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Security

Target To Pay $10 Million In Proposed Settlement For 2013 Data Breach 54

Posted by samzenpus
from the pay-up dept.
itwbennett writes Target has agreed to pay $10 million in a proposed settlement to a class-action lawsuit stemming from its massive 2013 data breach, which affected as many as 110 million people. Individual victims could receive up to $10,000. The proposed settlement also includes measures to better protect the customer data that Target collects, according to documents filed with the U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota.
Government

NZ Customs Wants Power To Require Passwords 197

Posted by samzenpus
from the papers-please dept.
First time accepted submitter Orange Roughy writes New Zealand customs are seeking powers to obtain passwords and encryption keys for travelers. Supposedly they will only act to obtain credentials if it was acting on 'some intelligence or observation of abnormal behaviour.' People who refuse to hand over credentials could face up to three months jail time. From the story: "Customs boss Carolyn Tremain has told MPs the department would only request travellers hand over passwords to their electronic devices if it had a reason to be suspicious about what was on them. The department unleashed a furore last week when it said in a discussion paper that it should be given unrestricted power to force people to divulge passwords to their smartphones and computers at the border. That would be without Customs officials having to show they had any grounds for suspicion."
Businesses

Why Is the Grand Theft Auto CEO Also Chairman of the ESRB? 128

Posted by samzenpus
from the fox-in-the-hen-house dept.
donniebaseball23 writes In an editorial at GamesIndustry.biz, Brendan Sinclair asks an important question about the game ratings board in America. Should Strauss Zelnick, the CEO of Take-Two, which owns the Grand Theft Auto franchise and has been at the heart of the ESRB's biggest controversies of the last decade, really be serving as its chairman? "No matter how removed from the day-to-day running of the ESRB Zelnick might be, his current role invites accusations of impropriety," he writes. "It's the sort of thing any critic of the games industry can point to as a clear conflict of interest, and many reasonable outsiders would probably look at that as a valid complaint. At least when titans of industry in the U.S. become the head of the regulatory agencies that oversee their former companies, they actually have to leave those companies."
Piracy

Microsoft Says Free Windows 10 Upgrades For Pirates Will Be Unsupported 193

Posted by samzenpus
from the you-are-dead-to-me dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this story about some of the fine print to Microsoft's offer of Windows 10 upgrades to pirates. "When Microsoft confirmed it will offer free Windows 10 upgrades to pirates worldwide, many were shocked. VentureBeat has been trying to get more details from the company, which disclosed today that after PCs with pirated copies of Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 are upgraded to Windows 10, they will remain in a 'non-genuine' status and Microsoft will not support them. 'With Windows 10, although non-genuine PCs may be able to upgrade to Windows 10, the upgrade will not change the genuine state of the license,' a Microsoft spokesperson told VentureBeat. 'Non-genuine Windows is not published by Microsoft. It is not properly licensed or supported by Microsoft or a trusted partner. If a device was considered non-genuine or mislicensed prior to the upgrade, that device will continue to be considered non-genuine or mislicensed after the upgrade. According to industry experts, use of pirated software, including Non-genuine Windows, results in a higher risk of malware, fraud — identity theft, credit card theft, etc. — public exposure of your personal information, and a higher risk for poor performance or feature malfunctions.' Yet this doesn't provide enough answers. After a pirate upgrades to Windows 10 for free, does this 'non-genuine' version expire and become unusable after a certain period of time? Does no support mean no security updates for pirates?"
Businesses

Taxi Companies Sue Uber For False Advertising On Safety 82

Posted by samzenpus
from the safer-than-you-are dept.
jfruh writes "A group of California taxi operators are suing Uber, claiming the ridehailing service is guilty of false advertising when it comes to rider safety. The taxi companies claim that Uber doesn't use a Live Scan fingerprint ID for drivers like they do, and that the $1 "safe rides" fee on every fare doesn't specifically go towards boosting safety. From the article: "The suit comes in the wake of problems Uber is facing in some countries. On Wednesday, the Frankfurt Regional Court issued a nationwide ban against the company’s UberPop service after declaring its business model illegal. Using a smartphone app to connect passengers with private drivers that use their own cars and don’t have the required licenses is illegal, the court observed."
Crime

