"Lush is becoming anti-social and taking a fresh approach to social media with a new global Anti-Social Media policy" More brands, please follow. I hope the screenshot comes under accepatable use of copyright material."Lush turns its back on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat"
"Law could prevent sale of smartphones, TVs, speakers, toys, and other digital devices that fail to meet minimum security requirements" (IT Pro). This appears to cover products at the point of sale. It does not appear to compel manufacturers and service providers with the requirement to patch and update their products' firmware. However, it does "Require transparency about the length of time for which the product will receive important security updates. Consumers should know if their product will be supported with security updates, and if so, what the minimum length of time is that they can expect that support to continue." Photo by Florian Klauer on UnsplashGuidance: The Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure (PSTI) Bill – product security factsheet
DuckDuckGo and Firefox have introduced ways to remove trackers from those emails you "have to" subscribe to get a whitepaper or an offer. Both solutions are browser-based. I haven't explored Firefox Relay much yet, but DDG's firstname.lastname@example.org is very effective (it is even effective where you are asked for a "professional" email address where personal gmail and hotmail accounts get rejected). "Reading your email should be a private activity. You may be surprised to learn that 70% of emails contain trackers that can detect when you’ve opened a message, where you were when you opened it, and what device you were using. If that isn’t creepy enough, this email data can be used to profile you, including to target you with ads, and influence the content you see online. Ever open an email and see a related ad about it soon thereafter? Yup, blame email trackers. This data about you is also usually sent directly to third parties, most likely without your consent." (From DuckDuckGo's propaganda about this.) The beauty of this is that you don't have to set up a new account in your email client or go to yet another webmail page - use an existing email account for it. These "cleaned" messages just appear alongside the rest of your email.Get an @duck.com email address at Spread Privacy
Listeners to 99% Invisible's podcast (like me) often miss the great content on the 99PI blog/website. This article about something that hadn't crossed my radar is a great example. "That London Zoo’s Penguin Pool has serious issues is a fact that all relevant parties seems to agree on. The architect’s own daughter has gone so far as to suggest blowing up this iconic work. Still, who is to blame for its problems, what the fix should be, or whether it should even be saved at all have become the subjects of heated debate." Photo: Wikipedia.org99PI: Circling the drain: what to do with London Zoo's deserted penguin pool
No telling whether this will have teeth, but looks worth supporting/copying. Let's hope that OEMs will be forced to maintain and update firmware on devices: "The European Commission (EC) has announced plans to introduce new rules requiring device manufacturers to embed tougher cyber security measures when designing new wireless devices... The amendment to the Radio Equipment Directive (RED) will cover all wireless devices, including mobile phones, smart watches, tablets, fitness trackers, and any other electronic device that intentionally transmits and/or emits radio waves for the purposes of communication... Making her annual State of the Union speech in the European Parliament back in September, von der Leyen said: "We cannot talk about defence without talking about cyber. If everything is connected, everything can be hacked. Given that resources are scarce, we have to bundle our forces. And we should not just be satisfied to address the cyber threat, but also strive to become a leader in cyber security. It should be here in Europe where cyber defence tools are developed."" (Photo: Guillaume Périgois on Unsplash)IT Pro: Manufacturers forced to improve cyber security of wireless devices under new EU rule
(Rehashed from a post in 2019 - the haste to "get back to normal" seems to have nullified the reset opportunity that, perhaps, the pandemic presented.) In 2019 there was a BBC documentary fronted by Andrew Graham-Dixon on the "Art of America". This introduced me to Thomas Cole; an American painter of English origin who painted American landscapes in the 19th century. His series of paintings "The Course of Empire" (1833-36) seems apposite to current affairs. It is said that the paintings are a depiction of the US under Andrew Jackson and his political party. He was a President who sought to advance the rights of the "common man" against a "corrupt aristocracy". Sounds familiar? The final paintings, "Destruction" and "Desolation", seem imminently and eminently possible - perhaps desolation, the reclamation by nature of a world destroyed by its inhabitants who designed and engineered their own extinction, is what our leaders should be concentrating on in Glasgow this week. (Images in the public domain in the United States, their country of origin, and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 100 years or less.)Wikipedia: The Course of Empire (paintings)
Tresorit is a great way to send someone large files (may exceed your mail service provider's file size limits), or files that need to remain private. You may have used WeTransfer or a similar service. Why Tresorit? It offers encryption and password protection in its free offering. Remember to use scrt.link to send that password, though.Share large files
If you are using an email platform other than, say, ProtonMail that is private, encrypted and secure (mentioned yesterday), but need to send something like a password to someone you are helping out, or just share something that you want to be kept confidential, there is a way, even using conventional email: I first came across these utilities with password.link which has a limited, but free plan and paid plans offering more features and fewer limitations. Then I came across scrt.link which seems even better and is certainly better value. The premise of these utilities is that you type a secret like a password into a text box, and the site generates a link to a page where your correspondent can read the secret. You can send this link to them by whatever means you like. When they open it, they have one opportunity to read the information and then the link "burns" - it cannot be used again.Share a secret
Do you know how private your email correspondence is? Or how secure it is? Many of us are probably vaguely aware that when you send a message, there's a chance that it can be intercepted, scanned or that the service provider is subject to legal requirements to share data with government agencies somewhere along the line. If I have nothing to hide, why should I care, you might ask. Social media and modern communication has fundamentally changed how we think of privacy. In the distant past, we might have written a letter, put it in an envelope, sealed it and posted it. If that letter had been steamed open, read, the information in it analysed and stored, and then replaced in its envelope and delivered, we would probably have been outraged. This is essentially what happens to a lot of our communication now. ProtonMail is a secure (encrypted) webmail service that promotes privacy and apparently fights for it, too. This victory for them in the Swiss courts seems important. "A Swiss court has upheld the appeal of Geneva-based Proton, a provider of secure and anonymous email services, limiting its obligation to monitor traffic and retain data for surveillance purposes." Proton also has a personal VPN service, calendar and online storage (latter in early access beta in a paid plan at time of writing). Paid plans begin at 4€/mo. There is a free plan with limited email storage (500MB).swissinfo.ch
Workflowy is an online app (so works in a browser - there are apps for phones and PCs too). On the face of it, Worklfowy seems to be just a bulleted list maker and, at the basic level, that's all it is. However, as you use it, it becomes more and more useful: You can embed other files - photos, weblinks, documents - into notes; tag notes with #-tags for categorisation or dates (tag a todo list with #today, #nextweek etc); backlink notes with eachother, so jump from one to another; share and collaborate with others by sharing links and notes. Because it's a cloud app, apps on your computer and phone and on the web are always in sync.More from Workflowy website
Browser extensions: "a small software module for customizing a web browser" (Wikipedia). They add functionality such as ad-blocking and automation such as Super Agent, today's feature. Be selective and make sure you trust the the extensions you install - too many can slow down your browser and some have contained malware in the past. Super Agent is an extension that automates accepting those annoying cookie pop-ups while maintaining your privacy. "We're all tired of complex cookie consent pop-ups that are hard to read, understand and navigate. Oftentimes, we just click accept to quickly get to the content. With Super Agent, you can now choose your preferences once and, for every supported website, this extension will automatically consent to your preferences for you." (Super Agent's own blurb). HT: JR Raphael, Android IntelligenceSuper Agent website
I'm Steven James and I work with small businesses, associations, membership bodies, and other organisations.
This site is a collection of thoughts and observations about the things in life and work that make me think "wow", or "that's cool", or "if only I thought of that". I hope that sometimes, you might think the same.
For more about me and what I do, please see eventsteven.com
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