The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has officially appealed a recent decision by a New York District Court Judge that determined that the National Security Agency's (NSA) wide-scale surveillance of mobile phone data was legal and within the confines of the law. The filing with the Federal Appeals Court could ultimately lead to the case being heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Apple has responded strongly to reports that the National Security Agency claims a "100-percent success rate" in attaching spyware to iOS apps. The revelation about the NSA's targeting of Apple products comes from a recent Der Speigel report featuring leaked documents from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden provided to various journalists. The NSA program targeting Apple products is called DROPOUTJEEP, and allows the agency to intercept SMS messages, access contact lists, locate a phone using cell tower data, and even activate the device’s microphone and camera.
After a two week hiatus (thanks mostly to the holidays and Andrew's self-imposed exile to a small town in Kentucky) we return with Super Podcast Action Committee Episode 81! On this week's show hosts Andrew Eisen and E. Zachary Knight talk about the Killer Instinct DRM that popped up during a recent competition at a NYC college, the EFF's annual Wish List, and investors suing EA over the shaky Battlefield 4 launch. Download Episode 81 now: SuperPAC Episode 81 (1 hour, 17 minutes) 88.4 MB.
Earlier this week we reported that Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer of Finland-based antivirus provider F-Secure, had publicly canceled a talk (entitled, "Governments as Malware Authors") at the upcoming RSA Conference USA 2014 in protest of news that the RSA received $10 million to make an NSA-favored random number generator the default setting in its BSAFE crypto tool.
Google passed along a note letting us know that its petition on the White House web site has surpassed 107,000 signatures. The "We The People" petition calls for the White House and lawmakers to give the stuff we store online the same legal protections (Fourth Amendment) as the stuff we store offline. The petition only needed 100,000 signatures to ellicit a response from the White House at some point in the future, so it is good that it has passed this particular milestone.
A committee put together by President Barack Obama in August to investigate the government's vast surveillance operations and how it goes about collecting information here and abroad, delivered a 300 page report outlining why U.S. surveillance programs are "broken" and what can be done to fix them. The committee was put together following damaging document leaks about the NSA's various secret spying programs from former NSA contractor Snowden.
If you shopped at U.S. retailer Target on Black Friday, you may want to pay close attention to the following story from the BBC.
This week 193 members of the United Nations General Assembly unanimously approved a UN privacy resolution called "The right to privacy in the digital age." The resolution was introduced by Brazil and Germany and sponsored by more than 50 member states. The goal of the resolution is to uphold the right to privacy for everyone around the world. No doubt the resolution is in response to spying activities being conducted by the United States and the United Kingdom.
Here's an excerpt from the resolution:
A Consumer Affairs report says that hacking attempts against the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are ramping up. According to the report, which is based on information from security firm Kaspersky Lab, hackers have launched an average of 34,000 attacks per day across the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and other game platforms. Kaspersky also says that it has found 4.6 million pieces of gaming-focused malware against the various game systems to-date.
The United States government defended a heavily-redacted response to surveillance requests at the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) made by multiple software technology companies including Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!, Facebook and LinkedIn. These companies have been petitioning the special court to allow them to disclose government requests. Under the law these companies cannot disclose this information because it has been deemed "classified."
A federal judge last week ruled that a class action cannot hold Apple responsible for apps on the iPhone and iPad that sold their users' data to advertisers. Jonathan Lalo was the lead plaintiff on a class action filed in 2010 claiming Apple had approved apps for the iPhones and iPads that intercepted personal information and tracked users' habits without authorization.
Microsoft, trying to get a grip on the controversy surrounding just what its Kinect peripheral will capture, collect, and save, has released a page dedicated to explaining just what it will do when it is connected to the Xbox One launching later this month. Microsoft hopes that these disclosures related to the Kinect and its privacy policies will ease consumers who are concerned about the security of their information and activities recorded by Kinect.
