Disclaimer: Use any of the things listed here at your own risk. If done improperly, they might break your Windows installation, so be sure to know what you’re doing and ideally back up your files beforehand. Everything mentioned here I put together on a ‘works on my machine’-basis, so it might not work for everyone or even break things for you - again, use at your own risk.

This is Richard. 

Richard knows that proprietary software like Windows does not respect your freedoms, so he uses obscure GNU/Linux distros instead. And if you ask him about fixing Windows 10, he’ll tell you to stop using it.

But that’s why we’re here: You don’t want to use Linux full time, yet you also aren’t quite comfortable with the multitude of ways Microsoft spies on you in Windows 10 and the general flood of things you don’t want or need.

But fear not! I’ll show you the way.

1: De-NSAing the System Settings

If you haven’t installed Windows 10 yet, you can save yourself a lot of effort from the very beginning. When it asks you whether you want to do an express install, choose no - if you read what it says about the express install, you’ll know why.

In the menu that follows, simply uncheck every option unless you explicitly need one or more of them. Those are some of the main spyware-esque features of Windows 10, so by disabling them then and there you already prevented the worst.

You already express-installed Windows? No problem. You can turn off everything in the settings. 

First of all, click Start->Settings

Select Privacy and then General.

Disable everything there.

Now, opt out of personalized ads (they are personalized by collecting your user data). Click “Manage my Microsoft advertising and other personalization info” like it can be seen at the bottom here, this will take you to Microsoft’s webpage.

Turn off personalized ads.

So far, so good. Now head back into the privacy settings and the other categories to disable (almost) everything, most importantly Location. Also check Background Apps and disable everything you don’t need.

2: Stop Windows from messing with your internet connection

If you didn’t know it yet, Windows 10 does two things by default: Share your wifi passwords with your contacts (including facebook), called WiFi Sense, and steal your bandwidth by uploading windows updates for others in a peer2peer way. You most likely don’t want this, so this is how you disable it:

First, we disable WiFi-Sense.

Go into the settings again, click Network&Internet, then Wi-Fi. There, choose Manage Wi-Fi Settings

There, turn off all options again.

You did it!

Now we’ll take care of the Update bandwidth theft. Again, go into Setting, click Update & Security -> Windows Update.

Click Advanced Options, which is at the bottom. There, click Choose how updates are delivered”

There, switch Updates from more than one place to Off.

3: Turn off Cortana (mostly)

Why? Because Cortana wants all your data and send it to Microsoft. This isn’t even an exaggeration, to ‘improve its service’, Cortana monitors virtually everything you do and use it for. A real privacy nightmare and the NSA’s wet dream..

Click the search bar next to your start button, click the settings symbol and turn off Cortana. If you never agreed to the Cortana terms of service or unchecked everything during the installation the way I recommended, Cortana will already be disabled. Note that if you disable it, it obviously won’t be able to perform the voice commands anymore and the search bar will be limited to your computer and simple web searches.

However, this isn’t the end of it. If you go into the task manager, you’ll see the Cortana process still running and if you kill it, it’ll come right back. 

You just successfully stopped Windows 10 from getting to know you more closely than you’d like and snooping on you. But this isn’t everything.

If you want to completely remove the things you don’t want, that’s still very easy, although more in-depth.

To learn how to remove Cortana, Xbox, OneDrive and other unwanted services Windows 10 likes to rub into your face, click HERE for part 2 of my Windows 10 guide.


anonymous asked:

if my last names not on my blog, can colleges still find it when I apply?

If your name is not on your blog, they’re not going to find it. A simple way to test this is to google your name and see what comes up. If there’s anything on there that you don’t want colleges or employers to see, do what you can to remove it. If something like your blog doesn’t show up and doesn’t have personal information on it, it won’t show up.

Global spy system ECHELON confirmed at last – by leaked Snowden files
Origins of automated surveillance

Special Report Duncan Campbell has spent decades unmasking Britain’s super-secretive GCHQ, its spying programmes, and its cosy relationship with America’s NSA. Today, he retells his life’s work exposing the government’s over-reaching surveillance, and reveals documents from the leaked Snowden files confirming the history of the fearsome ECHELON intercept project. This story is also published simultaneously today by The Intercept, and later this week we’ll have video of Duncan describing ECHELON and related surveillance matters.

“In 40 years of reporting on mass surveillance, I have been raided three times, jailed once, had television programmes I made or assisted making banned from airing under government pressure five times, seen tapes seized, faced being shoved out of a helicopter, had my phone tapped for at least a decade, and — following my 1977 arrest — faced 30 years’ imprisonment for alleged violations of secrecy laws.”

