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Federal Prosecutors, In a Policy Shift, Cite Warrantless Wiretaps As Evidence
Posted by News Fetcher on October 26 '13 at 04:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's surprising-no-one department:
schwit1 sends this quote from the NY Times "The Justice Department for the first time has notified a criminal defendant that evidence being used against him came from a warrantless wiretap, a move that is expected to set up a Supreme Court test of whether such eavesdropping is constitutional. The government's notice allows the defendant's lawyer to ask a court to suppress the evidence by arguing that it derived from unconstitutional surveillance, setting in motion judicial review of the eavesdropping. ... The practice contradicted what [Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr.] had told the Supreme Court last year in a case challenging the law, the FISA Amendments Act of 2008. Legalizing a form of the Bush administration’s program of warrantless surveillance, the law authorized the government to wiretap Americans’ e-mails and phone calls without an individual court order and on domestic soil so long as the surveillance is “targeted” at a foreigner abroad. A group of plaintiffs led by Amnesty International had challenged the law as unconstitutional. But Mr. Verrilli last year urged the Supreme Court to dismiss the case because those plaintiffs could not prove that they had been wiretapped. In making that argument, he said a defendant who faced evidence derived from the law would have proper legal standing and would be notified, so dismissing the lawsuit by Amnesty International would not close the door to judicial review of the 2008 law. The court accepted that logic, voting 5-to-4 to dismiss the case."

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Mac OS 10.9's Mail App — Infinity Times Your Spam
Posted by News Fetcher on October 26 '13 at 03:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's that's-a-lot-of-spam department:
An anonymous reader writes "Email service FastMail.fm has an blog post about an interesting bug they're dealing with related to the new Mail.app in Mac OS 10.9 Mavericks. After finding a user who had 71 messages in his Junk Mail folder that were somehow responsible for over a million entries in the index file, they decided to investigate. 'This morning I checked again, there were nearly a million messages again, so I enabled telemetry on the account ... [Mail.app] copying all the email from the Junk Folder back into the Junk Folder again!. This is legal IMAP, so our server proceeds to create a new copy of each message in the folder. It then expunges the old copies of the messages, but it's happening so often that the current UID on that folder is up to over 3 million. It was just over 2 million a few days ago when I first emailed the user to alert them to the situation, so it's grown by another million since. The only way I can think this escaped QA was that they used a server which (like gmail) automatically suppresses duplicates for all their testing, because this is a massively bad problem.' The actual emails added up to about 2MB of actual disk usage, but the bug generated an additional 2GB of data on top of that."

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ACLU: Lavabit Was 'Fatally Undermined' By Demands For Encryption Keys
Posted by News Fetcher on October 26 '13 at 02:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's understatement-of-the-century department:
An anonymous reader writes "When encrypted email provider Lavabit shut down in August, it was because U.S. authorities demanded the company release encryption keys to get access to certain accounts. Lavabit's founder, Ladar Levison, is facing contempt of court charges for his refusal to acquiesce to their demands. But now the ACLU has filed a 'friend of the court' brief (PDF) in support of Levison, saying that the government's demand 'fatally undermined' the secure email service. 'Lavabit's business was predicated on offering a secure email service, and no company could possible tell its clients that it offers a secure service if its keys have been handed over to the government.' The ACLU added, 'The district court's contempt holding should be reversed, because the underlying orders requiring Lavabit to disclose its private keys imposed an unreasonable burden on the company. Although innocent third parties have a duty to assist law enforcement agents in their investigations, they also have a right not to be compelled "to render assistance without limitation regardless of the burden involved."' Lavabit is also defending itself by claiming a violation of the 4th amendment has occurred."

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8 US States Pushing For 3.3 Million Electric Cars
Posted by News Fetcher on October 26 '13 at 01:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's free-of-charge department:
An anonymous reader writes "A coalition of eight U.S. states, including New York and California, have announced a plan to get 3.3 million zero-emission electric vehicles onto their roads by 2025. 'The states, which represent more than a quarter of the national car market, said they would seek to develop charging stations that all took the same form of payment, simplify rules for installing chargers and set building codes and other regulations to require the stations at workplaces, multifamily residences and at other places.' An editorial in Quartz says that while the initiative itself is fine, the states should really take cues from Tesla if they want to plan out an infrastructure that will convince people to switch. ' For longer distances, [Tesla drivers] can stop at "Supercharger" stations strategically placed along highways that let them add 150 miles of range in as little as 20 minutes. Currently, [government] money is being spent on installing much-slower chargers at stores, shopping malls and other urban locations in the hope that drivers will use them. Tesla says it will blanket the US with its Superchargers for a fraction of the cost, because it studies the driving patterms of its customers and installs charging stations only where they tend to travel. This isn't hard; most other electric cars also record their drivers' habits. If privacy concerns could be addressed and automakers would be willing to share that data with government transportation planners, the rollout of public charging stations could be more targeted and cash-efficient.'"

