Government

Thu
15
Mar
John Lister's picture

Trump Blocks Broadcom, Qualcomm Tech Deal

President Trump has blocked a Singapore-based company from taking over a major American tech firm. He says the proposed Broadcom buyout of Qualcomm posed a credible national security risk. The deal would have been the biggest in tech history. ... Qualcomm makes a wide range of computer and gadget components with a particular emphasis on those used in communications devices such as phones. It helped develop key systems used to carry data over cellphone networks, allowing smartphones and tablets to get Internet access without relying on WiFi. Broadcom had offered $140 million to buyout Qualcomm. ... (view more)

Wed
07
Mar
John Lister's picture

Net Neutrality Now State vs Federal, but Will it Last?

Washington State has passed a law enforcing net neutrality. It could prompt a legal battle over state versus federal rulemaking power. The state law, which takes effect in June, is based on the net neutrality principle that all Internet data (except ... for illegal content) should be treated equally. The new law bans three specific behaviors by Internet providers who offer service in Washington state, namely: blocking users from accessing any legal service, content or application; slowing down transfer speeds for specific types of content; and giving favorable treatment to particular data in ... (view more)

Tue
02
May
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NSA To Scale Back Email Snooping

The National Security Agency (NSA) is to revise a controversial program that let it read emails from US citizens without a warrant. It also says it will delete many of the messages it collected in this way. The program has been dubbed "Section 702 ... activities", named after the relevant part of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Such activities are significant because they are an exception to the general principle that the NSA doesn't carry out surveillance within the US, something that would normally bring constitutional rights to privacy into play. Section 702 allowed ... (view more)

Thu
09
Mar
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Report: CIA Hacking Smart TVs, Listening In

Leaked documents suggest the CIA has a program for spying on people through home devices such as Smart TVs. However, it appears such attacks are highly targeted and often require physical access to the TVs. The claims come through a batch of 8,761 ... documents released by WikiLeaks, which says they come from the CIA. That agency has yet to comment on their authenticity and have not yet been independently verified. The documents are said to detail some of the tactics the CIA have used to improve digital surveillance. The overall message is that the agency appears to be concentrating more on ... (view more)

Thu
15
Dec
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Google Publishes Previously Secret FBI Letters

Google has published eight letters sent by the FBI demanding details about its users. Normally the company isn't allowed to even acknowledge the letters exist. The letters, known as National Security Letters, are formal demands from the FBI for ... details about users - in this case, Google users. The letters are controversial for two reasons; first, the demands can be made without a specific search order, something that raises constitutional issues. The second is that Google isn't normally allowed to tell the user about the demand. While it's been argued that doing so may tip off a ... (view more)

Thu
13
Oct
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Social Media Monitoring Service Sold Data to Cops

A company accused of selling social media data to the police has been blocked from accessing some or all content from three major sites. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter made the move after complaints from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU.) ... According to the ACLU, Geofeedia markets its social media monitoring product to police forces as a way to monitor people who may be involved in protests. In one marketing message, a company representative specifically cited the use of the service during the high-profile unrest that followed the shooting of a man by police officers in Ferguson, ... (view more)

Wed
20
Jul
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US Gov't Requests for Google User Data Skyrocket

Google has reported a dramatic increase in the number of requests from government agencies for information about web users. The figures show a significant global variation in how many of those requests proved justifiable. The numbers come in the ... latest installment of Google's Transparency Report in which, every six months, it gives the figures for the number of government requests for data related to user activity. The newly published figures cover the second half of 2015, as there's a lengthy delay in compiling the numbers. During that period, the total number of requests was 40,677 ... (view more)

Wed
09
Mar
John Lister's picture

Lifeline Low Income Phone Subsidy to Include Broadband

The US government plans to offer a subsidy to help people on low incomes get cheaper access to broadband Internet. Recipients would get a choice of using it on fixed-line or mobile services. The plan is an extension to an existing program called ... Lifeline, which has been running for around thirty years. Its funded by a levy on phone companies and allows people who meet low income eligibility requirements to get a monthly discount of $9.25 on phone line rental. Since 2005, the plan has allowed recipients to opt to use the discount of a pre-paid cellular phone plan instead of a landline. Now the ... (view more)

Tue
29
Dec
John Lister's picture

Computer Bug Means 3,000 Cons Get Early Release

Washington state officials have confirmed a software flaw has meant more than 3,000 prisoners have been mistakenly released early. Amazingly, the problem was known about by staff at the Washington State Department of Corrections since 2012, before ... anything was done. State governor Jay Inslee confirmed the figure may be as high was 3,200 and dates back to 2002. He's ordered that all releases be manually checked and approved until a software fix is in place next month. The problem involves a computerized system that tracks prisoner release dates, specifically, those who have been granted ... (view more)

Tue
07
Jul
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Leak Shows FBI Bought Spyware

A business which makes spying software for governments and police has been hit by a major hacking attack. The company has recommended customers temporarily stop using its products in case the attack compromises security. The business is named ... "Hacking Team," and is based in Italy. It specializes in software that can monitor the online activities of computer users and even retrieve data from their computers. Critics claim the software often uses the same tactics as malware created by cyber criminals. The firm says its situation is different as it only sells its products to public ... (view more)

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