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Three amazing talks from World Press Freedom Day

 

The last few years have seen an alarming number of countries curb press freedoms. Disconcerting reports from countries such as Egypt, Turkey and Azerbaijan tell of free speech activists being imprisoned for arbitrary reasons. Simultaneously, western and eastern superpowers alike have taken a stand against encryption and whistleblowing, both key elements for a world where governments and corporations can be held accountable for their actions.

UNESCO World Press Freedom day is a yearly event that tackles these issues by bringing together global leaders in politics, academia, activism and media. This truly star-studded event will take place on May 3-5th, and is held in F-Secure’s home town of Helsinki this year. Here are just some of amazing talks and events taking place, and some you can even stream live from anywhere in the world! With F-Secure as official partners to UNESCO, the Freedome team will also be reporting live from the event, bringing you constant updates even from non-streamed events on our Twitter channel @FreedomeVPN.

 

Protecting Your Rights: Surveillance Overreach, Data Protection, and Online Censorship

May 3rd, 13:00-14:45 CET, Livestream: http://www.unesco.org/new/en/communication-and-information/resources/multimedia/webcast

In an event with so much star power you’ll almost need sunglasses, our very own CRO Mikko Hyppönen, perhaps the world’s leading public speaker on privacy matters, will give a keynote about issues such as the “fight over our online privacy and the escalating cyber arms race”. The associated panel discussion will be hosted by Christiane Amanpour, chief international correspondent for CNN and one of the most recognized and influential journalists in the world.

Why it’s relevant in 2016: This discussion will span a wide range of touchpoints which affect all of us, no matter what kind of society or part of the world we live in. This is echoed by an extremely interesting and diverse panel which includes experts from four continents, including Lina Attalah, co-founder of independent Egyptian newspaper Mada Masr and Danilo Doneda, Professor of Law at State University of Rio De Janeiro.

 

Can tweets recruit for terror? Understanding radicalization in the social media sphere

May 3rd, 15:15 – 16:45

This talk should interest anyone with even a passing interest in geopolitics, social media and propaganda as a tool and the power that social media has to disseminate information and radicalize individuals. The discussion is moderated by Patrick H. Leusch, among other things managing director of the Global media forum, a yearly conference on media and foreign policy organized by Deutsche Welle.

Why is it relevant in 2016: Destructive radicalism has always found fertile ground on the internet, where like-minded individuals can come together and even outcasts or those with fringe ideas can find somewhere where they feel like they belong. Even so, there is something chillingly disciplined about the command that modern militant radicals such as ISIS have in their use of social media, virality and other modern forms of propaganda to further their malevolent causes. Inequality and hardships faced by migrants have further fueled the fire of this issue which has no easy answers. So expect fascinating and valuable input from an expert panel with representatives from countries such as Syria, Kuwait and Tunisia.

 

Whistleblowers’ and Journalists’ Source Protection

May 3rd, 09:30 – 12:00 CET

We at F-Secure have a long history of championing the open availability of encryption for individual use, not just corporations and the intelligence community. One of the key benefits of encryption is that it enables whistleblowing in a world where communications are more and more monitored. This discussion on encryption and journalists’ source protection is moderated by Barbora Bukovska, a lawyer who directs British human rights organization Article 19 and tireless advocate of human rights issues across the board (she has brought over 50 cases to the European court of human rights).

Why it’s relevant in 2016:

Making whistleblowing easier benefits society as a whole. There has never been a wider consensus over this than after the release of the Panama papers. Corporations and governments need to be held accountable for their actions, and sadly this is often enabled solely by brave individuals who want to bring to light the wrongs they see around them. Among participating panelists are Rana Sabbagh, Executive Director for Arab reporters for investigative journalism and David Kaye, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection the right to freedom of opinion and expression.

Check out Freedome VPN, a privacy app made to bring digital freedom to the whole world. For live updates from World Press Freedom day and stuff on privacy every other day, follow us at @FreedomeVPN

 

 

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The 5 Minute Guide™ to App Store Security and Privacy

Mobile devices have largely avoided the malware outbreaks that have plagued PCs for decades now for a simple reason -- app stores. Nearly all -- or even all -- the software that's on your phone or tablet now came through these official portals, where they endured some degree of vetting. But this doesn't mean it's impossible to have your security or privacy compromised by bad apps. Here's a quick run-through of the basics you need to know to keep the data on your mobile device safe and private. 1. Stick to the official app stores. If you have an iOS device, you can only use the official App Store, unless you "jailbreak" your device and take your security into your own hands. Android users, however, have more freedom. And with freedom, there's a little danger. "Anything ending in .apk might be malicious," Tom Van De Wiele, F-Secure Security Consultant, tells me. "So the official Google Play store is the only place you should get your apps." He offers a simple metaphor to remember this concept: "You don’t pick up shiny food from the street and put it in your mouth either, no matter what the promise is." In case you missed the point: The Play store is the clean table -- everywhere else is the grimy, filthy floor. 2. ANDROID USERS: Make sure to block downloads from "Unknown sources". "Phishing campaigns are focussing on providing .apk files to unsuspecting victims by email, SMS, MMS, Skype and other means," Tom says. He recommends you avoid these scams by blocking downloads from unknown sources. To do this, via iKidApps.com: Navigate to your Android phone’s home screen. Tap the Android "Menu" button. Choose "Settings". Open "Applications". Make sure there is no green check mark next to the Unknown sources item. If there is a green check mark next to Unknown sources, disable the setting. 3. ANDROID AND IOS USERS: Don't assume that your apps have been vetted for privacy. "It is not in Google’s interest to remove a lot of apps as they generate advertisement revenue for Google," Tom says, adding that the Play store doesn't do nearly as much vetting for malicious apps as the Apple iOS store does and instead opts for a “clean-up-as-you-go model." But that doesn't mean iOS apps are completely nuisance free. "Apple has the 'walled garden' of trying to control what they can when it comes to their application eco-system," he says. "This does not take into account apps that invade your privacy by asking you, for example if the app can 'access the address book', which will result in sending the contents of the address book to a remote location." You have to check the app permissions yourself to avoid these data-farming apps. 4. Look out for "bait ware." Both app stores have been plagued by what Tom calls "bait ware". These are apps "where the user is fooled into generating a lot of advertisement revenue by randomly popping up ads, fake buttons and other arbitrary functionality." New parents need to especially be on the lookout for these apps. "This is especially prevalent in baby and toddler applications which look very enticing to download and try but are merely empty husks with interwoven advertisement." Why do these apps prosper despite their dubious quality? Tom says, "Both Apple and Google are reluctant to remove them as it becomes a slippery slope on where to draw the line between sincere and malevolent behavior of an application." 5. "Walled gardens" aren't perfect solutions so check reviews and be suspicious of newer apps. Google's approach invites malicious apps to occasionally appear in its store. Often they're imitations or clones of much more popular apps. This is much, much more rare in the iOS App Store, but it has happened. To preserve your security, privacy and disk space, do some basic due diligence and check the reviews to see if they seem real and offer some substantive testimony that the app is legit. [Image by PhotoAtelier | Flickr]

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5 Must-Read Online Privacy Articles from 2016

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