Productivity Commission slams George Brandis’ draconian copyright laws

The Australian Productivity Commission has released a damning report of Australia’s copyright laws.

In a statement, the Commission effectively criticises George Brandis’ priorities, saying “the best antidote to copyright infringement is accessible and competitively priced online content, not draconian penalties and big brother enforcement“.

The Productivity Commission report shows Attorney-General George Brandis has been focussed on vocal overseas special interests rather than fixing a copyright system that has clearly lost its way.

Photo of Karen Chester, Productivity Commissioner
Karen Chester, Productivity Commissioner

The Commission has found that “action must be taken to rebalance Australia’s intellectual property (IP) arrangements”.

“A good IP system balances the interests of rights holders and users, but Australia’s system has swung too far in favour of vocal rights holders and influential IP exporting nations.”

“No matter how you measure it, Australia overwhelmingly imports more IP than it exports — and this gap is widening. Most of the profits from excessive IP rights flow offshore, while Australian consumers and taxpayers are left to pick up the tab,” said Commissioner Karen Chester.

Wow George, you’ve really dropped the ball on this stuff. It’s time to look out for the Australian interest not your special overseas interests.

You can make a submission to the Productivity Commission before it finalises its report at:

http://www.pc.gov.au/inquiries/current/intellectual-property/make-submission

proXPN VPN promo code and coupon for lifetime subscription deal

proXPN VPN: Lifetime Subscription – coupon code and promo code

proXPN VPN is one of the popular virtual private network (VPN) providers. StackSocial currently has a special deal (at the time of writing) for a proXPN VPN Lifetime Subscription for 89% off at only US$39 (down from $375). A lifetime subscription means a one-time payment only and no monthly fees. Given the normal price for proXPN VPN is up to US$6.95 per month, that’s a great deal.

You don’t need a proXPN VPN coupon code or promo code, just head over to StackSocial to buy the special deal:

https://stacksocial.com/sales/proxpn-premium-lifetime

proXPN VPN has a few cool features:

  • Unlimited traffic bandwidth
  • Fast worldwide access to proXPN’s full service network
  • Secure Wi-Fi connection w/ a masked IP address, even on public networks
  • Encrypted browsing w/ a 512-bit Encryption Tunnel utilizing a 2048-bit Encryption Key
  • PPTP or OpenVPN encryption options
  • Mobile device support
  • VPN Guard, which allows you to select which programs should automatically shut down if your proXPN VPN connection drops.

VPN Unlimited promo code and coupon for lifetime subscription deal

VPN Unlimited: Lifetime Subscription – coupon code and promo code

VPN Unlimited is one of the popular virtual private network (VPN) providers. StackSocial currently has a special deal (at the time of writing) for a VPN Unlimited Lifetime Subscription for 92% off at only US$39 (down from $500). A lifetime subscription means a one-time payment only and no monthly fees. Given the normal price for VPN Unlimited is up to US$3.99 per month, that’s a great deal.

You don’t need a PureVPN coupon code or promo code, just head over to StackSocial to buy the special deal:

https://stacksocial.com/sales/vpn-unlimited-lifetime-subscription

VPN Land promo code and coupon for lifetime subscription deal

VPN Land: Lifetime Subscription – coupon code and promo code

VPN Land is one of the popular virtual private network (VPN) providers. StackSocial currently has a special deal (at the time of writing) for a VPN Land Lifetime Subscription for 91% off at only US$49.99 (down from $599). A lifetime subscription means a one-time payment only and ongoing no monthly fees. Given the normal price for VPN Land is up to US$100 per year, that’s a great deal.

You don’t need a VPN Land coupon code or promo code, just head over to StackSocial to buy the special deal:

https://stacksocial.com/sales/vpn-land-4-yr-subscription

VPNsecure promo code and coupon for lifetime subscription deal

VPNsecure: Lifetime Subscription – coupon code and promo code

VPNsecure is one of the popular virtual private network (VPN) providers. StackSocial currently has a special deal (at the time of writing) for a VPNsecure Lifetime Subscription for 86% off at only US$59 (down from $450). A lifetime subscription means a one-time payment only and no monthly fees. Given the normal price for VPNsecure is up to US$9.95 per month, that’s a great deal.

