privacy

NSA tight-lipped on webcam spy role as privacy advocates seethe

NSA tight-lipped on webcam spy role as privacy advocates seethe

The NSA has refused to detail exactly how much access to secret Yahoo webcam surveillance that snapped photos of millions of unwitting video chatters, including those involved in adult activities, as demands from privacy regulators for more transparency in monitoring increase in volume. Allegations earlier this week that a clandestine UK scheme run by GCHQ tapped into millions of Yahoo webcam streams and recorded numerous still images to create a vast virtual "mugshot" book of potential terrorists, with technical assistance from the US' NSA in setting up the system, has reawakened criticism of the federal agency after moves by President Obama to try to dampen down what have been seen as overly intrusive methods.

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Tor secure messaging client in pipeline for safer chat

Tor secure messaging client in pipeline for safer chat

Internet anonymity service Tor is working on a messaging client to offer Skype, Google Hangouts, and other IM users concerned about who might be reading their conversations a little piece of mind. Dubbed the Tor Instant Messaging Bundle, or TIMB, the app is expected to build on top of the existing InstantBird messenger, which will eventually be bundled in locked-down, encrypted form with the general Tor Launcher later this year.

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Boeing Black secure smartphone detailed for maximum privacy

Boeing Black secure smartphone detailed for maximum privacy

Boeing has detailed its new, ultra-secure smartphone, the Boeing Black, a locked-down Android handset promising defense and security agency standards of protection for user-data. Spotted clearing the FCC earlier this week, the Black locks Android, apps, and data inside Boeing's own PureSecure architecture, with hardware media encryption, trusted boot, and the option to plug in modular components to tailor the US-made handset to mission-specific needs.

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Apple Touch ID tech explained as Galaxy S5 follows in fingerprints

Apple Touch ID tech explained as Galaxy S5 follows in fingerprints

Apple has further detailed the way security works in iOS, including how the Touch ID system handles keeping fingerprint data safe as biometrics come under renewed scrutiny following Samsung's Galaxy S5 launch. The new iOS security whitepaper, quietly released this week, covers multiple aspects of data safety across devices like the iPhone and iPad, but is likely to be most interesting for the Touch ID scanner details and insight into the so-called Secure Enclave where Apple locks up fingerprint information.

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Webcam spy program grabbed secret stills of millions of Yahoo users

Webcam spy program grabbed secret stills of millions of Yahoo users

A clandestine security program run by the UK's surveillance agency GCHQ with the aid of the NSA captured and stored still images of millions of global webcam users, a new document leak suggests, part of a sweeping monitoring program that required no suspicion of guilt around those impacted. Optic Nerve - which in one six month period alone is said to have captured and stored more than 1.8m Yahoo accounts around the world - ran between 2008 and 2012 at least, grabbing a still every five minutes to create a privacy-intruding digital "mugshot" book security services could later use.

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NSA reform options leak as Obama weighs phone tracking

NSA reform options leak as Obama weighs phone tracking

The White House is weighing four possible options for revamping the NSA's phone-surveillance activities, security insiders say, including dumping such monitoring altogether or allowing the carriers themselves to operate it. The possible restructures follow President Obama's promise in January that the NSA would be reformed so as to present less of a threat to individual privacy, specifically focusing on one of the more reviled projects where millions of phone records are gathered by the agency and sifted for metadata.

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Blackphone hands-on: high-end cost for NSA-era privacy

Blackphone hands-on: high-end cost for NSA-era privacy

If you’re looking for mid-tier scrimping while you’re also in the market for total and complete privacy in all things you do online, you might want to look somewhere else. Blackphone does the latter - or suggests that it’s entirely private and secure, but it’ll cost you. Right out of the box, software aside, this device works with specifications that might also throw you for a loop - in a good way.

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Venezuelan government shuts down internet in wake of protests

Venezuelan government shuts down internet in wake of protests

Don’t expect one whole heck of a lot of tweets coming out of Venezuela in the immediate future as President Nicolas Maduro’s government has shut down the internet and select TV channels. Having shut down Twitter access for the area this past week, Venezuela’s state-run ISP CANTV has been cut in areas such as San Cristobal. This area is a regional capital in the west of the country and CANTV controls the vast majority of internet connectivity in the area.

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Delete WhatsApp warns Facebook-hating German privacy chief

Delete WhatsApp warns Facebook-hating German privacy chief

WhatsApp users should ditch the instant messaging service else face privacy issues and potentially seeing new owner Facebook monetize them in intrusive ways, Germany's data protection commissioner has warned, with the country renewing its anti-Facebook stance amid the $19bn acquisition. Both Facebook and WhatsApp "refuse to comply with European and German data protection regulations" Thilo Weichert, of Germany's data privacy watchdog ULD, said of the deal. "Even the NSA access to communications data is facilitated by the purchase."

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Federal License Plate Reader Database sought by Homeland Security

Federal License Plate Reader Database sought by Homeland Security

This week a job listing posted by the Department of Homeland Security has suggested that they’re aiming for a Federal License Plate Reader Database in the near future. This database would hold instant connections to the people behind the wheel at any given time. License plate readers are not a new idea - a massive database containing every license plate ever made certainly would be a new concept.

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