An anonymous reader writes "A senior aide to David Cameron resigned from Downing Street last month the day before being arrested on allegations relating to child abuse images. Patrick Rock, who was involved in drawing up the government's policy for the large internet firms on online pornography filters, resigned after No 10 was alerted to the allegations. Rock was arrested at his west London flat the next morning. Officers from the National Crime Agency subsequently examined computers and offices used in Downing Street by Rock, the deputy director of No 10's policy unit, according to the Daily Mail, which disclosed news of his arrest."
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realized writes with news that the Federal government thinks Sprint overcharged them $21 million when billing for wiretaps. From the article: "Sprint, like all the nation's carriers, must comply with the Communications Assistance in Law Enforcement Act of 1994, which requires telcos to be capable of providing government-ordered wiretapping services. The act also allows carriers to recoup 'reasonable expenses' associated with those services. Sprint inflated charges approximately 58 percent between 2007 and 2010, according to a lawsuit the administration brought against the carrier today. ... The suit said that the wireless carrier breached Federal Communications Commission guidelines of 2006 that prohibited carriers from using intercept charges to recover costs of modifying 'equipment, facilities or services' to comply with the Communications Assistance in Law Enforcement Act."
schwit1 writes "Police in Florida have offered a startling excuse for having used a controversial 'stingray' cell phone tracking gadget 200 times without ever telling a judge: the device's manufacturer made them sign a non-disclosure agreement that they say prevented them from telling the courts. The shocking revelation, uncovered by the American Civil Liberties Union, came during an appeal over a 2008 sexual battery case in Tallahassee in which the suspect also stole the victim's cell phone. Using the stingray — which simulates a cell phone tower in order to trick nearby mobile devices into connecting to it and revealing their location — police were able to track him to an apartment."
judgecorp writes "While Russia's political activity is center stage, its cyber-espionage apparently continues. Russian intelligence is strongly suspected of being behind the Uroburos malware which is targeting Western governments and commercial organizations. There are Russian-language strings in the code, and it searches its victims' systems for Agent BTZ, malware used in previous attacks believed to have been carried out by Russia."
An anonymous reader writes "If you think the average wait of 28.3 months for a patent to be approved is ridiculous, don't complain to Gilbert P. Hyatt. The 76-year-old inventor has been waiting over forty years for a ruling on whether his electronic signal to control machinery should be granted a patent. 'It's totally unconscionable,' said Brad Wright, a patent lawyer with Banner & Witcoff in Washington who specializes in computer-related applications and isn't involved in Hyatt's case. 'The patent office doesn't want to be embarrassed that they might issue a broad patent that would have a sweeping impact on the technology sector. Rather than be embarrassed, they're just bottling it up.'"
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "BBC reports that when Dana Snay learned her father had been awarded an $80,000 cash settlement in an age-discrimination lawsuit against his former employer, she couldn't resist bragging about it on Facebook. 'Mama and Papa Snay won the case against Gulliver,' the teen posted to her 1,200 Facebook friends. 'Gulliver is now officially paying for my vacation to Europe this summer. SUCK IT.' Trouble was her father had signed a confidentiality agreement so the school refused to pay a dime and a Florida appeals court has found in the school's favor. 'Snay violated the agreement by doing exactly what he had promised not to do,' wrote Judge Linda Ann Wells. 'His daughter then did precisely what the confidentiality agreement was designed to prevent.' Snay's father said in depositions that he and his wife knew they had to say something to their daughter because she suffered 'psychological scars' from issues during her enrollment at the school and was aware that they were in mediation with Gulliver attorneys. Attorneys say it's unlikely confiding in Dana Snay would have jeopardized the settlement — it was the facebook post that did them in. 'Remember when all you had to worry about was your daughter posting naked selfies of herself on Facebook?' writes Elie Mystal at Above the Law. 'Now, things are worse.'"
alphadogg writes "Security and how to protect users from pervasive monitoring will dominate the proceedings when members of Internet Engineering Task Force meet in London starting Sunday. For an organization that develops the standards we all depend on for the Internet to work, the continued revelations made by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden have had wide-ranging repercussions. 'It wasn't a surprise that some activities like this are going on. I think that the scale and some of the tactics surprised the community a little bit. ... You could also argue that maybe we needed the wake-up call,' said IETF Chairman Jari Arkko. Part of that work will also be to make security features easier to use and for the standards organization to think of security from day one when developing new protocols."
