Category: Privacy


Report: Radio Shack To Sell Customers’ Personal Information In Bankruptcy Sale

 

 

 

 

 

” When you go shopping, you probably think stores will keep your personal information safe and secure.

  But now, a report says Radio Shack is ready to auction off customer information as part of its bankruptcy sale.

  As CBS2’s Dick Brennan reported, the report says Radio Shack is ready to sell information they have on some 117 million customers, including names, addresses, phone numbers and other details on purchases.

  This despite the Radio Shack privacy policy, which says “We will not sell or rent your personally identifiable information to anyone at any time.” “

 

Continue reading

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Report Says Former IRS Employees–Think Lois Lerner–Can Still Peruse Your Tax Returns

 

 

 

” Could Lois Lerner still take a look at your tax returns on IRS computers? It sounds preposterous, but a new watchdog report says former IRS employees still have access to IRS computer systems long after they have no official business with the information. The report is by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for Congress. The GAO investigates how the federal government spends taxpayer dollars. In the case of IRS security, the report says not well.

  This report cites significant deficiencies in the security of IRS financial reporting systems. Millions of Americans who are legally required to file taxes are fearful about fraud. The report says the IRS needs to continue improving controls over financial and taxpayer data. In the case of former IRS workers with continuing access to IRS data systems, they need to be cut off.”

 

Forbes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What The Government Is Doing …

 

 

 

 

… Is Worse Than You Imagined

Big Brother Fears As NYPD Attaches Microphones To Lampposts To Listen Out For Gunshots… But They Can Also Record Your Conversations

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

” Technology now in use by the New York Police Department may be picking up stray conversations.

  Three hundred ShotSpotter microphones are being placed in high crime areas of the Bronx and Brooklyn, with the aim of alerting police immediately when they overhear the sound of gunshots.

  However, the devices pick up more that just the bang of shots being fired in potential crimes, and evidence from conversations they’ve listened in on has been used in court.”

We find the raven emblematic of the death of our privacy

” Audio recordings from ShotSpotter have been used to corroborate testimony that led to convictions in a 2011 Massachusetts murder where a voice was heard shouting ‘No Jason, no Jason!’ before shots were fired. 

  NYPD officials and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a pilot program for the microphones earlier this week.

  Sensors in seven districts of the Bronx have already begun working, and the devices will be turned on in ten districts of Brooklyn on Monday, according to the New York Times. “

   ShotSpotter amounts to “Big Brother” listening posts throughout the public streets , and despite assurances to the contrary raise legitimate privacy concerns:

” The restrictions on triggering events have not stopped some privacy advocates from saying that evidence procured by the ShotSpotters may violate the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. 

‘ If [ShotSpotter] is recording voices out in public, it needs to be shut down,’ the ACLU’s Jay Stanley told Take Part.

  He said his organization is ‘always concerned about secondary uses of technology that is sold to us for some unobjectionable purpose and is then used for other purposes.’ “

   One thing that has become readily apparent in recent years is that if there is a way to abuse and/or misuse technological advances , the State will find a way … Read more on the huge potential for civil rights abuses represented by State ears recording on public streets here

   If public eavesdropping becomes socially acceptable , in the name of “public safety” of course , then it follows that the next step , also for “the public good” , will be something along the lines of what the head of Scotland Yard recently proposed … surveillance cameras in our homes .  

Americans Name Government As No. 1 U.S. Problem

 

Trends in Top "Most Important" U.S. Problems, March 2014-March 2015

 

 

 

” Americans continue to name the government (18%) as the most important U.S. problem, a distinction it has had for the past four months. Americans’ mentions of the economy as the top problem (11%) dropped this month, leaving it tied with jobs (10%) for second place.

  Though issues such as terrorism, healthcare, race relations and immigration have emerged among the top problems in recent polls, government, the economy and unemployment have been the dominant problems listed by Americans for more than a year.

  The latest results are from a March 5-8 Gallup poll of 1,025 American adults.

