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Submission + - Will the US Lose Control of the Internet? (wired.co.uk) 2

Jeremiah Cornelius writes: Upon revelation of the extent of US foreign intelligence surveillance, through efforts by Edward Snowden and LavaBit founder Ladar Levison, an increasing number of nation's have expressed official dismay and concern over the US dominance in managing the infrastructure for request and transit of information on the Internet. In the past, ICANN challenges have been secondary to efforts in the UN ITU — until now. Yesterday at a summit in Uruguay, every major Internet governing body pledged to free themselves of the influence of the US government. "The directors of ICANN, the Internet Engineering Task Force, the Internet Architecture Board, the World Wide Web Consortium, the Internet Society and all five of the regional Internet address registries have vowed to break their associations with the US government. The group called for "accelerating the globalization of ICANN and IANA functions, towards an environment in which all stakeholders, including all governments, participate on an equal footing". Any doubt about the reason or timing of this statement is dispelled with the inclusion: "the group 'expressed strong concern over the undermining of the trust and confidence of Internet users globally due to recent revelations of pervasive monitoring and surveillance'."

The US argument for maintaining governance has been the need to maintain "a free and open Internet" versus interests of authoritarian societies. Has recent understanding of the wholesale surveillance of telecommunications by the NSA completely ruined the US reputation as the just custodian of that mission?

Submission + - EPIC: "Justice Department Helping Private Companies Evade Wiretap Laws"

Jeremiah Cornelius writes: Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center says, "Alarm bells should be going off," after a FOIA request that returned more than 1,000 pages of internal government documents. "Those documents show the National Security Agency and the Defense Department were deeply involved in pressing for the secret legal authorization, with NSA director Keith Alexander... The Justice Department agreed to grant legal immunity to the participating network providers in the form of what participants in the confidential discussions refer to as '2511 letters', a reference to the Wiretap Act codified at 18 USC 2511 in the federal statute books. An industry representative told CNET the 2511 letters provided legal immunity to the providers by agreeing not to prosecute for criminal violations of the Wiretap Act. It's not clear how many 2511 letters were issued by the Justice Department." EPIC staff attorney Amie Stepanovich says the banner the government proposed is so broad and vague that it would allow ISPs not only to monitor the content of all communication, including private correspondence, but also potentially hand over the monitoring activity itself to the government. She also notes that the banner notice would be one-sided since it would be given only to the employees of participating companies.
Government

Submission + - Brennan Sworn Using Copy of Constitution Lacking Bill of Rights (yahoo.com)

Jeremiah Cornelius writes: The White House ceremony confirming and swearing John Brennan as the new Director for the CIA contained rich and bitter symbolism. By his own selection, Brennan chose to swear his oath on a manuscript copy of the U.S. Constitution, drawn from the George Washington presidential archive. "Director Brennan told the president that he made the request to the archives because he wanted to reaffirm his commitment to the rule of law as he took the oath of office as director of the CIA,” The fly in the ointment is that this copy of the Constitution, with Washington's handwritten marginalia, pre-dates including the protections from the Bill of Rights, required by states to ratify the document as foundation law for the nation. Given the recent record of CIA activity in the last two administrations, is possible another intention is being heralded?
Security

Submission + - US Denies Flame Malware Attack on France During Elections (informationweek.com)

Jeremiah Cornelius writes: "Le Cyberattaque?" Unnamed French officials have been cited in L'Express , claiming that the U.S. directed targeted attacks with the Flame malware, targeting computers belonging to top advisers to, then French president, Nicolas Sarkozy. The United States quickly rebutted such accusations, with an emailed statement by Department of Homeland Security spokespersons, "We categorically deny the allegations by unnamed sources that the U.S. government participated in a cyber attack against the French government." The alleged attacks were made during the cycle of elections in April and May of 2012, when Nicolas Sarkozy failed in his bid to maintain the French presidency against Francois Hollande in a runoff. U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, has never acknowledged the US sponsorship of Flame, "These programs were never attributed in any way to the U.S. government," and continued affirm her role of protecting civilian infrastructure and that of France as an ally.
Privacy

Submission + - White House Pulls Down TSA Petition (epic.org)

Jeremiah Cornelius writes: The Electronic Privacy Information Center posted a brief and detailed notice about the removal of a petition regarding security screenings by the TSA at US airports and other locations.

At approximately 11:30 am EDT, the White House removed a petition about the TSA airport screening procedures from the White House "We the People" website. About 22,500 of the 25,000 signatures necessary for a response from the Administration were obtained when the White House unexpectedly cut short the time period for the petition. The site also went down for "maintenance" following an article in Wired that sought support for the campaign.


Facebook

Submission + - Facebook and WalMart Join Forces (reuters.com)

Jeremiah Cornelius writes: WalMart — the retail king of Big Data analytics — will be meeting Mark Zuckerberg for two days in Bentonville, to "deepen" their relationship with Facebook. The CEO-level strategy summit is intended to bolster the relationship between the world's No. 1 social network and the world's largest retailer. WalMart has been left in the dust online, by the behemoth Amazon. An alliance may be poised to challenge this dominance, particularly in light of Amazon's planned foray into same-day delivery, nationwide. The companies share James Breyer, who sits on the boards of both Facebook and Wal-Mart. Adding another angle to this, Yahoo's new CEO Marissa Mayer was elected to Wal-Mart's board in early June, while she was still at Google. Earlier this month, Facebook and Yahoo settled a patent dispute and announced plans to form another "strategic alliance" involving advertising and distribution. The implications for online privacy in this series of relationships are uncertain.
Privacy

Submission + - How to Change the World: "Barcode All Humans at Birth" (bbc.com) 1

Jeremiah Cornelius writes: Papers Please Dept.:
Elizabeth Moon, author of an extensive corpus of Science Fiction, opines for the BBC: “If I were empress of the Universe I would insist on every individual having a unique ID permanently attached — a barcode if you will; an implanted chip to provide an easy, fast inexpensive way to identify individuals. It would be imprinted on everyone at birth. Point the scanner at someone and there it is. ... In war soldiers could easily differentiate legitimate targets in a population from non combatants... Anonymity would be impossible as would mistaken identity making it easier to place responsibility accurately, not only in war but also in non-combat situations far from the war." Does it make sense to establish military and criminal accountability at the potential expense posed to privacy and liberty?

