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Trailrunner7 writes: "The long shadow cast by the use of surveillance technology and so-called lawful intercept tools has spread across much of the globe and has sparked a renewed push in some quarters for restrictions on the export of these systems. Politicians and policy analysts, discussing the issue in a panel Monday, said that there is room for sensible regulation without repeating the mistakes of the Crypto Wars of the 1990s. 'There's virtually no accountability or transparency, while he technologies are getting faster, smaller and cheaper,' Marietje Schaake, a Dutch member of the European Parliament, said during a panel discussion put on by the New America Foundation. 'We're often accused of over-regulating everything, so it's ironic that there's no regulation here. And the reason is that the member states [of the EU] are major players in this. The incentives to regulate are hampered by the incentives to purchase. There has been a lot of skepticism about how to regulate and it's very difficult to get it right. There are traumas from the Crypto Wars. Many of these companies are modern-day arms dealers. The status quo is unacceptable and criticizing every proposed regulation isn't moving us forward.'"
An anonymous reader sends this news from Bloomberg: "The U.S. government will treat Bitcoin as property for tax purposes, applying rules it uses to govern stocks and barter transactions, the Internal Revenue Service said in its first substantive ruling on the issue. Today's IRS guidance will provide certainty for investors, along with potential income-tax liability. Under the ruling, purchasing a $2 cup of coffee with Bitcoins bought for $1 would trigger $1 in capital gains for the coffee drinker and $2 of income for the coffee shop. ... Under the IRS ruling, Bitcoin investors would be treated like stock investors. Bitcoins held for more than a year and then sold would pay the lower tax rates applicable to capital gains — a maximum of 23.8 percent compared with the 43.4 percent top rate on property sold within a year of purchase. For investors with losses, U.S. tax law allows taxpayers to subtract capital losses from any capital gains. They can also subtract up to $3,000 of capital losses a year from ordinary income.'"
McGruber writes: "Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter defended the disclosures by fugitive NSA contractor Edward Snowden on Monday, saying revelations that U.S. intelligence agencies were collecting meta-data of Americans' phone calls and e-mails have been 'probably constructive in the long run.' 'I think it's wrong,' President Carter said of the NSA program. 'I think it's an intrusion on one of the basic human rights of Americans, is to have some degree of privacy if we don't want other people to read what we communicate.'" It's important to note that Carter doesn't believe Snowden should necessarily get a pass for his actions. Carter said, "I think it's inevitable that he should be prosecuted and I think he would be prosecuted, [if he comes back to the U.S.] But I don't think he ought to be executed as a traitor or any kind of extreme punishment like that." Nevertheless, Carter thinks NSA surveillance has gotten out of control. "We've gone a long way down the road of violating Americans' basic civil rights, as far as privacy is concerned." He added, "For the last two or three years, when I want to write a highly personal letter to a foreign leader, or even some American leaders, I hand-write it and mail it, because I feel that my telephone calls and my email are being monitored, and there are some things I just don’t want anybody to know except me and my wife."
judgecorp (778838) writes "A newly discovered malware attack uses a smartphone connected to the computer that manages an ATM, and then sends an SMS message to instruct it to dispense cash. The attack was reported by Symantec, and builds on a previous piece of malware called Backdoor.Ploutus. It is being used in actual attacks, and Symantec has demonstrated it with an ATM in its labs, though it is not revealing the brand of the vulnerable machines."
Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "As attacks like the one on Target have exposed up to 40 million customer payment card accounts and the names, addresses and email addresses of as many as 70 million shoppers, Tiffany Hsu and E. Scott Reckard report in the LA Times that increased activity by data hackers has produced millions of victims but there has been one big winner: credit monitoring businesses. "It's almost a terrible thing to say, but these kinds of situations raise awareness of the need to protect yourself and to be more vigilant in checking your transactions," says Yaron Samid. Meanwhile services with names such as BillGuard and Identity Guard report a surge in sign-ups from people anxious to be protected. For example, the number of AAA Southern California members opting in for the club's identity theft monitoring service — whether for free or for an extra charge — boomed in January, up 58% from December." (More below.)
