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  • Line by line, how the US anti-encryption bill will kill our privacy, security

    In the wake of the FBI’s failed fight against Apple, Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) have introduced a draft bill that would effectively ban strong crypto.

    The bill would require tech and communications companies to allow law enforcement with a court order to decrypt their customers’ data. Last week a draft copy of the bill, dubbed the Compliance with Court Orders Act of 2016, was leaked, but the new version is even worse than the discussion draft.

    The bill would apply to “device manufacturers, software manufacturers, electronic communication services, remote communication services, providers of wire or electronic communication services, providers of remote communication services, or any person who provides a product or method to facilitate a communication or to process or store data.” That’s a pretty wide net.

    “No entity or individual is above the law,” said Feinstein. “The bill we have drafted would simply provide that, if a court of law issues an order to render technical assistance or provide decrypted data, the company or individual would be required to do so.

    “Today, terrorists and criminals are increasingly using encryption to foil law enforcement efforts, even in the face of a court order. We need strong encryption to protect personal data, but we also need to know when terrorists are plotting to kill Americans.”

    Not that it would stop terrorists – apart from the very, very stupid ones. This law would only apply to US companies or overseas firms with offices here, so anyone else who writes encryption software would still be able to sell their code online to the evil terrorists and their ilk.

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  • Zuckerberg and the Facebook Thought Police

    Billionaire, alleged tax-dodger, CEO and all-round PC dullard Mark Zuckerberg has said Facebook is not doing enough to combat hate speech.

    At a recent townhall event in Berlin he pledged to work closer with the German authorities, and even offered to fund a section of the German police, in order to help Facebook expand its view of ‘protected groups’ and restrict ‘hate speech against migrants’.

    Pardon my German, but what utter scheisse.

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  • Apple plays digital privacy hardball with FBI, ‘but not China’

    Apple was hailed as a champion of digital privacy this week after refusing to help the FBI hack into an iPhone belonging to a suspect in the San Bernardino shooting. But the firm hasn’t always been so scrupulous about user data, especially in China.

    The standoff between the FBI and Apple over the investigation into the San Bernardino shooting, which claimed the lives of 14 people in early December, has divided the United States. While some have argued that the company should, in this particular case, help investigators by bypassing the phone’s security system, others have insisted that doing so will set a dangerous precedent.

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  • Computerworld: Laid-off IT workers muzzled as H-1B debate heats up

    flags in protest

    Flags went up in silent protest at the former Northeast Utilities, now Eversource Energy. They were taken down once H-1B workers came on-site and occupied the cubicles.

     

    Some of the utility’s IT employees had to train their foreign replacements. Failure to do so meant loss of severance. But an idea emerged to show workers’ disdain for what was happening: Small American flags were placed in cubicles and along the hallway in silent protest — flags that disappeared as the workers were terminated.

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  • Teen stoner says he hacked CIA director’s AOL account

    Hillary Rodham Clinton’s email scandal didn’t stop the head of the CIA from using his own personal AOL account to stash work-related documents, according to a stoner high school student who claims to have hacked into them.

    CIA Director John Brennan’s private account held sensitive files — including his 47-page application for top-secret security clearance — until he recently learned that it had been infiltrated, the hacker told The Post.

    Other emails stored in Brennan’s non-government account contained the Social Security numbers and personal information of more than a dozen top American intelligence officials, as well as a government letter about the use of “harsh interrogation techniques” on terrorism suspects, according to the hacker.

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  • IBM Allows Chinese Government to Review Source Code

    International Business Machines Corp. has agreed to let China review some product source code in a secure room, according to two people briefed on the practice, making it the first major U.S. tech company to comply with Beijing’s recent demands for a stronger hand in foreign technology there.

    IBM has begun allowing officials from China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology to examine proprietary source code—the secret sauce behind its software—in a controlled space without the ability to remove it from the room, the people said. It wasn’t clear which products IBM was allowing reviews of or how much time ministry officials can spend looking at the code. The people said the practice was new and implemented recently.

    IBM said in a statement Friday that it had established in several countries the capability to conduct limited tests in a controlled IBM environment to reassure clients and others that there was no way for third parties to access its technology.

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  • Nile Rodgers – The Disco Ambassador Gets Lucky

    Last month, when the band were filming the video for Get Lucky in Los Angeles, Rodgers says he realised that the dancers didn’t really know what they were listening to.

    “Somebody called out, ‘Wow, what kind of music is that?'” Rodgers recalls. “I didn’t hesitate, I said, ‘disco!’ And they all screamed back, ‘Yeah!’. It was like they’d found something mythical that they’d heard about but didn’t know. There was an organic connection between the kids and the music. At the end they were literally weeping. I’ve seen those moments. I’ve been that guy – and it was for real.”Read More…


  • SS United States Faces the Scrapheap

    Marilyn Monroe, JFK and the Mona Lisa all enjoyed the luxurious Atlantic crossing provided by the Titanic-sized SS United States.

    But the famed liner, which still holds the speed record for a crossing between the US and Britain by a passenger ship, now faces its final journey – to the scrapyard.

    The SS United States Conservancy organisation can no longer afford the $60,000 a month it costs to dock the ship on the Delaware River in Philadelphia, where it rests, empty and rusting.

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  • Is Apple Siri Recording Every Word You Say?

    Image Credit: wccftech.com

     

    Thanks to the iOS 9 upgrade, released Sept. 16, users can now set Siri to activate automatically when they say “Hey, Siri.” The function isn’t enabled automatically; system defaults have it turned off. However, for users who turn it on, it means that Siri will listen to every word spoken in its vicinity.

    That means the world is entering an era where more audio is going to be recorded than at any point in history. Think you have privacy at a friend’s house? That may no longer be the case. If you’re on the sidewalk, in a mall, or even in a public bathroom with other people, Siri is going to be monitoring you.

    Apple’s terms of service also make it clear that the company has a right to know everything about you that Siri knows. “When you use Siri … the things you say and dictate will be recorded and sent to Apple to process your requests. Your device will also send Apple other information, such as your name and nickname; the names, nicknames, and relationship with you (e.g., ‘my dad’) of your address book contacts, song names in your collection,” and other information, the terms state.

    That provision of Apple’s terms gained notoriety this year, when a Reddit poster named “FallenMyst” nonchalantly mentioned that they had been working for a company to review conversations that had been harvested by Siri unbeknownst to users. Apple said it was trying to improve Siri’s ability to transcribe speech.

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  • Devo’s Jerry Casale Says 9/11-Themed Wedding Cake & Party Favors Were a ‘Surprise’

    Devo co-founder, singer and bassist Gerald Vincent “Jerry” Casale, 67, was married to Krista Napp, 26, on Friday, Sept. 11, in a modest ceremony, but thanks to the 9/11-themed reception that followed, the response to the event has been anything but.

    On Monday morning (Sept. 14), TMZ ran photos from Casale and Napp’s intimate wedding reception at Michael’s Restaurant in Santa Monica, Calif., showing the newlyweds cutting their wedding cake that was shaped like the World Trade Center twin towers with their faces drawn on. Place settings featured an image of a box cutter with “Gerald & Krista” engraved on them, and guests actually got real box cutters as wedding favors, all of which provoked considerable criticism online.

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