Tag Archives: government

KickassTorrents and US government finally square off in court


Back in July last year, popular torrent site KickassTorrents suddenly went dark after the US spread its claws all the way to Poland to detain alleged owner Artem Vaulin, charging him with two separate counts of criminal copyright infringement. This week, the KickassTorrents legal team and the US Department of Justice finally went head to head in court, TorrentFreak reports. Lead defense counsel Ira Rothken, who previously represented fellow alleged copyright infringer Kim Dotcom in another case, sought dismissal of the case, insisting on the lack of proof of actual copyright violations. Vaulin’s defense essentially argues that the case is flawed, since torrent…

This story continues at The Next Web


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New Microsoft Australia boss rides cloud wave and warns government on skills shortage

… Microsoft’s Australian operations will focus his efforts on accelerating the rapid growth of its lucrative cloud computing efforts and has pledged to be …

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Apple’s India woes continue, government denies giving any special tax concessions

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Apple may be the world’s most influential technology company, but its charm doesn’t seem to be working with the Indian government.

Despite Apple showing intentions of manufacturing its products in India, and setting up stores, the Indian government is clear that the company will have to abide by the same regulations as other overseas smartphone manufacturers. 

Apple reiterated its intentions and plans to manufacture locally in India in November, asking the government for waivers and tax concessions on some policies, Reuters reports. But its long tussle continues with dim hope of success.  Read more…

More about Manufacturing, Government, Tim Cook, India, and Apple


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UK Government Awards Framework Agreement to Blockchain-As-A-Service Company Credits

… initiative of the U.K. government targeted at easing procurement by public-sector bodies of information technology services that use cloud computing …


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Microsoft sues government, expanding privacy debate to cloud

Cloud computing has spurred a profound change in the storage of private information,” wrote Microsoft’s president and chief legal officer, Brad Smith, …


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Reddit change raises alarm about possible U.S. government spying

Reddit

(Reuters) – Digital privacy advocates and users of Reddit expressed their alarm on Friday over a change in the forum’s transparency report that suggested it may have been asked to give customer data to FBI investigators under a secretive government authority.

The annual report lists a variety of requests the site has received for information on users and for removal of content. On Thursday, Reddit deleted a paragraph known as a “warrant canary.”

The paragraph had said that Reddit had not been subject to national security letters, which are used by the FBI to conduct electronic surveillance without the need for court approval, or “any other classified request for user information.”

Privacy advocates have long contested the letters, saying they are not subject to sufficient judicial oversight or transparency safeguards.

Brett Max Kaufman, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, said on Friday that authorities were possibly seeking the IP address, or an identifying number that corresponds to a specific computer, of an anonymous user on Reddit. Private messages between users could also be subject to search.

Reddit collects relatively little customer data that could be subject to a national security letter and useful for investigators, Kaufman said. Reddit does not require users to reveal their identities and stores less customer data overall compared to email or other social media such as Facebook, he said.

Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who gave classified documents about U.S. spying to journalists in 2013, expressed concern on Twitter.

“Is dissent a threat to national security?” tweeted Snowden (@Snowden), whose leaks prompted a vigorous international debate about digital privacy and surveillance.

The leaks helped popularize the use of “warrant canaries” by tech firms eager to display resistance to government attempts to obtain access to user data.

“When you ask someone ‘Are you helping authorities in investigations?’ and they say ‘I’m not allowed to discuss that with you,’ I think the question has been answered,” wrote Reddit user khegiobridge.

National security letters are almost always accompanied by an open-ended gag order barring companies from disclosing the contents of the demand for customer data, making it difficult for firms to openly discuss how they handle the subpoenas.

That has led many companies to rely on somewhat vague warnings. Apple previously had a “warrant canary” but removed it in 2014.

“I’ve been advised not to say anything one way or the other,” Reddit Chief Executive Officer Steve Huffman, who goes by “spez” on the site, said in a thread discussing the change. “Even with the canaries, we’re treading a fine line.”

The FBI can use national security letters to compel Internet and telecommunications firms to hand over a wide range of customer data, including web browsing history and records of online purchases.

San Francisco-based Reddit did not respond to a request for comment. The Federal Bureau of Investigation did not respond to a request for comment.

National security letters have been available as a law enforcement tool since the 1970s, but their frequency and breadth expanded dramatically under the USA Patriot Act, which was passed shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States by Islamist militants.

Several thousand of the letters are now issued by the FBI every year. At one point more than 50,000 such letters were issued annually.

In 2014, Twitter sued the U.S. Department of Justice on grounds that the restrictions placed on its ability to reveal information about government surveillance orders violates free speech rights. Reddit and others have filed friend of the court briefs in Twitter’s lawsuit.

(Reporting by Dustin Volz; Additional reporting by Amy Tennery, Anjali Athavaley and Melissa Fares in New York; editing by Frances Kerry and Grant McCool)

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What Is Quantum Cloud Computing and How Will It Change Government?

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NSA director just admitted that government copies of encryption keys are a big security risk

NSA chief Michael S. Rogers speaks at Fort Meade.

The director of the NSA, Admiral Michael Rogers, just admitted at a Senate hearing that when Internet companies provide copies of encryption keys to law enforcement, the risk of hacks and data theft goes way up.

The government has been pressuring technology companies to provide the encryption keys that it can use to access data from suspected bad actors. The keys allow the government “front door access,” as Rogers has termed it, to secure data on any device, including cell phones and tablets.

Rogers made the statement in answer to a question from Senator Ron Wyden at the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing Thursday.

Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 2.06.46 PMWyden:  “As a general matter, is it correct that anytime there are copies of an encryption key — and they exist in multiple places — that also creates more opportunities for malicious actors or foreign hackers to get access to the keys?

Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 2.07.12 PMRogers: Again, it depends on the circumstances, but if you want to paint it very broadly like that for a yes and no, then i would probably say yes.”

View the exchange in this video.

Security researchers have been saying for some time that the existence of multiple copies of encryption keys creates huge security vulnerabilities. But instead of heeding the advice and abandoning the idea, Rogers has suggested that tech companies deliver the encryption key copies in multiple pieces that must be reassembled.

From VentureBeat

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“The NSA chief Admiral Rogers today confirmed what encryption experts and data scientists have been saying all along: if the government requires companies to provide copies of encryption keys, that will only weaken data protection and open the door for malicious actors and hackers,” said Morgan Reed of the App Association in a note to VentureBeat.

Cybersecurity has taken center stage in the halls of power this week, as Chinese president Xi Jinping is in the U.S. meeting with tech leaders and President Obama.

The Chinese government itself has been linked with various large data hacks on U.S. corporations and on U.S. government agencies. By some estimates, U.S. businesses lose $ 300 billion a year from Chinese intellectual property theft.

One June 2nd, the Senate approved a bill called the USA Freedom Act, meant to reform the government surveillance authorizations in the Patriot Act. The Patriot Act expired at midnight on June 1st.

But the NSA has continued to push for increased latitude to access the data of private citizens, both foreign and domestic.



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