Reuters is reporting that the UK government is threatening to move to stop papers in the country from publishing further leaks from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. According to Reuters, British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Monday that his government was "likely" to move towards putting a stop to newspapers from publishing "damaging leaks" from Edward Snowden unless they started to "behave more responsibly."
In a rare public statement yesterday, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden (now exiled in Moscow) urged American citizens to take part in a protest in Washington D.C. this weekend being put on by the members of the Stop Watching Us coalition. The group includes the American Civil Liberties Union, the Mozilla Foundation, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Green Party, the Libertarian Party, social news website Reddit, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Demand Progress, Students for Liberty and the Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA).
While watchdog groups, activists, and everyday citizens are speaking out about the NSA's domestic surveillance programs in the U.S., it turns out that our neighbors to the north have one of their own engaging in very similar activities. The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association claims that the Attorney General of Canada violated the country's Constitution by authorizing CSEC to intercept emails, telephone calls, text messages, and other data using the country's anti-terrorism act. The Civil Liberties Association has sued the government in B.C. Supreme Court.
US Rep. John Conyers Jr., “Pentagon Papers” whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg and actress Maggie Gyllenhaal are taking part in a new PSA calling for an end to mass "suspicionless" surveillance by the National Security Agency (NSA). The new short video released by the StopWatching.us coalition was directed by Brian Knappenberger (We Are Legion: The Story of the Hackivists) and produced by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).
A new video detailing the National Security Agency's (NSA) broad spying programs on Americans will be on display tonight at 9:00 PM ET in Manhattan, projected onto a building for everyone to see. Internet freedom groups Fight for the Future and Demand Progress have teamed up with Golden Globe nominee Evangeline Lilly (Lost, The Hobbit) to produce a 5-minute crowd funded video that explains the NSA’s surveillance programs and calls for an end to them.
Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss (Ga.), the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said today that the Senate is "very close" to introducing legislation that would encourage the private sector to share information with federal agencies. A counterpart to the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) that passed the House in April of this year, the as-of-yet unnamed bill would also provide blanket immunity to corporations that share data so they wouldn't have to worry about getting sued by customers.
According to newly declassified documents, a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judge slammed the National Security Agency in 2009 for what he called "flagrant violations" of the privacy rights of U.S. citizens over a three-year period of searches of telephone records.
Update: Politico is reporting that the White House knew that David Miranda would be stopped at London's Heathrow Airport before it happened, but it also denied any involvement in the incident.
"This is a decision that they made on their own and not at the request of the United States," White House principal deputy press secretary Josh Earnest said.
Earlier today, we reported that the White House had appointed the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, a guy who has by his own admission lied to Congress about the NSA spying on Americans, to "establish a Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies" to assess the NSA's surveillance efforts.
On Friday President Barack Obama promised to create an outside and independent review board to look into the NSA's surveillance efforts. Today we have learned that the person who has been selected to oversee this undertaking is less than credible. In a letter obtained by TechDirt (thanks EZK), we learn that it's the same old same old in D.C.
You've heard of "tiger moms," "helicopter parents," and "soccer moms," but writer Mathew Ingram is what I'm going to call an "NSA parent." In part two of a series on keeping tabs on your children's online activities ("Snooping on your kids: what I learned about my daughter, and how it changed our relationship"), Ingram details his decade-long surveillance of his three daughters' online
According to an Ars Technica report, Germany’s justice minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger said on Monday that she favored even stronger European Union rules that would enhance data protection and that companies in the United States who don't abide by those standards should be barred from doing business in the European Market.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is warning American citizens that something foul is happening in D.C. related to trade agreements and copyright laws. According to the EFF, U.S. lawmakers want to pass a bill that limits their own ability to improve or remove language in agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement or the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). Yes, you have read that correctly.
While revelations about the NSA's domestic spying programs are alarming and scary for anyone that cares about privacy, it could be worse. The New York Times explains why the NSA's collected data could be shared across just about every other agency in the U.S. government - if it let it happen.