You don’t need a VPNsecure coupon code or promo code, just head over to StackSocial to buy the special deal:

https://stacksocial.com/sales/vpn-secure-lifetime

PureVPN promo code and coupon for lifetime subscription deal

PureVPN: Lifetime Subscription – coupon code and promo code

PureVPN is one of the popular virtual private network (VPN) providers.  StackSocial currently has a special deal (at the time of writing) for a PureVPN Lifetime Subscription for 88% off at only US$69 (down from $597).  A lifetime subscription means a one-time payment only and no monthly fees.  Given the normal price for PureVPN is up to US$11.95 per month, that’s a great deal.

You don’t need a PureVPN coupon code or promo code, just head over to StackSocial to buy the special deal:

https://stacksocial.com/sales/lifetime-of-purevpn

VPNs tested ready for Australian Government’s data retention laws coming Tuesday 13 October 2015

11 October 2015

The Australian Government’s data retention laws started on Tuesday 13 October 2015.  This means the government will now require your ISP and telco to record your internet and call records for access by many government agencies.  You can take steps to protect your privacy.

So, how do you protect your privacy from the watching eyes of the Australia Government? You can’t completely unless you go dark and turn off your mobile phone.  You can at least protect your internet records from government spies by using a virtual private network (VPN) to hide your real records from both your internet service provider (ISP) and the government.

There are many VPNs out there but their prices and speeds vary a lot.  Below are some VPNs we’ve just tested to show you how fast a connection you can get through a VPN.  We tested on a 100 Mb/s NBN which, without a VPN, was getting 91 Mb/s.

No VPN connection speed:

No VPN< download 90.95 Mb/s, upload 37.87 Mb/s, ping 3 ms
No VPN connection speed

Private Internet Access (PIA) ✓

PIA is the fastest and second most expensive of the VPNs that we tested. It also has the simplest desktop apps to use with apps also available for Android and iOS.

PIA 61.66 Mbs download, 28.97 Mb/s upload, 3 ms ping
Private Internet Access VPN connection speed

PIA costs:
US$39.95 per year at:
https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/pages/buy-vpn/australia
or
US$59 for two years at:
https://stacksocial.com/sales/private-internet-access-vpn (no coupon needed)

VPN Unlimited

VPN unlimited has 52.18 Mb/s download, 12.80 Mb/s upload and 56 ms ping
VPN Unlimited

VPN Unlimited is the second fastest and very affordable VPN we tested. It has a lifetime subscription (no monthly or yearly fees) so is great value for money.  VPN has apps for the desktop, Android and iOS.

VPN Unlimited costs US$39 for a lifetime subscription here:
https://stacksocial.com/sales/vpn-unlimited-lifetime-subscription (no coupon needed)

VpyrVPN

VyprVPN is the third fastest but both the most expensive (by far) and cheapest VPN we tested.  How can that be? VyprVPN’s cheapest subscription service is $80 a year and up to $120 a year for its premium service.  VyprVPN does however have a limited free service with 500Mb of data per months (that’s okay for some private surfing but not for heavy users nor downloads).

VyprVPN has 43.60 Mb/s downloads, 23.30 MB/s uploads and 33 ms ping
VyprVPN speedtest

You can get VyprVPN here including desktop, Android and iOS apps:
https://www.goldenfrog.com/vyprvpn/australia-vpn-data-retention

IPinator VPN ✓ 

IPinator is the fourth fastest (just pipped by VyprVPN) but by far the cheapest VPN we tested.  That means it gets our gong as the best value of the VPNs we tested.