  While the ranking of the top two problems is similar to what Gallup found in February, mentions of the economy dropped from 16% to the current 11%. In a separate measure, Americans’ confidence in the economy had been dipping further into negative territory in late February and early March, but has been improving in recent days. “

 

 

    Read it all and rejoice as the truth finally begins to dawn on the general public …

 

“A government big enough to give you everything you want, is a government big enough to take away everything that you have.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mysterious Spy Cameras Collecting Data At Post Offices In Colorado

 

 

 

 

” Within an hour of a KDVR reporter discovering a hidden camera, which was positioned to capture and record the license plates and facial features of customers leaving a Denver post office, the device was ripped from the ground and disappeared.

  Investigative reporter Chris Halsne confirmed the hidden camera and recorder is owned and operated by the United States Postal Inspection Service, the law enforcement branch of the U.S. Postal Service.

  The recording device appeared to be tripped by any vehicle leaving the property on Johnson Road, but the lens was not positioned to capture images of the front door, employee entrance, or loading dock areas of the post office.

  A customer first noticed the data collection device, hidden inside a utilities box, around Thanksgiving 2014. It stayed in place, taking photos through the busy Christmas holidays and into mid-January.”

 

 

    While the Postal Service tried to maintain that the surveillance was just a “routine security measure” privacy groups see it a bit differently , and rightly so …

 

 

” Lee Tien, an attorney for the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation, says more and more federal agencies are getting away with conducting surveillance and collecting personal data of citizens without a warrant signed by a judge.

“ Part of being a responsible, constitutional government is explaining why it is doing surveillance on its citizens,” Lee told Halsne. “The government should not be collecting this kind of sensitive information. And it is sensitive! It`s about your relationships, your associations with other people, which can be friendship or political or religious. The idea that we give up that privacy simply because we use the U.S. mail is, I think, a silly idea.” “

 

 

     As if the Postal Service wasn’t endangered enough , now they are actively driving their ever-dwindling customer base further into the arms of private delivery services by spying on them … Read it all and head to your nearest UPs/Fedex office to send your mail .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Put CCTV In Every Home: Householders Should Help Us Trap Burglars, Says Scotland Yard Chief

 

 

 

 

” Homeowners should consider fitting CCTV to trap burglars, the country’s most senior police officer declared yesterday.

  Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said police forces needed more crime scene footage to match against their 12million images of suspects and offenders.

  And he called on families and businesses to install cameras at eye level – to exploit advances in facial recognition technology.

  But privacy campaigners condemned the Metropolitan Police Commissioner’s suggestion.

‘ The proposals on increasing the amount of privately owned CCTV cameras are quite frankly Orwellian and risk turning members of the public into an extension of the police,’ said Renate Samson of Big Brother Watch.

‘ Private CCTV is completely unregulated. Recommending greater use of CCTV to gather more images of people’s faces – often innocent people’s faces – undermines the security of each and every one of us.’

  She pointed out that a House of Commons committee had on Saturday released a report on the problems with facial recognition.”

Thus Britain nears the endgame of civilian disarmament and total dependence on the State … Read the rest .

These ‘Privacy Glasses’ Make You Invisible To Facial Recognition

 

 

 

” You’re going out with friends mid-week, and you don’t want the boss/significant other/parole officer to find out. But it’s a birthday celebration, and Facebook’s auto-tagging the pictures your buddies upload like a dirty snitch. The first piece of advice: never “friend” your parole officer. The second? Maybe grab a pair of these “privacy” glasses from software security firm AVG. You, of course, can see my visage above, but AVG claims the technology in the specs means facial recognition software (like that of Facebook) will not.

  How does it work? “

 

EnGadget explains

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BlackPhone Maker Silent Circle Announces $50 Million In Funding

 

 

 

 

 

” The BlackPhone, a $600-plus encrypted Android handset designed to keep the prying eyes of criminals and the government out of mobile communications, is now fully owned by Silent Circle thanks to the company raking in investment cash.

