We’re happy to announce that sources can now access our SecureDrop document-submission website using HTTPS. Although SecureDrop connections were already encrypted previously, our new setup provides leakers with additional assurance that they are connecting with the authentic Intercept SecureDrop and not an impostor.
You can visit our SecureDrop server by pointing the Tor Browser here: https://y6xjgkgwj47us5ca.onion/
SecureDrop runs as a “hidden service” within the anonymous web network Tor. A hidden service is a special kind of server that is only accessible through Tor and that has a domain name ending in .onion (Tor was originally called The Onion Router because it works by creating layers upon layers of encryption to hide users’ IP addresses).
The Intercept‘s SecureDrop installation is only the third Tor hidden service to receive a browser-trusted HTTPS certificate, following Facebook and the Bitcoin website Blockchain.info. HTTPS provides two things: Confidentiality—data shared between web browsers and HTTPS websites is encrypted—and authentication—web browsers can verify that they’re visiting the website the user thinks they’re visiting. Authentication helps prevent man-in-the-middle attacks, when an attacker entices someone to open an encrypted connection to the attacker’s server by impersonating the real server.
Even without HTTPS, the connection between Tor Browser and our SecureDrop hidden service was already encrypted. Adding HTTPS provides a second, redundant layer of encryption, and it also adds authentication. So if a source finds herself visiting a SecureDrop website that looks like it belongs to The Intercept, she can inspect our SSL certificate to confirm that it actually belongs to us and isn’t a honeypot posing as our SecureDrop website — or at least confirm that this is the case according to DigiCert, the certificate authority that issued our SSL certificate.
The future of combining HTTPS and the .onion top-level domain is uncertain because .onion is not an officially-recognized top-level domain. But the gears are in motion to get .onion recognized as a “Special-Use Domain Name.” We won’t know for sure if we get to keep our SSL certificate until the Internet Engineering Steering Group agrees on whether or not to make .onion a standard, a decision slated to be made in October.
Until then, our sources can enjoy this extra layer of protection when they communicate with us through SecureDrop.
The decision to record such cases comes following numerous cases of tourists’ misbehavior, including violations of customs, damage to cultural and historical sites, disturbances on public transportation and taking part in gambling and prostitution.
"China's image has already been tarnished," the China National Tourism Administration said on its website, Reuters reports.
For example, in 2013 a Chinese student’s behavior caused a public outcry in Egypt because he scratched his name on an ancient temple’s wall in Luxor.
Another documented case happened in Hong Kong – when a mainland Chinese couple allowed their two-year-old child to defecate on a sidewalk.
In February, Chinese tourists were caught drying underwear at a Thai temple, kicking a bell at a sacred shrine and washing their feet in a public restroom. This case prompted Thai authorities to issue thousands of Chinese-language etiquette manuals.
Chinese tourism authorities said these actions caused many people to "blush with shame" and that those responsible needed to “learn a lesson,” though no specific punishment was announced.
Regulators expect to find out about tourists’ bad behavior from local tourism bureaus, media reports and witnesses from the general public.
In recent years overseas travel has flourished from China. In 2012 the UN World Tourism Organization even named Chinese the world's biggest spenders on travel.
Meanwhile, China’s media pointed out that it’s not only Chinese tourists behaving indecently abroad.
The People's Daily Online published an article that gathered several cases of public misbehavior by non-Chinese tourists. For example, this month two American sisters were arrested for taking nude pictures at a UNESCO World Heritage site in Cambodia, the Angkor temple complex. They were fined 1 million Cambodian riel ($250) and given six-month suspended jail terms.
Another incident described in the article took place in 2009, when a group of foreigners were caught camping on the Great Wall of China, a practice that is prohibited.
Foreigners also littered, walked on precious monuments, swam in no-swim areas and climbed trees, the article said.
The bitcoin payment processing space continues to get more crowded with the launch of merchant services by igot, a bitcoin exchange based in Australia. This new service will put the company head-to-head with some of the largest payment processors in the market.
“Accepting bitcoin through igot has multiple advantages for merchants. Integration take just minutes, and it protects businesses from both credit-card chargebacks and price volatility,” said Rick Day, co-founder of the company, in a statement.
The company believes it has a competitive advantage because it can facilitate cross-border payment in nearly 40 countries, allowing businesses to cash out in any of those currencies. According to igot, integration is simple, which is important since they’re working with online businesses.
“Our primary focus is online stores, and we do not expect huge numbers of signups from brick-and-mortar businesses at this time,” Day said in an interview with Bitcoin Magazine. “Over time, we will work with POS solutions to integrate igot’s service into their existing hardware. Right now, accepting bitcoin requires almost no effort from the merchant and, once sales start coming in, igot automatically converts the bitcoin to fiat currency and places it in the merchant’s bank account.”
