Conversations about life & privacy in the digital age

Get Unlimited Storage in Honor of World Backup Day

SpiderOak unlimited GBs cloud backup storage offering World Backup DayLimits are like rules. They are made to be broken.

So what if there weren’t any limits? What if we gave you infinite GBs? Would you back up all your Frank Zappa albums? Or the entire Wong Fei Hung film series? Perhaps you would store a digital copy of every photo you have ever taken…

Whatever the case may be, now you can have unlimited storage for just $125/year.

If you’re already a paid user, or about to sign up – unlimited GBs are yours!

In honor of World Backup Day, this offer will be available to all rule-breaking, GB-guzzling souls until 3/31/14, 23:59 CDT.

Questions on how this works with your current plan? See below. New user? Last Q&A. (OR, just go ahead and login or sign up to upgrade now. Use the code unlimitedbackup. Details below.) Enjoy!

With ‘Zero-Knowledge’,

The SpiderOak Team

Q&A on Unlimited Storage

Q) What if I just paid for my existing subscription to be renewed? Why do I have to pay again?

A) The $125 annual fee not only upgrades you to unlimited storage now, but guarantees that you will always have unlimited storage for life. Next year, we guarantee that you will only pay $125 regardless of how much data you have stored, and the year after that, and the year after that. $125/yr for perpetuity.

Q) If I upgrade to the Unlimited plan, will I get a refund for the remaining balance on my subscription?

A) No. However, you will enjoy unlimited storage and never be charged more than $125 per year.

Q) Do you offer this option for monthly plans?

A) No. This offer is only valid for this limited time promotion, and for an annual subscription.

Q) How do I switch to the Unlimited plan?

A) Follow these steps:

  1. Select the ‘Buy More Space’ button in the desktop program. SpiderOak will launch our secure web portal.
  2. Select the ‘Account’ tab and then ‘Edit Account’.
  3. Select the ‘Upgrade Plan’ button and choose YEARLY
  4. Type in (DO NOT COPY AND PASTE OR IT WILL NOT WORK) the promo code in the promotional field: unlimitedbackup 
  5. Congrats! You have unlimited GBs

Q) What does “unlimited” truly mean?

A) You can backup as much data as you want for one, fixed rate. There is no limit to the number of devices, drives, folders, files, etc you backup.

Q) What if I decide I don’t want the Unlimited plan in the future?

A) No worries, you aren’t locked in! You can switch your plan at any time. However if you choose to move away from the unlimited plan down the road, you wont’ be able to upgrade to it again in the future (at this time).

Q) I am a new user. What do I do to get the Unlimited plan?

  1. Get started now and create your account.
  2. Download and install the client.
  3. Click  ‘Buy More Space’ in the client itself, or via the web portal (which you can only login to once you’ve downloaded the client). In the web portal, you will go to Account, and then choose Upgrade My Plan.
  4. Choose YEARLY and type (DO NOT COPY AND PASTE OR IT WILL NOT WORK) the promo code in the promotional field: unlimitedbackup  
  5. Congrats – you have unlimited GBs!
Q) Does the education/student discount of 50% off Spideroak apply to this promotion?
A) Unfortunately, no. Because this is a lifetime offer, and you will be able to have unlimited storage until you’re 95+, the price will be locked in now and forever at $125/year. 

Privacy: The Year and the Word

You can imagine how tickled we were yesterday when Dictionary.com named ‘Privacy’ the word of the year. They wrote, “The discussion of privacy – what it is and what it isn’t – embodies the preeminent concerns of 2013.”

Word of the year

Not to toot our own horn but at the beginning of this year, our executives, marketing team and PR firm sat around a table and got very clear on our message. As a result, we released this on January, 28th, calling 2013 The Year of Privacy.

Of course we couldn’t predict the Snowden disclosures about the NSA surveillance, the Google Glass release, all the changes in privacy policies that got users in a tizzy, or the Snapchat snafu, but what we have known for some time now is privacy is the best form of security.

Check out this cool info-graphic on The Year in Privacy.

Privacy in a digital world is not easy and it certainly poses some interesting challenges and contradictions. Look no further than the immediate criticism Dictionary.com received due to naming ‘Privacy’ the word of the year…

“Today, just visiting the homepage of Dictionary.com sets 90 cookies and replicating the method from the Wall Street Journal investigation (including reading the blogpost on ‘privacy’ being the word of the day) yields 198 cookies, according to The Washington Post’s research.” — Click here to read more.