The Military

Submission + - US Journalists Targeted by Pentagon Propaganda Contractors (usatoday.com)

Jeremiah Cornelius writes: While conducting investigative reporting on civilian contractors in the Pentagon's "InfoOps" Internet propaganda operations, two reporters found themselves the subject of a highly targeted, professional media manipulation effort. Reporter Tom Vanden Brook and Editor Ray Locker found that Twitter and Facebook accounts have been created in their names, along with a Wikipedia entry and dozens of message board postings and blog comments. Websites were registered in their names. Some postings merely copied Vanden Brook's and Locker's previous reporting. Others accused them of being sponsored by the Taliban. "I find it creepy and cowardly that somebody would hide behind my name and presumably make up other names in an attempt to undermine my credibility," Vanden Brook said. If these websites were created using federal funds, it could violate federal law prohibiting the production of propaganda for domestic consumption.
Google

Submission + - Google Will Track Everything Its Users Do, No Opt (washingtonpost.com)

Jeremiah Cornelius writes: According to the Washington Post, Google announced Tuesday that it plans to follow the activities of users across nearly all of its ubiquitous sites, including YouTube, Gmail and its leading search engine. Consumers won’t be able to opt out of the changes, which take effect March 1. And experts say the policy shift will invite greater scrutiny from federal regulators of the company’s privacy and competitive practices. “Google’s new privacy announcement is frustrating and a little frightening,” said Common Sense Media chief executive James Steyer. “Even if the company believes that tracking users across all platforms improves their services, consumers should still have the option to opt out — especially the kids and teens who are avid users of YouTube, Gmail and Google Search.”
Piracy

Submission + - Did the MAFIAA Manipulate US DOJ to Shut Down Comp (techdirt.com)

Jeremiah Cornelius writes: At TechDirt, in an article about Busta Rhymes support of MegaUpload, there's an excellent summation of the legitimate alternative, digital-friendly business-model pusued by REAL content creators on file sharing sites.

"In fact, this is part of the ecosystem, especially in the hip hop world. It's why the artists also support those hip hop blogs that the RIAA insists are dens of pure thievery. The artists release their tracks to those blogs, knowing they'll get tons of downloads — and actually get money. If they do deals with labels, they know they'll never see a dime. Putting music on Megaupload is a way to get paid. Working with a gatekeeper is not."

Do you think that the US DOJ is being used to crush competition for incumbent "gatekeeper" industries, who have a history of taking maximum profits, without adding tangible value?

Your Rights Online

Submission + - FileSonic Runs Scared - Removes Sharing Feature Af (zdnet.com)

Jeremiah Cornelius writes: Is this the end of the "collector's" Internet? Days after the Megaupload website was taken offline by U.S. authorities, FileSonic, one of the most popular file-sharing websites on the Web, has announced that it is has disabled “all sharing functionality”, and that its service can “only be used to upload and retrieve files you have uploaded personally”. They also introduced a feature to extend the popular DropBox service via FileSonic.
It's funny.  Laugh.

Submission + - UK Terror Chief Blocked from Boarding Aircraft (mirror.co.uk)

Jeremiah Cornelius writes: Two days before toner cartridges threatened western civilisation, Britain's Home Office minister Baroness Neville-Jones was en route to a Washington summit when she was found to have an over-sized aerosol can in her bag. While being questioned by airport security staff for transporting a container with more than 100ml of liquid, The Baroness seemingly took offence, at being lectured on the importance of security procedure: "Of course I know how important it is," she said, "I'm the Security Minister." The Baroness is also former head of the British Joint Intelligence Committee, and was travelling at the time to discuss the war on terror with US security chiefs. According to a Home Office spokesman, trained in the use of the passive-voice, "Liquids were inadvertently left in a bag. The item was removed and the Minister fully complied with subsequent checks."
Privacy

Submission + - Airline Pilot's Union Says:"No Full-Body Scan" (theregister.co.uk)

Jeremiah Cornelius writes: From the "Are you just happy to see me Dept."
The American Pilots Association, representing 12,000 pilots, is rejecting backscatter X-ray full-body scanning for their members, in an official position. The union is recommending that their pilots submit instead, to the new physical pat-down search procedure, instituted as an alternate by US Transportation Security Administration. Despite the objections to the invasive and possibly humiliating nature of the pat-downs, the APA cites health concerns from the scanners, unique to the job hazards as pilots: “We are already subjected to larger amounts of radiation by flying long distances at high altitudes,” Captain Sam Mayer, who is the APA's communications committee chairman. "we haven't seen any data yet talking about the long term cumulative effects of this over time.” Not addressed in this recommendation by the pilot's union is the misplaced attention on scanning pilots — at all. The pilot has many opportunities to destroy or disrupt an aircraft, without needing to resort to carrying a weapon or concealing explosives.

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