spying

NSA will delete phone records on 29th November, sort of

NSA will delete phone records on 29th November, sort of

Can an elephant forget? That might be the metaphorical question on people's minds after hearing about the NSA's move to restrict its access to phone records accumulated under the USA Patriot Act. On face value, it seems like a win for privacy and all that, but, as with all legal cases, there are always fineprints to be meticulously observed. In other words, the phone database won't exactly disappear immediately, but will hang around for a while, giving interested people some time to do what they can to squeeze out what they can.

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Coders warn that security backdoor will open a can of worms

Coders warn that security backdoor will open a can of worms

The US and UK governments continue to push for a VIP backstage access to the world's computers, networks, and devices, sometimes using the most emotional, not to mention deplorable, arguments. But such a security setup is ultimately a technical consideration and should also be driven by technical arguments. A group of industry specialists and luminaries are doing exactly that, releasing a paper that gives the proposal their stamp of disapproval, proving that not only is the backdoor access unfeasible, it will actually put countries at even more risk.

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NSA expanded warrantless internet surveillance in attempt to stop hackers

NSA expanded warrantless internet surveillance in attempt to stop hackers

New documents from Edward Snowden have revealed that since 2012, the US's National Security Agency has had an expanded ability to spy on Americans' internet data and communications, with no need to get a warrant. The documents were published in a New York Times article this week, and reveal that the NSA's goal is to find and stop hackers attempting cyberattacks from outside the country. Until now, this program was never disclosed to the public.

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NSA eyed hijacking connections to Samsung, Google app stores

NSA eyed hijacking connections to Samsung, Google app stores

You have to hand it to the NSA and its allies. It would have moved heaven and earth to be able to spy on anyone and everyone. In the interests of national security, of course. The latest covert plans revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden strikes at the very heart of the Android world. According to leaked documents, the NSA and its counterparts in the "Five Eyes" alliance sought to ride on the traffic that connects smartphones with the likes of Google Play Store, in order to implant spyware on these devices.

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House passes USA Freedom Act, curtails NSA’s powers

House passes USA Freedom Act, curtails NSA’s powers

The NSA and other government agencies like it have been dealt yet with another near fatal blow. Just a week after the Court of Appeals agreed with the ACLU that the agency's massive data collection spree was illegal, the House of Representative further reduces the NSA's power. In an almost landslide vote of 338 to 88, the House passed what is known now as the USA Freedom Act of 2015, which imposes limits on what the government can and cannot demand in terms of private phone data.

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Appeals court rules NSA surveillance program illegal

Appeals court rules NSA surveillance program illegal

In March, the ACLU filed a lawsuit against the NSA, claiming their surveillance program was overreaching and illegal. Today, a Federal Court of Appeals has agreed with that assertion, finding the NSA’s practice of data collection “exceeds the scope of what Congress has authorized”. This decision comes well after Edward Snowden began leaking documentation highlighting just how deep and intrusive the NSA’s domestic surveillance program is. In the ruling, Circuit Judge Gerald Lynch wrote “such an expansive concept of 'relevance' is unprecedented and unwarranted”.

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Your phone’s power usage can reveal where you’ve been

Your phone’s power usage can reveal where you’ve been

When you think of smartphone location tracking, both legitimate or otherwise, and you will most likely think of technologies that directly relate to locations, like GPS, WiFi, or even Bluetooth. But a group of researchers from Standford University and Israeli defense group Rafael are proving even something so innocent sounding like your phone's battery consumption can be used to track your movements. The good news is that it's not exactly as easy or as informational as those more dedicated sensors. At least not yet.

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Hush, your Samsung Smart TV might be eavesdropping

Hush, your Samsung Smart TV might be eavesdropping

Smart TVs are smart, no doubt about that, but their smartness might come at a price. A review of Samsung's privacy policy, which, like many other such policies, are dense and full of legal gibberish, reveals that the Koeran manufacturer's intelligent entertainment displays transmit even spoken words to a third party. This means that everything you say to that fancy voice control feature is fair game to Samsung, that still unnamed third party, and potential hackers, whether you're telling the TV to switch channels or accidentally revealing details about certain undesirable family members.

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UK Prime Minister to messaging services: backdoor or get out

UK Prime Minister to messaging services: backdoor or get out

In his bid for re-election, UK Prime Minister David Cameron is threatening to have popular messaging services banned in the country unless a requirement is met. These services, which can be used as a vehicle for any type of communication, legal or otherwise, must provide a backdoor for the government to use or face being banned from the country. It's not exactly a novel or shocking idea but its is probably the boldest and most outright support for such methods from a head of state.

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Snowden reveals how to go ‘level 5’, give the NSA fits

Snowden reveals how to go ‘level 5’, give the NSA fits

In the wake of Edward Snowden once again making revelations about the NSA’s widespread and troubling spying and information gathering, we’re getting a better idea of the lengths the United States Government agency went through to soak in knowledge. We’re also finding out how hard it can be to get the information they desire. Though a single “secure” system may be easy to crack, Snowden says a layering of several might actually render you totally safe from the prying eyes of big brother.

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NSA reveals how many times you’ve been spied on (sort of)

NSA reveals how many times you’ve been spied on (sort of)

While you and I were enjoying time with our families and suffering through Grandma’s stories, the NSA decided to let loose some of their family secrets. On Christmas Eve, long after we’d all checked out mentally in anticipation of Christmas, the NSA gifted us with a file dump of all the times they’ve illegally spied on us. If you’re thinking “oh, good, I’ll command-F for my name”, think again. The files are heavily redacted, and only discuss the instances of erroneous spying.

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Palo Alto Networks reveal CoolReaper backdoor on Coolpad devices

Palo Alto Networks reveal CoolReaper backdoor on Coolpad devices

Bloatware has been an annoying issue on any device, whether it be smartphone, tablet or laptop, but what Chinese OEM Coolpad is doing goes beyond bloatware into potentially criminal territory. Palo Alto Networks, the very same research firm that alerted the world to the WireLurker iOS malware last month is now hot on the trails of "CoolReaper" a backdoor software that Coolpad has intentionally installed on millions of its devices, exposing users not just to its own control but possibly to external malicious threats as well.

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