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Paul Merrell

NSA Director Finally Admits Encryption Is Needed to Protect Public's Privacy - 0 views

  • NSA Director Finally Admits Encryption Is Needed to Protect Public’s Privacy The new stance denotes a growing awareness within the government that Americans are not comfortable with the State’s grip on their data. By Carey Wedler | AntiMedia | January 22, 2016 Share this article! https://mail.google.com/mail/?view=cm&fs=1&to&su=NSA%20Director%20Finally%20Admits%20Encryption%20Is%20Needed%20to%20Protect%20Public%E2%80%99s%20Privacy&body=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.mintpress
  • Rogers cited the recent Office of Personnel Management hack of over 20 million users as a reason to increase encryption rather than scale it back. “What you saw at OPM, you’re going to see a whole lot more of,” he said, referring to the massive hack that compromised the personal data about 20 million people who obtained background checks. Rogers’ comments, while forward-thinking, signify an about face in his stance on encryption. In February 2015, he said he “shares [FBI] Director [James] Comey’s concern” about cell phone companies’ decision to add encryption features to their products. Comey has been one loudest critics of encryption. However, Rogers’ comments on Thursday now directly conflict with Comey’s stated position. The FBI director has publicly chastised encryption, as well as the companies that provide it. In 2014, he claimed Apple’s then-new encryption feature could lead the world to “a very dark place.” At a Department of Justice hearing in November, Comey testified that “Increasingly, the shadow that is ‘going dark’ is falling across more and more of our work.” Though he claimed, “We support encryption,” he insisted “we have a problem that encryption is crashing into public safety and we have to figure out, as people who care about both, to resolve it. So, I think the conversation’s in a healthier place.”
  • At the same hearing, Comey and Attorney General Loretta Lynch declined to comment on whether they had proof the Paris attackers used encryption. Even so, Comey recently lobbied for tech companies to do away with end-to-end encryption. However, his crusade has fallen on unsympathetic ears, both from the private companies he seeks to control — and from the NSA. Prior to Rogers’ statements in support of encryption Thursday, former NSA chief Michael Hayden said, “I disagree with Jim Comey. I actually think end-to-end encryption is good for America.” Still another former NSA chair has criticized calls for backdoor access to information. In October, Mike McConnell told a panel at an encryption summit that the United States is “better served by stronger encryption, rather than baking in weaker encryption.” Former Department of Homeland Security chief, Michael Chertoff, has also spoken out against government being able to bypass encryption.
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  • Regardless of these individual defenses of encryption, the Intercept explained why these statements may be irrelevant: “Left unsaid is the fact that the FBI and NSA have the ability to circumvent encryption and get to the content too — by hacking. Hacking allows law enforcement to plant malicious code on someone’s computer in order to gain access to the photos, messages, and text before they were ever encrypted in the first place, and after they’ve been decrypted. The NSA has an entire team of advanced hackers, possibly as many as 600, camped out at Fort Meade.”
  • Rogers statements, of course, are not a full-fledged endorsement of privacy, nor can the NSA be expected to make it a priority. Even so, his new stance denotes a growing awareness within the government that Americans are not comfortable with the State’s grip on their data. “So spending time arguing about ‘hey, encryption is bad and we ought to do away with it’ … that’s a waste of time to me,” Rogers said Thursday. “So what we’ve got to ask ourselves is, with that foundation, what’s the best way for us to deal with it? And how do we meet those very legitimate concerns from multiple perspectives?”
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

How to choose a license for your open source project | opensource.com - 1 views

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    "The open source license you choose for your project, or for the projects you choose to contribute to, can have significant effects on how what you contribute is used. One question that has garnered quite a bit of interest recently is the fall in popularity of copyleft licenses in favor of permissive licenses. An contribute last year looked at the issue of large number of projects on GitHub that have no explicit license and posited the question about whether we live in a 'post open source software' world, where seemingly open source software has no license. After some time, GitHub agreed that licensing is important and worked to improve the situation with a license chooser."
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Congressional Research Service Shows Hollywood Is Thriving | Techdirt - 0 views

