Trump's policies on net neutrality, free speech, press freedom, surveillance, encryption and cybersecurity

Three posts from the Electronic Frontier Foundation dispassionately recount the on-the-record policies of Trump and his advisors on issues that matter to a free, fair and open internet: net neutrality; surveillance, encryption and cybersecurity; free speech and freedom of the press. Read the rest

Bruce Schneier's four-year plan for the Trump years

1. Fight the fights (against more government and commercial surveillance; backdoors, government hacking); 2. Prepare for those fights (push companies to delete those logs; remind everyone that security and privacy can peacefully co-exist); 3. Lay the groundword for a better future (figure out non-surveillance internet business models, privacy-respecting law enforcement, and limits on corporate surveillance); 4. Continue to solve the actual problems (cybercrime, cyber-espionage, cyberwar, the Internet of Things, algorithmic decision making, foreign interference in our elections). Read the rest

Xiaomi phones are pre-backdoored; your apps can be silently overwritten

Thijs Broenink audited the AnalyticsCore.apk app that ships pre-installed on all Xiaomi phones (Xiaomi has their own Android fork with a different set of preinstalled apps) and discovered that the app, which seemingly serves no useful purpose, allows the manufacturer to silently install other code on your phone, with unlimited privileges and access. Read the rest

DoJ report: less than a quarter of one percent of wiretaps encounter any crypto

Despite all the scare talk from the FBI and the US intelligence services about terrorists "going dark" and using encrypted communications to talk with one another, the reality is that criminals are using crypto less than ever, according to the DoJ's own numbers. Read the rest

Russian bill mandates backdoors in all communications apps

A pending "anti-terrorism" bill in the Duma would require all apps to contain backdoors to allow the secret police to spy on the country's messaging, in order to prevent teenagers from being "brainwashed" to "murder police officers." Read the rest

UK Parliament votes in Snoopers Charter, now it goes to the House of Lords

The Members of Parliament voted in favour of the far-ranging, massively invasive spying bill after the Tories agreed to minor improvements, like dropping the requirement for mandatory crypto backdoors if they would be infeasible or expensive to implement. Read the rest

Canadian government records censored with Scotch tape, paper

A Paris based Associated Press correspondent was flabbergasted to receive a freedom of information request from the Public Health Agency of Canada that had been censored with scotch tape and paper. “I’ve never seen someone use an arts and crafts method in order to hide information from me,” he told the Star.

Tom Henheffer, executive director of Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, has never heard of any redactions being made with tape and paper.

“This is the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen,” he said. “It must’ve been someone’s first day.”

Read the rest

Ron Wyden vows to filibuster anti-cryptography bill

Senators Richard Burr [R-NC] and Dianne Feinstein [D-CA] finally introduced their long-rumored anti-crypto bill, which will ban US companies from making products with working cryptography, mandating that US-made products have some way to decrypt information without the user's permission. Read the rest

The UK government's voice-over-IP standard is designed to be backdoored

GCHQ, the UK's spy agency, designed a security protocol for voice-calling called MIKEY-SAKKE and announced that they'll only certify VoIP systems as secure if they use MIKEY-SAKKE, and it's being marketed as "government-grade security." Read the rest

Apple engineers quietly discuss refusing to create the FBI's backdoor

If you're one of the few engineers at Apple qualified to code up the backdoor that the FBI is seeking in its court order, and if your employer loses its case, and if you think you have a solemn duty as a security engineer to only produce code that makes users more secure, not less, what do you do? Read the rest

Redaction fail: U.S. government admits it went after Lavabit looking for Snowden

Ladar Levison shut down his secure email service Lavabit in 2013, when the Feds served a warrant and gag-order on him, seeking to get him to backdoor his service to let them snoop on someone. Everyone since then has known that the target of the order was Edward Snowden, but Levison faced jail time if he ever admitted it out loud, under the terms of the gag-order. Read the rest

Hack-attacks with stolen certs tell you the future of FBI vs Apple

Since 2014, Suckfly, a hacker group apparently based in Chengdu, China, has used at least 9 signing certs to make their malware indistinguishable from official updates from the vendor. Read the rest

French Parliament votes to imprison tech execs for refusal to decrypt

Amendment 90 to France's penal reform bill provides for five year prison sentences and €350,000 fines for companies that refuse to accede to law enforcement demands to decrypt devices. Read the rest

Racial justice organizers to FBI vs Apple judge: crypto matters to #blacklivesmatter

Phenomena like the Harlem Cryptoparty demonstrate the connection between racial justice and cryptography -- civil rights organizers remember that the FBI spied on and blackmailed Martin Luther King, sending him vile notes encouraging him to kill himself. Read the rest

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

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

Math denialism: crypto backdoors and DRM are the alternative medicine of computer science

My latest Guardian column, The FBI wants a backdoor only it can use – but wanting it doesn’t make it possible, draws a connection between vaccine denial, climate denial, and the demand for backdoors in secure systems, as well as the call for technologies that prevent copyright infringement, like DRM. Read the rest

Bill Gates: Microsoft would backdoor its products in a heartbeat

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

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