A number of websites such as Reddit and the Electronic Frontier Foundation have put up banners urging Internet users to join one another in an effort to fight back against mass surveillance. The anti-spying initiative has been dubbed 'The Day We Fight Back' by a broad collection of activist groups, companies, and online platforms that are also seeking to honor and celebrate the late Aaron Swartz, an activist and technologist who helped spur a victory over the Stop Online Piracy Act two years ago.
Snowden: "I think a person should be able to [...] send an e-mail without worrying what it will look like on their permanent record."
NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden held a public Web chat on Thursday during which he answered questions sent in from hundreds of curious citizens via Twitter. This was Snowden's first live chat since June of last year, and during the broadcast viewers became privy to some of the outspoken leaker's opinions, especially that of the NSA and their previous actions.
Whether you love it or hate it, the technology behind it all is here to stay
Poor Edward Snowden. The former NSA subcontractor has sacrificed his career to expose US government surveillance programs that were revealed years ago. Except for minor details, data-mining operations like “PRISM” were outed in 2006, and have been underway since at least 2003. Newspapers may be dinosaurs, but they beat the Internet to this story by seven years.
Note: This article originally appeared in the September 2013 issue of the magazine.
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.
Hey, are you "overly concerned about privacy" online or use anonymizers and Web portals? Do you like to check your ISP-provided email account on the road? How about talking to your cohorts in PC games? Yeah? Well, here's some bad news: according to the FBI and DoJ, there's a good chance that you're a terrorist if you do any of that in an Internet café -- and they encourage others to track your license plate, ethnicity, name and more if you exhibit any of those "potential indicators."
The district avowedly captured 56,000 images as part of its anti-theft efforts. While it has every reason to heave a sigh of relief, it is still not time for full-scale festivities as a case filed by a student's family in February is still pending before the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Microsoft’s story is the NSA helped Microsoft with the “Security Compliance Management Toolkit.” The toolkit, which rolled out after Windows 7, allows enterprises, government agencies, and large-scale organizations the ability to manage levels of security risk beyond those of regular users. The NSA is a happy partner in such ventures because of its concerns for cybersecurity.
But there lurks behind the story the NSA’s need for gathering intelligence, which a backdoor into an OS would greatly aid. Cisco, for example, has built into it’s products, such as its Internetworking Operating system (ISO) and VoIP lines, lawful intercept capabilities. (Which require a court order.) It’s not a big leap to conclude that perhaps Microsoft might have done the same.
Some have questioned the wisdom of Microsoft’s working with the NSA, including Marc Rothenberg, the executive director of the Electronics Privacy Information Center (EPIC). Said Rothenberg: “The key problem is that NSA has a dual mission, COMPUSEC, computer security, now called cyber security, and SIGINT, signals intelligence, in other words surveillance.” He added that it might be tough for any company, even Microsoft, to turn down an NSA “suggestion” for a backdoor.
Roger Thompson, chief research officer of AVG, sides with Microsoft. “I can't imagine NSA and Microsoft would do anything deliberate, because the repercussions would be enormous if they got caught,” said Thompson.
For now, Microsoft says it isn’t there. Whether that curbs your paranoia or not is another matter entirely.
And now, a whole new way for your privacy to be invaded. Computer scientists at the EPFL in Switzerland have developed a way to eavesdrop on what you type by detecting the electromagnetic radiation emitted with every keystroke, Engadget reports.
The group developed four techniques for listening in on keystrokes, and tested them on 11 keyboards, produced from 2001 to 2008 and including USB, PS/2 and laptop keyboards. Every one of the devices was vulnerable to at least one of the methods. Some of the techniques are effective from as far away as 65 feet, and through walls.
Martin Vuagnoux, one of the scientists responsible, has posted twovideos demonstrating the vulnerability on Vimeo. The first of the two videos shows a meter-long wire being used as an antenna to detect the emissions of a keyboard several feet away. A program successfully decodes the message “trust no one” from these emissions. The second video shows an antenna that looks a bit like a pair of gigantic egg beaters eavesdropping on a keyboard from one room over.
The technique is pretty cool to see in motion (if a bit scary) so check out those videos and hit the jump to give us your thoughts.
With some news that is sure to surprise absolutely nobody, the Department of Homeland Security is currently in the process of developing a new way to spy on you. The new technology, called “Future Attribute Screening Technology,” or FAST (catchy, huh?) will use crowd-monitoring body sensors that detect individuals’ pulses, body language, breathing rates and facial temperatures to determine threats.
FAST is said to have had accurate results, identifying suspicious behavior in four out of five scenarios. One such scenario, run at a ranch in Maryland involved roughly 140 participants. They were told to walk through FAST’s sensors, with a small group of them instructed to act suspicious or hostile. The effective accuracy rate of FAST was 78% on mal-intent detection, and 80% on deception.
The Department of Homeland Security is said to still be relatively early in their research, but say it looks very promising.
Criticism comes in the form of John Verdi of the Electronic Privacy Information Center. He states that FAST is “substantially more invasive in airports,” referring to it as a medical exam that the government has no right to conduct. There’s also concern that FAST could improperly identify physical conditions heart murmurs, breathing problems, and high stress levels as threats.
Should FAST be implemented, it might be a common sight at concerts, sporting events and other public gatherings, right alongside the mobile toilets or catering trucks.