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    [... Recently, Senator Ron Wyden asked CRS if it could explore the state of the movie industry today as compared to 1995 on a variety of different criteria. You can read the full report embedded below, but here are a few key points. First off, despite the industry's regular attempt to play up its contribution to GDP and employment, the report found that the combined GDP contribution of both the "motion picture and sound recording" industries was a whopping 0.4% in 2009. Back in 1995... it was also 0.4%. ...]
Paul Merrell

Notes from the Fight Against Surveillance and Censorship: 2014 in Review | Electronic Frontier Foundation - 1 views

  • 2014 in Review Series Net Neutrality Takes a Wild Ride 8 Stellar Surveillance Scoops Web Encryption Gets Stronger and More Widespread Big Patent Reform Wins in Court, Defeat (For Now) in Congress International Copyright Law More Time in the Spotlight for NSLs The State of Free Expression Online What We Learned About NSA Spying in 2014—And What We're Fighting to Expose in 2015 "Fair Use Is Working!" Email Encryption Grew Tremendously, but Still Needs Work Spies Vs. Spied, Worldwide The Fight in Congress to End the NSA's Mass Spying Open Access Movement Broadens, Moves Forward Stingrays Go Mainstream Three Vulnerabilities That Rocked the Online Security World Mobile Privacy and Security Takes Two Steps Forward, One Step Back It Was a Pivotal Year in TPP Activism but the Biggest Fight Is Still to Come The Government Spent a Lot of Time in Court Defending NSA Spying Last Year Let's Encrypt (the Entire Web)
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    The Electronic Freedom Foundation just dropped an incredible bunch of articles on the world in the form of their "2014 Year In Review" series. These are major contributions that place an awful lot of information in context. I thought I had been keeping a close eye on the same subject matter, but I'm only part way through the articles and am learning time after time that I had missed really important news having to do with digital freedom. I can't recommend these articles enough. So far, they are all must-read.  
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Tools | La Quadrature du Net - 1 views

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    [ Who are we? FAQ Tools Contact Press room English Français La Quadrature du Net La Quadrature du Net Internet & Libertés Participate Support us Newsletter RSS Identi.ca Twitter Dossiers Net Neutrality ACTA Anti-sharing directive - IPRED Net filtering Online Services Directive Proposals Tools general Printer-friendly version Send to friend Français Political Memory Political Memory is a toolbox designed to help reach members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and track their voting records. You may find the list of Members of the European Parliament: by alphabetical order by country by political group by committee For each Member of Parliament or European MP are listed contact details, mandates, as well as their votes and how they stand on subjects touched on by La Quadrature du Net. If you have telephony software installed on your computer, you can call them directly by clicking on "click to call". Wiki The wiki is the collaborative part of this website where anyone can create or modify content. This is where information on La Quadrature's campaigns (such as those about the written statement on ACTA or the IPRED Consultation), highlights of the National Assembly1 debates, pages relating to ongoing issues tracked by La Quadrature, as well as analyses, illustrations and more can be found. Mediakit The Mediakit is an audio and video data bank. It contains interventions of La Quadrature's spokespeople in the media as well as reports about issues La Quadrature closely follows. All these media can be viewed and downloaded in different formats. Press Review The Press Review is a collection of press articles about La Quadrature du Net's issues. It is compiled by a team of volunteers and comes in two languages: English and French. articles written in other languages appear in both press re
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Planet Blue Coat: Mapping Global Censorship and Surveillance ToolsThe Citizen Lab - 2 views

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    [January 15, 2013 Download PDF version. Read The New York Times article associated with this report. The following individuals articled to this report: Morgan Marquis-Boire (lead technical research) and Jakub Dalek (lead technical research), Sarah McKune (lead legal research), Matthew Carrieri, Masashi Crete-Nishihata, Ron Deibert, Saad Omar Khan, Helmi Noman, John Scott-Railton, and Greg Wiseman. Summary of Key Findings Blue Coat Devices capable of filtering, censorship, and surveillance are being used around the world. During several weeks of scanning and validation that ended in January 2013, we uncovered 61 Blue Coat ProxySG devices and 316 Blue Coat PacketShaper appliances, devices with specific functionality permitting filtering, censorship, and surveillance. ...]
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

