Category Archives: Research

UK Spy Bill

The UK government have introduced a new “Spy Bill” which will keep tabs on all your communication on the Internet for the next year. All ISPs (Internet Service Providers) will be forced to comply and this idea behind this is to track a user’s browsing habits. I suppose the thinking behind the Bill would be to proactively monitoring extremism and terrorist activities earlier, potentially cracking down on paedophile rings and capturing users who access pirated material. The downside to this if you are a “law abiding netizen” would be that your browsing habits are being tracked for no reason whatsoever. It is believed that the information stored would be the root domain of the website you have visited (for example https://mastahcomputing.wordpress.com) but none of the child domains (such as https://mastahcomputing.wordpress.com/about for example). This does not make the spying any less worrying.

There are ways to obviously circumvent the unnecessary snooping of your browsing habits and potentially disrupt the data collection and I am here to share these with you.

CIRCUMVENTION

To circumvent the UK government Spy Bill, you can use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) which basically establishes a data tunnel from your computer to a router anywhere in the world and you will be browsing using an IP (Internet Protocol) address of the provider in that country. The UK government then cannot track your web browsing information because you would essentially be browsing the Internet from another location in the world.

The downside to this would be you are putting all your trust in data security and encryption on the provider of the VPN therefore it would be recommended to look for a paid VPN service rather than a free one and would abstain from checking online banking via the VPN tunnel. We will provide some reviews on the paid and free VPN services in a later blog post.

DISRUPTION

If there is an anarchist in you and you want to “protest-browse” you can always visit random websites that you would not typically, or ever, visit in order for the ISPs to get false browsing habits and in essence begin to collect more data than they initially planned to do so. If you were to browse to nine random website for every one normal website you visit, the ISPs will have to store ten times the amount of data than they would have done previously; and if everyone does this… (evil grin)

I will be putting together a small app that you can download to your PC that will browse to random, low bandwidth websites and intervals that will rack up your browsing footprints at the ISP and I will release this in a later blog post also.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The Spy Bill will inevitably worry some people, and it will not worry others, but it IS mass surveillance of a nation and if you are an aforementioned law-abiding netizen (and even if you’re not!) you should be given the opportunity to protect yourself and keep your browsing history private.
-M^

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Upcoming projects

Since starting my dissertation project, which I will post details up when it is nearing completion as to prevent any plagiarizing and to keep updates as accurate as possible, I have become more aware and enthused by computer science in general. I have taken on a lot of programming for my dissertation, something that I must confess, am not very good at. To further my understanding, and potentially increase my “employability ” after I graduate, I have began to think of projects that I could complete in spare time, obviously in between work, gaming and being a father. These are some projects that I am planning, and I am currently working on at the moment:

– Point of sale solution

Aim: To become accustomed to using a Raspberry Pi and connecting external components such as a touch screen monitor. Decision needs to be made to use one Raspberry Pi as a server for testing purposes as well as using another Raspberry Pi as a client. SQL database back-end with either a Python or Microsoft Access front-end for logging in and navigating menus.

– Baby monitor

Aim: Using previous experience of using the Raspberry Pi and connecting an external component, further components will be attached to the Raspberry Pi such as a WLAN adapter, 1.3MP webcam, a high definition microphone and external speakers on one Raspberry Pi. Potential to connect LEDs to Raspberry Pi as to simulate sound levels when baby cries. Project will incorporate building a program from ground up that will automatically run when devices are booted. Two Raspberry Pis will be used. Pi number 1 will be situated in baby’s room and will stream video and audio. Pi number 2 will be connected to a T.V or computer monitor via HDMI which parents can switch to if sound is omitted from external speakers and/or LEDs light up. Secure ad-hoc WLAN will need to be established between the two Raspberry Pis automatically when booted up.

– Automatic DTMF navigation

Aim: To create an Android smart phone application that will connect to a company’s PBX. The user will be able to swipe through different departments that the company offers i.e: Sales, Customer Service, Deliveries without having to wait through the automated voice detailing which option to select. App will have the ability to be re-branded to fit a company’s brand such as green for Lloyds TSB, blue for Halifax, black for KnowHow etc. If options change, the app will need to be flexible enough to update to reflect any changes on PBX.

These are just some ideas I envision I will be creating in the next six months and I will post updates of each project as and when they happen =)

 

– M^