The Crockford Files – Dec. 2012

The Crockford Files – Dec. 2012
Photo by Blue Coat Photos via Flickr Creative Commons

By John Crockford

Secure Communications

When a Silent Circle subscriber (this is a fee-based service) makes a phone call, sends a text or video chats with another Silent Circle member, that transmission is secured and encrypted end-to-end from an iPhone, Android, iPad or computer on a secure network. For more information about this service, visit


It appears that if you’re the brand new owner of a Verizon iPhone, you’ve got 30 days to opt out of sharing information including anonymized location data, as well as demographics such as age, gender, sports teams, dining habits and more. Check with your cellular phone carrier to see if you must specifically ask that your personal, private information not be collected.

Police Misconduct

Police Integrity Lost ( is a monthly podcast designed to promote police integrity by gaining a better understanding of police crime, correlates of police misconduct and agency responses to officer arrests. This nongovernment project is supported by the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. For more information, visit

Intellectual Property, Copyright Law and Lawsuits

This article about a major textbook publisher, a student entrepreneur, the U.S. Supreme Court and the “case of the decade” is interesting and worth the read. It can be found at

Data Backup

Hurricane Sandy has exposed a potential problem for even those savvy enough to regularly back up their computer files on an external hard drive. It seems one’s backup disk isn’t much good when it’s underwater alongside your computer. Some commercially available online data backup services offer free options for individuals that don’t need more than a few gigabytes of storage for their most critical files. OpenDrive, a cloud-based drive accessible from anywhere, is one such service. For more information, visit

Open Source Could Clean Up U.S. Elections

This opinion piece ( offers the following conclusion: “Open source software could be a paradigm for a national voting system in the United States that could still allow states and counties to customize and adapt the technology. Taking the Linux operating system model, a common open source core or kernel of the software could be developed and distributed to election officials in each of the 50 states.”

More on Open Source and Free Programs

iCopy Free Photocopier is a free and open source application that lets you combine your scanner and printer into a powerful, easy-to-use photocopier by only pressing a button. You can use Automatic Document Feeder (ADF) too. Visit

Sourcefabric’s ( products are built by news experts and a highly skilled team of more than 30 technical officers, developers, system administrators and quality assurance engineers. Newscoop (open content management for newspapers and magazines), Airtime (open source radio automation) and Booktype (open source publishing platform for print and digital books) are currently on the market (each is downloaded more than 10,000 times a year).

FreedomPop ( is a new company that is offering customers 500 MB of free high-speed Internet per month—this at a time when wireless Internet providers are increasing prices, throttling speeds and adding additional fees for access. FreedomPop’s high-speed wireless Internet service runs on Clearwire’s 4G WiMax network. The service will expand to include Sprint’s 4G LTE network in 2013.


John Crockford, a self-described “geek with Luddite sympathies,” is an independent Web site designer and information technology consultant. Contact him at


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