Australian ISPs Not Ready For Mandatory Data Retention 58 writes: October 13 marks the day Australian ISPs are required by law to track all web site visits and emails of their users, but according to an article on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's news site the majority of ISPs are not ready to begin mandatory data retention. The article's author, Will Ockenden, had previously released his own metadata to readers in an experiment to see how effectively this kind of data reveals personal habits of online users. The majority of Australians appear unconcerned with this level of scrutiny of their lives, given the minimal reaction to this and proposed tougher legislation designed to deal with the threats of crime and terrorism.

British Police Stop 24/7 Monitoring of Julian Assange At Ecuadorian Embassy ( 213

Ewan Palmer writes with news that police are no longer guarding the Ecuadorian Embassy where Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been taking refuge for the past three years. According to IBTImes: "London police has announced it will remove the dedicated officers who have guarded the Ecuadorian Embassy 24 hours a day, seven days a week while WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange seeks asylum inside. The 44-year-old has been holed up inside the building since 2012 in a bid to avoid being extradited to Sweden to face sexual assault charges. He believes that once he is in Sweden, he will be extradited again to the US where he could face espionage charges following the leaking of thousands of classified documents on his WikiLeaks website. Police has now decided to withdraw the physical presence of officers from outside the embassy as it is 'no longer proportionate to commit officers to a permanent presence'. It is estimated the cost of deploying the officers outside the Embassy in London all day for the past three years has cost the British taxpayer more than $18m."

Bernie Sanders Comes Out Against CISA 164

erier2003 writes: Sen. Bernie Sanders' opposition to the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act in its current form aligns him with privacy advocates and makes him the only presidential candidate to stake out that position, just as cybersecurity issues loom large over the 2016 election, from email server security to the foreign-policy implications of data breaches. The Senate is preparing to vote on CISA, a bill to address gaps in America's cyberdefenses by letting corporations share threat data with the government. But privacy advocates and security experts oppose the bill because customers' personal information could make it into the shared data.

Electoral System That Lessig Hopes To Reform Is Keeping Him Out of the Debate ( 211

schwit1 writes: Lessig has raised a million dollars, which is nothing to sneeze at, but he's being given the cold shoulder by the Democrats when it comes to participating in the debates. I think he's got a good argument for being included — he's certainly as serious a candidate as some of the others, and I'm hearing a lot about his campaign.

Why are they keeping Lessig out? According to Lessig, it's for the same reason he wants in: "My view is that if we can get this message [of reform] into the debate it would change the dynamics of this Democratic primary entirely. This issue framed in this way totally blows up the Democratic primary."

Hillary and Bernie, he says, are promising the moon to voters, but can't deliver. Lessig told me, "If I can get on that stage and say the rocket can't get off the ground, and we have to change this dynamic first," the narrative shifts in a way that the leading candidates can't address.


Facebook UK Paid £35m In Staff Bonuses, But Only £4,327 In Corporation Tax ( 225

New submitter Phil Ronan writes: After getting away with paying £0 corporate tax in 2013, Facebook UK has announced that its corporate tax payment for 2014 (total revenue: £105 million) is going to be £4,327. This is a tiny fraction of the £35 million pounds given away by the company in staff bonuses over the same period. "The share scheme was worth an average of more than £96,000 for each member of staff. Once salaries were taken into account, a British employee of Facebook received more than £210,000 on average. ... A spokesperson for Facebook said: 'We are compliant with UK tax law, and in fact in all countries where we have operations and offices. We continue to grow our business activities in the UK.' She added that all the firm’s employees paid UK income tax on their payouts."
Social Networks

The Payments World Really Wants To Know Who You Are ( 71

jhigh writes: The generation that brought us the obsession with snapping photos of their faces, uploading to social media channels, and terming it "selfies" has unknowingly encouraged the launch a new cybersecurity platform for the world. You can sum it up thus: "pay with your face." Quoting: "Socure’s Social Biometrics Platform, which is already in use by financial institutions in more than 175 countries, provides analytics, assessing information about you from other public online sources, producing a social biometric profile, matching to your photo, and generating a score to determine the authenticity of your identity. ... Whether you have an established credit history or not, the one thing most of us have, especially millennials, is an online social platform presence. Biometrics data mining for payments security also reaches the unbanked crowd, those who have healthy online histories but might not necessarily use financial institutions or carry proper government-issued credentials." This is a fitting legacy for millennials, who impart knowledge one click at a time.
The Almighty Buck

The World of Luxury Bomb Shelters ( 271

An anonymous reader writes with this Vice profile of Robert Vicino, founder and CEO of survival prep company The Vivos Group. For a prepaid $35,000 entry fee, you may take shelter in one of his luxury bomb shelters when civilization collapses. "Those who make it their business to equip themselves for a civilization-ending mega-disaster—a.k.a. 'preppers'—are sometimes stereotyped as wild-eyed tinfoil hat wearers who live outside of society, but Robert Vicino caters to survivalists whose fears are backed up by money. The San Diego businessman is gunning to be the vanguard of a multibillion-dollar industry. If we're to follow the entrepreneur's logic, the rich don't live on the same scale as ordinary people in today's society—why should that change after the end of the world?"

Cryptome Accidentally Leaks Its Own Visitor IP Addresses ( 40

An anonymous reader writes with this Daily Dot story about an accidental leak of user info from Cryptome. Cryptome, the Internet's oldest document-exposure site, inadvertently leaked months worth of its own IP logs and other server information, potentially exposing details about its privacy-conscious users. The data, which specifically came from the Cartome sub-directory on, according to Cryptome co-creator John Young, made their way into the wild when the site logs were included on a pair of USB sticks sent out to a supporter.

