Senate Releases Draft Cybersecurity Bill

July 12, 2013 -

The Senate's Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee released a draft bill today that attempts to tackle the thorny issue of cybersecurity. The draft bill is backed by Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and ranking Republican member John Thune (R-S.D.). Its creators claim that the draft is an attempt to create a compromise on the issue of cybersecurity after repeated (and failed) attempts to pass legislation through the Senate last term.

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Report: Microsoft Cooperated with NSA Surveillance Programs

July 12, 2013 -

A new report from The Guardian reveals the scope of Microsoft's alleged collaboration with the National Security Agency and its PRISM domestic spying program. According to the report, which cites top secret documents obtained by the Guardian, Microsoft helped the NSA to circumvent its encryption related to its Outlook portal and web chat services; provided help with Hotmail mail services, its cloud storage service SkyDrive; and Skype.

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Club Nintendo Security Breached in Japan

July 5, 2013 -

Nintendo announced that Club Nintendo, its member rewards site in Japan, has been hacked. The security breach was discovered when Nintendo noticed a large number of access errors on July 2. This prompted Nintendo to conduct a deeper investigation. Looking further into the issue, Nintendo found 23,000 instances of unauthorized log-ins (with 15 million attempts) between June 9 and July 4 on Japan's Club Nintendo site. The security breach does not apply to Club Nintendo sites in other countries, according to Nintendo.

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German Official: Germans Should Avoid American Services to Ensure Privacy

July 3, 2013 -

Germany’s internal security chief Hans-Peter Friedrich, has suggested to German citizens that it might be wise to avoid American services in the wake of the NSA PRISM scandal and other activities that involved targets in Europe. According to an Associated Press report, Friedrich said on Wednesday that "whoever fears their communication is being intercepted in any way should use services that don’t go through American servers."

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Restore The Fourth Protest Set for July 4th

July 3, 2013 -

Several advocacy groups have banded together for a 100 city protest called Restore the Fourth on July 4. The day-long protest is described by organizers as a "grassroots campaign designed to raise discussion in Congress about the rules and regulations of the Fourth Amendment." Specifically, the protest focuses on some of the laws and activities being used in the name of fighting terrorism.

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Stop Watching Us Campaign Garners Half a Million Signatures

June 28, 2013 -

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) announced that the grassroots campaign opposing the dragnet surveillance programs of the National Security Agency (NSA) at StopWatching.Us has garnered 500,000 signatures. When half a million people sign up for a campaign the government would be wise to take note of it.

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Play NSA Leaker Edward Snowden in New Parody Game

June 27, 2013 -

A new web game called "Snowden's Leaks: The Game" (starring Edward Snowden and President Obama) lets players take the man who leaked information about the NSA's spying activities (PRISM and mobile phone data collection) for a spin as he fills up USB drives with secret data while avoiding NSA agents and security cameras using distractions like doughnuts and hiding places like behind the American flag.

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White House Petition to Pardon Edward Snowden Garners Required Signatures

June 25, 2013 -

A petition on Whitehouse.gov to pardon NSA contractor Edward Snowden for revealing the NSA's spying activities (PRISM and phone data collection) has passed the 100,000 signature threshold needed to earn a response from the White House. As of this writing the petition sits at roughly 117,000 signatures. The petition solicited the Obama Administration to pardon Snowden for any crimes he may have committed.

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ESRB Launches Privacy Certified Program

June 25, 2013 -

The Entertainment Software Rating Board announced a new privacy seal certification program called ESRB Privacy Certified. The new program offers expanded services to help companies manage their mobile app privacy practices. The program’s services include helping companies achieve compliance with the recently revised Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) Rule, which the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires by July 1st.

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Microsoft Dumps (Most) Bad Xbox One Policies

June 19, 2013 -

Realizing that it has lost the war on Xbox One's online requirements and its used games policies, Microsoft announced today that it is abandoning them altogether. Microsoft has changed its stance on always online and used game policies to be more like they were on Xbox 360. In a blog post explaining the changes President of Microsoft's interactive entertainment business, Don Mattrick, laid out the changes.

