Russian authorities put global communications providers on a tight leash demanding to gain access to users’ personal data and online correspondence.
A group of deputies representing all 4 political parties of State Duma presented a project of legislations aiming to support surveillance agencies to counter threats to national security.
A separate set of amendments forces telecommunication companies, including hosting providers and website owner to store data on “reception, transmission, processing and delivery of various electronic information” for the period of 6 months.Read more
When you type a password into a mobile payment app, you'd probably expect it to protect that password somehow. But it seems that the Starbucks app for iOS doesn't actually lock its usernames and passwords down. According to a Computerworld report, company executives admitted today that the mobile app stores passwords in clear text, with no encryption of any sort. By connecting your phone to a computer, the report claims, someone could easily retrieve your password from a crash log.
What's more, it appears that Starbucks may not intend to actually fix the problem. While the company told both Computerworld and The Seattle Times that the company had "taken steps to safeguard customers' information," it's unclear what steps it could have taken.Read more
Modern automobiles are logging tremendous amounts of information every single second they’re being put to use, and a senior executive at the Ford Motor Company says car manufacturers have access to every last piece of it.
At the CES electronic trade show in Las Vegas this week, the global vice president for Ford’s marketing and sales division opened up about just exactly how much data is being collected by his company’s latest line of smart cars.
“We know everyone who breaks the law, we know when you're doing it. We have GPS in your car, so we know what you're doing,” Ford’s Jim Farley told a Vegas crowd on Wednesday, according to Business Insider reporter Jim Edwards.Read more
As pretty much everyone has been sending over, a bunch of former NSA and intelligence community insiders who later went on to become whistleblowers (many of whom were then attacked or even prosecuted for their whistleblowing) have written quite an astounding open letter to President Obama, requesting that he allow them to brief him on the problems of the NSA.
The letter goes a bit overboard on the rhetoric (which actually pulls away from its important underlying message, unfortunately), but the key points are clear. From what they've seen, they know that not only have the NSA's efforts violated the 4th Amendment and been ineffective, they have actually made it more difficult for the NSA to do its job properly.Read more
DuckDuckGo, the privacy-focused search engine, served over 1bn searches in 2013 after a huge surge in interest following the Snowden revelations. Until Edward Snowden's files detailing the extent of state surveillance, the search engine received around 1.5m queries per day. But in the weeks and months following the Guardian's publication of the NSA files, the number of users more than doubled.
By November, more than 4 million people were using the site every day, and on Tuesday 7 January the site had its biggest day so far, serving 4,452,957 queries in a 24-hour period. "Needless to say, it was a great year for us," DuckDuckGo said in a blogpost. "We're looking forward to similar greatness in 2014.Read more
French data protection watchdog CNIL fined Google 150,000 euros for ignoring its three-month deadline to align its practice of tracking and storing user information with the country’s law.
"The company does not sufficiently inform its users of the conditions in which their personal data are processed, nor of the purposes of this processing," CNIL said in a statement.
The watchdog also ruled that Google must publish its decision on google.fr for a period of 48 hours within eight days of being notified of the ruling.Read more
Republican senator Rand Paul has announced plans to sue US President Barack Obama over Edward Snowden's revelations of unlawful spying by the National Security Agency (NSA).
Paul said he is urging all US citizens with mobile phones to join a group action aimed at preventing Obama from "snooping on the American people". Paul said the legal action is also aimed at protecting the Fourth Amendment to the US constitution, which prevents unreasonable searches and seizures, and sending a message to the US government that it cannot continue to access ordinary citizens' phone and email records without permission or a warrant.Read more
The National Security Agency on Saturday released a statement in answer to questions from a senator about whether it “has spied, or is … currently spying, on members of Congress or other American elected officials”, in which it did not deny collecting communications from legislators of the US Congress to whom it says it is accountable.
In a letter dated 3 January, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont defined “spying” as “gathering metadata on calls made from official or personal phones, content from websites visited or emails sent, or collecting any other data from a third party not made available to the general public in the regular course of business”.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
In December 2013 the District Judge Richard Leon ruled, according to which large-scale surveillance and gathering information about Internet users, implemented the National Security Agency (NSA), the United States, "are likely unconstitutional''.
Now the country's Ministry of Justice hopes that another judge overturned the decision. U.S. Department of Justice filed a complaint on the decision of the judge Leon on December 3. Agency intends to achieve recognition of the legality of surveillance of all citizens. "I am sure that the collection of data on citizens' telephone conversations and analysis violate the customer's expectations of privacy," - said in court Leon.Read more