Toronto University finds a way to punch a hole through your firewall

A really cool anti-censor tool has just been announced by the University of Toronto, that is the brainchild of academic’s and individuals who believe in an open and uncensored Internet.  As a citizen I support anything that stops countries from censoring public information but what I find interesting is that no one has asked the question ‘How does this affect the security of a corporations proprietary data?’.

As great as this tool is many will use it to subvert the security of their corporations network allowing them to finally access their Hotmail, Yahoo! or Gmail email accounts.  I know I will (admittedly I don’t have that problem with my current employer).

What does this tool mean for them?  With the way things are changing e.g. picture phones, portable hard drives on a stick, etc – I really feel sorry for the IT security guys at today’s large corporations as their job isn’t getting any easier. 

For me no one (and I mean no one) is allowed to use my PC, so I doubt I am going to allow someone whether they are a friend or otherwise to access my PC as a proxy.  The risks of banking, emails, or other personal information leaking because of a missing software patch etc are just too high without my adding fuel to the fire (so to speak). 

Web Tool Said to Offer Way Past the Government Censor – New York Times

Deep in a basement lab at the University of Toronto a team of political scientists, software engineers and computer-hacking activists, or hactivists, have created the latest, and some say most advanced tool yet in allowing Internet users to circumvent government censorship of the Web.

Source: Web Tool Said to Offer Way Past the Government Censor – New York Times

WikiNews coverage on this topic has been good I would check it out as well.

What do you think, good for people, bad for corporations, or……..?

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Free language learning site – FriendsAbroad.com

A long while ago I was looking into and researching what it would take to learn Turkish, where I could get help and what my costs would be, and how long until I had some language basics.

During my research I came across so many mediocre sites that were quite frankly difficult to look at if not difficult to use (they often were).  Eventually I found friendsabroad.com and it wasn’t too bad, which is saying lots about how bad their competition was/is(??).

So I bookmarked them and went away doing my own thing, now about a month ago I stopped thinking about learning Turkish and started making a real effort, bought some books and CDs, etc and coincidentally I just received a email advert from FriendsAbroad.com reminding me of their existence and that they had re-launched (that’s code for we are not crappy anymore – at least in my experience).

The site looks great, its easy to search, lots of different languages (for those not trying to learn Turkish), they even allow you to set your country of origin which is important because Canadian and American English tends to be more popular than UK English for some people.

I realise this isn’t the kind of website I discuss on TechWinter but they are doing interesting things in an area that needs help. 

Personally I think being able to learn a language for free is just great.  Also they publish success stories which is cool if you like that sort of thing – I do – because I think it helps to motivate.