Espionage: FBI would rather prosecutors drop cases than disclose stingray details

Not only is the FBI actively attempting to stop the public from knowing about stingrays, it has also forced local law enforcement agencies to stay quiet even in court and during public hearings, too.

FBI would rather prosecutors drop cases than disclose stingray details
New documents released by NYCLU shed light on Erie County’s use of spying tool.
By Cyrus Farivar
Apr 7 2015
<http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2015/04/fbi-would-rather-prosecutors-drop-cases-than-disclose-stingray-details/>
Not only is the FBI actively attempting to stop the public from knowing about stingrays, it has also forced local law enforcement agencies to stay quiet even in court and during public hearings, too.
An FBI agreement, published for the first time in unredacted form on Tuesday, clearly demonstrates the full extent of the agency’s attempt to quash public disclosure of information about stingrays. The most egregious example of this is language showing that the FBI would rather have a criminal case be dropped to protect secrecy surrounding the stingray.
Relatively little is known about how, exactly, stingrays, known more generically as cell-site simulators, are used by law enforcement agencies nationwide, although new documents have recently been released showing how they have been purchased and used in some limited instances. Worse still, cops have lied to courts about their use. Not only can stingrays be used to determine location by spoofing a cell tower, they can also be used to intercept calls and text messages. Typically, police deploy them without first obtaining a search warrant.
Ars previously published a redacted version of this document in February 2015, which had been acquired by the Minneapolis Star Tribune in December 2014. The fact that these two near-identical documents exist from the same year (2012) provides even more evidence that this language is boilerplate and likely exists in other agreements with other law enforcement agencies nationwide.
The new document, which was released Tuesday by the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) in response to its March 2015 victory in a lawsuitfiled against the Erie County Sheriff’s Office (ECSO) in Northwestern New York, includes this paragraph:
In order to ensure that such wireless collection equipment/technology continues to be available for use by the law enforcement community, the equipment/technology and any information related to its functions, operation and use shall be protected from potential compromise by precluding disclosure of this information to the public in any manner including but not limited to: press releases, in court documents, during judicial hearings, or during other public forums or proceedings.
In the version of the document previously obtained in Minnesota, the rest of the sentence after the phrase “limited to” was entirely redacted.
Mariko Hirose, a NYCLU staff attorney, told Ars that she has never seen an agreement like this before.
“This seems very broad in scope and undermines public safety and the workings of the criminal justice system,” she said.
Your tax dollars at work
The FBI letter also explicitly confirms a practice that some local prosecutors have engaged in previously, which is to drop criminal charges rather than disclose exactly how a stingray is being used. Last year, prosecutors in Baltimore did just that during a robbery trial—there, Baltimore Police Detective John L. Haley cited a non-disclosure agreement, and he declined to describe in detail how he obtained the location of the suspect.
The newly revealed sections state:
[snip]

Cops Need a Warrant to Grab Your Cell Tower Data, Florida Court Rules

The Florida Supreme Court ruled Thursday that obtaining cell phone location data to track a person’s location or movement in real time constitutes a Fourth Amendment search and therefore requires a court-ordered warrant.
But the way the ruling is written (.pdf), it would also cover the use of so-called “stingrays”—sophisticated technology law enforcement agencies use to locate and track people in the field without assistance from telecoms. Agencies around the country, including in Florida, have been using the technology to track suspects—sometimes without obtaining a court order, other times deliberately deceiving judges and defendants about their use of the devices to track suspects, telling judges the information came from “confidential” sources rather than disclose their use of stingrays.
http://www.wired.com/2014/10/florida-court-requires-warrant-cell-tower-data/

