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Submission + - MuckRock launching volley of FOIA requests at Trump administration

v3rgEz writes: For seven years, MuckRock has helped journalists, activists, and every day people extract information from the government using public records laws. Now we're doing to the same for the Trump administration, and want to get as many people who care about transparency involved as possible.

We've launched a dedicated page collecting and discussing FOIA requests about the incoming Trump administration, and are experimenting with a new Slack channel to help folks workshop their requests and disseminate documents that come back.

Submission + - Who Is Killing the Towns of Western Massachusetts? (backchannel.com) 1

mirandakatz writes: If Western Massachusetts is going to retain its population—particularly its younger residents—it needs 21st century internet. That's easier said than done: Governor Charlie Baker appears to be favoring an approach that gives money to incumbent telecoms companies, and prevents towns from seizing control of their connectivity. At Backchannel, Susan Crawford argues that "because of Governor Baker, many of the people of Western MA, especially younger residents, will have to move somewhere. And even a region rich in culture, with second-home owners who otherwise might want to stay full time, will find itself populated with ghosts. Unhappy ghosts, with lousy, overpriced internet access."

Submission + - FTC Dismantles Two Huge Robocall Organizations

Trailrunner7 writes: Continuing its campaign against phone fraud operations, the FTC has dismantled two major robocall organizations that the commission alleges were making hundreds of millions of calls over the course of several years to consumers who were on the Do Not Call registry.

The FTC filed complaints against two separate groups of defendants, the leaders of which have both been involved in previous legal actions for robocalling operations. The defendants each controlled several different corporate entities that were involved in selling home security systems, extended auto warranties, and other products through repeated automated phone calls. Many of the calls were to numbers on the DNC list, a violation of the telemarketing regulations.

The two main defendants in the complaints are Justin Ramsey and Aaron Michael Jones, and in separate actions, they and many of their co-defendants have agreed to court-ordered bans on robocall activities and financial settlements. The FTC alleges that Ramsey directed an operation that made millions of robocalls a month.

Submission + - UK Data Protection Authority Broke Its Own Rules... And Kept It Quiet

Mickeycaskill writes: The UK's data protection authority, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), has confirmed it investigated itself several times since 2013 and found itself guilty on 14 occasions.

It neglected to make this public information and the revelations were only uncovered by a Freedom of Information (FoI) request made by a member of the House of Lords.

“More and more of our data is being held by government agencies, if even the ICO can’t stick to the rules it does raise questions about how secure our data really is,” said Lord Paddick.

Most of the complaints were submitted by members of the public but it self-reported incidents in three instances. 29 complaints ended with no breaches of the law being found.

Submission + - Tesla Falls Just Short of Their 80,000 Vehicle Goal for 2016

randomErr writes: Tesla targeted to sell 80,000 cars for 2016 but only delivered 76,230 vehicles. The carmaker said that 'short-term production challenges' at the end of October were to blame. The slowdown to new Autopilot hardware resulted in made 2,750 Tesla vehicles missed being counted as deliveries for the year. Tesla says about 6,450 vehicles on their way and will be counted toward the first quarter of 2017.

Submission + - Sensitive Data Stored on Box.com Accounts Accessible Via Search Queries (threatpost.com)

msm1267 writes: Last week Box.com moved quickly and quietly to block search engines from indexing links to confidential data owned by its users. That is after security researcher Markus Neis surfaced private data belonging to a number of Fortune 500 companies via Google, Bing and other search engines. Box.com said it’s a classic case of users accidentally oversharing. Neis isn’t convinced and says Box.com’s so-called Collaboration links shouldn’t have been indexed in the first place. Box.com has since blocked access to what security researchers say was a treasure trove confidential data and fodder for phishing scams.

Submission + - Russian hacks into Ukraine power grids a sign of things to come for U.S.? (cbsnews.com)

schwit1 writes: Russian hacking to influence the election has dominated the news. But CBS News has also noticed a hacking attack that could be a future means to the U.S. Last weekend, parts of the Ukrainian capitol Kiev went dark. It appears Russia has figured out how to crash a power grid with a click.

Last December, a similar attack occurred when nearly a quarter of a million people lost power in the Ivano-Frankivsk region of Ukraine when it was targeted by a suspected Russian attack.

Vasyl Pemchuk is the electric control center manager, and said that when hackers took over their computers, all his workers could do was film it with their cell phones.

... some U.S. electric utilities have weaker security than Ukraine, and the malicious software the hackers used has already been detected in the U.S.

