Showing posts from March, 2014

How the NSA Can Use Metadata to Predict Your Personality

How the NSA Can Use Metadata to Predict Your Personality By Patrick Tucker March 28, 2014 The president and congressional leaders want to end NSA bulk metadata collection, but not the use of metadata, which may even be expanded. From a technical perspective, the question of what your metadata can reveal about you, or potential enemies, remains as important as it was since the Edward Snowden scandal. The answer is more than you might think. First, the background. On Thursday, the Obama administration released a brief statement on ending the collection of metadata and limiting, slightly, the circumstances under which metadata could be accessed. The timing was in keeping with a self-imposed deadline to create legislation to address NSA bulk collection. The statement said “the government will not collect these telephone records in bulk; rather, the records would remain at the telephone companies for the length of time they currently do today.” Two leaders of the House Inte

Microsoft to Stop Inspecting Private Emails in Investigations

Microsoft to Stop Inspecting Private Emails in Investigations By NICK WINGFIELD  MARCH 28, 2014, 5:37 PM  SEATTLE — Microsoft will no longer snoop on customers’ private communications during investigations of stolen property, the company’s general counsel said on Friday. Instead, the general counsel, Brad Smith, said Microsoft would hand over any such investigations to law enforcement agencies. Those agencies can then obtain court orders to inspect private communications on Microsoft’s various Internet services, which include and Skype. The change came a week after Microsoft faced an uproar over the methods it used in 2012 to investigate the suspected leak of software code by a former employee. An important break in that inquiry, which was conducted by an internal team at Microsoft, came when Microsoft read the private Hotmail emails and instant messages by an unnamed French blogger, which led it to the former Microsoft employee, Alex Kibkalo. Microsoft

Man Threatened With Defamation Lawsuit Over Negative Yelp Review

Man Threatened With Defamation Lawsuit Over Negative Yelp Review March 21, 2014 7:19 PM NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Many people use Yelp to find out about a business before they give them their business, but one Midtown business owner threatened to sue over some bad reviews. As CBS 2’s Sonia Rincon reported Friday, Matthew Brand saw the great reviews on Yelp for Ron Gordon Watch Repair, at 280 Madison Ave. So he decided to take his watch there for repair. But Brand was not thrilled with the service, and posted his own review on Yelp. In the April 2013 review, he gave the repair shop two stars, claiming that the staff at Gordon’s shop said they could not repair his antique pocket watch, and would have to send an Ebel watch back to the manufacturer – and claiming further that a competing store was able to repair the two watches onsite. But to Brand’s surprise, he received a letter from Gordon’s attorney last week, asking him to take down the review or face a defamation law

Google enhances encryption technology for email

Google enhances encryption technology for email Associated PressBy EILEEN SULLIVAN | Associated Press – 3 hrs ago WASHINGTON (AP) — Google has enhanced the encryption technology for its flagship email service in ways that will make it harder for the National Security Agency to intercept messages moving among the company's worldwide data centers. Among the most extraordinary disclosures in documents leaked by former NSA systems analyst Edward Snowden were reports that the NSA had secretly tapped into the main communications links that connect Yahoo and Google data centers around the world. Google, whose executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, said in November that he was outraged over the practice, didn't mention the NSA in Thursday's announcement, except in a veiled reference to "last summer's revelations." The change affects more than 425 million users of Google's Gmail service. Yahoo has promised similar steps for its email service by this s

Drone that can steal what's on your phone

This drone can steal what's on your phone By Erica Fink  @EricaFink March 20, 2014: 8:10 AM ET NEW YORK (CNNMoney) The next threat to your privacy could be hovering over head while you walk down the street. Hackers have developed a drone that can steal the contents of your smartphone -- from your location data to your Amazon password -- and they've been testing it out in the skies of London. The research will be presented next week at the Black Hat Asia cybersecurity conference in Singapore. The technology equipped on the drone, known as Snoopy, looks for mobile devices with Wi-Fi settings turned on. Snoopy takes advantage of a feature built into all smartphones and tablets: When mobile devices try to connect to the Internet, they look for networks they've accessed in the past. "Their phone will very noisily be shouting out the name of every network its ever connected to," Sensepost security researcher Glenn Wilkinson said. "They'

Microsoft faces fresh privacy storm...Admits searching private email of user...