As we look to 2014, it is our mission to continue protecting our users’ privacy, developing more ‘Zero-Knowledge’ cloud technologies, and pushing privacy further and further into the web.

Happy holidays and cheers to privacy!

Join SpiderOak and Thousands of Others to Demand ECPA Reform

Today, SpiderOak is joining a nationwide day of action calling for reform of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), the law that says the government can access your email and documents in the cloud without a warrant.

ECPA is one of the Internet’s most outdated laws – it was enacted in 1986, before most people had access to a home computer or email. While the public has been rightfully outraged over reports that the NSA accesses communications without a warrant, ECPA says that hundreds of other government agencies—like the IRS, FBI, and DEA, as well as state and local law enforcement agencies—can access many of our stored emails, private social media messages, and documents in the cloud without getting a warrant from a judge. The law flies directly in the face of our Fourth Amendment values.

Bills to reform ECPA have gained huge support in recent months from both parties in Congress. However, legislation is now being blocked by a power grab from the Securities and Exchange Commission, which is pushing for a special carve-out for regulatory agencies to get your documents from online providers without a warrant. The SEC carve-out would neuter ECPA reform.

That’s why we’re calling on the White House to break its silence and stand up for ECPA reform. We need President Obama to tell the SEC to back down in its demands for troubling new powers and make clear that the time for ECPA reform is now.

Today we ask you join us by signing this petition to the White House. It’s time for the President to join hundreds of tech companies, startups, advocates, and Members of Congress by supporting this commonsense, long overdue reform to ensure our privacy rights online.

A List of Privacy-Focused Companies, Tools & Technologies

We are always on the look out for other services and products that share our love of privacy.

What are other privacy-focused companies, tools and technologies you would add to this list?

ENCRYPTED COMMUNICATIONS & WEB BROWSING

  • Silent Circle — The world’s most secure solution in mobile privacy. Peer-to-peer encrypted texts, phone calls, video calls, and file transfers from your mobile device.
  • SecretInk — A platform for sending secure messages that self-destruct immediately after reading through email, SMS, or any service you like.
  • WhisperSystems — Focuses on creating easy to use privacy enhancing technology. Projects are free, Open Source, and tend to be oriented around the mobile environment.

*RedPhone – Provides end-to-end encryption for your calls, securing your conversations so that nobody can listen in.

*TextSecure – Encrypts your text messages over the air and on your phone. It’s almost identical to the normal text messaging application, and is just as easy to use.

  • The Guardian Project – Creates easy-to-use open source apps, mobile OS security enhancements, and customized mobile devices for people around the world to help them communicate more freely, and protect themselves from intrusion and monitoring.

*ChatSecure – An instant messaging client for iOS that integrates encrypted “Off the Record” messaging support from the libotr library. It uses the LibOrange library to handle all of the AIM (OSCAR) functionality and the xmppframework to handle Jabber/GTalk (XMPP).

*Orweb – The most private and anonymous web browser on Android for visiting any website, even if it’s normally censored, monitored, or on the hidden web.

  • Tor — A free software and an open network that helps you defend against traffic analysis, a form of network surveillance that threatens personal freedom and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security.
  • Disconnect – Offers private browsing and search.

*Disconnect 2 allows you to visualize and block the invisible websites that track you.

*Disconnect Search is a specialized VPN that lets you search privately using your favorite search engine without logging searches, or any other personal information.

*Disconnect Kids is an app that stops data about your growing and app activity from ever leaving your iPhone or iPad.

  • SelectOut – Helps companies become more transparent in their operations and improve their practices while giving users the information that is relevant to manage their privacy online and make their own decisions.
  • PrivacyFix — An online privacy dashboard that provides powerful browser add-on and mobile apps that scan for privacy issues based on your Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn settings and take you directly to those settings you need to fix.

