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


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”


“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


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.

New York nears settlement with local Muslim leaders over spying lawsuit

Muslim-Americans protesting NYPD surveillance. Image: Reuters
The city is nearing a settlement with several Muslim clerics who filed a 2013 federal discrimination lawsuit alleging illegal NYPD spying.

CNN interview with author of discredited Sunday Times story on Snowden is painful to watch

Screen Shot 2015-06-16 at 11.57.09 AM
If you haven't seen it, you owe it to yourself to do so now.

NSA can't legally surveil Americans' every phone call, for now. Thanks, Edward Snowden.

For the time being, we can call our mom, our best friend, or a pizza delivery service without the NSA automatically keeping a record of who we called, when, and how long the conversation lasts.

Canada's spies surveil the whole world's downloads

A newly released Snowden leak jointly published by the CBC and The Intercept documents Canada's Communications Security Establishment's LEVITATION program, which spies on 15 million downloads from P2P, file lockers, and popular file distribution sites. Read the rest

US appeals court rules a warrant is required for cell phone location tracking

Big news in the fight for security and privacy in the US: the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals this week ruled that a warrant is required for cell phone location tracking.

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'NSA vs. USA,' anti-spying dance music video

An anti-mass-surveillance music video by Shahid Buttar, director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee.

Download the extended dance floor mix. Read the lyrics (annotated with hyperlinks to help you learn more). [HT: Rainey Reitman]

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House approves 'media shield' amendment, as reporter reveals 2011 subpoena fight

The House of Representatives today voted 225-183 to approve an appropriations bill amendment that bars the Justice Department from forcing reporters to testify about their confidential sources.

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NBC airs Edward Snowden's first US TV interview

The hour-long conversation with Brian Williams is the former NSA contractor’s first US television interview since leaking NSA documents to reporters.

US gov may block Chinese nationals from Defcon hacker event

The US government may use visa restrictions to ban hackers from China from participating in the 2014 Defcon hacker conference in Las Vegas. The move is part of a larger effort by the US to combat Chinese internet espionage.

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New NYT editor spiked NSA spying story

Dean Baquet.

Mostly lost in the past week's media gossip around NYT executive editor Jill Abramson's ouster, and Dean Baquet's promotion to her role: Baquet is the former LA Times editor who killed the biggest NSA leak pre-Edward Snowden.

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