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Privacy

France To Open Preliminary Investigation About PRISM Program 98

An anonymous reader writes "Paris' prosecutor office opened a preliminary investigation after a complaint by two human rights associations who hope to determine the roles played by companies in the PRISM program. Two million communications (phone calls, SMS and mails) are said to have been intercepted in France by U.S. agencies."
The Military

US Forces Ready To Strike Syria If Ordered 918

An anonymous reader writes "The Associated Press reports that 'U.S. forces are now ready to act on any order by President Barack Obama to strike Syria, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Tuesday. The U.S. Navy has four destroyers in the eastern Mediterranean Sea positioned within range of targets inside Syria, as well as U.S. warplanes in the region, Hagel said in an interview with BBC television during his visit to the southeast Asian nation of Brunei. Hagel also predicted that U.S. intelligence agencies would soon conclude that last week's deadly attack on civilians in a Damascus suburb was a chemical attack by Bashar Assad's government.'" The New York Times has an informative map of the sites of the chemical attacks.
Graphics

X.Org Foundation Loses 501(c)3 Non-Profit Status 208

An anonymous reader writes "The X.Org Foundation, which drives the X.Org Server projects, Mesa, and Wayland open-source programs, had its tax-exempt status revoked by the IRS. It turns out the X.Org Foundation had put in quite a lot of work to become a non-profit organization, with guidance from the Software Freedom Law Center. They got in trouble after failing to routinely file their taxes on time. There's also been a host of other X.Org accounting errors in recent years. There was also the recent news of the IRS going after open-source projects, too."
Government

Obamacare Exchanges Months Behind In Testing IT Data Security 398

An anonymous reader sends this excerpt from a Reuters report: "The federal government is months behind in testing data security for the main pillar of Obamacare: allowing Americans to buy health insurance on state exchanges due to open by October 1. The missed deadlines have pushed the government's decision on whether information technology security is up to snuff to exactly one day before that crucial date, the Department of Health and Human Services' inspector general said in a report. As a result, experts say, the exchanges might open with security flaws or, possibly but less likely, be delayed.'They've removed their margin for error,' said Deven McGraw, director of the health privacy project at the non-profit Center for Democracy & Technology. 'There is huge pressure to get (the exchanges) up and running on time, but if there is a security incident they are done. It would be a complete disaster from a PR viewpoint.' The most likely serious security breach would be identity theft, in which a hacker steals the social security numbers and other information people provide when signing up for insurance."
Crime

Administration Seeks To Make Unauthorized Streaming A Felony 398

wabrandsma writes "From the Washington Post: 'You probably remember the online outrage over the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) copyright enforcement proposal. Last week, the Department of Commerce's Internet Policy Task Force released a report on digital copyright policy that endorsed one piece of the controversial proposal: making the streaming of copyrighted works a felony. As it stands now, streaming a copyrighted work over the Internet is considered a violation of the public performance right. The violation is only punishable as a misdemeanor, rather than the felony charges that accompany the reproduction and distribution of copyrighted material.'"
United States

DEA Program "More Troubling" Than NSA 432

Rambo Tribble writes "Reuters is reporting on a secret effort by the Drug Enforcement Agency to collect data from wiretaps, informants, and other sources. Considered most troubling is a systematic campaign to hide this program from the courts, denying defendants their right to know how evidence against them was obtained. This agenda targets U.S. citizens directly, as it is mainly focused on drug trafficking. From the article: 'Although these cases rarely involve national security issues, documents reviewed by Reuters show that law enforcement agents have been directed to conceal how such investigations truly begin - not only from defense lawyers but also sometimes from prosecutors and judges. The undated documents show that federal agents are trained to "recreate" the investigative trail to effectively cover up where the information originated, a practice that some experts say violates a defendant's Constitutional right to a fair trial. If defendants don't know how an investigation began, they cannot know to ask to review potential sources of exculpatory evidence - information that could reveal entrapment, mistakes or biased witnesses.'"
Government

Lawmakers Who Upheld NSA Phone Spying Received Double the Defense Industry Cash 284

An anonymous reader writes "The numbers tell the story — in votes and dollars. On Wednesday, the House voted 217 to 205 not to rein in the NSA's phone-spying dragnet. It turns out that those 217 'no' voters received twice as much campaign financing from the defense and intelligence industry as the 205 'yes' voters."
Government

NSA Still Funded To Spy On US Phone Records 362

Reader turp182 notes that the Amash Amendment (#100) to HR 2397 (DOD appropriations bill) failed to pass the House of Representatives, meaning it will not be added to the appropriations bill. turp182 writes "The amendment would have specifically defunded the bulk collection of American phone records." Americans can see how their representatives voted here.
United States

