Items tagged with NSA

Grab your tin hat: your cellphone might be giving away your location to spy agencies and sophisticated gangs even as you read this. The Washington Post is reporting that certain companies are selling technology that gives governments and criminals tracking capabilities similar to what the NSA is believed to have. Image Credit: sNowFleikuN at deviantART CC-BY-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons The tracking systems are believed to use data from mobile carriers, though it’s not clear how they’re accessing that presumably protected data. The report suggests that there are potentially dozens of organizations... Read more...
News is out today of a survey from video advertising platform Ebuzzing claiming that it would cost an average of E140 per year per UK citizen to pay for an ad-free Internet and that the majority of users (98% of them, in fact) would never, ever be willing to pay such fees. I'm not surprised by results like this -- if someone asked me "Would you pay $185 a year to avoid pop-up ads?" my first thought would be "No, I'd install Ad Block" or "No, I'd just avoid the websites that show obnoxious ads I don't want to see." According to Ebuzzing's results, that's precisely what most of its respondents do.... Read more...
It took almost no time at all after Edward Snowden exposed some of the NSA's more questionable goings-on that a divide of public opinion could be seen. Some consider Snowden to be a national hero, while others consider him to be nothing more than a traitor. Some might even consider it a grave insult if Snowden were to be seen with an American flag, much less grasping it close to hits heart. Thanks to WIRED, we're soon to see if that's the case. The feature in the magazine's latest issue is the result of WIRED traveling to Snowden's unknown community in Russia, and spending more than a half-of-a-week... Read more...
Call it the 'Edward Snowden' impact if you must, but there's no doubt that insight on the NSA's activities have technology companies working overtime to restore and regain trust. Following Google's lead to encrypt email communication, Yahoo will now do similarly by crafting a secure email system that should go online in 2015. The platform will be fortified in a way that Yahoo Mail is not currently, and will reportedly make it "nearly impossible for hackers or government officials to read users' messages." Of course, suggesting such a thing will only incite hackers to attempt to prove them wrong,... Read more...
Over the past year, as criticism and anger have built over the NSA's numerous excesses and abuses of American civil rights, it's been easy to forget that underneath the justified anger, a genuine war has been raging. The NSA may have overreached in many respects, but that doesn't mean the government agency has invented problems from whole cloth -- and a new report drives that point home. According to the New York Times, top government officials have stated that Chinese hackers penetrated US government networks in March, potentially gaining access to thousands of dossiers on exactly which US citizens... Read more...
So it’s not just us then. While we seethe over NSA spying allegations here in the U.S., ISPs across the pond who believe they were spied upon by the UK’s intelligence agency GCHQ in the wake of Edward Snowden’s leaks are taking action. According to BBC News, seven Internet providers, in conjunction with Privacy International, have filed a lawsuit against GCHQ. "These widespread attacks on providers and collectives undermine the trust we all place on the internet and greatly endangers the world's most powerful tool for democracy and free expression," Eric King, deputy director... Read more...
Ever since Edward Snowden leaked details on how the government had forced various IT companies to disclose information (or secured their willing cooperation), companies like Google, Facebook, and Microsoft have been desperate to regain their users' trust. Six months ago, Microsoft announced that it would reengineer its products and services to provide a much higher level of security -- today, the company revealed that its reached an important milestone in that process. As of now, Outlook.com uses TLS (Transport Layer Security) to provide end-to-end encryption for inbound and outbound email -- assuming... Read more...
Today, the Supreme Court issued a landmark decision on data privacy, holding 9-0 that neither police officers nor federal law enforcement have a unilateral right to search cell phones without first procuring a warrant. Prior to today, the government had previously argued that the police could search a cell phone under previous court rulings that extended such rights in limited cases, including incidents where the officers on the scene had reason to believe evidence could be destroyed or that the evidence was on the individual (or within arms' reach). What the Court recognized today is that a cell... Read more...
In a lot of ways, the public is resigned to the fact that almost nothing is truly "private." We're given identification numbers from birth, nearly everything about us is volunteered online, and even our mobile devices have GPS modules in them. In a lot of ways, those things are worth the hassle, and worth giving up some level of privacy. But secret, unlawful data collection could turn into a larger deal in the future, at least according to Microsoft's general counsel Brad Smith. Per Smith, we could be looking at a "bleak" future if the privacy of citizens isn't elevated in importance. To quote:... Read more...
Even when the government conducts secret activities, those ventures have to be funded, and a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives last night took a swipe at the NSA’s domestic spying practices by cutting some of its funding. According to Ars Technica, Representatives James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), and Thomas Massie (R-KY) authored an amendment to a defense appropriations bill that “none of the funds made available by this Act may be used by an officer or employee of the United States to query a collection of foreign intelligence information acquired under section... Read more...
Ever since 9/11 and the passage of the Patriot Act, the federal government has pursued an aggressive set of data collection policies and surveillance practices. Edward Snowden's leaks last year may have raised public awareness of many of these events, but simply being aware of practices doesn't do a thing to stop them. Recent court decisions, however, could be a sign that the wall of secrecy the NSA has constructed to veil its actions is cracking -- with profound long-term implications. First, earlier this week, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in United States v. Davis that cell phone users... Read more...
When it comes to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, opinions vary, with some people viewing him a traitor to the U.S. and others viewing him as a hero for shining a light on the shadowy practices of the government. Former vice president Al Gore is on record with his take on Snowden, and although he wouldn’t specifically say that he’s a whistleblower, he did make it clear that he didn’t believe Snowden was a traitor. “What he revealed in the course of violating important laws included violations of the US constitution that were way more serious than the crimes he committed,”... Read more...
Facebook rolled out a new mobile feature that uses your device’s microphone to “hear” a song you’re listening to or a TV show you’re watching so you can append that item to a status post. Predictably, a lot of people believe that this is a feature designed for snooping and are not happy that it exists. They’re so unhappy, in fact, that they’ve created an online petition to get Facebook to remove the feature from the Facebook app. To date, there are over 580,000 signatures. “Facebook just announced a new feature to its app, which will let it listen... Read more...
Last week, the ACLU was scheduled to meet with local police in Sarasota Florida to discuss the use of cell phone interception towers, dubbed stingrays, that are an increasingly common feature of federal and local investigations. A stingray is a fake cell phone tower that law enforcement can configure to temporarily replace the real towers a device would normally connect to. In an astonishing turn of events, the US Marshals Service has acted to prevent the meeting from taking place -- seizing all of the relevant records and claiming that they're the property of the Marshals (and by extension, the... Read more...
Prev 1 2 3 4 5 Next ... Last