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Options April 6, 2020: Chris Gilliard on surveillance during corona

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Tonight: Chris Gilliard, privacy scholar, on surveillance during corona


Above: The Nib


About our guest, Dr. Chris Gilliard:

• Chris on Twitter: @hypervisible

• Chris's past Techtonic appearances: July 8, 2019 interview and Nov 25, 2019 Congressional testimony.

• On Twitter: @chaykak

• Chris's website: hypervisible.com

News mentioned during the show:

Doc Searls on Zoom's privacy policy (March 30)

Zoom CEO's apology and next steps (Apr 1)

Every Zoom Security and Privacy Flaw So Far, and What You Can Do to Protect Yourself (by Glenn Fleishman in Tidbits.com, Apr 3)

Security and Privacy Implications of Zoom (by Bruce Schneier, Apr 3)

Move Fast & Roll Your Own Crypto: A Quick Look at the Confidentiality of Zoom Meetings (Citizen Lab, Apr 3): "We discourage the use of Zoom at this time for use cases that require strong privacy and confidentiality."

NYC forbids schools from using Zoom for remote learning due to privacy and security concerns (by Alex Zimmerman in Chalkbeat, Apr 4)

Zoom alternatives in the Verge (Apr 1)


by Runa Sandvik


'Fever detection' cameras to fight coronavirus? Experts say they don't work (April Glaser for NBC News, Apr 27, 2020)

Screening for Covid "by listening to you breathing over the phone." (here's my comment)

How Racial Health Disparities Will Play Out in the Pandemic (by Julia Craven in Slate, March 30, 2020)

The Digital Response to the Outbreak of COVID-19 (by Sean McDonald, March 30, 2020): "No matter your interpretation of the COVID-19 response, one thing should be universal: emergencies are not a blank cheque for state or digital platform power." Thanks to Chris for the pointer.

Google revises COVID-19 ad ban after backlash (by Emily Birnbaum in Protocol, April 2, 2020): "Google on Thursday announced that it will soon allow political advertisers to begin running ads about coronavirus, walking back a stringent ban after facing pressure from Democrats who told Protocol it unfairly censored their speech about a pivotal election year issue."

Zoom CEO seems to blame the user (via Tony Wan on Twitter, Apr 1, 2020): "We are used to working with clients w/ IT expertise in privacy and security."

Mass school closures in the wake of the coronavirus are driving a new wave of student surveillance (by Drew Harwell in WaPo, April 1): "All of this surveillance," said Audrey Watters, a writer for the blog Hack Education, "is just not ideal for this very human practice of teaching and learning." ... "To take a test you need to let a stranger have a video recording of your room? Are you kidding me?" said Bill Fitzgerald, a researcher at the nonprofit group Consumer Reports who specializes in education technology.

- - -

Check out techtonic.fm for recent Techtonic interviews and Little Slice of Tech Pie segments.

PODCAST: Subscribe to the Techtonic podcast

Artist Track Images Approx. start time
  Privacy scholar Chris Gilliard returns to the show to discuss surveillance during corona.
Tomaš Dvořák  Game Boy Tune   Options
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  Mark's intro  
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  Interview with Chris Gilliard  
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0:17:02 (MP3 | Pop‑up)
  Mark's comments  
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0:53:09 (MP3 | Pop‑up)
Pink Tiles  The Internet   Options
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0:55:47 (MP3 | Pop‑up)


Listener comments!

Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:00pm Carmichael:

Apple security flaw I heard about this morning: www.engadget.com...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:01pm Webhamster Henry:

Hi there, Techtonic distancers!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:01pm Bas NL:

Hey Mark & Tectonicoids!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:01pm listener james from westwood:

Evening, Mark and all! Your Tech Pie slice this morning hit the spot.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:01pm ultradamno:

Hello Mark! Techtonosolationists!
  6:02pm queems:

hi mark & all
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:02pm Webhamster Henry:

Quarantonics!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:03pm Mark Hurst:

Hi Carmichael, Webham, Bas, James, ultra, queems! Thanks for joining in!
Avatar 6:04pm coelacanth∅:

greetings Mark and all
  6:04pm Dave Miss:

Howdy shutins!
  6:04pm Fragonard:

Yay!
Avatar 6:04pm northguineahills:

Last week, I texted my wife (who's in Brooklyn, and I'm Orlando), that Zoom sells its data to FB, since I know she's been using it for work lately. She responded, 'we're listening to the same program"
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:04pm Mark Hurst:

