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Security

Submission + - Mobile Scanners Not "Certified People Scanners" (epic.org)

OverTheGeicoE writes: The Electronic Privacy Information Center received more FOIA documents from the US Department of Homeland Security regarding mobile x-ray scanners (a.k.a. Z Backscatter Vans). We've discussed these devices before. Perhaps the most interesting part is slide #11 ("Disclaimer About Scanning People") on page 6 of this PDF explaining that the radiation output of these devices is too high to comply with ANSI N43.17. In other words, they output too much radiation even by TSA's questionable standards for airport body scanners. Regardless, the slide ends with the author stating that the ANSI standard "is not applicable to covert operations". What might that assertion have meant to the presentation's intended audience?
HP

Submission + - HP 12c and 15c Limited Edition Announced (hp.com) 1

Gunfighter writes: "HP announced their new Limited Edition version of their 12c Financial Calculator today. Along with this 30 year staple of the financial sector, and likely more exciting to the usual /. crowd, they also decided to release a Limited Edition version 15c Scientific Calculator. I hope they took notice of petitions to bring the 15c back and look forward to adding one of each of these to my collection. Vintage 15c calculators sell for upwards of $300 on auction sites like eBay, but the new Limited Edition version will retail for $99."
Apache

Submission + - "Apache Killer" Web Server Hole Plugged (computerworld.com)

CWmike writes: "The Apache open-source project has patched its Web server software to quash a bug that a denial-of-service (DoS) tool has been exploiting. Apache 2.2.20, released Tuesday, plugs the hole used by an "Apache Killer" attack tool. On Aug. 24, project developers had promised a fix within 48 hours, then revised the timetable two days later to 24 hours. The security advisory did not explain the delay."
Security

Submission + - TSA Discovers Live Animals Hidden Under Clothes (tsa.gov)

OverTheGeicoE writes: On the day they learned that EPIC's lawsuit to eliminate airport scanning and patdowns isn't over yet, the US Transportation Security Agency seems to want the public to know that, despite the fact that they haven't stopped any actual terrorists yet, their security practices are valuable for general law enforcement. TSA's "Blogger Bob" gives us this entry on live animals TSA has discovered beneath airline passengers' clothing. A man at Miami International Airport had seven small snakes and three turtles under his pants. They were discovered using a body scanner. He was arrested and charged with violating the Lacey Act, the same law that has been causing Gibson Guitar and traveling musicians so much trouble recently. In a separate incident, a woman at Los Angeles International Airport had two birds taped to her body (one to her leg, another to her chest) that were discovered during a patdown search. She was charged with attempting to smuggle endangered species to China.

Even if this was criminal behavior, does this really justify TSA's notoriously invasive search practices? Should enforcement of the Lacey Act and other similar laws be part of TSA's mandate?

Security

Submission + - Bulletproofing Laptop Security (infoworld.com)

snydeq writes: "InfoWorld's Serdar Yegulalp offers tips, tools, and techniques to protect Windows notebooks against theft, intrusion, and data loss. 'Some involve hardware (fingerprint readers), some involve software (Prey, TrueCrypt), and some involve nothing more than using your head (strong passwords). Not all of them might be implemented on a given machine, but the more layers of each kind of security you can add, the better.'"
News

Submission + - Novell wins over SCO again (uscourts.gov)

duh P3rf3ss3r writes: The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeal has just affirmed the District Courts ruling in SCO v Novell in its entirety. The decision is quite a good read and lays out the reasons why the court has rejected, in toto, SCO's attempt to re-argue the case before the Court of Appeals. Is this the last gasp for SCO or will they try to appeal this to the Supreme Court? The betting lines open at 11...
Security

Submission + - EPIC Files for Rehearing in Body Scanner Case (epic.org)

OverTheGeicoE writes: The Electronic Privacy Information Center has filed for a rehearing in their case against DHS regarding airport body scanners. In their latest court filing (PDF), EPIC argues that last month's ruling requiring a public comment period but no other changes was based on incorrect information. From TFA:

"The court overstated the effectiveness of the body scanner devices and understated the degree of the privacy intrusion to the travelling public," stated EPIC President Marc Rotenberg. EPIC's petition challenged the Court's finding that the devices detect "liquid and powders," which was never established and was not claimed by the government. EPIC also argued that the court wrongly concluded that the TSA is not subject to a federal privacy law that prohibits video voyeurism. The panel found that TSA body scanner employees are "engaged in law enforcement activity," contrary to the TSA's own regulations.

Note that this is a request for a rehearing with the same court that rejected their request to stop TSA's use of body scanners. It is not an appeal to a higher court. Is EPIC likely to obtain a more favorable ruling from the same court?

