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Submission + - FBI's Big Plan To Expand Its Hacking Powers

Presto Vivace writes: DefenseOne reports:

the rule change, as requested by the department, would allow judges to grant warrants for remote searches of computers located outside their district or when the location is unknown.

The government has defended the maneuver as a necessary update of protocol intended to modernize criminal procedure to address the increasingly complex digital realities of the 21st century. The FBI wants the expanded authority, which would allow it to more easily infiltrate computer networks to install malicious tracking software. This way, investigators can better monitor suspected criminals who use technology to conceal their identity.

But the plan has been widely opposed by privacy advocates, such as the American Civil Liberties Union, as well as some technologists, who say it amounts to a substantial rewriting of the rule and not just a procedural tweak. Such a change could threaten the Fourth Amendment’s protections against unreasonable search and seizures, they warn, and possibly allow the FBI to violate the sovereignty of foreign nations. The rule change also could let the agency simultaneously target millions of computers at once, even potentially those belonging to users who aren’t suspected of any wrongdoing.

Submission + - Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras Return to U.S. Soil (

rmdingler writes: After remaining abroad since the Snowden revelations broke in June of last year, the two were in New York Friday to accept a Polk Award for national security reporting. Though they cleared customs without a hitch, they are traveling with an ACLU lawyer and a German journalist who are to "document any unpleasant surprises." According to Ms. Poitras, the risks of subpoena are very real.

What, if anything, do you expect the American government to do considering Snowden's case has been officially cited as violating the Espionage Act? nytimes

Submission + - Watchdog Report Says N.S.A. Program Is Illegal and Should End (

schwit1 writes: An independent federal privacy watchdog has concluded that the National Security Agency’s program to collect bulk phone call records has provided only “minimal” benefits in counterterrorism efforts, is illegal and should be shut down.

The findings are laid out in a 238-page report, scheduled for release by Thursday, that represent the first major public statement by the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, which Congress made an independent agency in 2007 and only recently became fully operational.

Defenders of the program have argued that Congress acquiesced to that secret interpretation of the law by twice extending its expiration without changes. But the report rejects that idea as “both unsupported by legal precedent and unacceptable as a matter of democratic accountability.”

The report also scrutinizes in detail a handful of investigations in which the program was used, finding “no instance in which the program directly contributed to the discovery of a previously unknown terrorist plot or the disruption of a terrorist attack.”

Submission + - Setting up a big, one day WiFi network? 4

FurryFeet writes: "I work for a medum size K-12 school and have been notified that in a few weeks we'll have a big training event for teachers. We're expecting about 50 teachers to all bring in their laptops for a full-day training session; they'll all need internet access to do the work. I though I'd just set up a couple of Wi-Fi routers and call it a day, but after googling a bit I bumped into the "Wi-Fi at conferences problem"; namely, there is not a good and easy way to give 50 people a great Wi-Fi connection simultaneously. This is a one-day event, so I don't have a lot of budget. Should I just explain the situation and install a bunch of Ethernet cables? Is there any other way to set up this network that won't cost thousands of dollars?"

Submission + - Twitter Hit with Scareware Scam using Google URLs (

destinyland writes: Security firm Kaspersky is warning Twitter users about a scareware scam which uses links made with Google's URL shortening service. The links are redirected three times, once through a Ukranian site, before presenting a bogus security warning which attempts to install malware. "It automatically translates most of the text that appears...into whichever language the operating system is set to," reports one technology site, "thus presumably widening the potential audience of victims. It also uses a trick of encrypting and then decrypting the code used in the bogus security software site, which may help it get past some legitimate security scanners." Twitter's head of trust and safety also confirms the attack, saying he believes the hackers are using accounts that were previously been compromised in a phishing attack.

Submission + - The rise and rise of the cognitive elite ( 1

hessian writes: As technology advances, the rewards to cleverness increase. Computers have hugely increased the availability of information, raising the demand for those sharp enough to make sense of it. In 1991 the average wage for a male American worker with a bachelor’s degree was 2.5 times that of a high-school drop-out; now the ratio is 3. Cognitive skills are at a premium, and they are unevenly distributed.

Submission + - Supercharged solar cells span the visible spectrum ( 3

An anonymous reader writes: Solar cells can be tuned to work great on sunny days, or great on cloudy days, by tuning them to either the red end or blue end of the visible spectrum. By combining materials for absorbing both, supercharged solar cells could revolutionize solar collectors. The researchers combined the materials in such as way that they may also be useful for ultraviolet lasers, wide-spectrum solid-state lighting and in new types of piezoelectric devices.

