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Privacy

Amazon Vows To Fight Government Requests For Data 104

Posted by samzenpus
from the why-don't-you-make-me dept.
itwbennett writes "Speaking at a cloud panel discussion hosted by Reuters on Wednesday, Terry Wise, head of global partner ecosystem for Amazon Web Services, explained how the company handles government requests for data stored on Amazon's cloud: 'If a U.S. entity is serving us with a legally binding subpoena, we contact our customer and work with that customer to fight the subpoena.' But Wise's best advice to customers is to encrypt their data: 'If the data is encrypted, all we'd be handing over would be the cypher text,' he said."
Crime

2 Men Accused of Trying To Make X-Ray Weapon 470

Posted by samzenpus
from the firing-the-cancer-gun dept.
gurps_npc writes "Two radical pro-Israel terrorists were caught in upstate NY when they tried to solicit money from various honorable Jewish organizations to build a truck based x-ray weapon. They intended to drive the truck around and then turn on the x-ray machine, focusing on enemies of Israel. But the Jewish organizations they tried to solicit money from refused to participate. Instead they called the FBI, who promptly set up a sting. The men were arrested before the machine was in working order."
Mars

U.S. House Wants 'Sustained Human Presence On the Moon and the Surface of Mars' 285

Posted by Soulskill
from the somebody-had-them-read-kim-stanley-robinson dept.
MarkWhittington writes "Politico reports in a June 18, 2013 story that House Republicans have added a Mars base to its demands for a lunar base in the draft 2013 NASA Authorization bill. Both the Bush-era Constellation program and President Obama space plan envisioned eventual human expeditions to Mars. But if Politico is correct, the new bill will be the first time an official piece of legislation will call for permanent habitation of the Red Planet. The actual legislative language states, 'The [NASA] Administrator shall establish a program to develop a sustained human presence on the Moon and the surface of Mars.'"
Privacy

FBI Admits To Domestic Surveillance Drone Use 207

Posted by Soulskill
from the seeds-of-the-panopticon dept.
An anonymous reader writes "At a hearing today before the Senate Judiciary Committee, FBI director Robert Mueller confirmed the agency is using unmanned drones for surveillance within the U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley asked, 'Does the FBI own or currently use drones and for what purpose?' Mueller replied, 'Yes, for surveillance.' Grassley then asked, 'Does the FBI use drones for surveillance on U.S. soil?' Mueller said, 'Yes, in a very, very minimal way, and seldom.' With regard to restricting the use of drones to protect citizens' privacy, Mueller said, 'It is still in nascent stages but it is worthy of debate and legislation down the road.' According to article, 'Dianne Feinstein, who is also chair of the Senate intelligence committee, said the issue of drones worried her far more than telephone and internet surveillance, which she believes are subject to sufficient legal oversight.'"
United Kingdom

BT Chief To Become British Government Minister 47

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the revolving-door dept.
judgecorp writes "BT chief Ian Livingston is leaving the British telecom provider to become a government minister. The executive has been appointed a seat in the House of Lords, which enables him to become Minister for Trade and Investment without having to be elected as a Member of the lower house of Parliament. Livingston has seen BT go from a £134 million loss in 2008 when he was appointed, to a profit of £2.5 billion in 2012. It still has a monopoly over certain sectors of the British telecom market, and has won all the contracts so far for rolling out broadband to rural areas."
Politics

One Year Since Assange Took Refuge in Ecuadorian Embassy 541

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the crawling-up-the-walls dept.
Daniel_Stuckey writes with an article marking the one year anniversary of Julian Assange seeking asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy. From the article: "Uninterested in facing U.S. justice, Assange said he's prepared to spend five years living there. If he goes out for a walk, he'll be extradited to Sweden to answer rape accusations —after which he has no promise from Sweden to deny further extradition efforts to America, where a grand jury investigation into WikiLeaks awaits. This also means that London's Metropolitan Police have been devoting their resources to keeping tabs on Assange for a year. Yesterday, a spokesperson explained the updated costs of guarding the embassy over the phone: 'From July 2012 through May 2013, the full cost has been £3.8 million ($5,963,340),' he said. '£700,000 ($1,099,560) of which are additional, or overtime costs.' Julian has a treadmill, a SAD lamp, and a connection to the Internet, through which he's been publishing small leaks and conducting interviews. The indoor lifestyle has taken its toll on Julian, and it led to his contracting a chronic lung condition last fall."
Government

