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United States

Is Surespot the Latest Crypto War Victim? 26 26

Posted by samzenpus
from the lets-see-what-you're-doing dept.
George Maschke writes: Patrick G. Eddington writes in a Christian Science Monitor op-ed about indications that the government may be snooping on users of Surespot, a free and open source encrypted messaging app for Android and iOS. Such users include, but are hardly limited to, Islamic State militants. He writes in the piece: "Has encrypted chat service Surespot been compromised by the US government? Surespot user and former Army intelligence officer George Maschke recently published a provocative theory suggesting the answer is yes. Mr. Maschke’s key pieces of evidence are intriguing. In May 2014, he e-mailed 2Fours LLC, which is Surespot’s parent company, asking whether the company had ever received a National Security Letter (NSL), a court order to provide information, or other government request to cooperate in an investigation. He was assured in writing that 2Fours had received no such requests. That changed in November 2014, when Surespot’s founder, Adam Patacchiola, told Maschke via e-mail that 'we have received an e-mail asking us how to submit a subpoena to us which we haven’t received yet.'"
Privacy

Privacy Advocates Leave In Protest Over U.S. Facial Recognition Code of Conduct 161 161

Posted by samzenpus
from the all-the-better-to-identify-you-with dept.
Taco Cowboy writes: Nine privacy advocates involved in the Commerce Department process for developing a voluntary code of conduct for the use of facial recognition technology withdrew in protest over technology industry lobbyists' overwhelming influence on the process. "At a base minimum, people should be able to walk down a public street without fear that companies they've never heard of are tracking their every movement — and identifying them by name — using facial recognition technology," the privacy advocates wrote in a joint statement. "Unfortunately, we have been unable to obtain agreement even with that basic, specific premise." The Commerce Department, through its National Telecommunications and Information Administration, brought together "representatives from technology companies, trade groups, consumer groups, academic institutions and other organizations" early last year "to kick off an effort to craft privacy safeguards for the commercial use of facial recognition technology."

The goal was "to develop a voluntary, enforceable code of conduct that specifies how the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights applies to facial recognition technology in the commercial context." But after a dozen meetings, the most recent of which was last week, all nine privacy advocates who have participated in the entire process concluded that they were thoroughly outgunned. "This should be a wake-up call to Americans: Industry lobbyists are choking off Washington's ability to protect consumer privacy," Alvaro Bedoya, executive director of the Center on Privacy & Technology at Georgetown Law, said in a statement. "People simply do not expect companies they've never heard of to secretly track them using this powerful technology. Despite all of this, industry associations have pushed for a world where companies can use facial recognition on you whenever they want — no matter what you say. This position is well outside the mainstream."
Crime

Interviews: Ask Brian Krebs About Security and Cybercrime 51 51

Posted by samzenpus
from the go-ahead-and-ask dept.
Brian Krebs got his start as a reporter at The Washington Post and after having his entire network taken down by the Lion Worm, crime and cybersecurity became his focus. In 2005, Krebs started the Security Fix blog and Krebs On Security in 2009, which remains one of the most popular sources of cybercrime and security news. Brian is credited with being the first journalist to report on Stuxnet and one of his investigative series on the McColo botnet is estimated to have led to a 40-70% decline in junk e-mail sent worldwide. Unfortunately for Krebs, he's also well known to criminals. In 2013 he became one of the first journalists to be a victim of Swatting and a few months later a package of heroin was delivered to his home. Brian has agreed to give us some of his time and answer any questions you may have about crime and cybersecurity. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one per post.
The Internet

