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Heartbleed – What passwords to change

Graphic updated on 16/04 @ 17:37 CEST – (Netflix changes)

The Heartbleed bug – a major security flaw in OpenSSL – has seriously disrupted the online community this week. OpenSSL is one of the most popular pieces of encryption software, and the bug has potentially exposed millions of user details to hackers.

Some online service providers acted quickly, patching the flaw as soon as it was announced. However, many others have yet to act.

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‘Individuals should be responsible for their online privacy, not governments,’ says survey

Microsoft has released a new global privacy survey to coincide with International Data Privacy Day (which takes place today in case you didn’t know). The findings reveal a somewhat confused attitude toward online privacy across both Europe and the US, with respondents claiming to care about online privacy, but at the same time failing to take simple actions, such as reading a company’s privacy policy.

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Don’t expect Google’s “conscious home” to keep things private…

Two interesting Google-related news stories broke over the last few days. The first is that France’s data protection authority, CNIL, has issued the search giant with an 150,000 euro fine after ruling its privacy policy violated the French Data Protection Act. And the second is that Google has confirmed the $3.2 billion purchase of Nest, a company that develops internet connected home appliances and – in its own words – wants to “realize our vision of the conscious home.” So we have a company that ‘s repeatedly violated privacy laws buying a company that wants to make your home “conscious” – sounds like the plot of a bad sci-fi movie.

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Will the US government try to ban VPNs in 2014?

With online privacy coming under increasing attack, it’s no surprise that more and more activists, and privacy-conscious internet users, want to shield their internet activity from potential evesdroppers – be they state institutions or private companies. Along with free tools such as TOR and I2P, one of the most popular methods of avoiding online surveillance is signing-up to a commercial Virtual Private Network.  Indeed, there is no shortage of VPN companies on the market, promising to give their customers security, anonymity and peace-of-mind while browsing. But, with the government seemingly waging war against online privacy, is it inevitable politicians will push for a ban?

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Concerned about online privacy? Here’s five US politicians to keep an eye-on in 2014

Last year we rounded-up a selection of the most anti-online privacy politicians in the US, followed by a similar round-up focusing on the UK. Since then Edward Snowden’s PRISM revelations have had a huge impact on the political landscape and have revealed a broad church of politicians who have allied themselves with perhaps the most pervasive spying programme in history. So below we’ve rounded-up five US politicians who have chosen to back the NSA over the rights of the American people and who are definitely worth keeping an eye-on as we head into the new year.

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Will Europeans really be set free from data retention?

It appears the EU Data Retention Directive will soon be scrapped. On Thursday, the European Court of Justice General, Pedro Cruz Villalon, said the highly controversial law contravenes the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. While the statement was not a ruling, the Court of Justice usually follows the opinion of Advocate Generals. But will implementing Villalon’s recommendations really free Europeans from mass surveillance?

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