Submission + - Google Voice is now active

wheelema writes: "Google Voice is now available for subscribers who have requested an invite. Voice mail left on phone call to the Google Voice phone number is transcribed to text. Will be exploring the functionality over time, but right now very very interesting. Note that it is NOT available unless you have already requested an invite."

Submission + - Planning Begins for World's Largest Solar Plant (

lilbridge writes: "This next month 20 German Blue Chip companies will gather to discuss plans and investment needs for what would be the world's largest solar plant. Because solar radiation in Northern Africa is so much higher than in Europe, investors are seriously considering a massive long-term investment to pipe in clean renewable energy with high voltage DC lines. In fact if just 0.3% of Northern Africa was covered in concentrating solar power, all of Europe could be powered off solar energy."

Submission + - Why is Google Blocking Tor?

Bobb9000 writes: As I and I'm sure other Tor users have noticed, Google has recently begun blacklisting any query coming from a Tor exit node. There's been some discussion of this online, but not very much, and while the Tor FAQ claims this is only a temporary problem, and that Google has taken no positive steps to block Tor, for the past few months I haven't been able to find a single exit node that can use Google.

Now, it's possible that there's just been a massive amount of automated request activity coming from every Tor exit node recently, but that seems unlikely. Even if it were true, somehow Yahoo has been able to cope, as it almost always works through Tor. So, why is Google making it harder to be anonymous online? Genuine security concerns, or a dislike for anything that takes away their ability to harvest personal data?

Submission + - The Automated SAMBA +LDAP ready for testing!! (

SF:agsweeney1972 writes: The Automated SAMBA +LDAP project takes a \"Minimal\" installation of FreeBSD 7.1/AMD64 and installs and configures the entire system with minimal user interaction and leaves you with a fully functional Samba PDC with a LDAP back-end. I am currently working on the web GUI for adding users. Until I have finished that, you must use smbldap-useradd from the command line to add users (see SVN for example script). I need testers!!!
The Internet

Submission + - Top UK Broadband ISPs League Table

Ragein writes: IT is reporting that Telecommunications Watchdog Ofcom has revealed that it will be releasing its first broadband league table, a real life database of how ISPs perform in the United Kingdom. An Ofcom spokesperson told PCPro that they will be partnering with broadband website Samknows to distribute more than 7000 black-box routers that will track and log connection speeds and other variables in as many households. Samknows' website has yet post anything about the Ofcom announcement but its chairman, Alex Salter told PC Pro that "Ofcom really wants the ISPs to buy into the [testing] methodology. There is a lot of momentum behind Ofcom publishing specific ISP data". It is now known whether the mobile broadband providers will be included in the table at some point in the future.

Submission + - Solar powered car: live on the 'net.

snowdon writes: "This weekend, starting at 9:00AM Sydney time, a solar powered racing car, host to a raft of renewable energy innovations by students in Australia, will circumnavigate Sydney. It will take in the city's newly formed ring road, including several long tunnels and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. As it does so, the car's and support car's on-board systems will feed data live to the 'net. The event is the last in a series of achievements for Sunswift III, one of the world's most efficient solar vehicles, which was designed and built by students at UNSW. The car's electrical systems are some of the world's most advanced — over 30 microcontrollers communicate with each other and the outside world to control, measure and report on the car's operation as it drives, allowing the team to further optimise its performance. Check out the event live at"

Submission + - Linux to Power Most Windows Desktops. (

twitter writes: "A story emerging from CES is that GNU/Linux is set to take over the desktop market through netbooks, hypervisors and other "quick boots".

hardware vendors are scrambling to get some new offerings out the factory doors after the very popular Asus Eee PC came out in 2007 and made a big splash in an otherwise bleak electronics market. ... An alternative is to get existing laptops to behave more like netbooks. ... we looking at a future where new laptops and netbooks will have some layer of Linux running on them, but now users can install such a layer on their current devices and gain the advantages of such a hypervisor right now. if users grow to like this new "operating system," they (and the hardware vendors) might soon start wondering just exactly why they're paying Microsoft for all that Windows "overhead."

The author notes that M$ tried to block this with EULAs restricting virtualization of Windows and that the use of free software is hush hush. M$'s lock on OEM marketing language has been exposed before, but they can't keep OEMs from including copies of the GPL in their EULAs."

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