First time accepted submitter tor528 (896250) writes "Patent troll Personal Audio has sued top podcasters including Adam Carolla and HowStuffWorks, claiming that they own the patent for delivery of episodic content over the Internet. Adam Carolla is fighting back and has started a Fund Anything campaign to cover legal fees. From the Fund Anything campaign page: 'If Adam Carolla loses this battle, then every other Podcast will be quickly shut down. Why? Because Patent Trolls like Personal Audio would use a victory over Carolla as leverage to extort money from every other Podcast.. As you probably know, Podcasts are inherently small, owner-operated businesses that do not have the financial resources to fight off this type of an assault. Therefore, Podcasts as we know them today would cease to exist.' James Logan of Personal Audio answered Slashdotters' questions in June 2013. Links to the patent in question can be found on Personal Audio's website. The EFF filed a challenge against Personal Audio's podcasting patent in October 2013."
The New York Times reported last night that the White House is planning to introduce a legislative package that would mostly end the NSA's bulk collection of phone records. Instead, phone companies would be required to hand over records up to "two hops" from a target number. Phone companies would be required to retain records for 18 months (already legally mandated) instead of the NSA storing records for five years. It does not appear that secret courts and secret orders from the court would be abolished, however. From the article: "The new type of surveillance court orders envisioned by the administration would require phone companies to swiftly provide records in a technologically compatible data format, including making available, on a continuing basis, data about any new calls placed or received after the order is received, the officials said ... The administration’s proposal would also include a provision clarifying whether Section 215 of the Patriot Act, due to expire next year unless Congress reauthorizes it, may in the future be legitimately interpreted as allowing bulk data collection of telephone data. ... The proposal would not, however, affect other forms of bulk collection under the same provision."
An anonymous reader writes "Florida District Court Judge Ursula Ungaro has dismissed a lawsuit brought by Malibu Media against an alleged BitTorrent pirate. Though Malibu Media explained how they geolocated the download site and verified that the IP address was residential rather than a public wifi hotspot, the judge reasoned that the 'Plaintiff has not shown how this geolocation software can establish the identity of the Defendant....Even if this IP address is located within a residence, the geolocation software cannot identify who has access to that residence's computer and who would actually be using it to infringe Plaintiff's copyright.' Judge Ungaro's ruling is not the first of its kind, but it could signal a growing legal trend whereby copyright lawsuits can no longer just hinge on the acquisition of an IP address."
jayp00001 (267507) writes "'As we all know, there is no free lunch, and there’s also no cost-free delivery of streaming movies. Someone has to pay that cost. Mr. Hastings' arrogant proposition is that everyone else should pay but Netflix. That may be a nice deal if he can get it. But it's not how the Internet, or telecommunication for that matter, has ever worked,' writes AT&T Senior Executive Vice President of Legislative Affairs, James Cicconi. Mr. Cicconi took issue with a blog post from Netflix CEO Reed Hastings on the importance of net neutrality.
An anonymous reader writes "Turkish Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek has defended his governments ban on Twitter and accused the social networking site of not complying with court orders. Simsek said: 'The Turkish telecommunications watchdog has made a number of statements saying that they have asked Twitter on a number of occasions to remove some content on the back of court orders and Twitter has been refusing to comply. I don’t think any global company, whether it’s a media company, whether it’s an industrial company, it shouldn’t see itself [as being] above the law.'" As a result of the ban, Tor gained over 10,000 new users in Turkey.
garymortimer (1882326) writes in with news about rules for hunting with drones in Alaska. "At its March 14-18 meeting in Anchorage, the seven-member Alaska Board of Game approved a measure to prohibit hunters from spotting game with such aircraft, often called drones. While the practice does not appear to be widespread, Alaska Wildlife Troopers said the technology is becoming cheaper, easier to use and incorporates better video relay to the user on the ground. A drone system allowing a hunter or helper to locate game now costs only about $1,000, said Capt. Bernard Chastain, operations commander for the Wildlife Troopers. Because of advances in the technology and cheaper prices, it is inevitable hunters seeking an advantage would, for example, try to use a drone to fly above trees or other obstacles and look for a moose or bear to shoot, he said."
Powercntrl (458442) writes "Vircurex, an online exchange for Bitcoin as well as other cryptocurrencies is freezing customer accounts as it battles insolvency. While opinions differ on whether cryptocurrency is the future of cash, a Dutch tulip bubble, a Ponzi scheme, or some varying mixture of all three, the news of yet another exchange in turmoil does not bode well for those banking on the success of Bitcoin or its altcoin brethren, such as Litecoin and Dogecoin."