First Net Neutrality Lawsuit Will Target Time Warner Cable 88 88

Posted by Soulskill
from the beat-comcast-to-the-punch dept.
An anonymous reader writes: The U.S. government's new net neutrality rules finally took effect last Friday, and a company is already using them to line up a lawsuit against Time Warner Cable. A firm called Commercial Network Services, which runs a bunch of webcams, says TWC is charging them unreasonable rates to stream video to their customers. "The [FCC's] regulations establish hard and fast rules against slowing or blocking Web traffic, as well as a ban on content companies paying for speedier service once their traffic enters a provider's network. But by design, they don't say nearly as much about how companies should negotiate the private agreements that ensure Web traffic flows smoothly into an Internet provider's network — and to your home." TWC has been arranging "settlement-free peering" with various companies, but refused such a deal with CNS. The complaint will ask the FCC to rule that ISPs must strike free peering deals with website operators.
EU

European Court: Websites Are Responsible For Users' Comments 401 401

Posted by Soulskill
from the ruh-roh dept.
An anonymous reader writes: A new ruling from the European Court of Human Rights found it perfectly acceptable to hold websites responsible for comments left by users. Experts are worried the ruling will encourage websites to censor content posted by users out of concern that they're opening themselves up to legal liability. The judgment also seems to support the claim that "proactive monitoring" can be required of website owners. Peter Micek of digital rights group "Access" said, "This ruling is a serious blow to users' rights online. Dissenting voices will have fewer outlets in which to seek and impart opinions anonymously. Instead, users at risk will be dragged down by a precedent that will keep them from accessing the open ocean of ideas and information."
Encryption

US Lawmakers Demand Federal Encryption Requirements After OPM Hack 91 91

Posted by Soulskill
from the polls-have-shown-that-not-getting-hacked-is-good dept.
Patrick O'Neill writes: After suffering one of the biggest hacks in federal history at the Office of Personnel Management, the U.S. government is sprinting to require a wide range of cybersecurity improvements across agencies in order to better secure troves of sensitive government data against constant cyberattacks. The top priorities are basic but key: Encryption of sensitive data and two-factor authentication required for privileged users. Despite eight years of internal warnings, these measures were not implemented at OPM when hackers breached their systems beginning last year.

The calls for added security measures comes as high-level government officials, particularly FBI director James Comey and NSA director Adm. Mike Rogers, are pushing to require backdoors on encryption software that many experts, like UPenn professor Matt Blaze, say would fundamentally "weaken our infrastructure" because the backdoors would be open to hackers as well.
Piracy

Amazon Pulls Kodi Media Player From App Store Over Piracy Claims 122 122

Posted by Soulskill
from the get-out-because-reasons dept.
An anonymous reader writes with news that the Kodi media player (formerly XBMC) has had its app pulled from the Amazon app store after Amazon decided that it facilitates piracy. Amazon said, "Any facilitation of piracy or illegal downloads is not allowed in our program," and directed the development team not to resubmit the app. The team was surprised to hear this, since Kodi itself does not download or link to any infringing content. It does support addons, and some users have created addons to support pirated content, but the Kodi developers are fighting that behavior. XBMC Foundation board member Nathan Betzen said it's absurd that "Amazon won’t let us into their appstore, but they have no problem selling the boxes that are pushing the reason they won’t let us into their app store."
Crime

Baseball Team Hacks Another Team's Networks, FBI Investigates 105 105

Posted by Soulskill
from the change-your-password dept.
An anonymous reader writes: The St. Louis Cardinals have been one of the better baseball teams over the past several years. The Houston Astros have been one of the worst. Nevertheless, there is evidence that officials for the Cardinals broke into a network maintained by the Astros in order to gain access to "internal discussions about trades, proprietary statistics, and scouting reports." The FBI is now leading an investigation into the breach, and they have served subpoenas to the Cardinals and to Major League Baseball demanding access to electronic correspondence. It's the first known instance of corporate espionage involving a network breach in professional sports. Law enforcement said the intrusion "did not appear to be sophisticated." It seems likely that a personal vendetta against the Astros's general manager is involved.
United States

