Uh-oh: Cox Cable's insurer won't back them in court against BMG Music


BMG Rights Management and Round Hill Music. has been trying to enlist Cox Cable as an accomplice in a copyright trolling scheme, demanding that the company pass on copyright infringement notices that accuse users of downloading music and order them to pay large sums of music or face punishing lawsuits. Read the rest

Devastating technical rebuttal to the Snoopers Charter


The Snoopers Charter is the UK Tory government's proposal to force ISPs to retain records of all their customers' online activities, and the government has used the excuse of the Paris attacks to call for its immediate passage despite the fact that the £175m/year the government has budgeted to defray ISPs' costs is not even close to enough to pay for the massive surveillance effort, meaning that Britons' ISP bills are set to soar if it passes. Read the rest

What's inside a "Hello Barbie" surveillance toy?


Mattel's Hello Barbie has a microphone and a wifi interface, and it transmits the phrases it hears to a central server in order to parse them and formulate a response. Mattel claims that the data isn't being retained or harvested for marketing purposes, and assures parents that they can make Barbie stopping eavesdropping on them at will. But does it work? Read the rest

How browser extensions steal logins & browsing habits; conduct corporate espionage


Seemingly harmless browser extensions that generate emojis, enlarge thumbnails, help you debug Javascript errors and other common utilities routinely run secret background processes that collect and retransmit your login credentials, private URLs that grant access to sensitive files, corporate secrets, full PDFs and other personally identifying, potentially compromising data. Read the rest

Activist tricked into 6-year relationship with undercover cop tells her story


It's been five years since the first cases of UK undercover police officers infiltrating environmental groups and tricking activists into having sex with them surfaced, and now, one of the survivors of the practice, "Lisa," has granted her first-ever interview. Read the rest

If the Paris attackers weren't using crypto, the next ones will, and so should you


Lots of law enforcement agencies hate crypto, because the technology that helps us protect our communications from criminals and griefers and stalkers and spies also helps criminals keep secrets from cops. With each terrorist attack there's a fresh round of doom-talk from spooks and cops about the criminals "going dark" -- as though the present situation, in which the names and personal information of everyone who talks to everyone else, all the time, where they are then they talk, where they go and who they talk to next, is somehow less surveillant than the past, when cops could sometimes use analog tape-recorders to wiretap the very few conversations that took place on landlines. Read the rest

There is no record of US mass surveillance ever preventing a large terror attack


CIA Director John Brennan wants you to think the Paris attacks were Snowden's fault -- the "hand wringing" over mass surveillance has ended his agency's ability to "thwart" terrorists attacks "before they're carried out." There's only one problem with that: there's no evidence that the US's mass surveillance programs have ever prevented a major terrorist attack. Read the rest

Startup uses ultrasound chirps to covertly link and track all your devices

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Silverpush, a startup that's just received $1.25M in venture capital, uses ultrasonic chirps that are emitted by apps, websites, and TV commercials to combine the identities associated with different devices (tablets, phones, computers, etc), so that your activity on all of them can be aggregated and sold to marketers. Read the rest

I-Spy Surveillance Books: a child's first Snoopers Charter


A timely entry from the Scarfolk blog, which documents the doings in a small, sinister English town caught in a loop between 1970 and 1979: the I-Spy Surveillance books, which "transformed the tedium of surveillance into play, encouraging children to routinely observe and record the actions, speech and private correspondence of people who the government deemed to be enemies of society. These included 'free-thinkers, beneficiaries of welfare and other degenerates. [...] Extremists, potential extremists, and those whose profound lack of extremist attributes is extreme in itself, are also worthy of suspicion and censure.'" Read the rest

Edward Snowden's operational security advice for normal humans


There's no one else on Earth who's more familiar with the surveillance capabilities of governments, spy agencies and criminals who is also willing to discuss those capabilities. Edward Snowden's wide-ranging conversation with the Freedom of the Press Foundation's Micah Lee on operational security for normal people is a must-read for anyone who wants to be safe from identity thieves, stalkers, corrupt governments, police forces, and spy agencies. Read the rest

Britons' Internet access bills will soar to pay for Snoopers Charter


The UK government has budgeted £175m/year to bribe ISPs to magically divide their customers' "data" and "metadata" and store a year's worth of the latter. This isn't even close to the real cost of creating and maintaining the massive storehouses of highly sensitive data on every Briton, and so ISPs are warning government and the public to expect much higher broadband rates in the future in order to recoup the cost of mass surveillance. Read the rest

UK law will allow secret backdoor orders for software, imprison you for disclosing them


Under the UK's new Snoopers Charter (AKA the Investigatory Powers Bill), the Secretary of State will be able to order companies to introduce security vulnerabilities into their software ("backdoors") and then bind those companies over to perpetual secrecy on the matter, with punishments of up to a year in prison for speaking out, even in court. Read the rest

Federal judge orders NSA to stop collecting and searching plaintiffs' phone records


United States District Judge Richard Leon has affirmed his 2013 ruling and has ordered the NSA to stop collecting phone records belonging to J.J. Little and his firm J.J. Little & Associates, P.C., and to segregate all the records collected to date so that they aren't searched. Read the rest

Here's the kind of data the UK government will have about you, in realtime


UK Home Secretary Theresa May has announced legislation that will force ISPs to preserve the records of all of your online interactions and give them up to practically anyone in government, with little to no judicial oversight. Read the rest

The CIA writes like Lovecraft, Bureau of Prisons is like Stephen King, & NSA is like...


Michael from Muckrock writes, "When MuckRock stumbled on I Write Like - a service that lets you see which famous author a given piece of writing resembles - they immediately knew what it was destined for: Helping shed light on on the literary influences of the mysterious FOIA offices they deal with on a daily basis. Fittingly, some offices echo HP Lovecraft's dark horror, while others are more Dan Brown. But you'll never guess which agency seems to take a cue from Cory Doctorow ..." Read the rest

Spy at will! FCC won't force companies to honor Do Not Track


The FCC has rejected Consumer Watchdog's petition to force Internet companies like "Google, Facebook, YouTube, Pandora, Netflix, and LinkedIn") to honor the "Do Not Track" flag that browsers can send to web-servers, informing them that users do not want their Internet activity to be tracked and shared with third parties. Read the rest

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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