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Privacy Groups Bring WhatsApp Worries to FTC's Door
March 07, 2014
The consumer privacy backlash stirred up by Facebook's recent deal to purchase WhatsApp for $19 billion is now in full swing. The Electronic Privacy Information Center and the Center for Digital Democracy jointly filed a complaint about the deal with the FTC. Following the announcement of the agreement, both companies offered reassurances that WhatsApp user data would be safe from Facebook.
Watch Out, NSA - Here Comes the Snowden Phone
March 06, 2014
Brash startup mobile carrier FreedomPop, which leases bandwidth from Sprint and has launched several aggressive programs to help it take off, on Wednesday unveiled the Privacy Phone -- nicknamed the "Snowden Phone" -- a Samsung Galaxy SII tweaked to be highly secure. The fully encrypted device costs $189, which includes unlimited talk, text and 500 MB of data for three months.
F-Secure's Hypponen: RSA Lost Trust
March 03, 2014
Less than two months after publicly announcing that he was pulling out of the RSA Security Conference because RSA had accepted a $10 million contract from the NSA, F-Secure chief researcher Mikko Hypponen appeared somewhat mellowed. He alternated between criticizing RSA and offering an olive branch when speaking to reporters last week in San Francisco, where the conference was under way.
Wiliest Ways to Keep the NSA at Bay
February 28, 2014
The death of online privacy had already been proclaimed long before Edward Snowden landed in the international spotlight, but if it wasn't confirmed back then, Snowden's NSA revelations surely must have extinguished the last vestiges of hope in even the most die-hard optimists. "We're in a predicament," said Phil Zimmermann, Pretty Good Privacy creator and cofounder and president of Silent Circle.
Report: Britain Snooped on Yahoo Users' Sexy Times
February 28, 2014
Britain's Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ, reportedly intercepted and collected millions of images of people via Yahoo webcam chats, some of which were sexually explicit. As part of the surveillance program, dubbed "Optic Nerve," GCHQ saved images from webcams on agency databases regardless of whether or not the individuals were an intelligence target.
Brits Hoovered Yahoo Webcams, Say Snowden Papers
February 28, 2014
A British intelligence agency indiscriminately collected photos from the webcams of Yahoo users and reportedly stored them on its servers over a period of several years as part of a surveillance program called "Optic Nerve." The operation was run by the UK's NSA counterpart, GCHQ, according to a top secret documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden.
White House Leaps Onto NSA Surveillance Merry-Go-Round
February 26, 2014
The U.S. Department of Justice and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence reportedly have submitted four proposals to reform the National Security Agency's phone surveillance program. The recommendations come well before the March 28 deadline set by President Obama. Three deal with having the data stored by some other organization, and the fourth calls for scrapping the program.
Windows XP to Live On in China
February 25, 2014
A handful of Chinese Web companies are banding together to provide user support -- system upgrades, security services and the like -- to domestic users after Microsoft turns out the lights on Windows XP. Microsoft announced that it's going to punt on Windows XP in early April. Alas, an estimated 25-plus percent of China's computers run on the operating system. But fear not!
FTC Explores Scope of Federal IoT Regulation
February 25, 2014
The explosion of the Internet of Things, or IoT, promises great opportunities for improving quality of life -- but also for creating both seen and unforeseen dangers. The IoT generally refers to a network of physical objects that contain embedded technology to sense, communicate and interact with their internal states or their external environment, according to Gartner.
Amazon and Apple's 'Tough Slog' on Madison Avenue
February 21, 2014
Amazon and Apple just can't seem to catch a break with the advertising elite on Madison Avenue. In fact, advertising sales are a "tough slog" for both companies, mourns a feature published this week. The problem? Apple and Amazon won't reveal enough information about their customers. This is the best news I've heard all year. In fact, it just reinforces my loyalty to both companies.
Internet of Things, Part 2: The Lighter Side
February 20, 2014
So there I was, grinding my coffee beans when the grinder's AMOLED screen lit up with a message. "We're watching you, boy," it read. OK, I must've spilled some grinds, so I cleaned up the machine and brewed me up some coffee. Ten minutes later, cup in hand, I wandered down to the laundry room and began loading up the washing machine. "Peekaboo!" read the message that appeared on its screen.
