Fight Back Against Mass Surveillance – Join Us!

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We are planning a day of protest against mass surveillance, to take place this February 11th.

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Pres. Obama’s Speech About NSA Didn’t Deliver (petition)

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President Obama has finally recognized that Americans stand opposed to dragnet surveillance and the blatant abuse of power by the NSA. But changing bits and pieces of the NSA’s massive surveillance machine won’t be enough to protect our privacy.

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An Internet Free of Ads

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I’ve been using a browser extension called AdBlock for about a year now. It’s kind of like an app for your Web browser that blocks online pop-up advertisements. It’s similar to other pop-up blockers, but way better than any that I’ve tried. I’m writing a post about it because I think the couple who created and maintain AdBlock deserve a lot of credit for how well it works. And on top of that, it’s free! All the couple asks is for donations.

Recently, they have been trying to spread the word about AdBlock because they feel that everyone deserves to use the Web without being bombarded with ads every second. I totally agree!

One of the very few sites that I still sometimes get ads from is Hulu, which has been trying to find a way around AdBlock for a while now. Unfortunately, they’ve finally succeeded.  I’d imagine that a lot of corporations are trying to find ways around it, too, since ads equal potential profits. I think the couple who maintains AdBlock are updating it regularly as a way to “counter-attack” corporations like Hulu.

I am not advertising at all for them, nor do I work with them. I just feel that they deserve some credit and donations for their free product. Right now, they are collecting donations to create a special ad that will spread the word about AdBlock. Those who already have AdBlock won’t have to view it.

Click here to install AdBlock, or to learn more about it.

From AdBlock:

“Everyone deserves a better Web.

AdBlock has already given over 80 million people an ad-free Internet at no cost.

We want to empower all people around the world to choose an online world without advertising. We can reshape the whole Internet — it’s just a matter of spreading the word.”

Your Personal Information Is No Longer Yours

I found this video on the blog, thisgotmyattention, who reblogged it from renardmoreau.

We all know that Facebook collects mounds of data on its users. The more you post, the more info they get from you. But just how much they get is staggering. The video reveals to unfortunate Facebook users that not only are their posts and pictures stored in some giant virtual vault, but that even deleted posts are kept in that giant virtual vault. Nothing you erase can really be erased, and if someone wants to get to it and use it, they can. Facebook also stores information from your Facebook friends, too, including their locations as they send you messages!

So what does Facebook do with all that info? They won’t tell.

And what about Google? A few weeks ago I wrote a post about how Google can not only find your blog through searches (which isn’t bad), but finds all the comments you post on other people’s blogs as well (which is terrible). What’s worse, Google has linked itself with tons of other social networking sites, as well as many other websites in which you have to enter a password to access. Have you noticed that to get into certain sites, you can just enter your Google password? That’s an example. It’s dizzying to think how much information Google can amass through not only its own records on us, but through the records kept by all the sites it’s linked to.

Complicating matters even more is what the federal government is doing with our information through it’s spy programs that mercilessly mine through our internet data.

So what do we do? Should we just stop using the internet? Some have already come to this conclusion. But should we have to? Or do we have a right to use the Web without looking over our shoulders?

Teens Now Say Facebook is a ‘Social Burden,’ Study Finds

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Teens are actually getting fed up with Facebook, according to a report released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center. The study surveyed 802 teens between the ages of 12 and 17 last September about their Facebook use. An article was written about the report’s findings by the Huffington Post on May 21 of this year.

The report’s findings are no doubt troubling to Facebook, given that the teen demographic has long been crucial to its massive success. The root of the “problem” (which is most likely what Facebook’s investors are calling it) is spelled out thus in the report of the study:

“Facebook has become a ‘social burden‘ for teens. While Facebook is still deeply integrated in teens’ everyday lives, it is sometimes seen as a utility and an obligation rather than an exciting new platform that teens can claim as their own. Facebook, teens say, has been overrun by parents, fuels unnecessary social “drama” and gives a mouthpiece to annoying oversharers who drone on about inane events in their lives.”

The Huffington Post summed up another important part of the study:

They’re deleting, lying and blocking- Some three-quarters of Facebook users have purged friends on Facebook, 58 percent have edited or deleted content they’ve shared and 26 percent have tried to protect their privacy by sharing false information. Among all teens online (not just Facebook users), 39 percent have lied about their age.”

Another interesting find of the Pew study is that the typical teen has approximately 300 Facebook “friends.” But exactly who are these friends? Well, seventy percent of teens are friends with their parents, 30 percent are friends with teachers or coaches, and 33 percent are friends with people they’ve never met in person.

In some ways, the results are surprising- most people, teens and adults alike, have Facebook pages. In fact, a majority of the teens in the study, including those that complained about the site, still maintain pages on it. Some said that they continue using the site because they want to stay up on the social scene. Yet, as the study clearly shows, a large portion of their Facebook social circles are not real-life friends. A second possible reason for continued use of the site, though not suggested in the report, could be peer-pressure. Teens are very sensitive to what their peers say and do, and feel that if they don’t follow the crowd, they will be socially penalized by way of bullying or simple exclusion from peer activities, such as parties and dating.

To adults who have either never used the site, have an account but use it rarely, or have had accounts and deleted them, the news comes as no surprise. These adults often give the same reasons as the teens in the study for their own lack of interest in Facebook. Which begs the question- is Facebook just a failed social experiment, or is it here to stay? It seems society (and the social media industry) has yet to fully understand the human mind enough to properly predict how it will respond to new technology. After all, we didn’t exactly evolve to meet and interact with each other using machines.

Apple Doesn’t Want You To Know They Use This Amazingly Bold Tax Evasion Technique

Young Progressive Voices

Reposted from Addicting Info.

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Apple, the most profitable company of its kind in the United States, has been dodging taxes in a somewhat interesting way — by declaring subsidiary companies that are “stateless” and saying that they don’t have to pay taxes to any country. While their scheme is, in actuality, much more complicated than that, it demonstrates the basic premise of their tax avoidance setup — gall.

And in cheating both the United States and other nations this way, Apple has profited by billions.  Nelson D. Schwartz and Charles Duhigg of The New York Times report,

The investigation is expected to set up a potentially explosive confrontation between a bipartisan group of lawmakers and Timothy D. Cook, Apple’s chief executive, at a public hearing on Tuesday.

Congressional investigators found that some of Apple’s subsidiaries had no employees and were largely run by top officials from the company’s…

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Why Do You Blog?

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Hey everyone! I started blogging about two months ago. Since, then, I’ve noticed that there seem to be several reasons people blog. Some use their blogs as a sort of online diary or journal. Some use it to show off talents in cooking and recipes, photography, clothing design, etc. Some use it to discuss religious beliefs and ideas. And then there are those, such as myself, who use blogging as a way to communicate, educate, inform, and spread ideas that we feel are important to society and culture.
Recently, I’ve come across a different sort- blogs that are geared towards profit, as well as offering training/advice for those who wish to do the same. These blogs tend to have a corporate feel, and usually feature several advertisements.
So what do you guys think? No doubt you’ve seen these blogs- how do you feel about them? Do you read them?

How to Shop Securely Online

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Hi everyone! The company that makes the anti-virus software I use on my PC sent this email to all its customers. This advice is really good, so I want to share it with my readers.
I don’t want it to seem like I’m advertising for them, so I didn’t include the link. I copied and pasted it here:

Here are some tips for online shopping to help keep you (and your finances) safe when you fire up the Internet.

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