wiedzmin writes: US House of Representatives voted 301-118 today, in favor of extending the FISA Amendments Act until December 31st, 2017, effectively reauthorizing the broad electronic eavesdropping powers that largely legalized the George W. Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program.
wiedzmin writes: It looks like Twitter is experiencing an outage. leaving users unable to access the site on Thursday morning. I wonder if it's related to the Google Talk outage at all, but one thing is for sure — this has stopped a slew of complaints about Google Talk on Twitter. If Twitter is down, where do you tweet about that?
wiedzmin writes: Twitter filed a surprisingly feisty motion (.pdf) this week in New York City Criminal Court to quash a court order demanding that it hands over information and tweets of one of its account holders to law enforcement. The company stepped in with the motion after the account holders effort to quash the order, claiming 4th Amendment protections was rejected, by the judge claiming that online content stored on a third-party server was not physical and therefore did not have the same privacy protections. To add insult to injury, the judge claimed that account holder had no standing to fight the order because agreeing to the Twitter's terms of service, “demonstrated a lack of proprietary interests in his [own] Tweets”. Twitter fired back at the New York court, rebuking many points made by the judge, pointing out his mistakes in selective quoting of their Terms of Service and lashing out at prosecutors for wasting everyone's time by requesting the court to grant access to public Tweets, which could have been easily printed out from the site. The American Civil Liberties Union applauded Twitter’s move.
wiedzmin writes: The House approved Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act with a 248 to 168 vote today. CISPA allows internet service providers to share Internet "threat" information with government agencies, including DHS and NSA, without having to protect any personally identifying data of its customers, without a court order. It effectively immunizes ISPs from privacy lawsuits for disclosing customer information, grants them anti-trust protection on colluding on cybersecurity issues and allows them to bypass privacy laws when sharing data with each other.
wiedzmin writes: PayPal announced that they are following Google's suit in changing of both its privacy and user agreement policies, adding tweaks to its customer identification program and the way they collect and store its customers’ personal information. The changes will take effect on April 1st and will include the use of session cookies, persistent cookies, flash cookies and pixel tags for user tracking. Additionally, PayPal will reserve the right to limit, suspend or outright cancel any account if date of birth, taxpayer identification number, driver’s license or “other identifying documents” are not provided upon request, for "account verification" purposes. Other ridiculous provisions include their right to demand IRS form 1099-K from customers who receive more that 200 payments a year, and employ all tracking mechanisms on their mobile applications across all platforms.
wiedzmin writes: In the light of the recent box.net announcement that their Blackberry Playbook userbase has reached 500,000 customers, tablet owners are taking it upon themselves to challenge recent Netflix decision to not provide support for the Playbook. An online petition has been created and is getting about 2,000 signatures a day in support of adding Netflix support on Playbook. Looks like the popular joke about the lone Playbook user is fading into the past, thanks to RIM's aggressive pricing strategies.
wiedzmin writes: TSA agents in Dallas singled out female passengers to undergo screening in a body scanner, according to complaints filed by several women who said they felt the screeners intentionally targeted them to view their bodies. Allegedly, women with "cute bodies" were directed through the body scanners up to three times over by female agents, who appeared to be acting on a request from male agents viewing the scans in a separate room. Apparently this was done because the scans were "blurry", possibly due to autofocus problems with agents' smartphone cameras.
wiedzmin writes: A low-profile Chicago biologist, Michael Doyle, and his company Eola Technologies, who has once won a $521m patent lawsuit against Microsoft, claim that it was actually he and two co-inventors who invented, and patented, the “interactive web” before anyone else, back in 1993. Doyle argues that a program he created to allow doctors to view embryos over the early Internet, was the first program that allowed users to interact with images inside of a web browser window. He is therefore seeking royalties for the use of just about every modern interactive Internet technology, like watching videos or suggesting instant search results. Dozens of lawyers, representing the world’s biggest internet companies, including Yahoo, Amazon, Google and YouTube are acting as defendants in the case, which has even seen Tim Berners-Lee testify on Tuesday.
wiedzmin writes: A Colorado woman that was ordered by a federal judge to decrypt her laptop hard-drive for police last month, appears to have forgotten her password. If she does not remember the password by month’s end, as ordered, she could be held in contempt and jailed until she complies. It appears that bad memory is now a federal offense.
wiedzmin writes: Federal authorities said Thursday they had seized and shuttered 307 domains, 16 allegedly engaged in unauthorized live sports streaming and the remainder accused of selling fake professional sports merchandise, including National Football League paraphernalia. SOPA? ICE needs no SOPA!
wiedzmin writes: It’s not clear how federal investigators gained access to the conversations of founder Kim DotCom and other top managers, but they have now allegedly obtained Skype logs and email conversations between DotCom and his top lieutenants for the past 5 years. Since the criminal investigation didn’t begin until a few months ago, this puts under question Skype's message retention policy which states that “IM history messages will be stored for a maximum of 30 days”. The records are said to be obtained via warrant, but if they were not provided by Skype or obtained from confiscated computers, it raises all sorts of illegal wiretapping questions. Lets hope someone gets a copy of that warrant under the FOIA.
wiedzmin writes: Federal prosecutors want a judge to overrule the Fifth Amendment’s protection against forced self-incrimination by ordering a Colorado woman to provide the password to decrypt her laptop, which the government seized with a search warrant. The case is being closely watched by digital rights groups, as the issue has never been squarely weighed in on by federal courts, despite a similar case involving child pornography making it to the Supreme Court back in 2006.
wiedzmin writes: Canadian man was able to enter the U.S. by presenting a scanned copy of his passport, on his iPad screen, to the U.S. border officer. Martin Reisch says the officer looked mildly annoyed when he attempted to use the iPad as a form of identification, but checked his file and waved him through anyways. He was also able to get back to Canada later, use the same identification method.