NSA's Role In Terror Cases Concealed From Defense Lawyers 172

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-can-trust-us dept.
Rick Zeman writes "'Confidentiality is critical to national security.' So wrote the Justice Department in concealing the NSA's role in two wiretap cases. However, now that the NSA is under the gun, it's apparently not so critical, according to New York attorney Joshua Dratel: 'National security is about keeping illegal conduct concealed from the American public until you're forced to justify it because someone ratted you out.' The first he heard of the NSA's role in his client's case was 'when [FBI deputy director Sean] Joyce disclosed it on CSPAN to argue for the effectiveness of the NSA's spying.' Dratel challenged the legality of the spying in 2011, and asked a federal judge to order the government to produce the wiretap application the FBI gave the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to justify the surveillance. 'Disclosure of the FISA applications to defense counsel – who possess the requisite security clearance – is also necessary to an accurate determination of the legality of the FISA surveillance, as otherwise the defense will be completely in the dark with respect to the basis for the FISA surveillance,' wrote Dratel. According to Wired, 'The government fought the request in a 60-page reply brief (PDF), much of it redacted as classified in the public docket. The Justice Department argued that the defendants had no right to see any of the filings from the secret court, and instead the judge could review the filings alone in chambers."
DRM

Altering Text In eBooks To Track Pirates 467

Posted by Soulskill
from the for-whom-the-bell-jingles dept.
wwphx writes "According to Wired, 'German researchers have created a new DRM feature that changes the text and punctuation of an e-book ever so slightly. Called SiDiM, which Google translates to 'secure documents by individual marking,' the changes are unique to each e-book sold. These alterations serve as a digital watermark that can be used to track books that have had any other DRM layers stripped out of them before being shared online. The researchers are hoping the new DRM feature will curb digital piracy by simply making consumers paranoid that they'll be caught if they share an e-book illicitly.' I seem to recall reading about this in Tom Clancy's Patriot Games, when Jack Ryan used this technique to identify someone who was leaking secret documents. It would be so very difficult for someone to write a little program that, when stripping the DRM, randomized a couple of pieces of punctuation to break the hash that the vendor is storing along with the sales record of the individual book."
Graphics

NVIDIA To License Its GPU Tech 111

Posted by Soulskill
from the sea-change dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Today in a blog post, NVIDIA's General Counsel, David Shannon, announced that the company will begin licensing its GPU cores and patent portfolio to device makers. '[I]t's not practical to build silicon or systems to address every part of the expanding market. Adopting a new business approach will allow us to address the universe of devices.' He cites the 'explosion of Android devices' as one of the prime reasons for this decision. 'This opportunity simply didn't exist several years ago because there was really just one computing device – the PC. But the swirling universe of new computing devices provides new opportunities to license our GPU core or visual computing portfolio.' Shannon points out that NVIDIA did something similar with the CPU core used in the PlayStation 3, which was licensed to Sony. But mobile seems to be the big opportunity now: 'We'll start by licensing the GPU core based on the NVIDIA Kepler architecture, the world's most advanced, most efficient GPU. Its DX11, OpenGL 4.3, and GPGPU capabilities, along with vastly superior performance and efficiency, create a new class of licensable GPU cores. Through our efforts designing Tegra into mobile devices, we've gained valuable experience designing for the smallest power envelopes. As a result, Kepler can operate in a half-watt power envelope, making it scalable from smartphones to supercomputers.'"
Google

Google Files First Amendment Challenge Against FISA Gag Order 163

Posted by Soulskill
from the straight-to-the-top dept.
The Washington Post reports that Google has filed a motion challenging the gag orders preventing it from disclosing information about the data requests it receives from government agencies. The motion cites the free speech protections of the First Amendment. "FISA court data requests typically are known only to small numbers of a company’s employees. Discussing the requests openly, either within or beyond the walls of an involved company, can violate federal law." From the filing (PDF): "On June 6, 2013, The Guardian newspaper published a story mischaracterizing the scope and nature of Google's receipt of and compliance with foreign intelligence surveillance requests. ... In light of the intense public interest generated by The Guardian's and Post's erroneous articles, and others that have followed them, Google seeks to increase its transparency with users and the public regarding its receipt of national security requests, if any. ... Google's reputation and business has been harmed by the false or misleading reports in the media, and Google's users are concerned by the allegation. Google must respond to such claims with more than generalities. ... In particular, Google seeks a declaratory judgment that Google as a right under the First Amendment to publish ... two aggregate unclassified numbers: (1) the total number of FISA requests it receives, if any; and (2) the total number of users or accounts encompassed within such requests."
The Almighty Buck