March 21, 2014 2:29 am Microsoft caught up in fresh privacy storm By Richard Waters in San Francisco Microsoft on Thursday scrambled to head off a privacy storm after it was revealed that the software company had searched through the private email of a blogger it suspected of having received stolen software code. The concession marked one of the most damaging privacy gaffes to hit a leading US technology company since revelations in 2013 that the country’s National Security Agency had been spying on their users. The companies involved, including Microsoft, reacted with outrage at the secret government snooping. On Thursday, the software company first sought to play down the outcry over its email search in a statement defending the move, before following up only hours later with a promise of new and stronger procedures to reassure users that their privacy would be protected in such cases. Microsoft’s examination of a user’s Hotmail account took place after it was

Larry Page Wants To Open Up Anonymous Medical Records For All Researchers To Use

Larry Page Wants To Open Up Anonymous Medical Records For All Researchers To Use March 19, 2014 | 6:18 PM  By ARIEL SCHWARTZ The Google founder doesn't want the government looking at your data, but there are some areas where he thinks the more open we are, the better. Larry Page, co-founder and CEO of Google, is not a fan of the US government's privacy intrusions. "For me, it's tremendously disappointing that the government secretly did all this stuff and didn't tell us," he told Charlie Rose during an interview on the TED stage this week. "I don't think we can have a democracy if we have to protect you and your users from the government." Not that Page is against open data. As the sufferer of a rare condition that has caused him to lose his voice, he's open to the opportunities that medical data can offer. "Wouldn't it be amazing to have anonymous medical records available to all research doctors?" he ask

With Android Wear, Google Just Made Other Smartwatches Look Foolish

With Android Wear, Google Just Made Other Smartwatches Look Foolish Jared Newman @OneJaredNewman  6:09 PM ET  No disrespect to Samsung, Sony and Pebble, but their smartwatch efforts are now in trouble. On Tuesday, Google announced Android Wear, a version of Android for smartwatches and possibly other wearable devices. The hardware isn’t coming until next quarter, and we haven’t seen the software in action on a working prototype. But if Google’s documentation reflects reality, this is the closest we’ve come to what a smartwatch should be. Some pundits are saying Android Wear is basically Google Now on a smartwatch, but that analysis misses the big picture. While Google’s virtual assistant software can be helpful if you’re waiting on a package or heading to the airport, it’s dormant most of the time. A smartwatch that focused on Google Now would be dull and useless for most people. The real key to Android Wear is how it hooks into existing smartphone apps through notif

TV Subscriptions Fall for First Time as Viewers Cut the Cord

TV Subscriptions Fall for First Time as Viewers Cut the Cord By Edmund Lee  Mar 19, 2014 11:38 AM PT The U.S. pay-television market is passing its prime. The number of Americans who pay for TV through cable, satellite or fiber services fell by more than a quarter of a million in 2013, the first full-year decline, according to research firm SNL Kagan. If the slide continues in the coming years, that means 2012 was the industry’s high point. It’s not that viewers are watching less video. Online-streaming services from Netflix Inc. (NFLX) and Inc. (AMZN) continue to draw more users with shows like “House of Cards,” charging fees of less than $10 a month. What’s changed is that fewer people are willing to shell out $40 a month or more for the wider menu of cable channels. The decline is small so far. Video subscribers across the entire pay-TV industry, which includes Comcast Corp. (CMCSA), DirecTV and Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ), dropped by 251,000 last y

