Items tagged with Government

When Edward Snowden blew the whistle on the significant spying efforts conducted by the NSA two summers ago, it was hard to grasp at first what ramifications would result from the documents release. Since then, the world has been hit by one leak after the other, and ultimately, we've seen that it's not surprising to see the US government do whatever it has to do in order to monitor the people it wants to, regardless of whether or not you feel this type of mass surveillance constitutional. Now, nearly six years after Chelsea Manning released a staggering collection of sensitive classified and unclassified... Read more...
We learned earlier today that if Jeb Bush becomes America's 45th president, he'll waste no time getting rid of net neutrality, which was enacted only this past summer. Contrasting that, the Obama administration feels that net neutrality remains important, and that access to good services is more important than ever. In a new White House blog post, Jeffrey Zients, the Director of the National Economic Council, fills us in on all of the progress that's been made with broadband ever since Obama became president. He starts off by saying that since 2008, 110,000 miles of network infrastructure... Read more...
If Jeb manages to become the third Bush to lead the United States, those who support net neutrality will have some genuine cause for concern. In a letter posted to his campaign website this week, Jeb wants to tackle what he dubs a "Regulatory Crisis", with one of the bullet-points being net neutrality - something he deems unfair. Interestingly, he wants to "make regulators accountable to Americans rather than special interests", which seems like the exact opposite of what he's proposing. He argues that instead of "enhancing consumer welfare", ISPs are unable to grow and expand because they're not... Read more...
As the years pass, our lives continue to become intertwined even more with the Internet. Today, the Internet acts as a backbone to critical infrastructure, and much like the risk of someone exploiting a flaw to break into our home PC, a real risk exists that enemies of the government could break into and cause harm to utilities. It's for that reason that all governments are overdue on penning up agreements with friendly countries to lessen the chance of a cyberattack. Nonetheless, it's being reported that President Obama is going to be taking some important steps in this when... Read more...
Maybe someday the Chinese government will take a page from O.J. Simpson and write a book titled, "If I Did It: Confessions of a Hacker." After all, China is clinging to the innocence card just as adamantly as Simpson, never mind any evidence to the contrary. In fact, not only is the Chinese government saying it's not responsible for a massive security breach that compromised the personal information of millions of U.S. federal employees, but it claims that the accusations are the result of "absurd logic."The security breach was discovered in April, but actually began back in December of last year.... Read more...
If the state of the US government's security wasn't appalling before, it sure should be now. Earlier this month, we reported on a breach of government systems that saw the information of four million current and prior government employees get taken by a third-party -- a third-party that was highly believed to be China. Well, now it seems certain. As we learned before, that breach was discovered in April, but we now know that it began in December. That means that the attackers -- the Chinese -- had a free-for-all with this personal data for four months. According to... Read more...
At the behest of President Obama, Federal Chief Information Officer Tony Scott yesterday issued Memorandum M-15-13 calling for the provision of government service for all Federal websites via HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure).  The HTTPS standard was described by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) as a "great first step", this despite it being written off as a "top-down solution" by a database administrator for NASA.  Memorandum M-15-13 explicitly states that "All browsing activity should be considered private and sensitive." It also provides guidance to... Read more...
It looks like a cyberattack that hit the White House last year by Russian hackers was a bit more serious than originally presented. The biggest takeaway is the fact that president Obama's personal emails were accessed, including both sent and received messages. That's the downside; the upside is that it appears absolutely no classified information had been accessed. This security breach does raise some major concerns, though, ones that the White House have taken extremely seriously. At the time of the attack, officials met on a nearly daily basis to keep apprised of the situation. One official... Read more...
The House has just passed two cybersecurity bills that should cause some major concern for those who believe the US government's spying efforts have already gone way too far. The House Permanent Select Committee passed the 'Protecting Cyber Networks Act', while the House Homeland Security Committee passed the 'National Cybersecurity Protection Advancement Act'. The two bills will be soon merged and forwarded to the Senate for advancement. The goal of both bills is to help thwart 'hackers' quicker. They could allow companies dealing with an issue to work with other companies, as well as the government,... Read more...
Here we go again. This past November, the US' Department of Justice latched onto public heartstrings by saying that encryption on mobile phones could lead to the death of children, and in January, president Obama followed-up to plainly say that encryption should under no circumstance hinder police and spy agencies. The government can say what it wants, of course, but that doesn't mean that whatever it suggests will be kosher as far as our civil liberties go. Looking beyond the fact that criminals can benefit from encryption (just as they can benefit from a slew of other things), it stands to reason... Read more...
On Sunday Facebook attempted once again to lend clarity to its Community Standards and policies as they apply to government requests. Specifically, Head of Global Policy Management Monika Bickert and Deputy General Counsel Chris Sonderby set out to provide "more detail and clarity on what is and is not allowed" on the site, citing in particular “nudity” and “hate speech” as areas in need of particular attention. In addition, Bickert and Soderby stated that circumstances may arise in which Facebook will need to remove or restrict access to content due to said content being against the law in... Read more...
An accountability board overseen by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) cleared the spy agency of any wrongdoing after investigating the search of Senate computers that were used to review the agency's alleged use of torture tactics during Bush's presidency period. That might be fine and dandy under different circumstance, but in this case, the review panel looking into the CIA's actions was put together by… the CIA. Conflict of interest, anyone? The board released a 38-page report in which it found that a handful of agency officials made a "mistake" by searching for files used by the Senate... Read more...
A couple of official social media accounts of the United States' Central Command have been breached today, with the Islamic State militant group ISIS claiming responsibility. Both the Twitter and YouTube accounts of the Central Command were accessed to change both the banner and profile picture, as well as add a couple of messages. On the Twitter account, a message was left to instill fear in American soldiers, as seen in the screen capture below. The YouTube account also had two pro-ISIS videos uploaded. Beyond that, it doesn't seem like much impact was made, outside of the fact that both social... Read more...
Governments around the world are increasingly interested in what their citizens are doing on Facebook. According to the social network's third Government Requests Report, which provides information about the number of government data and content removal requests received during the first half of 2014, combined government requests rose 24 percent since the last half of 2013. That works out to 34,946 requests for data. In addition, Facebook noted a 19 percent increase in the amount of content restricted because of local laws. Image Source: Flickr (Maria Elena) "As we’ve said before, we scrutinize... Read more...
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