BitCoin Mining, Other Virtual Activity Taxable Under US Law 239

Posted by timothy
from the them-as-has-gits dept.
chicksdaddy writes "Beware you barons of BitCoin – you World of Warcraft one-percenters: the long arm of the Internal Revenue Service may soon be reaching into your treasure hoard to extract Uncle Sam's fair share of your virtual wealth. A new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on virtual economies finds that many types of transactions in virtual economies – including Bitcoin mining and virtual transactions that result in real-world profit – are likely taxable under current U.S. law, but that the IRS does a poor job of tracking such business activity and informing buyers and sellers of their duty to pay taxes on virtual earnings. The report, 'Virtual Economies and Currencies: Additional IRS Guidance Could Reduce Tax Compliance Risks' found that the growing use of virtual currencies like BitCoin and virtual game currencies warrants the U.S.'s tax collection agency to mitigate the risks. Those include efforts to educate taxpayers and the publication of basic tax reporting requirements for transactions using virtual currencies, The Security Ledger reports."
Social Networks

How To Block the NSA From Your Friends List 224

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the echo-chamber dept.
Atticus Rex writes "The fact that our social networking services are so centralized is a big part of why they fall so easily to government surveillance. It only takes a handful of amoral Zuckerbergs to hand over hundreds of millions of people's data to PRISM. That's why this Slate article makes the case for a mass migration to decentralized, free software social networks, which are much more robust to spying and interference. On top of that, these systems respect your freedom as a software user (or developer), and they're less likely to pepper you with obnoxious advertisements." On a related note, identi.ca is ditching their Twitter clone platform for pump.io which promises an experience closer to the Facebook news feed. Unfortunately, adoption seems slow since Facebook, Google, et al have an interest in preventing interoperability and it can be lonely on the distributed social network.
The Courts

Supreme Court Decides Your Silence May Be Used Against You 662

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the should-have-just-left dept.
crackspackle writes "The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the State of Texas earlier today in a murder trial where the defendant, prior to be taken into custody, had been questioned by the police and chose to remain silent on key questions. This fact was bought up at trial and used to convict him. Most of us have seen at least enough cop shows to know police must read a suspect their Miranda rights when placing them in custody. The issue was a bit murkier here in that the defendant had not yet been detained and while we all probably thought the freedom from self-incrimination was an implicit right as stated in the Constitution, apparently SCOTUS now thinks you have to claim that right or at least be properly mirandized first." It appears that if you are "free to leave at any time" you lose a few rights. Fancy trick, up there with getting kids to write apology letters.
Privacy

State Photo-ID Databases Mined By Police 205

Posted by samzenpus
from the hits-keep-coming dept.
Rick Zeman writes "Showing once again that once a privacy door is opened every law enforcement agency will run through it, The Washington Post details how state drivers license photo databases are being mined by various LEOs in their states--and out. From the article: '[L]aw enforcement use of such facial searches is blurring the traditional boundaries between criminal and non-criminal databases, putting images of people never arrested in what amount to perpetual digital lineups. The most advanced systems allow police to run searches from laptop computers in their patrol cars and offer access to the FBI and other federal authorities. Such open access has caused a backlash in some of the few states where there has been a public debate. As the databases grow larger and increasingly connected across jurisdictional boundaries, critics warn that authorities are developing what amounts to a national identification system — based on the distinct geography of each human face.'"
Biotech

DNA Fog Helps Identify Trespassers, Thieves, and Brigands 129

Posted by samzenpus
from the you're-covered-in-it dept.
Zothecula writes "Applied DNA Sciences (ADNAS) has developed a new approach to solve crimes using DNA tagging. The difference is that instead of tagging the objects being stolen, the company's system tags the perpetrator with DNA. While this has been tried before by applying the DNA to a fleeing criminal with a gun, ADNAS has adopted a more subtle approach."
Privacy