“And why do I keep going? Because from the beginning, my investigations revealed a once-unimaginable scope of governmental surveillance, collusion and concealment by the British and US governments – and practices that were always as much about domestic spying during times of peace as they were about keeping citizens safe from supposed foreign enemies, thus giving the British government the potential power to become, as our source that night had put it, a virtual ‘police state.’”

Windows 10 Might Be Free, but Your Privacy Is Priceless
Beware of geeks bearing gifts - just FYI!
By Mick Meaney

The Microsoft privacy statement says:



The company also says it has the right to pass on your information to third parties:


How to stop Windows 10's prying eyes
Windows 10 is here, and Microsoft's latest operating system is designed for a mobile-first, cloud-first future, as CEO Satya Nadella puts it. But that future relies on big data — your data — and by...
By Samit Sarkar

This is super important info. I believe that Win10 will eventually stabilize into MS’ best OS so far, but they’ve come out the gate with a bunch of really ill-advised moves that compromise you. If you’ve already upgraded, definitely follow this guide and disable a bunch of stuff.

It’s interesting how I am simultaneously a very private person and a person who sometimes overshares information. I’ve shared a bunch of random, funny stories that have happened to me, and definitely reveal something about me to people that I know (but not well). But when it comes to the deep, personal stuff, there’s a lot that I haven’t told anyone, not even my best friends or family members.

Windows 10 really is the NSA’s wet dream of an OS.

From sending the content of your communications and files in your folders to Microsoft to forcing you to run spyware in the background unless you have the corporate edition, Windows 10 is all about really getting to know you. 

I’ll provide a guide soon on how to prevent it from spying on you as much as possible but I’ve made my decision: My next computer that I’ll probably buy later this year will not run Windows as its main OS.

I choose freedom instead, the amount of spying you’re expected to accept is getting ridiculous.


New comic! (link to complete un-tumblrized comic here)

This is Part 5 of the Other Series - the last chapter! Are there any conclusions? Not really!

The whole point of this comic when I first developed it, and of this series as I’ve adapted it here, is not to provide solutions, but to explore options. There isn’t a way to be perfectly represented in information systems. There also isn’t a way to opt out of systems we don’t want to be part of. CSIS is tracking you no matter how much you try to avoid it, as is Walmart.

The whole point is that it’s a constant negotiation - a give and take of information for services, and services for information. We make decisions about how we identify ourselves every single day, from the moment we wake up. These information systems are as part of our every day lives as putting on clothes.

My goal is 1) Be aware of the fact that information is being gathered and analyzed, 2) Be aware of opportunities to shape, clarify, or queer that information (and the consequences thereof), and 3) Be active in opportunities to to limit how information systems can influence our lives (glares in C-51’s direction).

And for people like me, who define and design information architecture, to always consider users first in what we require from them, how we’re storing their information, and how that information will be used. Always, always give as much control to the user as possible.

So, that’s the whole series. I had a lot of fun writing it when I first made it, and I’ve enjoyed revisiting it here. It’s a subject I care a lot about and think a lot about, and I hope that maybe this has been an interesting introduction into the category of Other for some of you.

Thanks for your indulgence - back to regular programming next week!

Would you like some more resources on this stuff, including other perspectives and contrasting opinions? Here are some links!

Want to learn more about legislative efforts to compromise citizen privacy? This is a great paper written for non-crypto experts!
Keys under doormats


There are no others - blog

Dewey deracialized: A critical race-theoretic perspective (PDF)

Selfing as, with, and without othering: Dialogical (im)possibilities with Dialogical Self Theory - Aydan Gülerce (abstract only, sorry)

Truth and Reconciliation Committee of Canada Report Findings

Durand, Rodolphe and Paolella, Lionel, Category Stretching: Reorienting Research on Categories in Strategy, Entrepreneurship, and Organization Theory (full DL available)

Categories, Identities, and Cultural Classification: Moving Beyond a Model of Categorical Constraint - Mary Ann Glynn and Chad Navis

Queering surveillance Research - David Phillips (google books excerpt)

Janet Mock discussing the ‘trapped’ narrative of the trans experience

Some Notes on the Care and Keeping Of Your Single/Solo Friends

Recently I made a Facebook status about how New York is the only place I really feel comfortable as a solo poly/uncoupled person, and that everywhere else I’ve ever been, it’s often really awkward/unpleasant to socialize with people because of how central The Couple is to everything. A friend asked me what coupled friends can do to make things less shitty for their friends who are solo (intentionally or otherwise), and I came up with this list:

1. When invited to something, ask if your partner can come rather than just assuming and bringing them, just like you’d ask if it were a friend. Like 99% of the time I’d say yes anyway, it just always feels kinda weird to me when people treat partners as extensions of themselves that way.