An anonymous reader sends in a story about a network engineer named Bryan Seely, who was tired of seeing fake listings and spam on Google Maps. He contacted the company and tried to convince them to fix their system, but didn't have much luck. Afterward, he thought of an effective demonstration. He put up fake listings for the FBI and the Secret Service with phone numbers that sent the calls to him. When people called, he forwarded them to the actual agencies while he listened in. After recording a couple of calls for proof, he went to a local Secret Service office to explain the problem: "After that, Seely says, he got patted down, read his Miranda rights, and put in an interrogation room. Email correspondence with the Secret Service indicates that the special agent in charge called him a 'hero' for bringing this major security flaw to light. They let him go after a few hours. Seely says the fake federal listings, which were both ranked second every time I checked Google Maps, were up for four days. He took them down himself when the Secret Service asked."
An anonymous reader writes "Ben Kuchera at Polygon ponders the surveillance capabilities of our gaming consoles in light of recent NSA and GCHQ revelations. 'Xbox One Kinect can see in the dark. It can keep a moving human being in focus without motors. It knows how to isolate voices from background noise. The privacy implications of having a device that originally couldn't be removed pointed at your living room at all times was always kind of scary, and that fear has been at least partially justified.' Kuchera, like many of us, habitually disconnects cameras and microphones not currently in use. But he also feels a sense of inevitability about the whole thing: 'If the government wants this information they're going to get it, no matter what we do with our gaming consoles. It's important to pay attention to what our government is doing, but this issue is much bigger than our gaming consoles, and we open ourselves up to much greater forms of intrusion on a daily basis.'"
WebMink writes "In rare joint move, the OSI and FSF have joined with Eben Moglen's Software Freedom Law Center to file a U.S. Supreme Court briefing in the CLS vs Alice case. The brief asserts the basic arguments that processes are not patentable if they are implemented solely through computer software, and that the best test for whether a software-implemented invention is solely implemented through software is whether special apparatus or the transformation of matter have been presented as part of the claims (the 'machine or transformation' test). They assert that finding software-only inventions unpatentable will not imperil the pace of software innovation, citing the overwhelming success of open source in the software industry as proof."
jfruh writes "Steven R. Spriggs was ticketed and fined $165 for violating California's law on cell phone use while operating a motor vehicle, which states that you can only use a phone while driving if you have a hands-free device. But he appealed the judgement, arguing that the law only applied to actually talking on the phone, whereas he had been caught checking his GPS app. Now an appeals court has agreed with him. The law in question was enacted in 2006, before the smartphone boom."
jfruh writes "Under the U.S.'s previously secret program of gathering phone call metadata, that information was only retained for a period of five years. Now the government has petitioned the court system to retain it longer — not because it wants to, it says, but because it needs to preserve it as evidence for the various privacy lawsuits filed against the government. Federal lawyers have suggested several ways the information can be preserved without being available to the NSA."
just_another_sean writes "An Australian record label that threatened to sue one of the world's most famous copyright attorneys for infringement has reached a settlement with him. The settlement includes an admission that Lawrence Lessig, a Harvard Law School professor, had the right to use a song by the band Phoenix. From the article: 'In a statement, Liberation Music admitted Lessig's use of the song was protected by fair use — a legal doctrine that allows copyrighted material to be used for education, satire and a few other exceptions. Liberation Music says it will also pay Lessig for the harm it caused. The amount is confidential under the terms of the agreement, but it will be dedicated to supporting work by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital civil rights group, to work on causes that were important to Lessig's friend Aaron Swartz, a technologist and activist who committed suicide last year.'"
itwbennett writes "As the list of victims of sophisticated cyber attacks expands, so does the need for specialized, high-priced, and hard-to-find talent to help investigate and recover from those attacks. The latest solution: hosted services offering access to cyber intelligence and incident response. 'At the RSA Security Conference this week, companies large and small are trumpeting the spy agency connections of senior staff as never before,' writes Paul Roberts. 'These new offerings — think of them as spooks-as-a-service — typically combine some degree of network and endpoint monitoring with a cloud-based management platform to gather and analyze data against data aggregated from other customers and third-party threat intelligence.'"