PASSWORD MANAGEMENT

TOOLS & LIBRARIES

  • GnuPG/GPG – Allows you to encrypt and sign your data and communications, features a versatile key management system as well as access modules for all kinds of public key directories. GnuPG is a common line tool with features for easy integration with other applications.
  • OpenSSL – A robust, commercial-grade, full-featured, and Open Source toolkit implementing the Secure Sockets Layer and Transport Layer Security protocols as well as a full-strength general purpose cryptography library.
  • GnuTLS – A secure communications library implementing the SSL, TLS, and DTLS protocols and technologies around them. It provides a simple C language application programming interface (API) to access the secure communications protocols as well as APIs to parse and write X.509, PKCS #12, OpenPGP and other required structures. It is aimed to be portable and efficient with focus on security and interoperability.

RESOURCES

  • Free Software Foundation (FSF) – A nonprofit with a worldwide mission to promote computer user freedom and to defend the rights of all free software users. FSF promotes the development and use of free (as in freedom) software and documentation – particularly the GNU operating system – and by campaigning against threats to computer user freedom like Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) and software patents.
  • Open Technology Institute (OTI) – Supports open architectures and open source innovations. Strengthens communities through grounded research, technological innovation, and policy reform.

Don’t forget, this month is No Knowing November! Privacy should be shared. Let us know how you best manage your privacy. #NoKnowing

No Knowing November

No matter where you consume the news, there is no escaping the revelations continually coming out of PRISM and MUSCULAR and their impact around the globe. At its root, it uncovered a dangerous problem – privacy online is indeed threatened at every level.

Since its inception in 2007, SpiderOak has been focused on preserving our users’ privacy through the implementation of ‘Zero-Knowledge’ technologies – the privacy-first orientation that ensures the server never knows what data it is storing. How is this accomplished? By never storing the encryption keys and therefore never having plaintext access to the data. Ultimately, this is the only way to give ownership and control back to the user and – thus – ensure privacy throughout the process.

Back in January – when everyone was talking about the importance of security - we had the foresight to call 2013 the Year of Privacy. As we have seen, security only solves half of the problem. When a company retains the keys to the data, it also maintains the ability to access it. The access can then be used in a number of damaging ways as has been exposed back in June.

SpiderOak, Zero Knowledge, Privacy, No

Help us make this month NO KNOWING NOVEMBER by sharing this critical message on privacy through ‘No Knowing!’

WANT TO SHARE?

  • Promote privacy through #NoKnowing
  • Use any of our ‘No Knowing’ images

SpiderOak Calls to Reform the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA)

We all know the Fourth Amendment gives us a right to privacy – making it so the government can only search our home if they have a good reason, and – except in emergencies – a warrant from a judge. Since technology has advanced faster than court decisions and statues, our right to privacy is suffering.

The Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) was enacted to extend restrictions on the governments ability to intercept certain electronic communications. It was signed into law in 1986. 1986! Think: Peter Gabriel’s hit “In Your Eyes,” the Iran-Contra affair, Top Gun, the appearance of Halley’s Comet, and $89,430 was the average cost of a new home in the U.S.. The ECPA is now one of the Internet’s most outdated laws and desperately needs reform.

Instead of storing our private letters, photos, documents in a shoebox or file in our bedroom closet, most of us have them stored in the cloud. Under the current ECPA however, government agencies don’t need a warrant to search our private stuff stored in the cloud like they would if we stored these items in our home. We think this should change and better reflect this day and age.

The ECPA Reform Bill prohibits Internet companies from divulging contents of communications to the government without a warrant. It won’t solve everything, but it’s a good start and definitely part of the solution. It is bipartisan and has wide support from the tech community and advocacy groups. It’s time for congress to give the public the same level of protection of privacy that our email and online documents deserve.

If you agree, visit VanishingRights.com and tell your Representative to support ECPA reform.

2013 State of Privacy Survey

In an effort to better understand how people like you perceive privacy, we created an eight-question survey for you to share your opinions. We’ve been collecting thousands of responses over the last two weeks and look forward to publishing the results.

ENTER TO WIN!

Submit your answers and enter to win one of the awesome prizes below.

The survey closes on Monday, August 19th.

Thank you for participating and good luck!

Top 5 Reasons to Care About Privacy

There has been a lot of discussion around our right to privacy and we at SpiderOak couldn’t be happier. We’ve been talking about it for years! Based on some recent conversations, we thought we’d give you five reason to care about privacy.

