Independent repair guy on the planned obsolescence of Apple products

Louis Rossmann is an independent service technician in New York City who has repaired Apple products for years. Read the rest

IoT vendor objects to "rude" review, renders complainer's device inoperable

R Martin bought a Garadget -- a device that lets you verify whether your garage door is closed using a mobile app -- and couldn't get it to work and left an intemperate 1-star Amazon review for the product. Read the rest

Testing products for data privacy and security

It’s an exciting and treacherous time to be a consumer. The benefits of new digital products and services are well documented, but the new risks they introduce are not. Basic security precautions are ignored to hasten time to market. Biased algorithms govern access to fair pricing. And four of the five most valuable companies in the world earn their revenue through products that mine vast quantities of consumer data, creating an unprecedented concentration of corporate power. A recent survey at Consumer Reports showed that 65% of Americans lack confidence their data is private or secure, with most consumers feeling powerless to do anything about it.

Healthcare facilities widely compromised by Medjack, malware that infects medical devices to steal your information

The healthcare industry is a well-known information security dumpster fire, from the entire hospitals hijacked by ransomware to the useless security on medical devices to the terrifying world of shitty state security for medical implants -- all made worse by the cack-handed security measures that hospital workers have to bypass to get on with saving our lives (and it's about to get worse, thanks to the Internet of Things). Read the rest

The kickstarted Pebble smartwatch is now a division of Fitbit, so they may "reduce functionality" on all the watches they ever sold

If you're one of the 60% of Pebble employees who didn't get a job offer from Fitbit, the company's new owner, you're probably not having a great Christmas season -- but that trepedation is shared by 100% of Pebble customers, who've just learned (via the fine print on an update on the Pebble Kickstarter page) that the company may soon "reduce functionality" on their watches. Read the rest

Mr Robot has driven a stake through the Hollywood hacker, and not a moment too soon

Mr Robot is the most successful example of a small but fast-growing genre of "techno-realist" media, where the focus is on realistic portrayals of hackers, information security, surveillance and privacy, and it represents a huge reversal on the usual portrayal of hackers and computers as convenient plot elements whose details can be finessed to meet the story's demands, without regard to reality. Read the rest

UK to extradite hacker with autism to US to face trial for breaking into state computers

Today a court in London okayed the extradition of a British hacker with autism to the United States, where he will face trial for breaking into high-security U.S. government computers.

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48 hours later, Adblock Plus beats Facebook's adblocker-blocker

On August 9, Facebook announced that it had defeated adblockers; on August 11, Adblock Plus announced that it had defeated Facebook. Read the rest

Your medical data: misappropriated by health-tech companies, off-limits to you

Backchannel's package on medical data and the health-tech industry profiles three people who were able to shake loose their own data and make real improvements in their lives with it: Marie Moe, who discovered that the reason she was having terrifying cardiac episodes was out-of-date firmware on her pacemaker; Steven Keating, who created a website with exquisitely detailed data on his brain tumor, including a gene-sequence that had to be run a second time because the first scan wasn't approved for "commercial" use, which included publishing it on his own site; and Annie Kuehl, whose advocacy eventually revealed the fact that doctors had suspected all along that her sick baby had a rare genetic disorder, which she only learned about after years of agonizing victim-blaming and terrifying seizures. Read the rest

For 90 years, lightbulbs were designed to burn out. Now that's coming to LED bulbs.

In 1924, representatives of the world's leading lightbulb manufacturers formed Phoebus, a cartel that fixed the average life of an incandescent bulb at 1,000 hours, ensuring that people would have to regularly buy bulbs and keep the manufacturers in business. Read the rest

Tenant farmers: how "smart" agricultural equipment siphons off farmers' crop and soil data

The agricultural sector is increasingly a data-driven business, where the "internet of farming" holds out the promise of highly optimized plowing, fertilizing, sowing, pest-management and harvesting -- a development that is supercharging the worst practices of the ag-business monopolies that have been squeezing farmers for most of a century. Read the rest

ACLU files a lawsuit to repeal the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, used to prosecute Aaron Swartz

The ACLU is suing to repeal parts of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), a 1980s-vintage hacking law that makes it a felony to "exceed authorization" on a remote computer, and which companies and the US government have used to prosecute researchers who violated websites' terms of service. Read the rest

Security researcher discovers glaring problem with patient data system, FBI stages armed dawn raid

Justin Shafer was roused from his bed this week by thunderous knocking at his North Richland Hills, Texas home, and when he opened the door, found himself staring down the barrel of a 'big green' assault weapon, wielded by one of the 12-15 armed FBI agents on his lawn. Read the rest

EFF files Chelsea Manning appeal on hacking conviction

Whistleblower Chelsea Manning is serving 35 years in prison, in part due to a conviction under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the overbroad, antiquated statute made notorious by its role in the prosecution of Aaron Swartz. Read the rest

Ex-Reuters social media editor Matthew Keys found guilty of 3 federal counts of hacking

A jury in Sacramento, California, today found former Reuters deputy social media editor Matthew Keys guilty of computer hacking under the Computer Fraud & Abuse Act (CFAA).

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MIT and EFF's Freedom to Innovate Summit: defending students' and hackers' right to tinker

The Oct 10/11 event is run jointly by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Center for Civic Media at MIT and will be hosted at the MIT Media Lab. Read the rest

MIT and Boston U open legal clinic for innovative tech projects

The Entrepreneurship & Intellectual Property Law Clinic was partly inspired by the death of Aaron Swartz, who was hounded by federal prosecutors with MIT's complicity. Read the rest

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