Universal Geek: Good and Justice, Regardless

Privacy, security, robots! Oh, my! The geeks of Universal Geek tackle some disturbing news and events from TomTom selling traffic data to be used against its consumers, FBI access computers to remove malware, and Dropbox not playing nice.

It isn’t all gloom and doom, though. At least there seems to be a good amount of laughing in the face of such darkness.

This episode like a few previous episodes suffers a bit from wonky audio levels.  We are looking into why this keeps happening and hope that some new microphones and mixing board will correct the problem.  This time it is Jeff who is coming in a bit quiet.  By next week we will have this sound problem completely under control.


Protect yourself online (Jeff added)

    • Use TrueCrypt
    • Send sensative emails with LockBin – never unencyrpted
    • Use https when possible, but don’t rely on https-everywhere or Fireshepherd (useless). Possibly discuss using ssh tunnels
    • Don’t use the same password for multiple accounts (…unless)
      • [sean: potential to discuss password configurations to help maintain separate passwords for sites but still be able to keep track of which password goes to which site without writing anything down]

KeePass: http://keepass.info/
KeePassX: (open source, cross platform version of the above) http://www.keepassx.org/

TrueCrypt: http://www.truecrypt.org/

SpiderOak: https://spideroak.com/


EFF calling for an Open Wireless Movement (Jeff added)


FBI will be remotely uninstalling trojan on PCs

Dropbox is doing some potentially shady things: (Jeff added)

  • trying to kill an open-source proejct: http://razorfast.com/2011/04/25/dropbox-attempts-to-kill-open-source-project/
  • the EULA fiasco – http://www.infosecurity.us/blog/tag/eula
  • Why I’m considering a move to SpiderOak instead of DropBox
    • excellent post on SpiderOak’s blog about why engineering matters in light of Sony’s breach and other threats https://spideroak.com/blog/20110423133455-engineering-matters

Dutch Using TomTom GPS Data to Help Catch Speeders (Sean)
* In light of all the tracking stories, there still is an issue with anonymous data, when used in aggregate it can be used ‘against us’ if you interpret ways for the police to provide safer highways as ‘against us’.  Brings up the issue of speed cameras which does feel wrong to me but I can’t pinpoint exactly why it feels wrong.

Superman renounces US citizenship (Sean)

  • Says he is tired of his actions being related to US policy
  • “‘Truth, justice and the American way’ it’s not enough anymore,” he says. “The world’s too small, too connected.”
  • [Jeff] I’ve been seeing interesting reactions to this from the comics community. Noting here so I don’t forget to mention

Our Future Robot Overlords Can Now Catch Baseballs (Bleu)

  • “An aerospace company in Germany called DLR has modified their flagship humanoid robot (dubbed Rollin’ Justin) to catch baseballs.”
  • And, more importantly, it can make coffee. Imagine, Sean, you’d never have to remember to how to make coffee again! That coffee maker is pretty cool-looking, too.