Vtech, having leaked 6.3m kids' data, has a new EULA disclaiming responsibility for the next leak

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Last December, Vtech, a crapgadget/toy company, suffered a breach that implicated the data of 6.3 million children, caused by its negligence toward the most basic of security measures. Read the rest

Hacker promises dump of data from 20K FBI and 9K DHS employees

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A hacker has told Motherboard that they have extracted 200GB of data from the US government, including confidential records pertaining to 20,000 FBI employees and 9,000 DHS employees. Read the rest

British spies want to be able to suck data out of US Internet giants

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As the UK government passes increasingly far-reaching surveillance laws that bind companies to capture, store and share data on their customers' activities, US tech giants like Facebook and Google are caught in a dilemma: much of what the UK government demands of them, the US government prohibits. Read the rest

Celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence of Cyberspace

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In 1996, in the midst of the Clinton administration's attack on the Internet and cryptography, Grateful Dead lyricist and EFF co-founder John Perry Barlow sat down in Davos, Switzerland, where he'd been addressing world leaders on the subject of the Internet and human rights, and wrote one of net-culture's formative documents: The Declaration of Independence of Cyberspace.

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Maryland's Attorney General: you consent to surveillance by turning on your phone

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Maryland attorney general Brian E Frosh has filed a brief appealing a decision in the case of Kerron Andrews, who was tracked by a Stingray cell-phone surveillance device. Read the rest

Watch: how to make security tools for normal humans

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Another amazing Shmoocon talk is "Users Are People Too: How to Make Your Tools Not Suck for Humans," presented by two key people from Simply Secure, a nonprofit devoted to improving security tool usability (I am a volunteer advisor to Simply Secure). Read the rest

Vice now has a Securedrop for anonymous whistleblower docs

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Securedrop is a robust, secure, anonymous system for whistleblowers to convey documents to news organizations, created by Aaron Swartz and taken up by the Freedom of the Press Foundation after his death. Read the rest

FBI's war on encryption is unnecessary because the Internet of Things will spy on us just fine

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The war on encryption waged by the F.B.I. and other intelligence agencies is unnecessary, because the data trails we voluntarily leak allow “Internet of Things” devices and social media networks to track us in ways the government can access.

That's the short version of what's in “Don’t Panic: Making Progress on the ‘Going Dark’ Debate,” a study published today by the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard.

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UK Snooper's Charter is so broad, no one can figure out what it means

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In Investigatory Powers Bill: technology issues, the UK Parliament's Science and Technology select committee takes the government to task for its signature mass surveillance law, the "Snoopers Charter" whose provisions are so broad and vague that companies can't figure out how much of their customers' data they're supposed to be storing, and whether they're meant to be backdooring all the crypto they distribute. Read the rest

The surveillance business model goes to war against the FTC

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You may have noticed a surge of articles criticizing the Federal Trade Commission for its innovation-stifling, headline-chasing, out-of-control attacks on business. The timing of these articles, op-eds and jeremiads isn't an accident. Read the rest

Health insurer loses 1m customers' health records

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Despite the fact that it "takes the privacy and security of our members' information seriously," the health insurance company Centene can't find six unencrypted hard drives with 950,000 customers' private health data, addresses, dates of birth and social security data. Read the rest

The Torist: a literary journal on the darknet

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The Torist is a newly launched literary journal, edited by University of Utah Communications associate professor Robert W Gehl and a person called GMH, collecting fiction, poetry and non-fiction. It is only available as a file on a Tor hidden service -- a "darkweb" site, protected by the same technology as was used by the likes of Silk Road. Read the rest

Facebook values Whatsapp users' data at $1/year

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This week, Whatsapp -- an instant messaging company that was founded on the principle of charging $1/year and preserving your privacy in exchange, but which sold to Facebook in 2014 for $19B -- sent users a message that their accounts would be free forevermore -- at the same time as the app quietly introduced a tickbox (optional, for now) to share your data with Facebook "to improve your Facebook experience." Read the rest

Swiss pro-privacy email provider forces a referendum on mass surveillance

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Protonmail is a Swiss pro-privacy email provider that offers end-to-end encyption to its customers. When the Swiss government proposed the Nachrichtendienstgesetzt -- a bill to create a "mini NSA" with the power to effect warrantless mass surveillance, including hacking residents' computers -- the company called on its users and supporters to petition the government for a referendum on the law. Read the rest

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

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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

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