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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 

youtube.com

June 1, 2014

The Supreme Court will soon reach its decision on the much-publicized American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. v. Aereo, a case many believe will have a profound effect on the way we watch television.

Aereo rents small antennas and cloud storage to subscribers, allowing them to record and playback over-the-air broadcasts through digitally enabled devices. Broadcasters feel Aereo is retransmitting copyrighted work to paying customers and, based on current copyright law, should be subject to the same retransmission fees cable and satellite companies currently pay. Aereo argues that it is simply a technology company that empowers individuals and therefore isn't engaged in the "public performance" of copyrighted works subject to these fees. April's oral arguments gave little indication of which way the Supreme Court will rule. The decision is expected any day now.

thefreethoughtproject.com

June 1, 2014

The National Security Agency is collecting millions of images of people through its international surveillance network to be implemented in a number of other facial recognition programs, according to documents leaked by Edward Snowden.

Thanks to rapid advances being made in the field of facial recognition technology, the NSA is much better equipped to "exploit the flood of images included in emails, text messages, social media, video conferences and other communications," according to an article in the New York Times, co-written by Laura Poitras, who, together with Glen Greenwald, are the only two journalists to have received the leaked NSA documents. The NSA has the capacity to intercept "millions of images per day," as well as some 55,000 "facial recognition quality images." This latest milestone in US intelligence gathering, which goes a long way to putting the final touches on the much-feared Orwellian nightmare, gives the US spy agency "tremendous untapped potential," according to the 2011 documents.

thefreethoughtproject.com

May 29, 2014

A federal appeals court has ruled that Americans have the right to videotape police officers in public, thereby allowing a court case brought against New Hampshire police to progress.

Carla Gericke was arrested in 2010 for videotaping members of the Weare Police Department who pulled over her friend during a traffic stop. Her video camera malfunctioned, however, and she failed to record evidence of the incident. Nevertheless, Gericke was arrested for disobeying a police officer, obstructing a government official, and "unlawful interception of oral communications," the court said. Concerning her failed efforts to record the incident, the court noted that the malfunction was irrelevant: "We agree that Gericke's First Amendment right does not depend on whether her attempt to videotape was frustrated by a technical malfunction. There is no dispute that she took out the camera in order to record the traffic stop."

thefreethoughtproject.com

May 12, 2014

The rapid emergence of smart phones with high definition cameras leads to consequences for law-breaking cops.

Recently, law enforcement throughout the country has been trying to pass laws that would make it illegal to film them while they're on duty. But Apple is coming out with a new technology that would put all the power in a cop's hands.

thefreethoughtproject.com

May 9, 2014

"Don't think the police are here to protect you. We are here to put money back into the system."

In a post on reddit, the op asked the following question: Workers of Reddit, what is the most disturbing thing your company does and gets away with? Fastfood, cooperate, retail, government? A man going by the name of Throwaway, as in throwaway account, left an honest reply of why he had to quit being a cop.

eff.org

May 6, 2014

Yesterday afternoon, Ars Technica published a story reporting two possible logs of Heartbleed attacks occurring in the wild, months before Monday's public disclosure of the vulnerability.

It would be very bad news if these stories were true, indicating that blackhats and/or intelligence agencies may have had a long period when they knew about the attack and could use it at their leisure. In response to the story, EFF called for further evidence of Heartbleed attacks in the wild prior to Monday. The first thing we learned was that the SeaCat report was a possible false positive; the pattern in their logs looks like it could be caused by ErrataSec's masscan software, and indeed one of the source IPs was ErrataSec.

schneier.com

May 5, 2014

Heartbleed is a catastrophic bug in OpenSSL. Basically, an attacker can grab 64K of memory from a server. The attack leaves no trace, and can be done multiple times to grab a different random 64K of memory.

"Catastrophic" is the right word. On the scale of 1 to 10, this is an 11. Half a million sites are vulnerable, including my own. Test your vulnerability here. The bug has been patched. After you patch your systems, you have to get a new public/private key pair, update your SSL certificate, and then change every password that could potentially be affected. At this point, the probability is close to one that every target has had its private keys extracted by multiple intelligence agencies. The real question is whether or not someone deliberately inserted this bug into OpenSSL, and has had two years of unfettered access to everything. My guess is accident, but I have no proof.

thefreethoughtproject.com

March 3, 2014

The power of the internet knows no bounds. It is our most powerful weapon against corruption and has helped to shed light on the ones that wish to remain in the darkness.

The story below is another wonderful example of how the internet is helping to exonerate the innocent whilst bringing justice to the corrupt. A man was assaulted by police and his video of the incident confiscated. He was then jailed for 10 days after false charges were brought against him. A year later he received his phone back only to find that the files had been corrupted and the video unplayable. He reached out to the internet, and the internet answered. One of the files was repaired by a reddit user, which shows the assault on video. He explains what happens in the story below.

viralsurvival.com

February 26, 2014

A Florida magistrate ruled this past week that living off the grid is no longer an option in the land of the free.

Special Magistrate Harold S. Eskin ruled Thursday that Robin Speronis violated city codes by refusing to connect to the Cape Coral's water system. Eskin ordered Speronis to pay for water service, adding that her sewer access would be capped until she did, The News-Press reported. "I am in compliance," Speronis told the News-Press. "I'm in compliance of living ... you may have to hook-up, but you don't have to use it. Well, what's the point?"

RT

January 18, 2014

A radio host in Memphis, Tennessee, was placed in handcuffs on Tuesday after he "liked" a Facebook post made by a woman who had previously filed a restraining order against him.

The incident occurred when a woman named Towanna Murphy posted a video on Facebook. Talk radio host Thaddeus Matthews, who used to work with Murphy and reportedly had a sexual relationship with her, "liked" the update, leading her to snap screenshots of the post and head to the police. According to local Fox affiliate WHBQ in Memphis, 56-year-old Matthews claims he turned himself in to authorities, but either way police agreed with Murphy, arrested him, and charged him with violating a protection order. Matthews is now free after posting a $1,000 bond.

      
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