Kinect May Run Afoul of Proposed We Are Watching You Act

June 19, 2013 -

The newly designed Kinect for Xbox One may run afoul of a bill called the "We Are Watching You Act," if it becomes law. The law sponsored by Congressman Michael Capuano (D-MA) and Congressman Walter Jones (R-NC), requires companies to "explicitly" ask consumers for permission to store their data. The device would also have to inform the user how the data is collected and who will see it after it is collected.

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Texas Law Kills Warrantless Searches of Email

June 18, 2013 -

While the rest of the country worries about what the NSA is doing with our data on the Internet, the state of Texas is securing the privacy of its citizens' emails. On Friday Texas Governor Rick Perry (R) signed into law a privacy bill that will guard Texans from warrantless searches by state law enforcement officials. House Bill 2268 in effect requires that state investigators obtain a warrant to access emails no matter how old the communication might be.

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Tap It: NSA Slow Jam

June 14, 2013 -

Libertarian publication Reason has a new song from resident parody prodigy Remy about the NSA's mobile phone surveillance program called "Tap It: The NSA Slow Jam." The song makes fun of the NSA's PRISM program and its practice of collecting Americans' mobile phone meta-data that was leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

The best line in the song, in my opinion:

"Text yourself about it, let us know how you feel."

You can find the lyrics here.

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Edward Snowden - Deleted Scenes of NSA Security Video Interview

June 14, 2013 -

While America debates whether former NSA contractor Edward Snowden is a traitor or a hero for leaking classified information related to the NSA's alleged "PRISM" internet surveillance program or analyzing the data from Americans' mobile phones, some people are busy trying to make us laugh about the whole situation. One of those people is comedian Steve Hofstetter, who has created parody video of the "deleted scenes" from The Guardian interview with Snowden.

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Petition to Pardon NSA Surveillance Leaker Gains Momentum

June 11, 2013 -

While America rages over whether former NSA contractor Edward Snowden is a traitor who should be locked up or a hero for revealing the NSA's spying activities (PRISM and phone data collection), a petition on WhiteHouse.gov is gaining some momentum.

The petition calls on the Obama Administration to give Snowden a pardon for his alleged crimes. It should be noted that, while lawmakers, pundits and Washington insiders are calling for Snowden to be charged, the White House and the Justice Department have not made any official move on the matter as of this writing.

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86 Civil Liberties Groups and Internet Companies Demand an End to NSA Spying

June 11, 2013 -

The Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) has joined the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and 85 other civil liberties groups and Internet organizations to U.S. lawmakers that it must put a stop to the National Security Agency and other U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies spying on American citizens. The letter is in response to two stories that leaked information about several NSA information gathering programs that target the internet and mobile phone activities of Americans.

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Xbox One Answers: Always On, Game Trades, Kinect Privacy

June 6, 2013 -

Got Xbox One questions?

Of course you do.  Microsoft's messaging since its console unveiling has been a confusing mess.  Does Xbox One require an internet connection to play offline?  Does it block used games?  Can the all-seeing eye of the Kinect be turned off?

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Google Bans First Google Glass Adult App

June 4, 2013 -

The very first porn-related app for Google Glass has been banned by Google, along with any other applications that someone might think of in the future. The application created by software developer MiKandi called "Tits & Glass" allowed Google Glass users to record videos and take pictures of sexual partners and share them with other users of the app who could then rate them.

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Who's Watching Who: Microsoft's Questionable Rewards Patent for Xbox One

June 3, 2013 -

This TechDirt article details a Microsoft patent application related to the Xbox One console that might give you a little pause. The patent, "Awards and achievements across TV ecosystem," uses (what we assume is) the Kinect camera and sensors to tell whether a person is watching an advertisement.

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Screw Privacy: English Version of Data Dealer Launches

May 31, 2013 -

The English language version of Data Dealer, a Facebook and web game about data privacy, has been released. Developed to teach about the perils and pitfalls of data mining, the 2013 Games for Change Awards nominated game puts players in the shoes of a data mining company that uses various internet services to collect and resell both legally and illegally obtained information. Players do this through social networks, sweepstakes, mobile apps, the web, dating sites and more.

