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Telegram Provides Nuclear Option to Erase Sent Messages | Developers


By Jack M. Germain

Mar 26, 2019 5:00 AM PT

Telegram Messaging on Sunday announced a new privacy rights feature that allows user to delete not only their own comments, but also those of all other participants in the message thread on all devices that received the conversation. Although the move is meant to bolster privacy, it’s likely to spark some controversy.

Telegram Provides Nuclear Option to Erase Sent Messages

Telegram, a cloud-based instant messaging and Voice over IP service, is similar to WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. Telegram Messenger allows users to send free messages by using a WiFi connection or mobile data allowance with optional end-to-end encryption and encrypted local storage for Secret Chats.

Telegram’s new unsend feature does two things. First, it removes the previous 48-hour time limit for removing anything a user wrote from the devices of participants. Second, it lets users delete entire chats from the devices of all participating parties.



Unsend Anything screenshot

– click image to play video –


Telegram also changed a policy regarding how users can or can not forward another’s conversation.

Privacy policies are critical to people who rely heavily on chat communications, noted Paul Bischoff, privacy advocate with
Comparitech.

“Many people use chat apps under the assumption that their communications are private, so it is very important that chat apps meet those expectations of privacy,” he told LinuxInsider.

Obviously, if you’re a dissident in an autocratic country that cracks down on free speech, privacy is very important. However, it is also important to everyday people, said Bischoff, for “sending photos of their kids, organizing meetings, and exchanging Netflix passwords,” for example.

Potential Controversy

Telegram’s new unsend feature could stir controversy over the rights of parties to a message conversation. One user’s right to carry out a privacy purge could impact other participants’ rights to engage in discourse.

Regardless of who initiated the chat, any participant can delete some or all of the conversation. Criticisms voiced since the change in the company’s unsend policy suggest that the first participant to unsend effectively can remove control from everyone else. Telegram’s process allows deletion of messages in their entirety — not just the senders’ comments.

The chat history suddenly disappears. No notification indicates the message thread was deleted.

Privacy Treatments

Telegram Messenger, like its competitors, has had an “unsend” feature for the last two years. It allowed users to delete any messages they sent via the app within a 48-hour time limit. However, users could not delete conversations they did not send.

Facebook’s unsend feature differs in that it gives users the ability to recall a sent message — but only within 10 minutes of sending it.

“Telegram doesn’t enable end-to-end encryption by default, but you can get it by using the “Secret Chats” feature,” said Comparitech’s Bischoff.

End-to-end encryption ensures that no one except the intended recipient — not even Telegram — can decrypt messages, he said. WhatsApp and Signal encrypt messages by default.

Telegram has an incredibly strong brand, according to Jamie Cambell, founder of
Go Best VPN. It has a reputation for being the app of the people, since it’s been banned from Russia for not providing the encryption keys to the government.

“Its founder, Pavel Durov, actively seeks to fight censorship and is widely considered the Mark Zuckerberg of Russia,” he told LinuxInsider.

Why the Change?

The new unsend feature gives millions of users complete control of any private conversation they have ever had, according to Telegram. Users can choose to delete any message they sent or received from both sides in any private chat.

“The messages will disappear for both you and the other person — without leaving a trace,” noted the Telegram Team in an online post.

The change was orchestrated “to improve the privacy of the Telegram messaging application,” the post continues. “Its developers upgraded the Unsend feature “to allow users to remotely delete private chat sessions from all devices involved.”

The privacy changes are to protect users, according to the company. Old forgotten messages might be taken out of context and used against them decades later.

For example, a hasty text sent to a girlfriend in school can return to haunt the sender years later “when you decide to run for mayor,” the company suggested.

How It Works

Telegram users can delete any private chat entirely from both their device and the other person’s device with just two taps.

To delete a message from both ends, a user taps on the message and selects the delete button. A message windows then asks the user to select whether to delete just his/her chat messages or those of the other participants as well.

Telegram’s new feature lets users delete messages in one-to-one or group private chats. Selecting the second choice deletes the message everywhere. Selecting the first choice only removes it from the inbox of the user initiating the delete request.

The privacy purge allows users to delete all traces of the conversation, even if the user did not send the original message or begin the thread.

Forwarding Controls Added

Telegram also added an Anonymous Forwarding feature to make privacy more complete. This feature gives users new controls to restrict who can forward their messages, according to Telegram.

When users enable the Anonymous Forwarding setting, their forwarded messages no longer will link back to their account. Instead, the message window will only display an unclickable name in the “from” field.

“This way people you chat with will have no verifiable proof you ever sent them anything,” according to Telegram’s announcement.

Telegram also introduced new message controls in the app’s Privacy and Security settings. A new feature called “Forwarded messages” lets users restrict who can view their profile photos and prevent any forwarded messages from being traced back to their account.

Open Source Prospects

The Telegram application programming interface
is 100 percent open for all developers who want to build applications on the Telegram platform, according to the company.

“Open APIs allow third-party developers to create applications that integrate with Telegram and extend its capabilities,” Bischoff said.

Telegram may be venturing further into open source terrain. The company might release all of the messaging app’s code at some point, suggests a note on its website’s FAQ page. That could bode well for privacy rights enthusiasts.

