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Knight to queen's bishop 3 - Snowden charged with espionage.

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This is funny:
"Eight firms, Google, Apple, Facebook, Twitter, AOL, Microsoft, LinkedIn, and Yahoo, have formed an alliance called Reform Government Surveillance group."
-TaoPhoenix (December 09, 2013, 11:52 AM)
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Yes, it is funny - more panto. So, anyway, it looks as though you don't need to worry your little heads about it. You can trust these corporations to override democratic process and "reform" government surveillance for you.

...Yeah, right.

After a bit of trial-and-error, I managed to get the feed from into my feed reader by subscribing to
This was after reading this interesting post which I originally saw in the Hacker News feed.
CertiVox confirms it withdrew PrivateSky after GCHQ issued warrant | IT Security Guru
CertiVox has admitted that it chose to take its secure email encryption service PrivateSky offline after a warrant was issued by a division of GCHQ.
CEO Brian Spector told IT Security Guru that despite having "tens of thousands of heavily active users", it was served with an ultimatum from the National Technical Assistance Centre (NTAC), a division of GCHQ and a liaison with the Home Office, who were seeking the keys to decrypt the customer data.
He said that this was at the end of 2012, ahead of the same action by Lavabit and Silent Circle and it was before Snowden happened. “So they had persons of interest they wanted to track and came with this signed by the Home Secretary. You have to comply or you go to jail,” he said.
"It is the same in the USA with FISMA, and it is essentially a national security warrant. So in late 2012 we had the choice to make - either architect the world's most secure encryption system on the planet, so secure that CertiVox cannot see your data, or spend £500,000 building a backdoor into the system to mainline data to GCHQ so they can mainline it over to the NSA.”
Spector said that complying with the warrant would have been a "catastrophic invasion of privacy" of its users, so instead it chose to withdraw the product from public use and run it internally. "Whether or not you agree or disagree with the UK and US government, this is how it is and you have to comply with it," he said.
However some of the technology has been implemented into its M-Pin authentication options, where rather than hold the data, it is split in two so CertiVox has one half and the user has the other, and law enforcement would need both to access the data.
“So as far as I know we are the first to do that so if the NSA or GCHQ says 'hand it over' we can comply as they cannot do anything with it until they have the other half, where the customer has control of it,” he said.

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Who/how people can be keeping tabs on you...
I have copied this rather interesting post from because of the emboldened bit and to keep it in context:
(Copied below sans the several embedded hyperlinks/images. To see the whole thing, go to the link.)
Gmail’s Recent Image Handling Changes | Movable Ink Blog
Last week, Gmail implemented changes that impact the way the email service renders images that will impact real-time content for a segment of Gmail users.

Below, we hope to clarify the Gmail changes, summarize their impact, and share what actions Movable Ink has taken and is continuing to pursue to address any concerns.

1. What changes were made in Gmail, and what is the impact to Movable Ink?
Traditionally, when a recipient views an email, images are downloaded from the server that hosts the images. This allows information to be communicated back to the image’s host source—such as the user’s current location, device, and time of day.
a.) Gmail is now requesting all images from proxy servers (, which incorrectly situates users in its headquarters in Mountain View, California when images are downloaded. This impacts the ability to geo-target image content for those Gmail users who are affected by the changes. (Note: Local Maps using zip codes appended as query parameters are unaffected.)

b.) Gmail is stripping the user-agent headers from the client request, which eliminates the ability to determine the Gmail user’s device and target image content appropriately.

c.) Gmail is removing the cache-control headers from the responses, which forces the user’s images to be stored in their browser’s cache for up to a day. This only impacts live image content if a Gmail user re-opens the email after the first open.

In summary, a limited set of Movable Ink features will not work within a segment of Gmail accounts and, in those cases, will be replaced with default content.

2. What email users are affected by the changes? How big is the impact to my list?
After analyzing our data since the changes were implemented late last week, 2% – 5% of the average enterprise B2C email marketer’s subscriber list is affected by Gmail’s changes, since they only affect recipients that open emails through the desktop client, the Android Gmail app, and the iOS Gmail app.

Not all Gmail users are impacted.

The changes have no impact on Gmail users who access their accounts through Mac Mail, the native Mail app on iOS devices, non-Gmail Android apps, non-Gmail Windows apps, Gmail via Outlook, etc. Additionally, all email domains that are not are not impacted.

More Gmail recipients open email on iOS devices (iPhones and iPads) than through any other email service — including web-based Gmail itself, which greatly mitigates the impact of the changes, and is the reason why they only affect 2% – 5% of most email marketers’ subscribers.

Below is a summary of who is affected by the changes:

Gmail Image Handling Changes Impact Summary

3. How is Movable Ink responding to the affected features?
a.) Geo-targeting: We have made it possible for marketers to show default content to users that have images hosted within the Gmail proxy domain. This eliminates any concerns about displaying incorrectly geo-targeted content when a user is falsely identified as being in Mountain View, California.

b.) Device targeting: If a user’s device cannot be detected for any reason, a default version of an email will be rendered and is configurable within the Movable Ink dashboard.

c.) All other real-time content: Other types of real-time content such as countdown timers, social feeds, web crops, and video will appear as intended on the first open of an email. Subsequent opens from an individual recipient will display the original image due to Google’s caching which can last for up to a day. According to research from Experian Marketing Services, 97% of email recipients only open email marketing messages once, again mitigating the impact.

Our team is in contact with representatives at Google to recommend and discuss alternatives to last week’s changes. We will be sure to share updates as we have more information. If you have any questions in the meantime, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at [email protected]

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If you want to take part, got to the Demand Progress website and sign up
(Email circular copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
From: Melanie Jones <[email protected]>
00:34 (11 hours ago)

Snowden is ready to testify for Germany if the country will give him asylum – let's push Angela Merkel to accept!
Sign the Petition!
Share on Facebook!

Dear XXX,

Edward Snowden is ready to testify on the US wiretapping of Angela Merkel’s phone if Germany will grant him political asylum — and Merkel may just take him up on the offer.

“My government continues to treat dissent as defection, and seeks to criminalize political speech with felony charges that provide no defense,” Snowden wrote German officials. “Speaking the truth is not a crime.”

Edward Snowden will never be safe if he returns to the US, and temporary asylum in a country notorious for its own civil liberties abuses won’t work in the long run. But if Merkel lets him stay on German soil, Snowden could have a life again — which is the least we can do for the whistleblower who exposed the NSA.

Berlin has a growing reputation for standing up against civil liberties abuses. But if Merkel turns Snowden down, it will look as though she supports the Obama administration’s disregard for privacy and mockery of international law — now let’s make sure she knows that before she makes her decision.

    PETITION TO ANGELA MERKEL'S GOVERNMENT: Stand up to the NSA's encroachment and protect the man whose whistleblowing exposes the US' betrayal of Germany — grant Edward Snowden asylum in exchange for his testimony now.

Click here to sign -- it just takes a second.

-- The folks at

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I don't know enough about the RealPolitik of all this, but it seems to me Germany is an interesting place for him to go to. Definitely "Friendly" per se. And they seem to be one of the (three?) strongest countries in the EU. So this would be an interesting development.

Bonus Joke: Don't make the Germans Angry. You wouldn't like them when they are Angry!


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