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Showing posts from February, 2014

First contagious WiFi computer virus goes airborne, spreads like the common cold

First contagious WiFi computer virus goes airborne, spreads like the common cold 4:47 PM 02/25/2014
Computer science researchers have demonstrated for the first time how a digital virus can go airborne and spread via WiFi networks in populated areas at the same pace as a human diseases.
The “Chameleon” virus, designed by a University of Liverpool team, showed a remarkable amount of intelligence by avoiding detection and breaking into personal and business WiFi networks at their weakest points — spreading at an alarming rate.
Network Security Professor Alan Marshall said the virus doesn’t try to damage or disrupt established networks — instead, the virus slips in unnoticed to collect the data and log-in information of all users connected to the network via WiFi, and seeks other WiFi networks through them — a much more subtle, sinister and dangerous objective.
“WiFi connections are increasingly a target for computer hackers because of well-documented security vulnerabilities, which mak…

Bar Association protests NSA spying

February 24, 2014, 04:25 pm
Bar Association protests NSA spying By Julian Hattem
The country’s top lawyers’ trade group is raising a formal complaint about the U.S. government’s support for spying on confidential legal communications.
The American Bar Association (ABA) last week sent a letter to leaders at the National Security Agency (NSA) expressing concern about reports that the agency’s Australian counterpart had spied on a U.S. law firm working for Indonesia. The agency allegedly offered to share details with the NSA, including “information covered by attorney-client privilege.”
“The attorney-client privilege is a bedrock legal principle of our free society and is important in both the civil and criminal contexts,” the group’s president, James Silkenat, wrote in the letter. “The ABA has consistently fought to preserve the attorney-client privilege and opposes government policies, practices and procedures that erode the privilege.”
“The interception and sharing of attorney-client…

Google's 3D tech could be boon to Glass, robots and virtual reality

Google's 3D tech could be boon to Glass, robots and virtual reality Just disclosed Project Tango 3D smartphone effort may be scratching the surface for Google
By Sharon Gaudin February 21, 2014 01:06 PM ET
Computerworld - News that Google is working on 3D smartphones has analysts speculating that the company will one day add the tech to a slew of its products, such as Google Maps, Google Glass, Google robots and even virtual reality tools.
"Google is much more than what it seems," said Scott Strawn, an analyst at IDC. "It is so much more than a search engine. Innovation is really the core of their business. And 3D is going to be a big feature for them."
Google disclosed late Thursday that it has been working on the development of 3D smartphones for the past year. The effort, dubbed Project Tango, aims to enable smartphones to create realistic 3D mapping and virtual experiences -- all while the user goes about her day.
"The goal of Project Tango is to give…

Are the robots about to rise? Google's new director of engineering thinks so…

Are the robots about to rise? Google's new director of engineering thinks so…
Ray Kurzweil popularised the Teminator-like moment he called the 'singularity', when artificial intelligence overtakes human thinking. But now the man who hopes to be immortal is involved in the very same quest – on behalf of the tech behemoth
The Observer, Saturday 22 February 2014 14.04 EST
It's hard to know where to start with Ray Kurzweil. With the fact that he takes 150 pills a day and is intravenously injected on a weekly basis with a dizzying list of vitamins, dietary supplements, and substances that sound about as scientifically effective as face cream: coenzyme Q10, phosphatidycholine, glutathione?
With the fact that he believes that he has a good chance of living forever? He just has to stay alive "long enough" to be around for when the great life-extending technologies kick in (he's 66 and he believes that "some of the baby-boomers will make it through"). O…

Gates Foundation Launches Giant Database on School Children 'inBloom'

Gates Foundation Launches Giant Database on School Children 'inBloom' Private information for over 11 million students is being collected
2.24.2014   Trey Sanchez
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation gave $100 million to fund a giant database to collect private information of American school children starting in early education and extending all the way through high school.
Promoted as a technological tool to help teachers tailor education to the individual needs of students, inBloom is a database that stores student's scores, attendance, special needs, disabilities, etc. The intent is to exploit the technology that is available today to replace antiquated paper records.
Launched in February of 2013, inBloom is working with nine states representing over 11 million students. The nonprofit organization was launched to help educators keep up with the ever changing standards of state Common Core education.
So far, the states include Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Ke…

Edward Snowden leaks spur new privacy industry

February 21, 2014 4:55 pm
Edward Snowden leaks spur new privacy industry By Hannah Kuchler in San Francisco
The Edward Snowden leaks revealing a US mass surveillance programme have helped kick-start a new privacy industry as companies rush to fulfil a rising demand for products that protect privacy. From messaging apps to a smartphone, via tools to control just what social networks know about you, start-ups and large companies are offering ways to keep what is secret, secret – but not necessarily promising to prevent National Security Agency snooping.
Next week, the “Blackphone” will be unveiled, promising to give users back control of their communications. Developed by Silent Circle, an encryption company, and Geeksphone, a Spanish smartphone maker, the company has added extra security features to Android and is advertising the device as useful whether talking to your family or, for corporate users, about your latest acquisition.
Wickr, a secure messaging app that keeps no data what…

‘Crowdpilot’ app lets strangers LISTEN to your PHONE CALLS

‘Crowdpilot’ app lets strangers LISTEN to your PHONE CALLS
2:31 PM 02/20/2014
The NSA isn’t the only ones capable of tapping phone calls anymore thanks to a new smartphone app called ‘Crowdpilot,’ which could potentially let anyone listen in on your calls without your knowledge.
“Crowdpilot lets you crowdsource your social interactions by bringing a group of your friends or strangers along to listen in and assist you in any situation,” the app’s description states. “Whenever you need help, turn on Crowdpilot to stream your conversation to the web where the anonymous crowd – optionally supported by a team of your Facebook friends – will tune in, follow along and assist you. Or become a crowdpilot yourself, and watch and direct others!”
Crowdpilot lets any user bring a third party into a conversation without alerting the person on the other end of the line – the modern day equivalent of picking up a landline while someone else is already on a call.
The app even allows the third party …