CDT's New Global Civil Liberty Aspirations
February 18, 2014
This is the best of times and the worst of times for privacy and civil liberties. Almost every day, new revelations about the U.S. National Security Agency's surveillance activities make headlines. Meanwhile, some U.S. intelligence chiefs have called for the execution of whistleblower Edward Snowden and have painted journalists who run stories based on his material as his accomplices.
New Gender Identity Options Let Facebook Users Be Themselves
February 14, 2014
Facebook on Thursday added custom gender options for users to identify themselves other than "male" and "female." Users now can identify themselves as bigender, androgynous, cisgender, or in one of more than 50 ways. The move initially applies only to the company's 159 million monthly users in the U.S. Facebook plans to provide the additional options to users outside the U.S. as well.
High-Tech Suits a Suspect in Weak US Speedskating Performance
February 14, 2014
The U.S. speedskating team's high-tech suits -- which theoretically are supposed to help shave seconds and accrue medals -- have been identified as a suspect in the team's stunning faceplant at the Sochi Games. Before the Games, the suits, designed by U.S.-based sportswear giant Under Armour, were deemed to be on the cutting edge of racing technology.
Internet of Things, Part 1: God's Gift to the NSA
February 12, 2014
The NSA's salivary glands no doubt started working overtime when it became apparent that technological advances were moving the world toward an Internet of Things -- a world where everything would be connected to everything else wirelessly or over the Web. Almost two years ago, David Petraeus, then director of the CIA, enthused that the IoT would transform surveillance techniques.
Mass Surveillance: The Day We Fight Back
February 10, 2014
Well it's been roughly eight months since the first major leaks about the NSA's PRISM surveillance program began to appear, and at last a coordinated global protest is imminent. Scheduled to take place on Tuesday, Feb. 11, The Day We Fight Back involves thousands of participating websites as well as protests, speaking events, street theater performances and more.
Unable to Dent Wallet, France Attacks Google's Pride
February 10, 2014
France's top administrative court ruled that Google must display a notice on its French search page saying that the company was fined by a local privacy watchdog. Google plans to fight the fine, but will have to adorn its Google.fr page with the humiliating message in the meantime. In January, French privacy regulators followed through on previous threats by fining Google roughly $200,000.
Internet Domain Names Get More Character
February 04, 2014
Tuesday ushered in a series of generic top-level domains (gTLDs) that for the first time in Web history, include Arabic, Chinese and Russian characters. The new gTLDs -- which are the suffixes to Web addresses, such as ".com" and ".net" -- were approved by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN. ICANN invited applications for new domain names in 2012, at a cost of $185,000 a pop.
Strong Man Snowden Rings the Bell in Geekland
February 03, 2014
Openness is changing the world, as a very wise writer pointed out not so very long ago, and what better example than the parade of government-spying revelations we've seen in recent months? It's clearly a different world since Edward Snowden appeared on the scene -- though not everyone agrees on whether it's a better one or not. In the eyes of some, he deserves a peace prize.
Departures, Arrivals, Surveillance: Canada Used Airport WiFi Snooparound
January 31, 2014
Canadian authorities used information culled from a free Internet service at a major national airport to track the wireless devices of scores of travelers. The Communications Security Establishment Canada, or CESC, received information from the unnamed airport's free WiFi system and then used that data to track travelers whose devices later popped up at WiFi locations in other parts of the country.
Snowden in the Running for Nobel Peace Prize
January 30, 2014
A group of Norwegian lawmakers nominated former NSA contactor Edward Snowden for the Nobel Peace Prize. Saying that his bottomless pit of surveillance revelations contributes to stability and transparency, the lawmakers submitted the nomination to the Nobel Foundation. President Obama won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, meaning Obama and his secret-leaking foil could soon have something in common.
US, British Intelligence Scoop Data From Smartphone Apps
January 28, 2014
Don't get angry, but... U.S. and British intelligence agencies have long been mining data from smartphone apps such as the wildly popular Angry Birds. The National Security Agency and its British brethren at the Government Communications Headquarters reportedly have targeted the swell of data moving to and fro on mobile apps, based on previously secret documents leaked by Edward Snowden.

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