IPinator has 42.86 Mb/s download, 6.24 Mb/s upload and 100 ms ping
IPinator VPN speedtest

IPinator VPN costs only one payment of US$14.99 for a lifetime subscription! What a bargain! IPinator has apps for the desktop and Android but does not yet have an app for iOS.  You can get the special deal here:
https://stacksocial.com/sales/ipinator-vpn-lifetime-license (no coupon needed)

TigerVPN 

TigerVPN was the slowest VPN we tested.  Although it is quite affordable with a one-off US$29 lifetime payment, it’s not as good as the cheaper IPinator.  The desktop app is also buggy (crashes every time we close it on Windows 7 and 10).  There is an app for Android but no app for iOS.

TigerVPN has 16.91 Mb/s download, 6.32 MB/s upload and 376 ms ping
TigerVPN speedtest

You can get the TigerVPN lifetime deal at:
https://stacksocial.com/sales/tigervpn-lite-lifetime-subscription (no coupon needed)

Some other untested VPN deals are:

proXPN VPN: Premium Lifetime Subscription for US$39 (no coupon needed)
https://stacksocial.com/sales/proxpn-premium-lifetime

VPN Land: Lifetime Subscription for US$24.99 (no coupon needed)
https://stacksocial.com/sales/vpn-land-4-yr-subscription

CyberGhostVPN for EUR45 per year
http://www.cyberghostvpn.com/en

 

How to hide your house from Google Street View

Not everyone is okay with strangers being able to peer at their home using Google Street View. So Google has made an online tool available to blur or smudge your home on Google Street View to protect your privacy.

Just follow these simple steps to hide your home from Google Street View.
Step One: Find your home on GOOGLE MAPS

Go to Google Maps here and then search for your address.

Google Street View iconThen, drag and drop the little Google Street View man onto the street in front of your house to switch into Street View mode.

Step Two: Click “Send feedback” at the bottom right of the Google Street View screen.

Once you have done that, you will be taken to a form to “report inappropriate Street View” content.

Google will ask you why are you reporting this image (choose one option).  The options to blur are (1) a face (2) my home (3) my car / licence plate and (4) a different object.  

Step Three: Select “My Home” and fill in the form

First make sure you adjust the image to focus on your house and then press submit. Done! Google will eventually process your request.

If you are concerned about your online privacy, you should check out how to get a Virtual Private Network (VPN) at my other blog post by clicking here.

 

Search by email to see if it is part of leaked Ashley Madison user information

The Ashley Madison site for people looking for affairs has been taken down as part of a well publicised hack of it customer data. That customer data has now been unleashed onto the internet.

and intimate details of 36 million users are now available to the public.

Many people will face embarrassment, professional problems, and even divorce now their private details are exposed.

If you or someone you know was a customer of Ashley Madison then you can search by email to see if that users data is part of the publicly leaked data on the internet.

Below are some current sites using the hacked Ashley Madison user data:

ashley.cynic.al

trustify.info

 

Google creates easier and centralised privacy checkup

Google has created a new “My Account” page that has all of a user’s privacy and apps access settings in one place, including a privacy check-up.

This makes it much easier for Google users to see what apps have access to their information and their privacy settings.

To do a simple privacy check-up for your Google account, click on the following link, login and make sure you’re happy with your privacy and app access settings.

https://myaccount.google.com/privacycheckup

Windows 10 released 29 July 2015: step by step guide on how to reserve your free upgrade

Microsoft has officially announced that Windows 10 will be available from 29 July 2015.

Interestingly, Microsoft is already allowing users of Windows 7 SP1 and Windows 8 and 8.1 to reserve a downloadable copy of the free upgrade to Windows 10.

Step by step guide to reserve your free upgrade to Window 10 download

Step One 

First, go to Windows Update and make sure you have all of the latest updates. For Windows 7 users, you will need to have SP1 installed. For Windows 8, either Windows 8.1 or 8 is sufficient.

Go to Control Panel -> System and Security -> Windows Update
and select “Check for updates“.

Make sure all essential updates are installed so you see, like the screen shot below, that “Windows is up to date“.