@James thanks, glad you liked Tech Pie today!
  Swag For Life Member 6:05pm Mennlinn Rebarts:

I saw an article somewhere with this guy that created a Gameboy emulator out of blocks in Minecraft. It was insane.
  6:05pm Fragonard:

My 8 year-old recently got Minecraft, and I admit I see the attraction of it
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:05pm chresti:

Hi Mark and techtonians!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:05pm melinda:

Hi everyone!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:05pm chris:

hi, Mark and folks.
  6:06pm queems:

goddamnit zoom
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:07pm Mark Hurst:

Hi coel, Dave, Frago, ngh, Mennlinn, chresti, chris!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:07pm Mark Hurst:

BTW the Doc Searls article is at the top of the "News" section.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:07pm Webhamster Henry:

I'm using jitsi... if I have a choice.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:08pm Folsom:

I saw a link from University of Toronto "Zoom not suited for secrets"
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:09pm Mark Hurst:

@Folsom that comes from the Citizen Lab research, linked in the News section at left.
  6:09pm queems:

i tried jitsi but it was rough to use in terms of pixelation and dropping video and stuff
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:12pm Webhamster Henry:

@queems i didn't have trouble, but then again I have a way fast line ( download that is, upload capped at 10Mbps)
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:13pm Handy Haversack:

Hey, everyone! I was on the way back but am here. Techgin: poured!

Yeah, sometimes I have good experiences with jitsi, and sometimes it's unusable. Haven't been able to figure out if it's number of people on a single call or number of people using the platform at once.

But I do a bunch of scrubs after having to use Zoom, and as Mark is saying RIGHT NOW don't talk about potentially illegal activities, immigration statuses, or even politics that could be used against me in a _It Can't Happen Here_ happening kind of deal.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:14pm annie:

the 30-something hipsters inthis city LOVE zoom..
  6:14pm northguineahills:

I had a job interview two weeks ago via Team.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:14pm Webhamster Henry:

I want to install my own jitsi server, but I want to isolate it on its own box.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:15pm Mark Hurst:

Hi Handy! Hi Annie!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:15pm Handy Haversack:

With the DOE's thing: there are ways the admin/host can help with some privacy concerns on Zoom, but it requires each admin to take a lot of responsibility ... i.e., the teacher.

Jitsi DOES work on Firefox -- it just says it's not optimized for it when you start it up.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:16pm annie:

himark!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:16pm Handy Haversack:

Hi, Mark! Sorry I'm late!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:17pm Phillippe Bastille:

I used jitsi with my 90 yr old mother because it is so easy to use. It worked ok. I was on Firefox, she was on Edge.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:17pm chresti:

The financial incentive is us paying for an Apple product
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:17pm Mark Hurst:

@Phillipe, good to hear, thanks
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:19pm Phillippe Bastille:

What's the relationship with google and Opera. Opera is built off of Chrome, isn't it?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:21pm Mark Hurst:

If I remember right, Opera has some not-great connections. Safari is actually pretty good, and Brave seems to be pretty well focused on privacy.
Avatar 6:22pm sbw:

I run my own Nextcloud server, and Nextcloud Talk provides e2ee. But it isn't completely reliable yet, or very usable, and I've heard it doesn't scale beyond a few attendees. The good news is it's open source, so if we're ambitious, we can help improve it.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:22pm chris:

i think chrome and opera are both built on the chromium platform, Phillippe. chromium is open source, made by the google
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:24pm Handy Haversack:

What is the Brave over Firefox argument? Maybe a topic for another time (or a pledge premium!).

I can't wait to have people aiming their phones at me on the street and calling out "UNCLEAN! OUTCAST, UNCLEAN!"
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:24pm Phillippe Bastille:

Thanks. I was wondering if Opera would be an ok alternative for Jitsi if it functions more closely to Chrome but "isn't" Chrome. Firefox is my default
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:24pm Ken From Hyde Park:

I had a cold about six weeks ago. The lingering cough finally went away just days ago. I had no fever along the way.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:25pm ultradamno:

I'm imagining alarms going off with a robot voice announcing "I DON'T LIKE THE SOUND OF THAT COUGH!"
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:25pm Mark Hurst:

Firefox has some good privacy plug-ins, but you have to keep in mind that Firefox is funded by Google. So I don't use it.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:25pm listener 126464:

verified that I only had a weed smoker cough
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:26pm Phillippe Bastille:

@Mark I did not know that. (sigh) {starting over again...}
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:26pm Handy Haversack:

I didn't know that, Mark! Sheesh. Too many fingers. Too few pies.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:26pm ultradamno:

Didn't Firefox get in some data gathering controversy this week involving Twitter users? I seem to recall getting an alert.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:26pm Carmichael:

@Mark, I started using it based on a link you provided called "Software that won't track you."
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:27pm Fuzzy:

This listener with the chronic goose honk weed cough uses Firefox with uBlock Origin and Cookie Autodelete -- works well enough for me.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:27pm ultradamno:

This www.msn.com...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:27pm Mark Hurst:

@ultra didn't see that.
@handy yes disappointing... even Safari is essentially partially funded by Google, as Google pays Apple ~$9B per year to be the default search engine. You have to pick your battles, I guess... I favor Safari and Brave.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:27pm Ken From Hyde Park:

Looking forward to a Duckduckgo browser at some point.
Avatar 6:28pm herb.nyc:

[Aside-my marathon bill came in. It be trying times but (or because of it?) I'm gonna round UP my pledge. And why not, I'll cough on wfmu and give them my body temperature too.]
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:28pm diciassette:

Safari mostly. I use Chromium occasionally (presuming that it's not surveilled) for some extensions I want to use. On Parrot Security OS, Firefox comes with gobs of security extensions!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:28pm Mark Hurst:

@KenfHP - I forgot to mention, on iOS, DuckDuckGo *does* have a browser. the DDG app functions as a web browser & search engine both.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:28pm Handy Haversack:

I assumed that Safari as an Apple product was always already serving me up.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:28pm Mark Hurst:

@herb thanks in advance! that's great to hear.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:29pm chris:

we still pay a tax on whiskey that was a temporary tax created back in 1791, fer cryin' out loud.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:29pm annie:

i still want firefox to let me choose what to update..
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:30pm Mark Hurst:

@chris don't worry, we'll get that rolled back Real Soon Now
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:30pm Ken From Hyde Park:

@Mark - Neat!
@Fuzzy - Just installed CookieAutoDelete.
  6:32pm dano59:

Avoided a whole cookie/give away my data mess on Spotify this week. Your message is getting thru!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:33pm Fuzzy:

@KFHP: a great app -- glad I could help!
Avatar 6:33pm Mike & Dusty:

for fuck’s sake, name names! spell it out! please!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:33pm chris:

oh, wired, how you've let us all down since the 90's
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:33pm Fuzzy:

Extension, I mean.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:34pm Handy Haversack:

Yeah, but we DEALT with that tea tax, @chris.
Avatar 6:34pm northguineahills:

don't delete my cookies, I want some cookies (I have none), oh, those cookies. I need to install that, it's faster then manually deleting them...
Avatar 6:36pm northguineahills:

what chris said: I can't even remember an article importing decent info in over 5 years... (and it has been shite for over 10-15 years)
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:36pm chris:

good point, Handy. so, every state should just secede and my booze will get cheaper. i like it.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:36pm Handy Haversack:

UGUYS, viruses have a genetic CODE. Clearly, Silicon Valley is best prepared ti deal with this.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:37pm Mark Hurst:

@Handy exactly
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:39pm Phillippe Bastille:

If ya gotta have cookies... www.bergercookies.com...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:39pm Bas NL:

I've seen a popular YT channel that gets 'de-monitized' whenever corona is mentioned in the stream.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:39pm Handy Haversack:

We had a slightly drunken hiccup with vid conf tech (we say "vid conf tech") the other night with a friend and then half an hour in I suddenly was like, "Wait, why don't we just call her on the phone?"

Turns out, landlines still actually connect you with people just fine.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:39pm Webhamster Henry:

As of last Friday, Zoom is making people use passwords for their meetings, I think.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:42pm Bas NL:

I've setup a separate computer for my required work Microsoft team meetings at home in hopes to keep things separated.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:42pm Mark Hurst:

@Bas good idea
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:42pm Handy Haversack:

It seems like Zoom has very publicly committed to not letting the Alt-Right hop in your meetings or let pedophiles watch classes ... but there's still the question of what they might do with all that data -- and metadata -- later. If I followed the beginning of the show.
Avatar 6:43pm Chud:

@Bas, same here for zoom. Can't get away from it, might as well nuke it from orbit when I'm done with it
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:44pm ultradamno:

Amazon doesn't have strongarm robot strikebreakers yet?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:44pm ultradamno:

Get up to speed, Bezos.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:45pm Bas NL:

I've also set up a VPN to keep some noise coming from my home IP.
Avatar 6:47pm Chud:

The middle class around me have cleared out all tissue products at the grocery stores, but the hardware stores and dollar generals are well stocked
  6:48pm GC in South Slope:

Heads up—-some Amazon warehouse workers walked off the job today right here in NYC. Protesting hazardous virus conditions.
Avatar 6:48pm Chud:

@Bas who do you use?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:49pm ultradamno:

I would have expected Amazon would have already had drones to deliver your hot sauce, take your temperature and alert the authorities by now.
Avatar 6:49pm coelacanth∅:

i started boycotting scamizon several years ago and i have yet to "need" it. it's generally more expensive than ebay, and i rarely "need" something immediately.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:50pm ultradamno:

Maybe I shouldn't have put that idea out there.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:50pm Bas NL:

I'm using Cisco VPN offered and maintained by my work place.
Avatar 6:53pm JakeGould:

So I agree that we should support local businesses. And I agree there are alternatives to Amazon and others.

But let’s not forget what got us here: Straight out online and offline greed.

When the U.S. had strong Unions that protected workers, companies in the U.S. shifted manufacturing overseas.

Flash forward and we have China as a global manufacturing giant. Why are they like that? They treat their workers and general population like garbage. No protections.

Also look at why diseases like COVID-19 spawn. The Chinese government sees environmental practices as optional. The environment there is terrible and toxic. And it lends itself to breed disease.

Now we are suffering from it.

• The U.S. ships manufacturing overseas where protections are a joke.
• The U.S. government penny pinches so we have a barely functional health care system and national stockpiles for emergencies are eliminated.
• The U.S. pandemic response team, an idea spawned by George W. Bush and made a reality by Barack Obama was dismantled as an unnecessary cost.

This is complex in some ways, but simple. It’s all vile.
  6:53pm anon:

just today joined a zoom a zoom conversation with an arts org that "understands" privacy and I presume they had all the controls on. I have my mic and camera taped so just my name was visible. I could see and hear all.
I don't have to use zoom every day. And I don't HAVE to see/hear/join these convos. I can live without. Should I just delete the app now and load it if I really have to in future?
Avatar 6:54pm JakeGould:

Anyway that was a wall of text. Anyone have any good/bad jokes?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:54pm Handy Haversack:

How awful is it to put a note on our door that our neighbors would see when they come down to get their packages that says something like "We don't use Amazon: and here's why."

And, relatedly, does anyone make one-page sheets for just this purpose?
  6:54pm De Fenestrated:

off topic but... what is Adobe harvesting from users?
Avatar 6:54pm northguineahills:

Thanks, Mark and Chris!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:55pm chris:

great convo, gents.
Avatar 6:55pm JakeGould:

@Handy: Amazon alone is not the issue. And making enemies of your neighbors is generally a horrible idea; worse nowadays.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:55pm ultradamno:

Did Alibaba scoop Amazon in getting the Cuomo shout out?
  6:55pm Dave Miss:

Thank you Mark. Keep up the great work.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:56pm Mark Hurst:

Thanks, Dave & ngh & chris
Avatar 6:56pm Chud:

@De Fenestrated what apps you run, your computer profile & ip address
  6:56pm anon:

yes, I did have to use a provided to email password today on zoom
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:56pm Mark Hurst:

Thanks, skeleton crew & board op!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:57pm Bas NL:

Thanks Mark! Thanks Chris!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:57pm listener 126464:

Thanks Mark
Avatar 6:57pm Chud:

Thanks Mark
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:57pm Handy Haversack:

Thanks, Mark!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:58pm Mark Hurst:

Thanks, Bas, 126464, Chud, Handy! Thanks to everyone for showing up & commenting. Keep in touch.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:58pm chresti:

Haha Jake
Avatar 6:58pm Joe B:

thanks Mark
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:58pm Mark Hurst:

Thanks, Mr. Belock!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:58pm chresti:

Thanks Mark.
Avatar 6:59pm coelacanth∅:

Handy i'm used to people not liking me but i have developed my skills to the minimum point of just casually and as a friend talking about experiences that show amazon as the shit that it is.
...but yeah how do you tell people how bad gobble is when their heads are deeply buried?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:59pm Mark Hurst:

Grazie, @chresti
Avatar 6:59pm coelacanth∅:

Thanks Mark!
  6:59pm anon:

ok, reviewing the comments I gotta do all the scrubs. I should understand this better.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:00pm Handy Haversack:

This is what I wrestle with, @coela.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:00pm ultradamno:

The best timed to fit plague show on Woof Moo
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