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United Kingdom

UK Prisons To Crack Down On Inmate Internet and Mobile Phone Use ( 69

An anonymous reader writes: UK prisons will roll out enhanced internet and mobile phone blocking technologies, according to new measures announced yesterday by Chancellor George Osborne in the Autumn Statement. The step, which seeks to stop inmate access to the internet and calls made from mobile devices, will involve part of a £1.3bn investment from the Ministry of Justice to improve the country's Prison Service. Through this strategy, the government hopes to drive "safety improvements" by denying calls and data used on illicit mobile devices. The latest development in blocking technologies promises to be better (paywalled) than earlier systems, which inmates have been able to get around.

Google Scours 1.2 Million URLs To Conform With EU's "Right To Be Forgotten" Law ( 66

An anonymous reader writes: According to a Google report the company has evaluated 1,234,092 URLs from 348,085 requests since the EU's May 2014 "right to be forgotten" ruling, and has removed 42% of those URLs. Engadget reports: "To show how it comes to its decisions, the company shared some of the requests it received and its decisions. For example: a private citizen that was convicted of a serious crime, but had that conviction overturned during appeal, had search results about the crime removed. Meanwhile a high ranking public official in Hungary failed to get the results squelched of a decades-old criminal conviction. Of course, that doesn't mean the system is perfect and the company has already been accused of making mistakes."

Axel Springer Goes After iOS 9 Ad Blockers In New Legal Battlle ( 221

An anonymous reader writes: Germany's Axel Springer, owner of newspapers like Bild and Die Welt, is pursuing legal action against the developers of Blockr, an ad blocker for iOS 9. Techcrunch reports: "In October, Axel Springer forced visitors to Bild to turn off their ad blockers or pay a monthly fee to continue using the site. Earlier this month, the publisher reported the success of this measure, saying that the proportion of readers using ad blockers dropped from 23% to the single digits when faced with the choice to turn off the software or pay. 'The results are beyond our expectations,' said Springer chief exec Mathias Döpfner at the time. 'Over two-thirds of the users concerned switched off their adblocker.' He also noted that the website received an additional 3 million visits from users who could now see the ads in the first two weeks of the experiment going live."

Patreon Users Threatened By Ashley Madison Scammers ( 75

itwbennett writes: "Over the last few days, the group responsible for extortion attempts and death threats against Ashley Madison users has turned to a new set of targets – Patreon users," writes CSO's Steve Ragan. A message sent from the same account used in previous campaigns by the scammers demands a payment of 1 BTC or else the Patreon user will have their personal information exposed. "The [Bitcoin] wallet being used by the group has barely collected anything," says Ragan, "suggesting that after their massive push towards Ashley Madison users, people have stopped falling for their scams."

How Anonymous' War With Isis Is Actually Harming Counter-Terrorism ( 391

retroworks writes: According to a recent tweet from the #OpParis account, Anonymous are delivering on their threat to hack Isis, and are now flooding all pro-Isis hastags with the grandfather of all 2007 memes — Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up" music video. Whenever a targeted Isis account tries to spread a message, the topic will instead be flooded with countless videos of Rick Astley circa 1987. Not all are praising Anonymous methods, however. While Metro UK reports that the attacks have been successful, finding and shutting down 5,500 Twitter accounts, the article also indicates that professional security agencies have seen sources they monitor shut down. Rick Astley drowns out intelligence as well as recruitment.
United Kingdom

UK's Gigaclear Launches 5 Gbps Fiber Broadband Service ( 91

An anonymous reader writes: Broadband service provider Gigaclear announced it will offer 5 Gbps internet service beginning next year. Most homes would be hard-pressed to consume data at this rate today, but these speeds will become necessary when over-the-top television services like Netflix and HBO GO become commonplace, television pixel densities grow to 8K (7680p X 4320p) at 60 to 120 fps, and the IoT connects every other home device to the internet. “We’re offering customers the chance to access absolutely phenomenal broadband speeds,” Gigaclear CEO Matthew Hare said in an official announcement. “To be clear, this is a premium service that gives the fastest Internet speeds in the country to those of our customers who want the best connection that they can get.”
United Kingdom

UK PM Wants To Speed Up Controversial Internet Bill After Paris Attacks ( 167

An anonymous reader writes: Less than three days after the attacks in Paris, UK prime minister David Cameron has suggested that the process of review for the controversial Draft Investigatory Powers Bill should be accelerated. The controversial proposal, which would require British ISPs to retain a subset of a user's internet history for a year and in effect outlaw zero-knowledge encryption in the UK, was intended for parliamentary review and ratification by the end of 2016, but at the weekend ex-terrorist watchdog Lord Carlile was in the vanguard of demands to speed the bill into law by the end of this year, implicitly criticizing ex-NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden for having 'shown terrorists ways to hide their electronic footprints'.

Pandora To Buy Rdio Assets For $75M In Cash ( 20

An anonymous reader writes: Pandora is acquiring music subscription service Rdio for $75 million in cash. "The transaction is contingent upon Rdio seeking protection in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of California. Upon approval of the proposed transaction by the bankruptcy court, Rdio will be winding down the Rdio-branded service in all markets," Pandora said in a statement. TechCrunch reports: "That was fast: just as soon as it was reported that Pandora was in talks to buy Rdio, the two sides have confirmed that an acquisition is indeed taking place. Pandora has acquired "key assets" from Rdio for $75 million, the company has just announced. But as part of it, the Rdio service as we know it is tanking: the streaming service is shutting down and Rdio is filing for bankruptcy."
The Internet

