Can we control our internet profile?

"In the future, everyone will be anonymous for 15 minutes." So said the artist Banksy, but following the rush to put everything online, from relationship status to holiday destinations, is it really possible to be anonymous - even briefly - in the internet age?

That saying, a twist on Andy Warhol's famous "15 minutes of fame" line, has been interpreted to mean many things by fans and critics alike. But it highlights the real difficulty of keeping anything private in the 21st Century.

"Today, we have more digital devices than ever before and they have more sensors that capture more data about us," says Prof Viktor Mayer-Schoenberger of the Oxford Internet Institute.

And it matters. According to a survey from the recruitment firm Careerbuilder, in the US last year 70% of companies used social media to screen job candidates, and 48% checked the social media activity of current staff.

Also, financial institutions can check social media profiles when deciding whether to hand out loans.

Is it really possible to be anonymous in the internet age?

Meanwhile, companies create models of buying habits, political views and even use artificial intelligence to gauge future habits based on social media profiles.

One way to try to take control is to delete social media accounts, which some did after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, when 87 million people had their Facebook data secretly harvested for political advertising purposes.

- Netflix Cambridge Analytica film- Social media is 'like a crime scene'

- Facebook to pay $5bn to settle privacy concerns

- Is leaving Facebook the only way to protect your data? While deleting social media accounts may be the most obvious way to remove personal data, this will not have any impact on data held by other companies.

Fortunately, in some countries the law offers protection.

In Kazakhstan, everyone who wants to use Internet must allow government to read their Secure Traffic (HTTPS)



Providers of Kazakhstan persuade customers to install a "state trusted certificate" on all devices, which will allow intercepting all encrypted traffic of the country in order to protect citizens from cyber threats and illegal content.

Kazakhstan Telecom operators have begun to notify customers about the need to install a special security certificate Qaznet on all subscriber devices with Internet access - mobile phones and tablets based on iOS/Android, personal computers and laptops based on Windows/MacOS.

The message on the website of the Kcell provider states that the certificate recommended for installation "was developed in Kazakhstan and provided by the authorized state body" and "will allow protecting Kazakhstani Internet users from hacker attacks and viewing illegal content". However, it can be assumed that such opportunities can be used by the authorities of Kazakhstan to gain access to information that citizens exchange via the Internet.

Users are invited to download the certificate from the website qca.kz. This domain name is registered to an individual Askar Dyussekeyev. The address of the owner is the same as the address of the Ministry of Digital Development, Innovation and Aerospace Industry of Kazakhstan.

Telecom operators warn that if the certificate is absent, then customers may encounter problems accessing certain Internet resources.

Indeed, according to some users from the capital of Kazakhstan, it is impossible to access sites that force the use of the secure HTTPS protocol using the HSTS mechanism without installing a certificate. Such sites are now the majority.

According to Shavkat Sabirov, the President of the Internet Association of Kazakhstan, there is a global problem in the world related to the safe use of the Internet.

"All the experiments that were associated with the installation of root certificates failed. All over the world, it is already recognized that this is an unsuccessful and even a terrible attempt to work in a safe mode. If this certificate is stolen or hacked, the attackers will get absolutely all the information about users data that use this certificate," said the president of the Internet Association of Kazakhstan.

The President of the Internet Association of Kazakhstan noted that companies that provide services on the Internet with the security certificate should take responsibility for its use.

The Head of the FSB appealed for the creation of international rules on the Internet


The Head of the FSB of Russia Alexander Bortnikov stated the need to create international rules on the Internet. In particular, to make encrypted messages in mobile applications open to intelligence agencies.

If the international community can come to a consensus on this issue, the terrorists will actually lose the list of opportunities, such as propaganda, recruitment, financing, communication, management, said Bortnikov at an International Conference on Countering Terrorism on 18 April 2019 in St. Petersburg.

He noted that the use of cryptography in services for communication prevents the effective fight against terror. According to him, Russia has developed a concept for the creation of "the system of the deposit of encryption keys generated by mobile applications, which will be open for control” to solve this problem. Bortnikov proposed to the world community to realize this idea together and to provide intelligence agencies with legal access to important encrypted information of the terrorists.

In addition, Bortnikov noted that at the moment there are more than 10 thousand sites of existing international terrorist structures and thousands of accounts in social networks. The information is published in more than 40 languages, but the leading positions are occupied by Arabic, English and Russian languages.

Bortnikov added that the ability to hide data in IP-telephony and foreign e-mail servers leads to an increase in the spread of false reports of terrorist attacks, as well as the sale of weapons and explosives.

