DRM in TIG welders


Some of Miller's TIG welding power supplies come intentionally crippled, locking out many useful functions until you buy a $400 SD card. Read the rest

Hospitals are patient zero for the Internet of Things infosec epidemic


As I have often noted, medical devices have terrifyingly poor security models, even when compared to the rest of the nascent Internet of Things, where security is, at best, an afterthought (at worst, it's the enemy!). Read the rest

It's not enough that Apple and Google are bringing usable crypto to the world


An excellent essay by Penn law prof Jeffrey Vagle describes how the deployment of really easy-to-use, good crypto by Google and Apple is a game-changing shift in the ability of ordinary people to be secure from snooping by crooks, spies (and yes, cops), but how that isn't enough, by a long stretch. Read the rest

Landmark patent case will determine whether you can ever truly own a device again


Former IBM division Lexmark (which, a decade ago, lost a key copyright case that tried to ban ink-toner refilling) is headed to court in a patent case called Lexmark v. Impression, where it argues that patent law gives it the right to restrict your use of your property after you buy it. Read the rest

Not just emissions: manufacturers' dirty tricks fake everything about cars


VW's diesel firmware detected when it was undergoing emissions testing and changed the engine tuning to produce 1/40 of its normal toxic output, fooling regulators. But though they're the only ones who've been caught using firmware to game emissions testing, they're not the only ones with something to hide. Read the rest

Open "Chromecast killer" committed suicide-by-DRM

The Matchstick, a Firefox-OS-based Chromecast-style device, kickstarted on the promise of bringing open, user-rights-respecting video to our homes -- then they decided to add DRM. Read the rest

Windows 10 defaults to keylogging, harvesting browser history, purchases, and covert listening

By default, Microsoft gets to see your location, keystrokes and browser history -- and listen to your microphone, and some of that stuff is shared with "trusted [by Microsoft, not by you] partners." Read the rest

The Free Software Foundation is hiring a deputy director!

If working as an EFF activist isn't your thing, perhaps helping to run the Free Software Foundation in Boston will be more to your liking? Read the rest

Tell the Copyright Office not to criminalize using unapproved goop in a 3D printer

3D printing giant Stratasys has asked the US Copyright Office to deny a proposal that would legalize jailbreaking your 3D printer in order to use your own feedstock. Read the rest

FBI's crypto backdoor plans require them to win the war on general purpose computing

The FBI wants backdoors in all your crypto, and UK Prime Minister David Cameron made backdoors an election promise, but as Stanford lawyer/computer scientist Jonathan Mayer writes, there's no way to effectively backdoor modern platforms without abolishing the whole idea of computers as we know them, replacing them with an imaginary and totalitarian computing ecosystem that does not exist and probably never will. Read the rest

If privacy was really dead, would everyone be trying so hard to kill it?

A reader writes, "SF author Peter Watts writes about the ever-encroaching assault on our privacy and how relocating their arguments from the Internet to meatspace illustrates how ridiculous they are, and reasons to be cheerful because of the governments of the 'free world''s determination to eliminate the last shreds of our privacy." Read the rest

Leaked US cybersecurity report singles out crypto as essential for security of private data

A newly released document from the Snowden trove is a five-year "cyber-threat" forecast that stresses the importance of strong civilian use of cyrptography as crucial to protecting private data, especially the industrial secrets sought by foreign spies. Read the rest

War on General Purpose Computers is the difference between utopia and dystopia

My Wired op-ed, How Laws Restricting Tech Actually Expose Us to Greater Harm, warns that we've learned the wrong lesson from the DRM wars: we've legitimized the idea that we can and should design computers to disobey their owners and hide their operations from them in order to solve our problems (and that we should protect this design decision by making it a felony to disclose flaws in devices, lest these flaws be used to jailbreak them). Read the rest

Sore losers: How casinos went after two guys who found a video poker bug

John Kane, who'd lost a fortune to Video King machines, discovered a subtle bug that let him win big -- so the casinos put him in handcuffs. Read the rest

Petition: make it safe to report security flaws in computers

Laws like the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act put security researchers at risk of felony prosecution for telling you about bugs in the computers you put your trust in, turning the computers that know everything about us and watch everything we do into reservoirs of long-lived pathogens that governments, crooks, cops, voyeurs and creeps can attack us with. Read the rest

CEO of stalkerware company arrested

Hammad Akbar, a Pakistani national and CEO of Invocode, marketers of Stealthgenie, was arrested in LA on Saturday and charged with a variety of offenses related to making, marketing and selling "interception devices." Read the rest

Senate passes phone unlocking bill

The Senate has approved a bill (which already passed in the House) that makes it legal for you to unlock the phones you own so you can choose which carrier you use. Read the rest

More posts