After Paris, ISIS Moves Propaganda Machine To Darknet ( 184

itwbennett writes: Over the weekend, researcher Scot Terban came across the new website of Al-Hayat Media Center, the media division of Daesh (aka ISIS/ISIL), in a post on Shamikh forum (a known jihadi bulletin board), 'someone had posted the new address and instructions for reaching it,' writes CSO's Steve Ragan. The website hosts the usual anti-Western iconography, as well as songs (Nasheeds) and poems for mujahids in various locations. Terban has mirrored the website and its files; he says he plans to publish more details in the coming days. 'Over the years, there have been several claims made that Daesh had propaganda and recruitment hubs on the Darknet, but no one has ever published proof of those claims or explored how the propaganda machine operates in public,' says Ragan.
The Internet

Same Birthday, Same Social Security Number, Same Mess For Two Florida Women ( 214

itwbennett writes: After 25 years, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has fessed up to giving two Florida women who shared a name and a birthday the same social security number. The women only recently discovered that they shared an SSN, but not before having trouble getting loans and having tax returns rejected. You might think that the SSA would catch something like this, but as it turns out, they are prohibited from trying to verify the legitimate owner of an SSN, except in rare cases, says Ken Meiser, VP of identity solutions at ID Analytics, provider of credit and fraud risk solutions. And the problem isn't as rare as you might think (except for the part about two women with the same name born on the same day in the same state). According to a 2010 study by ID Analytics, some 40 million SSNs are associated with multiple people.
United Kingdom

Broadband Bills Will Have To Increase To Pay For Snooper's Charter, MPs Warned ( 77

An anonymous reader writes that the UK's Science and Technology Select Committee has been told that ISPs will have huge problems implementing the so-called snooper's charter, and may be forced to raise their prices. The Guardian reports: "Consumers' broadband bills will have to go up if the investigatory powers bill is passed due to the "massive cost" of implementation, MPs have been warned. Internet service providers (ISP) told a Commons select committee that the legislation, commonly known as the snooper's charter, does not properly acknowledge the "sheer quantity" of data generated by a typical internet user, nor the basic difficulty of distinguishing between content and metadata. As a result, the cost of implementing plans to make ISPs store communications data for up to 12 months are likely to be far in excess of the £175m the government has budgeted for the task, said Matthew Hare, the chief executive of ISP Gigaclear."
The Internet

New Algorithm Recognizes Both Good and Bad Fake Reviews ( 59

An anonymous reader writes: Researchers from the university of Sao Paolo have developed an algorithm able to identify both good and bad online reviews in the massive daily chatter of millions of peer-community posts, and in lateral mendacities at social network sites such as Google+ and Facebook reposts and 'likes'. Two of the datasets tested in the research were from Amazon, which has a vested interest in restoring the reputation of its community reviews, and has recently taken action on the matter.
United Kingdom

The UK Will Police the Dark Web With a New Task Force ( 56

An anonymous reader writes with news that the UK’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), and its top police counterpart, the National Crime Agency have formed a new unit to take on online crime. Motherboard reports: "'An NCA and GCHQ co-located Joint Operations Cell (JOC) opens officially today,' an NCA press release published Friday reads. 'The unit brings together officers from the two agencies to focus initially on tackling online child sexual exploitation.' This unit has been in the works for some time. Back at the end of 2014, UK Prime Minister David Cameron announced the plan for its formation at We Protect Children Online Global Summit. At the time, he said that 'The so-called "dark-net" is increasingly used by paedophiles to view sickening images. I want them to hear loud and clear: we are shining a light on the web's darkest corners; if you are thinking of offending, there will be nowhere for you to hide.' At the summit, it was said that GCHQ's technical skills would be its contribution to the unit. But the JOC won't just focus on child pornography cases. GCHQ Director Robert Hannigan said in the recent release that, on top of child exploitation, 'The Joint Operations Cell will increase our ability to identify and stop serious criminals."
The Internet

The Internet Falls For Rumblr, a Fake "Tinder For Fighting" App 135 writes: Caitlin Dewey writes at the Washington Post that Rumblr, a "Tinder for fighting," promises to bring fight club straight to your smartphone that lets users schedule consensual, recreational fights with local strangers for free. "Rumblr is an app for recreational fighters to find, meet and fight other brawl enthusiasts nearby," according the app's website. It encourages users to insult their matched opponents with this pro-tip: "tell your match what you don't like about their picture." Reported by the likes of Venture Beat, Business Insider, New York magazine, and the New York Daily News, there's only one problem: There's no way that the app is real. In fact, it looks far more likely that we are being trolled by a couple of precocious teenagers. Let's start with the app's most obvious problem: its questionable legality. If you're "throwing down" and seriously injure your opponent — or, God forbid, he dies — you cannot claim self-defense and you could be charged with crimes ranging from misdemeanor assault to homicide. If Rumblr's creators are found to have encouraged or aided an assault, they could be guilty of criminal facilitation in the fourth degree — a class A misdemeanor. They could certainly be sued in civil court by injured users or their families. "Our bet? Rumblr is a marketing stunt, a prank or (best case!) an unsubtle parody," concludes Dewy. "Part of me is scared it will turn out to be real, of course. Not for my sake, but for humanity's."

Baidu Data Research Reveals China's Ghost Cities ( 109

An anonymous reader writes: Chinese web services giant, Baidu, has embarked on a new study in which it uses location information from users' mobile devices, as well as mapping and building data, to identify areas with high volumes of construction with relatively low population densities — known as 'ghost cities.' The researchers, in the published findings Ghost Cities: Analysis Based on Positioning Data in China, were able to discount areas which experienced high levels of tourism which skew the figures in peak seasons. The Baidu Big Data team discovered 50 ghost cities, although only 20 of these were revealed in the report to avoid potential harm to the real estate market in these areas.

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