2. Also, occasionally hang out with me without your partner always being there, especially if it’s otherwise just the two of us. Otherwise it starts to feel like my company is worthless on its own, unless your partner is there to cuddle with.

3. When we do hang out along with your partner, for the love of everything don’t start bringing up all your cute little inside jokes while I just sit there staring straight ahead and swallowing my entire drink in one go because this is awkward and I have nothing to say why am I hearing this right now. If you want to go on a date, DON’T INVITE ME.

4. If I’ve never met your partner and don’t know who they are, actually say who they are in conversation rather than just dropping them in like “Oh yeah Bob and I visited the Bay Area last year, it was wonderful” who is Bob and how am I supposed to know this?? People do this online a lot and I end up just assuming it’s their partner but it’s annoying. I wouldn’t mention friends or family members by name without context, so why do people mention partners that way? (Psst because romantic/sexual partners are considered more important than all other relationships in our culture)

5. If we’re out late at night and getting home might be a little iffy, don’t just be like “ok I’m going home with [partner]” and peace out–maybe like check if I’m ok getting home alone? The single worst thing about being a solo poly girl is always having to worry about getting home. Obviously I have my ways of staying safe, but like, it’s so nice when friends at least acknowledge that this is hard and offer to help if they can.

6. [This one was added at the suggestion of a friend, but I’ve had to deal with this personally too.] Do not assume that anything a friend tells you in confidence is automatically fair game to share with your partner. Always ask your friends for their permission to share private conversations with your partner. It’s really, really uncomfortable for me when I realize that a friend has been telling their partner personal shit about me without my consent OR even my knowledge.

Luckily most of my friends are really great about all of this, but this all comes from experiences I have had many many times, and it was awkward, and plz no.

I also wish this didn’t have to be said, but like…this isn’t about bitterness/jealousy? At all? This is about the ways that our society prioritizes and privileges only one way of being in relationship with others. That grates, whether or not I want a Serious Partner right now or not (I don’t).

What jealousy I do have isn’t about their having a boyfriend or girlfriend or whatever. It’s about that social legitimacy that their relationships have and mine don’t. It’s about not having to worry about how to get home alone late at night. It’s about being able to include partners in family events. It’s about being able to access a partner’s health insurance and other benefits. It’s about not having to choose between living alone and living with strangers.

All of that comes down to structural privilege and social norms, not petty “jealousy.” Dismissing people like me by calling us bitter and jealous is their way of shutting down any complaints about their behavior. I don’t have time for it.

(All of this is also applicable to partners in addition to friends. I’ve definitely been in situations where I could NOT get any alone time with a partner because they ALWAYS brought their primary/whatever along too. That…is a really great way to get me to lose interest in being partnered with someone.)

I have so many things to deal with and many things go wrong but i never tell ANYONE because i don’t want them to think different or badly of me because of it. People tell me I have my head in the clouds and I don’t confront with the bad things but I DO. I DO so much but i don’t tell them! I feel I only let people think I am a dreaming pixie, because it’s all i want them to see. I don’t want them to know the stuff i’m dealing with even though i’m drowning in it and they’re constantly on my mind.
—  Submitted by anonymous
A Nursing Student's Guide to Privacy

1. Never reveal your grades. If they’re good, people will judge you. If they’re bad, people will judge you.

2. Avoid telling people your GPA. if it’s 4.0 people assume you’re book smart, lacking clinical skills - and if it’s low, people assume your intellect is based solely on grades, and not on the intellect you have clinically.

3. There’s a general curiosity in nursing about where you went to Nursing School; other nurses etc - be proud of graduating from ANY nursing school. It doesn’t matter if it’s elite, or a community college: we all passed the same NCLEX, (or Licensing exams external to USA) , we all have have the same letters, RN after our name.

4. Be mindful of whom you share your goals, and your nursing aspirations with. Not everyone is supportive. Guard disclosure of your dreams, and your vision; know the difference between those who are hungry for information - and those who will keep your trust, and stand with you through it all.

5. Often during clinicals, students cluster together to watch others perform skills. It’s ok to want privacy if you’re nervous. It’s embarrassing when the instructor asks if it’s ok to do it with others watching, in front of everyone - so of course you feel obligated to say yes. Tell your instructor about it on the side, before everyone gathers around.

