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If you use Office 365 to write adult stories, it may be time for a change

John Demille

Microsoft plans to censor what its software may be used for:

http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2018/03/27/microsoft-ban-offensive-language-xbox-skype-office-account/

Geek of Ages

@John Demille

Microsoft (and a lot of other online companies) are taking no chances with the SESTA-FOSTA mess. It's disheartening just how chilling to free speech the law is, and there's been no real coverage or discussion of it.

PrincelyGuy

So Microsoft will be trolling through our documents looking for abusive speech and inappropriate pictures. Uh, does that include pictures of our kids playing in the sprinklers? At the beach? Their mom at the hospital with the new born latched on?

Sounds like the beginning of an Orwelian existence.

Replies:   Geek of Ages
Geek of Ages

@PrincelyGuy

Again, it's not just Microsoft: it's likely to be every company that stores data online, sooner or later. I've been getting a bunch of emails from companies about updating their policies, and craigslist and Reddit have both shut down entire sections of the site in response to this legislation.

Michael Loucks

Use something like Boxcryptor and tell MS (and DropBox and Google) to suck eggs.

Zom

Like China, the Cloud is not the solution; it is the problem.

Replies:   Michael Loucks
Michael Loucks

@Zom

Like China, the Cloud is not the solution; it is the problem.


No, unencrypted communication is the problem. The cloud (and the tools it provides) is a valuable asset, just as the Internet is. But I wouldn't do ANYTHING unencrypted if I could help it.

I have HTTPS certs on my websites (via letsencrypt) even though there is nothing 'secret' about them. I use VPNs. I use boxcryptor. I encrypt email where I can (most people can't handle it). I use encrypted channels for communication where possible (with varying levels of safety). And so on.

Use the tools. Just encrypt everything and it keeps both thieves and governments at bay (and yes, I realize there is overlap - most governments are thieves).

When I share my next story for 'Early Readers' it's going to be encrypted by boxcryptor to keep MS/Google/DropBox from spying.

Replies:   Zom
awnlee jawking

@John Demille

From the FAQ summarising the changes to their T&C, I get the impression the censorship applies to interactive media like XBox Live and Skype.

I'm probably wrong and I have ho idea what XBox Live is :(

AJ

Replies:   sunkuwan  PrincelyGuy
sunkuwan

@awnlee jawking

xbox live is their gaming network.

PrincelyGuy

@awnlee jawking

From the FAQ summarising the changes to their T&C, I get the impression the censorship applies to interactive media like XBox Live and Skype.


I interpreted it to include any of their cloud services, and since their Office products includes the capability of storing files in the cloud, you are subject to their perusal of any files stored on their cloud. I am not sure if it will also allow them to go through any and all files on your hard drive or USB devices.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@PrincelyGuy


I am not sure if it will also allow them to go through any and all files on your hard drive or USB devices.


If you use a locally stored product, like MS WORD 2013, Open Office or Libre Office, you should be clear, as they have no way to easily access your data, though you're still susceptible to hackers.

These warnings are specifically for products like MS 360, which require an internet connection, and send every single document you use to their remote servers, allowing them to view your documents as you type them.

I've always used Dropbox, because it was the last holdout of the large cloud storage sites, refusing to collect and sell information gleamed from users. But after their IPO (Initial Public Offering), they're responsible to shareholders, not the original creator, so I suspect they'll soon join the likes of Facebook, Google and the other 'everything you think is our property' mafioso.

So the thread was properly named, and MS 365 is a likely dangerous product going forward.

I hate the idea of having to encrypt everything, and I'm hoping this ONLY relates to 'kiddie porn', as I'm doubtful my editors can handle locked files (they can barely manage my MS 2003 files and Dropbox). Asking them to remember complicated, always changing passwords would likely be the beam that breaks the camels backs. :(

Update: Nope. Going back and reading the original document, MS is Only trying to censor their online discussions, which now include gaming networks, but could extend to online forums (how many MS forums do any of us belong to?).

You're cloud storage accounts are still succeptible to monitoring, but so far, it seems they're unlikely to act on those products.

This restrictions seems to be specifically geared to the homophobic, racist and sexist hate speech of modern gamers in their 20s and 30s (aka. the new 'alt-right' crowd), who have been reported to use those medium to plan their rallies out of the eye of the public news media.

sejintenej
Updated:

They refer to certain named products as examples. I'm reading SOL on Explorer which is itself reliant on Windows and I am sending messages to SOL. (Linking to SOL is banned by a number of UK internet suppliers.) Looks like I have to change my OS and use Firefox or use an Apple product.