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Is Google Building a Floating Data Center In San Francisco Bay?
Posted by News Fetcher on October 26 '13 at 11:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's walk-to-shore-and-scream-your-search-queries-at-it department:
snydeq writes "CNET's Daniel Terdiman investigates an oversize secret project Google is constructing on San Francisco's Treasure Island, which according to one expert may be a sea-faring data center. 'Something big and mysterious is rising from a floating barge at the end of Treasure Island, a former Navy base in the middle of San Francisco Bay. And Google's fingerprints are all over it,' Terdiman writes. 'Whether the structure is in fact a floating data center is hard to say for sure, of course, since Google's not talking. But Google, understandably, has a history of putting data centers in places with cheap cooling, as well as undertaking odd and unexpected projects like trying to bring Internet access to developing nations via balloons and blimps.'"

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Ten Steps You Can Take Against Internet Surveillance
Posted by News Fetcher on October 26 '13 at 10:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's encrypt,-encrypt,-encrypt department:
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Danny O'Brien writes for the EFF that as the NSA's spying has spread, more and more ordinary people want to know how they can defend themselves from surveillance online. 'The bad news is: if you're being personally targeted by a powerful intelligence agency like the NSA, it's very, very difficult to defend yourself,' writes O'Brien. 'The good news, if you can call it that, is that much of what the NSA is doing is mass surveillance on everybody. With a few small steps, you can make that kind of surveillance a lot more difficult and expensive, both against you individually, and more generally against everyone.' Here's ten steps you can take to make your own devices secure: Use end-to-end encryption; Encrypt as much communications as you can; Encrypt your hard drive; Use Strong passwords; Use Tor; Turn on two-factor (or two-step) authentication; Don't click on attachments; Keep software updated and use anti-virus software; Keep extra secret information extra secure with Truecrypt; and Teach others what you've learned. 'Ask [your friends] to sign up to Stop Watching Us and other campaigns against bulk spying. Run a Tor node; or hold a cryptoparty. They need to stop watching us; and we need to start making it much harder for them to get away with it.'"

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File-Sharing Site Was Actually an Anti-Piracy Honeypot
Posted by News Fetcher on October 26 '13 at 09:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's oh-bother department:
An anonymous reader writes "The administrator of file-sharing site UploaderTalk shocked and enraged his userbase a few days ago when he revealed that the site was nothing more than a honeypot set up by a company called Nuke Piracy. The main purpose of the site had been to gather data on its users. The administrator said, 'I collected info on file hosts, web hosts, websites. I suckered $#!&loads of you. I built a history, got the trust of some very important people in the warez scene collecting information and data all the time.' Nobody knows what Nuke Piracy is going to do with the data, but it seems reasonable to expect lawsuits and the further investigation of any services the users discussed. His very public betrayal is likely meant to sow discord and distrust among the groups responsible for distributing pirated files."

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Do Is Done
Posted by News Fetcher on October 26 '13 at 08:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's do-becomes-don't department:
Taco Cowboy writes "Salesforce has announced that it will be shutting down its task management software Do.com on 31 January 2014. 'Salesforce acquired the social productivity company back in February 2011, when it was called Manymoon. At the time, Manymoon served over 50,000 companies.' The announcement was made in an email to customers yesterday. The company did say they are working on an export tool to retrieve data from Do.com. It will be ready on 15 November. Users will no longer be charged after 1 November, and yearly subscribers will get a pro-rated refund."

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Google: Our Robot Cars Are Better Drivers Than You
Posted by News Fetcher on October 26 '13 at 07:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's then-would-you-mind-taking-the-kids-to-school-every-day department:
An anonymous reader writes "At a robotics conference in Santa Clara, California, the head of Google's autonomous car project presented results of a study showing that the company's autonomous cars are already safer than human drivers — including trained professionals. 'We're spending less time in near-collision states,' he said. 'In addition to painting a rosy picture of his vehicles' autonomous capabilities, Urmson showed a new dashboard display that his group has developed to help people understand what an autonomous car is doing and when they might want to take over.' This follows another (non-Google) study earlier this week that found the adoption of autonomous cars could save thousands of lives and billions of dollars each year. Urmson also pointed out that determining liability for an accident is much easier using the data collected by the autonomous cars. At one point, a test car was read-ended, and the data showed it smoothly braking to a stop before being struck. 'We don't have to rely on eyewitnesses that can't be trusted as to what happened — we actually have the data. The guy around us wasn't paying enough attention. The data will set you free.'"