Obama: Maybe It's Time For Mandatory Voting In US 1087

Posted by timothy
from the if-there-weren't-all-those-pesky-rights dept.
HughPickens.com writes CNN reports that when asked how to offset the influence of big money in politics, President Barack Obama suggested it's time to make voting a requirement. "Other countries have mandatory voting," said Obama "It would be transformative if everybody voted — that would counteract money more than anything," he said, adding it was the first time he had shared the idea publicly. "The people who tend not to vote are young, they're lower income, they're skewed more heavily towards immigrant groups and minority groups. There's a reason why some folks try to keep them away from the polls." At least 26 countries have compulsory voting, according to the Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance. Failure to vote is punishable by a fine in countries such as Australia and Belgium; if you fail to pay your fine in Belgium, you could go to prison. Less than 37% of eligible voters actually voted in the 2014 midterm elections, according to The Pew Charitable Trusts. That means about 144 million Americans — more than the population of Russia — skipped out. Critics of mandatory voting have questioned the practicality of passing and enforcing such a requirement; others say that freedom also means the freedom not to do something.
Privacy

Google: Our New System For Recognizing Faces Is the Best 90

Posted by timothy
from the sorry-not-yet-april-fool's dept.
schwit1 writes Last week, a trio of Google researchers published a paper on a new artificial intelligence system dubbed FaceNet that it claims represents the most accurate approach yet to recognizing human faces. FaceNet achieved nearly 100-percent accuracy on a popular facial-recognition dataset called Labeled Faces in the Wild, which includes more than 13,000 pictures of faces from across the web. Trained on a massive 260-million-image dataset, FaceNet performed with better than 86 percent accuracy.

The approach Google's researchers took goes beyond simply verifying whether two faces are the same. Its system can also put a name to a face—classic facial recognition—and even present collections of faces that look the most similar or the most distinct.
Every advance in facial recognition makes me think of Paul Theroux's dystopian Ozone.
Government

To Avoid NSA Interception, Cisco Will Ship To Decoy Addresses 296

Posted by timothy
from the name-is-smith-john-smith dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this news snipped from The Register: Cisco will ship boxes to vacant addresses in a bid to foil the NSA, security chief John Stewart says. The dead drop shipments help to foil a Snowden-revealed operation whereby the NSA would intercept networking kit and install backdoors before boxen reached customers. The interception campaign was revealed last May. Speaking at a Cisco Live press panel in Melbourne today, Stewart says the Borg will ship to fake identities for its most sensitive customers, in the hope that the NSA's interceptions are targeted. 'We ship [boxes] to an address that has nothing to do with the customer, and then you have no idea who, ultimately, it is going to,' Stewart says.
Government

The Pirate Party Now the Biggest Party In Iceland 136

Posted by timothy
from the relative-vs-absolute dept.
jrepin writes The Pirate Party now measures as the largest political party in Iceland, according to a new servey from the Icelandic market and research company MMR which regularly surveyes the support for the political parties in Iceland. Support for political parties and the government was surveyed in the period between the 13thand 18th of March. The results show that The Pirate Party has gained increased support. Now, support for The Pirate Party totals 23.9%, compared to their previous 12.8% in the last MMR survey.
United Kingdom

UK's GCHQ Admits To Using Vulnerabilities To Hack Target Systems 57

Posted by timothy
from the but-we're-your-friends dept.
Bismillah (993337) writes "Lawyers for the GCHQ have told the Investigatory Powers Tribunal in the UK that the agency carries out the same illegal Computer Network Exploitation (CNE) operations that criminals and hackers do. Except they do it legally. GCHQ is currently being taken to court by Privacy International and five ISPs from UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Zimbabwe and South Korea for CNE operations that the agency will not confirm nor deny as per praxis."
Android

