'NSA Parent': Writer Details His Decade of Spying on His Children Online

August 8, 2013 -

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

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Germany Proposes Tough Love for U.S. Companies that Don't Protect Private Data

August 7, 2013 -

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.

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EFF Warns Americans About the Trade Promotion Authority

August 5, 2013 -

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.

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NYT: Other Agencies Complain that NSA and FBI Do Not Share Collected Data

August 5, 2013 -

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.

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Filmmaker Says Facebook is a Public Utility

July 31, 2013 -

Libertarian publication Reason.com offers an interesting interview with filmmaker Cullen Hoback, who says that Facebook and other internet services are a lot like public utilities.

Hoback is working on a new documentary about digital privacy in the Internet age called "Terms and Conditions May Apply." The title was inspired by the privacy policies we all agree to when we uses services such as Facebook, Google, AT&T and any other notable or popular digital service in 2013.

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Vote Set for Tonight on Amendments to Defund NSA

July 24, 2013 -

Michigan Republican Rep. Justin Amash is proving to be a worthy adversary against the Republican establishment and the White House when it comes to national security issues, and he seems to have no problem throwing his enthusiastic support behind causes to stop the NSA's clandestine spying programs, much to the chagrin of hawks on both sides of the aisle.

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Amendment Seeking to Defund the NSA Survives House Rules Committee

July 23, 2013 -

Libertarian-themed political website Reason.com is reporting that the Amash Amendment has survived the House's Rules Committee process. The Rules Committee voted late last night to allow several anti-NSA amendments to the $598.3 billion defense bill to be voted on this week.

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Norwegian Professor Nominates NSA Leaker Edward Snowden for Nobel Peace Prize

July 19, 2013 -

Stefan Svallfors, a professor of sociology at Umea University has submitted former NSA contractor Edward Snowden as his pick for the Nobel Peace Prize. Recently he sent a letter to the Norwegian Nobel Committee nominating Snowden because of his leaks on several secret NSA surveillance programs being run in the U.S. and in Europe.

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Poll: Will the Gov’t Use Microsoft’s Kinect To Spy On Xbox One Owners?

July 17, 2013 -

Does the Xbox One Kinect camera make you nervous?  Sure, the console is switched off but the Kinect is still listening, isn't it?  And the Xbox One is connected to the internet.  Oh sure, Microsoft says it won't violate your privacy or share info without your consent but do you trust the big M to keep its word?

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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.

1 comment

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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Will an M rating hurt Batman: Arkham Knight's sales?:

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MechaTama31That's a pretty difficult anatomy to break.02/26/2015 - 11:09pm
MechaTama31"the way her animations repeatedly break her anatomy" <-- I'm sorry, but we are talking here about the woman who can roll up into a little ball and live to tell the tale, yes? ;)02/26/2015 - 11:09pm
Andrew EisenAs far as examples that could be culled from female game characters though, that one's pretty mild.02/26/2015 - 9:11pm
Andrew EisenNot as much the heels or the suit in and of themselves but certainly the way her animations repeatedly break her anatomy to show off her lady bits.02/26/2015 - 9:10pm
E. Zachary KnightWell, Samus's heels are certainly impracticable, but I wouldn't really call her Zero suit objectified. I don't really feel that the new Lara Croft is objectified either, but that is my subjective opinion.02/26/2015 - 9:08pm
Andrew EisenTomb Raider: No but we haven't seen much of anything yet. Samus: Yes.02/26/2015 - 9:07pm
ZippyDSMleeWould you call the new tomb raider objectified? WOuld Samus Aran from the new Smash bros be objectified?02/26/2015 - 9:02pm
WonderkarpI'm hoping they put the rest of the comic book ghostbusters in there. Ortiz and Rookie(From GB the game)02/26/2015 - 8:38pm
Wonderkarpghostbusters board game is doing great. getting close too a 3rd extra playable Character. Ron Alexander.02/26/2015 - 8:37pm
Andrew EisenSmurfette is not subjective. If there's more than one female character, it's not Smurfette. Anyway, as with everything on the list, Smurfette is, in and of itself, not necessarily a bad thing.02/26/2015 - 8:32pm
Andrew EisenI think there's 5 women (out of 15, I think) but other than one being a bit more "hippy" than the others, they pretty much all have the same body type. Especially when compaired to the huge variety of male body types.02/26/2015 - 8:31pm
Wonderkarpso I dont see Smurfette as a bad thing. Unless like all your female characters are Smurfette. remember the Smurfs also had Sassette02/26/2015 - 8:29pm
E. Zachary KnightOne good example of the larger issues is one Anita used in the presentation, Blizzard's Overwatch game. There are a dozen men in the game with a dozen body types. But there are only 4 women with 2 body types, but 3 of them have the same one.02/26/2015 - 8:28pm
Wonderkarpthe smurfette thing is subjective to how many female characters you have. Take Sonic for example. You have Amy, who is obvious smurfette, but there's several other female characters now without that. Including the original animated seriescomics with Sally02/26/2015 - 8:28pm
E. Zachary KnightAE. Very true. I think that is where I was going, but it didn't come out right. Jack Harkness is sexy but not objectified. Whereas, a women would have to be objectified in order to be "sexy" in most games.02/26/2015 - 8:26pm
E. Zachary KnightAnd as Andrew pointed out, there is a big difference between a sexualized man, and an idealized man. But for some reason, there is no distinction between women in games. For the most part.02/26/2015 - 8:25pm
Andrew EisenI think one of the issues we run into repeatedly with these conversations is the confusion over "sexy" and "sexually objectified."02/26/2015 - 8:24pm
E. Zachary KnightYet, for some reason, in orde rto have a sexualized women, she must be wearing lingerie or a bikini. Can't women be sexual and still dress for the job at hand?02/26/2015 - 8:24pm
E. Zachary KnightThe problem I have with complaints of "sexualized men" is that men don't have to wear speedos to be sexualized. Captain Jack Harkness from Torchwood/Doctor Who, was one sexy man, but he spent 99% of his time in a WW2 soldier's trenchcoat.02/26/2015 - 8:23pm
Andrew EisenThat there's more to her character than her sexualization? Sure (depending on which depiction we're talking about). No one's claiming that there are zero examples of female characters beyond their sexualization.02/26/2015 - 8:22pm
 

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