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Why CurrentC Will Beat Out Apple Pay 631

itwbennett writes Working closely with VISA, Apple solved many complex security issues making in-person payments safer than ever. But it's that close relationship with the credit card companies that may be Apple Pay's downfall. A competing solution called CurrentC has recently gained a lot of press as backers of the project moved to block NFC payments (Apple Pay, Google Wallet, etc.) at their retail terminals. The merchants designing or backing CurrentC reads like a greatest hits list of retail outfits and leading the way is the biggest of them all, Walmart. The retailers have joined together to create a platform that is independent of the credit card companies and their profit-robbing transaction fees. Hooking directly to your bank account rather than a credit or debit card, CurrentC will use good old ACH to transfer money from your account to the merchant's bank account at little to no cost.

Senate Bill Rewrite Lets Feds Read Your E-mail Without Warrants 403

concealment writes "A Senate proposal touted as protecting Americans' e-mail privacy has been quietly rewritten, giving government agencies more surveillance power than they possess under current law. [Sen. Patrick] Leahy's rewritten bill would allow more than 22 agencies — including the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Communications Commission — to access Americans' e-mail, Google Docs files, Facebook wall posts, and Twitter direct messages without a search warrant. It also would give the FBI and Homeland Security more authority, in some circumstances, to gain full access to Internet accounts without notifying either the owner or a judge."

CryptoCat Developer Questioned At US-Canadian Border 271

Dangerous_Minds writes "ZeroPaid is documenting some comments made by an encrypted chat developer who was interrogated at the U.S. border recently. According to the CryptoCat developer, border guards confiscated his passport and interrogated him about the application he developed. Most notably, he commented, "The interrogator (who claimed 22 years of computer experience) asked me which algorithms Cryptocat used and about its censorship resistance.""

CISPA Sponsor Says Protests Are Mere 'Turbulence' 258

SolKeshNaranek writes with news that Representative Mike Rogers (R-MI), sponsor of CISPA, has decided to tempt fate by referring to the protests that are springing up as 'turbulence on the way down to landing.' From the article: "What really comes through in the article — which mostly talks about how Rogers has been supposedly working with Google to change some of the language in the bill to make it more acceptable -- is how little concern Rogers has for the public. Instead, most of the article just talks about how he's been working with tech companies to make sure they're okay with the bill. And while that's a start, it's no surprise that lots of tech companies would be okay with CISPA, because it grants them broad immunity if they happen to hand over all sorts of private info to the government. But to then call the protests mere 'turbulence' is pretty damned insulting to the actual people this will impact the most: the public, whose privacy may be violated."

Facebook Opens Up Home Addresses and Phone Numbers 459

An anonymous reader writes "Do you really want third-party app developers on Facebook to be able to access your mobile phone number and home address? Facebook has announced that developers of Facebook apps can now gather the personal contact information from their users. Security firm Sophos describes it as 'a move that could herald a new level of danger for Facebook users' and advises users to remove their home address and phone numbers from the network immediately."

Is Samsung Blocking Updates To Froyo? 459

jfruhlinger writes "One of the complaints about Android is its fragmentation; many different versions of the OS are out there in the wild, and often users are held back from upgrading by their hardware or their carrier. But now a disturbing rumor has it that Samsung is strong-arming T-Mobile to prevent an over-the-air upgrade to Android 2.2 (Froyo) for Samsung Vibrant owners. The reason? Samsung wants people to shell out for the new Vibrant 4G — which, other than the fact that it ships running Froyo, is largely identical to the Vibrant." Reader CWmike contributes an informative link if you'd like to know which Android vendors are actually delivering timely upgrades.

UK Government Plans 10-Year Database of Citizens' Travel 289

moderators_are_w*nke writes "The UK government is planning yet another database to track its citizens, this time keeping track of their movements in and out of the country for ten years. Just like all their other databases, this one 'is essential in the fight against crime, illegal immigration and [of course] terrorism.'" I'd be very surprised if the US is not already doing this, and just not making a point to let anyone know.