Increasing automation worries some people as a danger to the livelihood of those who currently earn their livings at jobs that AI and robots (or just smarter software and more sophisticated technology generally) might be well-suited to, as the costs of the technology options drop. The Washington Post, though, features an eye-opening look at one workplace where automation certainly does not rule. It's "one of the weirdest workplaces in the U.S. government" — a subterranean office space in what was once a limestone mine, where 600 Office of Personnel Management employees process the retirement papers of other government employees. The Post article describes how this mostly-manual process works (and why it hasn't been changed much to take advantage of advancing technology), including with a video that might remind you of Terry Gilliam's Brazil. As the writer puts it, "[T]hat system has a spectacular flaw. It still must be done entirely by hand, and almost entirely on paper. The employees here pass thousands of case files from cavern to cavern and then key in retirees’ personal data, one line at a time. They work underground not for secrecy but for space. The old mine’s tunnels have room for more than 28,000 file cabinets of paper records."
An anonymous reader writes with a link to an article by the EFF's Jennifer Lynch, carried by Gizmodo, which reports that the L.A. Police Department and L.A. Sheriff's Department "took a novel approach in the briefs they filed in EFF and the ACLU of Southern California's California Public Records Act lawsuit seeking a week's worth of Automatic License Plate Reader (ALPR) data. They have argued that 'All [license plate] data is investigatory.' The fact that it may never be associated with a specific crime doesn't matter. This argument is completely counter to our criminal justice system, in which we assume law enforcement will not conduct an investigation unless there are some indicia of criminal activity. In fact, the Fourth Amendment was added to the U.S. Constitution exactly to prevent law enforcement from conducting mass, suspicionless investigations under "general warrants" that targeted no specific person or place and never expired.
ALPR systems operate in just this way. The cameras are not triggered by any suspicion of criminal wrongdoing; instead, they automatically and indiscriminately photograph all license plates (and cars) that come into view. ... Taken to an extreme, the agencies' arguments would allow law enforcement to conduct around-the-clock surveillance on every aspect of our lives and store those records indefinitely on the off-chance they may aid in solving a crime at some previously undetermined date in the future. If the court accepts their arguments, the agencies would then be able to hide all this data from the public."
The Net may have briefly routed around Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoan's DNS-based anti-Twitter censorship, but the minister's next move has been to mandate that Turkish ISPs block Twitter's assigned IP addresses. Reports Ars Technica: " This move essentially erases Twitter from the Internet within Turkey—at least to those people who don’t have access to SMS messaging, a foreign virtual private network or Web proxy service, or the Tor anonymizing network. 'We can confirm that Turkey is now blocking the IP addresses of Twitter after the previous DNS blocking technique proved ineffective,' said Doug Madory, of the Internet monitoring company Renesys, in an e-mail to Ars. A Turkish government webpage shows that there is an IP address block order in effect for 126.96.36.199, the primary IP address for twitter.com."
The gentleman's agreement that several Silicon Valley firms are now widely known to have taken part in to minimize employee poaching within their own circles went much further than has been generally reported, according to a report at PandoDaily. The article lists many other companies besides the handful that have been previously named as taking part in the scheme to prevent recruiting, and gives some insight into what kind of (even non-tech) organizations and practices are involved.
An anonymous reader writes with this news from MIT's Technology Review: "Like other federal agencies, the NSA is compelled by law to try to commercialize its R&D. It employs patent attorneys and has a marketing department that is now trying to license inventions ... The agency claims more than 170 patents ... But the NSA has faced severe challenges trying to keep up with rapidly changing technology. ... Most recently, the NSA's revamp included a sweeping effort to dismantle ... 'stovepipes,' and switch to flexible cloud computing ... in 2008, NSA brass ordered the agency's computer and information sciences research organization to create a version of the system Google uses to store its index of the Web and the raw images of Google Earth. That team was led by Adam Fuchs, now Sqrrl's chief technology officer. Its twist on big data was to add 'cell-level security,' a way of requiring a passcode for each data point ... that's how software (like the infamous PRISM application) knows what can be shown only to people with top-secret clearance. Similar features could control access to data about U.S. citizens. 'A lot of the technology we put [in] is to protect rights," says Fuchs. Like other big-data projects, the NSA team's system, called Accumulo, was built on top of open-source code because "you don't want to have to replicate everything yourself," ... In 2011, the NSA released 200,000 lines of code to the Apache Foundation. When Atlas Venture's Lynch read about that, he jumped—here was a technology already developed, proven to work on tens of terabytes of data, and with security features sorely needed by heavily regulated health-care and banking customers.'"