Win10-step1

Step 2 

You should see a new “Get Windows 10” icon in the bottom right hand corner of your screen (Notification Area) like in the screen shot below. Click on the new Get Windows 10 Icon.

Win10-step2

Step 3 

Scroll through the Get Windows 10 pop-up screens now available to see what’s on offer.  This is a full version of Windows 10 and is not a trial.

Win10-step3a

Win10-step3b

Win10-step3c

Step 4 

Click on the “Reserve your free upgrade” option for Windows 10

Win10-step4

Step 5

Wait until 29 July 2015 and you’ll be able download your free Windows 10 upgrade!

Win10-step5

 

Choose the right VPN to protect your privacy and internet habits #VPN #privacy #metadataprivacy

Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs, are becoming the new norm for savvy users in the new age of government mass surveillance, copyright bounty hunters and pervasive user profiling by internet companies.

What is a VPN?

VPNs tunnel your internet traffic through securely encrypted servers located around the world.  When you use the internet, either on your smartphone, computer or gaming machine, your IP address can be used to determine your location and, through your Internet Service Provider (ISP), can also be used to identify your name and address.

By encrypting and tunnelling your internet traffic, VPNs hide your IP address making it almost impossible to find your location and track your identity through your ISP.  This stops ISPs from storing meaningful metadata as their records will simply record there is traffic between you and the VPN without knowing where that traffic ended up or came from.  VPNs also stop copyright trolls from tracking your torrent downloading habits.

So, how do you choose the right VPN?

You should choose a VPN provider that:

  • does not keeps logs of user internet activity
  • has apps for your computer/PC, smartphone and tablet
  • is affordable
  • has fast servers!

Below is a list of VPN services for you to consider.  All have apps for your Windows PC, Mac PC, iPhone or iPad and Android device (except for Overplay but is does also have a SmartDNS which is great for unblocking US Netflix).

ServiceWindows PC AppMac AppiOS AppAndroid App
VyprVPNYESYESYESYES
CyberghostVPNYESYESYESYES
IP VanishYESYESYESYES
Private Internet AccessYESYESYESYES
Overplay VPN (plus SmartDNS)YESYESNO NO

VPN Speedtest

At the moment, I’m using both VyprVPN and Private Internet Access.  Below are the best of three Speedtest results for their fastest (automatically selected) VPN server. You will see both are about the same speed with Private Internet Access only just topping VyperVPN (which I suggest is the same within a margin of error).

VyprVPN

Private Internet Access

Is your iPhone tracking your every move? How to turn off tracking

The default settings in Apple’s iOS for your iPhone and iPad allows your every move to be tracked and stored using location services including GPS.

If you don’t want Apple (or anyone who happens to be playing with your iPhone) from seeing everywhere you have been recently then you should turn off this default location tracking “service”.

Below is a step-by-step guide to turning of location tracking in iOS for your iPhone.  The same steps apply in iOS for your iPad.

Step 1 – Tap the “Settings” app on your iPhone home screen

Step 2 – Scroll down until you see the “Privacy” setting

iOStracking-step2

Step 3 – Tap the “Privacy” setting

iOStracking-step3

Step 4 – Tap “Location Services”

iOStracking-step4

 

Step 5 – Scroll down to and tap “System Services”

iOStracking-step5

 

Step 6 – Slide “Frequent Locations” to off (not green)

iOStracking-step7

 

Step 7 – You’re done!

iOStracking-step8

Now, to increase your privacy even more and also get access to blocked overseas streaming services (Netflix, BBC iPlayer and more), learn how to choose a virtual private network (VPN) service at my other post by clicking here.

How to find and delete your Google search history online, before someone else finds it!

Do you remember what you searched for two years ago or five years ago? Google remembers. This is how to hide your shame!

What about when you searched for a hangover cure on a Sunday morning exactly three years and two days ago after that big Saturday night out? Google remembers.

