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Government

Obama Changed Rules Regarding Raw Intelligence, Allowing NSA To Share Raw Data With US's Other 16 Intelligence Agencies (schneier.com) 200

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Schneier on Security: President Obama has changed the rules regarding raw intelligence, allowing the NSA to share raw data with the U.S.'s other 16 intelligence agencies. The new rules significantly relax longstanding limits on what the N.S.A. may do with the information gathered by its most powerful surveillance operations, which are largely unregulated by American wiretapping laws. These include collecting satellite transmissions, phone calls and emails that cross network switches abroad, and messages between people abroad that cross domestic network switches. The change means that far more officials will be searching through raw data. Essentially, the government is reducing the risk that the N.S.A. will fail to recognize that a piece of information would be valuable to another agency, but increasing the risk that officials will see private information about innocent people. Here are the new procedures. This rule change has been in the works for a while. Here are two blog posts from April discussing the then-proposed changes.
Chrome

Latest Adobe Acrobat Reader Update Silently Installs Chrome Extension (bleepingcomputer.com) 144

An anonymous reader writes: The latest Adobe Acrobat Reader security update (15.023.20053), besides delivering security updates, also secretly installs the Adobe Acrobat extension in the user's Chrome browser. There is no mention of this "special package" on Acrobat's changelog, and surprise-surprise, the extension comes with anonymous data collection turned on by default. Bleeping Computer reports: "This extension allows users to save any web page they're on as a PDF file and share it or download it to disk. The extension is also Windows-only, meaning Mac and Linux Chrome users will not receive it. The extension requests the following permissions: Read and change all your data on the websites you visit; Manage your downloads; Communicate with cooperating native applications. According to Adobe, extension users 'share information with Adobe about how [they] use the application. The information is anonymous and will help us improve product quality and features,' Adobe also says. 'Since no personally identifiable information is collected, the anonymous data will not be meaningful to anyone outside of Adobe.'"

Comment Congratulations,your PC is now a governance device (Score 3, Insightful) 172

The camera "sees" the user and even knows which user it is seeing. The camera then locks the screen immediately when the user is not present.

How long before the computer "sees" the user and notifies the police that they can pick up their known dissident. I mean, really, given the kind of governance we're about to enter into, this (not to mention Alexa-like audio surveillance "features") are the last thing I'd want on any equipment in my home.

And no, I don't have anything to hide. But conversely, I also don't use the restroom in the middle of 5th Avenue. Privacy is a thing, even in a world full of morons who think it isn't.

Comment "Improvements" (Score 4, Insightful) 156

The newly-minted update changes are just one part of the improvements added to Windows 10 with the build released Monday.

Nice Newspeak(TM) spin there.

It's not an improvement. It's a fix, to a facility they broke in Windows 10 -- namely, the ability to control the update system.

And if we're being perfectly honest here, it's not even a fix. It's a workaround to a facility that never fscking worked in the first place , i.e. installing device drivers through Windows Update. Never. Worked.

And deploying this workaround serves as tacit admission by Microsoft that they they haven't the remotest clue how to fix it. Even after locking out those terribly pesky, annoying users and arrogating all administrative control to themselves with Windows 10, it STILL. DOESN'T. WORK.

Comment Sounds Cool -- How Do I Disable The "Smart?" (Score 1) 238

OLED displays look gorgeous, and that will probably be what I get to upgrade from my LED DLP.

Just one concern: How do I lobotomize the "Smart" that seems to be infecting all TVs these days? Stories concerning massive security and privacy issues with Smart TVs are all too easy to find, so you'd think it would be just as easy to find TVs that are "dumb", or at least articles on how to rip the "Smart" out of any given smart TV.

I know Vizio has a (small) line of tuner-free displays, but then they foul it up by bolting on a Chromecast and including an Android tablet as a remote (!).

