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 Title   Date   Author   Host

by Clive Thompson

August 21, 2013

Sick of government spying, corporate monitoring, and overpriced ISPs? There's a cure for that.

Joseph Bonicioli mostly uses the same internet you and I do. He pays a service provider a monthly fee to get him online. But to talk to his friends and neighbors in Athens, Greece, he's also got something much weirder and more interesting: a private, parallel internet. He and his fellow Athenians built it. They did so by linking up a set of rooftop wifi antennas to create a "mesh," a sort of bucket brigade that can pass along data and signals. It's actually faster than the Net we pay for: Data travels through the mesh at no less than 14 megabits a second, and up to 150 Mbs a second, about 30 times faster than the commercial pipeline I get at home. Bonicioli and the others can send messages, video chat, and trade huge files without ever appearing on the regular internet. And it's a pretty big group of people: Their Athens Wireless Metropolitan Network has more than 1,000 members, from Athens proper to nearby islands. Anyone can join for free by installing some equipment. "It's like a whole other web," Bonicioli told me recently. "It's our network, but it's also a playground."

by Scott Shackford

August 21, 2013

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) provided another redacted information data dump today, which ends the Electronic Frontier Foundation's legal battle with them over a Freedom of Information Act request.

At the heart of the matter was a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court decision from 2011 that determined that the National Security Agency and the FBI were somehow violating the Fourth Amendment with its surveillance methods. The details were unknown because the report was classified. EFF sued and won, and today the 85-page document was released. Hilariously, ODNI arranged for a background media call to take questions from reporters, but they did it before the documents were released so nobody could ask any directly relevant questions from what the documents actually said...

by Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai

August 18, 2013

If you're a hacker and you find a bug in Facebook, you have the chance to submit it through the company's white hat disclosure program and get a reward.

But what if you've found a bug, and Facebook ignores you? A Palestinian hacker took the inadvisable step of posting on Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's Timeline, taking advantage of the very bug he was trying to report. Khalil Shreateh, a Palestinian developer and hacker, discovered that there was a way to bypass Facebook's privacy settings and post on anyone's timeline - even users who are not your friends. He first reported the vulnerability via email to the bug bounty program. But the social network failed to recognize the vulnerability in his report, according to Shreateh's blog post.

by Kevin Collier

August 14, 2013

I can't shake the feeling that the National Security Agency thinks I'm a chump.

I mean, I've written a lot about them. I've talked to their media contacts. I've been denied clarifications. I've pored over their press releases and page after page of NSA documents that former contractor Edward Snowden took from them and leaked to the Guardian's Glenn Greenwald. Yet when I sent the NSA a formal request through the Freedom of Information Act, asking what the agency had collected on me through two big programs-a telephone metadata collection program and PRISM-they acted like I was a total newbie at this stuff.

by Spencer Ackerman

August 12, 2013

Republican who led Congress revolt against surveillance insists members did not see document before 2011 Patriot Act vote

A leader of the US congressional insurrection against the National Security Agency's bulk surveillance programs has accused his colleagues of withholding a key document from the House of Representatives before a critical surveillance vote. Justin Amash, the Michigan Republican whose effort to defund the NSA's mass phone-records collection exposed deep congressional discomfort with domestic spying, said the House intelligence committee never allowed legislators outside the panel to see a 2011 document that described the surveillance in vague terms.

by Shelly Palmer

August 12, 2013

While it's convenient to have Chrome save your logins and passwords, anyone can see all your saved info with just a few clicks, simply by heading into Chrome's settings.

All you'd need to do to uncover a saved password is click "Show" next to the associated site. That's all it takes. Other major browsers, like Mozilla's Firefox, have built-in 'Master Password' features, which require further authentication before revealing any saved passwords. While it doesn't seem like Google is rushing to change this security oversight, there are third-party options you should look into if your computer is used by anyone else you don't completely trust; programs like RoboForm link to your browsers and store your login information more securely behind a master password. A dedicated enough hacker will uncover your saved passwords no matter how secure they are, but do you really want to leave the front door unlocked for anyone to walk in?

August 12, 2013

Dave Wright had $16,500 of the crypto-currency Bitcoin transferred from his account without his knowledge. On April 23rd 2013, Wright's Mt. Gox account was hacked by an IP address based in Holland and the money was transferred out.

"Every time I log back into my account it is like returning to a murder scene, so sad." A Bitcoin account can be set up so it is completely anonymous which is a strong appeal to it's users but it also makes theft hard to reconcile. Since April, Wright has been contacting the company based in Japan and has been told there was nothing they could do to return his funds and he would have to contact his local police.

by T.C. Sottek

August 12, 2013

When President Obama announced a series of intelligence reforms last Friday he called for the creation of an independent advisory group made up of "outside experts" who will review controversial surveillance programs.

But based on a memorandum issued today by the White House, it's not clear how independent the effort will be. The president has directed the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, to establish the "review group" that will be responsible for issuing a report about how surveillance programs "impact our security, our privacy, and our foreign policy." The review group is intended in part, as the president said last week, to "maintain the trust of the people" - so why did the president put a man at the center of the spying controversy in charge? While Clapper may be technically well-suited to direct a review group given the intelligence community's unique need for secrecy, it may be difficult to sell the process to the American people with current skepticism about his accountability. Earlier this month, lawmakers concerned with the government's broad surveillance efforts said that Clapper should resign for lying to Congress. "[Clapper] was here in March and unambiguously lied to Congress," Rep. Thomas Massie (R, KY) told Democracy Now. "And I believe he was under oath. And it really sets a bad precedent for the whole organization to let him keep his post."

August 11, 2013

Kim Dotcom's is working on a highly-secure email service to run on a non-US-based server.

It comes as the US squeezes email providers that offer encryption and Mega's CEO calls Lavabit's shutdown an "honorable act of Privacy Seppuku." Mega's Chief Executive Vikram Kumar, who is heading the development of the company's own end-to-end encryption technology to protect the privacy of the future email's users, has reacted to the Lavabit founder's decision to suspend his service's operations - an act, which was shortly followed by voluntary closing down of another secure email service, Silent Circle.

August 11, 2013

"The National Security Agency is searching the contents of vast amounts of Americans' e-mail and text communications into and out of the country, hunting for people who mention information about foreigners under surveillance.

The N.S.A. is not just intercepting the communications of Americans who are in direct contact with foreigners targeted overseas, a practice that government officials have openly acknowledged. It is also casting a far wider net for people who cite information linked to those foreigners, like a little used e-mail address, according to a senior intelligence official."* Cenk Uygur breaks it down.


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