Amazon's useless "transparency reports" won't disclose whether they're handing data from always-on Alexa mics to governments

Amazon was the last major tech company to issue a "transparency report" detailing what kinds of law-enforcement requests they'd serviced, and where; when they finally did start issuing them, they buried them on obscure webpages deep in their corporate info site and released them late on Friday afternoons. Read the rest

Congressional Democrats have so little faith in Trump's leadership that they've awarded him the power to conduct limitless, warrantless mass surveillance of Americans

When Congress voted last week to renew the NSA's controversial Section 702 powers, which gives the spy agency the power to conduct mass, secret, warrantless surveillance on Americans, they also voted down a bipartisan amendment that would have limited the president's ability to abuse these powers, injecting the barest minimum of accountability and proportionality into a system that Republican and Democratic presidents alike have abused for decades. Read the rest

Congress votes to give NSA 6 more years of spying on Americans without a warrant

On January 11, the House passed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act bill which renews a controversial NSA surveillance program that allows the spy agency to intercept the communications of Americans without a warrant.

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German government giving up on digital reassembly of shredded Stasi files, resorting to manual puzzlings

When it collapsed some 30 years ago, the GDR (East Germany) was the most invasive surveillance state ever attempted, employing one out of every 60 people in the country to snitch on the rest, running dirty tricks campaigns against anyone deemed "subversive." Read the rest

The NSA can't recruit or retain hackers because the pay sucks and the Agency is a bureaucratic mess

The Washington Post reports that the NSA "is losing its top talent at a worrisome rate as highly skilled personnel" because of a mix of low-pay, uninspiring leaders, and a bureaucratic re-org that everyone hates. Read the rest

Surveillance advocate Eric Schmidt is stepping down as head of Google parent company Alphabet

Eric Schmidt, the ex-Sun CEO who came onboard at Google to be the "adult supervision" for the founders and who has repeatedly declared privacy dead and dismissed people who worried about surveillance business-models as unrealistic nutcases, is stepping down as head of Alphabet, the parent company of Google. Read the rest

Property of the People sues the FBI for details on "Gravestone," its reassuringly named secret mass-surveillance tool

In 2016, the watchdog group Property of the People discovered a secret FBI spying program called Gravestone, a mention of which slipped into the metadata of a document on the DoJ's website. Read the rest

When Las Vegas cops put on bodycams, they used 37% less force and generated 30% fewer complaints

A study published this year traces policing outcomes in Las Vegas between Sept 2014 and Oct 2015, comparing the conduct of 200 officers who wore bodycams and 200 who did not. Read the rest

ACT NOW: Only hours remain to stop Congress from sneaking in massive new NSA spying powers

There's only hours remaining before Congress will vote to renew the Section 702 powers that let the NSA conduct mass surveillance; powers that expand in 12 days. Read the rest

China will collect the DNA of every adult in Xinjiang province, where Uyghur people are systematically oppressed

Xinjiang province is the site of intense surveillance and oppression, even by Chinese standards; it's home to the largely Muslim Uyghur minority, and a combination of racism and Islamaphobia drive a uniquely intrusive grade of policing and surveillance. Read the rest

SNL writer spies on and 'fart-shames' his friend remotely using a Nest cam

As a safety measure, SNL writer Nick Kocher recently installed a Nest cam in his apartment.

He then left town for the weekend, letting his friend Jon Bass crash at his place.

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Your inbox is full of spyware-riddled emails that are both potentially very harmful to you and also very easy to disable

It is routine for companies -- and even individuals -- to send emails with "beacons," transparent, tiny images that have to be fetched from a server. Through these beacons, companies can tell whether you've opened an email, whom you've forwarded it to, and even your location from moment to moment. Read the rest

Airbnb guests repeatedly discover hidden cameras in the homes they rent

As the new Wired Guide to Digital Security points out, finding hidden cameras is really, really hard, so the fact that several Airbnb guests have discovered them suggests that there are a bunch more that have never been spotted. Read the rest

Wired releases a surveillance self-defense guide

Wired's new Guide to Digital Security is an excellent addition to the genre of simple-to-follow how-tos for reducing the likelihood that you'll be victimized by computer-assisted crime and harassment, and that if you are, the harms will be mitigated. Read the rest

Australia is a world leader in internet usage and bad internet policies, so Australians want better policies

Australia is one of the world leaders in internet adoption and usage, and it's also been one of the worst offenders in bad internet policy, with a track record to rival even America's reckless indifference to the internet's overall importance. Read the rest

Reverse-engineering a connected Furby toy, revealing its disturbing security defects

When Context Labs teamed up with UK consumer group Which? to produce an outstanding report on the surveillance, privacy and security risks of kids' "connected toys," it undertook the reverse-engineering of Hasbro's new Furby Connect, a device that works with a mobile app to listen and watch the people around it and interact with them. Read the rest

Rightscorp finished Sept 2017 with $3,147 in the bank, warns investors it will likely have to shut down without more cash

Rightscorp (previously) is the extortion outfit that terrifies people into paying it money for unproven accusations of copyright violations, enlisting ISPs to cut off subscribers who won't cough up. Read the rest

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