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FBI Radio: Public Service or Self-Serving?
http://dailysignal.com/2014/09/02/fbi-radio-public-service-self-serving/
FBI radio began in 1965, according to the FBI. The first series was called “FBI Washington” and aired on ABC. In 1990, it was reformatted and renamed “FBI This Week.” Since then, more than 1,200 one-minute spots have aired.
Awesome-radio – a curated list of radio resources and information
https://github.com/kyleterry/awesome-radio
My exploration into CB radio. And radio in general. A curated list of awesome radio resources. Inspired by awesome-*. I recently pulled out my CB radio and installed it in my truck. This inspired me to create an open source repository of all the radio related resources I found helpful and my notes on the subject. This project is aimed at hackers who enjoy all aspects of radio communication. While a lot of this technology isn’t usable by citizens and is heavily regulated by the FCC, just knowing anything about it is special. I’ve been interested in learning the ins and outs of radio, as well as hearing stories, new and old.
Hackers Build a Skype That’s Not Controlled by Microsoft call;ed TOX
http://www.wired.com/2014/09/tox/
Android security mystery – ‘fake’ cellphone towers found in U.S.
http://www.welivesecurity.com/2014/08/28/android-security-2/
“What we find suspicious is that a lot of these interceptors are right on top of U.S. military bases.” says Goldsmith. “Whose interceptor is it? Who are they, that’s listening to calls around military bases? The point is: we don’t really know whose they are.” What has come as a surprise is how many “interceptors” are in active use in the U.S., and that their purpose remains mysterious.
The VME Dominator™ is a real time GSM A5.1 cell phone interceptor. It cannot be detected. It allows interception of voice and text. It also allows voice manipulation, up or down channel blocking, text intercept and modification, calling & sending text on behalf of the user, and directional finding of a user during random monitoring of calls. The VME Dominator is far superior to passive systems in being able to intervene and manipulate calls and sms, working with up to 4 base stations concurrently, and up to 20 users in the system at any one time.
Shenzhen trip report – visiting the world’s manufacturing ecosystem
http://joi.ito.com/weblog/2014/09/01/shenzhen-trip-r.html
While intellectual property seems to be mostly ignored, tradecraft and trade secrets seem to be shared selectively in a complex network of family, friends and trusted colleagues. This feels a lot like open source, but it’s not. The pivot from piracy to staking out intellectual property rights isn’t a new thing. The United States blatantly stole book copyright until it developed it’s own publishing very early in US history. The Japanese copied US auto companies until it found itself in a leadership position. It feels like Shenzhen is also at this critical point where a country/ecosystem goes from follower to leader.
Russian gas giant Gazprom’s CEO Alexei Miller , Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli attend a ceremony marking the welding of the first link of “The Power of Siberia” gas pipeline outside Yakutsk in eastern Siberia yesterday as construction of the US$20.8 billion pipeline that will bring gas from the country’s far east to China began. Work on the Chinese section is due to start 2015.
MICROSOFT Corp has been granted a 20-day deadline by a Chinese regulator to explain why it held back on its “not fully disclosed information” regarding Windows and Office suite sales.
Hong Kong’s Basic Law
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN0GV04A20140831
China’s rubber-stamp parliament is expected on Sunday to endorse the framework for Hong Kong’s first direct leadership election, due in 2017. But Beijing is likely to only allow two or three “patriotic” candidates, with no open nominations. That will anger pro-democracy activists who have threatened civil disobedience, potentially disrupting Hong Kong’s major financial hub.
China rules out full democracy for Hong Kong
http://www.reuters.com/news/video?videoId=341720115
Pro-democracy activists take to the streets of Hong Kong after China rejects their demands for free elections.
Hong Kong police arrest 19 in pro-democracy scuffles
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN0GX06V20140902
Hong Kong police said on Tuesday they arrested 19 people during scuffles with pro-democracy activists prompted by China’s decision not to allow the Asian financial hub to choose its next leader.
Fast food workers plan biggest US strike to date over minimum wage
http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/sep/01/fast-food-strike-minimum-wage-workers-protest
Workers from McDonald’s, Burger King and other chains to hold walkout protest on Thursday as battle to unionize escalates. America’s fast food workers are planning their biggest strike to date this Thursday, with a nationwide walkout in protest at low wages and poor healthcare.
Bank of America seeks to void verdict in $1.27 billion ‘Hustle’ case
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN0GS2OL20140828
Bank of America Corp on Thursday asked a federal judge to throw out a jury verdict finding it liable for fraud over defective mortgages sold by its Countrywide unit that resulted in a $1.27 billion penalty.
Several Swiss banks pull out of U.S. tax program:
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN0GV09X20140831
At least 10 Swiss banks have withdrawn from a U.S. program aimed at settling a tax dispute between them and the United States, Swiss newspaper NZZ am Sonntag said on Sunday, quoting unnamed sources.
Management dictating their own terms
http://randsinrepose.com/archives/the-wolf/
The Wolf: You’ve heard of the 10x engineer, but I am here to tell you about the Wolf. They are an engineer and they consistently exhibit the following characteristics:
Man builds 3D printed concrete castle in his own backyard
http://www.3ders.org/articles/20140826-minnesotan-world-first-3d-printed-concrete-castle-in-his-own-backyard.html
2.6m historic pictures posted online
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-28976849
The Civil Rights Movement web site
http://www.crmvet.org/
continues to collect documents, stories, and biography of Civil Rights Movement workers. One document IS folklore. This leaflet hits every stereotype you’ve every heard of but, it IS  folklore from Birmingham AL
http://www.crmvet.org/docs/6106_bham_racist-leaflet.pdf
Our Use of Little Words Can, Uh, Reveal Hidden Interests
http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/09/01/344043763/our-use-of-little-words-can-uh-reveal-hidden-interests
The Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count program that Pennebaker and his students built in the early 1990s has, like any computer program, an ability to peer into massive data sets and discern patterns that no human could ever hope to match. Specifically, what Pennebaker found was that when the language style of two people matched, when they used pronouns, prepositions, articles and so forth in similar ways at similar rates, they were much more likely to end up on a date.
Georgia State University Library releases Library Instruction Recorder plugin as Open Source
http://homer.gsu.edu/blogs/library/2014/08/29/georgia-state-university-library-releases-library-instruction-recorder-plugin-as-open-source/
As part of its commitment to the free culture movement, Georgia State University Library is pleased to announce the initial release of the Library Instruction Recorder (LIR). LIR is a free, open source WordPress plugin that allows librarians and library staff to record and report on library instruction sessions.
Recent research on leadership barriers for women working in tech
http://www.inc.com/kimberly-weisul/insane-double-standard-for-tech-women.html?cid=sf01002
BBC begins kids coding push with Bitesize and TV shows
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-28984411
The BBC has published computer programming study guides, quizzes and other support materials on its Bitesize site to coincide with the new computing curriculum’s introduction in England. The broadcaster also revealed several programming-themed children’s TV shows will be broadcast in the autumn. The BBC described the move as an “early start” to a wider coding initiative planned for next year.
The Serif Readability Myth August 29, 2014 / Kas Thomas
http://author-zone.com/
I’ve been involved in publishing all my life, and like many others I’ve always accepted as axiomatic the notion that typefaces with serifs (such as Times-Roman) are, in general, are more readable than non-serif typefaces (e.g., Helvetica). It never occurred to me that there was any doubt about the matter whatsoever. Were the monks who invented serifs and other text ornamentations merely engaging in idle doodling? Weren’t they consciously intending to increase the legibility of the important documents they were transcribing?
How I Start: Go With Peter Bourgon
http://howistart.org/posts/go/1
Go is meant to be simple, but sometimes the conventions can be a little hard to grasp. I’d like to show you how I start all of my Go projects, and how to use Go’s idioms. Let’s build a backend service for a web app.
Download videos from YouTube (and mores sites)
https://rg3.github.io/youtube-dl/
youtube-dl is a small command-line program to download videos from YouTube.com and a few more sites. It requires the Python interpreter (2.6, 2.7, or 3.3+), and it is not platform specific. We also provide a Windows executable that includes Python. youtube-dl should work in your Unix box, in Windows or in Mac OS X. It is released to the public domain, which means you can modify it, redistribute it or use it however you like. You can also contact us on the irc channel #youtube-dl(webchat) on freenode.
Copyright © 2006-2014 Ricardo Garcia Gonzalez
Under the Microscope
[print edition title; the online title was “As Data Overflows Online, Researchers Grapple With Ethics”]
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/13/technology/the-boon-of-online-data-puts-social-science-in-a-quandary.html
Scholars are exhilarated by the prospect of tapping into the vast troves of personal data collected by Facebook, Google, Amazon and a host of start-ups, which they say could transform social science research. Once forced to conduct painstaking personal interviews with subjects, scientists can now sit at a screen and instantly play with the digital experiences of millions of Internet users. It’s the frontier of social science — experiments on people who may never even know they are subjects of study, let alone explicitly consent. “This is a new era,” said Jeffrey T. Hancock, a Cornell University professor of communication and information science. “I liken it a little bit to when chemistry got the microscope.”
Greenhouse gas fear over increased levels of meat eating
http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-29007758
Research from Cambridge and Aberdeen universities estimates greenhouse gases from food production will go up 80% if meat and dairy consumption continues to rise at its current rate. That will make it harder to meet global targets on limiting emissions. The study urges eating two portions of red meat and seven of poultry per week. However that call comes as the world’s cities are seeing a boom in burger restaurants. The research highlights that more and more people from around the world are adopting American-style diets, leading to a sizeable increase in meat and dairy consumption.
A Call for a Low-Carb Diet That Embraces Fat
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/02/health/low-carb-vs-low-fat-diet.html
People who avoid carbohydrates and eat more fat, even saturated fat, lose more body fat and have fewer cardiovascular risks than people who follow the low-fat diet that health authorities have favored for decades, a major new study shows.
Saving America’s honeybees
http://www.bbc.com/news/business-28983709
In the past 60 years the number of honeybee colonies has fallen from six million beehives in 1947, to just 2.5 million today, according to the White House. in June, President Obama launched a taskforce to protect the honeybee. The White House is investing $50m into research and action to stem the decline, improve habitats and promote better education around the issue.
Waking the Dead: Bringing Extinct Species Back to Life
http://longnow.org/revive/what-we-do/passenger-pigeon/
The Great Passenger Pigeon Comeback This is the first project to revive an extinct animal using its museum-specimen DNA. Once it succeeds, the techniques will be applicable to hundreds of other extinct species.
Google ‘discourages’ old browser use
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-29012038
For some the only way to get to the 2014 search page was to change their browser’s basic configuration to make Google think it was more up-to-date than it actually was. A Google engineer joined the discussion and explained that the change was not the result of a bug. “It’s working as intended,” said a Google staffer called “nealem”.
What Browser Am I Using?
http://whatbrowser.org/
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Obama’s Secret Attempt to Ban Cellphone Unlocking, While Claiming to Support It

