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privacy

Online security in furry fandom

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Hopefully, all Internet users have, by now, heard about the United State's widespread spying programme which has recorded huge volumes of data passing through America. Just as concerning is the looming, default porn block in the UK which will not only block porn by default but also violence, alcohol, smoking and Internet forums, among other things. These programmes should be of major concern to all Internet users. They are also a perfect opportunity to talk about online security.

Fur Affinity's silent test of VigLink causes controversy

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In the hopes of garnering more revenue for its ever-expanding site, Fur Affinity has turned to VigLink, a tool which helps sites earn commission from online stores. Unfortunately for staff, its use violated the site's own terms of service, leading to cries of foul play once discovered.

Fur Affinity has now apologized for the unannounced roll-out, and updated their ToS to notify users. But what was all the fuss about?

Third-party tracking cookie removed from Flayrah

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AddToAny – the blue + on Flayrah that allows you to share articles – adds an undocumented third-party tracking cookie (map.media6degrees.com) to aid behavioural advertising.

I have disabled the cookie and filed a feature request to disclose this option in documentation. Users concerned with privacy may consider opting out of behavioural tracking.

Fur Affinity attack results in privacy violations

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Fur Affinity users are demanding answers after intruders stole and posted private message histories of over 40 users, including site owner Dragoneer and several staff.

All regular administrative access has been removed, and Dragoneer says it will not be restored until all problems are found:

Until we're 100% sure that the entire admin backend is revised, checked, double-checked and triple-checked we're playing it safe

The leaked notes appear both authentic and comprehensive, dating back to 2005, and their contents are already the subject of widespread debate.

Should animals have a right to privacy?

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A researcher at the University of East Anglia thinks animals should not just be seen as "fair game" for filmmakers, but should be granted similar privacy rights as humans.

Dr. Mills says animals sometimes withdraw from "public" areas, and appear to want privacy:

When confronted with such 'secretive' behaviour the response of the wildlife documentary is to read it as a challenge to be overcome with the technologies of television. [...] The question constantly posed by wildlife documentaries is how animals should be filmed: they never ask whether animals should be filmed at all.

The story came a day before the release of an amateur documentary from a group attending Midwest FurFest in 2008 and 2009, including covert footage of furs in their natural habitat.

The spy vs spy battle for your info

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People want to know everything you do on your computer, and want you to view what they want you to see. Sound paranoid? Adware and spyware are becoming more and more prevalent. If you're using Kazaa to download files, Comet Cursor to view websites or Gator to help keep track of your passwords and user info, you've got Spyware. Even the highly popular DivX media viewer uninstalls anti-adware software. Spyware and adware can slow down or crash your machine, and can leave you vulnerable to virii.
Of course, this applies mostly to IE or AOL users. Opera and Mozilla users, for example, don't have to panic... yet.