Web domain name revolution could hit trademark defence: UN

Web domain name revolution could hit trademark defence: UN By Jonathan Fowler | AFP – 17 hrs ago Geneva (AFP) - The mass expansion of Internet domain names could cause havoc for the defence of trademarks in cyberspace, the UN's intellectual property body warned on Monday. "We have this extraordinary expansion that is going on," said Francis Gurry, head of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), which oversees global rules against cybersquatting. "That is going to have an impact, which is likely to be significant, on trademark protection. The exact nature of the impact, we aren't sure of at this stage, but it is likely to be significant and disruptive," Gurry told reporters. "Trademark owners are very concerned about the impact that this expansion will have on branding systems," he added. Opening the Internet to domain names that go far beyond classics such as .com, .org, .net, .gov, and .edu has been heralded by

iPhone iOS 7.1 software update that's draining batteries, erasing their contacts, and flipping their keyboards

iPhone users are disappointed with the iOS 7.1 software update that's draining their batteries, erasing their contacts, and flipping their keyboards The iOS 7.1 is already on 21 per cent of all iPhones and iPads making it one of the fastest changeovers to a new operating system in recent history Customers say it's killing their batteries among other glitches By ALEXANDRA KLAUSNER PUBLISHED: 11:39 EST, 15 March 2014 | UPDATED: 12:37 EST, 15 March 2014 With every new I-phone software update comes the potential for problems and the iOS 7.1 released on Monday is no exception.  Customer's say it's killing their phone batteries among other pesky glitches. The iOS7.1 is the first major update to Apple's newest operating systems for iPhones and iPads and the apple community is lamenting poor battery charges, disappearing contacts, bad Bluetooth connections, keyboards oriented the wrong way, and the list goes on, reports the Huffington Post. No matte

U.S. to relinquish remaining control over the Internet

U.S. to relinquish remaining control over the Internet By Craig Timberg, Friday, March 14, 2:19 PM U.S. officials announced plans Friday to relinquish federal government control over the administration of the Internet, a move likely to please international critics but alarm some business leaders and others who rely on smooth functioning of the Web. Pressure to let go of the final vestiges of U.S. authority over the system of Web addresses and domain names that organize the Internet has been building for more than a decade and was supercharged by the backlash to revelations about National Security Agency surveillance last year. “The timing is right to start the transition process,” said Lawrence E. Strickling, assistant secretary of commerce for communications and information. “We look forward to ICANN convening stakeholders across the global Internet community to craft an appropriate transition plan.” The practical consequences of the decision were not immediate

How the NSA Plans to Infect ‘Millions’ of Computers with Malware

How the NSA Plans to Infect ‘Millions’ of Computers with Malware By Ryan Gallagher and Glenn Greenwald 12 Mar 2014, 9:19 AM EDT164 One presentation outlines how the NSA performs “industrial-scale exploitation” of computer networks across the world. Top-secret documents reveal that the National Security Agency is dramatically expanding its ability to covertly hack into computers on a mass scale by using automated systems that reduce the level of human oversight in the process. The classified files – provided previously by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden – contain new details about groundbreaking surveillance technology the agency has developed to infect potentially millions of computers worldwide with malware “implants.” The clandestine initiative enables the NSA to break into targeted computers and to siphon out data from foreign Internet and phone networks. The covert infrastructure that supports the hacking efforts operates from the agency’s headquarters in Fort M
Google is encrypting search globally. That’s bad for the NSA and China’s censors. BY CRAIG TIMBERG AND JIA LYNN YANG March 12 at 12:51 pm China’s Great Firewall, as the world’s most sophisticated Internet censorship system is known, is facing a new challenge as Google begins to automatically encrypt searches there as part of its global expansion of privacy technology. The development is the latest — and perhaps most unexpected — consequence of Edward Snowden’s release last year of National Security Agency documents detailing the extent of government surveillance of the Internet. Google and other technology companies responded with major new investments in encryption worldwide, complicating relations between the companies and governments long accustomed to having the ability to quietly monitor the Web. Googling the words “Dalai Lama” or “Tiananmen Square” from China long has produced the computer equivalent of a blank stare, as that nation’s government has blocked Web