By Derek Khanna
http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2013/11/18/tpp_wikileaks_white_house_claims_to_support_cellphone_unlocking_but_treaty.html
Last week, WikiLeaks made public a portion of a treaty that the White House has been secretly negotiating with other nations and 600 special interest lobbyists. The draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Treaty, which is on intellectual property, shows that HealthCare.gov isn’t the only tech topic on which the Obama administration has some serious explaining to do.
The White House claims that it supports copyright reform. It should be in favor of remaking the framework, because today’s copyright system is a mess: It grants protection that is too long (70 years or more), fair use is notoriously unclear and vague, and statutory damage laws create a massive deterrent to lawful creation. Economists and scholars argue that modern copyright, as opposed to constitutional copyright, greatly impedes innovation and content creation. But the TPP, which is being negotiated by 11 countries, would be a step in the completely wrong direction.
In its present state, treaty would expand copyright and effectively make real reform impossible. Worse, it would essentially disregard constitutional limitations on copyright and reject pillars like fair use, the first-sale doctrine, and having copyright be for “limited times.” The worst part: While the White House was publicly proclaiming its support of cellphone unlocking, it was secretly negotiating a treaty that would ban it.
Cellphone unlocking is the ability to take a phone and alter its settings so that it can be used on other carriers. Essentially this technology allows a consumer to bring her phone from one carrier to another when her contract expires (if technologies are compatible). In January, following appeals by AT&T/Verizon’s main trade association, the Librarian of Congress issued a ruling making unlocking a felony punishable by five years in prison and a $500,000 fine. This was a terrible idea: Economists and market participants have explained that this ruling would result in reduced competition in the industry, a decimated resale market, and restricted consumer rights. And indeed the impact has been devastating.
At the time, I spearheaded an unpaid national campaign to legalize unlocking, which included a White House “We the People” petition (I wrote a bit about our campaign here). Our petition reached 114,000 signatures, and the White House responded in favor of cellphone unlocking:
“The White House agrees with the 114,000+ of you who believe that consumers should be able to unlock their cell phones. … It’s common sense, crucial for protecting consumer choice, and important for ensuring we continue to have the vibrant, competitive wireless market that delivers innovative products and solid service to meet consumers’ needs.”
The FCC came out in favor of our petition, as did numerous outside groups such as Freedomworks, Public Knowledge, R Street and the editorial boards of the New York Times and the Washington Examiner. We were unable to find a single group, or Member of Congress, that was in favor of unlocking being a felony. But somehow, while a number of bills were introduced, none passed, and the one that had widespread support, H.R. 1892, never received a hearing or was brought up for a vote.
The leaked treaty draft shows that while the White House was championing restoring free market principles to phones, the U.S. proposed that the TPP lock in the process that allowed the Librarian of Congress to rule this technology as illegal through international law. This would make potential reforms like H.R. 1892 impossible.* It should be noted that Canada did submit an amendment proposal that could allow unlocking, but neither the United States nor any other country supported it.
But the TPP draft doesn’t stop there. It would ban numerous other technologies that have beneficial uses. In particular, the legislation would ensure that jailbreaking—which is installing a different operating system on your phone, tablet, or e-reader—is illegal. It’s already on precarious ground in the United States, but under TPP it would be illegal in all circumstances. What type of nation would arrest 23 million people for installing a different operating system on their own device?
This treaty is still being negotiated, so all of these issues could be addressed in the final text, but so far what has been made public demonstrates a massive and nearly unprecedented power grab by special interests rather than sound public policy considerations.
This treaty has long been shrouded in unprecedented secrecy. Congressional staff, press and general public weren’t allowed to read it; in many cases, even members of Congress were kept in the dark. Meanwhile, special interests were given full access. Now we know why: The White House didn’t want the public to know what was being negotiated in their name.
Correction, Nov 18, 2013: This blog post originally misstated effect of the U.S. proposal to TPP.
< — >
http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2013/11/18/tpp_wikileaks_white_house_claims_to_support_cellphone_unlocking_but_treaty.html