Charliemopps (1157495) writes "New documents from Snowden indicate that the NSA hacked into and stole documents, including source code, from the Chinese networking firm Huawei. Ironically, this is the same firm that the U.S. government has argued in the past was a threat due to China's possible use of the same sort of attacks."
After the recent Windows 8 leak by recently arrrested then-Microsoft employee Alex Kibkalo, Microsoft has tweaked its privacy policies, but also defended reading the email of the French blogger to whom Kibkalo sent the software. "The blogger in question, who remains unidentified, happened to use Hotmail—the investigation began in 2012 before Hotmail's Outlook.com transition—as his primary email account. So as part of its investigation, Microsoft peeked into the blogger's email account to read that person's correspondence with Kibkalo. ... Microsoft says it was justified in searching the blogger's email account, because it had probable cause to believe Kibkalo was funneling trade secrets to the blogger.The company also pointed out that even with its justification for searching the account, it would have been impossible to gain a court order." "The legal system wouldn't have let us" seems a strange argument to defend any act of snooping.
schwit1 (797399) writes with this excerpt from the Washington Examiner: "A parking ticket, traffic citation or involvement in a minor fender-bender are enough to get a person's name and other personal information logged into a massive, obscure federal database run by the U.S. military. The Law Enforcement Information Exchange, or LinX, has already amassed 506.3 million law enforcement records ranging from criminal histories and arrest reports to field information cards filled out by cops on the beat even when no crime has occurred."
lpress writes: "Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has been embarrassed by social media over corruption, vowed yesterday to 'eradicate Twitter.' He followed through by cutting off access, but users soon found work-arounds like posting by email and using VPNs. The hashtag #TwitterOlmadanYaayamam (I can't live without Twitter) quickly rose to the top of Twitter's worldwide trending topics."
Bennett Haselton writes this week with a dissection of the effects of one well-known, long-known problem with so-called Internet filters. "The New Braunfels Republican Women, the Weston Community Children's Association, and the Rotary Club of Midland, Ontario are among the sites categorized as 'pornography' by Blue Coat, a California-based Internet blocking software company. While the product may not be much worse than other Internet filtering programs in that regard, it reinforces the point that miscategorization of sites as 'pornographic' is a routine occurrence in the industry, and not just limited to a handful of broken products." Read on below for the rest.
v3rgEz (125380) writes "With a Freedom of Information Act request, MuckRock has received copies of two of the guides Homeland Security uses to monitor social media, one on standard procedures and a desktop binder for analysts.
Now asking for help to go through it: See something worth digging into? Say something, and share it with others so we know what to FOIA next."
Related to yesterday's story about the NSA, Advocatus Diaboli (1627651) writes with this excerpt from The Guardian: "Rajesh De, the NSA general counsel, said all communications content and associated metadata harvested by the NSA under a 2008 surveillance law occurred with the knowledge of the companies – both for the internet collection program known as Prism and for the so-called 'upstream' collection of communications moving across the Internet. ... nearly all the companies listed as participating in the program – Yahoo, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook and AOL – claimed they did not know about a surveillance practice described as giving NSA vast access to their customers’ data. Some, like Apple, said they had 'never heard' the term Prism. De explained: 'Prism was an internal government term that as the result of leaks became the public term,' De said. 'Collection under this program was a compulsory legal process, that any recipient company would receive.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Changes to the Russian Civil Code, which include the recognition of open licenses, the right for libraries to generate digital copies of certain works, were now signed by the Russian President and come into force on October 1st. According to Wikimedia-RU member Linar Khalitov, 'these changes are a result of a lot of hard work on behalf of Wikimedia-RU ... proposing, discussing and defending amendments to the Code.'" The changes are pretty major: licenses no longer require a written contract to be enforced, and published works can no longer be retracted. The two combine to give Wikipedia RU authors stronger author rights. Pictures of architectural objects can be used freely without the permission of the architect, which will allow many images that were pulled from the Wikimedia Commons to return, and new projects to add pictures of monuments to go forward.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Like something out of the movie Inception, Rhiannon Williams reports in the Telegraph that Dr. Rebecca Roache, in charge of a team of scholars focused upon the ways futuristic technologies might transform punishment, claims the prison sentences of serious criminals could be made worse by distorting prisoners' minds into thinking time was passing more slowly. 'There are a number of psychoactive drugs that distort people's sense of time, so you could imagine developing a pill or a liquid that made someone feel like they were serving a 1,000-year sentence,' says Roache. Roache says when she began researching this topic, she was thinking a lot about Daniel Pelka, a four-year-old boy who was starved and beaten to death by his mother and stepfather.