Or that time you got that strange rash and you searched for symptoms, possible cause and a cure?  Google remembers.  Do you remember cyberstalking that hot girl or boy using Google search?  Google certainly remembers that and keeps it all online.

butt-search

So unless you’ve got absolutely nothing to hide or be embarrassed about (not likely) then read on to learn how to delete your Google search history.

Google proudly states “you can download all of your saved search history to see a list of the terms you’ve searched for” to give “you access to your data when and where you want“.  Of course, if your password ever becomes compromised (or you forget to log out) then someone else, such as your partner, can download it for you!  Do you really want to wait for that awkward conversation if your partner asks you to show them everything you’ve ever searched for?

ex-search

If, for some reason, you want to take the risk and download your entire Google search history, you can learn how here:

https://support.google.com/websearch/answer/6068625

Google warns you should not download your search history while using a public computer. I also warn against downloading your search history on a shared household computer. You certainly don’t want your search history maliciously shared on social media or have uncomfortable conversations with your significant other.

Help! I want to delete it! How?

Yes, you can hide your shame and delete all of or part of your Google search history.

feet-search

These is Google’s step-by-step guide to deleting your search history

Delete searches & browsing activity

Your searches and browsing activity are saved in your Web & App Activity when it’s turned on and you’re signed in to your Google Account. You’re in control of what’s saved, and you can delete it or turn the setting off whenever you like.

Delete your searches and browsing activity

You can delete your past searches or other activity from your Web & App Activity page.

Desktop or Laptop Computer

Delete items one at a time

  1. Visit your Web & App Activity page.
  2. Check the box next to the items you want to remove.
  3. Click Remove items at the top of the page.

Delete multiple

  1. Visit your Web & App Activity page.
  2. In the top right corner of the page, click Options Settings > Remove items.
  3. Choose the time period for which you want to delete your history. (To remove all items, select The beginning of time).
  4. Click Remove.

Note: If you turned on the option to include history from Chrome and other apps in your Web & App Activity, visit the additional Web & App Activity page to see that information. If you only want to remove additional Web & App Activity from a certain device, choose that device in the “Remove items” dropdown menu.

Android App

Delete items one at a time

  1. Visit your Web & App Activity page.
  2. Check the box next to the items you want to remove.
  3. Touch Remove items at the top of the page.

Delete multiple

  1. Visit your Web & App Activity page.
  2. In the top right corner of the page, touch Options Settings > Remove items.
  3. Choose the time period for which you want to delete your history. (To remove all items, select The beginning of time).
  4. Touch Remove.

Note: If you turned on the option to include history from Chrome and other apps in your Web & App Activity, visit the additional Web & App Activity page to see that information. If you only want to remove additional Web & App Activity from a certain device, choose that device in the “Remove items” dropdown menu.

iPhone or iPad (iOS)

  1. Open the Google app .
  2. Touch the search box that appears when you open the app.
  3. Touch View search history.
  4. Touch Clear All in the top right corner > Clear on-device history.

Note: Any searches you’ve deleted from the Google app will be deleted from your iPhone or iPad device history, but a copy of the searches stays in your Web & App Activity so keep going below.

Any searches you’ve deleted from the Google app will be deleted from your iPhone or iPad device history, but there will still be a copy of the searches in your Web & App Activity. Follow the instructions below to remove the searches from your Web & App Activity.

Delete items one at a time

  1. Visit your Web & App Activity page.
  2. Check the box next to the items you want to remove.
  3. Touch Remove items at the top of the page.

Delete multiple

  1. Visit your Web & App Activity page.
  2. In the top right corner of the page, touch Options Settings > Remove items.
  3. Choose the time period for which you want to delete your history. (To remove all items, select The beginning of time).
  4. Touch Remove.

Note: If you turned on the option to include history from Chrome and other apps in your Web & App Activity, visit the additional Web & App Activity page to see that information. If you only want to remove additional Web & App Activity from a certain device, choose that device in the “Remove items” dropdown menu.