Another FISC judge: “NSA exceeded the scope of authorized acquisition continuously”

Another FISC judge: “NSA exceeded the scope of authorized acquisition continuously”

Judge: “NSA exceeded the scope of authorized acquisition continuously”

New declassifed documents show legal arguments over bulk metadata collection.

by Cyrus Farivar – Nov 19 2013, 1:36am EST
Yet another Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) judge has blasted United States government and intelligence officials for disregarding the court’s guidelines for domestic surveillance of American e-mail metadata traffic, a program that ran for around a decade before ending in 2011.
“As noted above, [National Security Agency’s] record of compliance with these rules has been poor,” wrote Judge John D. Bates, in a 117-page opinion (PDF) whose date was redacted. The opinion is one of was just one of a series of documents released and declassified late Monday evening by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI).
“Most notably, NSA generally disregarded the special rules for disseminating United States person information outside of NSA until it was ordered to report such disseminations and certify to the FISC that the required approval had been approved. The government has provided no meaningful explanation why these violations occurred, but it seems likely that widespread ignorance of the rules was a contributing factor.”
The documents, which include annual reports from the Attorney General to Congress, memos, presentations, and training documents, were released in relation to an Electronic Frontier Foundation lawsuit. The second batch was released in September 2013, and the first in August 2013. In total, ODNI says it has now released nearly 2,000 new documents in recent months.
“Release of these documents reflects the Executive Branch’s continued commitment to making information about this intelligence collection program publicly available when appropriate and consistent with the national security of the United States,” James Clapper, the head of the ODNI, wrote on Monday.
“Additionally, they demonstrate the extent to which the Intelligence Community kept both Congress and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court apprised of the status of the collection program under Section 215 [of the Patriot Act]. Some information has been redacted because these documents include discussion of matters that continue to be properly classified for national security reasons and the harm to national security would be great if disclosed.”
The Bates opinion is the second of the two most revealing documents in this new tranche. The first, written by FISC Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, responds to a government request that allows the NSA to use pen register and trap and trace devices (“pen/trap devices”) as a way to access metadata on electronic communication. She granted approval for the bulk surveillance, but laid out specific guidelines.
The subsequent second FISC opinion, authored by Judge Bates, is in response to a government request that aimed to expand the metadata collection program by “11-24 times.” Bates slams the government for not adhering to its guidelines, but “reluctantly” allows them to continue, citing deference to the Executive Branch (and intelligence agencies, like the NSA, whose powers are granted through the Reagan-era Executive Order 12333). In the opinion, Judge Bates appears unwilling or unable to meaningfully punish any government officials despite clear violations of the court’s prior orders.
“I see a lot of similarities between the Bates opinion and the Walton opinion,” Mark Rumold, a staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told Ars. Rumold was referring to a 2009 opinion by FISC Judge Reggie Walton, who equally lambasted the government.
“It’s essentially the same thing, FISC taking NSA and [the Department of Justice] to task for violating their orders, for accessing more information than they were allowed to access under the orders and laying out under the ways that they had violated the court’s orders, [but then] letting them continue,” Rumold added. “The executive branch has pushed the judiciary so far and hopefully now we’re at that tipping point that the judiciary is comfortable with and they’ll start pushing back on executive misrepresentations.”
Not your father’s pen/trap application
The Kollar-Kotelly opinion (PDF) describes her response to a government application that “seeks authority for a much broader type of collection than other pen register/trap and trace applications,” compared to what had previously been done before.
As we’ve reported in the past, pen/trap devices are a type of legal order that has recently skyrocketed in use in the US. Originally designed to apply to telephone companies, they are now being increasingly applied to tech companies as a way to capture user metadata, too. Of the total number of American law enforcement orders that it received in six months, Google said recently that 2 percent of those were pen/trap orders.
Applied to a Google user, for example, a pen register would likely record who that user was sending e-mail to. A corresponding “trap and trace order” would likely include metadata from e-mails received, likely including date, time, IP address, and other routing information. It could also include attachments, and perhaps even—if broadly interpreted enough—anything but the actual content of an e-mail. Secure e-mail service Lavabit recently received such an order prior to its shutdown.
In the Monday night Tumblr post, the ODNI defined this program this way:
http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/11/judge-nsa-exceeded-the-scope-of-authorized-acquisition-continuously/

