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The Open Source Squad at the GSA
March 03, 2015
18F, a development unit within the General Services Administration, was established a year ago to tap into the success of the United Kingdom's Government Digital Services unit by pursuing a similar strategy. The unit is tasked with getting developers from Silicon Valley and the ranks of civic developers all over the country to change how federal technology gets done.
Monster Problem Threatens New US Cyberthreat Plan
March 03, 2015
President Barack Obama last week made good on his promise to establish a center for cybersecurity information gathered by agencies of the federal government. It's a laudable initiative -- if it works. The Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center will connect the dots regarding malicious foreign cyberthreats to the nation and cyberincidents affecting U.S. national interests.
FCC Comes Through on Net Neutrality
February 27, 2015
The FCC has adopted new open Internet rules by a 3-2 vote along party lines. The rules, which affect both wired and wireless access, prohibit broadband providers from unreasonably interfering with efforts of consumers and edge providers to reach each other. The Internet is "simply too important to be left without rules and without a referee on the field," said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.
Government Spies Came Up Dry, Says Gemalto
February 26, 2015
SIM card maker Gemalto, whose networks reportedly were breached by hackers from the United States National Security Agency and the UK's GCHQ, on Wednesday said the spies got nothing. The hackers stole cryptokeys for millions of SIM cards, according to The Intercept, which cited documents released by NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden. Gemalto denied any SIM cryptokeys had been stolen.
Net Neutrality: All Over but the Shouting?
February 25, 2015
After well over a year of bitter, often highly partisan debates, and despite dissension within its ranks and opposition from industry groups, the United States Federal Communications Commission is expected on Thursday to vote in favor of rules enforcing Net neutrality. The commission wants to regulate ISPs like common carriers under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934.
Yahoo CISO, NSA Chief Slug It Out Over Security Backdoors
February 25, 2015
Yahoo CISO Alex Stamos on Monday confronted NSA Director Adm. Mike Rogers over the United States government's plan to require built-in backdoors in hardware and software made by American companies. The exchange took place at the New America Foundation's cybersecurity conference. Building backdoors into cryptography is "like drilling a hole in the windshield," Stamos said.
FTC, Private Sector Lock Horns Over Consumer Data Protection
February 25, 2015
The major headline hacking event of 2014 involved data theft at a highly visible enterprise: Sony Pictures. Perhaps just as significant in e-commerce security was a 2014 federal court ruling which allows the FTC to continue penalizing commercial firms for failure to protect consumer data from hackers. That decision has been challenged, and in early March the FTC and its opponent will square off in court.
Citizenfour's Oscar Highlights National Divide Over Snowden
February 24, 2015
Citizenfour, a film documenting interviews director Laura Poitras conducted with whistle-blower Edward Snowden, won the Oscar for best documentary Sunday. The talks took place as Snowden blew the lid off the United States National Security Agency's surveillance activities. The award highlights the divisions in the U.S. over Snowden's actions and the question of national security.
Government Spies Steal SIM Card Cryptokeys
February 23, 2015
The United States' National Security Agency and British spy agency GCHQ have hacked into the internal computer network of Gemalto, the world's largest maker of SIM cards, and stolen the cards' encryption keys, according to information in files leaked by whistle-blower Edward Snowden. Gemalto makes about 2 billion SIM cards a year, and sells them to 450 major wireless network carriers worldwide.
Google Rails Against Proposal to Give Feds Remote Hacking Authority
February 20, 2015
Google is fighting a proposed amendment to Rule 41 of the U.S. Criminal Code that might allow authorities to hack into computers abroad. The amendment seeks to empower a magistrate in a district where activities related to a crime may have occurred to issue a warrant for remote search of computers, as well as seizure or copying of their files, under certain circumstances.
Vendors Jostle to Gain Edge in Growing Federal Cloud Market
February 18, 2015
A major information technology trend within the U.S. government is the gradual -- and apparently inexorable -- migration of federal IT resources to cloud platforms. As the potential for federal cloud adoption has grown, vendors have intensified their marketing and improved their offerings to meet the emerging IT requirements of government agencies.
NSA Suspected of Spreading Super-Resistant Malware
February 17, 2015
Kaspersky Lab on Tuesday announced the discovery of what may be the most sophisticated malware ever. The malware's creators, whom Kaspersky has dubbed "The Equation Group," use a never-seen-before tactic to infect hard drives' firmware. The technique "makes traditional antivirus and antimalware software practically useless," said Protegrity VP of Products Yigal Rozenberg.