'I had wondered whether the best way to achieve justice in cases like that was to prolong death as long as possible. Some crimes are so bad they require a really long period of punishment, and a lot of people seem to get out of that punishment by dying. And so I thought, why not make prison sentences for particularly odious criminals worse by extending their lives?' Thirty years in prison is currently the most severe punishment available in the UK legal system. 'To me, these questions about technology are interesting because they force us to rethink the truisms we currently hold about punishment. When we ask ourselves whether it's inhumane to inflict a certain technology on someone, we have to make sure it's not just the unfamiliarity that spooks us,' says Roache. 'Is it really OK to lock someone up for the best part of the only life they will ever have, or might it be more humane to tinker with their brains and set them free? When we ask that question, the goal isn't simply to imagine a bunch of futuristic punishments — the goal is to look at today's punishments through the lens of the future.'"
Daniel_Stuckey writes "Last March, weev, the notorious internet troll who seems to be equally celebrated and reviled, was convicted of accessing a computer without authorization and identity fraud, and sentenced to serve 41 months in prison.'He had to decrypt and decode, and do all of these things I don't even understand,' Assistant US Attorney Glenn Moramarco argued. Here, on a Wednesday morning in Philadelphia, before a packed courtroom, the federal prosecution argued that a hacker should spend three and a half years in prison for committing a crime it couldn't fully comprehend. Previously, Orin Kerr, a law professor at George Washington University and weev's defense attorney, had argued first and foremost that there was no criminal hacking to speak of. According to Kerr, what weev and Daniel Spitler (who pleaded guilty to avoid jail time) had done while working as an outfit called Goatse Security was entirely legal, even though it embarrassed public officials and some of the country's biggest corporations."
coondoggie (973519) writes "Gotta love this letter published in the guardian.com this week. It comes from a number of scientists throughout the world who are obviously frustrated with the barriers being thrown up around them — financial, antiquated procedures and techniques to name a few — and would like to see changes. When you speak of scientific mavericks, you might look directly at Improbable Research's annual Ig Nobel awards which recognize the arguably leading edge of maverick scientific work."
wiredmikey writes "The US government's PRISM Internet spying program exposed by Edward Snowden targets suspect email addresses and phone numbers but does not search for keywords like terrorism, officials said Wednesday. Top lawyers of the country's intelligence apparatus including the NSA and FBI participated Wednesday in a public hearing on the controversial US data-mining operations that intercept emails and other Internet communications including on social media networks like Facebook, Google or Skype. 'We figure out what we want and we get that specifically, that's why it's targeted collection rather than bulk collection,' Robert Litt, general counsel at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, told the hearing. Under authority of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the NSA asks Internet service providers to hand over messages sent from or received by certain accounts such as email@example.com, the Justice Department's Brad Wiegmann said, using a hypothetical example."
itwbennett writes "Carolyn Lawson, the former CIO for Oregon's troubled health care insurance website, is alleging that state officials engaged in a 'substantial cover-up' meant to deflect blame away from themselves and onto herself and the project's contractor, Oracle. Lawson, who was forced to resign in December, this week filed a tort claim notice, which is a required precursor to filing a lawsuit against the state." Claims are made that the state was the typical bad client, refusing to articulate "business requirements" effectively and repeatedly increasing the scope of the project. But then again Oracle was involved.
An anonymous reader writes with news that John Cartwright has been forced to shut down the full disclosure list. The list was created in 2002 in response to the perception that Bugtraq was too heavily moderated, allowing security issues to remain unpublished and unpatched for too long. Quoting: "When Len and I created the Full-Disclosure list way back in July 2002, we knew that we'd have our fair share of legal troubles along the way. We were right. To date we've had all sorts of requests to delete things, requests not to delete things, and a variety of legal threats both valid or otherwise. However, I always assumed that the turning point would be a sweeping request for large-scale deletion of information that some vendor or other had taken exception to.
I never imagined that request might come from a researcher within the 'community' itself (and I use that word loosely in modern times). But today, having spent a fair amount of time dealing with complaints from a particular individual (who shall remain nameless) I realised that I'm done. The list has had its fair share of trolling, flooding, furry porn, fake exploits and DoS attacks over the years, but none of those things really affected the integrity of the list itself. However, taking a virtual hatchet to the list archives on the whim of an individual just doesn't feel right. That 'one of our own' would undermine the efforts of the last 12 years is really the straw that broke the camel's back.
