government

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

NSA catalog lets agents deliver cloned hardware to targets

NSA catalog lets agents deliver cloned hardware to targets

A new examination of the seemingly bottomless well of Snowden documents describes an internal NSA catalog of dead ringers for consumer hardware that the NSA can deploy on unsuspecting targets' systems. For example, when a target orders a new hard drive, router, monitor cable, or USB plug online, the NSA can intercept the order and send a bugged clone, which the target would then install by his own volition. The catalog includes hardware by Seagate, Samsung, Cisco, Huawei, Dell and many others.

Continue Reading

Bitcoin miners do not have to register as money transfer services: ruling

Bitcoin miners do not have to register as money transfer services: ruling

Bitcoin miner Milly Bitcoin has done a little citizen letter-writing, and the results should make virtual currency miners breathe a sigh of relief. Milly Bitcoin's mining company Atlantic City Bitcoin last June wrote to the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) requesting an official administrative ruling on whether ACB must register as a money transfer service. FinCEN has now replied, and the answer is no.

Continue Reading