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Submission + - EFF Lawyer: SCOTUS Hasn't Said Government Hacking is Legal

Trailrunner7 writes: The emergence into the public consciousness of government hacking techniques and activities in recent years has sparked an increasingly loud debate over how and when law enforcement agencies should be allowed to employ these tactics. But that conversation ignores the fact that these techniques may not actually be legal, experts say.

Law enforcement agencies, especially the FBI, have been using hacking techniques to conduct remote searches of suspects’ computers for many years. Those techniques typically involve the deployment of custom malware, through things such as targeted phishing emails and the use of an exploit for a vulnerability. These methods have been used in many cases over the years, and law enforcement officials say they are vital to the investigation of crimes in today’s environment.

But legal experts say that there is no explicit permission in United States law for this kind of investigative technique.

“The SCOTUS definitely hasn’t said government hacking is legal. There’s nothing remotely approaching a single warrant that allows the general hacking of people in many places,” Andrew Crocker, a staff attorney at the EFF, said. “That’s anathema to the Fourth Amendment.”

Submission + - The Intercept: Paying Taxes is a Lot Better than Phony Corporate Courage, Apple

theodp writes: "Every fall," writes The Intercept's Sam Biddle, "internet and its resident tech mumblers congregate for The Apple Event, a quasi-pagan streaming-video rite in which Tim Cook boasts of just how much money his company is making (a lot) and just how much good it’s introducing to the world (this typically involves a new iPhone). This is merely annoying most years; but in 2016, when Apple is loudly, publicly denying its tax obligations around the world, it’s just gross." Biddle finds Apple’s use of the word 'courage' to describe the corporate ethos that pushed the company to remove the headphone plug from the newest iPhone while offering a new pair of $160 jack-free earbuds particularly irksome: "Removing a headphone jack or adding 20 headphone jacks does not require courage; engineers are very smart, but their job does not typically require much bravery. Courage is more often found in, say, running into a burning school to rescue the students and class rodent. Or, maybe, you could call courageous the act of paying the many billions you owe around the world into the system that ensures those students have all of the resources they need in order to learn and grow. Just a hint: Collaborative spreadsheet software doesn’t count [introducing new real-time collaboration features, Cook called iWork a "very important tool in education"]."

Submission + - Top notebook doesn't support Linux in 2016?? Lenovo did it! ( 1

An anonymous reader writes: Most latest models from Lenovo can't run Linux (nor any other OS from the pre-installed one), because some obscured firmware design. Is this 1998? No! This is just today, we several Yoga models.
And what is the answer? There's non!

Submission + - New Intel SSD 600P SSD Delivers NVMe Speeds At SATA Prices Below .40 Per GB (

MojoKid writes: Intel just launched a new family of low cost NVMe PCI Express Solid State drives called the SSD 600P series. The company claims the drives are "designed to deliver PCIe performance at near-SATA prices". To date, most NVMe PCIe solid state drives are roughly 1.5 – 3x the cost per gigabyte of SATA based drives, due to the inherent performance benefits and likely the added cost of NVMe controllers. Leveraging 3D TLC NAND manufactured in concert with Micron allows Intel to price the 600P aggressively. The 512GB Intel SSD 600P tested here at HotHardware is already available at street prices below $.40 per gigabyte (roughly $179), which is only slightly higher than most same capacity SATA drives and close to half the price of the average NVMe drive. The Intel SSD 600P will initially be offered in four capacities, 128GB up to 1TB. All of the drives conform to the same M.2 (2280) 80mm gumstick form factor, but performance varies depending on the capacity. The 128GB drive can offer up to 770MB/s reads and 450MB/s writes, while the 1TB drive peaks at 1.8GB/s reads with 560MB/s writes. The 600P drives performed relatively well overall in the benchmarks. When queue depths were cranked up or there were sustained, long sequential transfers, performance dropped off but that's not as common in mainstream consumer workloads, where lower queue depths and random small file transfers are more typical.

