Dell computers ship with fake root certificate

Earlier this year, many Lenovo computers were found to have shipped with an adware root certificate, “Superfish,” that could compromise users’ security and privacy. Now, Ars Technica reports that certain Dell computers have also been shipped with their own fake root certificate, called “eDellRoot.” (It’s interesting to note that both Lenovo and Dell are popular with Linux dual-boot users because of their good hardware compatibility.)

A test page, which users of Dell computers should try with each installed browser, is here:

Advanced users may want to run the RCC tool, described in detail at Wilder’s Security, to check for any rogue root certificates.

(Edit: Linked to a different test page which provides more useful output.)

TPP would extend SOPA censorship worldwide

Caroline Craig has an interesting article at Infoworld about the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade law. She points out that the agreement largely re-establishes the onerous Internet-use restrictions of the previously rejected SOPA bill. However, unlike SOPA, because TPP would be a treaty, its provisions would be nearly impossible to amend or overturn through legislation.

“The agreement poses a grave threat to our basic right to access information and express ourselves on the Web and
could easily be abused to criminalize common online activities and enforce widespread Internet censorship,”
writes Evan Greer, campaign director for Fight for Freedom.

More on TPP here:

The TV That Watches You Back; Facebook Slapped in Belgium

Julia Angwin at Pro Publica reports that another of George Orwell’s dystopian predictions — the Telescreen that watches you back — has come true:

TV makers are constantly crowing about the tricks their smart TVs can do. But one of the most popular brands has a feature that it’s not advertising: Vizio’s Smart TVs track your viewing habits and share it with advertisers, who can then find you on your phone and other devices.

In happier privacy news, a Belgian court has ordered Facebook to stop tracking non-users and logged-out users or face fines in accordance with strict European privacy laws:

Belgian media are reporting that a Brussels court has ordered Facebook to stop tracking the surfing habbits of Belgians who are not logged into the service. Facebook has 48 hours to comply with the order or it will face a €250,000/day fine (about $270,000).

Because Facebook’s like/share buttons are ubiquitous on the web the company can see who is visiting the websites that have the buttons and through the use of cookies it is able to construct detailed profiles of who is visiting what. According to Belgian privacy law this falls under the processing of personal data and this is not allowed unless the person whose data is being processed has given explicit permission for it.

Microsoft Admits Windows 10 Spying Can’t Be Stopped

Forbes reports:

Microsoft Admits Windows 10 Automatic Spying Cannot Be Stopped

By default Windows 10 Home is allowed to control your bandwidth usage, install any software it wants whenever it wants (without providing detailed information on what these updates do), display ads in the Start Menu (currently it has been limited to app advertisements), send your hardware details and any changes you make to Microsoft and even log your browser history and keystrokes which the Windows End User Licence Agreement (EULA) states you allow Microsoft to use for analysis.

Much more on Windows spying at

Gary Johnson: Act Now to Stop CISA

The 2012 Libertarian Party US presidential candidate Gary Johnson has issued a call to protest the CISA corporate cyber-spying bill which is currently pending reconciliation in the US Congress:

While the news media and the politicians were focused last week on Hillary Clinton, Paul Ryan and Donald Trump, the U.S. Senate quietly voted to advance a piece of legislation, the so-called Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), that strips away yet another layer of our 4th Amendment protections against government invasions of privacy.

Full article at