Bush Demands Amnesty for Spying Telecoms 420

The Bush administration and the Electronic Frontier Foundation are poised to square off in front of a San Francisco federal judge Tuesday to litigate the constitutionality of legislation immunizing the nation's telecoms from lawsuits accusing them of helping the government spy on Americans without warrants. "'The legislation is an attempt to give the president the authority to terminate claims that the president has violated the people's Fourth Amendment rights,' the EFF's [Cindy] Cohn says. 'You can't do that.'"

Obama's Mobile Phone Records Compromised, Shared 278

Tiger4 writes "Verizon has confirmed that some of its employees have accessed and perhaps shared calling records of President Elect Barack Obama (coverage at CNN, Reuters, AP). Verizon says the people involved have all been put on leave with pay as the investigation proceeds. Some of the employees may have accessed the information for legitimate purposes, but others may have been curiosity seekers and may have even shared the information around. The account was 'only' a phone, not a BlackBerry or similar device, and Verizon believes it was just calling records, not voicemail or email that was compromised. The articles do not mention the similarity to the warrantless wiretapping or hospital records compromises of recent months. But that immediately sprang to mind for me."
The Courts

US May Invoke "State Secrets" To Stop Banking Suit 211

An anonymous reader sends us to the International Herald Tribune for news that the Bush administration is signaling that it plans to turn once again to a favorite legal tool, the 'state secrets' privilege. The administration wants to shut down a lawsuit brought against Swift, a huge Belgium banking cooperative that that the article calls the "nerve center of the global banking industry," after it was revealed that Swift secretly let the CIA comb through millions of private financial records. Quoting: "Two US banking customers sued Swift on invasion-of-privacy grounds. Many legal and financial analysts expected that the lawsuit would be thrown out because US banking privacy laws are considered much more lax than those in much of Europe. But to the surprise of many, a judge refused to throw out the lawsuit in a ruling in June."
The Internet

Tactics in the Porn Industry's Fight Against Piracy 113

An anonymous reader writes "A C|Net article discusses the technological innovations being used by the porn industry to ensure they stay relevant (like streaming HD-quality feeds and remote interaction), as well as profitable. Live performances and cutting-edge technology combine to ensure a steady stream of revenue in the age of free downloads. 'Now is on the cutting edge of the fight against video piracy. While mainstream entertainment outlets like Viacom and NBC complain noisily about YouTube,, with neither the resources nor the mainstream appeal of its giant counterparts, is in an even tougher fight: Protecting the content it produces that's continually copied and reposted on the dozens of Web sites that traffic in poached adult material.'"

Washington State To Try RFID Drivers Licenses 153

tverbeek tells us about a program the state of Washington has approved, to issue RFID-equipped drivers licenses to facilitate cross-border traffic. The idea is to load the drivers license with information proving citizenship, so that (with Department of Homeland Security approval) the bearer doesn't need to carry a passport — which otherwise will be required to re-enter the US from Canada beginning in 2009. The "enhanced" licenses will require applicants to submit to an in-person interview and to show proof of citizenship. A pilot program in Washington begins January 2008. Officials hope for DHS approval of the program before the Vancouver Olympics in 2010 causes a spike in cross-border traffic.

RFID Passports Cloned Without Opening the Package 168

Jeremy writes to tell us that using some simple deduction, a security consultant discovered how to clone a passport as it's being mailed to its recipient, without ever opening the package. "But the key in this first generation of biometric passport is relatively easy to identify/crack. It is not random, but consists of passport number, the passport holder's date of birth and the passport expiry date. The Mail found it relatively easy to identify the holder's date of birth, while the expiry date is 10 years from the issue date, which for a newly-delivered passport would clearly fall within a few days. The passport number consists of a number of predictable elements, including an identifier for the issuing office, so effectively a significant part of the key can be reconstructed from the envelope and its address label."

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