Google 'Experts' To Screen Android Apps For Banned Content 139

Posted by timothy
from the less-pressing-less-flesh dept.
An anonymous reader writes Google has announced that it will start an official human-based screening process for all of the apps featured in its Google Play store, in a bid to "better protect the community" and "improve the app catalogue." The search giant revealed yesterday that a "team of experts" would be reviewing apps and all updates offered across the Google Play platform for those which violate Google's developer policies. The team will also give direct feedback to developers on what they need to do in order to fix their apps before they can be listed on the Store. A dedicated review page will allow developers to gain further "insight into why apps were rejected or suspended," as well as offering them the opportunity to "easily fix and resubmit their apps" for those who have violated minor regulations.
Communications

Feds Fine Verizon $3.4 Million Over 911 Service Outage Issues 65

Posted by timothy
from the can't-get-through-to-you dept.
itwbennett writes The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has fined Verizon $3.4 million over its failure to notify police and fire departments during a 911 service outage last year. Under the commission's rules, Verizon and other carriers were required to notify emergency call centers of a six-hour outage that occurred in April. The outage involved multiple carriers and affected over 11 million people in seven states.
Microsoft

Microsoft Blacklists Fake Finnish Certificate 29

Posted by timothy
from the so-that-would-be-a-veneer dept.
jones_supa writes Microsoft has issued a warning that a fraudulent SSL digital certificate has been issued in the name of a Finnish version of its Windows Live service. Although the company says it has revoked the certificate, security experts warn that older software may continue to "trust" the known bad certificate for months or even years, and that attackers could use it to trick users into running malware. "Microsoft is aware of an improperly issued SSL certificate for the domain 'live.fi' that could be used in attempts to spoof content, perform phishing attacks or perform man-in-the-middle attacks," Microsoft says in a March 16 security alert. "It cannot be used to issue other certificates, impersonate other domains or sign code. This issue affects all supported releases of Microsoft Windows. Microsoft is not currently aware of attacks related to this issue."
Communications

Twitter Adds Tool To Report Tweets To the Police 79

Posted by timothy
from the but-first-this-detour-to-fort-meade dept.
itwbennett writes Twitter is ramping up its efforts to combat harassment with a tool to help users report abusive content to law enforcement. The reports would include the flagged tweet and its URL, the time at which it was sent, the user name and account URL of the person who posted it, as well as a link to Twitter's guidelines on how authorities can request non-public user account information from Twitter. It is left up to the user to forward the report to law enforcement and left up to law enforcement to request the user information from Twitter.
Businesses

Stanford Study Credits Lack of Non-Competes For Silicon Valley's Success 114

Posted by timothy
from the santa-clara-clause dept.
HughPickens.com writes Natalie Kitroeff writes at Bloomberg that a new study says the secret to Silicon Valley's triumph as the global capital of innovation may lie in a quirk of California's employment law that prohibits the legal enforcement of non-compete clauses. Unlike most states, California prohibits enforcement of non-compete clauses that force people who leave jobs to wait for a predetermined period before taking positions at rival companies. That puts California in the ideal position to rob other regions of their most prized inventors, "Policymakers who sanction the use of non-competes could be inadvertently creating regional disadvantage as far as retention of knowledge workers is concerned," wrote the authors of the study "Regional disadvantage? Employee non-compete agreements and brain drain" (PDF). "Regions that choose to enforce employee non-compete agreements may therefore be subjecting themselves to a domestic brain drain not unlike that described in the literature on international emigration out of less developed countries."