Apple Details US Requests For Customer Data 116

Posted by samzenpus
from the give-me-a-number dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Not to be left out Apple has released details about government requests for customer data. The company said it received between 4,000-5,000 government requests, affecting as many as 10,000 accounts or devices. From the article: 'The iPad maker said that it received between 4,000 and 5,000 requests from U.S. law enforcement agencies for customer data from December 1, 2012 to May 31, 2013, and that 9,000 to 10,000 accounts or devices were specified in the requests. Apple did not state how many of the requests were from the National Security Agency or how many affected accounts or devices may have been tied to any NSA requests.' Facebook and Microsoft released their numbers this weekend."
United States

Officials Say NSA Probed Fewer Than 300 Numbers - Broke Plots In 20 Nations 419

Posted by samzenpus
from the time-to-justify dept.
cold fjord writes "Yet more details about the controversy engulfing the NSA. From CNET: 'Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, explained how the program worked without violating individuals' civil rights. "We take the business records by a court order, and it's just phone numbers — no names, no addresses — put it in a lock box," Rogers told CBS News' "Face The Nation." "And if they get a foreign terrorist overseas that's dialing in to the United Sates, they take that phone number... they plug it into this big pile, if you will, of just phone numbers — it's like a phonebook without any names and any addresses with it — to see if there's a connection, a foreign terrorist connection to the United States." "When a number comes out of that lock box, it's just a phone number — no names, no addresses," he said. "If they think that's relevant to their counterterrorism investigation, they give that to the FBI. Then upon the FBI has to go out and meet all the legal standards to even get whose phone number that is."' From the AP: ' ... programs run by the National Security Agency thwarted potential terrorist plots in the U.S. and more than 20 other countries — and that gathered data is destroyed every five years. Last year, fewer than 300 phone numbers were checked against the database of millions of U.S. phone records ... the intelligence officials said in arguing that the programs are far less sweeping than their detractors allege.... both NSA programs are reviewed every 90 days by the secret court authorized by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Under the program, the records, showing things like time and length of call, can only be examined for suspected connections to terrorism, they said. The ... program helped the NSA stop a 2009 al-Qaida plot to blow up New York City subways.'"
AI

Google Aims To Cull Child Porn By Algorithm, Not Human Review 306

Posted by timothy
from the safer-search dept.
According to a story at VentureBeat, "Google is working on a new database of flagged images of child porn and abuse that can be shared with other search engines and child protection organizations. The database will help create systems that automatically eliminate that sort of content. ... If the database is used effectively, any flagged image in the database would not be searchable through participating search engines or web hosting providers. And maybe best of all, computers will automatically flag and remove these images without any human needing to see them." Here's the announcement.
Censorship

Saudi Arabia Set To Ban WhatsApp, Skype 122

Posted by timothy
from the and-clear-envelopes-only-please dept.
Reuters reports that Saudi Arabia's government, after banning Viber within the kingdom, is poised to prohibit at least two other such communication apps: Skype and WhatsApp. Says the article: "Conventional international calls and texts are a lucrative earner for telecom operators in Saudi Arabia, which hosts around nine million expatriates. These foreign workers are increasingly using Internet-based applications such as Viber to communicate with relatives in other countries, analysts say." With fewer legal options, a wide-scale Internet censorship regime would be easier to implement, too.
Government

Microsoft Antitrust Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson Dead at 76 193

Posted by timothy
from the different-kind-of-monopolistic-power dept.
McGruber writes "The NY Times has the news that federal judge Thomas Penfield Jackson, who ruled in 2000 that Microsoft was a predatory monopoly and must be split in half, has died. He was 76 years old. 'A technological novice who wrote his opinions in longhand and used his computer mainly to e-mail jokes, Judge Jackson refuted Microsoft's assertion that it was impossible to remove the company's Internet Explorer Web browser from its operating system by doing it himself. When a Microsoft lawyer complained that too many excerpts from Bill Gates's videotaped deposition — liberally punctuated with the phrase "I don't remember" — were shown in the courtroom, Judge Jackson said, "I think the problem is with your witness, not the way his testimony is being presented."'"

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