Submission + - NVidia GeForce now requires mandatory registration ( 1

An anonymous reader writes: With the newly released GeForce Experience 3.0 software, Nvidia might irk some users. While you will still be able to download the drivers from their web site sans registration, you will now be required to register in order to use the GeForce Experience software While the Experience software does add some powerful streaming features for games and is "three times faster and consumes 50 percent less memory than the old GeForce Experience", it might seem like a bit of overkill for those users that only used the software to keep their drivers up to date.

Submission + - How Spy Tech Firms Let Governments See Everything on a Smartphone (

schwit1 writes: Want to invisibly spy on 10 iPhone owners without their knowledge? Gather their every keystroke, sound, message and location? That will cost you $650,000, plus a $500,000 setup fee with an Israeli outfit called the NSO Group. You can spy on more people if you would like — just check out the company’s price list.

The NSO Group is one of a number of companies that sell surveillance tools that can capture all the activity on a smartphone, like a user’s location and personal contacts. These tools can even turn the phone into a secret recording device.

What that gets you, NSO Group documents say, is “unlimited access to a target’s mobile devices.” In short, the company says: You can “remotely and covertly collect information about your target’s relationships, location, phone calls, plans and activities — whenever and wherever they are.”

And, its proposal adds, “It leaves no traces whatsoever.”

Submission + - DEA regularly mines Americans' travel records to seize millions in cash (

turp182 writes: FTA:
Federal drug agents regularly mine Americans’ travel information to profile people who might be ferrying money for narcotics traffickers — though they almost never use what they learn to make arrests or build criminal cases.

Instead, that targeting has helped the Drug Enforcement Administration seize a small fortune in cash.

Submission + - Uber could be banned in New Zealand over safety concerns (

MoaDweeb writes: Uber — scourge of the taxi industry- is at risk of being banned from New Zealand.
Apparently Uber are not vetting their drivers criminal and medical history sufficiently:

'Uber could be banned in New Zealand if it fails to comply with safety laws, Transport Minister Simon Bridges says.
A ban was not the Government's preferred option, but passenger safety was paramount, Bridges said today.
All drivers in New Zealand need to have a passenger or "P" endorsement to be able to operate a passenger service vehicle.This includes a police check, a fit-and-proper person inspection and regular checks that the driver is able to provide a transport service.
Some Uber drivers already have P endorsements.
But the company has also been carrying out its own vetting policy, which falls short of the standards required under New Zealand law.'

Probably will not amount to much however consistent with Uber's worldwide policy of 'our way not your way'.

Submission + - Police Scotland told to pay journalist £10,000 over illegal intercepts (

Bruce66423 writes: A former police officer turned journalist whose privacy was criminally breached by Scotland's finest is due to receive £10,000 for the damage their actions caused. Other victims didn't seek compensation. It is not clear whether criminal proceedings against the officers responsible for ignoring clear rules against their behaviour will follow.

Submission + - Apple—and America—have lost the mobile platform war (

Miche67 writes: New research suggests the battle for mobile dominance between Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android is over--and Android won.

A new report, Developer Economics: State of the Developer Nation Q3 2016, says Android now has a 79 percent "mindshare" among mobile developers. In addition, almost half (47 percent) of professional developers now consider Android their primary platform.

Apple, meanwhile, is slipping. The number of mobile developers who consider iOS their primary platform dropped eight points, from 39 percent to 31 percent.

As blogger Fredric Paul writes:

Android has long outsold iOS by a wide margin, but many developers clung to iOS because of its early dominance and wealthier installed base that led to greater familiarity, more app downloads and greater revenue opportunities. But the ever-growing disparity in sheer numbers of users seems to finally have caught up with the developer community.