(1)  It’s Your Identity

You may shrug your shoulders and think, who cares if someone knows my demographics, where I shop, what I read, or what I say – they don’t really know it’s me. Online anonymity is becoming a thing of the past. The fact is, some companies may not keep your personally identifiable information (PII) but that doesn’t mean the information collected can’t or won’t be resold to other parties who are building an identifiable profile on you. Once you’ve released information into the wild, there is no getting it back – and you no longer have control over or any rights to it.

(2)  Your Information Is Worth Money – And You Don’t Want It Used Against You

Companies are paying for your information which means it’s worth cold hard cash. If you are generating something of value, why not treat it as any other asset you own? Furthermore, consider the idea that you could be discriminated against based on this information. For example, a company could charge you more for a product or service and who thinks that is a good idea? Click here to learn how this is already happening.

(3)  You Deserve It, Until You’ve Done Something Wrong

In this country, you are allowed to operate freely – which also means, privately – until you’ve done something wrong. Or at least until you’ve done something to raise the suspicions of the powers that be. Our government isn’t allowed to look over our shoulders unless they have a legitimate reason to do so. This principle was built into the founding of our country.

(4)  A Responsibility to Protect Those More At Risk

Perhaps you’ll decide keeping your data private is not a battle you care to fight but it’s still worth protecting the ability to make that choice. Stand up for the choice so others can also make it. Privacy may not be a big deal to you but it is to others like, children, teenagers, individuals who are pregnant, those dealing with health challenges, victims of abuse, activists, government and public figures, along with many more. It’s our responsibility to protect those who need help protecting themselves.

(5)  Room To Grow

Privacy allows you the space to try on something new, explore ideas, or think through decisions without lasting consequences. Having this freedom is critical to our ability to thrive as individuals and as a society.

Restore the Fourth: Secure Your Privacy with 4GBs Free(dom)

This week we are supporting Restore the Fourth‘s online efforts to drive awareness and action against unconstitutional digital surveillance. Be sure to join the conversation on Reddit and Twitter via #restorethe4th.

In solidarity, we are offering 4GBs free to new users and 25% off annual plans for existing users. Embrace our zero-knowledge privacy this week as you safely, privately and securely back up the data that is most important to you. See below for more information on how to take advantage of this limited-time deal.

THE FOURTH AMENDMENT

The Fourth Amendment was carefully written for the express purpose of limiting the government’s ability to violate the deserved privacy of its law-abiding constituents. We celebrate our freedom this week by asking the government to acknowledge privacy with respect to digital communications data.

Another way you can take action is by visiting stopwatching.us and sign a letter that demands the U.S. Congress reveal the full extent of the NSA’s spying programs.

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF 4GBS FREE(DOM) OR 25% OFF

If you are a new user, sign up for 4GBs free for life when you sign up HERE.

If you already use and love SpiderOak, use the code restorethe4th when you upgrade your yearly plan to receive 25% off – that means only $75 per year, or $6.25 a month, for 100Gbs. Here’s how:

  • Open your ‘account’ through the accounts tab in the SpiderOak client or click the ‘Buy more space’ button.
  • On the Account Details page, select “Upgrade My Plan” to the right.
  • On this page, you will see a “Promotional Code” box.
  • Type “restorethe4th” in this box and select “Update”
  • You will see the discount 4GB free option as well as the 25% discount to yearly plans.
  • Choose your promotion and continue the ‘checkout’ process.

Note: The ’4 GB FREE’ offer is intended for new users. Selecting this promotion as a current user will replace your existing storage with 4 GBs.

Offer ends July 4th at 11:59 PM CDT.

Enjoy, and thank you again for your continued patronage and support.

Ask American computer security expert, Jon Callas

You know that crazy interview question, “If you could have dinner with any famous person, living or dead, who would it be?”

Well, someone the other night answered, Jon Callas. Perhaps there are several of you out there with interest in the world of cryptography and information security and would also enjoy the opportunity to ask him some questions.

While we can’t set up a dinner meeting between you with Jon, we can pass along your questions. Jon has graciously granted us the opportunity to send over our readers’ most burning questions for him to answer.

Take the weekend to submit your questions in the comment section and the folks over here at SpiderOak will pick the best 10 to be submitted to Jon.

Who knows, maybe you’ll get a dinner out of this afterall…