Though it doesn't guarantee confidentiality from prying eyes if one's computer is compromised through a trojan, virus, keystroke logger or other localised means, the launch of Google's SSL search page comes as very good news. It's not yet available for Google Sri Lanka, but I expect it will soon. As Google notes, With Google search … Continue reading https://www.google.com launches: Encrypted searching gets a boost
First, the dangerous. A new security vulnerability on the iPhone that uses a simple SMS "to get near complete control of the iPhone's functionality which includes dialing the phone, visiting Web sites, turning on the device's camera and microphone and, most importantly, sending more text messages to further propagate a mass-gadget hijacking." I am almost … Continue reading Apple iPhone: From the really dangerous to the ridiculous
In June this year, I was appalled to realise that colleagues in Sri Lanka mindlessly wrote sensitive information on public information boards. At a meeting today on the 21st level of the UN Secretariat in New York, ironically discussing ways to break down firewalls - technical, processual, managerial etc - that prevent information sharing within and between … Continue reading Information (in)security at the United Nations, New York
Particularly in light of the fact that Skype is used by human rights defenders, including in Sri Lanka, as a means of secure communications is the speculation that it has a back-door entry that allows third parties, such as repressive government and intelligence agencies, gain access to conversations. According to reports, there may be a … Continue reading Skype not secure?
Last week I captured through my mobile phone camera the user account, password and URL of a confidential human rights monitoring and advocacy database. The users had plastered these details on a public notice board for easy reference, in a manner that could be viewed by anyone who came into the office. It hadn't occurred … Continue reading IT Security: Planning for the lack of commonsense
Eduardo Jezierski, the brilliant Director of Engineering from INSTEDD and I recently exchanged some emails about the usefulness and advisability of Facebook as a platform for humanitarian aid. First some context. The conversation arose after I emailed him details of the BBC's recent expose of Facebok's flaws with its applications platform / framework, which is … Continue reading Facebook for humanitarian aid?
Missing entirely in the discussions I was part of at the UN OCHA +5 Symposium and also the draft statement current on the Symposium website for public review is the manner in which complex political emergencies (CPEs, herein used to also cover violent ethno-political conflict) influence the design and deployment of ICT support architectures and … Continue reading Complex Political Emergencies and humanitarian aid systems design
One of the discussions that cropped up in the working group on Innovation and also at the Plenary at the UN OCHA +5 Symposium was the ethics of information sharing in humanitarian aid systems. I for one find it hard to believe that we are bereft of the information needed for timely and sustainable humanitarian … Continue reading Humanitarian information systems: Ethics, information protection and “information DNA”