Items tagged with Government

The average Internet user probably has no idea what "Tor" is. If you're one of those users, you've probably had no good reason to even investigate what it is, what it does, or how it hides. But if you're the NSA, you're acutely aware of Tor, and a new report suggests that both the NSA and GCHQ have had their sights on Tor. In simple terms, Tor is a network that protects anonymity of those who use it. What's interesting about Tor is that the software behind it is mostly funded by the U.S. government; despite all that, the U.S. National Security Agency has had no success in "developing attacks against... Read more...
Look out, Internet -- the government's moving in on your wild, wild west territory. The Federal Trade Commission has just announced new guidelines for online advertisers, hoping to ensure that search results and ads are distinguished from each other. The entity has found that in recent years, paid search results have become less distinguishable as advertising, and the FTC is urging the search industry to make sure the distinction is clear. Here's a blurb from the release: "According to both the FTC staff’s original search engine guidance and the updated guidance, failing to clearly and prominently... Read more...
Just as Apple and Samsung are pushing to get their phones cleared for high-security use within the U.S. government, a staple is announcing the expected. BlackBerry just announced that the U.S. Department of Defense has cleared BlackBerry 10 phones (and the PlayBook tablet as well, strangely) for use on DoD networks. Working with the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), BlackBerry 10 smartphones and BlackBerry PlayBook tablets have undergone successful testing through DoD labs leading to a subsequent listing on DISA's Unified Communications Approved Product List, and honestly, not too many... Read more...
Julius Genachowski announced today that he will be stepping down from his post as Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission in the "coming weeks." Thus will end a nearly four-year run for the lawyer and businessman, who was nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate at the end of June in 2009. "Over the past four years, we’ve focused the FCC on broadband, wired and wireless, working to drive economic growth and improve the lives of all Americans. And thanks to you, the Commission’s employees, we’ve taken big steps to build a future where broadband is ubiquitous... Read more...
Don't worry folks, the White House hasn't lost its marbles (well, not based on this, anyway) by encouraging citizens across the nation to start hacking. The U.S. government doesn't want you to break into banking systems, and after Matthew Broderick almost started World War III in the 1980s, we're pretty sure it doesn't want you messing around with any military computers, either. So what's going on? The White House is embracing Civic Hacking Day! "Civic Hacking Day is an opportunity for software developers, technologists, and entrepreneurs to unleash their can-do American spirit by collaboratively... Read more...
The federal government has released a slew of mobile apps for iPhone, Android and BlackBerry, in an effort to close the customer service gap between the public and private sectors. Getting the most attention is the Product Recalls app, which is available only on Android, and collates recall and safety information from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Food and Drug Administration and Department of Agriculture. But that’s just one of the new available apps. My TSA is available as an iPhone app and gives real-time status on flight delays,... Read more...
Net neutrality. Censorship. Freedom of speech. Global search. All of these items are becoming more and more visible in an interconnected world, and we suspect that these issues will become even more important as the Internet spreads. Recently, Google brought some of these matters into the mainstream light by taking on China in a way that no search engine ever had: Google refuses to continue censoring results, and redirected searches to their Hong Kong portal in order to achieve their goal while maintaining within China. This week, Google has opened another can of worms. The new Government Requests... Read more...
As if you really needed one more reason to take the car, ferry or bicycle to your next destination, the Department of Homeland Security has just issued another update to its long list of search rules that'll most certainly spark up some debate. Thankfully for those with United States passports, this one probably won't have a serious impact on you, but if a foreigner is in front of you in the line to get stamped into this nation, get ready for even more possible delays.DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano recently announced new directives that clarify oversight for searches of computers and other electronic... Read more...
No wonder the Pentagon is bracing for all manners of cyber warfare. Late last week, officials reported that the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service saw some of their computers "shut down" after a virus attack overwhelmed them. Reportedly, the virus stemmed from an invasion at the Marshals Service, with an FBI spokesperson noting that it was just one of several agencies "facing similar issues."Technicians disconnected the Marshals system from the Justice Department's computer system in order to proactively prevent any further spreading, though Marshals spokesman Nikki Credic insisted that "at no time... Read more...
As it turns out, Swine Flu just might be the least of our worries on a national scale; according to a top official within the US government, cyber espionage and attacks from terror groups are the biggest threats to the country's military computer networks. We've seen time and time again that attacks on our network infrastructure can bring down entire branches or departments and paralyze security personnel, so we suppose the news isn't all that surprising. Air Force Gen. Kevin Chilton, who heads U.S. Strategic Command, admitted that he worries that foes will "learn to disable or distort battlefield... Read more...
This whole digital TV transition has turned into an abject disaster (to put it nicely), but for those of you still holding out for a government voucher before buying a converter box, there's good news to share. After the National Telecommunications and Information Administration ran out of its $1.34 billion late last year and began putting coupon requestors on a waiting list early in 2009, panic began to set in. Procrastinators were (naturally) putting their requests in at the last possible moment, which arguably led to the decision to postpone the mandatory DTV switch from Febuary 17th to June... Read more...
In an effort to catch criminals and kidnappers, Mexico plans to start a national register of all mobile phone users. Under a new law published today, mobile phone companies will have a year to build up a database of their customers, complete with fingerprints. The law is due to be in force in April. Sadly, hundreds of people are kidnapped in Mexico each year. As the army cracks down on drug gangs, these gangs are increasingly using kidnappings as a source of income, causing the number of kidnappings to increase. The idea behind the law is to match calls and messages with the owner of a phone. According... Read more...
While we're hardly in favor of the Senate's approval of a four month delay on the has-to-happen-sometime digital TV transition, this is one political agenda we can definitely stand behind. Reportedly, United States lawmakers are mulling a plan that would provide tax credits for Internet and wireless companies as part of a "broad stimulus package to boost the ailing economy."Specifically, AT&T, Comcast, T-Mobile and Sprint were named as examples, though any firm with the willingness and ability to "build out high-speed Internet in rural and underserved areas" could soon see a 10 percent tax... Read more...
2007 is shaping up to be the first year when spending on cellphone services surpasses the cost of land line phones, according to a study by the US government and backed up by industry information. Anybody with a teenage girl at home has known this was coming for quite some time.  "What we're finding is there's a huge move of people giving up their land line service altogether and using cell phones exclusively," said Allyn Hall, consumer research director for market research firm In-Stat. As recently as 2001, U.S. households spent three times as much on residential phone services as they did... Read more...
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