I'm not willing to fight this fight any longer. It's getting harder to operate an open forum in today's legal climate, let alone a security-related one. There is no honour amongst hackers any more. There is no real community. There is precious little skill. The entire security game is becoming more and more regulated. This is all a sign of things to come, and a reflection on the sad state of an industry that should never have become an industry.
I'm suspending service indefinitely. Thanks for playing." The archives are still up on seclists.org, gmane, and Mail Archive. For now at least.
An anonymous reader sends word that Google and Viacom have settled their copyright lawsuit over videos posted to YouTube. The case has been ongoing for seven years, with Viacom initially demanding $1 billion and losing in court, but then successfully appealing. 'At the heart of the matter was whether YouTube was responsible for the copyrighted material its users posted on the site. In general, sites that host user-generated content are protected by the DMCA if they take swift action to remove offending content when it's reported. YouTube argued that it does remove this content, but Viacom's initial lawsuit said YouTube was hosting at least 160,000 unauthorized Viacom clips.' You may recall that Viacom was caught uploading some of the videos in question to YouTube themselves. The terms of the new settlement were not disclosed.
An anonymous reader writes "In yet another example of the judicial branch of the government becoming more critical of federal mass acquisition of personal data, federal magistrate judge John Facciola in D.C. 'denied a government warrant request to search an unnamed user's @mac.com e-mail address, citing the request as being overbroad.' The judge further noted (PDF), 'While it is evident from closely reading the Application and its attachments what the government is really after, it is equally evident that the government is using language that has the potential to confuse the provider—in this case Apple—which must determine what information must be given to the government. This Court should not be placed in the position of compelling Apple to divine what the government actually seeks. Until this Application is clarified, it will be denied.'"
An anonymous reader sends this news from the Washington Post: "The National Security Agency has built a surveillance system capable of recording '100 percent' of a foreign country's telephone calls, enabling the agency to rewind and review conversations as long as a month after they take place, according to people with direct knowledge of the effort and documents supplied by former contractor Edward Snowden. ... The voice interception program, called MYSTIC, began in 2009. Its RETRO tool, short for “retrospective retrieval,” and related projects reached full capacity against the first target nation in 2011. Planning documents two years later anticipated similar operations elsewhere."
Trailrunner7 writes "In a letter sent to President Obama and members of Congress, former members and staff of the Church Committee on Intelligence said that the revelations of the NSA activities have caused 'a crisis of public confidence' and encouraged the formation of a new committee to undertake 'significant and public reexamination of intelligence community practices.' In the letter sent Monday to Obama and Congress, several former advisers to and members of the Church committee, including the former chief counsel, said that the current situation involving the NSA bears striking resemblances to the one in 1975 and that the scope of what the NSA is doing today is orders of magnitude larger than what was happening nearly 40 years ago.
'The need for another thorough, independent, and public congressional investigation of intelligence activity practices that affect the rights of Americans is apparent. There is a crisis of public confidence. Misleading statements by agency officials to Congress, the courts, and the public have undermined public trust in the intelligence community and in the capacity for the branches of government to provide meaningful oversight,' the letter says."
First time accepted submitter fabrica64 writes "The Brazilian government has today started blocking mobile phones not sold in Brazil (Portuguese-language original), i.e. not having paid sales taxes here. The blocking is based on IMEI, and if you come to Brazil for the World Cup in June and think of buying a Brazilian SIM card to call locally at lower rates, then it won't work because your mobile's IMEI will be blacklisted as not sold in Brazil. This is not a joke, it's true!"
ConfusedVorlon writes with word that Warner Bros backed out on their promise of digital downloads for backers of the Veronica Mars film "Backers were promised 'You will receive a digital version of the movie within a few days of the movie's theatrical debut.' Warner Bros are providing a non-downloadable ultra-violet coupon (although Veronica Mars is available for download through other stores). The download is already available on the Pirate Bay. The download is even available on commercial stores. The users have already passed over their $35+. But rather than meet the demand for a DRM-free download, Warner Bros would prefer to return the original pledge to backers who complain.
What does this tell us about how movie studios view the world? There can't be a better indication of willingness to pay than 'they have already paid' — are these the pirates WB fears?"