According to one of the amendments to the law on Autonomous RUnet (http://www.ehackingnews.com/2019/02/the-kremlin-told-about-hacker-attacks.html), IT-companies were obliged to use Russian cryptography for all traffic in the Russian segment. It is assumed that the Government will determine the issuance and use of codes and encryption.

In addition, in April 2018 Russia tried to block the Telegram messenger for refusing to provide the FSB with the encryption key of the negotiations of suspected terrorists (http://www.ehackingnews.com/2018/04/russian-court-orders-to-block-telegram.html).

WABetaInfo says WhatsApp in Israel now uses Facebook servers

A popular fan website, WABetaInfo, that tracks WhatsApp Beta updates, on Monday tweeted that WhatsApp users in Israel are now connected through Facebook servers.


This news comes amidst the Facebook privacy and data controversy when people online are wary of what using Facebook means for their privacy and security.

WABetaInfo, however, again tweeted to reassure users that the data is still encrypted and that Facebook will only be receiving the metadata.


The website also said that the new update will improve the quality of the connection.

Twitter user and information security researcher, Karine Nahon, however, pointed out that:


Another user said that encryption itself is not a problem, but the fact that dynamic metadata such as last seen, etc. should be deleted after some time.


Still, the website told its readers not to worry and to wait till May to understand what data is being stored in the servers.

WhatsApp has not yet confirmed or denied this update.

A new privacy law — the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) — passed by the European Union will come into effect from May 25 this year, which will harmonize internet privacy laws all across Europe.

WhatsApp had last month signed a public commitment with Britain's Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) to not share user’s data with Facebook until the privacy and data security concerns have been addressed.

Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham in a statement said, "WhatsApp has assured us that no UK user data has ever been shared with Facebook, other than as a 'data processor.’ ”

France’s data protection authority CNIL gives a sharp warning to WhatsApp ;issues a formal notice

Facebook, when it acquired WhatsApp back in early 2014 said that it won't have the capacity to link the WhatsApp users to their Facebook accounts. In any case, things being what they are, turns out it wasn't so difficult after all. A year ago, the organization changed the WhatsApp terms of services to do just that: link the WhatsApp and Facebook profiles belonging to the same user.

Facebook had allowed many of its users to opt out, yet that wasn't sufficient for the regulators. Germany had even requested Facebook to quit gathering WhatsApp data last September, a similar thing happened in the UK several months later and now fast forward to December 2017; there be yet another European nation issuing similar order.

Facebook's messaging service WhatsApp was given a one-month final proposal by one of Europe's strictest privacy watchdogs, which requested it to quit offering user data to its parent without getting the necessary assent. France's information insurance specialist also known as the data protection authority, CNIL gave quite a cautioning to WhatsApp by issuing a formal notice, scrutinizing it for "inadequate and insufficient" participation and cooperation.

The decision comes a year later after the European Union privacy authorities (security specialists) said that they had "genuine concerns" about the sharing of WhatsApp user data for purposes that were excluded in the terms of conditions and the privacy policy when people had signed up to the service.
However, even after the EU slapped Facebook with a €110 million fine over unlawful WhatsApp information sharing, France says that it has still not collaborated with information security expert CNIL, and could confront another sanction if it doesn't start thinking responsibly inside 30 days. The social network is as yet exchanging Whatsapp information for "business intelligence," it claims, and the only possible way that clients can quit is by uninstalling the application.

It was a French regulator, who saw that WhatsApp was sharing user information like phone numbers to Facebook for "business insight" reasons. When it over and over made a request to take a look at the information being shared, Facebook said that it is put away in the US, and "it considers that it is only subject to the legislation of the country," as per the CNIL. The regulator countered that whenever information is assembled in France, it naturally turns into the authority in charge.

The information exchanges from WhatsApp to Facebook occur to some extent without the users' assent, nor the legitimate interest of WhatsApp, CNIL said.

France says that while the notice was issued to Facebook, it's additionally intended to exhort users that this "gigantic information exchange from WhatsApp to Facebook" was occurring. "The best way to deny the information exchange for 'business insight' purposes is to uninstall the application," it adds. In any case, Facebook guarantees that it will keep on working with the CNIL to ensure that the users comprehend what data it gathers as well as how the data is utilized.

The merging of WhatsApp's data with Facebook was the first step taken by Facebook a year ago towards monetising the stage since the social network's CEO Mark Zuckerberg bought the company for about $22bn in 2014.