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Security

Anonymous Hacker Explains His Attack On Boston Children's Hospital (huffingtonpost.com) 294

Okian Warrior writes: Martin Gottesfeld of Anonymous was arrested in connection with the Spring 2014 attacks on a number of healthcare and treatment facilities in the Boston area. The attacks were in response/defense of a patient there named Justina Pelletier. Gottesfeld now explains why he did what he did, in a statement provided to The Huffington Post. Here's an excerpt from his statement: [Why I Knocked Boston Children's Hospital Off The Internet] The answer is simpler than you might think: The defense of an innocent, learning disabled, 15-year-old girl. In the criminal complaint, she's called 'Patient A,' but to me, she has a name, Justina Pelletier. Boston Children's Hospital disagreed with her diagnosis. They said her symptoms were psychological. They made misleading statement on an affidavit, went to court, and had Justina's parents stripped of custody. They stopped her painkillers, leaving her in agony. They stopped her heart medication, leaving her tachycardic. They said she was a danger to herself, and locked her in a psych ward. They said her family was part of the problem, so they limited, monitored, and censored her contact with them..."
Privacy

Assange Agrees to US Prison If Obama Pardons Chelsea Manning (theverge.com) 392

"If Obama grants Manning clemency, Assange will agree to U.S. prison in exchange -- despite its clear unlawfulness," Wikileaks announced on Twitter Thursday. An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes The Verge: WikiLeaks' statement was released one day before a Swedish appeals court decided to maintain a warrant for Assange's arrest over a 2010 rape charge. Assange has said that extradition to Sweden would lead to his eventual extradition to the US, where he could face charges related to WikiLeaks' publication of secret government documents... Assange has been living in political asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012...

Chelsea Manning, a former US Army private, was convicted in 2013 for providing a trove of documents and videos to WikiLeaks, and is currently serving a 35-year sentence at the US Disciplinary Barracks in Leavenworth, Kansas. She was hospitalized after a reported suicide attempt in July, and this month went on a hunger strike to seek treatment for her gender dysphoria. Manning ended her hunger strike this week after the military agreed to allow her to have gender reassignment surgery. She still faces indefinite solitary confinement due to administrative charges related to her suicide attempt.

The tweet also included a link to a letter from Assange's attorney, Barry Pollack, calling on the Justice Department to be more transparent about its investigation into WikiLeaks -- and citing the FBI's investigation into Hillary Clinton's handling of classified information. "Director Comey made it clear his conclusion was based on the necessity of proving criminal intent [and] noted that responsible prosecutors consider the context of a person's actions... Criminal prosecution is appropriate only when a person...was intending to aid enemies of the United States or was attempting to obstruct justice."
Government

House Committee: Edward Snowden's Leaks Did 'Tremendous Damage' (nbcnews.com) 278

An anonymous reader quotes a report from NBC News: The U.S. House intelligence committee on Thursday unanimously approved a blistering report on the activities of Edward Snowden, saying his disclosures of top-secret documents and programs did "tremendous damage" to national security. "The public narrative popularized by Snowden and his allies is rife with falsehoods, exaggerations, and crucial omissions," said the report by staff members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Contrary to Snowden's statements that he intended to reveal programs that intruded on the privacy of Americans, the House report concluded that the vast majority of the 1.5 million documents he stole "have nothing to do with programs impacting individual privacy interests. They instead pertain to military, defense, and intelligence programs of great interest to America's adversaries." The report said Snowden did not, as he claimed, try to express his concerns about potentially illegal intelligence gathering in a way that would qualify him as a whistleblower. The report was disputed by Snowden's ACLU-provided attorney. "This is a dishonest report that attempts to discredit a genuine American hero," said Wizner. "But after years of 'investigation,' the committee still can't point to any remotely credible evidence that Snowden's disclosures caused harm. The truth is that Edward Snowden and the journalists with whom he worked did the job that the House Intelligence Committee was supposed to do: bring meaningful oversight to the U.S. Intelligence community. They did so responsibly and carefully, and their efforts have led to historic reforms."
Government