  Terms of the buyout deal with Spanish smartphone maker Geeksphone, the phone’s hardware manufacturer, were not disclosed. Silent Circle said Thursday that it has raised $50 million and plans on showing off an encrypted “enterprise privacy ecosystem” at World Mobile Congress next week. A BlackPhone tablet is on the way, too.

” Silent Circle has brought tremendous disruption to the mobile industry and created an integrated suite of secure enterprise communication products that are challenging the status quo,” Mike Janke, cofounder and chairman of the Silent Circle board, said in a statement. “This first stage of growth has enabled us to raise approximately $50M to accelerate our continued rapid expansion and fuel our second stage of growth.”

  The cash infusion and the push for encrypted communications are in part a direct result of National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden’s revelations about massive government surveillance.”

 

Details at Ars Technica

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feds Raid Texas Political Meeting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

” In a deliberate “show of force,” federal and local police forces raided a political meeting in Texas, fingerprinting and photographing all attendees as well as confiscating all cell phones and personal recording devices.

  Members of the Republic of Texas, a secession movement dedicated to restoring Texas as an independent constitutional republic, had gathered Feb. 14 in a Bryan, Texas, meeting hall along with public onlookers. They were debating issues of currency, international relations and celebrating the birthday of one of their oldest members. The group, which describes itself as “congenial and unimposing,” maintains a small working government, including official currency, congress and courts.

  According to MySanAntonio.com: “Minutes into the meeting a man among the onlookers stood and moved to open the hall door, letting in an armed and armored force of the Bryan Police Department, the Brazos County Sheriff’s Office, the Kerr County Sheriff’s Office, agents of the Texas district attorney, the Texas Rangers and the FBI.

“ In the end, at least 20 officers corralled, searched and fingerprinted all 60 meeting attendees, before seizing all cellphones and recording equipment in a Valentine’s Day 2015 raid on the Texas separatist group.” “

 

 

WorldNetDaily has the story of the crushing of political dissent by the State

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Most Dangerous Hackers Of All Time

 

 

 

” As you may know Hackers aren’t inherently bad — the word “hacker” doesn’t mean “criminal” or “bad guy.”, it means someone who tries to find solutions or alternative solutions to a problem. Geeks and tech writers often refer to “black hat,” “white hat,” and “gray hat” hackers. These terms define different groups of hackers based on their behavior.

  A white hat hacker is someone working for corporations like anti-virus or firewall companies or in general trying to help society like most Anonymous Hackers.

  A Gray Hat Hacker is someone who usually doesn’t work for any company and is neither good or bad, meaning that he hacks systems kinda illegally, but still not doing any harm to the system or anyone else.

  A Black Hat Hacker is usually considered as the ‘typical’ bad guy who is doing harm, either financially or by just exploiting and hacking systems to push his own limits or better to day ego. “

 

Thanks to AnonHQ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just One Hour From Vancouver There Is A Secret Island Where Everyone Lives Completely Off-Grid

 

 

 

 

” Lasqueti is a small island between Vancouver and Vancouver Island, home to a little known community of off-gridders who take pride in their isolation from both mainstream culture and mainland Canada. In this short documentary film, a journalist from 16×9 News goes to meet some of Lasqueti’s characters and find out more about life on this beautiful land that time forgot.

  With very little industry or economy, most of the residents live simply, taking what they need from the land and having next to no carbon footprint (and little need for money). The 2011 census recorded 426 people living in Lasqueti, who meet up to socialize in the island’s (one) bar and cafe.

  Lasqueti also has a free store, where people can leave or collect items without any monetary exchange. Just one hour by boat from Vancouver island, Lasqueti doesn’t have a tourist industry, booming economy or any industry to speak of, but those who live there say that they enjoy the sense of timelessness, community, and freedom that their home provides.”

 

Thanks to True Activist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Republicans Fear Net Neutrality Plan Could Lead To UN Internet Powers

 

 

 

 

” The U.S. government’s plan to enact strong net neutrality regulations could embolden authoritarian regimes like China and Russia to seize more power over the Internet through the United Nations, a key Senate Republican warned Wednesday.

  Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune of South Dakota argued that by claiming more authority over Internet access for net neutrality, the Federal Communications Commission will undermine the ability of the U.S. to push back against international plots to control the Internet and censor content.

  Countries like Russia already have made it clear that they want the International Telecommunications Union or another United Nations body to have more power over the Internet, Thune said.

” It seems like reclassifying broadband, as the administration is doing, is losing a valuable argument,” Thune said at his panel’s hearing on Internet governance. “How do you prevent ITU involvement when you’re pushing to reclassify the Internet under Title II of the Communications Act, and is everyone aware of that inherent contradiction?”

  On Thursday, the FCC is set to vote on net neutrality regulations that would declare Internet access a “telecommunications service” under Title II. Advocates, including President Obama, argue that the move is the only way the FCC can enact rules that will hold up to legal challenges in court. The rules aim to prevent Internet providers from acting as “gatekeepers” and controlling what content users can access online. 

  David Gross, a partner at the law firm Riley Wein who advises tech and telecom companies, agreed with Thune’s warning.

  The U.S. has consistently argued that the Internet is not a “telecommunication service” and therefore outside of the authority of the International Telecommunications Union, he explained. “If they were to find that Internet service is a telecommunications service, that would undoubtedly make the job of my successors much more complicated,” Gross, a former ambassador to the ITU during the George W. Bush administration, said.

  A top Obama administration official dismissed the comparison between net neutrality and UN control of the Internet.”

   Read the rest at National Journal and see how confident in the Obama administration’s assurances you are . It’s not like they’ve ever lied to us .

Cybergeddon: Why The Internet Could Be The Next “Failed State”

 

 

 

 

 

 

” In the New York City of the late 1970s, things looked bad. The city government was bankrupt, urban blight was rampant, and crime was high. But people still went to the city every day because that was where everything was happening. And despite the foreboding feelings hanging over New York at the time, the vast majority of those people had at most minor brushes with crime.

  Today, we all dabble in some place that looks a lot like 1970s New York City—the Internet. (For those needing a more recent simile, think the Baltimore of The Wire). Low-level crime remains rampant, while increasingly sophisticated crime syndicates go after big scores. There is a cacophony of hateful speech, vice of every kind (see Rule 34), and policemen of various sorts trying to keep a lid on all of it—or at least, trying to keep the chaos away from most law-abiding citizens. But people still use the Internet every day, though the ones who consider themselves “street smart” do so with varying levels of defenses installed. Things sort of work.

  Just like 1970s New York, however, there’s a pervasive feeling that everything could go completely to hell with the slightest push—into a place to be escaped from with the aid of a digital Snake Plissken. In other words, the Internet might soon look less like 1970s New York and more like 1990s Mogadishu: warring factions destroying the most fundamental of services, “security zones” reducing or eliminating free movement, and security costs making it prohibitive for anyone but the most well-funded operations to do business without becoming a “soft target” for political or economic gain.

  That day is not yet nigh, but logic suggests the status quo can’t continue forever. The recent rash of major breaches of corporate networks, including the theft of personal information from the health insurer Anthem and the theft of as much as a billion dollars from over 100 banks are symptoms of a much larger trend of cybercrime and espionage. And while the issue has been once again raised to national importance by the White House, it could be argued that governments have done more to exacerbate the problem than address it. Fears of digital warfare and crime are shifting budget priorities, funding the rapid expansion of the security industry and being used as a reason for proposals for new laws and policy that could reshape the Internet.

“ If we think our kids and grandkids are going to have as awesome and free an Internet as the one we have, we really have to look at why we think that,” Jason Healey, director of the Cyber Statecraft Initiative at the Atlantic Council of the United States, told Ars.”

 

Read the whole thing at ArsTechnica

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FCC Chief Pressed To Release Net Neutrality Rules

 

 

 

 

” A key Republican lawmaker in Congress called for Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler to make proposed net neutrality regulations public before a planned Thursday vote on the measure.

