Boing Boing 

Computer scientist/Congressman: crypto backdoors are "technologically stupid," DA is "offensive"

Rep Ted Lieu (D-CA) is a USAF reserve colonel, former member of the Judge Advocate General Corps and holds a computer science degree -- he's one of the four members of Congress with any formal computer science qualifications.

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Telescreen watch: Vizio adds spyware to its TVs


If you own a Vizio TV that's updated recently, beware: its firmware adds "Smart Interactivity," a cute name for spyware that records your viewing choices and inserts additional "bonus features" (ads) into your viewing.

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NSA declares war on general purpose computers


NSA director Michael S Rogers says his agency wants "front doors" to all cryptography used in the USA, so that no one can have secrets it can't spy on -- but what he really means is that he wants to be in charge of which software can run on any general purpose computer.

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Windows 10 announcement: certified hardware can lock out competing OSes


Microsoft has announced a relaxation of its "Secure Boot" guidelines for OEMs, allowing companies to sell computers pre-loaded with Windows 10 that will refuse to boot any non-Microsoft OS.

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Three steps to save ourselves from firmware attacks


Following on the news that the (likely NSA-affiliated) Equation Group has developed a suite of firmware attacks that target the software embedded in your hard-drive and other subcomponents, it's time to expand the practice of information security to the realm of embedded software.

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Yahoo's security boss faces down NSA director over crypto ban


During Monday's Cybersecurity for a New America conference in DC, Yahoo's Chief Information Security Officer Alex Stamos stood up and had an intense verbal showdown with NSA director Mike Rogers about the NSA's plan to ban working crypto, in which the nation's top spook fumfuhed and fumbled to explain how this idea isn't totally insane.

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Revenge porn shitweasel pleads guilty, admits he hacked victims' accounts


Michael from Muckrock writes, "After months of legal wrangling, Hunter Moore, who ran 'revenge porn' website Isanyoneup, has agreed to a plea deal that will see him serve a minimum of two years and up to seven years in jail, as well as up to $500,000 in fines."

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An Internet of Things that do what they're told


California's phone bricking bill seems to have reduced thefts in the short run, but at the cost of giving dirty cops and wily criminals the power to wipe-and-brick your phone at will.

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Youtube ditches Flash, but it hardly matters

A year ago, the news that the world's biggest video site was abandoning proprietary software would have been incredible, but thanks to the World Wide Web Consortium's Netflix-driven DRM work, this changes very little.

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Samsung: watch what you say in front of our TVs, they're sending your words to third parties


Part of the Samsung Smarttv EULA: "Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party through your use of Voice Recognition."

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Free "freedom clip" turns off K-Cup DRM


Rogers Family Company Coffee and Tea is offering a free "Freedom Clip" that disables DRM in your new-model K-Cup machine, letting you use it with anyone's coffee pods.

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Snooper's Charter is dead: let's hammer a stake through its heart and fill its mouth with garlic

We killed the dreadful Snooper's Charter last week, again, for the third or fourth time, depending on how you count -- now how do we keep it from rising from the grave again and terrorizing Britain with the threat of total, ubiquitous, uncontrolled state spying?

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What David Cameron just proposed would endanger every Briton and destroy the IT industry

David Cameron says there should be no "means of communication" which "we cannot read" -- and no doubt many in his party will agree with him, politically. But if they understood the technology, they would be shocked to their boots.Read the rest

New sf story: "Huxleyed into the Full Orwell"


​Huxleyed Into the Full Orwell is a new short story I wrote for Vice Magazine's just-launched science fiction section Terraform, which also has new stories up by Claire Evans, Bruce Sterling, and Adam Rothstein.

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Involuntary updates: a drama in an imaginary future Apple car


From law professor James "Public Domain" Boyle: a thrilling, chilling tale of life in an "ecosystem" when the company can arbitrarily "upgrade" the devices you depend on for llfe and limb, while they're hurtling down the road at 100mph.

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FBI chief demands an end to cellphone security

If your phone is designed to be secure against thieves, voyeurs, and hackers, it'll also stop spies and cops. So the FBI has demanded that device makers redesign their products so that they -- and anyone who can impersonate them -- can break into them at will.

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Animation explains the dangers of Computercop, the malware that US police agencies distribute to the public

Dave from EFF writes, "Here's a funny, easy-to-understand animation explaining why ComputerCOP parental monitoring software is actually dangerous to kids. More than 245 local law enforcement agencies have purchased this software in bulk and handed it out to families for free."

Using an imaginary kid named Timmy, who gets "pantsed" by ComputerCOP, the animation by Fusion also ties ComputerCOP to the unnecessary equipment locals cops have obtained, like mine-resistant trucks. Fusion's cartoon is based on an EFF investigation published on Wednesday.

Who needs the NSA? Anyone could spy on your kids thanks to ComputerCop

(Thanks, Dave!)