Mayor of Stockton, CA detained by DHS at SFO, forced to give up laptop password


Mayor Anthony R. Silva was on his way back from a mayor's conference in China when the DHS border guards confiscated his laptop and phones and detained him, telling him he would not be allowed to leave until he gave them his passwords. He has still not had his devices returned. Read the rest

Data breaches are winning the privacy wars, so what should privacy advocates do?


My latest Guardian column, "Why is it so hard to convince people to care about privacy," argues that the hard part of the privacy wars (getting people to care about privacy) is behind us, because bad privacy regulation and practices are producing wave after wave of people who really want to protect their privacy. Read the rest

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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

Hundreds of Canadian artists call for repeal of surveillance law


Bill C-51 is a sweeping, radical mass-surveillance bill proposed by the current Canadian Tory government, which will be fighting an election next month. Read the rest

Kickstarting an encrypted email game about the Snowden leaks


James writes, "A blend of fact and fiction, players take on the role of an NSA agent tracking down the source of the leaks. They'll discover the journalists involved, and the real messages sent by Snowden to them at the time." Read the rest

The FBI has no trouble spying on encrypted communications


Every time the Bureau wants to spy on someone whose communications are encrypted, they just hack them. Read the rest

Carly Fiorina boasts: I sold the NSA its mass-surveillance servers


When National Security Agency director Michael Hayden told then-CEO-of-HP/now-Republican-presidential-hopeful Carly Fiorina he needed servers to put the entire USA under unconstitutional surveillance, she leapt into action to supply him with the materiel he needed. Read the rest

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The Snowden Treaty: protecting the world's whistleblowers in the age of privacy breaches


The Treaty on the Right to Privacy, Protection Against Improper Surveillance and Protection of Whistleblowers [PDF] (AKA "The Snowden Treaty") was created by David Miranda, Glenn Greenwald's partner, who was detained by UK police under terrorism legislation while transiting through London's Heathrow airport with a encrypted thumbdrive containing some of the Snowden leaks. Read the rest

UK film industry: our cinemas patrolled by Silence of the Lambs nightvision LARPers


For more than a decade, the UK movie industry makes a big deal out of announcing that audiences at the latest blockbuster movies will be surveilled by bored teenagers who get to LARP Buffalo Bill with greasy night-vision goggles that they'll use to catch camming pirates. Read the rest

These tech giants just asked US government for more surveillance; call Congress now!


Evan from Fight for the Future writes, "Apple, Microsoft, Adobe, IBM, Salesforce / Heroku, and a handful of other tech companies just betrayed billions of people's trust. They signed a letter endorsing CISA, the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act." Read the rest

David Cameron now all alone in demanding crypto backdoors, doubles down on antibiotic resistant superterrorists


The US government has given up on demanding backdoors in cryptography for now (advocates have announced that they'll wait until a terrorist attack and then use that as the excuse for fresh demands), leaving the UK government as the last man standing in the race to compromise the security of the technologies with the power of life and death over us. Read the rest

Cyber-arms dealer offers $1M for weaponizable Iphone bugs


Zerodium, a new firm started by the founder of notorious French arms dealers Vupen, have put out the $1M bounty for unpublished vulnerabilities in the Iphone; they plan on keeping these vulns a secret so that they can be turned into cyberweapons and sold to repressive governments who want to use them to spy on their citizens using their own phone cameras, mics, and keyboards. Read the rest

America's spooks abandon crypto-backdoors, plan shock-doctrine revival


They have decided that there's no political will to ban crypto today, but have vowed to bring it back after some unspecific future terrorist atrocity. Read the rest

For the first time ever, a judge has invalidated a secret Patriot Act warrant


Calyx is a privacy-oriented ISP. In 2004, the FBI brought its owner, Nicholas Merrill, a National Security Letter -- one of the USA Patriot Act's secret search warrants, which comes with a gag order prohibiting the recipient from ever disclosing its existence.

Merrill has fought the gag order for 11 years, refusing to give up despite government attempts to get the case booted and to run up the court costs beyond Merrill's ability to pay.

He had a partial victory in 2010, when he and the ACLU won a court victory that allowed him to disclose some elements of the NSL, but left important details -- including the categories of information the FBI believes it can request under an NSL -- still secret. This latest victory overturns that restriction.

The judge in this case, Judge Victor Marrero, also presided over a 2007 case that overturned part of the Patriot Act, requiring investigators to go through the courts in order to get NSLs. In his Calyx decision, he condemned the government's secrecy as "extreme and overly broad."

U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero’s decision invalidated the gag order in full, finding no “good reason” to prevent Merrill from speaking about any aspect of the NSL, particularly an attachment to the NSL that lists the specific types of “electronic communication transactional records” (“ECTR”) that the FBI believed it was authorized to demand. The FBI has long refused to clarify what kinds of information it sweeps up under the rubric of ECTR, a phrase that appears in the NSL statute but is not publicly defined anywhere.

Read the rest

Knuckle-scanning anti-cheating software won't say what it's doing with Rutgers students' data

Rutgers students taking exams are required to pay $32 in fees for Verificient's Proctortrack, an anti-cheating program that collects, audio, video, web activity and "scans the ID, face and knuckles" as well as voice-prints. Read the rest

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