  In the latest wrinkle in the Republicans’ battle to quash Wheeler’s proposals, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, who’s also the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, sent a letter today to Wheeler, questioning whether the FCC has been “independent, fair and transparent” in crafting the rules to protect content on the Internet.

” Although arguably one of the most sweeping new rules in the commission’s history, the process was conducted without using many of the tools at the chairman’s disposal to ensure transparency and public review,” he said.

  Chaffetz urged Wheeler to publicly release the 332-page draft order that was given to the other four commissioners nearly three weeks ago and appear at a House Oversight hearing Wednesday before a vote at the FCC’s monthly meeting Thursday.

  Also today, FCC commissioners Ajit Pai and Michael O’Rielly too asked for Wheeler to release the proposal to the public and postpone the Thursday vote to allow for 30 days of public comment.”

 

Read more

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fresno Police Scanning Social Media To Assess Threat

 

Intrado Social Media Monitoring

 

 

 

” Fresno police are at the forefront of a new technology designed to figure out how much danger officers may be getting into as they respond to 911 calls. But the product is drawing comparisons to Big Brother because of the massive amount of personal information it collects.

  At least two cops might be alive today if they had access to the software we got to see. But once it’s put to use by police, you have to watch what you say or risk being labeled a threat.

  Before the assassination of two New York police officers in December, an obvious warning was there for anyone to read. But the message in the killer’s public Instagram post never reached officers Liu and Ramos. Two months later, every call to Fresno police dispatchers could give similar warnings the chance to reach officers through new software known as Beware.

” To the extent that there is information that is in the public domain, regardless of where the input was derived, it could potentially be surfaced through a Beware query,” said Allen Carr, vice president of Intrado, the company producing and marketing Beware to first responders of all types.

  Intrado buys billions of pieces of commercially available personal information — the same stuff credit agencies have. It adds arrest records from police databases and within seconds, gives a quick look at who lives at any address and a profile for every person associated with the address.”

 

ABC30

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Secrecy Around Police Surveillance Equipment Proves A Case’s Undoing

 

 

 

” The case against Tadrae McKenzie looked like an easy win for prosecutors. He and two buddies robbed a small-time pot dealer of $130 worth of weed using BB guns. Under Florida law, that was robbery with a deadly weapon, with a sentence of at least four years in prison.

  But before trial, his defense team detected investigators’ use of a secret surveillance tool, one that raises significant privacy concerns. In an unprecedented move, a state judge ordered the police to show the device —a cell-tower simulator sometimes called a StingRay — to the attorneys.

  Rather than show the equipment, the state offered McKenzie a plea bargain.

  Today, 20-year-old McKenzie is serving six months’ probation ­after pleading guilty to a second-degree misdemeanor. He got, as one civil liberties advocate said, the deal of the century. (The other two defendants also pleaded guilty and were sentenced to two years’ probation.)

  McKenzie’s case is emblematic of the growing, but hidden, use by local law enforcement of a sophisticated surveillance technology borrowed from the national security world. It shows how a gag order imposed by the FBI — on grounds that discussing the device’s operation would compromise its effectiveness — has left judges, the public and criminal defendants in the dark on how the tool works.”

 

Washington Post

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FBI Digital Search-Warrant Plan A ‘Monumental’ Constitutional Threat, Says Google

 

 

 

 

” Tech giant Google submitted court documents this week charging that a new FBI plan for obtaining digital search warrants is a “monumental” constitutional threat.

  Richard Salgado, Google’s director for law enforcement and information security, wrote Tuesday that the Justice Department’s plans for remotely accessing computer files “raises a number of monumental and highly complex constitutional, legal, and geopolitical concerns that should be left to Congress to decide.”

  National Journal reported Wednesday that the federal government wants to make changes to a criminal procedure provision known as Rule 41, which would allow judges to approve warrants outside their jurisdictions.

“ The serious and complex constitutional concerns implicated by the proposed amendment are numerous and, because of the nature of Fourth Amendment case law development, are unlikely to be addressed by courts in a timely fashion,” Mr. Salgado wrote.