Edward Snowden Makes 'Moral' Case For Presidential Pardon (theguardian.com) 387

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Edward Snowden has set out the case for Barack Obama granting him a pardon before the U.S. president leaves office in January, arguing that the disclosure of the scale of surveillance by U.S. and British intelligence agencies was not only morally right but had left citizens better off. Speaking on Monday via a video link from Moscow, where he is in exile, Snowden said any evaluation of the consequences of his leak of tens of thousands of National Security Agency and GCHQ documents in 2013 would show clearly that people had benefited. "Yes, there are laws on the books that say one thing, but that is perhaps why the pardon power exists -- for the exceptions, for the things that may seem unlawful in letters on a page but when we look at them morally, when we look at them ethically, when we look at the results, it seems these were necessary things, these were vital things," he said. "I think when people look at the calculations of benefit, it is clear that in the wake of 2013 the laws of our nation changed. The [U.S.] Congress, the courts and the president all changed their policies as a result of these disclosures. At the same time there has never been any public evidence that any individual came to harm as a result." In his wide-ranging interview, Snowden insisted the net public benefit of the NSA leak was clear. "If not for these disclosures, if not for these revelations, we would be worse off," he said. But Snowden still wants to return to the U.S. and seems confident, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary, that it will happen. "In the fullness of time, I think I will end up back home," he said.
Government

ACLU Is Launching A Campaign To Convince President Obama To Pardon Edward Snowden (fusion.net) 343

Coinciding with the launch of Oliver Stone's movie Snowden in select theaters this week, a coalition of civil rights groups are launching a campaign to convince President Obama to pardon NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Fusion reports: The effort, which is organized by the ACLU, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch, will gather signatures from regular people and endorsements from celebrities. Snowden will speak by video link from Moscow at a press conference on Wednesday morning in New York, and an initial list of "prominent legal scholars, policy experts, human rights leaders, technologists and former government officials" in support of the cause will be released, according to a statement from the campaign. A presidential pardon would mean that Snowden could come home from Moscow, where he's lived for the past three years, without the fear of being prosecuted. He currently faces federal charges of violating the Espionage Act and stealing government property, even though his disclosures led to reform of the wiretapping program by Congress. Many Snowden supporters are hoping the movie Snowden, which opens in U.S. theaters on Friday, will spur support for a pardon. "I think the value of the movie is that it's lsikely to reach millions of people who have not been paying close attention to Snowden or to the debate about surveillance and privacy," Snowden's layer at the ACLU, Ben Wizner, told Fusion. "Those people will emerge from the movie more educated about surveillance and with more positive attitudes toward Snowden."
Democrats

Facebook Co-Founder Commits $20 Million To Help Defeat Trump (buzzfeed.com) 459

Mat Honan reports: Dustin Moskovitz, the billionaire co-founder of Facebook and Asana, announced on Thursday that he intends to give $20 million to a "number of organizations" to help Democrats, and Hillary Clinton, win in 2016. Moskovitz published a fiercely-worded Medium post arguing that Republican nominee Donald Trump is "running on a zero-sum vision" and that his attempts to woo economically disenfranchised voters "are quite possibly a deliberate con, an attempt to rally energy and support without the ability or intention to deliver." He also wrote that while he and his wife, Cari Tuna, have previously voted for Democrats in presidential elections, this is the first time they endorsed a candidate and donated. The move represents a sharp break with Asana and Facebook board member, Peter Thiel, a Trump delegate who spoke at the Republican National Convention and earlier this week published an op-ed in the Washington Post in support of the Republican nominee.
Security

New Snowden Leaks Reveal More About NSA Satellite Eavesdropping (theverge.com) 100

