government

Yelp, US government partner: official federal pages inbound

Yelp, US government partner: official federal pages inbound

Yelp has announced that it partnered with the U.S. government, and that under the partnership, federal agencies will be able to claim Yelp pages and use them to solicit and monitor feedback. Whether that will result in any actual meaningful changes in government offices and airports where its receives low marks is doubtful, but regardless users now have another option to vent their complaints and, if they're feeling generous, leave a positive note the next time the TSA gets you through the line smoothly.

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IRS hack larger than reported: 600k+ taxpayers targeted

IRS hack larger than reported: 600k+ taxpayers targeted

This year the IRS joined the OPM and other entities -- both government and private -- that were hit with cyberattacks of one sort or another. The massive Office of Personnel Management hack has received the most attention, but as you may remember, the IRS was also targeted and suffered a huge loss of data. Only, it didn't report accurate numbers. As it turns out, the hack was even more massive than originally reported, with more than half a million people having been targeted.

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Reddit finally checks its email, gets unbanned in Russia

Reddit finally checks its email, gets unbanned in Russia

If you spend any time on Reddit, you’ve likely seen the Russia drama unfold. Though the entire thing has been confusing, the timeline goes something like this: a Redditor published a post on growing drugs in Russian, and Russia didn’t like that. Roskomnadzor, Russia’s media watchdog, made a post on a Russian social network (more or less) asking that someone with contacts “with the Reddit administration” ask them to “check their email for messages” the agency has sent. If Reddit didn’t respond, Roskomnadzor said it may end up having local ISPs block access to the website.

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Twitter expands transparency report with two new categories

Twitter expands transparency report with two new categories

Twitter has announced that it is, for the first time, expanding the scope of its transparency report, doing so to include two new categories: email privacy practices and trademark notices. This brings the report up to five categories. In addition, Twitter is making it easier to find its data with a redesign of its transparency site, including adding improvements to its mobile transparency portal. The new design is already in place, and the data has been refreshed with the two new sections.

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Russia threatening nation-wide Reddit ban over drug posts

Russia threatening nation-wide Reddit ban over drug posts

The Russian government has said it's considering a nation-wide block on the social website Reddit over concerns about easily accessible information on growing and acquiring drugs. One government agency has said it's tried contacting Reddit about removing such posts, but they haven't gotten a response. Oddly enough, the government says it was prompted to take action because of complaints from users. Because surely people go right to the government when they see things on the internet, as this couldn't be a case of Russia wanting to censor information.

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Report: China’s spies have been reading US officials’ emails since 2010

Report: China’s spies have been reading US officials’ emails since 2010

China has been accused in recent months of orchestrating a massive hack against the U.S. government's Office of Personnel Management, the insurance company Anthem, and more. According to a recently leaked report and unnamed government official, Chinese spies have also been reading emails from top Obama administration officials since at least April 2010. According to the leaked report, the email hack was first spotted in early 2010, and was codenamed both “Dancing Panda” and “Legion Amethyst” by the NSA. The report was made in 2014, and indicates the email breach was still actively happening at that time.

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White House releases Clean Power Plan: power plants targeted

White House releases Clean Power Plan: power plants targeted

Today marks a big day for the US’s environmental progression, with President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency’s administrator Gina McCarthy jointly releasing a final Clean Power Plan — the first in the Obama administration’s efforts to reduce the nation’s pollution levels and tackle the issue of climate change. The White House said in a statement this morning, “We have a moral obligation to leave our children a planet that’s not polluted or damaged … Taking action now is critical."

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White House announces ConnectHome initiative to bring internet to low-income homes

White House announces ConnectHome initiative to bring internet to low-income homes

The Obama administration has announced a program today that aims to increase the number of low-income households who have access to high-speed internet. The initiative is called ConnectHome, and will see Google, along with internet service providers including Cox, Sprint, and Century Link bring broadband service that is either free or at a very cheap price to 275,000 families across the US, in 27 cities.

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ProxyHam anonymity project bizarrely destroyed sans explanation

ProxyHam anonymity project bizarrely destroyed sans explanation

Staying private on the Internet has become a big concern for many and a problem for certain government agencies. The Edward Snowden leaks revealed a trove of data on government spying, and since then companies have moved to further encrypt data and many devices have cropped up promising high security. ProxyHam is one of those devices. The maker described the device as a hardware proxy that could be planted somewhere like your local cafe; it would use radio connections to transmit the signal up to 2.5 miles away, leaving the Internet user safely hidden. Now the project has been cancelled under bizarre circumstances.

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Man arrested for charging iPhone on train

Man arrested for charging iPhone on train

A man was arrested this week for charging his iPhone on a train. This happened in London, and the man has since been "de-arrested" for the charges. The charges included "abstracting electricity" - which essentially means he was taking electricity from the train without paying for it. Electricity sockets aboard this train were meant for cleaners only, not for the public. As such, this man was captured by the police, handcuffed, and brought in to the nearest police precinct, where he was processed.

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NY Stock Exchange shuts down for 3 hours due to “technical issue”

NY Stock Exchange shuts down for 3 hours due to “technical issue”

The New York Stock Exchange shuts down entirely as a "technical issue" bogs the system. While it's been suggested by the NYSE that this is not due to any sort of malicious attack, no definitive answer has yet been given for what the technical bug could be. Word from the chairwoman of the Securities and Exchange Commission Mary Jo White says "We are in contact with N.Y.S.E. and are closely monitoring the situation and trading in N.Y.S.E.-listed stocks." This is the second of two issues today, the first having been announced as resolved at 9:37 AM Eastern Standard Time.

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NSA can restart bulk data collection for 6 months, rules court

NSA can restart bulk data collection for 6 months, rules court

The American Civil Liberties Union is gearing up for a legal battle following a ruling yesterday evening by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court — according to it, the National Security Agency (NSA) can restart its bulk collection of American phone data. The ACLU is planning to challenge the ruling, and will be seeking an injunction against the program via the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Previously this court had ruled that the NSA’s bulk collection program was illegal.

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