Verizon has published its first ever transparency report, and in it we get a glimpse of how many requests the carrier received for data, including a general range for number of National Security Letters it was sent. In total, the carrier was hit with about 320,000 requests over the course of last year, which is further broken down into the types each request falls under.
In a move that probably shocks nobody, the Chinese government has implemented a new rule that will require anyone who uploads a video online to register with their real names. No matter what justification China has for this, it will always be seen by people outside as yet another attempt to control citizens' freedom of expression.
The Supreme Court revealed today it will decide on whether law enforcement can legally search -- without a warrant -- the cell phone of someone they've arrested. This follows many cases that involve such searches, not to mention some state laws that have been put in place. Though a hearing hasn't yet been scheduled, they've accepted two cases that will be reviewed.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In honor of the late programmer and activist Aaron Swartz and in light of information contained in documents leaked by Edward Snowden, the EFF, Free Press, Demand Progress, and other entities will be holding a day of anti-NSA mass spying protests on February 11. The day is being called "The Day We Fight Back," and was announced on the eve of Swartz's passing.
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.
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.