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German Commissioner Expresses Concern over Xbox One's 'Always-On' Kinect

May 28, 2013 -

Update: This Kotaku story citing an unnamed Microsoft rep. notes that the Kinect does not have to be on all the time:

"Yes, you can turn the system completely off," the Microsoft rep said. "This would use no power and turn everything off. We’ll share more details about how it all works later."  Article author Stephen Totilo speculates that this involves pressing the console's power button.

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The FBI Seeks Overbroad Expansion of Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act

May 24, 2013 -

A New York Times article from earlier this week about the FBI's attempt to expand the scope of the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) and the subsequent response to it from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) should raise alarm bells for anyone that does anything on the Internet.

Texas Politicians Fast Track CISPA-Like Law Through House, Senate Vote Expected Soon

May 16, 2013 -

Liberal-flavored site Burnt Orange Report sheds some light on a Texas bill sponsored by both Democrats and Republicans in the House that gives law enforcement in the state broad powers to look at private Internet data without much justification.

The bill was sponsored by Texas Republican Reps. John Frullo, Allen Fletcher, and John Carona; and Democratic Rep. Senfronia Thompson. House Bill 2268 is described as follows:

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Civil Liberties Groups Send CISPA Opposition Letter to Members of Congress

April 17, 2013 -

Thirty-four civil liberties groups have signed onto a letter urging lawmakers in the House of Representatives to vote against the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) when it comes up for a vote on the floor either today or tomorrow. The letter lays out the collective groups' continued opposition to the bill after a secret markup hearing last week was held and amendments put forward that would have added privacy protections for Americans were soundly rejected by hearing members.

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ACLU to Congress: Keep the Military Out of Cybersecurity Efforts

March 13, 2013 -

The American Civil Liberties Union had a simple message for Congress today about CISPA or any other plans for sharing internet user information between corporations and government intelligence agencies: keep cybersecurity information sharing out of military hands.

Anti-CISPA Petition Surpasses 100K Signature Threshold

March 12, 2013 -

The deadline for a petition submitted to the White House's "We The People" site to stop the passage of the newest version of the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) is March 15, but the petition has already passed the 100,000 signature threshold needed for the White House to recognize it. The petition expresses concerns that citizens and privacy groups have over the privacy implications of the bill sponsored by Reps.

Who Currently Supports CISPA?

March 11, 2013 -

ReadWriteWeb has an excellent article that gathers the names of all of the organizations and individuals that are either for or against the newest draft of the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA. While many technology and Internet firms are marked down as supporting the bill, a number of them do so as long as privacy concerns are addressed first.

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Rep. Zoe Lofgren and Friends Introduce Bipartisan ECPA Reform Bill

March 6, 2013 -

Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose), Ted Poe (R-TX) and Suzan DelBene (D-WA) have introduced bipartisan legislation that seeks to modernize the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). The changes focus on providing better protections for those who utilize new technologies in the internet age like cloud computing and location-based services. Lofgren was one of a handful of lawmakers that strongly opposed SOPA and PIPA from the very beginning.

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Super Podcast Action Committee - Episode 41

February 18, 2013 -

Happy President's Day! You know, the made-up holiday where we honor two presidents with one half-assed holiday. Don't President Lincoln and President George Washington deserve separate days to be honored properly? Apparently not. Anyway.. on this week's show hosts Andrew Eisen and E. Zachary Knight talk about the file-sharing case headed to the Supreme Court, the President's executive order on cybersecurity, the latest poll results, and more. Let freedom ring.

White House Releases Cybersecurity Executive Order

February 13, 2013 -

The White House yesterday revealed details on President Obama's executive order intended to ramp up the fight against cybersecurity threats to U.S. interests including businesses, the government and critical infrastructure. Surprisingly, the executive order lacks all of the issues associated with the House cybersecurity bill (commonly referred to as CISPA). For one it offers a one-way information sharing provision, meaning that the U.S. government's various intelligence agencies can share information with corporations and businesses that handle critical information.