Replies:   wageslave
Michael Loucks

@Crumbly Writer

I hate the idea of having to encrypt everything, and I'm hoping this ONLY relates to 'kiddie porn', as I'm doubtful my editors can handle locked files (they can barely manage my MS 2003 files and Dropbox). Asking them to remember complicated, always changing passwords would likely be the beam that breaks the camels backs. :(


Boxcryptor (and I'm not an employee nor affiliate) seems to simplify that. You can simply use a PIN to protect the file (the PIN decrypts the actual key). It would keep casual scanning at bay. If you wanted a more secure password, you could use one. But it can be the same for everyone.

Really, your goal is to keep MS/DropBox/Google/Whoever from scanning your files casually.

I guess I'll find out how well my new method works when I bring my editor and Early Readers into the mix.

Michael Loucks

@Crumbly Writer

Update: Nope. Going back and reading the original document, MS is Only trying to censor their online discussions, which now include gaming networks, but could extend to online forums (how many MS forums do any of us belong to?).

You're cloud storage accounts are still succeptible to monitoring, but so far, it seems they're unlikely to act on those products.


They'll only look at your files (for now, at least) if they get a complaint. But I wouldn't count on them not actively scanning at some future point. Some idiot prosecutor is going to find file on OneDrive or DropBox and try to hold them liable. It'll happen. It always does.

Crumbly Writer

@Michael Loucks

I guess I'll find out how well my new method works when I bring my editor and Early Readers into the mix.

Alas, I use a whole group of editors (five at the moment), so there are always a few less technically adept than others. Out of each group of editors (for each book), there are always one or two who either can't properly access MS WORD files, or who can't (or won't) access Dropbox.

If you add readers into the mix, it gets even worse. Younger readers should be well-adapted to this, but the older generations (like most SOL users) will likely have more troubles.

wageslave

@sejintenej

They refer to certain named products as examples. I'm reading SOL on Explorer which is itself reliant on Windows and I am sending messages to SOL. (Linking to SOL is banned by a number of UK internet suppliers.) Looks like I have to change my OS and use Firefox or use an Apple product.


A question as a fellow Brit.

When you say SOL is banned by a number of 'our' ISP's do you mean that is the case when the annoyingly default filters are in place or in all instances? I am (so far... and crosses fingers etc) not affected. Obviously this may change once they finally work out how to implement the draconian new laws (I have downloaded Tor for then. Hopefully that will help... but who knows...)

John Demille

@wageslave

Obviously this may change once they finally work out how to implement the draconian new laws


Lazeez's 'Secure Access' premium service is designed to bypass any filtering.

Michael Loucks

@wageslave

Obviously this may change once they finally work out how to implement the draconian new laws


A VPN solves most of the issues (I use one) as well as running your own DNS server (I run my own) or one that doesn't filter. Of course, then it's down the the Chinese model - banning VPNs.

All those folks demanding government action on stuff are getting it in spades...and we're simply the first innocent victims.

Zom
Updated:

@Michael Loucks


The cloud (and the tools it provides) is a valuable asset


I know many businesses that would disagree. Having embraced Cloud based business systems (including phones) a couple of years ago, they are now screaming about reliability, security, performance, privacy, and many of the myriad other things they took for granted when they were not Cloud. Of course, the Cloud providers lock them in for as long as they can get away with. And the customer is not even able (now) to take their bat and ball and go home, because the provider has both of them. Many unhappy campers.

Replies:   Michael Loucks
Michael Loucks

@Zom

I know many businesses that would disagree. Having embraced Cloud based business systems (including phones) a couple of years ago, they are now screaming about reliability, security, performance, privacy, and many of the myriad other things they took for granted when they were not Cloud. Of course, the Cloud providers lock them in for as long as they can get away with. And the customer is not even able (now) to take their bat and ball and go home, because the provider has both of them. Many unhappy campers.


Just because you have a hammer, doesn't mean everything automatically becomes a nail. Bad business decisions don't mean the tool isn't valuable.

Decide which tools you want to use and how to use them. Make sure you consider the pros and cons. The problem with what you mention is mindless 'to the cloud' thinking. That doesn't make the cloud bad. That makes the decision making bad!

Replies:   Crumbly Writer  Zom
Crumbly Writer

@Michael Loucks

Decide which tools you want to use and how to use them. Make sure you consider the pros and cons. The problem with what you mention is mindless 'to the cloud' thinking. That doesn't make the cloud bad. That makes the decision making bad!

Take me for instance. Even though dropbox is now a publicly traded company, I'll be carefully reading each update to their TOS, leery of their deciding to 'sell' the information in my stories. But I'm not going to quit using them because of my fears, instead I'll wait until they demonstrate that's their intent. For all I know, the original owner still retains a majority ownership, meaning he can still dictate the future the company takes, regardless of how badly other companies want access to that data.

In this age of data hacks, and political groups (with the help of the companies themselves) illegally accessing user's personal information, DB's strategy is proving it's value, while Facebook's market share is tanking because they don't give a shit about their user's privacy.

