Press Release: Open Privacy discovers unencrypted patient medical information broadcast across Vancouver

09 Sep 2019

Vancouver, BC - The Open Privacy Research Society has discovered that the sensitive medical information of patients being admitted to certain hospitals across the Greater Vancouver Area is being broadcast, unencrypted, by hospital paging systems, and that these broadcasts are trivially interceptable by anyone in the Greater Vancouver Area.

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Cwtch Alpha 0.2.0

19 Aug 2019

Today we are proud to announce and release Cwtch Alpha 0.2.0 and kick off the 0.2 alpha release cycle! Some big improvements have landed since 0.1.5 both on the frontend and the backend side of things and we’ve very excited about this release! We’ll go over the changes and then talk about some of what is planned for the 0.2 cycle.

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Speak Math To Power: Get Your Limited Edition Commemorative T-shirt

06 Aug 2019

In March this year Sarah Jamie Lewis of the Open Privacy Research Society, along with Vanessa Teague (University of Melbourne), and Olivier Pereira (UCLouvain) published details of critical vulnerabilities impacting evoting systems in Switzerland and Australia. These vulnerabilities were soon confirmed by the vendor Scytl, resulting in an emergency patch being installed during an election in New South Wales, and a “temporary” suspension of evoting offerings by Swiss Post.

In June the Swiss Federal Council, citing these disclosures, delayed the introduction and evoting as an official option, and shortly after SwissPost announced that it would not be offering its system for use in the October federal elections (despite having offered it in previous elections).

Just as math can protect the speech of the marginalized from the powerful, it can also be used to prove to everyone that power is not working as it claims.

Speaking math to power works.

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Cwtch Alpha 0.1.5

26 Jul 2019

Today we are pleased to release Cwtch Alpha 0.1.5. Changes in this new release include:

  • A progress spinner in the UI for groups indicating when they are connected but syncing with the server
  • Chat text bar is locked until a peer to peer connection is established, or a group is synced
  • Minor improvements in “performance” in that we removed a few threads that poll for events and replaced them with events and event handlers
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Cwtch Alpha 0.1.4

22 Apr 2019

Today we are pleased to release Cwtch Alpha 0.1.4. Changes in this new release include:

  • Lots of UI scaling fixes that should make it more consistent and better across many displays, especially mobile
  • Beginnings of Android notifications
  • Big speedups to group loading (most noticeable on Android)
  • Version and build date in settings
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Cwtch Alpha 0.1.3

26 Mar 2019

Today we are pleased to release Cwtch Alpha 0.1.3. Changes in this new release include:

  • Translations support!
  • Portuguese, German and French translations
  • Android save user name fix
  • Splash screen where needed (mostly android)
  • Group membership pane
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Cwtch Alpha 0.1.2

04 Mar 2019

We announced the Cwtch Alpha 2 weeks ago. Since then we’ve seen many people trying Cwtch out in different ways, from building it themselves to running the supplied binaries. From this we’ve received lots of feedback in our issue tracking system. We also started using Cwtch (dog fooding) ourselves for some dev team communication.

Today we are releasing a new Cwtch alpha update, 0.1.2 that contains the following work and more:

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Board Member Spotlight: Norman Shamas

19 Feb 2019

Over the next few weeks we will be telling many of the stories of the first year of Open Privacy through releases, articles, blog posts, board member spotlights and interviews. We will also be laying out ambitious goals for the next year. Today we hear from Norman Shamas about why they are involved in Open Privacy.

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Happy Valentine's Day: Announcing Cwtch Alpha, A Start to Building Consensual Applications

14 Feb 2019

Cwtch is a Welsh word roughly translating to “a hug that creates a safe place”. Cwtch is also our decentralized, privacy-preserving, asynchronous multi-party messaging protocol that can be used to build consensual applications.

What better day to launch the alpha of a project designed to bring people together safely and securely than on Valentine’s day?

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One Year of Open Privacy

11 Feb 2019

Open Privacy started as a group of researchers and technologists who were frustrated by the ever growing stranglehold of surveillance capitalism and the harm it was causing marginalized and at-risk communities. We wanted to build an organization that served those that mainstream groups ignore: sex workers, queer people, those impacted by intimate parter or family abuse, and human rights activists (to name just a few).

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Open Infrastructure at Open Privacy

05 Oct 2018

Open Privacy believes in using and producing open source solutions and open infrastructure. Many values contribute to our belief and mandate for open solutions including preferring ownership to rent, preferring customizability and control, and desiring to share our work and results with the world. This post describes our process for building our infrastructure in the first half year of starting out as a nascent non-profit.

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Announcing Cwtch: Privacy Preserving Infrastructure for Asynchronous, Decentralized, Multi-Party, and Metadata Resistant Applications

28 Jun 2018

Open Privacy believes in empowering users in ways that enable consent to and control over the movement of their data. The ebb and flow of current communication technologies has created a situation in which users are forced to either relinquish control over their personal information to dozens of unknown companies and government agencies, or sit on the sidelines and refrain from participating in culture and public society. Worse, many tools collect information on us that can be used against us in ways that are difficult to understand or predict. Nowhere is this impact felt harder than in the marginalized communities which Open Privacy exists to serve. We see only one solution to this problem: taking our data back into our own hands, and removing the ability of service providers to see our data at all. Today we announce the first step on this long journey: Cwtch.

Cwtch (a Welsh word roughly translating to “a hug that creates a safe place”) is a decentralized, privacy-preserving, asynchronous multi-party messaging protocol that can be used to build metadata resistant applications.

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Open Privacy filed an intervention with the CRTC opposing FairPlay

09 Apr 2018

Recently we filed an intervention with the CRTC opposing the Fairplay website-blocking proposal. We believe that the CRTC’s acceptance of this proposal would pose a dire threat to Canadian Internet users’ privacy and access to information. In this post we break down our intervention and explain why we filed it, and why we believe there is much more to be done.

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Press Release: Open Privacy Calls On CRTC To Adopt Manila Principles

04 Apr 2018


Vancouver, BC — Open Privacy Research Society, a new Canadian not-for-profit group based in Vancouver, has filed an intervention in the CRTC’s hearing on ISP-blocking application by urging the CRTC to endorse the Manila Principles on Intermediary Liability.

The Manila Principles are an international charter. They set out principles to help ensure efforts to involve intermediaries, like ISPs, in the content they carry – like requiring them to create kill switches to block some content – respect users’ rights, including freedom of expression and the right to privacy.

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Announcing Open Privacy Research Society

28 Mar 2018

Privacy is Consent. Privacy is the right to consent. Privacy is the right to withdraw consent.

The Open Privacy Research Society (Open Privacy for short) is a non-profit Canadian group based in Vancouver, British Columbia. We believe that moral systems enable consent. Our society exists to invent, create, build, test, deploy, promote, and to encourage the development of such systems.

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Open Privacy is an incorporated non-profit society in British Columbia, Canada. Donations are not tax deductible. You can Donate Once via Bitcoin, Monero, Zcash, and Paypal, or you can Donate Monthly via Patreon or Paypal. Please contact us to arrange donation by other methods.