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Firefox

Firefox Extension HTTPS Everywhere Does What It Sounds Like 272

climenole writes "HTTPS Everywhere is a Firefox extension produced as a collaboration between The Tor Project and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. It encrypts your communications with a number of major websites. Many sites on the web offer some limited support for encryption over HTTPS, but make it difficult to use. For instance, they may default to unencrypted HTTP, or fill encrypted pages with links that go back to the unencrypted site. The HTTPS Everywhere extension fixes these problems by rewriting all requests to these sites to HTTPS."
Education

Judge Says Boston Student's Laptop Was Seized Illegally 190

You may remember a case we discussed this April in which a Boston College student's computers and other electronics were seized after he allegedly sent an email outing another student as gay. The search warrant made sure to note the student's ever-so-suspicious use of "two different operating systems," one of which was "a black screen with a white font which he uses prompt commands on." Now, the EFF reports that a Massachusetts judge has thrown out the search warrant and declared the search and seizure illegal. Quoting: "In her order Thursday, Justice Margot Botsford rejected the Commonwealth's theory that sending a hoax email might be unlawful under a Massachusetts computer crime statute barring the 'unauthorized access' to a computer, concluding that there could be no violation of what was only a 'hypothetical internet use policy.' Thursday's decision now stands as the highest state court opinion to reject the dangerous theory that terms of service violations constitute computer 'hacking' crimes. Justice Botsford further found that details offered by police as corroboration of other alleged offenses were insufficient and did not establish probable cause for the search." The court order (PDF) is available for viewing, and the EFF has broken down the significant arguments against the Commonwealth's claims.
Privacy

Using Net Proxies Will Lead To Harsher Sentences 366

Afforess writes "'Proxy servers are an everyday part of Internet surfing. But using one in a crime could soon lead to more time in the clink,' reports the Associated Press. The new federal rules would make the use of proxy servers count as 'sophistication' in a crime, leading to 25% longer jail sentences. Privacy advocates complain this will disincentivize privacy and anonymity online. '[The government is telling people] ... if you take normal steps to protect your privacy, we're going to view you as a more sophisticated criminal,' writes the Center for Democracy and Technology. Others fear this may lead to 'cruel and unusual punishments' as Internet and cell phone providers often use proxies without users' knowledge to reroute Internet traffic. This may also ultimately harm corporations when employees abuse VPN's, as they too are counted as a 'proxy' in the new legislation. TOR, a common Internet anonymizer, is also targeted in the new legislation. Some analysts believe this legislation is an effort to stop leaked US Government information from reaching outside sources, such as Wikileaks. The legislation (PDF, the proposed amendment is on pages 5-15) will be voted on by the United States Sentencing Commission on April 15, and is set to take effect on November 1st. The EFF has already urged the Commission to reject the amendment."
The Courts

Fair Use Must Be Considered In DMCA Notices 189

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "US District Judge Jeremy Fogel has ruled that an 'allegation that a copyright owner acted in bad faith by issuing a takedown notice without proper consideration of the fair use doctrine thus is sufficient to state a misrepresentation claim,' which paves the way for a lawsuit against Universal Music over a ridiculous DMCA Takedown notice they filed. One can only hope that this ruling will some day be used against those who file misguided copyright complaints against computer printers. Those lawyers who rely upon buggy infringement detection programs to do their thinking for them — programs which are incapable of making subjective considerations like fair use — might want to think again before rubber stamping computer-generated DMCA Takedown notices."
Privacy

FBI Lied To Support Need For PATRIOT Act Expansion 396

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "It probably won't surprise you, but in 2005, the FBI manufactured evidence to get the power to issue National Security Letters under the PATRIOT Act. Unlike normal subpoenas, NSLs do not require probable cause and you're never allowed to talk about having received one, leading to a lack of accountability that caused them to be widely abused. The EFF has discovered via FOIA requests that an FBI field agent was forced by superiors to return papers he got via a lawful subpoena, then demand them again via an NSL (which was rejected for being unlawful at the time), and re-file the original subpoena to get them back. This delay in a supposedly critical anti-terror investigation then became a talking point used by FBI Director Robert Mueller when the FBI wanted to justify their need for the power to issue National Security Letters."
The Courts

Universal Attacks First Sale Doctrine 297

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "In Universal Music Group v. Augusto, UMG is attacking the first sale doctrine. The issue concerns some promotional CDs that were mailed out, and later found their way to eBay. According to UMG, the stickers on the discs claiming that they still own the CD give them a legal right to control what the recipients do with them, and thus, UMG should be able to dictate terms. The EFF has filed an amicus brief countering that claim, saying that because they were sent by US mail, unrequested by the recipient, they are in fact gifts, no matter what the sticker claims. If UMG somehow wins this, I plan to send them CD of copyrighted expletives with a sticker informing them of the contractually required storage location. We discussed a similar issue with e-books a couple weeks ago."
Censorship

Wikileaks Gets Domain Back, Injunction Dissolved 70

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "The judge in the Wikileaks case has dissolved the injunction against Wikileaks, which means that it can get its .org domain back. He defended his prior ruling because it was based on the pittance of information the bank and registrar had provided him, saying 'This is a case in which we had a (dispute) with named parties, and the parties were duly served. One of which properly responded and came to this court with a proposed settlement in this lawsuit... Nobody filed any timely responses to the court's order.'"
Security

Cold Reboot Attacks on Disk Encryption 398

jcrouthamel writes "Contrary to popular assumption, DRAMs used in most modern computers retain their contents for seconds to minutes after power is lost, even at operating temperatures and even if removed from a motherboard. Although DRAMs become less reliable when they are not refreshed, they are not immediately erased, and their contents persist sufficiently for malicious (or forensic) acquisition of usable full-system memory images. We show that this phenomenon limits the ability of an operating system to protect cryptographic key material from an attacker with physical access. We use cold reboots to mount attacks on popular disk encryption systems — BitLocker, FileVault, dm-crypt, and TrueCrypt — using no special devices or materials. We experimentally characterize the extent and predictability of memory remanence and report that remanence times can be increased dramatically with simple techniques. We offer new algorithms for finding cryptographic keys in memory images and for correcting errors caused by bit decay. Though we discuss several strategies for partially mitigating these risks, we know of no simple remedy that would eliminate them."
Privacy

FBI Accidentally Received Unauthorized E-Mail Access 122

AmishElvis writes "The New York Times reports that 'glitch' gave the F.B.I. access to the e-mail messages from an entire computer network. A hundred or more accounts may have been accessed, rather than 'the lone e-mail address' that was approved by a secret intelligence court as part of a national security investigation. The episode was disclosed as part of a new batch of internal documents that the F.B.I. turned over to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit the group has brought."

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