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Newly published documents from Edward Snowden have shed more light on American surveillance operations in the UK. The Intercept details how the NSA and GCHQ used information gathered by Menwith Hill Station, a massive but tightly sealed facility that intercepts satellite data transmissions worldwide. Among other things, the files appear to include evidence that links UK-based surveillance to American anti-terrorism campaigns outside official combat zones. While many surveillance efforts focus on the internet's connective "backbone" cables, Menwith Hill intercepts wireless signals, using an array of antennae and U.S. government satellites to capture up to 335 million pieces of metadata in a 12-hour period. Previous reports -- including an earlier Snowden leak -- have already revealed some of its capabilities. But The Intercept includes more details, particularly about the UK's involvement in "capture-kill" operations against suspected terrorists. It describes how the GHOSTHUNTER program traced the location of targets "when they log onto the internet," often in internet cafes. A different program called GHOSTWOLF, which let the NSA and GCHQ monitor traffic from Yemeni internet cafes, is part of a plan to "capture or eliminate key nodes in terrorist networks" by tracking their locations. This leak fuels existing suspicions that the UK's role in American covert drone strikes is greater than it admits -- potentially implicating it in the civilian deaths that have resulted. GCHQ told The Intercept that all its work "is carried out in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework," and "is entirely compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights."
Government

The Unsettling Relationship Between Russia and Wikileaks (dailymail.co.uk) 271

schnell writes: The New York Times is reporting on the informal but seemingly symbiotic relationship between Russian hackers attacking American targets and Wikileaks (Warning: may be paywalled) as their favorite spot for disseminating the embarrassing results. New York Times reports: "American officials say Mr. Assange and WikiLeaks probably have no direct ties to Russian intelligence services. But the agendas of WikiLeaks and the Kremlin have often dovetailed." When it comes to embarrassing the U.S. government, Russia and Wikileaks' Julian Assange doubtlessly have common interests. But the reporters' analysis of leaks over the past several years raises a question of whether this is just a natural alliance of a source for incriminating documents and a motivated publisher, or does Wikileaks focus on the U.S. and downplay revelations about authoritarian regimes like Russia's as a result of the cozy relationship? nickovs adds: The New York Times is reporting how Russia often benefits when Julian Assange reveals the West's secrets. The article discusses Assange's change in stance regarding Russia over the years and how the Kremlin appears to support, and benefit from, the leaks that he publishes. The New York Times reports: "United States officials say they believe with a high degree of confidence that the Democratic Party material was hacked by the Russian government, and suspect that the codes may have been stolen by the Russians as well. That raises a question: Has WikiLeaks become a laundering machine for compromising material gathered by Russian spies? And more broadly, what precisely is the relationship between Mr. Assange and Mr. Putin's Kremlin?" Daily Mail (non paywalled source) reports: "In 2010 Assange was arrested in London on allegations of rape stemming from Sweden and released on bail. He described the arrest as a plot to extradite him to the U.S. where he could be investigated over the diplomatic cables leak, which greatly harmed American relations with the rest of the world while Clinton was Secretary of State. Putin also called the charges against Assange 'politically motivated' and said he is being 'persecuted for spreading the information he received from the U.S. military regarding the actions of the USA in the Middle East, including Iraq.' Russian officials have also suggested that Assange be given a Nobel Prize, and in 2012 paid to stream his TV show on state-backed network Russia Today. The Times also claims that Assange was offered a visa by Russia in 2011, though WikiLeaks has denounced this as false..."
Graphics

Players Seek 'No Man's Sky' Refunds, Sony's Content Director Calls Them Thieves (tweaktown.com) 467

thegarbz writes: As was covered previously on Slashdot the very hyped up game No Man's Sky was released to a lot of negative reviews about game-crashing bugs and poor interface choices. Now that players have had more time to play the game it has become clear that many of the features hyped by developers are not present in the game, and users quickly started describing the game as "boring".

Now, likely due to misleading advertising, Steam has begun allowing refunds for No Man's Sky regardless of playtime, and there are reports of players getting refunds on the Play Station Network as well despite Sony's strict no refund policy.
Besides Sony, Amazon is also issuing refunds, according to game sites. In response, Sony's former Strategic Content Director, Shahid Kamal Ahmad, wrote on Twitter, "If you're getting a refund after playing a game for 50 hours you're a thief." He later added "Here's the good news: Most players are not thieves. Most players are decent, honest people without whose support there could be no industry."