An anonymous reader writes "NSA surveillance has raised concerns among customers globally about the safety of their data from U.S. government spying. More organizations, companies and countries are looking for ways to distant themselves from the NSA activities to safeguard the information of internet users. IBM is the latest to fall into the category of companies that do not want to be associated with the NSA spy activities."
schwit1 writes "The government's own figures from 99 federal agencies covering six years show that halfway through its second term, the administration has made few meaningful improvements in the way it releases records. In category after category — except for reducing numbers of old requests and a slight increase in how often it waived copying fees — the government's efforts to be more open about its activities last year were their worst since President Barack Obama took office."
An anonymous reader writes "The UK minister for immigration and security, James Brokenshire has called for the government to do more to deal with 'unsavoury', rather than illegal, material online. 'Terrorist propaganda online has a direct impact on the radicalisation of individuals and we work closely with the internet industry to remove terrorist material hosted in the UK or overseas,' Brokenshire told Wired.co.uk in a statement."
theodp writes "Over at Slate, Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter argues that Google's anti-copyright stance is just a way to devalue content, which is bad for artists and bad for consumers. The screed is Sutter's response to an earlier anti-copyright rant in Slate penned by a lawyer who represents Google and is a Fellow at the New America Foundation, a public policy institute chaired by Google Chairman Eric Schmidt that receives funding from Schmidt and Google. 'Everyone is aware that Google has done amazing things to revolutionize our Internet experience,' writes Sutter. 'And I'm sure Mr. and Mrs. Google are very nice people. But the big G doesn't contribute anything to the work of creatives. Not a minute of effort or a dime of financing. Yet Google wants to take our content, devalue it, and make it available for criminals to pirate for profit. Convicted felons like Kim Dotcom generate millions of dollars in illegal revenue off our stolen creative work. People access Kim through Google. And then, when Hollywood tries to impede that thievery, it's presented to the masses as a desperate attempt to hold on to antiquated copyright laws that will kill your digital buzz. It's so absurd that Google is still presenting itself as the lovable geek who's the friend of the young everyman. Don't kid yourself, kids: Google is the establishment. It is a multibillion-dollar information portal that makes dough off of every click on its page and every data byte it streams. Do you really think Google gives a s**t about free speech or your inalienable right to access unfettered content? Nope. You're just another revenue resource Google can access to create more traffic and more data streams. Unfortunately, those streams are now pristine, digital ones of our work, which all flow into a huge watershed of semi-dirty cash. If you want to know more about how this works, just Google the word "parasite."'"
An anonymous reader writes "A piece of software called 'Popcorn Time' drew a lot of attention last week for encapsulating movie torrents within a slick, stream-based UI that made watching pirated films as easy as firing up Netflix. The app ran into trouble a few days ago when it was pulled from its hosting provider, Mega, and now Popcorn Time's creators say they're shutting it down altogether. They say it was mainly an experiment: 'Piracy is not a people problem. It's a service problem. A problem created by an industry that portrays innovation as a threat to their antique recipe to collect value. It seems to everyone that they just don't care. But people do. We've shown that people will risk fines, lawsuits and whatever consequences that may come just to be able to watch a recent movie in slippers. Just to get the kind of experience they deserve.' However, the software itself isn't a complete loss — the project is being picked up by the founder of a torrent site, and he says development will continue."
hcs_$reboot writes "In a lengthy interview from Rolling Stone, Bill Gates, was asked: 'Do you consider [Snowden] a hero or a traitor?' The Microsoft founder responded, 'I certainly wouldn't characterize him as a hero. ... You won't find much admiration from me'. What about government surveillance? 'The government has such ability to do these things. ... But the specific techniques they use become unavailable if they're discussed in detail. Rolling Stone retorts that privacy can be an issue: 'We want safety, but we also want privacy,' says the journalist. Bill Gates tells his main priority focuses on stopping the bad guys: 'Let's say you knew nothing was going on. How would you feel? I mean, seriously. I would be very worried. Technology arms the bad guys with orders of magnitude more [power]. Not just bad guys. Crazy guys.' Meanwhile, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak expressed the opposite opinion about Snowden at a tech conference in Germany. 'He is a hero to me, but he may be a traitor to other people and I understand the reasons for them to think that way. I believe that Snowden believed, like I do, that the U.S. has a right to freedom. '"
An anonymous reader writes "Those planning a weekend break in Budapest take note. From 15 March anyone taking photographs in Hungary is technically breaking the law if someone wanders into shot, under a new civil code that outlaws taking pictures without the permission of everyone in the photograph. According to the justice ministry, people taking pictures should look out for those 'who are not waving, or who are trying to hide or running out of shot.' Officials say expanding the law on consent to include the taking of photographs, in addition to their publication, merely codifies existing court practice. However, Hungary's photographers call the law vague and obstructive, saying it has left the country of Joseph Pulitzer and photography legend Robert Capa out of step with Europe."
schwit1 writes with this excerpt from the Washington Post: "U.S. officials announced plans Friday to relinquish federal government control over the administration of the Internet, a move likely to please international critics but alarm some business leaders and others who rely on smooth functioning of the Web.