The anti-counterfeiting trade agreement: the ethical analysis of a failure, and its lessons | Luciano Floridi - Academia.edu - 0 views

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    "Abstract: The anti-counterfeiting trade agreement (ACTA) was originally meant to harmonise and enforce intellectual property rights (IPR) provisions in existing trade agreements within a wider group of countries. This was commendable in itself, so ACTA's failure was all the more disappointing. In this article, I wish to article to the post-ACTA debate by proposing a specific analysis of the ethical reasons why ACTA failed, and what we can learn from them. I argue that five kinds of objections- namely, secret negotiations, lack of consultation, vague- ness of formulation, negotiations outside any international body, and the creation of a new governing body outside already existing forums-had only indirect ethical impli- cations. "
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

["Copyleft-all rights reversed." | Don Hopkins] | About the GNU Project - FSF.org - 0 views

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    "by Richard Stallman Originally published in the book Open Sources. Richard Stallman was never a supporter of "open source", but contributed this contribute so that the ideas of the free software movement would not be entirely absent from that book. Why it is even more important than ever insist that the software we use be free. "
Paul Merrell

DropSmack: Using Dropbox to steal files and deliver malware | TechRepublic - 0 views

  • I was perusing the seminar briefing website from this year’s Black Hat EU, fishing for potential article topics, when I came across a briefing note titled “DropSmack: How cloud synchronization services render your corporate firewall worthless.” Feeling a nibble, I read the briefing. Right away, I knew I hooked a keeper: “The contributions of this presentation are threefold. First, we show how cloud-based synchronization solutions in general, and Dropbox in particular, can be used as a vector for delivering malware to an internal network.” The other two contributions were as eye-opening: Show how the Dropbox synchronization service can be used as a Command and Control (C2) channel. Demonstrate how functioning malware is able to use Dropbox to smuggle out data from exploited remote computers.
Paul Merrell

Google Acquires Titan Aerospace, The Drone Company Pursued By Facebook | TechCrunch - 0 views

  • Google has acquired Titan Aerospace, the drone startup that makes high-flying robots which was previously scoped by Facebook as a potential acquisition target (as first reported by TechCrunch), the WSJ reports. The details of the purchase weren’t disclosed, but the deal comes after Facebook disclosed its own purchase of a Titan Aerospace competitor in U.K.-based Ascenta for its globe-spanning Internet plans. Both Ascenta and Titan Aerospace are in the business of high altitude drones, which cruise nearer the edge of the earth’s atmosphere and provide tech that could be integral to blanketing the globe in cheap, omnipresent Internet connectivity to help bring remote areas online. According to the WSJ, Google will be using Titan Aerospace’s expertise and tech to contribute to Project Loon, the balloon-based remote Internet delivery project it’s currently working on along these lines. That’s not all the Titan drones can help Google with, however. The company’s robots also take high-quality images in real-time that could help with Maps initiatives, as well as contribute to things like “disaster relief” and addressing “deforestation,” a Google spokesperson tells WSJ. The main goal, however, is likely spreading the potential reach of Google and its network, which is Facebook’s aim, too. When you saturate your market and you’re among the world’s most wealthy companies, you don’t go into maintenance mode; you build new ones.
  • As for why an exit to Google looked appealing to a company like Titan, Sarah Perez outlines how Titan had sparked early interest from VCs thanks to its massive drones, which were capable of flying at a reported altitude of 65,000 feet for up to three years, but how there was also a lot of risk involved that would’ve made it difficult to find sustained investment while remaining independent. Google had just recently demonstrated how its Loon prototype balloons could traverse the globe in a remarkably short period of time, but the use of drones could conceivably make a network of Internet-providing automotons even better at globe-trotting, with a higher degree of control and ability to react to changing conditions. Some kind of hybrid system might also be in the pipeline that marries both technologies.
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