The information age is continually changing, and taking one position (like Ernest's refusal to ever consider Amazon because of because of his one bad experience with them), is short sighted at best. Instead, to keep ahead of the changes, you've got to respond to each one as it unfolds.

Replies:   Michael Loucks  Not_a_ID
Michael Loucks

@Crumbly Writer

The information age is continually changing, and taking one position (like Ernest's refusal to ever consider Amazon because of because of his one bad experience with them), is short sighted at best. Instead, to keep ahead of the changes, you've got to respond to each one as it unfolds.


Take personal responsibility? Ye gads, man! Do you know what you're saying?

(I deleted my Facebook account about six months ago and haven't missed it)

Replies:   Zom
Zom

@Michael Loucks

Bad business decisions don't mean the tool isn't valuable.

What happens when the business decision was bad ONLY because the tool was not valuable?

Replies:   Michael Loucks
Michael Loucks

@Zom

What happens when the business decision was bad ONLY because the tool was not valuable?


It's still a bad business decision! :-)

Zom

@Michael Loucks

I deleted my Facebook account about six months ago

Does this mean we can't be friends now? :-(

Replies:   Michael Loucks
Michael Loucks

@Zom

Does this mean we can't be friends now? :-(


Not on Facebook! :-) Join my Discord server, if you want. :-)

sejintenej

@wageslave

When you say SOL is banned by a number of 'our' ISP's do you mean that is the case when the annoyingly default filters are in place or in all instances? I am (so far... and crosses fingers etc) not affected.

If you are in a fast food place or airport or shopping mall (and even some hotels) which has WiFi, try to go to SOL; very often you will find it blocked and some sites will actually admit that SOL is suspected of supplying pornography.
I suppose it is to stop young kids avoiding their parent's blocking programs. You could try going through another site but I wonder if the very act of telling the intervening site where you want would trigger the blocking mechanism - I haven't tried it.

Capt. Zapp

@sejintenej

If you are in a fast food place or airport or shopping mall (and even some hotels) which has WiFi, try to go to SOL; very often you will find it blocked...


This, and the possibility of being hacked, is why I use a hotspot.

awnlee jawking

@sejintenej

My local public library blocks foreign lottery sites because they're associated with gambling even though Brits can't gamble on them, but it allows access to the National Lottery site where they can actually gamble!

AJ

Replies:   BlacKnight
BlacKnight

@awnlee jawking

My local public library blocks foreign lottery sites because they're associated with gambling even though Brits can't gamble on them, but it allows access to the National Lottery site where they can actually gamble!


Lotteries aren't gambling; they're a tax on being bad at math. You can't have people paying their bad-at-math taxes to foreign countries...

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@BlacKnight

But the websites ban non-nationals from betting on them anyway, so there's no risk of bad-at-math taxes going abroad :(

AJ

Mike-Kaye

@Michael Loucks

Assuming I understand sync.com (based in .ca) archives encrypted files on its servers from plain text on its user's computers. Your password is turned into the real key for uploads. Thus these people can't access your plain text.

I don't think files are compressed before upload, not that it would matter.

Not_a_ID

@Crumbly Writer

Facebook's market share is tanking because they don't give a shit about their user's privacy.


That is kind of the thing that confuses me. While I have a Facebook account, I have barely ever used it, because I had no reason to believe anything I posted there would be "private." So color me confused when people start screaming about a privacy breach at a venue that serves the purpose of making information public.

Replies:   REP
REP

@Not_a_ID

people start screaming about a privacy breach


Dah! Anyone who answers the questions on a survey, which is how FB gained the data, is making their answers public. Why do they think FB conducted the survey if not to gain and sell information.

Replies:   Capt. Zapp
Capt. Zapp

@REP

Anyone who answers the questions on a survey, ...


My personal peeve and source of hilarity is how many people re-post those 'answers to 30 questions about me' type posts. Those questions are the same types used by many 'secure' sites for identity verification!

Replies:   REP
REP
Updated:

@Capt. Zapp

My opinion is you can't stop people from collecting information about you for there is an immense amount of personal information made public by government and commercial organizations.

But ... if you don't like your personal information on the Web, don't help the data collectors by giving them your private thoughts and information by putting that information on the Web.

Goldfisherman
Updated:

I do not nor have I used FB, Twitter, or MS forums ever. I did use Yahoo about 10 years ago but the "BOTS" got too bad. I bailed from MS OS completely in 2012 when I Retired and found that 99% of what I was doing was immediatly being published in corporate competitors offices and non US agencies. Patents were being filed in foreign countries faster than editors here could send them to the US patent offices.

I had always kept stories filed in flash drives or CD's that were always kept offline but pulling the plug on the routers after one story had a hidden "Amazon" link inserted into a file. It took me 4 years to find and remove the link.

I went to Linux Mint Cinnamon with Libre office. This is how I found the link.

I do not care for encryption and very seldom use it. Occasionally I use VPN but I do not trust my ISP for security (Comcast).

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