Waze is an awesome driving app that also lets hackers stalk you

Elena Scotti/FUSION

I use and love Waze every day to make driving in Los Angeles manageable for me. I still use it despite periodic bursts of tech news reports that the app leaves me vulnerable to security attacks and surveillance.

Read the rest

UK spy agencies store sensitive data on millions of innocent people, with no safeguards from abuse

stacked-paper-sheets

Privacy International won a lawsuit forcing the UK government to publish thousands of pages of records on the use of "Bulk Personal Datasets" by the spy agencies GCHQ, MI5 and MI6. Read the rest

FBI paid at least $1.3 million to hack into the San Bernardino iPhone

iPhone parts in a NY repair store, February 17, 2016.  REUTERS

The Wall Street Journal (paywall) reports that the FBI payed more than $1m to get into the San Bernardino terrorist's iPhone after Apple refused to create software to bypass its encryption. The Washington Post reports that a one-off $1.3m price tag was admitted, obliquely, by FBI Director James Comey by comparison with his own salary.

Federal authorities have not publicly revealed who helped the FBI unlock the San Bernardino iPhone, which was at the center of an extended fight between the government and Apple. The Justice Department had maintained that only Apple could help it access the phone without erasing all of its data before abruptly saying it had gotten help from an outside party and no longer needed Apple’s assistance.

According to people familiar with the issue, the FBI cracked the phone with the help of professional hackers who were paid a one-time flat fee. Law enforcement officials have said recently that the FBI has found no links to foreign terrorists on the phone, though they are still hoping that geolocation data on the device could help reveal what the attackers did during an 18-minute period after the shooting.

The FBI's attempts to compel Apple's cooperation backfired after CEO Tim Cook publicly accused the Bureau of exploiting the case to try and gain backdoor access to iPhones in general. The phone ultimately yielded no useful information.
“But it was, in my view, worth it,” the FBI director said of what it cost to access the phone’s data.
Read the rest

Edward Snowden provides vocals on a beautiful new Jean-Michel Jarre composition

1035x581-Jean-Michel-Jarre-&-Edward-Snowden-video-call-01

Jarre tapped the whistleblower for vocals on "Exit," a track from Electronica 2: The Heart of Noise, a new electronic music album that drops in three weeks. Read the rest

Ron Wyden vows to filibuster anti-cryptography bill

3642123174_18d160528f_b

Senators Richard Burr [R-NC] and Dianne Feinstein [D-CA] finally introduced their long-rumored anti-crypto bill, which will ban US companies from making products with working cryptography, mandating that US-made products have some way to decrypt information without the user's permission. Read the rest

Let's Encrypt is actually encrypting the whole Web

free-ssl-certificate

Let's Encrypt (previously) a joint EFF-Mozilla-Linux Foundation project that lets anyone easily create an SSL certificate for free in minutes and install and configure it so that visitors to their Websites will be shielded from surveillance, came out of beta this week, and it's already making a huge difference. Read the rest

Cassetteboy's latest video is an amazing, danceable anti-Snoopers Charter mashup

animation

Cassetteboy, last seen with this amazing video about David Cameron's relationship with dead pigs, is back with a new video that mashes up the UK Prime Minister and Home Secretary/Sith Lord Theresa May describing the real powers in the notorious Snoopers Charter (a far-reaching spying bill), set to the Police's "I'll Be Watching You" (what else?). Read the rest

Publishers call Brave's privacy-centric browser "illegal"; Brave responds

image02

Brave is a new experimental browser from Brendan Eich, inventor of Javascript and co-founder of Mozilla. It comes with a built-in ad-blocker that only blocks third party ads, and replaces them with non-tracking ads from its own inventory, whose revenue is then shared with publishers and users, on better terms than most ad networks give. Read the rest

Motel owner spent 30 years spying on his guests' sex lives, considered himself a "researcher"

056c026d-1c66-4d42-9fae-a8e96df290c5-1020x1036

In 1980, New Yorker stalwart Gay Talese received a handwritten note by special-delivery: it was from Gerald Foos, a Colorado motel owner, and he revealed that he had been spying on his customers' sex lives for decades and taking meticulous notes, which he offered to share with Talese for his upcoming book, Thy Neighbor's Wife, a now-classic investigation into the hidden sex lives of Americans. Read the rest

Tax investigators and bill collectors use Rich Kids of Instagram to uncover oligarchs' hidden millions

2227388-richierich

One of the perks of being insanely wealthy is you can hide your money, so when you rip people off or hide your taxes or divorce your spouse, your victims can't figure out how to get their due. Read the rest

The price of stealing an identity is crashing, with no bottom in sight

056c026d-1c66-4d42-9fae-a8e96df290c5-1020x1030

The sharp increase in known, unpatched vulnerabilities in the tools we use to access the Internet has caused the price of exploits is falling through the floor. Read the rest

The US Government's domestic spy-planes take weekends and holidays off

056c026d-1c66-4d42-9fae-a8e96df290c5-1020x1029

If you spend enough time looking at Flightradar24's data about fly-overs of American cities, you can figure out where and when the feds are flying domestic spy-aircraft, watching for the tell-tale circling patterns and mapping the planes' owners to companies that investigative journalists have revealed to be fake cut-outs for the FBI. Read the rest

Artist installs sculptures that are also Tor nodes in the world's galleries

IMG_6969_D01-1024x693

Trevor Paglen and Jacob Appelbaum collaborate to create beautiful, acrylic-encased computers that are also Tor nodes, anonymizing data that passes through them, and install the in art galleries all over the world, so that patrons can communicate and browse anonymously, while learning about anonymity and Tor. Read the rest

Surveillance has reversed the net's capacity for social change

056c026d-1c66-4d42-9fae-a8e96df290c5-1020x1009

Sociologists describe the "spiral of silence": people with socially unpopular ideas fear that they're the only ones who think that way, and say nothing, and their silence convinces others that they, too are alone, begetting yet more silence. Read the rest

Justice Department to drop 'FBI vs. Apple' case, because they've unlocked the iPhone

Tashfeen Malik, left, and Syed Farook died on Dec. 2, 2015, in a gun battle with authorities several hours after their assault on a gathering of Farook's colleagues in San Bernardino, Calif., that left 14 people dead.

The #FBIvsApple legal case may be over, but the fight over security, privacy, and the right to live free of surveillance has just begun. The Justice Department is expected to drop its legal action against Apple, possibly as soon as today, because an 'outside method' to bypass security on the San Bernardino gunman's iPhone has proven successful, a federal law enforcement official said Monday.

Read the rest

Silverpush says it's not in the ultrasonic audio-tracker ad-beacons business anymore

silverpush

Silverpush, the company that pioneered covert ultrasonic audio beacons that let advertisers link your activity on phones, tablets and laptops, says it will no longer sell the technology and does not want to be associated with the idea any longer. Read the rest

Privacy concerns at the heart of the evolving web

hulk-court_360

Hulk Hogan's courtroom sex-tape victory signifies how much the web has already changed, writes John Hermann: casual privacy invasion only disgusts readers who are all-too-aware that they might be next.

In 2012, the vast majority of Twitter posts that linked to Gawker’s video were lighthearted jokes — about Mr. Bollea’s physique, about the humiliation of a childhood idol, about fame-seeking… [but by] 2014, when hackers posted hundreds of photos obtained from celebrities’ private accounts. Publications that had previously trafficked in leaked nude photos — including Gawker Media properties and sites like BuzzFeed — shied away from publishing them.

Lurking in the background: Facebook, its policies and preferences. Read the rest

More posts