Seattle Police snooping with Aruba Networks mesh WiFi system

Seattle Police have deployed a Aruba Networks mesh WiFi system. What’s interesting is it may well be snorting MAC addresses from every passing device; Aruba advertises that feature.
And when asked:
The SPD declined to answer more than a dozen questions
from The Stranger, including whether the network is
operational, who has access to its data, what it might
be used for, and whether the SPD has used it (or intends
to use it) to geo-locate people’s devices via their MAC
addresses or other identifiers.
Seattle Police detective Monty Moss, one of the
leaders of the mesh-network project—one part of
a $2.7 million effort, paid for by the Department
of Homeland Security—wrote in an e-mail that the
department “is not comfortable answering policy
questions when we do not yet have a policy.”
But that didn’t stop them from deploying it without one.
“Sentence First, Verdict Later” comes to mind.
Aruba also sells a software product called “Analytics
and Location Engine 1.0.” According to a document Aruba
has created about the product, ALE “calculates the location
of associated and unassociated wifi devices… even though
a device has not associated to the network, information
about it is available. This includes the MAC address,
location, and RSSI information.”
http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/you-are-a-rogue-device/Content?oid=18143845

SafeSlinger claims Phone Privacy

CMU Researchers Claim To Have Created Messaging App Even NSA Can’t Crack

The app is called SafeSlinger, and is free on the iTunes store, and Google play store for Android phones. SafeSlinger’s easy-to-use interface brings cryptography and secure communication to non-expert users, but also achieving military-grade security against hackers.
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFXL8fUqNKY]

Government captures a mirrored version of your smartphone standard practice

3 Important Lessons from a Canadian Border Crossing
By Jeffrey Tucker
Sep 17 2013
<http://lfb.org/today/3-important-lessons-from-a-canadian-border-crossing/>
I was at the Canadian border, headed toward the freedom that exists a few feet beyond the last security check. I was gently waved down a side corridor.
Ninety minutes later, I was let go, but not before something truly alarming happened. I’m pretty sure that the Canadian government captured a mirrored version of my smartphone — which pretty much holds the whole of my life.
I’ll explain precisely how this happened in just a bit — in the hopes that perhaps you can take precautions that I did not. But let’s first establish that this practice is not unusual. According to documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union, this has become the standard backdoor method of search used today by governments around the world.
At border crossings, governments have discovered that they can get away with seizing and searching electronic devices from smartphones to laptops to tablets. The reason is that it is standard practice that border officials can ask you anything. Anything at all. You have to answer. They can make you empty the full contents of your brain and check for even the smallest misstatement. You can refuse to answer, but then you can expect detention for untold amounts of time. So of course, you comply.
If this is standard practice, it makes perfect sense that there is not anything they are not entitled to know. This is why they have begun to profile people based on their devices.
Maybe there was nothing I could have done to stop it. Maybe I was somehow fated to be among the 15 that were hit with this. But as I look back, I realize now that I was far too nonchalant in my whole approach. I’ve crossed that border dozens of times and never had any trouble. I expected no trouble this time.
The problem began at passport check. I was coming into Canada just to visit friends, but my dress suggested business. An official later confirmed to me that this was the first point that caused me to be flagged. Then, in stating my traveling route to get to that point, I flubbed a bit on the cities I had been in (some I entered by car and others by plane). I just wasn’t focusing, and I was just a bit too chatty and casual.
As I became increasingly flustered, the agent apparently marked my customs form to indicate that I should undergo a secondary screening. I didn’t know this had happened. As I casually presented my form to the last agent in the line, he signaled for me to follow a different path. I did so. There were no agents around. There were no officials. I just walked and walked until I found myself in a long and nearly empty room.
I realized that I was going to be there for a few minutes at least, and that I was in some kind of lineup. I was, essentially, under arrest. Unguarded, but arrested. There was nowhere to go. I could not go forward nor could I go back. There was no one to protest to.
I asked the people ahead of me how long they had been there. Forty-five minutes. I pulled out my laptop and starting watching an episode of Breaking Bad to pass the time.
After about an hour, I was called up. At first, everything seemed fine. The official wanted some clarification about whom I was visiting. They wanted the phone number in particular — a startling demand, but one never knows for sure when one should comply or refuse. Of course, I didn’t have the number memorized.
This was (I think) when I made my fateful decision. I reached into my pocket. I pulled out my smartphone. I unlocked it. I pulled up the contact information. Instead of reading it out loud, I showed the agent the number. She calmly took the phone — which I thought she was doing so she could see the number better.
In an instant, she was gone. She went to some back room somewhere. I stood there at the counter, completely unguarded. My heart started to race. My palms grew sweaty. I began to fidget. After all, my whole life was suddenly in the hands of a government official. My emails, my phone calls, my Facebook messages, my contacts far and wide, my financial information, my browsing history — even my diet and exercise routines were there.
And incredibly, I had unlocked it all and handed it over.
[snip]

