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Technology in the News

Technology is constantly changing and providing the casual user with challenges never dreamed of. Technology in the News is provided in an effort to assist you in getting the most out of your computer, while avoiding some of the pitfalls. Your computer really isn't out to get you. Why not learn to be friends?

 Title   Date   Author   Host

June 13, 2014

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) claimed Friday that it cannot produce Lois Lerner's emails to and from the White House and other administration departments due to a supposed computer crash.

The IRS previously agreed to hand over all of the ex-IRS official's emails from 2009 to 2011 to the House Ways and Means Committee, chaired by Rep. Dave Camp. But the IRS claimed Friday that it has Lerner's emails to and from other IRS officials but it cannot produce emails to and from the Treasury and Justice Departments, the Federal Election Commission, or Democratic offices. The IRS' computer crash may go down in history next to the eighteen and a half minute gap in the Watergate tapes, which was supposedly caused by a mistake by Richard Nixon's secretary Rose Mary Woods.


June 12, 2014

A gaping security bug in Google's systems may have been used to unearth millions upon millions of users' email addresses. The activist claimed it took Google a month to rectify the problem after his report to the company.

Tel Aviv-based security researcher Oren Hafif discovered the bug and has informed Google, which has managed to resolve the problem. However, before Hafif notified Google, he successfully retrieved some 37,000 addresses from the system. "I have every reason to believe every Gmail address could have been mined," Hafif told Wired.

June 12, 2014

Investigators must obtain a search warrant from a judge in order to obtain cellphone tower tracking data that is widely used as evidence to show suspects were in the vicinity of a crime, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.

A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals determined people have an expectation of privacy in their movements and that the cell tower data was part of that. As such, obtaining the records without a search warrant is a violation of the Fourth Amendment's ban on unreasonable searches and seizures, the judges ruled.

June 12, 2014

Check your account history for refunds that you've never ordered

Amazon Prime customer George McBay was surprised the other day when he noticed two replacement orders on his account history for an Xbox One he'd purchased back in April. He had never asked Amazon for a replacement, and the new consoles were being shipped to a different address and a person he'd never heard of. So basically, Amazon was sending out two new Xbox units to someone in Portland - for free. Neither McBay's Amazon account nor his email had been hacked into. There were no suspicious charges on his credit card. He reached out to Amazon to to tell the company he hadn't ordered a replacement, and definitely not to a random name at an address never associated with his account.

June 11, 2014

New cyberbullying legislation introduced by the Canadian government is set to let police gain access to computers and remotely track cellphone users' movements and activities, privacy experts fear.

Bill C-13 Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act, known as the cyberbullying bill, is currently being studied by a parliamentary committee. In fact, the term 'cyberbullying' may be a bit misleading: there are no mentions of 'cyber' or 'bully' in the document, despite the fact that the bill originated following several children committing suicide as a result of online bullying. Despite the bill introducing responsibility for sending nude photos, for instance, what the law mainly does is greatly expand police authority, giving officers powers to remotely hack into computers, mobile devices or cars in order to track location or record metadata, director of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association Cara Zwibel told Members of Parliament. She added that those changes were "inappropriate."

June 9, 2014

Liberal media issued retractions in previous attempt to link Jones to murder of cops

The emerging narrative in the Las Vegas shooting now includes Alex Jones. Raw Story, a liberal news blog, has placed Jones at the center of the controversy. "Jerad Miller outlined his political views, which were largely based on conspiracy theories promoted by Fox News and Alex Jones, in his social media postings, and he posted frequently about firearms and violent revolution," writes Travis Gettys. Jones and the liberty movement will now be implicated in the murder of police officers by way of insinuation. This is a repeated pattern.


June 7, 2014

Edward Snowden's recent revelation that the NSA can bug cell phones even when they are turned off left some experts split on whether it is true or not. But a group of hackers claim that at least there is a way to protect your phone from spies' ears.

Snowden, who exposed the American government's secret mass surveillance program, has been making headlines in the media for almost a year with shocking details about the scale of snooping by the National Security Agency (NSA). In last week's interview with NBC, the former CIA employee yet again added to the spreading privacy panic when he said the NSA can actually eavesdrop on cellphones even when they are turned off.


June 7, 2014

Leaked documents pertaining to the case against an American computer hacker currently serving a 10-year prison sentence have exposed discrepancies concerning the government's prosecution and raise further questions about the role of a federal informant.

The documents - evidence currently under seal by order of a United States District Court judge and not made public until now - shines light on several aspects of the case against Jeremy Hammond, a 29-year-old hacktivist from Chicago, Illinois who was arrested in March 2012 with the help of an online acquaintance-turned-government informant. Last May, Hammond entered a plea deal in which he acknowledged his role in a number of cyberattacks waged by the hacktivist group Anonymous and various offshoots; had his case gone to trial, Hammond would have faced a maximum of life behind bars if found guilty by jury. Articles published in tandem by The Daily Dot and Motherboard on Thursday this week pull back the curtain on the government's investigation into Hammond and reveal the role that Hector Monsegur, a hacker who agreed to cooperate with authorities in exchange for leniency with regards to his own criminal matters, played in directing others towards vulnerable targets and orchestrating cyberattacks against the websites of foreign governments, all while under the constant watch of the US government.

June 7, 2014

In recent years, a small amount of hackers and gamers have been anonymously reporting fake hostage situations, shootings, and other violent crimes designed to send elite police units, like SWAT teams, to unsuspecting people at their residences.

Swatting is a dangerous and expensive prank, which is easy to pull off. Swatters are utilizing easily accessible technology to mask or even alter the ID during calls to 911 dispatchers. With SWAT teams and paramilitary gear becoming the norm across small town America, these calls have predictably chaotic results. Below is an eye-opening report conducted by VICE News that illustrates the dangers of an increasingly militarized police force, coupled with gross incompetence, lack of transparency, and runaway budgets.


June 5, 2014

Google is planning to launch 180 low orbit satellites at the astronomic cost of around $3 billion, as part of an ambitious project to increase internet connectivity in poorer areas of the world.

The project is being led by Greg Wyler, the founder of O3b Networks, which stands for the 'other three billion'. This is a reference to the estimated number of people in the world who do not have access to broadband for reasons of geography, economics or political instability. Wyler will report directly to Larry Page, Google's chief executive, and will head up a team of about 20 people. Sources told the Wall Street Journal Sunday that the internet giant plans to spend between $1 and $3 billion on the low orbit satellites. The ambitious satellite venture will be an extension of Project Loon, in which Google uses high altitude balloons to bring internet connectivity to remote areas of New Zealand and to create an uninterrupted internet signal around the 40th parallel in the southern hemisphere.

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