FDA Bans Trans Fat 851 851

Posted by Soulskill
from the bye-bye-miss-american-pie dept.
An anonymous reader writes: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has finally come to a conclusion about artificial trans fat: it must be removed from the U.S. food supply over the next three years. According to their final determination (PDF), there's no longer a scientific consensus that partially hydrogenated oils are safe to consume. Trans fat must be gone from food in the U.S. by June, 2018, unless a petitioner is granted specific approval by the FDA to continue using it. "Many baked goods such as pie crusts and biscuits as well as canned frosting still use partially hydrogenated oils because they help baked goods maintain their flakiness and frostings be spreadable. As for frying, palm oil is expected to be a go-to alternative, while modified soybean oil may catch on as well." The food industry is expected to spend $6.2 billion over the next two decades to formulate replacements, but the money saved from health benefits is expected to be more than 20 times higher.
Communications

Should Edward Snowden Trust Apple To Do the Right Thing? 196 196

Posted by timothy
from the manifold-motives dept.
Nicola Hahn writes: As American lawmakers run a victory lap after passing the USA Freedom Act of 2015, Edward Snowden has published an op-ed piece which congratulates Washington on its "historic" reform. He also identifies Apple Inc. as a champion of user privacy. Snowden states: "Basic technical safeguards such as encryption — once considered esoteric and unnecessary — are now enabled by default in the products of pioneering companies like Apple, ensuring that even if your phone is stolen, your private life remains private." This sort of talking point encourages the perception that Apple has sided with users in the battle against mass surveillance. But there are those who question Snowden's public endorsement of high-tech monoliths. Given their behavior in the past is it wise to assume that corporate interests have turned over a new leaf and won't secretly collaborate with government spies?
Crime

FBI Investigating Series of Fiber Cuts In San Francisco Bay Area 168 168

Posted by samzenpus
from the cutting-the-line dept.
jfruh writes: Ten times over four separate nights in the past year, telecom cables have been mysteriously cut in various locations around the San Francisco Bay Area. Now the FBI is investigating the incidents as potential sabotage. ITWorld reports: "In the past year, there were 10 instances on four separate nights when telecom cables were intentionally cut in Fremont, Walnut Creek, Alamo, Berkeley and San Jose, the agency said Monday. FBI Special Agent Greg Wuthrich said it's unclear if the incidents are unrelated or the work of a single person or group, but the FBI is keen to hear from anyone who may have witnessed anything suspicious."
Security

Malware Attacks Give Criminals 1,425% Return On Investment 124 124

Posted by samzenpus
from the bang-for-your-buck dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Trustwave released a new report which reveals the top cybercrime, data breach and security threat trends. According to their findings, attackers receive an estimated 1,425 percent return on investment for exploit kit and ransomware schemes ($84,100 net revenue for each $5,900 investment). Retail was the most compromised industry making up 43 percent of investigations followed by food and beverage (13 percent) and hospitality (12 percent).
Facebook

Belgian Privacy Watchdog Sues Facebook 72 72

Posted by samzenpus
from the take-them-to-court dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Belgium is taking Facebook to task – and to court – about the company's opaque user-monitoring frameworks. The country's independent Privacy Commission, which is partnered with equivalent institutions in the Netherlands, France, Germany and Spain, failed to obtain information from the social media giant about the extent and nature of its user-analysis network, and has now decided to take action. The commission is particularly interested in the use that Facebook makes of information about users who are not logged in to Facebook, and may not even be members. The ubiquity of Facebook "share" buttons, along with other popular widgets or modules, have extended the company's reach far beyond its own site. The court convenes on the matter this Thursday.
Government

Julian Assange To Be Interviewed In London After All 262 262

Posted by samzenpus
from the lets-have-a-talk dept.
mpawlo writes: The Swedish Director of Public Prosecution Ms Marianne Ny has submitted a request for legal assistance to the English authorities and a request to Ecuadorian authorities regarding permission to interview Julian Assange at Ecuador's embassy in London during June-July 2015. Back in 2010, a warrant was issued in Stockholm, Sweden for WikiLeaks founder and spokesman Julian Assange. Ever since, Assange has found refugee at the embassy of Ecuador in London.
The Internet