  Google fears the federal government is using vague language that would permit it to spy on millions of Americans simultaneously.”

More at Washington Times

Republican Lawmakers Investigate White House Net Neutrality Push

 

 

 

” Congressional Republicans are demanding to know how much the White House influenced the Federal Communications Commission while the agency crafted net neutrality rules.

  The FCC has until Monday afternoon to produce unredacted email messages, focused on net neutrality rules, between FCC staff and officials with the Obama administration, U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz said in a letter to the FCC Friday. The Utah Republican is chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

  Chaffetz’s committee is “investigating the potential involvement of the White House” in the creation of proposed net neutrality rules that the FCC is scheduled to vote on next Thursday, he said in the letter. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler will propose regulations that would reclassify broadband as a regulated telecommunications service instead of a lightly regulated information service.

Chaffetz’s letter to the FCC came just two days after Republican leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee told Wheeler they were expanding an investigation into agency rule-making processes.”

 

Read more

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Government’s War On Freedom Of The Press

 

   Ed. Note: The US is so far down the list that we had to shrink the screen down to 25% to get this screen shot and even then we were unable to capture the top seven nations . They are Finland , Norway , Denmark , Netherlands , Sweden , New Zealand and Austria . Click the image for all of the details.

 

Press Freedom

 

 

” The U.S. plummeted to a dismal 49th place on the Reporters Without Borders annual Press Freedom Index, marking the country’s second lowest ranking since the list was created in 2002 and its lowest since 2006. Other countries ranked in the 40s and 50s include Haiti, Mongolia, and Chile.

  The index cited “judicial harassment” of New York Times reporter James Risen, the arbitrary arrest of at least 15 journalists during the Ferguson, Missouri clashes, and the fact that U.S. journalists are still not legally entitled to protect sources who reveal confidential information about their work.

  The U.S.’s slip in press freedom rankings mirrors its seven-place drop in Freedom House’s Global Press Freedom Index from 2013-2014, though the country still ranks among the 14 percent of countries whose press is classified as “free” in the latter scale.

  Reality may be even worse than the rankings suggest. Legal protections for the press have only eroded since the 2006 trough year when the Bush Administration threatened to prosecute Risen for publishing stories chronicling warrantless wiretapping of citizens’ phone calls.

  Since the Obama Administration took power, it has used the Espionage Act to prosecute data leakers a record seven times—more than every other president combined in the law’s nearly 100-year history—a Fox News journalist has been spied on by the Justice Department under the justification that he’s a criminal conspirator, Wikileaks creator Julian Assange has been declared “a hi-tech terrorist,” and the Supreme Court refused to overturn a lower court ruling against Risen stating that the First Amendment doesn’t protect him from refusing to testify about a whistleblower that allegedly leaked classified information about the CIA’s efforts to disrupt Iran’s nuclear program.

  Reports from Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald even suggest that media outlets routinely vet their articles with government officials before publishing them.”

 

 

 By way of comparison , in 2009 when Obama took office the US was ranked in a tie with the UK for 21st place by Reporters Without Borders (again , click the image for the details) :

 

 

Press Freedom 2009

Reason has more on this “Change” we can believe in …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DDoS Attacks Against Governments More Powerful And Popular Than Ever

 

 

 

” When the protesters hit the streets, expect DDoS attacks to hit the Web. 

  Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks are being used against government targets more than ever before, according to new research from Internet infrastructure firm Verisign. The attacks are increasingly powerful, cheap, and easy to deploy.

  DDoS attacks work by flooding a target—a bank, for instance, or a popular website—with data in order to make it crash or unusable for users. It’s not only an easy-to-use, cheap, and effective weapon for hackers, it’s also a goldmine for security firms paid to defend against the attacks.

  DDoS attacks against public-sector targets grew to account for 15 percent of all attacks recorded by the company at the end of 2014. The average size of attacks grew in size by 245 percent, Verisign found.

