#FBIvsApple could lead to "virtually limitless" surveillance powers, warns judge in iPhone case

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What's at stake in the fight between the FBI and Apple over those iPhones? Oh, no big deal, just the legal green light for “virtually limitless” surveillance under the Internet of Things. That's what a federal judge has ruled in an order rejecting a government request in a New York drug case.

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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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Watch it live: U.S. Senate floor speeches on proposed Digital Security Commission

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From the camp of two lawmakers who recently introduced Senate legislation to establish “an independent National Commission on Security and Technology Challenges,” news that Senators Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) will join their Senate colleagues in discussing the legislation on the Senate Floor. You can watch it live, and you should. Today at 3pm ET/12pm PT.

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A brief history of the surveillance debate

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2012: "Mass surveillance is fine -- if it wasn't, you'd see major corporations trying to court new business by building in crypto tools that kept out the surveillance agencies. The fact that they're not doing this tells you that surveillance opponents are an out-of-touch, paranoid minority." Read the rest

Baidu browser isn't just a surveillance tool, it's a remarkably sloppy one

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Chinese Internet giant Baidu -- a combination between Google, Facebook and Twitter, with key investments in many companies, including Uber -- makes its own Windows/Android browser, long believed to be a de facto surveillance tool. Read the rest

Bill Gates: Microsoft would backdoor its products in a heartbeat

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Bill Gates has joined Donald Trump in condemning Apple for refusing to backdoor its products at the behest of the FBI, promising that the company that he founded, a waning firm called Microsoft, would happily compromise its security on demand for the US government. Read the rest

Wikileaks: NSA spied on UN Secretary General and world leaders over climate and trade

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In less than an hour, Wikileaks will publish a set of TOP-SECRET/COMINT-GAMMA documents -- "the most highly classified documents ever published by a media organization" -- that document NSA spying on UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, former French leader Nicolas Sarkozy, and key Japanese and EU trade reps in an attempt to gain an advantage in negotiations regarding climate change and global trade. Read the rest

NH bill would explicitly allow libraries to run Tor exit nodes

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Inspired by the Library Freedom Project's uncompromising bravery in the face of a DHS threat against a town library in Kilton, NH, that was running a Tor exit node to facilitate private, anonymous communication, the New Hampshire legislature is now considering a bill that would explicitly permit public libraries to "allow the installation and use of cryptographic privacy platforms on public library computers for library patrons use." Read the rest

Eleven years and counting: EFF scores a major victory in its NSA mass surveillance suit

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In 2005, a former AT&T engineer named Mark Klein walked into the Electronic Frontier Foundation's offices and revealed that he had helped the phone company build a secret NSA surveillance outpost at the Folsom Street switching station, through which AT&T was helping the US government conduct mass, warrantless, domestic surveillance. Read the rest

Feds say Apple's pro-privacy response to iPhone hacking order is a 'marketing stunt'

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Apple said no to the government, and the government is pissed.

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In FBI vs. Apple, New York Times editorial board sides with the tech resistance

Apple CEO Tim Cook at 2015 WWDC. REUTERS

“Apple is doing the right thing in challenging the federal court ruling requiring that it comply,” reads a New York Times editorial today on the battle of the backdoors brewing between the government and the iPhone's maker.

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Can Apple crack the San Bernardino killers' iPhone for the FBI? Sure, if they build an 'FBiOS'

An Apple logo at a retail location in San Francisco, 2014. REUTERS

The iPhone battle between the FBI and Apple isn't about getting help unlocking a terrorist's phone. It's about our government forcing Apple to invent a customized-on-demand version of its iOS operating system, effectively stripped of all security and privacy features. Command performance coding. As security researcher Dan Guido describes it in his widely cited technical explainer blog post, what they're asking for is an 'FBiOS.'

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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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To Do in L.A.: 'God's Eye View' author Barry Eisler in conversation with Boing Boing's Xeni Jardin

Xeni interviews author Barry Eisler in Los Angeles, Feb. 22, 2016.

Xeni here, professional fangirl. I have long been a fan of Barry Eisler, former CIA covert operations guy turned novelist, and did we mention he's also a martial arts master? The dude is a walking futuristic spy story protagonist, and would fit neatly inside one of his own books. The latest of these is The God's Eye View, and I'll be discussing it with him on stage in Santa Monica, CA, Monday, February 22, 2016 at 8:00pm. It's an intimate venue. Buy your tickets before they sell out.

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Celebrity gossip site TMZ runs more like a global spying operation

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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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Crowdfunding "The Haystack": an independent documentary on surveillance in the UK

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Edward Snowden said that Britain's spies have "some of the most extensive surveillance powers in the world," and those powers are about to be dramatically expanded if the Snoopers Charter passes Parliament. Read the rest

UK surveillance bill condemned by a Parliamentary committee, for the third time

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Paul Strasburger sits in the House of Lords as a Libdem peer; he sits on the Joint Select Committee that is the latest Parliamentary group to scrutinise the Investigatory Powers Bill (AKA the Snoopers Charter) and, as with the previous investigations, he's concluded that the spying bill is a dangerous, poorly drafted, overbroad dog's breakfast. Read the rest

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