Submission + - Brains of Overweight People Look Ten Years Older Than Those of Lean Peers (

An anonymous reader writes: The brains of people who are obese or overweight appear to have aged an extra 10 years compared to their lean peers from middle age onwards, brain scanning research has revealed. The difference, scientists say, corresponds to a greater shrinkage in the volume of white matter, although they don’t know the cause. It might be down to genes causing both brain-shrinking and obesity, or it could be that changes occurring in the brain lead to overeating. Either way, it does not appear to affect cognitive performance. White matter is tissue, composed of nerve fibers, that aids communication between different regions of the brain. The volume of white matter in a human brain increases during youth and then decreases with age for both lean people and those who are overweight or obese. But researchers have discovered that this shrinkage differs depending on a subject’s BMI. “The overall message is that brains basically appear to be 10 years older if you are overweight or obese,” said Lisa Ronan, first author of the study from the University of Cambridge. Despite a higher BMI being linked to a smaller volume of white matter, it did not appear to have any link to mental prowess, with no difference seen between lean and overweight or obese participants when they were subjected to IQ tests.

Submission + - Malware Linked To Government of Kazakhstan Targets Journalists, and Others (

An anonymous reader writes: Journalists and political activists critical of Kazakhstan’s authoritarian government, along with their family members, lawyers, and associates, have been targets of an online phishing and malware campaign believed to be carried out on behalf of the government of Kazakhstan, according to a new report by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). Malware was sent to Irina Petrushova and Alexander Petrushov, publishers of the independent newspaper Respublika, which was forced by the government of Kazakhstan to stop printing after years of exposing corruption but has continued to operate online. Also targeted are family members and attorneys of Mukhtar Ablyazov, co-founder and leader of opposition party Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan, as well as other prominent dissidents. The campaign—which EFF has called “Operation Manul,” after endangered wild cats found in the grasslands of Kazakhstan—involved sending victims spearphishing emails that tried to trick them into opening documents which would covertly install surveillance software capable of recording keystrokes, recording through the webcam, and more. Some of the software used in the campaign is commercially available to anyone and sells for as little as $40 online.

Submission + - SPAM: Yahoo's anti-abuse AI can hunt out even the most devious online trolls

AmiMoJo writes: Yahoo has created an abuse-detecting algorithm that can accurately identify whether online comments contain hate speech or not. In 90 per cent of test cases Yahoo's algorithm was able to correctly identify that a comment was abusive. The company used a combination of machine learning and crowdsourced abuse detection to create an algorithm that trawled the comment sections of Yahoo News and Finance to sniff out abuse. As part of its project, Yahoo will be releasing the first publicly available curated database of online hate speech. The system could help AIs avoid being tricked into making abusive comments themselves, as Microsoft's Tay twitter bot did earlier this year.

Submission + - Screen overlays, accessibility features, twin tools of modern Android malware (

mask.of.sanity writes: Screen overlay functions and accessibility features are valuable tools to compromise modern Android operating systems including Android version 5 Lollipop and version 6 Marshmallow. The functions can be exploited to fully compromise phones when paired with clever social engineering tricks.

Submission + - Has Debian updates server DDOS'ed itself? 1

Hemlock Stones writes: I am seeing a 35 program security update for 64 bit Wheezy bring my Update Manager to a total halt while it waits for data/responses from the official North American update server mirror. I have let Update Manager run for over an hour on two different computers for three consecutive days, including today, to no avail. I prefer to stick with the official mirror because I believe (hope) that it is the least likely to be compromised.

I have been having problems with large security updates over the last year or so like completely cutting off downloads in progress sometimes with only seconds remaining to complete and never restart them (OK I only waited 10 minutes a couple of time mainly because I found the best strategy was to cancel the current update attempt and start a new one whereupon the transfer would start back up in fairly quickly and always complete). Or taking minutes to get to start downloading updates and then minutes more to start to install them while sometimes only taking a few 10's of seconds to download and install them. I used the display in terminal option to determine that the delays were always at points where Update Manager was waiting for server data/responses.

The fact that nothing has appeared yet on /. is making me wonder if anybody else is seeing this ?

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