  DDoS-for-hire services can cost as little as $2 per hour, delivering an easy-to-use but potentially powerful punch to any Internet-connected devices on earth. 

  The DDoS defense market—where Verisign is a major player—is projected to hit $1.6 billion within two years.”

 

Daily Dot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Russian Researchers Expose Breakthrough U.S. Spying Program

 

 

 

 

 

 

” The U.S. National Security Agency has figured out how to hide spying software deep within hard drives made by Western Digital, Seagate, Toshiba and other top manufacturers, giving the agency the means to eavesdrop on the majority of the world’s computers, according to cyber researchers and former operatives.

  That long-sought and closely guarded ability was part of a cluster of spying programs discovered by Kaspersky Lab, the Moscow-based security software maker that has exposed a series of Western cyber-espionage operations.

  Kaspersky said it found personal computers in 30 countries infected with one or more of the spying programs, with the most infections seen in Iran, followed by Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Mali, Syria, Yemen and Algeria. The targets included government and military institutions, telecommunication companies, banks, energy companies, nuclear researchers, media, and Islamic activists, Kaspersky said. (http://reut.rs/1L5knm0)

  The firm declined to publicly name the country behind the spying campaign, but said it was closely linked to Stuxnet, the NSA-led cyber-weapon that was used to attack Iran’s uranium enrichment facility. The NSA is the agency responsible for gathering electronic intelligence on behalf of the United States.”

 

Lots more on the latest State spying revelations at Yahoo News

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Draft U.S. Rules On Commercial Drones Keep Some Limits On Use

 

 

 

 

 

” The U.S. aviation regulator proposed rules on Sunday for commercial drone flights that would lift some restrictions but would still bar activities such as the delivery of packages and inspection of pipelines that have been eyed by companies as a potentially breakthrough use of the technology.

  The long-awaited draft rules from the Federal Aviation Administration would require unmanned aircraft pilots to obtain special pilot certificates, stay away from bystanders and fly only during the day. They limit flying speed to 100 miles per hour (160 kph) and the altitude to 500 feet (152 meters) above ground level.

  The rules also say pilots must remain in the line of sight of its radio-control drone, which could limit inspection of pipelines, crops, and electrical towers that are one of the major uses envisioned by companies.

  Commercial drone operators would need to be at least 17 years old, pass an aeronautical knowledge test and be vetted by the Transportation Security Administration. But they would not need to undergo the medical tests or flight hours required of manned aircraft pilots.”

 

Read on

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Internet Groups In Tricky Position Over US Net Neutrality

 

 

 

 

The problem comes with the form the rules will take. With heavy nudging from the White House, the FCC has opted to repurpose an authority it was given under an old telecoms law, known as Title II, to make it apply to the internet era.

  Like all deeply technical issues that become political footballs, it has not been hard for the rival camps to turn this into opposing talking points. Depending on where you stand, it is either bold action to protect an open internet or inappropriately sweeping, utility-style regulation.

  What is indisputable is that the legislation the FCC is relying on was designed for circuit-switched telephone networks in a different age. The only way to adapt it to modern times is to suppress certain parts of Title II and implement it piecemeal. The FCC promises a light touch: in particular, it says it will avoid price regulation or any requirements that might force operators to unbundle their networks.

  If history is any guide, a challenge in the courts will follow. There is simply too much at stake for the regulations not to be tested. And, as was the case with the last approach to net neutrality, it is not beyond the courts to reject the FCC’s compromise as unduly arbitrary.

  This is where things could become dicey for companies such as Google and Facebook. Who knows how some future FCC would interpret its new Title II powers, or whether a court would order a different implementation of the law. Price regulation of the internet’s interconnection agreements would always be a looming threat.

  It is not just the impact in the US itself that is at stake. There is also the question of what message US regulators are about to send to the rest of the world. The risk is that Washington will be seen to be giving a nod of approval to the idea of extending traditional telecoms rate regulations to the internet.”

 

 

Read the whole piece at Financial Times

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,174 other followers