Remote Massachusetts Towns Welcome Broadband's Arrival 90 90

Posted by samzenpus
from the getting-online dept.
New submitter arnoldjm writes: This story from the Boston Globe tells of the effort to bring publicly funded fiber-optic data transmission capabilities to Western Massachusetts. The Globe Reports: "The network, financed with state and federal stimulus money, will extend broadband to 45 isolated towns where 40 percent of homes have no Internet access... Leverett [one of the towns involved] has contracted a private company to provide Internet service, which will cost subscribers $65 a month. That's about same as Comcast and Verizon FIOS customers pay in Greater Boston, but the speeds in Leverett are about 10 times faster."
Businesses

Restaurateur Loses Copyright Suit To BMI 389 389

Posted by samzenpus
from the pay-up dept.
Frosty P writes: BMI claims Amici III in Linden, New York didn't have a license when it played four tunes in its eatery one night last year, including the beloved "Bennie and the Jets" and "Brown Sugar," winning $24,000 earlier this year, and over $8,200 in attorney's fees. Giovanni Lavorato, who has been in business for 25 years, says the disc DJ brought into the eatery paid a fee to play tunes. "It's ridiculous for me to pay somebody also," he said. "This is not a nightclub. This is not a disco joint . . . How many times do they want to get paid for the stupid music?"
The Media

Journalist Burned Alive In India For Facebook Post Exposing Corruption 219 219

Posted by Soulskill
from the rest-in-peace dept.
arnott writes: Journalist Jagendra Singh used a Facebook page to expose corruption in the state of Uttar Pradesh in India. Though he posted under a pseudonym, he was quickly found and burned alive by police, allegedly on the order of the minister accused. He died a week later from his injuries. This is not the first case of a journalist being attacked in this state. Amnesty International had urged the local government to launch an official investigation, and now five policemen and a politician have been brought up on murder charges. What can Facebook or other companies do to help these journalists report on corruption in a safe manner?
Privacy

Police Scanning Every Face At UK Download Festival 134 134

Posted by timothy
from the look-forward-with-a-neutral-expression dept.
AmiMoJo writes: Leicestershire Police have announced that they will be scanning every face at the popular UK Download music festival. The announcement article on Police Oracle (paywalled) reads, "the strategically placed cameras will scan faces at the Download Festival site in Donington before comparing it with a database of custody images from across Europe." The stated goal is to catch mobile phone thieves. Last year only 91 of the 120,000 visitors to the festival were arrested, and it isn't clear if the data will be deleted once checked against the database. The linked article provides at least one image of a costume that would probably trip up any facial recognition technology yet devised.
China

Glen Greenwald: Don't Trust Anonymous Anti-Snowden Claims 222 222

Posted by timothy
from the innuendo-and-power-vs-intelligent-exile dept.
Glen Greenwald casts a scathing look at the claims (such as by the Sunday Times) that Edward Snowden's leaked information had been cracked by Russian and Chinese spy agencies. Greenwald compares Snowden to some other public figures against whom underhanded tactics were employed by the U.S. government. A slice: There’s an anonymously made claim that Russia and China “cracked the top-secret cache of files” from Snowden’s, but there is literally zero evidence for that claim. These hidden officials also claim that American and British agents were unmasked and had to be rescued, but not a single one is identified. There is speculation that Russia and China learned things from obtaining the Snowden files, but how could these officials possibly know that, particularly since other government officials are constantly accusing both countries of successfully hacking sensitive government databases?
The Internet

North Korea Blocks Data Access For Foreigners 28 28

Posted by timothy
from the I-suspect-it's-just-a-time-warner-problem dept.
According to Reuters, foreigners in North Korea who formerly had online access via the country's 3G network have now been blocked from using it, in the wake of a fire at Pyongyang's Koryo Hotel, though it was not immediately clear whether the two events are related. Vox.com has an interesting look into what internet access is like for North Koreans, but as the linked Reuters report explains, access is in general much freer for residents as well as visiting foreigners.