Submission + - President Obama Signs Legislation Establishing Information Control Agency

stephenmac7 writes: President Obama has recently signed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017, which "authorizes FY2017 appropriations and sets forth policies regarding the military activities of the Department of Defense (DOD), military construction, and the national security programs of the Department of Energy (DOE)." Perhaps more notably, it establishes a new Department of State agency, the Global Engagement Center, that some claim may be the beginning of an Orwellian propaganda agency. Its task is to “understand, expose, and counter foreign state and non-state propaganda and disinformation aimed at undermining United States national security interests" and support “the development and dissemination of fact-based narratives and analysis to counter propaganda and disinformation directed at the United States and” its partners and allies. It is also authorized to gather information from intelligence agencies and financially support various groups, apparently of its own choosing, including “civil society groups, media content providers, nongovernmental organizations, federally funded research and development centers, private companies, or academic institutions.”
Education

What's Happening As The University of California Tries To Outsource IT Jobs To India (pressreader.com) 483

Long-time Slashdot reader Nova Express shares an epic column by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Michael Hiltzik. It details what's happening now as the University of California tries to outsources dozens of IT jobs -- about 20% of their IT workforce -- by February 28th. Some of the highlights:
  • The CEO of UCSF's Medical Center says he expects their security to be at least as good as it is now, but acknowledges "there are no guarantees."
  • Nine workers have filed a complaint with the state's Department of Fair Employment and Housing arguing they're facing discrimination.
  • California Senator Feinstein is already complaining that the university is tapping $8.5 billion in federal funding "to replace Californian IT workers with foreign workers or labor performed abroad."
  • Representative Zoe Lofgren (from a district in Silicon Valley) is arguing that the university "is training software engineers at the same time they're outsourcing their own software engineers. What message are they sending their own students?"
  • 57-year-old sys-admin Kurt Ho says his replacement spent just two days with him, then "told me he would go back to India and train his team, and would be sending me emails with questions."
  • The university's actions will ultimately lower their annual $5.83 billion budget by just 0.1%.

Comment Re:Why bother with the machines? (Score 1) 732

Except for the zero proof that the RNC was hacked and repeated denials from the RNC chair that the RNC was hacked.

Two things:
1) The party you hacked to lose the election is the party that you WANT people to know was hacked. Common knowledge of the hack results in dramatically improved credibility of the released information attained in the hack.
2) The party that you want to blackmail is the party that you want the hack to be a secret. The more secretive you can be about blackmail, the more effective it is. Also, if the RNC is being blackmailed due to a hack, would you expect them to announce that to the world!?

Of course, even worrying about the RNC being blackmailed is a waste of time if the president-elect is already compromised by the Russkiy's, something we will know as soon as he follows through with his promise to release his taxes (along with getting Mexico to pay for the wall and bringing back coal. . . in other words, don't hold your breath. . .)

Comment Re:Why bother with the machines? (Score 1) 732

. . . there is the possibility it is being used to tamper with the lawmakers. . .

Exactly:
1) Hack BOTH parties A & B during an election
2) Use hack of party A to help party B win
3) Use hack of party B to blackmail party B after they come into power
4) . . .
5) Pribyl'!

Communications

Norway To Become First Country To Switch Off FM Radio (reuters.com) 303

Norway is set to become the first country to switch off its FM radio network next week, as it takes the unpopular leap to digital technology. Reuters reports: Critics say the government is rushing the move and many people may miss warnings on emergencies that have until now been broadcast via the radio. Of particular concern are the 2 million cars on Norway's roads that are not equipped with Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) receivers, they say. Sixty-six percent of Norwegians oppose switching off FM, with just 17 percent in favor and the rest undecided, according to an opinion poll published by the daily Dagbladet last month. Nevertheless, parliament gave the final go-ahead for the move last month, swayed by the fact that digital networks can carry more radio channels. By the end of the year, all national FM broadcasts will be closed in favor of DAB, which backers say carries less hiss and clearer sound throughout the large nation of 5 million people cut by fjords and mountains. Torvmark said cars were the "biggest challenge" - a good digital adapter for an FM car radio costs 1,500 Norwegian crowns ($174.70), he said. For the same cost, digital radio in Norway allows eight times more radio stations than FM. The current system of parallel FM and digital networks, each of which cost about 250 million crowns ($29 million), saps investments in programs.

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