6. Follow your instincts with people; competitive people generally reveal themselves one way or another.

7. If you’re doing well, and a good, methodical note taker - people will ask for copies of your notes. Be vigilant of whom you share them with: notes are often passed down through semesters.

8. If you have a good mentorship relationship with one of your professors, be mindful who you share this information with - not everyone is kind or understanding of these important connections.

9. During simulations, it’s ok if you don’t do all the skills expected of you while the cameras are rolling. While these cameras are in place for evaluation of how a student can refine their skills - It can also be intimidating. How you operate as a nurse isn’t necessarily reflected by how you do in a hour long simulation where you can’t stop to ask questions, bounce ideas off a more experienced person, or go look for support, supplies or have a tinted room of people watching.

10. Keep the amount of NCLEX questions you had to answer to yourself. Regardless of whether you answered 75 or 265, it won’t help determine how others will do when they’re asking. You can be just as intelligent at 75 or 265, or anywhere in between.

10.5. If you graduate with honors, guess what, you still don’t owe anyone an explanation of what your grades are, your intellect, or your clinical skills - wear your tassels well, and ignore the naysayers.

The majority of Americans have been giving up their data for two reasons. One: they’re not aware they can do anything else, they think they don’t have a choice. And two, they’re resigned to it. They think their data is already out there and they feel helpless about it. Marketers and social networks have been putting forth the philosophy that this is something that people willingly do or want to do in order to get better recommendations or “better ads.”  No, people don’t want to be doing this. Now that they’re aware of what’s happening, they’re pretty upset about it. This is not something that they would have consented to had they known.
When you put people’s private sexual lives on trial, nobody wins.

That’s because we all sometimes act immorally, and we all sometimes fail to live up to our own ideals. That is not some special sort of failure reserved for Bad People; we all do it. There are times to speak up and stop people from hurting others, and there are gray areas where no one (certainly not me) can really say whether or not something should be publicized. This is neither.

If you want to prevent cheating–if that’s really such a hot issue for you–then encourage people to consider and explore alternatives to monogamy. Not all people who would cheat in a monogamous relationship would behave ethically in a nonmonogamous relationship, sure. Some people suck. Other people are trying to do their best with what they have, and they don’t realize that they have a lot more options than they thought.

So, what now? some will ask. Gawker’s gonna Gawk and hackers gonna hack. True, we can’t undo the damage that has been done and we can’t necessarily prevent creepy people from ever creeping on others and putting their personal business online.

What we can do is refuse to learn the information or act on it. I still don’t even know the name of the executive who hired the porn star, and I don’t intend to learn it. I will not look at the list of Ashley Madison users, just like I chose not to look at the nude celebrity photos that got leaked last year. You shouldn’t either. If more people agree not to look, this type of information loses its power, and those who collect it and leak it lose the power to judge and ruin others’ lives for the fun of it–or for whatever twisted moral justification they manage to invent.
Access to Your Email Without a Warrant: Updating ECPA For the Digital Age

Sara Cederberg, Campaign Director

“It sounded like a good idea at the time…”

When the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) was passed in 1986, it aimed to set standards for law enforcement access to digital communications and privacy protections for users like us. Reasonable enough.

But time passed. Innovation in computing and Internet access progressed more quickly than anyone could have ever imagined, and policymakers struggled to keep up with a basic understanding of how the online tools that we use to shape our personal and office communications actually work.

As a result, we have a law that’s more outdated than one of these:

(In case you were wondering, that’s a pager.)

The patchwork quilt of standards that were modern in the mid ‘80′s are now woefully outdated – and an affront to even the most basic of our civil liberties.

Here’s how bad it is:

  • An email can be accessed without a warrant just because a message is over 180 days old. That dorky first email your partner sent you asking you out on a date six months ago and you’ve saved out of nostalgia? It’s open season for law enforcement!
  • Location information usage is ambiguous. ECPA does not have a clear policy on law enforcement access to your location data. With more and more apps and website relying on your position to serve you up localized content and directions on where you need to go, this is clearly a treasure trove of information waiting to be discovered without your consent. 

Luckily, Congress can make this right by moving legislation to fix ECPA forward. A large, bipartisan majority in the House (280+!) is already on board with a bill that would do just that — a rare feat for any piece of legislation on Capitol Hill. 

The Email Privacy Act — sponsored by Reps. Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.) and Jared Polis (D-Colo.) — is now the most popular bill in the House to not earn a vote.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Demand Progress members are continuing to put the pressure on their legislators and Congressional leadership — and you can, too!

Click here to sign our petition calling on Congress to bring this bill to a vote — then ask your friends to do the same.