In a follow-up he acknowledged it was fair to consider a few hours lost to game-breaking crashes, adding "Each case should be considered on its own merits and perhaps I shouldn't be so unequivocal."
Privacy

WikiLeaks Published Rape Victims' Names, Credit Cards, Medical Data (arstechnica.com) 306

Joe Mullin, writing for ArsTechnica: Even as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange sits trapped in the Ecuadorean embassy, the WikiLeaks website continues to publish the secrets of various governments worldwide. But that's not all it's publishing. A report today by the Associated Press highlights citizens who had "sensitive family, financial or identity records" published by the site. "They published everything: my phone, address, name, details," said one Saudi man whose paternity dispute was revealed in documents published by the site. "If the family of my wife saw this... Publishing personal stuff like that could destroy people." One document dump, from Saudi diplomatic cables, held at least 124 medical files. The files named sick children, refugees, and patients with psychiatric conditions. In one case, the cables included the name of a Saudi who was arrested for being gay. In Saudi Arabia, homosexuality is punishable by death. In two other cases, WikiLeaks published the names of teenage rape victims. "This has nothing to do with politics or corruption," said Dr. Nayef al-Fayez, who had a patient with brain cancer whose personal details were published.
Communications

Snowden Questions WikiLeaks' Methods of Releasing Leaks (pcworld.com) 165

An anonymous reader quotes a report from PCWorld: Former U.S. National Security Agency contractor, Edward Snowden, has censured WikiLeaks' release of information without proper curation. On Thursday, Snowden, who has embarrassed the U.S. government with revelations of widespread NSA surveillance, said that WikiLeaks was mistaken in not at least modestly curating the information it releases. "Democratizing information has never been more vital, and @Wikileaks has helped. But their hostility to even modest curation is a mistake," Snowden said in a tweet. WikiLeaks shot back at Snowden that "opportunism won't earn you a pardon from Clinton [and] curation is not censorship of ruling party cash flows." The whistleblowing site appeared to defend itself earlier on Thursday while referring to its "accuracy policy." In a Twitter message it said that it does "not tamper with the evidentiary value of important historical archives." WikiLeaks released nearly 20,000 previously unseen DNC emails last week, which suggest that committee officials had favored Clinton over her rival Senator Bernie Sanders. The most recent leak consists of 29 voicemails from DNC officials.
Government

Edward Snowden At Comic-Con: 'I Live a Surprisingly Free Life' (theguardian.com) 52

An anonymous reader writes from a report via The Guardian: Director Oliver Stone talked to whistleblower Edward Snowden in front of an audience at a question and answer session on Thursday evening. He compared Snowden's anxiety over his own appearance in his Snowden biopic film "Snowden" to that of Donald Trump, who was cut from one of his films six years before. Snowden replied: "I'd like to avoid that association." At the event, Snowden did also shed some light on his personal life, years after his revelation of the NSA's secret surveillance of the American public's internet activity resulted in criminal charges under the Espionage Act that led to his exile in Russia. "I can confirm that I am not living in a box," Snowden said. "I actually live a surprisingly free life. This was not the most likely outcome. I didn't actually expect to make it out of Hawaii. I thought it was incredibly risky. I had a lot of advantages in doing what I did; I worked for the CIA on the human intelligence side, I worked for the NSA on the signals intelligence side, and I taught counterintelligence. This is not something that's covered that well in the media. I was about as well placed as anybody could be, and I still thought I was going to get rolled up at the airport and that there were going to be knocks on the doors of the journalists." When asked what he thought about Gordon-Levitt's performance in the film where he plays Edward Snowden, Snowden responded: "This is one of the things that's kind of crazy and surreal about this kind of experience: I don't think anybody looks forward to having a movie made about themselves, especially someone who is a privacy advocate. Some of my family members have said, 'He sounds just like you!' I can't hear it myself but if he can pass the family test he's doing all right." Snowden agreed to participate on the film because he thought it could raise awareness in ways his own advocacy could not. Snowden was also in the news recently for developing a way for potentially imperiled smartphone users to monitor whether their devices are making any potentially compromising radio transmissions.
Privacy