The company will charge a 0.5 percent fixed transaction fee. There are no interchange or currency conversion fees. And because the user can instantly convert the bitcoin into a local fiat currency, the merchant doesn’t have to worry about the volatility of bitcoin.
Working in so many countries, though, seems like it could open the company up to regulatory hurdles. Day told Bitcoin Magazine that most of the countries igot operates in don’t require much licensing.
“We strictly follow our KYC and AML policies in every jurisdiction in which we operate,” Day said. “As yet, most of these countries do not require us to obtain a Money Service Business license. Even so, we already collect data and report all cases that would be required of us if we were an MSB. This means, as governments around the world start to establish regulatory frameworks, we will be instantly ready to comply.”
Like with the other payment platforms, the majority of the sales made are being instantly converted to the local fiat currency rather than being kept in bitcoin. According to Day, fewer than 5 percent of businesses that use igot are holding onto any bitcoin. But Day does see ways that adoption will grow for the digital currency.
“To begin with, bitcoin has to be made far less technical,” he said. “Not everyone wants to know how dollar bills are printed, why they are printed the way they are or how the powers that be determine the right number to print. The average consumer just wants to use their dollar bills.
“As long as we can make it easier for them [the average customer] to convert dollars to bitcoin and back with a simple push notification, bitcoin will make more sense,” Day said. “Also, as big retailers, investors, and governments increasingly take interest in the technology, we will see the beginning of mass adoption.”
Image via igot.
The post Bitcoin Exchange igot Expands Merchant Services to Over 30 Countries appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.
Startup OneBit is developing a Bitcoin wallet app that lets users pay at any store with contactless mobile payments via the MasterCard PayPass payment network.
OneBit securely converts bitcoin on the fly at market rate into any major local currency using BitPay, and pays the merchant via their NFC payment terminals. OneBit will permit users to pay at any MasterCard PayPass-accepting merchant worldwide, with zero fees.
“The magic that happens underneath” is done by BitPay, which converts the OneBit user’s bitcoin to the local currency of the merchant, and MasterCard, which actually sends the money to the merchant.
MasterCard is helping OneBit get a partnership with a card issuer, and OneBit is trying to secure funding for industrialization. OneBit is available on an invitation-only basis to selected early-access testers.
“We don’t want to launch a half-assed Bitcoin wallet that gets us in trouble for violating KYC laws,” says Hoenisch on Reddit. “And yes, legal is the main reason we can’t just ship it.”
Anyone can apply for early access on the OneBit website.
Hoenisch has a background in AI, IT-security and cryptography, and his co-founders have backgrounds in user interface design and security.
“I have been fascinated by Bitcoin for the last three years, but never quite found the right idea to form a company around until now,” says Hoenisch. “We managed to get MasterCard and DBS bank interested in OneBit and with their help, I am confident that we can build OneBit without getting burned like Charlie Shrem did.”
OneBit has been invited to the selection days of the startup bootcamp fintech accelearator in Singapore. If Hoenisch and his team get into the startup bootcamp accelerator program, which will also give them access to DBS bank and their network, they plan to launch OneBit at the end of their three-month program on July 28th.
If Hoenisch and his team manage to get funding and launch the project, OneBit promises to be nothing short of revolutionary: Bitcoin holders will be able to pay merchants directly from the Bitcoin wallet on their phones without requiring merchants to take direct steps to accept bitcoin.
NFC-enabled PayPass payment terminals are very common in Europe and Singapore, and increasingly common in Canada and Australia. Therefore, it seems likely that OneBit will make the life of daily bitcoin users much simpler and reduce their dependency on exchanges.
The direct involvement as a partner of MasterCard, whose APIs and SDKs are used together with those of BitPay to power the OneBit platform, may seem surprising to those who remember recent statements by MasterCard that indicated hostility to Bitcoin.
In a December 2014 submission to an Australian Senate inquiry, MasterCard urged regulators to move against the pseudonymity of digital currencies such as bitcoin.
“Contrary to transactions made with a MasterCard product, the anonymity of digital currency transactions enables any party to facilitate the purchase of illegal goods or services; to launder money or finance terrorism; and to pursue other activity that introduces consumer and social harm without detection by regulatory or police authority,” said the MasterCard statement.
It’s interesting to note that the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) recently replied to the same Senate inquiry by stating that it is unlikely that any benefits of Bitcoin regulation would outweigh the potential costs. RBA’s head of payments policy Tony Richards also said that, while digital currencies are not legal tender, there is nothing to prevent two parties agreeing to settle a payment using a digital currency.
Perhaps, after many similarly open-minded positions on Bitcoin taken by governments worldwide, MasterCard realizes that Bitcoin is here to stay and moving toward more integration with mainstream fintech.
Image via OneBit.
The post OneBit: Use Bitcoin Anywhere MasterCard PayPass is Accepted appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.