An anonymous reader writes in with news about a new anonymous instant messenger client on the way from Tor. "Forget the $16 billion romance between Facebook and WhatsApp. There's a new messaging tool worth watching. Tor, the team behind the world's leading online anonymity service, is developing a new anonymous instant messenger client, according to documents produced at the Tor 2014 Winter Developers Meeting in Reykjavik, Iceland."
mdsolar writes with news that the aging reactor fleet in the U.S. will likely see units hitting 80 or more years of use before being decommissioned. From the article: "Officials of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the nuclear power industry expect the first application to be filed with the agency in 2018 or 2019 for a license renewal to operate a power reactor or reactors beyond 60 years. At a Nuclear Energy Institute forum in Washington Tuesday, neither NRC nor industry officials named specific plants considered likely to apply, and it was not clear from their remarks if any nuclear operator has yet volunteered to be the first to apply." Also see the staff report on preparing for the first applications. The proposed operating license changes would place no limit on the number of 20 year extensions, so perhaps a few reactors will end up in operation for a full century (if there's anyone left who can remember how to operate them then).
An anonymous reader writes with more chilling news from the Snowden files. Quoting the Guardian: "GCHQ files dating between 2008 and 2010 explicitly state that a surveillance program codenamed Optic Nerve collected still images of Yahoo webcam chats in bulk and saved them to agency databases, regardless of whether individual users were an intelligence target or not. ... The system, eerily reminiscent of the telescreens evoked in George Orwell's 1984, was used for experiments in automated facial recognition, to monitor GCHQ's existing targets, and to discover new targets of interest. Such searches could be used to try to find terror suspects or criminals making use of multiple, anonymous user IDs." Remember, friends don't video conference with friends unless they're using SIP and TLS.
Daniel_Stuckey writes "The contacts on Zambada-Ortiz's phone, which officials seized, would prove critical in pinpointing cartel stash houses strewn across Sinaloa state in mountainous northwest Mexico. Crucially, the episode would breathe new life into the joint US-Mexico dragnet that recently caught Chapo, who'd been at large for 13 years after famously escaping from Mexican prison in a laundry basket. Zambada-Ortiz's capture and the data scraped from his phone led to more and more Sinaloa phones until a month ago, when Mexican authorities (moving on American intelligence work) successfully carried out a number of raids that scored a cache of weapons and the arrests of a few of Chapo's senior henchmen. With each apprehension came another phone full of leads, 'a new trove of information for officials to mine,' as TIME reported. Then, sometime last week, Mexican commandos 'traced a number stored in a seized cell phone to a stash house outside the provincial capital of Culiacan, where they believed Guzman was hiding,' TIME added."
New submitter wassomeyob writes "In Canada, the province of Quebec has their Official Language Act of 1974 (aka Bill 22) which makes French their sole official language. It has famously been used to force business owners to modify signage to give French pre-eminance over other languages. Now, the Quebec language police seem to be extending their reach to Facebook. Eva Cooper owns Delilah in the Parc — a shop in Chelsea, Quebec near the Quebec/Ontario border. She received a letter from the language office telling her to translate everything posted on her store's Facebook page into French."
First time accepted submitter Martin Blank writes "Sarah Slocum, an early adopter of Google Glass, was bar hopping with friends in San Francisco when a few people in the bar took issue with the eyewear when she was demonstrating it to another patron even though she wasn't recording. When she felt threatened, she informed them that she would start recording. Two of them approached her, yelling and throwing a bar rag at her, and ultimately ripping the Glass from her face and running from the bar with it. She gave chase and eventually got the Glass back, but her purse was gone when she returned to the bar. This physical level of hostility is unusual, but discomfort with Glass is common, especially among those who don't understand how it works. Given that much more hidden spy cameras are available for far less than the $1500 cost of Glass, what will it take for general acceptance to finally take hold?"