NSA Weighs Retaining Data for Suits - Evidence Rule Would Lead to Expansion of Controversial Phone Program

NSA Weighs Retaining Data for Suits Rule That Evidence Can't Be Destroyed Would Lead to Expansion of Controversial Phone Program
By DEVLIN BARRETT and SIOBHAN GORMAN CONNECT Feb. 19, 2014 7:32 p.m. ET
WASHINGTON—The government is considering enlarging the National Security Agency's controversial collection of Americans' phone records—an unintended consequence of lawsuits seeking to stop the surveillance program, according to officials.
A number of government lawyers involved in lawsuits over the NSA phone-records program believe federal-court rules on preserving evidence related to lawsuits require the agency to stop routinely destroying older phone records, according to people familiar with the discussions. As a result, the government would expand the database beyond its original intent, at least while the lawsuits are active.
No final decision has been made to preserve the data, officials said, and one official said that even if a decision is made to retain the informat…

Pandora Knows How You'll Vote, and It's Not Keeping Your Secret

Pandora Knows How You'll Vote, and It's Not Keeping Your Secret
The online music service is telling campaigns what music you listen to, which they say gives away your party affiliation.
By Alex Brown February 19, 2014  
The music streaming service announced last week it is launching targeted advertising—allowing candidates to reach voters based on age, location, and music preference. According to Pandora, that information can tell with 75-80 percent accuracy how a person will vote.
"What we're trying to do is make it so that the targeting that's selected by these campaigns is ... reaching the right groups," said Pandora's Jack Krawczyk. The company's advertising system weights its results based on users' ZIP codes; an area that voted 60 percent for Obama will have that factored into its residents' voting probabilities.
Then Pandora looks at your music. Listen to a lot of country? You're probably a strong Republican voter. Prefer jazz? Y…

FCC to rewrite net neutrality rules, won’t appeal court ruling

FCC to rewrite net neutrality rules, won’t appeal court ruling By Cecilia Kang Wednesday, February 19, 8:56 AM
The Federal Communications Commission said Wednesday it will rewrite sweeping broadband Internet rules known as net neutrality, ending a legal battle that has thrown into question the agency’s ability to protect consumers on the Web.
The FCC said new rules will ban Internet service providers such as Verizon and Time Warner Cable from blocking Web sites or charging a firm like Netflix more for faster and smoother delivery of content.
The move comes after a federal appeals court last month vacated the FCC’s 2010 Open Internet rules. The U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said the agency overstepped its authority with the rules but also noted that the agency has some oversight over the broadband industry.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said the agency won’t appeal the court’s decision, adding that the court opinion allows for the agency to rewrite net neutral…

NSA Spy Chief: We Should’ve Told You We Track Your Calls

02.17.14
Spy Chief: We Should’ve Told You We Track Your Calls
The U.S. government long considered its collection of Americans' call records to be a state secret. Now the Director of National Intelligence admits it would have been better if Washington had acknowledged the surveillance in the first place.
Even the head of the U.S. intelligence community now believes that its collection and storage of millions of call records was kept too secret for too long.
The American public and most members of Congress were kept in the dark for years about a secret U.S. program to collect and store such records of American citizens on a massive scale. The government’s legal interpretation of section 215 of the Patriot Act that granted the authority for this dragnet collection was itself a state secret.
Then came Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who leaked the court warrant authorizing the surveillance—along with troves of other top-secret documents. Since that first disclosure of the s…

New Technology Allows For TV Ads to Target Specific Individuals, Families

New Technology Allows For TV Ads to Target Specific Individuals, Families February 17, 2014 9:07 AM
WASHINGTON — The days when political campaigns would try to make inroads with demographic groups such as soccer moms or white working-class voters are gone. Now, the operatives are targeting specific individuals.
And, in some places, they can reach those individuals directly through their televisions.
Welcome to Addressable TV, an emerging technology that allows advertisers — Senate hopefuls and insurance companies alike — to pay some broadcasters to pinpoint specific homes.
Advertisers have long bought ads knowing that only a fraction of the audience was likely to respond to them. Allowing campaigns — political or not — to finely hone their TV pitches to individuals could let them more efficiently spend their advertising dollars.
“With a traditional TV buy you can end up paying for a lot of eyeballs you don’t care about,” said Chauncey McLean, chief operating officer of the Analytics …

Spying by N.S.A. Ally Entangled U.S. Law Firm

Spying by N.S.A. Ally Entangled U.S. Law Firm
By JAMES RISEN and LAURA POITRAS FEB. 15, 2014
The list of those caught up in the global surveillance net cast by the National Security Agency and its overseas partners, from social media users to foreign heads of state, now includes another entry: American lawyers.
A top-secret document, obtained by the former N.S.A. contractor Edward J. Snowden, shows that an American law firm was monitored while representing a foreign government in trade disputes with the United States. The disclosure offers a rare glimpse of a specific instance in which Americans were ensnared by the eavesdroppers, and is of particular interest because lawyers in the United States with clients overseas have expressed growing concern that their confidential communications could be compromised by such surveillance.
RELATED COVERAGE
The government of Indonesia had retained the law firm for help in trade talks, according to the February 2013 document. It reports that the …