UK Home Secretary auditions for a Python sketch: "UK does not undertake mass surveillance"

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UK Home Secretary Theresa May stood before Parliament on Wednesday, and, with a straight face, said: "The UK does not undertake mass surveillance. We have not, and we do not, undertake mass surveillance, and that is not what the Investigatory Powers Bill is about." Read the rest

Apple CEO Tim Cook demands Obama White House formally defend Americans' right to strong encryption

Tim Cook. Reuters, 2015

Jenna McLaughlin at The Intercept writes that Apple CEO Tim Cook “lashed out at the high-level delegation of Obama administration officials who came calling on tech leaders in San Jose last week.” 

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Now that they know the NSA is spying on them, Congress is really worried about domestic surveillance

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It's not just Rep Pete Hoekstra [R-MI] who switched sides in the surveillance debate when he discovered that his beloved NSA had been spying on him -- a whole raft of Congressional NSA cheerleaders have followed the path that German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the entire UK Parliament blazed when they learned that, as far as spies were concerned, no one was exempt. Read the rest

Work for the Electronic Frontier Foundation: Hacker, lawyer, activist geeks

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The Electronic Frontier Foundation is hiring four new staffers: a criminal defense staff attorney, a technology generalist and two new activists (here's what life is like for EFF activists). Read the rest

Lessig on how the economics of data-retention will drive privacy tech

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In an interview with the WSJ's CIO blog, Lawrence Lessig proposes that the existence of cryptographic tools that allow for "zero-knowledge" data-querying, combined with the potential liability from leaks, will drive companies to retain less data on their customers. Read the rest

UK government wants to send tech execs to jail for disclosing surveillance

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Ministers are lobbying to make it a criminal offense for a tech company to inform a user that the UK government is spying on them. Read the rest

NSA's biggest congressional apologist is outraged that the NSA spied on him and Israel

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Rep Pete Hoekstra [R-MI] calls spying "a matter of fact," he attacked a bill that would impose oversight on the NSA, and he "laughs at foreign governments who are shocked they’ve been spied on because they, too, gather information" -- except when the targets of the NSA's surveillance are Congress and Israel's leaders. Read the rest

TSA threatens to stop accepting driver's licenses from nine states as of Jan 10

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When Congress passed the 2005 Real ID act -- mandating easy sharing (and intrinsic insecurity) -- of driver's license data, they insisted compliance by states with the rules would be voluntary. Read the rest

UK Home Secretary rejects request for her browsing history as "vexatious"

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UK Home Secretary Theresa May has introduced the Snoopers Charter, through which your ISP will be required to retain a record of everything you do on the Internet and make it available to government and police without meaningful checks and balances or privacy protection. Read the rest

IXmaps: a tool to figure out when the NSA can see Canadians' data

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Canadians' data requests overwhelming flow through US cables, even when the communications are within Canada. Since the NSA takes the view that it is legally entitled to collect, inspect and retain foreign communications, this means that almost all Canadian communications are being spied on by a foreign power. Read the rest

EFF and Human Rights Watch force DEA to destroy its mass surveillance database

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The EFF has just settled a case against the Drug Enforcement Agency on behalf of its client, Human Rights Watch, which sued the Agency over its decades-long program of illegal mass surveillance. Read the rest

The Tor Project has a new executive director: former EFF director Shari Steele!

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Shari Steele, who served as the executive director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation for 15 years and built the organization from a six-person shoestring operation that didn't even have an office into a fifty+ person, multimillion-dollar powerhouse, has come out of retirement to serve as the new executive director for the Tor Foundation, which oversees the Tor and Tails privacy/anonymity projects. Read the rest

FBI tells tech companies offering encryption to reconsider “their business model”

FBI Director James Comey, 2014.  [REUTERS]

Despite zero indication the people responsible for recent terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino used encryption, the FBI is launching an all-out PR war on crypto.

Now, FBI director James Comey is making tech firms that offer end-to-end encryption tools an offer they can't refuse: they should reconsider “their business model,” he said today, and instead adopt encryption techniques that let them intercept communications, and hand them over to law enforcement when asked.

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Crowdfunding ORG's campaign to fight the UK government's mass surveillance

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For two successive Parliaments, the UK Tory party has been trying to pass the most extensive mass-spying bill in the western world. It's called the Snoopers Charter, and after the Paris attacks, it came back with a vengeance. Read the rest

Army decides to stop putting soldiers' Social Security numbers on their dog tags

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In a major policy change that sounds like a Very Good Idea, the U.S. Army announced today that dog tags will no longer include the Social Security numbers of the soldier wearing them. SSNs have been part of this identification system for over 40 years.

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ACT! Congress about to gut privacy protection from CISA "cybersecurity" bill

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CISA, the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, encourages companies to spy on their customers and hand the data to the government, in secret, with full immunity (including immunity for launching cyberattacks at users). Read the rest

French Ministry of Interior wants to ban open wifi, Tor

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A leaked memo from the Ministry sets out new bills it would like to see introduced into the French Parliament as early as next month, setting out an ambitious plan to block privacy tools, something only technically possible by recreating China's Great Firewall in a European democracy, spying on all networked activity to prevent the use of Tor. Read the rest

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