How Amazon's Monster Erotica Book Ban Shaped CloudFlare's Censorship Stance ( 122

An anonymous reader writes with news that CloudFlare chief executive Matthew Prince recently spoke about how Amazon's ban on "monster erotica" helped shape his position on censorship. ZDNet reports: "I worry about Jeff Bezos' bizarre obsession with dinosaur sex," said Prince, towards the end of a long conversation in our New York newsroom. "I don't think I've ever heard a chief executive -- hell, I don't think I've ever heard anyone say anything like that before," I said. Prince was referring to how the bookseller and online retail giant banned so-called "monster erotica," a genre of fan-fiction revolving around fantasy-based fictional encounters with mythical or extinct creatures (including dinosaurs), which was for a time sold on its online bookstore. Amazon, according to reports, pulled hundreds of the self-published books it sold -- as well as some content that fetishized incest and rape -- despite "vague" guidelines by the retailer. "You can make a rational argument that if you're writing books fantasizing about having sex with animals or children, maybe that promotes a certain kind of behavior. But there's no risk of someone abusing a dinosaur," he said.

Apple Reportedly Disables Its News App In China ( 63

An anonymous reader writes: When Apple launched iOS 9, it replaced its Newsstand app with Apple News. The software has only been available to users in the U.S., but those who registered their phones in the U.S. had no problem using the app while overseas. Now, the NY Times reports that Apple is specifically disabling the app for users located in China. "Those in China who look at the top of the Apple News feed, which would normally display a list of selected articles based on a user's preferred media, instead see an error message: 'Can't refresh right now. News isn't supported in your current region.' ... Beijing generally insists that companies are responsible for censoring sensitive content inside China. In Apple's case, that would mean it would probably have to develop a censorship system — most Chinese companies use a combination of automated software and employees — to eliminate sensitive articles from feeds."

China Arrests Hackers At Behest of US Government ( 74

An anonymous reader writes: For the first time, the Chinese government has arrested a group of hackers at the request of the United States. The hackers are suspected of having "stolen commercial secrets" from companies in the U.S., which were then passed on to Chinese competitors. "The arrests come amid signs of a potential change in the power balance between the U.S. and Chinese governments on commercial cyberespionage, one of the most fraught issues between the two countries. For years, U.S. firms and officials have said Beijing hasn't done enough to crack down on digital larceny." It's a big first step in establishing a functional cybersecurity relationship between the two nations. Now, everyone will be watching to see if China follows up the arrests with prosecution. "A public trial is important not only because that would be consistent with established principles of criminal justice, but because it could discourage other would-be hackers and show that the arrests were not an empty gesture."

Source Code On Trial In DNA Matching Case ( 112

An anonymous reader writes: While computer analysis by other programs was inconclusive in matching DNA evidence to a suspect, one program, TrueAllele, gave a match. As reported in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, an expert witness for the defense wants access to the 170,000 lines of source code to determine whether the match is scientifically valid. Not surprisingly, the software creator is resisting. From the article: "TrueAllele, created by Dr. Perlin and in its current version since 2009, is the only computer software system of its kind that interprets DNA evidence using a statistical model. It can single out individuals in a complex DNA mixture by determining how much more probable a match is versus mere coincidence. Complex mixtures can involve multiple people, as well as degraded or small DNA samples. ... Although the technology is patented, the source code itself is not disclosed by any patent and cannot be derived from any publicly disclosed source. The source code has never been revealed, he said, and it would cause irreparable harm to the company if it were. In his declaration, Dr. Perlin said that reading the source code is unnecessary to validate the program, and that a review could be done in his office or online."

Over 10,000 Problems Fixed In Detroit Thanks To Cellphone App ( 159

An anonymous reader writes: Six months ago, Detroit's city officials launched a smartphone app called "Improve Detroit." The idea was to give residents a way to easily inform city hall of problems that needed to be fixed. For example: potholes, abandoned vehicles, broken hydrants and traffic lights, water leaks, and more. Since that time, over 10,000 issues have been fixed thanks to reports from that app. "Residents have long complained about city hall ignoring litter and broken utilities. But the app has provided a more transparent and direct approach to fixing problems." Perhaps most significant is its effect on the water supply: running water has been shut off to almost a thousand abandoned structures, and over 500 water main breaks have been located with the app's help. Crowd-sourced city improvement — imagine if apps like this become ubiquitous.

EFF: the Final Leaked TPP Text Is All That We Feared ( 382

An anonymous reader writes: Wikileaks has released the finalized Intellectual Property text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which international negotiators agreed upon a few days ago. Unfortunately, it contains many of the consumer-hostile provisions that so many organizations spoke out against beforehand. This includes the extension of the copyright term to life plus 70 years, and a ban on the circumvention of DRM. The EFF says, "If you dig deeper, you'll notice that all of the provisions that recognize the rights of the public are non-binding, whereas almost everything that benefits rightsholders is binding. That paragraph on the public domain, for example, used to be much stronger in the first leaked draft, with specific obligations to identify, preserve and promote access to public domain material. All of that has now been lost in favor of a feeble, feel-good platitude that imposes no concrete obligations on the TPP parties whatsoever." The EFF walks us through all the other awful provisions as well — it's quite a lengthy analysis.

US Government Will Not Force Companies To Decode Encrypted Data... For Now ( 108

Mark Wilson writes: The Obama administration has announced it will not require companies to decrypt encrypted messages for law enforcement agencies. This is being hailed as a "partial victory" by the Electronic Frontier Foundation; partial because, as reported by the Washington Post, the government "will not — for now — call for [such] legislation." This means companies will not be forced to build backdoors into their products, but there is no guarantee it won't happen further down the line. The government wants to continue talks with the technology industry to find a solution, but leaving things in limbo for the time being will create a sense of unease on both sides of the debate. The EFF has also compiled a report showing where the major tech companies stand on encryption.