Thursday, July 26, 2012

Did you expect anything less?
NSA whistleblowers: Government spying on every single American
July 25, 2012 by Dissent
Jason Reed reports:
The TSA, DHS and countless other security agencies have been established to keep America safe from terrorist attacks in post-9/11 America. How far beyond that does the feds’ reach really go, though?
The attacks September 11, 2001, were instrumental in enabling the US government to establish counterterrorism agencies to prevent future tragedies. Some officials say that they haven’t stopped there, though, and are spying on everyone in America — all in the name of national security.
Testimonies delivered in recent weeks by former employees of the National Security Agency suggest that the US government is granting itself surveillance powers far beyond what most Americans consider the proper role of the federal government.
Read more of this Reuters report on

(Related) What can they get from your cellphone? (Video)
Malte Spitz: Your phone company is watching

(Related) But second class citizens don't have that same ability. (Unless you have the better legal team?)
Ex-Wife Owes $20K for Spyware Divorce Scheme
July 25, 2012 by Dissent
Annie Youderian reports:
The ex-wife of a wealthy businessman must pay him $20,000 for installing spyware on his computers and using it to illegally intercept his emails to try to gain an upper hand in their divorce settlement, a federal judge in Tennessee ruled.
U.S. Magistrate Judge William Carter ordered Crystal Goan to pay ex-husband James Roy Klumb $20,000 for violating federal and state wiretap laws when she used Spectorsoft’s eBlaster spyware to intercept Klumb’s email.
Read more on Courthouse News.

Do we know when we give our rights away?
The Data Question: Should the Third-Party Records Doctrine Be Revisited?
July 25, 2012 by Dissent
Today’s recommended reading.
George Washington University law professor Orin Kerr and Greg Nojeim, senior counsel at the Center for Democracy & Technology, ponder how far the government can go in reading your email. Their essays can be found in Patriots Debate: Contemporary Issues in National Security Law, a book published by the ABA Standing Committee on Law and National Security and edited by Harvey Rishikof, Stewart Baker and Bernard Horowitz. The book can be ordered here.
Read their thoughtful point and counterpoint on ABA Journal.

Not uncommon. The first report from any new part of the bureaucracy should state that the job is nearly impossible (“Don't blame us if we can't do a decent job.”) but with more money (“We need a bigger bureaucracy.”) we might succeed.
July 25, 2012
First annual report of the Office of Financial Research
  • "This inaugural OFR Annual Report details the Office’s progress in meeting its mission and statutory requirements. The report must assess the state of the U.S. financial system, including: (1) An analysis of any threats to the financial stability of the United States; (2) The status of the efforts of the Office in meeting its mission; and (3) Key findings from the research and analysis of the financial system by the Office... The crisis revealed significant deficiencies in the data available to monitor the financial system. Financial data collected were too aggregated, too limited in scope, too out of date, or otherwise incomplete. The crisis demonstrated the need to reform the data collection and validation process and to strengthen data standards, to improve the utility of data both for regulators and for market participants."

Automating IP lawyers?
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Creative Commons licensing can be a good way to explicitly state the terms by which people can use and re-use your creative written, audio, and visual works. But selecting the license that is right for you can be confusing. Thankfully, as I learned through a Tweet by Jen Deyenberg, the Creative Commons organization has a new tool to help you choose the best license for your situation.
The new interactive Creative Commons license chooser helps you select the right license for your work. To select the right license for your work just answer a few questions and a license will be recommended to you.
If you're not sure what Creative Commons is and or how it differs from Copyright, I recommend watching Copyright and Creative Commons Explained by Common Craft.

Stay current...
Software packagers like Ninite are at an uptick in popularity now that the old seek-and-download method is quickly drawing close towards extinction. Imagine what your kids will think when you tell them that you actually had to search for and manually update certain essential software in the future. Crazy, right?
… Soft2Base is a software manager for Windows that scans for over 60 of the most popular applications and ensures that your computer is running the very latest version. If not, Soft2Base can silently download and automatically install them for you.

Does this have a place in Computer Security education? I'll ask my Ethical Hackers to evaluate its potential.
Hacking, the card game, debuts at Black Hat
There's much more to hacking than just the Hollywood portrayal of a speed typing contest, say the computer security professionals who've developed a new hacking-themed card game called Control-Alt-Hack.
… Despite the emphasis on fun, the game goes to great lengths to be accurate. The learning objectives, obfuscated behind cute pop culture references like, "I find your lack of encryption disturbing," include promoting the accessibility of computer science and computer security; teaching that there's more to computer security than antivirus and the Web; and accurately depicting a diverse range of attack techniques and attacker goals.
SCADA and medical device hacking are more likely to show up than ransomware, and the techniques you can use include disinformation; exploiting weak passwords and unpatched software; and cross-correlating data sources, all in the name of the good guys.

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