Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo and Google on Monday began publishing details about the number of secret government requests for data they receive, hoping to show limited involvement in controversial U.S. surveillance efforts.
The tech industry has pushed for greater transparency on government data requests, seeking to shake off concerns about their involvement in vast, surreptitious surveillance programs revealed last summer by former spy contractor Edward Snowden. The government said last month it would relax rules restricting what details companies can disclose about Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court orders they receive for user information.Read more
Representatives of Obama‘s Administration continue to insist that spying on Americans is not a violation of constitutional rights of citizens and carried out exclusively in the interests of national security.
However, Chris Kitts, the father of beforeitsnews.com, believes that the obtained information is used not only for security purposes.
According to Chris Kitts, Washington creates “The machine for the implementation blackmail. Now they have access to the emails of people who are in the data store in Utah.Read more
Facebook has been hit with another privacy lawsuit. The class-action suit takes aim at the social network’s alleged practice of scanning users’ private messages in order to profit from their data. For instance, the suit complains, if you send a private message to a Facebook friend that includes a link to another website—say, this article on Slate—Facebook takes notice. Ars Technica’s Casey Johnston explains:
The plaintiffs describe how Facebook effectively “clicks” on links within Facebook messages, an activity that it doesn’t explicitly disclose to users. The lawsuit claims Facebook crawls the linked page to see if it contains one of Facebook’s “Like” buttons. If so, Facebook registers that private-message link as a “Like” on the relevant site’s Facebook page—a strange example of turning a private communication public.Read more
Since the first of many leaked documents showed that the NSA has been gathering phone records as part of its anti-terrorism program, there's been an ongoing fight over just what these records reveal.
To supporters, the metadata collection is a limited system that's rarely queried and doesn't contain enough information to be considered an invasive search: the NSA has said it doesn't collect either the content of calls or the names attached to phone numbers.
As many technology and legal experts on the other side say, though, metadata matters, and a Stanford Security Lab project demonstrates that removing names from a database doesn't effectively mean much.Read more
Facebook wants to become your new best friend by knowing everything about you - and it's going to happen whether you like it not.
From the bottles of beer you drink, to the places you visit on vacation, the social networking site will compile everything there is to know about you (and the billion other people online) - and then make sense of it with the hope of selling better, targeted advertising in your news feed. The social networking giant has teamed up with New York University to set up a research lab designed to learn about artificial intelligence. The California-based social network giant is hiring professor Yann LeCun of NYU's Center for Data Science to head up a new artificial intelligence lab, aiming to use cutting-edge science to make Facebook more interesting and relevant.Read more
Over 2 million passwords for popular social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as Google and Yahoo accounts have been stolen and posted online, with Russian social networks VKontakte and Odnoklassniki also featuring on the hitlist.
Internet security firm Trustwave exposed the extensive data hoard, saying in its blog that the responsible botnet – dubbed Pony – had harvested information from thousands of vulnerable computers on a global scale.
The information included login credentials, email addresses and passwords. In total, 1,580,000 website login credentials were stolen, alongside 320,000 email and 41,000 FTP accounts.Read more
Facebook received about 26,000 government requests for information about 38,000 users in the first six months of 2013, with half of the orders coming from the United States government.
The social networking service published the numbers on Monday, following the release of customer information data requests from Microsoft and Google. Facebook said government agents from 74 countries demanded information about its users, but the vast majority of these requests came from the US. US federal law allows the government to demand Facebook data without a warrant, and companies must fight such requests in secret court hearings if they deny them.Read more
Katherine Losse claims social network's customer support could access any user's account with a master password. Facebook employees at one time had access to a “master password” that granted them access to every one of the accounts on the social network, according to a former employee.
And while “more secure forms of logging in to repair accounts” were later put into operation, Katherine Losse, who joined Facebook in 2005 as its 51st employee, told The Guardian Wednesday that members of the site should avoid sharing personal information, especially now that the scope of surveillance by the U.S. government has come to light.Read more
About a year after Facebook reportedly joined PRISM, Max Kelly, the social network's chief security officer left for a job at the National Security Agency, either a curious career move or one that makes complete sense.
The Chief Security Officer at a tech company is primarily concerned with keeping its information inside the company. Now working for an agency that tries to gather as much information as it can, Kelly's new job is sort of a complete reversal. Facebook, among other tech companies, has distanced itself from the government, claiming it only cooperates when it is legally required to.Read more
The National Security Agency and the FBI are tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading U.S. Internet companies, extracting audio and video chats, photographs, e-mails, documents, and connection logs that enable analysts to track foreign targets, according to a top-secret document obtained by The Washington Post.
The program, code-named PRISM, has not been made public until now. It may be the first of its kind.
The NSA prides itself on stealing secrets and breaking codes, and it is accustomed to corporate partnerships that help it divert data traffic or sidestep barriers.Read more