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.” 

Read the rest

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

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