washington Post and The Guardian are out with stories saying that several major Internet companies gave the US National Security Agency direct access to user data on their servers by participating in what's been named as the PRISM program. But, Google, Apple & Facebook flat-out deny being in that program, while Yahoo and Microsoft have issued general denials. Google, it denied participation in PRISM to us, when asked specifically about the program, plus gave us the [...]

Get Our News, Everywhere!

Daily Email:

Follow Marketing Land on Twitter @marketingland Like Marketing Land on Facebook Follow Marketing Land on Google+ Subscribe to Our Feed! Join our LinkedIn Group Check out our Tumblr! See us on Pinterest


Click to watch SMX conference video

Join us at one of our SMX or MarTech events:

United States


Australia & China

Learn more about: SMX | MarTech

Free Daily Marketing News!

Marketing Day is a once-per-day newsletter update - sign up below and get the news delivered to you!