Pressure to let go of the final vestiges of U.S. authority over the system of Web addresses and domain names that organize the Internet has been building for more than a decade and was supercharged by the backlash to revelations about National Security Agency surveillance last year." Reader Midnight_Falcon points out this press release on the move from Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration.
An anonymous reader writes "The trend of police officers using body-mounted cameras is going nationwide. As we discussed last month, the NYPD is pondering the cameras, and the LAPD is actively testing them. A town in California (population ~100,000) has tested them with seeming success: incidents involving officers using force have dropped more than half, and citizen complaints have dropped almost 90%. '[C]ops are required to turn on their cameras in any confrontation with a suspect or citizen. The footage is uploaded to computers when they return to the station, and is typically retained for one to three months.' The town's success is even drawing interest from police departments in other countries. The ACLU likes the idea, but has problems with it in practice, so they're opposing the trend (PDF). They worry about privacy abuses, and they want citizens caught on camera to be allowed equal access to the footage."
An anonymous reader writes in with news about Russias censorship of internet sites critical of President Vladimir Putin. "Russia blocked access to the internet sites of prominent Kremlin foes Alexei Navalny and Garry Kasparov on Thursday under a new law critics say is designed to silence dissent in President Vladimir Putin's third term. The prosecutor general's office ordered Russian internet providers to block Navalny's blog, chess champion and Putin critic Kasparov's internet newspaper and two other sites, grani.ru and ej.ru, state regulator Roskomnadzor said. The move was the latest evidence of what government opponents see as a crackdown on independent media and particularly the internet, a platform for dissenting views in a nation where state channels dominate the airwaves. Ej.ru editor Alexander Ryklin called it 'monstrous' and a 'direct violation of all the principles of freedom of speech,' More at EFF, and in earlier stories at the The Huffington Post, and Deutsche Welle, which notes, 'This year's report by Reporters Without Borders on World Day against Cyber Censorship condemns Russia as one of the "Enemies of the Internet." "Russia has adopted dangerous legislation governing the flow of news and information and freedom of expression online," it concludes.'"
cartechboy writes "The presidential limo is known as "The Beast," and it's getting to be about that time where it's replaced. Currently The Beast is a General Motors creation with a Cadillac badge, but what if the next presidential limo was a Tesla? Stick with me here. The Beast is a massive vehicle, which means there would be plenty of room in the structure to have a long battery pack a la Model S. Plus, it could use the upcoming Model X's all-wheel-drive system. Tesla's air suspension would keep it from encountering high-centering issues. There could even be a charging port on both the front and back so a battery truck could hook up while driving, like in-flight refueling. Obviously the battery pack would need to have extra protection so it wouldn't have any issues with road debris, but that's a minor issue. Tesla is an American company, and that's a requirement for The Beast. So is it that far fetched to think the next presidential limo could be a Tesla?"
itwbennett writes "The U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has temporarily reversed its earlier order that call records collected by the National Security Agency should be destroyed after the current five-year limit. The court modified its stand after a District Court in California on Monday ordered the government to retain phone records it collects in bulk from telecommunications carriers, as the metadata could be required as evidence in two civil lawsuits that challenge the NSA's phone records program under section 215 of the Patriot Act."
An anonymous reader writes "Mt. Gox CEO Mark Karpeles wrote in a sworn declaration in the company's U.S. bankruptcy filing he suspected hundreds of thousands of bitcoins were missing on Feb. 7, more than two weeks before it finally halted trading. That means Mt. Gox allowed its customers to continue trading, knowing that its bitcoin stash was wiped out and collecting as much as US$900,000 in trading fees. Since Mt. Gox said it was also missing $27.3 million in cash from customer deposits, it raises the possibility that customers — despite seeing a cash balance displayed in their account — might have actually been buying bitcoins that did not exist, with cash that was already long gone."