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Will we ever get Half-Life 3?:

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Andrew EisenWould such disclosure still be required if Fantasy Life were reviewed by Jose Otero, who wasn't hired by IGN until sometime after Drake left?10/02/2014 - 11:19am
Papa MidnightIn that case, a disclosure might be in order. The problem, of course, is applying it on a case-by-case basis; As EZK said, what's the cut-off?10/02/2014 - 11:19am
E. Zachary KnightAndrew, a disclosure would probably be in order as she likely still has a strong relationship with IGN staff. My follow up question would be "What is the statute of limitations on such a requirement?"10/02/2014 - 11:09am
E. Zachary KnightSleaker, my hyperbole was intended to illustrate the difference and similarity between direct censorship and indirect censorship.10/02/2014 - 11:07am
Andrew EisenOpen Question: Former IGN Nintendo editor Audrey Drake now works in the Nintendo Treehouse. Do you think it's important for IGN to disclose this fact in the review of Fantasy Life, a game she worked on? Should IGN recuse itself from reviewing the game?10/02/2014 - 11:07am
E. Zachary KnightSleaker, My thoughts on disclosure: http://gamepolitics.com/2014/09/25/what-your-gamergate-wish-list#comment-29598710/02/2014 - 11:02am
Sleaker@EZK - using hyperbole is a bit silly. I'm asking a serious question. Where's the line on disclosure as relates to journalistic involvement in the culture they report on?10/02/2014 - 10:59am
E. Zachary KnightSo a journalist reporting on general gaming news mentions a specific developer and their game involved in said news, and it is suddenly some nefarious conspiracy to hide a conflict of interest. I think someone is reaching for validation.10/02/2014 - 10:53am
Andrew EisenYes, imagine anyone insisting that two utterences of the phrase "Depression Quest creator Zoe Quinn" wasn't influenced by something happening in the future!10/02/2014 - 10:52am
Sleaker@Pap Midnight - So wouldn't it be any journalist writing about general gaming culture would need to disclose any and all links/ties to said general gaming culture to be ethical? Also @EZK to use you're own methodology, I'm still curious on the question10/02/2014 - 10:49am
KronoSure none of those are reviews, but it is positive exposure, which as illustrated by The Fine Young Capitalists, is pretty damn important for getting people to check out your work.10/02/2014 - 10:32am
Krono@Midnight and of course the article most people mention and insist was no way influenced by him being romantically involved only days later, and her friend beforehand here: http://goo.gl/xCzivK10/02/2014 - 10:29am
Papa MidnightThe term "lovers" might be pushing it given the apparent time frame, but I understand what you're saying. Even if they were friends at the time, then that may present impropiety. However, that calls for a Magic-8-Ball level of speculation.10/02/2014 - 10:26am
Krono@Midnight She was a guest on an RPS show he cohosted here: http://goo.gl/QxljSG10/02/2014 - 10:24am
prh99Personally I'd say her original piece on Bronies was far more ethically questionable. Though for different reasons.10/02/2014 - 10:20am
Krono@Midnight On the Grayson relationship? For starters it depends on how long they were friends before they were lovers. Nathan gave Depression Quest top billing back in this article: http://goo.gl/tqGsnW10/02/2014 - 10:20am
Papa MidnightIf said journalist, however, is placed into a position where they have to write about matters dealing with DICE, then yes, a COI is present and should be declared.10/02/2014 - 10:18am
Papa MidnightHypothetically, if a developer from DICE starts dating a tech journalist from CNN tomorrow, so long as said CNN journalist is not (in)directly involved in any editorial process regarding matters dealing with DICE, there's no need to declare a COI.10/02/2014 - 10:18am
Papa MidnightThere's no need for it. A declaration of a Conflict of Interest is only necessary in the event that the parties may be placed into a situation where the conflict may become a factor.10/02/2014 - 10:16am
Krono@prh99 It was after #gamergate. There was a post on r/games that called out the lack of disclosure.10/02/2014 - 10:12am
 

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