Motel owner spent 30 years spying on his guests' sex lives, considered himself a "researcher"

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In 1980, New Yorker stalwart Gay Talese received a handwritten note by special-delivery: it was from Gerald Foos, a Colorado motel owner, and he revealed that he had been spying on his customers' sex lives for decades and taking meticulous notes, which he offered to share with Talese for his upcoming book, Thy Neighbor's Wife, a now-classic investigation into the hidden sex lives of Americans. Read the rest

The price of stealing an identity is crashing, with no bottom in sight

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The sharp increase in known, unpatched vulnerabilities in the tools we use to access the Internet has caused the price of exploits is falling through the floor. Read the rest

The US Government's domestic spy-planes take weekends and holidays off

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If you spend enough time looking at Flightradar24's data about fly-overs of American cities, you can figure out where and when the feds are flying domestic spy-aircraft, watching for the tell-tale circling patterns and mapping the planes' owners to companies that investigative journalists have revealed to be fake cut-outs for the FBI. Read the rest

Artist installs sculptures that are also Tor nodes in the world's galleries

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Trevor Paglen and Jacob Appelbaum collaborate to create beautiful, acrylic-encased computers that are also Tor nodes, anonymizing data that passes through them, and install the in art galleries all over the world, so that patrons can communicate and browse anonymously, while learning about anonymity and Tor. Read the rest

FBI signals it has new iPhone-unlocking powers, and plans to use them: Xeni on KCRW's 'Press Play'

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On today's edition of the KCRW daily news program Press Play, I speak with host Madeleine Brand about what we know, as of today, about any new capabilities the FBI may have acquired in its quest to bypass the security features on Apple iOS devices in various investigations.

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Reddit's Warrant Canary just died

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In early 2015, Reddit published a transparency report that contained heading for National Security Requests, noting, "As of January 29, 2015, reddit has never received a National Security Letter, an order under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or any other classified request for user information." Read the rest

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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Surveillance has reversed the net's capacity for social change

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Sociologists describe the "spiral of silence": people with socially unpopular ideas fear that they're the only ones who think that way, and say nothing, and their silence convinces others that they, too are alone, begetting yet more silence. Read the rest

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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Silverpush says it's not in the ultrasonic audio-tracker ad-beacons business anymore

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Silverpush, the company that pioneered covert ultrasonic audio beacons that let advertisers link your activity on phones, tablets and laptops, says it will no longer sell the technology and does not want to be associated with the idea any longer. Read the rest

McAfee shovelware emits tracking beacons

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Researchers at Duo Labs bought a "stack" of OEM laptops and audited the preinstalled shovelware they came with, looking specifically at the security implications of the default settings. Read the rest

Open letter from virtually every leading UK law light: Snooper's Charter not fit for purpose

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The Snooper's Charter is the mass-surveillance bill the UK government is trying to ram through Parliament. It's incredibly, irresponsibly broad -- and that's been the conclusion of every independent expert who's looked at it to date. Read the rest

BRITONS: Act now to kill the Snoopers Charter

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Ed from the UK Open Rights Group writes, "Right now, the Government is ramming a new snooping law through Parliament. The Investigatory Powers Bill would force companies such as Sky, BT, Google and Facebook to keep detailed records of what we do online for a year -- even if we are not suspected of committing any crime whatsoever." Read the rest

Using distributed code-signatures to make it much harder to order secret backdoors

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Cothority is a new software project that uses "multi-party cryptographic signatures" to make it infinitely harder for governments to order companies to ship secret, targeted backdoors to their products as innocuous-looking software updates. Read the rest

Verizon pays $1.35M FCC settlement for using "supercookies"

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In 2014, Verizon was caught sneaking "supercookies" onto its customers' computers -- these are tracking cookies that bypassed the normal cookie system to surveil Verizon users and target ads to them. Read the rest

Why the First Amendment means that the FBI can't force Apple to write and sign code

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Code is speech: critical court rulings from the early history of the Electronic Frontier Foundation held that code was a form of expressive speech, protected by the First Amendment. Read the rest

Apple vs FBI: The privacy disaster is inevitable, but we can prevent the catastrophe

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My new Guardian column, Forget Apple's fight with the FBI – our privacy catastrophe has only just begun, explains how surveillance advocates have changed their arguments: 20 years ago, they argued that the lack of commercial success for privacy tools showed that the public didn't mind surveillance; today, they dismiss Apple's use of cryptographic tools as a "marketing stunt" and treat the proportionality of surveillance as a settled question. Read the rest

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