4 tips for creating a Wikipedia article | Opensource.com - 2 views

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    "It is human nature to want to share the enthusiasm you have for a subject or project with others. Wikipedia is a great place for that, where you can record your expertise and create a fact-based touchpoint for your interest. "
Paul Merrell

Germany Fires Verizon Over NSA Spying - 0 views

  • Germany announced Thursday it is canceling its contract with Verizon Communications over concerns about the role of U.S. telecom corporations in National Security Agency spying. “The links revealed between foreign intelligence agencies and firms after the N.S.A. affair show that the German government needs a high level of security for its essential networks,” declared Germany’s Interior Ministry in a statement released Thursday. The Ministry said it is engaging in a communications overhaul to strengthen privacy protections as part of the process of severing ties with Verizon. The announcement follows revelations, made possible by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, that Germany is a prime target of NSA spying. This includes surveillance of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone communications, as well as a vast network of centers that secretly collect information across the country. Yet, many have accused Germany of being complicit in NSA spying, in addition to being targeted by it. The German government has refused to grant Snowden political asylum, despite his contribution to the public record about U.S. spying on Germany.
Paul Merrell

'You Betrayed Us' Billboards Targeting Anti-Privacy Lawmakers Erected - 0 views

  • Billboards targeting legislators who voted to end online privacy measures earlier this year have gone up in key districts, as promised by activists. Digital rights group Fight for the Future vowed to put up the ads against Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and John Rutherford (R-Fla.), Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.), as well as other lawmakers after they voted in favor of a resolution, introduced by Flake, that overturned federal rules preventing broadband providers from selling user data to third parties without consent. Blackburn, Rutherford, Flake, and Heller took large contributions from the telecommunications industry before supporting the resolution, Fight for the Future said. The billboards—paid for through a crowdfunded campaign—encourage viewers to contact the lawmakers’ offices and ask why they voted against their constituents’ privacy rights.
  • Flake’s resolution was introduced under the Congressional Review Act (CRA), which gives lawmakers the authority to overturn recently-introduced agency rules with a simple majority. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) implemented the data-sharing ban in October. Once a rule is repealed under the CRA, an agency cannot reintroduce it without specific authorization by a new law.
Paul Merrell

EU considers spending €1 billion for satellite broadband technology - International Herald Tribune - 0 views

  • The €200 billion economic rescue plan being considered this week by European Union leaders includes a proposal to spend €1 billion on bringing high-speed Internet access to rural areas. The proposal is likely to pit the Continent's telecommunications operators against satellite companies, which say they are uniquely suited to expand the broadband, or high-speed, network to underserved parts of Eastern Europe and the Alps by the end of 2010.
  • But support for the plan by EU government leaders, who begin a two-day meeting to consider the rescue plan Thursday is not assured. The money would come from unspent funds in the current EU budget, which under EU rules normally revert back to member countries. Germany, which contributes the most to the EU budget and stands to get the largest refund if the project is rejected, opposes the expenditure.
  • Across the EU, 21.7 percent of residents had broadband Internet access in July, according to the commission; 107.6 million received service from a telephone DSL line or a cable television connection and 130,592 via satellite. Only 6 percent of EU residents on average received broadband via mobile phones.
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  • Until now, Baugh said, satellite broadband had been hindered by the relatively high cost of the hardware consumers needed to gain access to the service. But recent advances have lowered the cost to roughly €400, including installation, from several thousand euros a few years ago. At about €30 a month, service packages are comparable to those of DSL and cable.
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    A billion Euros is chicken feed compared to other portions of the E.U. economic stimulus initiatives in the works that respond to the major recession under way. Still, this could be a significant foot in the door for satellite broadband in the E.U., perhaps enough to build out the infrastructure enough for a more serious challenge to cable and telephony broadband. But I wonder if there would be enough redundancy enabled by only a billion Euros to gracefully handle a satellite's death if it has far more broadband users.
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