Who owns the Internet? That is one question humanity hasn’t been able to answer with any degree of certainty hitherto and things are unlikely to change anytime soon. Now, it may be difficult for us to say who truly controls the Internet, but we can definitely tell you who’s currently behaving like they are the ones who do.
The National Security Agency will, in most cases, be able to access your most private of online data if they want to. Google wants to make sure they aren't forced to comply with the many requests they receive for data, however, as they scramble to encrypt their data centers and protect the precious information -- probably including yours.
While many people in the U.S. are planning barbecues with family and friends, an evening of fireworks, and other ways to celebrate Independence Day, thousands of others are planning to join nationwide rallies in protest against recently revealed spying activities conducted by the National Security Agency (NSA). Dubbed "Restore the Fourth," the effort was put together by Reddit and has drawn support from a number of other online entities, including Mozilla.
Edward Snowden is now officially a criminal on the run from the law, but the US extradition effort just became slightly more challenging. Despite having a canceled US passport, Snowden managed to legally secure transport to Moscow, and WikiLeaks is claiming they are behind the move. Lawyers for the controversial non-profit organization report they were approached by Snowden who requested their assistance, and they seem more than willing to take on the case once he reaches safe harbor. Presumably these are the same lawyers that have shielded WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange from Swedish authorities for the past several years, so the chances are high this saga will take a very long time to fully play out if he reaches a country such as Ecuador where extradition can be tricky.
They might not have a choice, but they are fighting it anyway.
Privacy concerns are front and center in the online world these days, and a deal taken by Facebook and Microsoft on government transparency doesn’t pass the Google sniff test. Google claims the offer comes with strings attached they can’t live with, and they appear to be holding out for a better offer.
The source of the NSA leaks have finally been identified, and 29 year old Edward Snowden has come forward as the man responsible. Snowden went on record during an interview with The Guardian, and he answered several questions to help us understand his motivation behind the leaks, and what he hopes it will accomplish.
Privacy advocates are up in arms over reports that the U.S. government is harvesting cell phone and email data from major Internet companies, including Microsoft, Google, and Apple. Through a supposed top secret program codenamed PRISM, the National Security Agency (NSA) and FBI have what appears to be unfettered access to emails, chat logs, voice calls, videos, photographs, documents, and more.
Can you access protected networks without breaking a sweat? Does just thinking about security exploits get you hot and bothered? Are "spoofing" and "packet sniffing" part of your regular vocabulary? If you answered "Yes" to those questions, and you can prove your hacking prowess at the upcoming DEFCON convention, you may just wind up getting a job offer (and a pension plan) from government agencies like the NSA.
Are you worried Fermi is going to make your GeForce 8800 look a bit long in the tooth? Well just be glad you're not stuck trying to run Crysis on the Secret Service's mainframe featuring state of the art technology from the 1980's. A classified review of the aging computer system has revealed that the system is now only operational about 60 percent of the time, and frequently prevents them from accessing the master database of mission critical information and apps.
"We have here a premiere law enforcement organization in our country which is responsible for the security of the president and the vice president and other officials of our government, and they have to have better IT than they have," said Lieberman, who is chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. Currently the NSA runs 42 mission-oriented applications on a 1980s IBM mainframe, and are hideously underpowered based on the agencies current requirements.
The price tag for updating the system is a mere $187 million, and far below the $33 million they currently have in the budget. If I were president, I would probably check the seat cushions on Air Force One to make up the difference, they are charged with saving his life after all.
With the release of its latest OS, Microsoft appears to have put security at the forefront of the design phase. So much so that the National Security Agency (NSA) had a hand in helping the software maker lock down its operating system, a senior NSA official said on Tuesday.
"Working in partnership with Microsoft and [the Department of Defense], NSA leveraged our unique expertise and operational knowledge of system threats and vulnerabilities to enhance Microsoft's operating system security guide without constraining the user's ability to perform their everyday tasks," Richard Schaeffer, the NSA's Information Assurance Director, told the Senate Judiciary Committee in a statement prepared for a hearing held in Washington. "All this was done in coordination with the product release, not months or years later in the product cycle."
The NSA and Microsoft working together is not exactly a new venture. Back in 2007, NSA officials confirmed they had also lent a hand during the development of VIsta, but the collaboration goes even further back. In 2005, the NSA and other government agencies assisted Microsoft in securing Windows XP and other programs.
Of course, the NSA is probably best known for its electronic eavesdropping operations, and we can't wait to see what the conspiracy theorists have to say about the organization's involvement with Windows.