government

Obama talks NSA: EFF, Julian Assange, White House respond

Obama talks NSA: EFF, Julian Assange, White House respond

Just this morning, United States President Barack Obama spoke up at a bit of NSA news, letting it be known what his real NSA reform plan would be. As is often the case, some of the responses to the talk have appeared more telling than the talk itself. We're having a peek at what the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Julian Assange (of WikiLeaks), and the White House have done to follow up this set of announcements.

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NSA Dishfire program pilfers millions of text messages per day

NSA Dishfire program pilfers millions of text messages per day

The latest in a long line of NSA-centric leaks comes a report about alleged project "Dishfire" from The Guardian, a program said to result in the harvesting of millions of text messages by the security agency on a daily basis. This is not targeted message collection, instead being the mass harvesting of nearly 200 million messages per day, which are then stored and used to extract details like credit card info, geolocation, and one's contact networks.

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Apple’s remaining FTC in-app purchase penalty goes to… the FTC

Apple’s remaining FTC in-app purchase penalty goes to… the FTC

This week Apple and the FTC announced - in their own way - that they'd settled on a case which had the FTC reprimanding the computer company for their less-than-perfect dealings with in-app purchases and the young customers that took advantage of their abilities in iOS. Tim Cook's side of the story suggested that Apple still wasn't entirely happy with the situation, that the it "smacked of double jeopardy" because Apple was already in the process of paying their dues with a federal court. Here in reading the actual FTC consent agreement, we find that this isn't entirely true.

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Wickr founder details FBI request for backdoor

Wickr founder details FBI request for backdoor

In December, it was reported that security firm RSA -- according to documents leaked by Edward Snowden -- was paid millions by the NSA to put a back door into its encryption products. A couple days later, the company denied having a secret contract with the government agency, and said that it never knowingly put a back door in its offerings. That didn't stop some companies from gravitating away from RSA, however, and one such company was Wickr. The company's founder, Nico Sell, announced this change at an RSA Security Conference, during which she made it clear her company would not have a back door and that users' security was important. Immediately after, an FBI agent approached her with a request -- to add a backdoor on behalf of the agency.

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Seattle nixes Gigabit Squared fiber Internet plan ahead of launch

Seattle nixes Gigabit Squared fiber Internet plan ahead of launch

In late December 2012, it was revealed Seattle had partnered up with Gigabit Squared to bring gigabit Internet to some of its districts as part of the Gigabit Neighborhood Gateway Program. The initial launch was to be in 12 neighborhoods, and by this past summer, the pricing for the plans had been revealed. As it turns out, all was for naught, as the entire plan has been scrapped.

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NSA project working towards encryption-breaking quantum computer, reveals Snowden doc

NSA project working towards encryption-breaking quantum computer, reveals Snowden doc

According to documents leaked by Edward Snowden, the NSA dreams of a quantum computer that can break nearly every type of encryption -- one it is working towards (in part, at least) via a program called Penetrating Hard Targets, a $79.7 million project. The NSA isn't the only entity working on making a quantum computer reality, and such technologies would have widespread benefits beyond the cryptographically-oriented industry and various spy games.

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Laptop searches by U.S. border agents ruled legal

Laptop searches by U.S. border agents ruled legal

For most people, one's laptop is a like a trusted friend, packed full of data that one would not give out part and parcel to just anyone, particularly not strangers. Random laptop searches at United States borders have been taking place for years, and have been the subject of much outcry, particularly due to the complete lack of suspicion needed to perform the search. Civil rights attorneys filed a lawsuit against this activity, citing reasons of being unconstitutional, but a New York judge has dismissed their complaint, giving border agents the go-ahead.

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Uber, SnapCar, et al soon must wait 15 min before meeting fares in France

Uber, SnapCar, et al soon must wait 15 min before meeting fares in France

The ever proliferating Uber "black car" service and other mobile-app-dispatched driver services will have to wait 15 minutes before picking up any customer starting Jan. 2014, a French bill has decreed. The bill was spotted by the French news organization Libération and passed on by way of TechCrunch. The decree is intended to preserve the state-regulated taxi industry.

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