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FBI Seized 144,000 Bitcoins ($28.5 Million) From Silk Road Bust
Posted by News Fetcher on October 26 '13 at 05:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's bet-he-wishes-he-cashed-out-sooner department:
SonicSpike writes "An FBI official notes that the bureau has located and seized a collection of 144,000 bitcoins, the largest seizure of that cryptocurrency ever, worth close to $28.5 million at current exchange rates. It believes that the stash belonged to Ross Ulbricht, the 29-year-old who allegedly created and managed the Silk Road, the popular anonymous drug-selling site that was taken offline by the Department of Justice after Ulbricht was arrested earlier this month and charged with engaging in a drug trafficking and money laundering conspiracy as well as computer hacking and attempted murder-for-hire. The FBI official wouldn't say how the agency had determined that the Bitcoin 'wallet' — a collection of Bitcoins at a single address in the Bitcoin network — belonged to Ulbricht, but it was sure they were his. 'This is his wallet,' said the FBI official. 'We seized this from DPR,' the official added, referring to the pseudonym 'the Dread Pirate Roberts,' which prosecutors say Ulbricht allegedly used while running the Silk Road."

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UK Telcos Went Above and Beyond To Cooperate With GCHQ
Posted by News Fetcher on October 26 '13 at 04:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's gift-wrap-for-that? department:
An anonymous reader writes with this news from the Guardian: "GCHQ lobbied furiously to keep secret the fact that telecoms firms had gone 'well beyond' what they were legally required to do to help intelligence agencies' mass interception of communications, both in the UK and overseas. GCHQ feared a legal challenge under the right to privacy in the Human Rights Act if evidence of its surveillance methods became admissable in court. GCHQ assisted the Home Office in lining up sympathetic people to help with "press handling", including the Liberal Democrat peer and former intelligence services commissioner Lord Carlile, who this week criticised the Guardian for its coverage of mass surveillance by GCHQ and the US National Security Agency."

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Google Updates ReCAPTCHA With Easier CAPTCHAs For Humans
Posted by News Fetcher on October 26 '13 at 03:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's destroy-all-humans department:
An anonymous reader writes "Google today released an update to its reCAPTCHA system that creates different classes of CAPTCHAs for different kinds of users. In short, it makes your life easier if you're a human, and your work much harder if you're a bot. Unsurprisingly, Google wouldn't share too much detail as to how the new system works, aside from saying it uses advanced risk analysis techniques, actively considering the user's entire engagement (before, during and after) with the CAPTCHA. In other words, the distorted letters are not the only test."

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Is 3D Printing the Future of Disaster Relief?
Posted by News Fetcher on October 26 '13 at 12:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's now-slowly-or-later-fast department:
Daniel_Stuckey writes "Advocates for the technology say that it's only a matter of time before we're shipping raw materials and 3D printers instead of medical supplies to the site of a disaster. 3D printers are already being used in the medical field to create customized tracheal valves, umbilical cord clamps, splints, and even blood vessels. A group in Haiti is already using the umbilical cord clamps to show locals the potential for the technology. And it's only a matter of time before they get deployed in a disaster scenario, according to Thomas Campbell, a Virginia Tech professor and senior fellow at the Atlantic Council."

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EU Parliament: Other Countries Spy, But Less Than the UK, US
Posted by News Fetcher on October 25 '13 at 10:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's devils-you-know department:
itwbennett writes "An E.U. Parliament survey of 5 member states found that 4 of the 5 (U.K., France, Germany and Sweden) engage in bulk collection of data. Only the Netherlands doesn't, but that's not because it doesn't want to. In fact, The Netherlands is currently setting up an agency for that purpose. France, which summoned the U.S. ambassador to explain allegations that the NSA spied on Alcatel-Lucent, ranks fifth in the world in metadata collection. And Sweden? Its National Defence Radio Establishment (FRA) is alleged to have been running 'upstreaming' operations (tapping directly into the communications infrastructure as a means to intercept data) for the collection of private data — collecting both the content of messages as well as metadata of communications crossing Swedish borders through fibre-optic cables from the Baltic Sea."

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Antigua Looks Closer To Legal "Piracy" of US-Copyrighted Works
Posted by News Fetcher on October 25 '13 at 07:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's that'll-be-interesting department:
Mark Gibbs writes "Shiver me timbers: Antigua and Barbuda's 'WTO Remedies Implementation Committee', is said to be recommending the establishment by the Government of Antigua & Barbuda of a statutory body to own, manage and operate the ultimate platform to be created for the monetisation or other exploitation of the suspension of American intellectual property rights authorised earlier this year by the WTO ... Additionally, an announcement regarding the opening of tenders for private sector participation in the operating of the platform should be announced shortly. Arghhh ... matey!" See also this Slashdot post (from 2007) for some background.

