Government

Wed
20
Jul
John Lister's picture

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
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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
John Lister's picture

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)

Thu
25
Jun
John Lister's picture

Navy Spends $9.1M to Keep Running Windows XP

The US Navy has paid $9.1 million for ongoing support for Microsoft Windows. What makes it really amazing is that the ongoing support is for Windows XP. The payment comes from the Navy's Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command. It covers support for ... XP, Office 2003 and Exchange 2003. It only covers a temporary extension and there's an option for the Navy to extend the support coverage until 2017 with a total price of $30.8 million. The Navy isn't completely clueless about how outdated the software is. It's running a program to upgrade to more recent software and previously ... (view more)

Wed
10
Jun
John Lister's picture

US to Encrypt All Government Websites

All US government websites accessible by the public must use secure connections by then end of next year. The new rules should protect the public, particularly "whistleblowers." New rules laid down this week mandate the change for all public sites ... that are wholly or partly maintained by the federal government. This applies even if the site is operated by a contractor. The rules apply whether or not the site requires a user to log-in. (Source: cio.gov ) Under the rules, sites must use the most secure protection that is widely available. The initial implementation of the rule ... (view more)

Thu
04
Jun
John Lister's picture

AT&T Makes Surprise Offer On Net Neutrality

AT&T says its prepared to drop its opposition to government rules for net neutrality. In return it wants to be allowed to take over DirecTV without regulatory interference. The offer could be a dramatic development in the ongoing dispute over ... net neutrality. That's the principle that Internet carriers should not discriminate between different types of content (other than illegal material). Examples include: blocking, slowing down, or charging special carriage fees for some forms of data, but not others. The US government, in particular the Federal Communications Commission, has ... (view more)

Wed
11
Mar
John Lister's picture

Lawsuit: Gov't Net Surveillance Breaches Constitution

The US government is being sued by civil liberties groups who say the security services' collection of personal data online fundamentally breaches the constitution. At issue is the question of whether or not the government's interpretation of the ... law correctly allows for mass surveillance without probable cause about specific individuals. The lawsuit is led by the American Civil Liberties Union and is joined by at least nine other groups, including the organization that oversees Wikipedia. It makes the accusations against the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of ... (view more)

Thu
05
Feb
John Lister's picture

Government To Enforce 'Net Neutrality' Principle

Should websites like Netflix pay extra fees to deliver their Internet-based services to the public? The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) says no. Tom Wheeler says that broadband should be treated like a utility, such as phone ... services; in doing so, it will help to protect Internet freedoms. Critics, however, suggest that such a plan would be unworkable. Tom Wheeler's announcement has to do with the principle of net neutrality . That's the idea where Internet Service Providers (ISPs) should treat all Internet traffic (except for illegal content) equally. In other ... (view more)

Wed
30
Jul
John Lister's picture

Cellphone Unlocking Ban Overturned, Now Legal

President Obama is expected to sign a bill in the coming weeks to make it legal to unlock cellphones. That may give users more choice about the cellphone network they use to get service, though there will still be technical restrictions. Most new ... cellphones are sold in a 'locked' state, meaning that they can only run on a particular cellphone network carrier. Usually that's because the network sells the handset at a reduced cost, hoping to make money back from associated monthly service fees and call charges. Unlocking a cellphone effectively modifies the phone's software, and thus allows ... (view more)

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