Edward Snowden's New Research Aims To Keep Smartphones From Betraying Their Owners (theintercept.com) 107

Smartphones become indispensable tools for journalists, human right workers, and activists in war-torn regions. But at the same time, as Intercept points out, they become especially potent tracking devices that can put users in mortal danger by leaking their location. To address the problem, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and hardware hacker Andrew "Bunnie" Huang have been developing a way for potentially imperiled smartphone users to monitor whether their devices are making any potentially compromising radio transmissions. "We have to ensure that journalists can investigate and find the truth, even in areas where governments prefer they don't," Snowden told Intercept. "It's basically to make the phone work for you, how you want it, when you want it, but only when." Snowden and Huang presented their findings in a talk at MIT Media Lab's Forbidden Research event Thursday, and published a detailed paper. From the Intercept article: Snowden and Huang have been researching if it's possible to use a smartphone in such an offline manner without leaking its location, starting with the assumption that "a phone can and will be compromised." [...] The research is necessary in part because most common way to try and silence a phone's radio -- turning on airplane mode -- can't be relied on to squelch your phone's radio traffic. Fortunately, a smartphone can be made to lie about the state of its radios. The article adds: According to their post, the goal is to "provide field-ready tools that enable a reporter to observe and investigate the status of the phone's radios directly and independently of the phone's native hardware." In other words, they want to build an entirely separate tiny computer that users can attach to a smartphone to alert them if it's being dishonest about its radio emissions. Snowden and Haung are calling this device an "introspection engine" because it will inspect the inner-workings of the phone. The device will be contained inside a battery case, looking similar to a smartphone with an extra bulky battery, except with its own screen to update the user on the status of the radios. Plans are for the device to also be able to sound an audible alarm and possibly to also come equipped with a "kill switch" that can shut off power to the phone if any radio signals are detected.Wired has a detailed report on this, too.
The Courts

President Obama Should Pardon Edward Snowden Before Leaving Office (theverge.com) 383

An anonymous reader writes from a report via The Verge: Ever since Edward Snowden set in motion the most powerful public act of whistleblowing in U.S. history, he has been living in exile in Russia from the United States. An article in this week's New York Magazine looks at how Snowden may have a narrow window of opportunity where President Obama could pardon him before he leaves office. Presumably, once he leaves office, the chances of Snowden being pardoned by Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump are miniscule. Obama has said nothing in the past few years to suggest he's interested in pardoning Snowden. Not only would it contradict his national security policy, but it will severely alienate the intelligence community for many years to come. With that said, anyone who values a free and secure internet believes pardoning Snowden would be the right thing to do. The Verge reports: "[Snowden] faces charges under the Espionage Act, which makes no distinction between delivering classified files to journalists and delivering the same files to a foreign power. For the first 80 years of its life, it was used almost entirely to prosecute spies. The president has prosecuted more whistleblowers under the Espionage Act than all president before him combined. His Justice Department has vastly expanded the scope of the law, turning it from a weapon against the nation's enemies to one that's pointed against its own citizens. The result will be less scrutiny of the nation's most powerful agencies, and fewer forces to keep them in check. With Snowden's push for clemency, the president has a chance to complicate that legacy and begin to undo it. It's the last chance we'll have."
Youtube

Trent Reznor: YouTube Is Built On the Back Of Stolen Content (theguardian.com) 428

An anonymous reader writes: Singer and record producer Trent Reznor has become the latest artist to attack Google's video service YouTube. "I find YouTube's business to be very disingenuous. It is built on the backs of free, stolen content and that's how they got that big," said Reznor in an interview with Billboard. Reznor was not speaking purely as an artist, however. He is also chief creative officer at Apple Music, the streaming service launched by Apple in 2015, which is one of the key rivals to YouTube in the digital music world. "I think any free-tiered service is not fair. It's making their numbers and getting them a big IPO and it is built on the back of my work and that of my peers. That's how I feel about it. Strongly," said Reznor, widening his criticism to other rivals like Spotify in the process.

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