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LinkedIn's New Mobile App Called 'a Dream For Attackers'
Posted by News Fetcher on October 25 '13 at 04:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's throw-off-your-chains department:
An anonymous reader writes with a link to the New York Times' summary of a security and privacy disaster that's been inspiring angry posts on various social networks, including LinkedIn itself: "Security researchers are calling LinkedIn's new mobile app, Intro, a dream come true for hackers or intelligence agencies... Intro redirects e-mail traffic to and from users' iPhones and iPads through LinkedIn's servers, then analyzes and scrapes those e-mails for relevant data and adds pertinent LinkedIn details... Researchers liken that redirection to a so-called man-in-the-middle attack in which hackers, or more recently, intelligence agencies, intercept Internet traffic en route to its destination and do what they will with it."

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The Internet Archive Switches To HTTPS Connections By Default
Posted by News Fetcher on October 25 '13 at 04:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's rewriting-history department:
An anonymous reader writes "The Internet Archive today announced it has enabled HTTPS connections by default on archive.org and openlibrary.org. The organization today also revealed it now sees over 3 million users per day. Both sites are still accessible over HTTP connections. Since the Wayback Machine is hosted on archive.org, it also follows the same rules: the secure version is used by default, but you can use the http version which will help load certain complicated webpages."

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Ask Slashdot: Developer Responsibility When Apps Might Risk Lives?
Posted by News Fetcher on October 25 '13 at 03:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's gps-makers-have-been-trying-to-kill-me-for-years department:
First time accepted submitter bashaw writes "What ethical responsibilities do software developers have in determining the role that mobile devices take in our lives? As performance increases, size decreases, and the only limitation is the software available, mobile devices have expanded into new areas of our lives for which they were not designed. This raises the ethical question of who decides what software is available, and therefore what role these devices should take. I am a software developer at the Canadian Avalanche Centre. We recently issued a warning about mobile avalanche search applications that are marketed as avalanche rescue systems. Three smartphone applications are presenting themselves as economical alternatives to avalanche transceivers, the electronic device used by backcountry users to find buried companions in case of an avalanche. The applications are not an adequate replacement for an avalanche transceiver for many reasons, and we are concerned about the use of this software in lieu of a specifically-designed avalanche transceiver. When it is a question of public safety, does the onus fall on the developers, a government agency or the users themselves?"

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Jeffrey Zients Appointed To Fix Healthcare.gov
Posted by News Fetcher on October 25 '13 at 03:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's fall-man-spotted department:
An anonymous reader writes with news that the Obama administration has appointed Jeffrey Zients to lead the effort to revamp Healthcare.gov after its trouble rollout earlier this month. Zients said, "By the end of November, healthcare.gov will work smoothly for the vast majority of users." Obama created a position for Zients within the government in 2009, when he was made the OMB's Chief Performance Officer. The purpose of his position was to analyze and streamline the government's budget concerns. "Healthcare.gov covers people in the 36 states that declined to run their own health-insurance exchanges. About 700,000 applications have been begun nationwide, and half of them have come in through the website. The White House aims to have 7M uninsured Americans covered by the scheme by the end of March." Zients's appointment came after a contentious House Committee hearing about the healthcare website, in which many were blamed and few took responsibility. The government also said that contractor Quality Software Services Inc., a subsidiary of UnitedHealth group, would "oversee the entire operation" of Healthcare.gov. QSSI has already done work on the website, building the pipeline that transfers data between the insurance exchanges and the federal agencies.

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Network Scientists Discover the 'Dark Corners' of the Internet
Posted by News Fetcher on October 25 '13 at 02:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's academia-discovers-4chan department:
KentuckyFC writes "Network theorists have always simulated the spread of information through the internet using the same models epidemiologists use to study the spread of disease. Now Chinese scientists say this isn't quite right--it's easy to infect everybody you meet with a disease but it's much harder to inform all your contacts of a particular piece of information. So they've redone the conventional network simulations assuming that people only ever transmit messages to a certain fraction of their friends. And their results throw up a surprise. In these models, there are always individuals or clusters of individuals who are unreachable. These people never receive the information and make up a kind of underclass who eke out an information-poor existence in a few dark corners of the network. That has implications for organizations aiming to spread ideas who will have to think more carefully about how to reach people in these dark corners. That includes marketers and advertisers hoping to sell products and services but also agencies hoping to spread different kinds of messages such as safety-related information. It also raises the interesting prospect of individuals seeking out the dark corners of the internet, perhaps to preserve their privacy or perhaps for more nefarious reasons."

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