“Releasing more of the code will have a positive effect on Telegram’s appeal, barring any unforeseen security issues. That allows security auditors to crack open the code to see if Telegram is doing anything unsafe or malicious,” Bischoff added.

Win-Win Proposition

Telegram’s new take on protecting users’ privacy rights is a positive step forward, said attorney David Reischer, CEO of
LegalAdvice.com. It benefits both customers who want more control over how their data and communications are shared and privacy rights advocates who see privacy as an important cornerstone of society.

It is not uncommon for a person to send a message and then later regret it. There also can be legal reasons for a person to want to delete all copies of a previously sent message.

For example, “a person may send a message and then realize, even many months later, that the communication contained confidential information that should not be shared or entered into the public domain,” Reischer told LinuxInsider.

Allowing a person to prevent the communication from being forwarded is also an important advance for consumers who value their privacy, he added. It allows a user to prevent sharing of important confidential communications.

“Privacy rights advocates, such as myself, see these technology features as extremely important because the right to privacy entails that one’s personal communications should have a high standard of protection from public scrutiny,” Reischer said.

Still, there exists a negative effect when private conversations are breached through malicious actors who find an unlawful way to circumvent the privacy features, he cautioned. Ultimately, the trust and confidence on the part of senders could be misplaced if communications turn out to be not-so-private after all.

Privacy Concerns First Priority

Privacy is extremely important to those who use chat communications — at least those who are somewhat tech-savvy, noted Cambell. For Telegram, privacy is the most important feature for users.

Privacy is extremely important to many Americans who want to have private conversations even when the communications are just ordinary in nature, said Reischer. Many people like to know that their thoughts and ideas are to be read only by the intended recipient.

“A conversation taken out of context may appear damnable to others even when the original intent of the message was innocuous,” he said.

Additionally, many professionals of various trades and crafts may not want to share their confidential trade secrets and proprietary information, Reischer added. “Privacy is important to all business people, and there is typically an expectation of privacy in business when communicating with other coworkers, management, legal experts or external third parties.”

Other New Features

Telegram added new features that made the app more efficient to use. For example, the company added a search tool that allows users to find settings quickly. It also shows answers to any Telegram-related questions based on the FAQ.

The company also upgraded GIF and stickers search and appearance on all mobile platforms. Any GIF can be previewed by tapping and holding.

Sticker packs now have icons, which makes selecting the right pack easier. Large GIFs and video messages on Telegram are now streamed. This lets users start watching them without waiting for the download to complete.

VoiceOver and TalkBack support for accessibility features now support gesture-based technologies to give spoken feedback that makes it possible to use Telegram without seeing the screen.


Jack M. Germain has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2003. His main areas of focus are enterprise IT, Linux and open source technologies. He has written numerous reviews of Linux distros and other open source software.
Email Jack.





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The Enterprise Prepares for IoT | IT Infrastructure Advice, Discussion, Community


Enterprise IT organizations are deeply familiar with the concepts behind the Internet of Things — connected devices that generate and harvest data and can be monitored to help predict problems, needed maintenance, and replacement. IoT extends that idea beyond the IT infrastructure to an enterprise’s other assets such as manufacturing equipment, vehicles, field devices, and even products offered to customers.

It’s an idea that has captured a lot of imaginations so far, and the implementations that have gotten the most mainstream attention are things like smart speakers (Alexa Echo and Google Home), smart doorbells, and smart thermostats — all for consumers.

Business implementation is happening, too, and it has really varied by vertical industries. Smart manufacturing operations “where raw materials come in and finished goods come out without any human hands touching them,” is a primary example of a pretty advanced implementation of IOT, according to Intel IoT Group VP and CTO Brian McCarson. The company has implemented such systems in its own semiconductor manufacturing. Intel believes this advanced use of IoT represents the third and most advanced phase of IoT implementations — a “software-defined autonomous world.” The two earlier phases are first, “connecting the unconnected,” and second, “building smart and connected things,” according to Intel.

Intel’s a good example of a company using and promoting IoT, and the technology is gaining momentum elsewhere, too.

Read the rest of the article on InformationWeek



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The Darwinian Accelerator Driving White-Box to Brite-Box in the Enterprise | IT Infrastructure Advice, Discussion, Community


Open, standards-based networking−a disaggregated Linux-based network operating system (NOS) running atop bare-metal “white-box” ODM switches from multiple vendors−is, at this point, conceptually nothing new.  A number of Silicon Valley start-ups began selling these solutions to the market back in early 2012.  Individually, each offering looked to advance the cause of modernizing and innovating IP networking in one of the three main segments of the overall IP marketplace−either the telco, data center, or large enterprise vertical.

As it turns out, not only are the software feature-set requirements needed to service these three verticals wildly divergent, but the logical and physical architectural realities of these network environments turned out to have quite an impact on the timing of overall open networking adoption. For example, the first vertical to fully embrace the white box open networking model was that of large data centers, aka web-scale networking or, often, multi-cloud networking. In this application of the technology, thousands of white box switches can be deployed at a very small number of locations where high-end Tier 3 resources are plentiful. So potential concerns about things like supply chains and global hardware service simply weren’t issues at all for the data center market where both switching hardware and IT talent are physically concentrated in the same places.

