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Submission + - Everything is Fair Game!!! (nytimes.com)

sirnomad99 writes: If you thought you were too small to be taqngled in the NSA's net read on:


The agency’s Dishfire database — nothing happens without a code word at the N.S.A. — stores years of text messages from around the world, just in case. Its Tracfin collection accumulates gigabytes of credit card purchases. The fellow pretending to send a text message at an Internet cafe in Jordan may be using an N.S.A. technique code-named Polarbreeze to tap into nearby computers. The Russian businessman who is socially active on the web might just become food for Snacks, the acronym-mad agency’s Social Network Analysis Collaboration Knowledge Services, which figures out the personnel hierarchies of organizations from texts.

And how are your browsing habits? The NSA has gotten into the malware game as well,

In the Orlandocard operation, N.S.A. technicians set up what they called a “honeypot” computer on the web that attracted visits from 77,413 foreign computers and planted spyware on more than 1,000 that the agency deemed of potential future interest.

Just in case you did not feel paranoid enough already consider this:

Some of Mr. Snowden’s documents describe the exploits of Tailored Access Operations, the prim name for the N.S.A. division that breaks into computers around the world to steal the data inside, and sometimes to leave spy software behind. T.A.O. is increasingly important in part because it allows the agency to bypass encryption by capturing messages as they are written or read, when they are not encoded.

If it was not for the disclosures that these tools are being used on our own citizens these points would be considered bragging.
But the answer is not elimination of this surveillance colossus, rather it is stringent oversight of their activities. The NSA has gotten away with these activities because they carry a get out of jail free card called the Patriot Act,and use a magic wand called "need to know."
The other side of this problem is finding people who are not invested into the NSA's cult of secrets to oversee the activities, people who can be trusted both to keep the secrets needed to be kept but honest enough to reign in this giant when they overstep their authority.


Submission + - Discussion on the Philosophy of Hacking (hackaday.com)

szczys writes: Josh Marsh has started a new series over on Hackaday that suggests literature on Hacking and Culture, then asks you to participate in a weekly discussion revolving around the ideas in those materials. He introduced the idea last week, this is the first follow-up which discusses "A Hackers' Manifesto".

Submission + - Withhold Passwords From Your Employer, Go to Jail? (forbes.com)

ericgoldman writes: Terry Childs was a network engineer in San Francisco, and he was the only employee with passwords to the network. After he was fired, he withheld the passwords from his former employer, preventing his employer from controlling its own network. Recently, a California appeals court upheld his conviction for violating California's computer crime law, including a 4 year jail sentence and $1.5 million of restitution. The ruling provides a good cautionary tale for anyone who thinks they can gain leverage over their employer or increase job security by controlling key passwords.

Submission + - The NYPD Is FOIA-Proof (vice.com)

Daniel_Stuckey writes: Reporters Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman, who shared a Pulitzer last year as part of the Associated Press team covering the NYPD’s surveillance activity, have summed it up perfectly: The NYPD doesn't answer document requests.

“For the most part, they don’t respond,” Apuzzo told the Huffington Post. "Even the NSA responds.”

It's not just reporters who've noticed. New York City Public Advocate and mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio gave the police department a failing grade in an April report based on its dismal response rate to Freedom of Information requests. By de Blasio’s analysis, nearly a third of requests submitted to NYPD go unanswered.

Submission + - Captain James Kirk is now commanding a destroyer 1

mcgrew writes: The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Captain Kirk will be commanding the U.S. Navy’s most advanced destroyer.

On screen, the newest Capt. Kirk is a brash, headstrong, rebellious commander who gets in bar brawls, defies orders from his superiors, and temporarily loses command of the Enterprise. The real life Capt. Kirk is expected to have a much more sedate command. “No stories of him kissing green aliens or yelling ‘KAAHHHNNN!’ on the bridge of his ship,” said Mr. Servello. “No worry over him stealing his own ship to chase after Spock, although I am told he is looking for a chief engineer named Scotty.”

