privacy

breaking up with Twitter

This morning I found myself locked out of my Twitter account. Twitter claimed that my account was playing shenanigans (inconceivable!) and that to rescue my account, I had to give Twitter my phone number to validate that it’s really me.

Except Twitter never had my phone number before, so giving it to them would validate nothing.

(more…)

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locked out of Twitter for using Tor

If anybody finds themselves missing my tweets, note that Twitter decided to lock my account for accessing it through Tor. I thought I’d post a little bit about it, because I’m sure this has got to be a problem for people in parts of the world where they must use technology like Tor to connect and enjoy some freedom of speech.

Screen Shot 2015-07-03 at 5.50.28 PM (more…)

Homelab Adventures Continue

My updates here have been few and far between, mostly because I’ve been writing for other entities (when I’m in the mood to write at all). But sometimes I’m working on things where my own blog is the most appropriate outlet.

Longtime followers may recall my homelab efforts. My work in the homelab had, until now, largely been stymied by my dependence on Apple’s anemic Airport Extreme hardware, and an Airport Express to bridge my downstairs homelab to my upstairs cable modem. This is no longer a problem. (more…)

create a tor-only VLAN with a Raspberry Pi

I’m a big fan of the Tor Project. It’s really encouraging to see more people using it, and more people setting up bridges, relays, and exit nodes.

What I’d like to see more of is publicly available networks that transparently redirect clients’ Internet connectivity through Tor. My first step here is going to be aimed more at someone with the means by which to set up many wireless access points on a campus, like perhaps an office building or a University. In these environments, it is typical for wireless networks to be created on different VLANs, with multiple SSID’s advertised, and each SSID being linked to a different VLAN. Often you might have a staff SSID and a guest SSID.

But because the host is concerned about bad behavior or misuse of the guest network coming back to haunt them, access is extremely locked down. Perhaps they only allow simple web browsing and nothing more. And access is not granted without knowing a guest network password, or having to go through a captive portal.

Let’s dispense with all of that and use an inexpensive Raspberry Pi Model B to create a Tor-only guest VLAN. (more…)

OS eXodus

Until late 2010, I’d been using pretty much entirely open source software on my personal desktop and severs. This mostly worked pretty well, except very specifically with regards to my photography work. At that point in my life, photography had turned from a minor hobby to a major obsession. My suite of tools (GIMP, digiKam, ufraw) was becoming increasingly tedious to deal with at the time, so I took a big leap and bought a Mac Mini to run Adobe Lightroom on.

To be honest, this setup worked really well for my photography workflow. Some other aspects of the Mac desktop were a bit of a mixed bag. Yes, it was more polished (except Bluetooth, which to this day is almost as klugey on Mac as it is on Linux). But it was also very closed, and with the rise of iCloud, I had some very serious concerns about what my computer was sharing about me behind my back.

My photography has tapered off as I’ve focused more on my career in systems engineering. I rarely go into Lightroom anymore. So I don’t have a huge compelling reason to be on a Mac anymore. The Mac Mini is feeling long in tooth anyway, and it was time to start looking at something a little faster. I also wanted something more portable this time around.

So I decided to start my exodus from OS X (or, as I’m starting to call it, my OS eXodus). (more…)

Russia to Tormail: “I must break you.” Tormail to Russia: “I don’t think so.”

It looks like the Russian government has taken drastic action to eliminate a big name in liberated email services. Tormail.net has had its domain name pulled by its Russian registrar, and they say the chances are slim of getting the domain name back.

Take heart; they aren’t gone, but everyone with a tormail.net email address has just been moved to tormail.org via a different registrar. You can get official word from Tormail’s hidden service, which is untouched by Russia’s attack. (more…)

Take Back Your Freedom: Use Tor

Tighten up the tinfoil hats, folks; this is going to be that kind of day.

I know my readership extends to Europe and beyond, and I’m going to try to bear that potentially international audience in mind as I write this. But first and foremost, I am an American, and embrace libertarian sensibilities that may seem out of the ordinary for the contemporary political spectrum.

One of the things that Americans often say about this country is that it’s “the land of the free” or that it’s “a free country”. I scoff at this, largely because we have this really unsettling pattern of jailing non-violent people. We’re not really free in our homes, and we’re definitely not free on the Internet.

Nowhere is this more evident than on the world wide web. Go ahead and take a few minutes to look through the cookies your browser has accumulated. Don’t forget the Flash cookies. Go ahead, I’ll wait. (more…)