US Spies Have "Security Agreements" With Foreign Telecoms 181

McGruber writes "The Washington Post is reporting the existence of 'Team Telecom', lawyers from the FBI and the departments of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security, who ensure that Global Crossing and other foreign-owned telecoms, quickly and confidentially fulfill the USA's surveillance requests. Team Telecom leverages the authority of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to approve cable licenses. The security agreement for Global Crossing, whose fiber-optic network connected 27 nations and four continents, required the company to have a 'Network Operations Center' on U.S. soil that could be visited by government officials with 30 minutes of warning. Surveillance requests, meanwhile, had to be handled by U.S. citizens screened by the government and sworn to secrecy — in many cases prohibiting information from being shared even with the company's executives and directors. A spokesman for Level 3 Communications declined to comment for the Washington Post's article."
Privacy

Keeping Your Data Private From the NSA (And Everyone Else) 622

Nerval's Lobster writes "If those newspaper reports are accurate, the NSA's surveillance programs are enormous and sophisticated, and rely on the latest in analytics software. In the face of that, is there any way to keep your communications truly private? Or should you resign yourself to saying or typing, 'Hi, NSA!' every time you make a phone call or send an email? Fortunately there are ways to gain a measure of security: HTTPS, Tor, SCP, SFTP, and the vendors who build software on top of those protocols. But those host-proof solutions offer security in exchange for some measure of inconvenience. If you lose your access credentials, you're likely toast: few highly secure services include a 'Forgot Your Password?' link, which can be easily engineered to reset a password and username without the account owner's knowledge. And while 'big' providers like Google provide some degree of encryption, they may give up user data in response to a court order. Also, all the privacy software in the world also can't prevent the NSA (or other entities) from capturing metadata and other information. What do you think is the best way to keep your data locked down? Or do you think it's all a lost cause?"
Privacy

US Mining Data Directly From 9 Silicon Valley Companies 404

Rick Zeman writes "Hot on the heels of Verizon's massive data dump to NSA comes news of 'PRISM' where The National Security Agency and the FBI are tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading U.S. Internet companies, extracting audio, video, photographs, e-mails, documents and connection logs that enable analysts to track a person's movements and contacts over time. This program, established in 2007, includes major companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook...and more."
United States

Chinese Hackers Steal Top US Weapons Designs 395

n1ywb writes "Chinese hackers have gained access to the designs of many of the nation's most sensitive advanced weapons systems, according to a report prepared for the Defense Department and government and defense industry officials,The Washington Post reported Tuesday. The compromised weapons designs include, among others, the advanced Patriot missile system, the Navy's Aegis ballistic missile defense systems, the F/A-18 fighter jet, the V-22 Osprey, the Black Hawk helicopter and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter." Also (with some more details and news-report round-up) at SlashBI.
Government

US DOJ Say They Don't Need Warrants For E-Mail, Chats 457

gannebraemorr writes "The U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI believe they don't need a search warrant to review Americans' e-mails, Facebook chats, Twitter direct messages, and other private files, internal documents reveal. Government documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union and provided to CNET show a split over electronic privacy rights within the Obama administration, with Justice Department prosecutors and investigators privately insisting they're not legally required to obtain search warrants for e-mail."
Transportation

FAA On Travel Delays: Get Used To It 720

coondoggie writes "The term sequestration has certainly become a four-letter word for many across the country — and now you can count business and regular traveling public among those hating its impact. The Federal Aviation Administration today issued a blunt statement on the impact of sequestration on the nation's air traffic control system, which this week begain furloughing about 10% of air traffic controllers for two days or so per month. It reads as follows: 'As a result of employee furloughs due to sequestration, the FAA is implementing traffic management initiatives at airports and facilities around the country. Travelers can expect to see a wide range of delays that will change throughout the day depending on staffing and weather-related issues. ... Yesterday more than 1,200 delays in the system were attributable to staffing reductions resulting from the furlough.'" U.S. Democrats and Republicans spent the day using the FAA's statement as political fodder rather than working on resolving sequestration.
Transportation

Let Them Eat Teslas 461

theodp writes "If you're a bright kid who wants to prepare for the 21st century workforce (PDF) by studying engineering at Purdue, the government will help your parents pay the $100,000 or so tuition tab with a 7.9% interest loan (plus 4% fees) that's likely to be non-dischargeable in bankruptcy and paid back with after-tax money. If, on the other hand, you want to buy a tricked-out $100,000 Model S, Tesla has teamed up with the government, Wells Fargo, and U.S. Bank on what it calls a 'Revolutionary New Finance Product' that enables those who play the game right to avoid paying sales tax, get the government to pick up the first $15,000 (no down payment needed!), and also receive a 2.95% bankruptcy-dischargeable loan for the balance, the payments for which could be tax-deductible. Yep, 'Revolutionary' may be about right!"

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