government

FBI director speaks out against consumer tech device encryption

FBI director speaks out against consumer tech device encryption

James B. Comey, the current director of the FBI, made statements on Thursday calling for America's tech companies to make their consumer devices more wiretap-friendly. He believes that the efforts from giants like Apple and Google to provide users with ways to encrypt data and communications on their mobile devices will lead to a future where those who commit murder or acts of terror could have an easier time escaping law enforcement.

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Government halts funding for research that creates superbugs

Government halts funding for research that creates superbugs

Concern about so-called super bugs -- mutated viruses and bacteria resistant to treatment -- is exceptionally high. The Centers for Disease Control issued a report last year, for example, warning about the threat superbugs pose and potential ramifications if certain actions aren't taken. It is for these reasons the deliberate creation of mutated viruses for research purposes (gain of function research) has been highly controversial, a controversy the US government has stoked by announcing a temporary halt to its funding of such studies.

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Florida rules police need warrant to nab cell location data

Florida rules police need warrant to nab cell location data

Your everyday devices, particularly smartphones, betray aspects of your privacy in many ways, not the least of which is transmitting location information that law enforcement, among others, has regularly used in the pursuit of suspects. Such activity has caused vast outcries about privacy concerns and rights violations, something Florida has taken to heart. In a recent ruling, the state's Supreme Court has decided that police must get a warrant before using cell tower data to get location information on individuals.

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USPTO’s new chief may be former Google lawyer

USPTO’s new chief may be former Google lawyer

All the talk of patent reform is necessary, and often spot-on, but one thing goes unsaid: there’s no one leading the charge. The US Patent Office lacks leadership, and the Director chair has sat empty for over 18 months. The Obama administration is now trying to fill that seat, and have nominated Michelle Lee to helm the post. Lee is the current Deputy Director of the USPTO, but also has a lineage in tech as a former patent counsel at Google.

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Whisper lashes out over “vicious lies” about user tracking

Whisper lashes out over “vicious lies” about user tracking

With every information breach that happens involving government surveillance, one thing become increasingly clear: privacy is often an illusion, at least when it comes to your digital life. Whisper is one app that operates under that privacy illusion, at least according to The Guardian, which posted a large piece today calling out the company for what it says are numerous privacy violations, including handing information over to the government and tracking some users. Now Whisper has fired back, lashing out at The Guardian and calling the claims "vicious lies".

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Blackphone is working on a secure tablet

Blackphone is working on a secure tablet

The world has turned its attention towards the issue of privacy in the digital age, particularly one where the government is known to spy on data through all sorts of insidious and legally dubious means. That reality has prompted many different products tailored towards keeping private data away from prying eyes: encrypted messaging platforms, locked down email services, and, of course, the Blackphone. The folks behind the latter device have revealed to CNBC that a tablet is now in the works.

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NSA refuses to reveal what it has leaked

NSA refuses to reveal what it has leaked

A lot of information has been leaked about the government and its various agencies, not the least of which being the NSA. Of course, not all leaks are unauthorized -- the government itself will leak its own information at times, the reasons for which are varied and, despite requests otherwise, still secret. A recent Freedom of Information Act request for information about what leaks the government has made was denied due to claims of posing a potential threat to national security.

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Panel says NSA surveillance is a threat to the Internet’s survival

Panel says NSA surveillance is a threat to the Internet’s survival

Imagine a future where a single unified Internet no longer exists, instead being replaced by locked down local versions that exist, primarily, to keep prying eyes away from data that is private. Such is one possibility posed by current government Internet surveillance, largely resting on the NSA's shoulders, according to a panel that recently gathered to discuss the issue. Senator Ron Wyden set up the discussion panel, and many big-name individuals from within the tech industry took part, including Google's Eric Schmidt and Microsoft's General Counsel Brad Smith. The topic is a serious one, and dire warnings were given.

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California police can use drones without warrants

California police can use drones without warrants

Drones are a growing part of society, which is still trying to figure out how they should -- and shouldn't -- be used. Among this debate is under what circumstances law enforcement can use drones for surveillance, and whether they need a search warrant to do so. California, usually a state that favors such measures, has moved against a bill requiring police to get search warrants for drone use.

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