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Submission + - MS handing NSA access to encrypted chat & email (guardian.co.uk)

kaptink writes: Microsoft helped the NSA to circumvent its encryption to address concerns that the agency would be unable to intercept web chats on the new Outlook.com portal. The agency already had pre-encryption stage access to email on Outlook.com, including Hotmail. The company worked with the FBI this year to allow the NSA easier access via Prism to its cloud storage service SkyDrive, which now has more than 250 million users worldwide. Microsoft also worked with the FBI's Data Intercept Unit to "understand" potential issues with a feature in Outlook.com that allows users to create email aliases. Skype, which was bought by Microsoft in October 2011, worked with intelligence agencies last year to allow Prism to collect video of conversations as well as audio. Material collected through Prism is routinely shared with the FBI and CIA, with one NSA document describing the program as a "team sport".

Submission + - Average cost per 'official' wiretap in the United States: $50,452 (sovereignman.com)

schwit1 writes: Last week, in a very, very quiet release, the US Federal Court system published its annual Wiretap report to Congress.

This is something that is required by law; the Administrative Office of the United States Courts (AO) must annually report the number of federal and state applications for court orders to “intercept wire, oral, or electronic communications.”

Note – this report only covers wiretapping orders by US courts; it does not include anything related to the NSA’s electronic surveillance, FBI ‘administrative subpoenas’ to Google / Facebook, the US Postal Service snooping people’s physical mail, or any of this top secret FISA nonsense.

In other words, these numbers add yet another dimension to how vast the US spy state has become.

The report gives a lot of eye-popping details about these official, court-ordered wiretaps, including:
  • Riverside County, California is the most spied-on county in the United States
  • Followed by Clark County, Nevada
  • 3,395 wiretaps were ordered, averaging 29.03 days each
  • The average cost of a wiretap order last year was $50,452
  • The highest cost was $872,841 for a Federal wiretap in the Eastern district of Washington
  • 87.39% of these wiretap orders were connected to drug-related charges
  • Only 18.19% of these wiretaps actually led to a conviction

Submission + - Teen arrested after 'Timebomb' tweet (theage.com.au) 2

niftydude writes:

A teenage boy is facing criminal charges after he set off a bomb scare by tweeting some of the lyrics of a Pink song at the US pop songstress's concert on Sunday night at Rod Laver Arena.

The 16-year-old was thrown out of the concert and subsequently arrested by police after he tweeted a reference to Pink's song "Timebomb", off her chart-topping new album, and linked the tweet to the Rod Laver Arena official twitter account.

The tweet read:

@Pink I'm ready with my Bomb. Time to blow up #RodLaverArena. Bitch.

It is understood security at the concert were able to locate the boy in the 12,000-strong crowd by using his Twitter profile photo.

So tweeting the lyrics of a pop song while at the performer's concert can now get you arrested? I guess death metal fans should really watch out.

Submission + - US Spies have "Security Agreements" with foreign Telecoms (washingtonpost.com)

McGruber writes: The Washington Post is reporting (http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/agreements-with-private-companies-protect-us-access-to-cables-data-for-surveillance/2013/07/06/aa5d017a-df77-11e2-b2d4-ea6d8f477a01_story.html) the existence of “Team Telecom", lawyers from the FBI and the departments of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security, who ensure that Global Crossing and other foreign-owned telecoms, quickly and confidentially fulfill the USA's surveillance requests.

Team Telecom leverages the authority of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to approve cable licenses. In deals involving a foreign company, the FCC has held up approval for many months Team Telecom developed security agreements that went beyond what’s required by the laws governing electronic eavesdropping.

The security agreement for Global Crossing, whose fiber-optic network connected 27 nations and four continents, required the company to have a “Network Operations Center” on U.S. soil that could be visited by government officials with 30 minutes of warning. Surveillance requests, meanwhile, had to be handled by U.S. citizens screened by the government and sworn to secrecy — in many cases prohibiting information from being shared even with the company’s executives and directors.

A spokesman for Level 3 Communications declined to comment for the Washington Post's article.

Submission + - Bitcoins siezed in drug bust (postandcourier.com) 1

Salo2112 writes: In a case believed to be the first of its kind, federal authorities have seized a Charleston man’s virtual currency due to an alleged drug law violation with possible links to a shadowy online black market.

Submission + - Flattr Adds Support For Funding In Bitcoin

An anonymous reader writes: Swedish startup Flattr, which offers an 'online tipjar' service, has announced it has added partial support for Bitcoin: you can now fund your account with the virtual currency. Furthermore, the company is considering adding the option to withdraw in Bitcoins too, but it first wants to gauge its community's desire for the feature on Twitter.
Lord of the Rings

Submission + - Hollywood Bullys British Pub (stuff.co.nz)

Master Moose writes: British actor Stephen Fry says he is ''ashamed'' of the film industry following news a popular English pub called The Hobbit is being threatened with legal action.

Fry, who is in Wellington, New Zealand filming Sir Peter Jackson's The Hobbit, this morning tweeted: "Honestly, @savethehobbit, sometimes I'm ashamed of the business I'm in. What pointless, self-defeating bullying".

The popular Southampton music venue has traded with the name for more than 20 years, the Mail Online reported.

Role Playing (Games)

Submission + - Sequel to Wasteland, the Legendary RPG, to be Fan Funded via Kickstarter (kickstarter.com)

Roman Grazhdan writes: Inspired by recent success of Double Fine Adventure, inXile, a game studio founded by Brian Fargo who you might know as a founder of Interplay, decided to take the same route and make a sequel to the legendary RPG Wasteland fan-funded.

This way the team won't depend on major publishers and will implement the features the end user want. The poll on Wasteland forums showed that gamers want it to be DRM-free, so DRM-free it is. All the other aspects of the game are being discussed likewise.

The minimal goal is $900.000, if $1.250.000 would be pledged, the money would be spent on creating a larger world with more locations and quests, $1.500.000 would mean MacOS X version, and with a larger sum 'the sky is the limit', Brian says.

In several hours, more than $150.000 had been pledged.

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