Submission + - Silicon Valley's Trump rebellion now has EFF calling for more encryption (computerworld.com)

dcblogs writes: The Electronic Frontier Foundation is keenly worried that President-elect Donald Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress will step up surveillance activities and pass laws that infringe on electronic rights. The EFF is advising the tech sector to use end-to-end encryption for every transaction by default and to scrub logs. "You cannot be made to surrender data you do not have," the EFF said. "It's very clear to us that he (President-elect Donald Trump) is no friend to civil liberties," sais Rainey Reitman, director of the EFF's activism team. It believes Trump and the new Congress will seek encryption backdoors. The tech community is wary, generally, of Trump. More than 1,000 people who work at tech firms have signed a pledge, Neveragain.tech, not to help the incoming administration create a database to target people because of race or religion or to facilitate mass deportations. In arguing for resistance, Neveragain is pointing to the importance of databases used in atrocities back to World War II. Commenting generally on the use of data collection by governments, Christopher Browning, a Holocaust researcher who wrote a number of books on the Holocaust, Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland said that in western Europe, especially The Netherlands, "registration is a key, endangering factor."

Submission + - Canada's CRTC declares broadband internet access a basic service (www.cbc.ca)

jbwiebe writes: In a ruling handed down today, the national regulator ordered the country's internet providers to begin working toward boosting internet service and speeds in rural and isolated areas.
With today's ruling, CRTC has set new targets for internet service providers to offer customers in all parts of the country download speeds of at least 50 megabits per second (Mbps) and upload speeds of at least 10 Mbps, and to also offer the option of unlimited data.

Submission + - Barnes & Noble's latest tablet is running spyware from Shanghai (linuxjournal.com)

emil writes: ADUPS was recently responsible for data theft on BLU phones, and an unsafe version of the ADUPS agent is pre-loaded on the Barnes & Noble BNTV450 ADUPS' press releases claim that Version 5.5 of their agent is safe, but the BNTV450 is running 5.2. The agent is capable of extracting contacts, listing installed apps, and installing new apps with elevated privilege. Azzedine Benameur, director of research at Kryptowire, claims that "owners can expect zero privacy or control while using it."

Submission + - SPAM: Feds Have 400+ Stingrays

schwit1 writes: The Department of Homeland Security and Justice Department have spent collectively more than $95 million on secret cellphone tracking technology and own more than 400 cell-site simulators that can be used to zero in covertly on the locations of cellphones, according to a congressional report.

A report released Monday by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee reveals a tally of how many cell-site simulators federal agencies own and recommends that lawmakers adopt a national standard to govern use of the devices by local and federal law enforcement agencies.

With 194 cell-site simulators, the FBI has the most of any of the agencies identified as owning the devices, which often are referred to by brand names including Stingray or Hailstorm.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - SPAM: US Defense official: Chinese warship stole US underwater drone

schwit1 writes: (CNN)A US oceanographic vessel Thursday had its underwater drone stolen by a Chinese warship literally right in front of the eyes of the American crew, a US defense official told CNN Friday.

In the latest encounter in international waters in the South China Sea region, the USNS Bowditch was sailing about 100 miles off the port at Subic Bay when the incident occurred, according to the official.

Bowditch had stopped in the water to pick up two underwater drones. At that point a Chinese naval ship that had been shadowing the Bowditch put a small boat into the water. That small boat came up alongside and the Chinese crew took one of the drones.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Uber safety concerns (theguardian.com)

Jalfro writes: State of California regulators and consumer advocates accused Uber of violating the law and endangering public safety after self-driving cars were caught running red lights. The semi-autonomous vehicles, launched without permits in San Francisco this week, have been ordered off the road.

Submission + - H-1B reform: How Industry and lobbyists will game the system (economicpopulist.org)

hwstar writes: As part of the investigation, the AG should have teams do site visits to HR Departments at a few firms that use a substantial number of H-1Bs, say over 10% of their STEM labor force, in various locales and industry sectors, to determine how/why American job applicants are rejected. Again, this is for information gathering rather than grounds for denial of visas.

Many H-1Bs, especially those at the Intels, are hired as foreign students from college and university campuses. Currently many U.S. graduate programs have well over half their enrollment as foreign students, in some cases even 90%. This presumably is an unhealthy situation, and the investigation team should particularly note the issues here.

The investigation should consult with the foreign worker advocacy group, Immigration Voice, especially concerning exploitation of foreign workers who are immobile due to waiting for a green card. This immobility makes foreign workers enormously attractive to employers; a prominent immigration attorney (and former chief architect of Texas Instruments’ immigration policy) even pitches this point to employers on his Web page, urging employers to hire foreign students instead of Americans.

Submission + - U.S. Election Assistance Commission Hacked

wiredmikey writes: Researchers have discovered that a Russian-speaking hacker broke into the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) systems, and has been trying to sell stolen access credentials — including admin-level — on the underground.

On December 1, researchers with Recorded Future discovered internet chatter that appeared to relate to an EAC breach. A hacker, called "Rasputin" by Recorded Future, was discussing the sale of more than 100 EAC access credentials to a middle-eastern government broker. The hacker claimed to have accessed the systems via an SQLi vulnerability, which Recorded Future was able to locate and report.

EAC said Thursday that was aware of the 'potential intrusion' and was investigating the incident.

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