NOS vendors in all three open networking verticals−telco, data center and large enterprise alike−initially entered their target markets via classic proof-of-concept (PoC) white box trials and deployments. This was done to validate economic and business value propositions and show commercial robustness. The data center open networking vertical was the first to take off. In fact, open white-box networking was so successful here that all of the web-scale companies themselves, such as Amazon and Google, essentially rolled their own white box switches for their data centers to displace classic legacy installations from the Ciscos and Aristas of the world.

Networking takes a different approach

But something quite different is afoot with the second wave of open networking. That wave involves disaggregated Linux NOS software running enterprise features on white box switches with open APIs. Basically, the impact of scale in large, Fortune 500-class open networking deployments is far more layered, and even more mission-critical, in the enterprise than it was for data center open networking solutions.

Here we’re not talking about scale in the sense of configuring thousands of switches and automating the management of the network. Those are ubiquitous requirements for open networking in any of the three major market segments. No. We’re talking about the differences in critical business considerations involved in deploying 5,000 or 10,000 or 20,000 switches at a small handful of data center locations versus deploying the same number of devices in hundreds−or even thousands−of disparate locations across the globe. For the operators of large enterprises, concerns about things like dependable supply chains and global service and support suddenly shoot right to the top of their requirements lists.

When the open networking data center market moved from its PoC phase to commercial deployment, the choice of hardware manufacturer barely registered as a consideration. Spares could be easily stockpiled locally, and there was plenty of resident, local IT talent to install and maintain the open switching white-box hardware infrastructure. 

Conversely, when open networking PoCs and production trials for modernizing large enterprise networks finally started reaching the same point last year−using hardware from the exact same white box manufacturers, such as Edge-Core and Delta, used in the data center PoCs−the procurement arms of most of these companies immediately took notice and demanded that they now required switches from a known and trustworthy source of global hardware support and sparing before large-scale deployments would be funded. In essence, they began to mandate the use of commercially branded white box switching hardware, aka “brite-box,” for large-scale open networking deployments in their companies.

This is where the beauty of the open networking model makes itself known once again. The two leading brite-box switching vendors, Dell EMC and HP, both “brand” identical white box hardware used in the enterprise networking PoCs and trials. And they sell it under their names with backing from their extensive global service and support organizations. The Edge-Core 7618 and Dell EMC Z9264, for example, are identical 64-port 100G switches with open APIs that allow an open standards-based Linux NOS to run on them with a full enterprise feature set.

So, the Darwinian Accelerator driving the acceptance and deployment of open network solutions in large enterprises turns out to be scale, albeit with a “mutation” that favors the brite-box over the white-box trait.

 



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Working with the Container Storage Library and Tools in Red Hat Enterprise Linux | Linux.com


How containers are stored on disk is often a mystery to users working with the containers. In this post, we’re going to look at how containers images are stored and some of the tools that you can use to work with those images directly –PodmanSkopeo, and Buildah.

Evolution of Container Image Storage

When I first started working with containers, one of the things I did not like about Docker’s architecture was that the daemon hid the information about the image store within itself. The only realistic way someone could use the images was through the daemon. We were working on theatomic tool and wanted a way to mount the container images so that we could scan them. After all a container image was just a mount point under devicemapper or overlay.

The container runtime team at Red Hat created the atomic mountcommand to mount images under Docker and this was used within atomic scan. The issue here was that the daemon did not know about this so if someone attempted to remove the image while we mounted it, the daemon would get confused. The locking and manipulation had to be done within the daemon. …

Container storage configuration is defined in the storage.conf file. For containers engines that run as root, the storage.conf file is stored in /etc/containers/storage.conf. If you are running rootless with a tool like Podman, then the storage.conf file is stored in $HOME/.config/containers/storage.conf.

Read more at Red Hat blog

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Beta » Linux Magazine


Red Hat, soon to be owned by IBM, has announced the beta version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8. As the IT landscaope is changing and the workload is moving from traditional data centers to the cloud, leveraging emerging technologies like Blockchain and machine learning, the expectation from the OS that runs these workloads is also changing.

To keep up with the changing time RHEL 8 maintains a fine balance between past and future.

“Today, we’re offering a vision of a Linux foundation to power the innovations that can extend and transform business IT well into the future: Meet Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Beta,” Red Hat said in a press release.

One of the most notable highlights of this beta is the introduction of the concept of Application Streams to deliver userspace packages more simply and with greater flexibility.

“Userspace components can now update more quickly than core operating system packages and without having to wait for the next major version of the operating system,” said Red Hat.

What it means is users don’t have to worry about ‘rpm hell’ or conflict of packages. “Multiple versions of the same package, for example, an interpreted language or a database, can also be made available for installation via an application stream,” explained Red Hat.

It allows users to consume an agile and user-customized version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux without impacting the underlying stability of the platform or specific deployments.

You can test beta by downloading it from here: https://access.redhat.com/products/red-hat-enterprise-linux/beta



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