Submission + - Arrested Riding Bike to School (blogspot.com) 1

An anonymous reader writes: Could you be arrested for allowing your 5'th grade child to ride her bike one mile to school? That certainly seems crazy as we try to encourage active life styles for our kids. That certainly seems crazy as we try to promote safe routes to school programs. That certainly seems crazy as we talk of an obesity epidemic amongst our children. But that is what police in Elizabethton Tennessee are threatening.
HP

Submission + - Ex-Board Member: HP Committing Corporate Suicide 1

theodp writes: If Apple's looking for a seamless transition, advises the NYT's James B. Stewart, it definitely shouldn't look to Hewlett Packard. In the year after HP CEO Mark Hurd was told to hit-the-road-Jack, HP — led by new CEO Leo Apotheker — has embarked on a stunning shift in strategy that has left many baffled and resulted in HP's fall from Wall Street grace (its stock declined 49%). The apparent new focus on going head-to-head with SAP (Apotheker's former employer) and Oracle (Hurd's new employer) in enterprise software while ignoring the company's traditional strengths, said a software exec, is 'as if Alan Mulally left Boeing to join Ford as CEO, and announced six months later that Ford would be making airplanes.' Former HP Director Tom Perkins said, 'I didn't know there was such a thing as corporate suicide, but now we know that there is.' A year ago, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison fired off an e-mail to the NY Times calling buddy Hurd's ouster 'the worst personnel decision since the idiots on the Apple board fired Steve Jobs.' Most dismissed Ellison's rant as hyperbole at the time, writes Stewart, but now many aren't so sure.
Idle

Submission + - Guitar Makers and Owners Under The Gun. (wsj.com)

tetrahedrassface writes: According to the Wall Street Journal, Federal agents again raided guitar maker Gibson this past week seizing several pallets of wood and computer documents. At heart of the issue is the wood that is being used in guitars and whether or not it comes from sustainable sources. The company insists it is being harassed and made to 'cry uncle' to the governments enforcement laws. While, as the article notes, wonderful woods like Madagascar Ebony, Brazilian Rosewood and other fret and tone woods are protected in order to prevent the equivalent of 'blood diamond like trade' in sought after tone woods, the ramafications now extend to guitar sowners. Owners and players are next in sights of this enforcement. If you play a vintage guitar, or a hand built guitar made of old stock woods that were legally obtained years ago, but only recently crafted into an ax, you best not fly with it. John Thomas, a law professor at Quinnipiac University and a blues and ragtime guitarist, says "there's a lot of anxiety, and it's well justified." Once upon a time, he would have taken one of his vintage guitars on his travels. Now, "I don't go out of the country with a wooden guitar." That's right. Recent revisions to various laws and the Lacey Act mean if you carry your guitar across the border and don't have your paperwork and certification in hand, they will seize the guitar and fine you 250.00. So if your planning that dream vacation to France and want to play your acoustic in the air of France (or anywhere else) be forewarned. They are gunning for you.
Security

Submission + - $62.5B/Life Saved From Terrorism Since 9/11? (schneier.com)

OverTheGeicoE writes: Bruce Schneier has a blog post summarizing a recent analysis of US security spending since 9/11. Over the nearly ten-year period the original analysis identifies 33 incidents targeting the US worldwide, with 14 total deaths from these incidents. (Bruce Schneier adds another incident and raises the number of deaths to 16.) All the victims died from gunfire. No incident involved a successful explosives detonation. Most of the incidents are mere plots where nothing was actually attacked, and some of these were "facilitated by law enforcement." Al Qaeda was not involved in any incident targeting the US during this time period.

The cost-benefit analyses are interesting. If you accept the widely-used estimate that the United States has spent $1 trillion on security (excluding foreign wars, of course) the authors of the original analysis assert the US can only justify the spending if it prevents the equivalent of four Times Square-type bombings per day. Schneier estimates that it cost the US $62.5 billion per life saved over this period. Are these conclusions correct? If so, do Americans really perceive this kind of spending as reasonable and sustainable?

United States

Submission + - Cell Location Data Protected by US 4th Amendment (epic.org)

OverTheGeicoE writes: The Electronic Privacy Information Center reports that a US Federal Judge has ruled cell phone location data is protected by the fourth amendment. The government wanted Verizon Wireless to turn over hundreds of days worth of position data for an undisclosed suspect's cell phone without a warrant. In his ruling (PDF), Judge Garaufis states that "The fiction that the vast majority of the American population consents to warrantless government access to the records of a significant share of their movements by 'choosing' to carry a cell phone must be rejectedIn light of drastic developments in technology, the Fourth Amendment doctrine must evolve to preserve cell-phone user's reasonable expectation of privacy in cumulative cell-site-location records."

The Register of the UK also has a story with a more European perspective.

Electronic Frontier Foundation

Submission + - The EFF reflects on ICE seizing a Tor exit node (eff.org)

An anonymous reader writes: Senior staff attorney at the EFF, Marcia Hofmann gives more information on the first known seizure of equipment in the US, due to a warrant executed against a private individual running a Tor exit node. 'This spring, agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) executed a search warrant at the home of Nolan King and seized six computer hard drives in connection with a criminal investigation. The warrant was issued on the basis of an Internet Protocol (IP) address that traced back to an account connected to Mr. King's home, where he was operating a Tor exit relay.' The EFF was able to get Mr King's equipment returned, and Marcia points out that 'While we think it's important to let the public know about this unfortunate event, it doesn't change our belief that running a Tor exit relay is legal.' She also links to the EFF's Tor Legal FAQ. This again brings up an interesting dichotomy in my mind, concerning protecting yourself from the Big digital Brother: Running an open Wi-Fi hotspot, or Tor exit node, would make you both more likely to be investigated but less likely to be convicted of any cyber crimes.

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