Obama's Cyberthreat Intel Aggregator Plan Divides Security Experts
February 12, 2015
The Obama Administration on Tuesday announced plans to set up a national Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center to integrate all data from government agencies and the private sector, and disseminate it appropriately. The intelligence integration center will initially have a staff of 50 and a budget of US$35 million. Reactions from cybersecurity experts were mixed.
Federal 'Internet of Things' Report Triggers Debate, Senate Inquiry
February 10, 2015
Just how close is 'too close for comfort' in the unprecedented connectivity of people, products and electronic communication that lies ahead with the Internet of Things? Should the providers of electronic devices be allowed to know when you set your house thermometer, or how often and how long you go for a jog using a 'wearable' electronic exercise sensor?
Report: Connected Vehicles Vulnerable to Hack Attacks
February 09, 2015
Motorists in the United States are increasingly at risk of cyberattacks and violations of privacy, as more and more technology is added to their cars. A report released on Sunday by the office of Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) listed a number of key findings that are based on responses from 16 auto makers to a letter sent to them by Markey's office.
FCC Chair Submits New Approach for Net Neutrality
February 06, 2015
Some proposed rules that the Federal Communication Commission maintains will prevent content discrimination on the Internet drew fire on Thursday from two policy interest groups. A four-page "fact sheet" on the rules was released Wednesday by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. In it, the chairman outlined what he's proposing to the full commission, which is expected to vote on the rules February 26.
FTC Argues Against IoT Law, For Now
February 05, 2015
The global "installed and connected base" of IoT units will reach approximately 30 billion in 2020, noted IDC in a November 2014 report. Yet now is not the time to enact privacy or security laws aimed directly at the impact of the IoT, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission says. The FTC argues that such specific legislation could stymie the development of IoT technology.
Good and Samsung Partner to Harden Android Security
February 04, 2015
Good Technology on Tuesday announced a merger of its app container and app ecosystem with the Samsung KNOX enterprise security platform for Android. The product merger is aimed at eliminating virus and malware concerns that come with Android adoption in the enterprise. The hardened security for Android targets the OS's deployment with U.S. government and Department of Defense agencies.
China May Write New Rules for US Businesses Selling Tech to Banks
February 02, 2015
A group of organizations representing American businesses last week requested urgent discussion and dialog with China's government. They expressed concern about the possible adoption of a policy to ensure that any Internet and information communications technology products Chinese banks purchase from companies outside of China are secure and controllable.
FCC Issues Tough Warning Against WiFi Blocking
January 29, 2015
The FCC on Tuesday issued a warning that intentional blockage of personal WiFi hotspots was illegal and would be subject to enforcement. The FCC has noticed a "disturbing trend" among hotels and other commercial establishments of blocking consumers' personal WiFi hotspots on their premises, it said. The agency last year conducted an investigation of Marriott International for WiFi blocking.
Canada Levitates Data from File-Sharing Sites
January 29, 2015
Canada's spy agency, the Communications Security Establishment, has been eavesdropping on 102 free file upload sites, including Sendspace, Rapidshare and Megaupload, which has been shut down. A CSE program called "Levitation" lets analysts access information on 10-15 million uploads and downloads of files from such sites daily, according to documents released by whistle-blower Edward Snowden.
Tech-Savvy Cubans Build Their Own Private Internet
January 28, 2015
Because Cuba's government makes it difficult for all but a handful of Cubans to access the Internet, people in Havana and other parts of the country reportedly have linked thousands of PCs to create an informal network known as "StreetNet," or "SNet" for short. The network was built with commercially available equipment. The PCs are connected by WiFi and Ethernet cables strung over rooftops.
Businesses Seek Liability Protection for Cybersecurity Disclosures
January 28, 2015
"No foreign nation, no hacker, should be able to shut down our networks, steal our trade secrets, or invade the privacy of American families," President Barack Obama told the U.S. Congress during the State of the Union Address last week. However, hunting down the perpetrators of cyberattacks that compromise national security or disrupt commerce is only going to get more difficult in the future.
Wikileaks Steamed Over Google's Lengthy Silence on FBI Snooping
January 27, 2015
Google may have contributed to violating the First Amendment rights of three journalists working for WikiLeaks two and a half years ago, when it turned over to the FBI all their email, subscriber information and metadata. Google informed the journalists about its actions last month, saying that it had been unable to do so earlier due to a gag order.

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Are you looking forward to self-driving cars?
You bet -- I'd love to have a built-in chauffeur.
Yes -- self-driving cars will save lives.
Kind of -- I'd like some self-driving features, like parking.
No -- self-driving cars are too dangerous.
No -- I don't want to give up another freedom.
Absolutely not -- I saw Terminator and I'm not letting some robot take me for a ride!
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