Shazam keeps your Mac’s mic on

http://motherboard.vice.com/read/shazam-keeps-your-macs-microphone-always-on-even-when-you-turn-it-off

This is why I advocate for more software to be free/open source, because in some cases you have no idea what it’s actually doing. When the code is freely available under a free software or open source license, it becomes possible for third parties to do an audit of the code and to see what it actually does.

Shazam’s Mac app is misleading users by defining “off” as “well your mic is still on and we will only listen to what you say when the app is active, we promise”.

Open Source IFTTT: Trigger Happy

Trigger Happy is an open source alternative to IFTTT (If This Then That) which is a way of connecting and integrating multiple services on the web through their APIs.

Right now it supports these services:

  • Evernote
  • Github
  • Instapush
  • Pelican
  • Pocket
  • Pushbullet
  • Todoist
  • Trello
  • Twitter
  • Wallabag

Integration services like IFTTT, Zapier and now, Trigger Happy are vital to an ecosystem of apps, and they make web apps far more useful.

For example, you could create a trigger with Trigger Happy that when you create a card in Trello, a new issue will be opened in GitHub.

Surveillance Self-Defense Software

Check out this article from The Intercept, detailing how to defend yourself from government surveillance.

Here’s a list of the software that is mentioned, and while some of it is proprietary, I thought it would be alright to list it here because it does protect privacy through encryption technologies:

  • Signal (open source)
  • What’s App (proprietary)
  • Semaphor (proprietary), it’s like Slack but encrypted
  • Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates
  • Tor Browser
  • Qubes, a GNU/Linux distribution that runs everything in disposable virtual machines and compartmentalizes to protect you from USB drive viruses and PDF malware

The Open Source Development Model makes it easier to solve other people’s problems

Or at least that’s what Daniel Pink suggests in this article. While he doesn’t specifically mention open source development, he does mention Wikipedia as a loosely collaborative model that can help us solve problems faster and better:

  • Rethink the structure of your firm.

    Perhaps loose alliances of distantly connected people – think Wikipedia or a Hollywood film – can produce more creative products and services than fixed rosters of employees in traditional arrangements. And maybe those consultancies, which all of us love to malign, are offering a valuable service after all by providing distance for hire.

This is the reason why sites like StackOverflow have taken off and have answered millions of people’s questions about programming. The distance between you and your local coding problems is short, meaning you think about your problems more concretely. On StackOverflow, the problems you are helping to solve are further away from you, and according to this research, this lets you think about them more abstractly.

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Canadian spy agency, CSIS, uses illegal bulk data collection to subvert Canadian freedoms

On a beautiful Sunday morning, I have to link to this bit of ugliness on the illegal bulk data collection by the Canadian spy agency, CSIS. Only a handful members of government knew about and it was only revealed because of a court case.

From the article:

Many corporations and government agencies are now gravitating toward so-called big data computer analytics that can predict patterns of future behaviour based upon records about what has happened in the past. Spy agencies are no different, and the centre in question appears to be the Canadian Security Intelligence Service’s equivalent of a crystal ball – a place where intelligence analysts attempt to deduce future threats by examining, and re-examining, volumes of data.

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