iOS 7 Bug Lets Anyone Bypass iPhone's Lockscreen To Hijack Photos, Email, Or Twitter

iOS 7 Bug Lets Anyone Bypass iPhone’s Lockscreen To Hijack Photos, Email, Or Twitter
 
By Andy Greenberg
Forbes Staff
9/19/2013
Forget the debate around the security or insecurity of the iPhone 5s’s
fingerprint reader. The latest version of the iPhone’s operating system
currently offers a gaping hole in its old-fashioned passcode lockscreen.
Jose Rodriguez, a 36-year-old soldier living in Spain’s Canary Islands,
has found a security vulnerability in iOS 7 that allows anyone to bypass
its lockscreen in seconds to access photos, email, Twitter, and more. He
shared the technique with me, along with the video above.
As the video shows, anyone can exploit the bug by swiping up on the
lockscreen to access the phone’s “control center,” and then opening the
alarm clock. Holding the phone’s sleep button brings up the option to
power it off with a swipe. Instead, the intruder can tap “cancel” and
double click the home button to enter the phone’s multitasking screen.
That offers access to its camera and stored photos, along with the ability
to share those photos from the user’s accounts, essentially allowing
anyone who grabs the phone to hijack the user’s email, Twitter, Facebook
or Flickr account.
I tested the technique on an iPhone 5 running iOS 7, and it worked.
Rodriguez’s video shows it working on an iPad, too. It’s not yet clear if
the same exploit can bypass the lockscreen of an iPhone 5s or 5c, but
Rodriguez tells me he believes it will. I’ve reached out to Apple for
comment and I’ll update this post if I hear from the company. Update: A
spokesperson from Apple tells me that the company “takes security very
seriously and we’re aware of this issue. We’ll deliver a fix in a future
software update.”
[…]
http://www.forbes.com/sites/andygreenberg/2013/09/19/ios-7-bug-lets-anyone-bypass-iphones-lockscreen-to-hijack-photos-email-or-twitter/

UK and US spies have cracked BlackBerry's BES encryption

UK and US spies have cracked BlackBerry’s BES encryption

By Peter Sayer
Techworld
09 September 2013
The U.S. National Security Agency is able to read messages sent via a
corporate BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES), according to a report by
German news magazine Der Spiegel. The purpose of this spying is economic
or political, and not to counter terrorism, the magazine hints.
The report, published in English on Monday, cites internal documents
leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
Governments have long demanded that BlackBerry provide access to encrypted
messages carried by its email and BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) services, to
allow them to monitor for terrorist activity.
BlackBerry has complied in the case of its consumer-grade BlackBerry
Internet Service (BIS), notably providing the Indian government with
access to consumer messages. Indeed, Der Spiegel cited NSA documents
claiming that since 2009, analysts have been able to see and read
[…]
http://news.techworld.com/security/3467695/report-uk-and-us-spies-have-cracked-blackberrys-bes-encryption/