Prevent future searches from being saved

  1. Visit your Account History page.
  2. Touch Pause > Pause history.

Tip: If you occasionally want to prevent your searches from being saved, you can search within an incognito window in Google Chrome while not signed in to your Google Account. If you’re using a browser other than Google Chrome, check your browser’s help instructions to see whether it has a similar private browsing mode.

What happens to your searches and browsing activity when it’s deleted?

When you delete items from your Web & App Activity, they are no longer associated with your Google Account. However, Google may store activity separately to prevent spam and abuse and to improve our services.

source: https://support.google.com/websearch/answer/465

Want your own affordable blog or website? Check out hostgator.com and get a mobile-friendly site now with one-click install for WordPress or Joomla. It’s easy. I did it and I don’t work in the computer industry. 

Dropbox moves customers to Ireland but won’t say why #dropbox #privacy #metadata

If you are a Dropbox user outside of North America you will soon be a customer of “Dropbox Ireland” instead of Dropbox United States.

Dropbox says these “changes to better serve our users around the world” but strangely doesn’t say how they are better. Dropbox follows a recent move by Twitter and is staying quiet as to why its is moving its international users to its Irish service but its likely to be for multiple reasons.

Email notice to users
Dropbox’s email notice to users about the move to Ireland

1. Ireland is a low tax nation

The first reason is that Ireland is a low tax nation state that allows multinational companies, especially techs, to reduce their tax.  Some of the biggest companies in the world, including Apple and Google, have “operations” in Ireland to take advantage of its low corporate taxes, with effective tax rates from 15 percent to as low as 2 percent.

It’s not implausible that Dropbox is following Apple’s and Google’s lead to lower the tax its pays.  How this works is explained at this Irish business journal: businessetc.thejournal.ie/explainer-irish-corporation-tax-715761-Dec2012/

2. Ireland protects data from foreign government surveillance

Moving international Dropbox users away from Dropbox United States also removes users’ data from the pervasive surveillance of the United States National Security Agency (NSA) and other agencies caught out spying on your data. With other countries like Australia, United Kingdom, France, Germany and more enacting (or considering) metadata retention laws, moving international users to Ireland also protects customers from the data surveillance of their home countries.

3. Ireland’s privacy regulator is considered soft

Whilst moving to Ireland might help protect users against government surveillance, the trade-off is that there is less data privacy protection in Ireland against corporate surveillance.  Ireland data privacy regulator has been criticised as underfunded with regulations much softer than the United States and other European Union (EU) countries.  The EU is looking at creating a “European Data Protection Board” for users to take their case if they are not happy with rulings from Ireland or any other European data privacy regulator.

What does Dropbox say?

Dropbox has very little to say why it has moved international users to Dropbox Ireland.  Below is an extract of their notice from the Dropbox website:

“The Dropbox Terms of Service change—what is it, and what does it mean for me?

If you’re a user living outside of North America (the United States, Canada, and Mexico), we’re updating our Terms of Service to better serve you and the growing number of Dropbox users around the world. These changes include the fact that we’ll be providing our services (including Dropbox, Dropbox for Business, Carousel, and Mailbox) to you via Dropbox Ireland.

You can learn more by reading our updated Terms of Service, or read below for answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding this change.

Will this change affect the way I use Dropbox?

No, you should experience no change in the application, and you will not need to do anything differently.

When will the change take effect?

The updated Terms of Service will go into effect for users living outside North America as follows:

  • For users who had Dropbox accounts before May 1st, 2015, the updates will go into effect on June 1, 2015
  • For users signing up for new Dropbox accounts or upgrading to Pro on May 1st, 2015 or later, the updates will be effective as of the date of sign-up or upgrade

What if I have a Dropbox for Business account and have third-party integrations?

There are no technical changes to how our services work, so you’ll be able to continue using them as you have before.

Can I move to Dropbox Ireland Terms of Service if I’m based in the US, Mexico, or Canada?

No. Our updated Terms of Service currently only apply to users living outside of North America.”