The study, which looked at the behavior of people who had registered at least two patents from 1975 to 2005, focused on Michigan, which in 1985 reversed its longstanding prohibition of non-compete agreements. The authors found that after Michigan changed the rules, the rate of emigration among inventors was twice as a high as it was in states where non-competes remained illegal. Even worse for Michigan, its most talented inventors were also the most likely to flee. "Firms are going to be willing to relocate someone who is really good, as opposed to someone who is average," says Lee Fleming. For the inventors, it makes sense to take a risk on a place such as California, where they have more freedom. "If the job they relocate for doesn't work out, then they can walk across the street because there are no non-competes."
Censorship

France Will Block Web Sites That Promote Terrorism 216

Posted by timothy
from the good-luck-with-all-that dept.
An anonymous reader writes In the first use of government powers enacted after the Charlie Hebdo attacks, the French Interior Ministry on Monday ordered five websites blocked on the grounds that they promote or advocate terrorism. The action raises questions about how governments might counter groups such as the self-declared Islamic State on digital platforms.
Businesses

UK Chancellor Confirms Introduction of 'Google Tax' 342

Posted by Soulskill
from the corporations-behaving-badly dept.
mrspoonsi sends this report from the BBC: Companies that move their profits overseas to avoid tax will be subject to a "diverted profits tax" from April, the chancellor has said. In his final Budget before the election, George Osborne said firms that aid tax evasion will also face new penalties and criminal prosecutions. The so-called "Google Tax" is designed to discourage large companies diverting profits out of the the UK to avoid tax. "Let the message go out: this country's tolerance for those who will not pay their fair share of taxes has come to an end," Mr. Osborne said. In 2012 it emerged that internet giant Google avoided tax on £10bn UK revenue in 2011 by doubling the amount of money put into a shell company in Bermuda. Doing so helped it avoid £1bn in corporation tax. Under the new tax regime, companies with an annual turnover of £10m will have to tell HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) if they think their company structure could make them liable for diverted profit tax. Once HMRC has assessed the structures, and decided how much profit has been artificially diverted from the UK, multinationals will have only 30 days to object to the 25% tax.
Security

Personal Healthcare Info of Over 11M Premera Customers Compromised 68

Posted by Soulskill
from the another-day,-another-breach dept.
An anonymous reader writes: U.S. healthcare provider Premera Blue Cross has suffered a data breach that resulted in a potential compromise of personal, financial and health-related information of as many as 11 million applicants and members. The breach was detected on January 29, 2015, and the investigation mounted by the company and by forensic investigators from Mandiant has revealed that the initial attack happened on May 5, 2014. The FBI has also been notified, and is involved in the investigation."
Bitcoin

Evolution Market's Admins Are Gone, Along With $12M In Bitcoin 254

Posted by Soulskill
from the digital-golden-parachute dept.
tsu doh nimh writes: The Evolution Market, an online black market that sells everything contraband — from marijuana, heroin and ecstasy to stolen identities and malicious hacking services — appears to have vanished in the last 24 hours with little warning. Much to the chagrin of countless merchants hawking their wares in the underground market, the curators of the project have reportedly absconded with the community's bitcoins — a stash that some Evolution merchants reckon is worth more than USD $12 million.
Piracy

Microsoft Offers Pirates Amnesty and Free Windows 10 Upgrades 322

Posted by Soulskill
from the fighting-fire-with-free-gasoline dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft will make Windows 10 available as a free upgrade even to pirated copies of other Windows operating systems in China. Terry Myerson of Microsoft's operating systems unit made the announcement at the WinHEC technology conference in Shenzhen, China, and then told Reuters, "We are upgrading all qualified PCs, genuine and non-genuine, to Windows 10." Microsoft has a history of attempting to tackle massive and rising software piracy rates in Asia and developing countries, and periodically offers low-cost "licence amnesties" to the worst-offending countries, such as Indonesia and Kenya. Update: 03/18 14:59 GMT by S : Microsoft has clarified that the free upgrade will be offered for unlicensed copies of Windows worldwide, not just in China.