U.S. charges ex-IBM software developer from China with espionage over stolen code

Exterior of U.S. Department of Justice building in DC. Photo: Reuters.

The U.S. Justice Department is charging a Chinese national with economic espionage charges, saying he stole source code from an American company with the intent of transferring it to the Chinese government. He is reported to have been an employee of IBM at the time of the alleged crime.

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Microsoft sues US government for the right to tell you when the feds are reading your email

REUTERS

“We appreciate that there are times when secrecy around a government warrant is needed,” Microsoft President Brad Smith wrote in a blog post Thursday. “But based on the many secrecy orders we have received, we question whether these orders are grounded in specific facts that truly demand secrecy. To the contrary, it appears that the issuance of secrecy orders has become too routine.”

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FBI may have dropped one iPhone case against Apple, but the battle is far from over

NYPD officer across the street from Apple's 5th Ave. store, NYC, March 11, 2016. REUTERS
The Justice Department says that security features on a San Bernardino attacker's iPhone were bypassed by an ‘outside party’, making that one important government case against Apple moot. But many other similar cases, including other cases involving Apple, are going forward. The war on your phone's security is just beginning.

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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.

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Today, Congress finally showed it's willing to fight the FBI on encryption

FBI Director James Comey arrives for a House Judiciary hearing on "The Encryption Tightrope: Balancing Americans' Security and Privacy" on Capitol Hill in Washington March 1, 2016. REUTERS

It took a while, but FBI director Jim Comey got a little bit of the grilling he has earned in the FBI vs. Apple case. Freedom of the Press Foundation's Trevor Timm writes on today's House Judiciary Committee hearings on Capitol Hill, at which both the government and the Cupertino tech giant were represented.

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On whistleblowers and secrecy: What author Barry Eisler said to a room of ex-intelligence officers

Whistleblowers Edward Snowden, Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning in the installation "Anything to Say?" by Italian artist Davide Dormino. REUTERS

Author and former CIA officer Barry Eisler spoke at the Association of Former Intelligence Officers opposite ex-CIA and NSA director Michael Hayden on Monday. Below, an adaptation of his opening remarks about the importance of whistleblowers and government transparency. Eisler's new novel, "God's Eye View," inspired by the Snowden revelations, is available now on Amazon.

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Rallies planned at Apple stores to protest the FBI's crusade to hack your iPhone

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Fight For The Future is organizing rallies at Apple store locations nationwide to protest a court order pressuring the tech company to build a “backdoor” that would give the FBI the power to hack the iPhone. Today, it's the San Bernardino killers they're asking about, because who could argue with that? But tomorrow, maybe it'll be your phone.

“iPhone users will gather outside stores with a simple message for the government: 'Don’t Break Our Phones.'”

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Celebrity gossip site TMZ runs more like a global spying operation

Harvey Levin

How does TMZ get the videos and photos that celebrities want to hide? Because like any good intelligence operation, their spies aren't above paying for intelligence. TMZ pays its sources good money for tips on the dirty-doings of the rich and famous, and operates in Hollywood with the reach and stealth of an effective surveillance outfit.

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

Reuters

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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Clapper hacked: US Intelligence director’s personal e-mail and phone breached

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The same entity that claims to be behind a recent hack of CIA Director John Brennan's personal email now claims to be behind a breach of the accounts of Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence confirmed to Motherboard that Clapper had been targeted, and that the case has been forwarded to law enforcement.

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US officials totally cool with classified surveillance leaks, long as it fits their story

Russian Military investigators stand near  debris of a Russian airliner at its crash site in north Egypt, Nov. 1, 2015. REUTERS

In the past few days there have been a flurry of stories about the Russian plane that crashed in the Sinai peninsula, which investigators reportedly think may have been caused by a bomb. Notably, anonymous US officials have been leaking to journalists that they believe ISIS is involved, and it’s a perfect illustration of the US government’s rank hypocrisy when it comes to the Edward Snowden disclosures.

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Apps regularly spy on users; Android moreso than iOS

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A study found that it's now the norm for smartphone apps to "spy" on their users, reporting what they do on their devices while the software is running.

The research, conducted by MIT, Carnegie-Mellon and Harvard, examined the behavior of 110 titles and found that 73 percent of Android apps and 47 percent of the iOS apps reported the user's location. 49 percent of Android apps share personally-identifying information, whereas 25 percent of iOS apps do.

The key revelation is they're not just phoning home: some of the Apps are leaking data to more than a dozen different domains.

Privacy International said it was more evidence of how devices "betray us". The study, Who Know What About Me? A Survey of Behind the Scenes Personal Data Sharing to Third Parties by Mobile Apps, tested 55 of the most popular Android apps and the same number of iOS apps. The researchers recorded the HTTP and HTTPS traffic that occurred while using the different apps and looked for transmissions that included personally identifiable information, behavioural data such as search terms and location data.
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Next time a government hacks your Facebook account, Facebook will let you know

Photo: Reuters
Facebook says that starting today, they will notify users “if we believe your account has been targeted or compromised by an attacker suspected of working on behalf of a nation-state.”

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In online censorship arms race, Thailand vows a China-style “Great Firewall”

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“Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content,” reports Voice Of America Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok.

The plan is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall," after the colloquial term used to describe the Chinese government's extensive and effective internet censorship system. Read the rest

Being followed? Here's how to shake your tail

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At Hopes&Fears, Kristen Felicetti has tips from private dicks on how to lose someone who is following you, in a car, on foot, and on public transportation. Read the rest

Obama snubs NYC's Waldorf Astoria hotel over China bugging fears, scream tabloids

President Obama. WABC, July 17, 2015.

President Obama. WABC, July 17, 2015.

Most fears about bugs in New York City hotels involve the kind that live in beds. Today, another type of hotel bug is in the news. Read the rest

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's rep to meet with U.S. ambassador over NSA spying charges

U.S. Ambassador to Germany John Emerson (C) is surrounded by body guards as he arrives at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, July 2, 2015.  REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch
The spying controversy stemmed from documents released by Wikileaks about NSA surveillance of German officials.

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