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DCN News - November 12, 2013

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In this issue: 1) Kickstarter it! 2) Fresh (if lengthy) insights on privacy; 3) Ransomware alert

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DCN News
November 12, 2013, Issue No. 7/2013
Davis Community Network

In this issue:

  1. Kickstarter it!
  2. Fresh (if lengthy) insights on privacy
  3. Ransomware alert

1. Kickstarter it!
People in Davis have used Kickstarter to help fund projects. Learn what it is and how it works in a free class 6:30-8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21, taught by Jeff Tolentino of Davis Makerspace. The class will meet in the Technology Department Lab of the Davis Joint Unified District at 526 B Street (see map). Sign up at

To hear a KDRT interview with a Davis artist who used Kickstarter to pay for his upcoming picture book, go to and listen to the discussion with Jed Alexander, which starts 15 minutes in.

2. Fresh (if lengthy) insights on privacy
Online privacy is a fast-moving target. Here are two articles that can help you keep up:

  1. "... The commercial interests of technology companies and the policy interests of government agencies have converged: both are interested in the collection and rapid analysis of user data. Google and Facebook are compelled to collect ever more data to boost the effectiveness of the ads they sell. Government agencies need the same data—they can collect it either on their own or in cooperation with technology companies—to pursue their own programs."

    "Many of those programs deal with national security. But such data can be used in many other ways that also undermine privacy...."

    from "The Real Privacy Problem," by Evgeny Morozov, MIT Technology Review

  2. "This paper presents an in-depth look at surveillance and privacy problems faced by individuals who turn to digital literacy organizations for training and Internet access, including low income individuals, people of color, immigrants, the elderly, and non-English speakers. These individuals are coming online without adequate skills, know-how, and social support to confront digitally enabled government surveillance and corporate intrusions of personal privacy."

    from the introduction to "Joining the Surveillance Society? New Internet Users in an Age of Tracking," by Seeta Gangadharan, New America Foundation

3. Ransomware alert
Not that anyone needs it, but here's a new reminder of why you should be deeply skeptical of opening any email or attachments you aren't expecting: Ransomware. UC Davis, like other universities and colleges, has recently reported instances of CryptoLocker on campus email accounts. The ransomware usually arrives via an attached virus, encrypts data on the victim’s machine, then demands a payment to get the data back. This post from the UCLA Faculty Association blog has more about it.

Ransomware is just one set of malware out there, of course. For a Davis-focused discussion on what you can do to prevent or recover from these attacks, see these videos from the DCN class last June, "My Account Has Been Hacked/Infected: What Do I Do Now?"

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