NSA: Please Turn off the Lights When You Leave. Nothing to See Here.

Linux Advocate Dietrich Schmitz shows how the general public can take action to truly protect their privacy using GnuPG with Evolution email. Read the details.

Mailvelope for Chrome: PGP Encrypted Email Made Easy

Linux Advocate Dietrich Schmitz officially endorses what he deems is a truly secure, easy to use PGP email encryption program. Read the details.

Step off Microsoft's License Treadmill to FOSS Linux

Linux Advocate Dietrich Schmitz reminds CIOs that XP Desktops destined for MS end of life support can be reprovisioned with FOSS Linux to run like brand new. Read how.

Bitcoin is NOT Money -- it's a Commodity

Linux Advocate shares news that the U.S. Treasury will treat Bitcoin as a Commodity 'Investment'. Read the details.

Google Drive Gets a Failing Grade on Privacy Protection

Linux Advocate Dietrich Schmitz puts out a public service privacy warning. Google Drive gets a failing grade on protecting your privacy.

Email: A Fundamentally Broken System

Email needs an overhaul. Privacy must be integrated.


Cookie Cutter Distros Don't Cut It


The 'Linux Inside' Stigma - It's real and it's a problem.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Turn a Deaf Ear

Linux Advocate Dietrich Schmitz reminds readers of a long ago failed petition by Mathematician Prof. Donald Knuth for stopping issuance of Software Patents.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Edward Snowden Email GPG Encryption Tutorial

English: from http://logo-contest.gnupg.org/su...
English: from http://logo-contest.gnupg.org/subm-6.html, copyright info see http://gnupg.org/misc/logo-contest.en.html (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
by Dietrich Schmitz

Folks, I've been on a privacy jag for over a year now since whistle blower Edward Snowden broke the story of how the NSA monitor everybody's electronic communications (PRISM).

It is understandable that many have been reluctant to start using email encryption.  But there is no risk and if done with strong encryption such as free open source Gnu Privacy Guard (GPG), you can be assured that only your intended recipient will be able to open and read your mail.

So, with that, today I am bringing to your attention a youtube video put up by none other than Edward Snowden himself wherein he provides a step-by-step tutorial of how to encrypt your email with a Windows version of GPG encryption, called GPG4Win.

So, even if you aren't a Windows user per se, you can watch to get a feel for the steps required to set up your public/private key pair and publishing to a key server and how to import a public key from one of your email contacts who has set up encrypted email also.

I use Fedora 20 LXDE with Evolution and GPG.  Once you've created the keys, you don't have to repeat the same process.  It is a 'one-time' affair and then creating and sending email is done with the existing GPG keys in place.

It's not hard after you've done it a few times.  Trust me.  It will make sense.

Here's Edward Snowden's youtube tutorial.  Enjoy!  -- Dietrich

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Saturday, May 3, 2014

It's Love All Over Again With New Improved Mozilla Firefox 29

Firefox logo
Firefox logo (Photo credit: Titanas)
by Dietrich Schmitz

I go back to a time when in Linux Firefox didn't exist.  Then, I used Mozilla.  For me, Mozilla Application Suite, a fork of Netscape's Communicator, was the best browser available in Linux Distro-Land and when it came out with 'Tabbed-browsing' I thought that was the greatest thing since sliced bread.

It was 'love at first sight'.  My infatuation with Mozilla grew and I became a loyal user overnight.

Enter Mozilla Firefox.  The genesis of Firefox was born out of many of Mozilla's features and overnight it became a hit.

Naturally, I switched away from Mozilla to Open Source Firefox and remain a loyal user.

Today, when I think about Open Source, I cannot stress its importance enough.  The need for Transparency in today's world has become magnified by world events and the increased public awareness that software can be exploited for nefarious purposes has become all the more clear.

How can we overcome such exploitation?  I believe that Open Source is vital to ensuring that rogue software exploit code becomes a thing of the past.  Proprietary code, that which cannot be seen, vetted with oversight by the general public, has the increased potential to become exploited on various levels.

Take for example something as simple as your average Microsoft Windows license.  Most people never read it.  And nobody other than Microsoft's programmers know what is specifically in their code base on an intimate level.  

How did Stuxnet happen?  

I am inclined to believe, it could not have happened if Windows was Open Source and I am also inclined to believe that it could not have happened without Microsoft's participation on some level.  There are 'back doors' into Windows legacy (x86) software, of that I am sure.

These 'back doors' are undocumented APIs which facilitate various control levels and, depending on the need, Microsoft shares those APIs with law enforcement and governmental agencies who request their assistance, unbeknownst to the general public.

This is only possible if the code base is proprietary and thus the programming APIs remain hidden.  And, proprietary being what it is, the ability to not disclose the full extent of how software governs itself is always an option and that is why I believe Proprietary Software = Exploitation.

Recently, I wrote WARNING: Google Chrome UNSAFE FOR GENERAL USE.
In that story, I disclosed my decision to stop using Chrome was based on its not being Open Source.

With world events in mind, Stuxnet, North Korean satellite launch systems (Windows) disabled, Flight 370 Boeing 777 'fly by wire' remote control software being undocumented and alleged to have been used for controlling and diverting said flight, I remain a staunch Advocate of Open Source and Transparency.

Just the other day Mozilla released their newest version of Firefox, version 29.

My good Friend Igor has scorned the design decisions made by Mozilla.  Okay, let's get it out of the way -- it 'looks' (to a degree) like Chrome.  But, if you really stop to think -- so what?  These are critical usability design considerations which I feel, on net, make Firefox all the more usable and at the same time extend its feature set with new much-welcomed rich functionality.

Firefox 29: A big win for Mozilla.  

When you combine the open source features of Firefox with the vast repository of plugins at users' disposal, the result is a powerhouse web browser.  There is no equivocating on that!

In fact, I'll go as far to say, I am in love all over again with Firefox and would like to thank the Mozilla Firefox Developer Team for all the innovative work done to date.  

Thank you.  Thank you.  -- Dietrich
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