Submission + - 10-Year-Old Boy Discovers 600-Million-Year-Old Supernova (ibtimes.com)

minty3 writes: Nathan Gray, 10, from Nova Scotia, Canada, recently discovered a 600-million-year-old supernova in the galaxy PGC 61330, which lies in the constellation of Draco – beating his sister by 33 days as the youngest person to find a supernova.

Gray made the discovery on October 30 while looking at astronomical images taken by Dave Lane, who runs the Abbey Ridge Observatory (ARO) in Nova Scotia. The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada confirmed Gray’s discovery, but astronomers with the International Astronomical Union say they will need to use a larger telescope to make the finding official.

Submission + - Tesco to use face detection technology for in-store advertising (v3.co.uk)

TinTops writes: Tesco has sparked privacy concerns following its decision to install technology that scans shoppers' faces in order to display video advertising on screens at its petrol stations.

The UK's privacy watchdog the ICO is looking into the technology.

This is the first national rollout of the system, known as OptimEyes, which claims to recognise facial characteristics that determine a customer's gender and age in order to show more relevant video adverts on screens as they queue at the till.

Simon Sugar, chief executive of Amscreen, the firm which sells the technology, has admitted it has connotations of science fiction, but is looking to increase its reach further. "Yes, it's like something out of Minority Report, but this could change the face of British retail and our plans are to expand the screens into as many supermarkets as possible," he said.

Submission + - Britney Spears' music used to deter pirates (mirror.co.uk)

mi writes: Blasting Western music seems quite effective against the people, who hate Western culture in general, according to the article in Mirror Online, and Britney Spears' tunes proved to be a great deterrent indeed. Second Officer Rachel from Aberfoyle in Scotland said: “Her songs have been chosen by the security team accompanying our tankers because they thought the pirates would hate them most."

The music is currently used as a second line of defence and is broadcast when initial calls from armed security guards on board fail to deter the pirates. The speakers can be aimed solely at the pirates so as not to disturb the crew. “They’re so effective the ship’s security rarely needs to resort to firing guns," — says Rachel.

Steven Jones, of the Security Association for the Maritime Industry, said the US police and military were the first to use music to quell rioters.

Security industry is well aware of the power of music — and is cautious not to exceed humane limits. Justin Bieber, for example, is not used, because officials are wary of violating Geneva Conventions.

Submission + - CAPTCHA Busted? Company Claims to Have Broken Protection System (sciencemag.org) 1

sciencehabit writes: A software company called Vicarious claims to have created a computer algorithm that can solve CAPTCHA with greater than 90% accuracy. If true, the advance would represent a major breakthrough in artificial intelligence. It would also mean that the internet will have to start looking for a new security system. The problem, however, is that Vicarious has provided little evidence for its claims, though some well-known scientists are behind the work.

Submission + - Bilateral-control algorithm for Eliminating unexplained Traffic Jams

rtoz writes: An MIT Professor has developed a new bilateral-control algorithm which will be useful for eliminating unexplained Traffic Jam when implementing it with adaptive cruise-control systems of the cars. Berthold Horn, the professor in MIT’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, presented this new algorithm for alleviating traffic flow instabilities at this month’s IEEE Conference on Intelligent Transport Systems. His algorithm is for eliminating the unexplained traffic jams which are NOT caused by actual problems like accident or construction. This Traffic simulation (8 MB GIF) (Video) clearly shows the advantage of Horn’s algorithm. The bilateral-control algorithm is switched on at the one-minute mark in this sample flow. Anyway, the cost of these hardware will come down once mass production starts for these devices. Mostly Google’s Self-driving Car initiative will trigger mass production of rangefinders in new future. The real obstacle to the system’s adoption is not technical but psychological. “Generally, drivers really worry about what is good for me, rather than what is good for the whole platoon or the community of vehicles that are moving on this road with me,” Trivedi, a California University professor says.

Submission + - Mexican ATM Malware Coming To English-Speaking World (itworld.com)

jfruh writes: The Mexican banking sector has been bedeviled by Ploutus, a malicious software package that helps thieves extract money from ATMs. Now an updated version of the code, with variable and comments translated from Spanish into English, has been spotted in the wild, indicating that thieves north of the border may be taking an interest in it.

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