Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Far be it for me to ever call an attorney a worm, but when Snowden opened the can, this is one of many things that crawled out.
In the wake of revelations about NSA amassing phone records, a sharp defense lawyer filed a motion to compel the government to turn over his client’s records that might exonerate him.
Julia Filip reports:
Citing the NSA telephone dragnet, a federal judge ordered the United States government to deliver telephone records demanded by a man on trial for an armored car robbery in which a Brink’s employee was killed.
Read more on Courthouse News.
[From the article:
In light of the recently revealed National Security Agency surveillance program, Brown's attorneys challenged the government's claim that it has no access to records of Brown's phone calls.
Prosecutors claimed they were missing records of calls to and from two of Brown's telephones before Sept. 1, 2010. They claimed Brown's service provider, MetroPCS, no longer had the records. Prosecution relied on Moss's and other co-conspirators' cell phone records to try to prove Brown's involvement in the armed robberies.

...but of course, I don't use my browser to read the articles. That's what RSS readers are for.
EFF – How Dozens of Companies Know You’re Reading About Those NSA Leaks
Follow up to previous postings on NSA’s big data domestic surveillance program via Micah Lee: “Each time your browser makes a request it sends the following information with it:
  • Your IP address and the exact time of the request
  • User-Agent string: which normally contains the web browser you’re using, your browser’s version, your operating system, processor information (32-bit, 64-bit), language settings, and other data
  • Referrer: the URL of the website you’re coming from—in the case of the Facebook Like button example, your browser tells Facebook which website you’re viewing
  • Other HTTP headers which contain potentially identifying information
  • Sometimes tracking cookies
Every company has different practices, but they generally log some or all of this information, perhaps indefinitely. It takes very little information about your web browser to build a unique fingerprint of it. See EFF’s Panopticlick website to see how unique and trackable your web browser is even without the use of tracking cookies. You can read more in our Primer on Information Theory and Privacy.”

I always wondered what the DMVs used driver photos for, back before there was facial recognition software and FBI terrorist searches.
EPIC – FBI Performs Massive Virtual Line-up by Searching DMV Photos
“Through a Freedom of Information Act request, EPIC obtained a number of agreements between the FBI and state DMVs. The agreements allow the FBI to use facial recognition to compare subjects of FBI investigations with the millions of license and identification photos retained by participating state DMVs. EPIC also obtained the Standard Operating Procedure for the program and a Privacy Threshold Analysis that indicated that a Privacy Impact Assessment must be performed, but it is not clear whether one has been completed. EPIC is currently suing the FBI to learn more about its development of a vast biometric identification database. For more information, see EPIC: Face Recognition and EPIC: Biometric Identifiers.”

I still don't see the surveillance programs discovering these people. Granted they help a lot after they have been identified, but “Phone X called Phone Y” is just data unless and until one of those phones are connected to a bad guy.
The Four Times NSA Surveillance Programs Stopped An Attack
Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the government’s surveillance programs have helped thwart a terrorist attack in more than 50 instances, according to Gen. Keith Alexander, director of the National Security Agency. The intelligence community has decided to disclose four of these cases.

Another rich target area for my Ethical Hackers to protect? If I don't have to be an inventor, just an application filer, accessing your paperwork is more valuable than running a research lab.
Presentation – The Race to the Patent Office – the Impact of the America Invents Act
The Race to the Patent Office – the Impact of the America Invents Act – “The America Invents Act (Patent Reform Act) went into effect on 16 March 2013. It switched the U.S. patent system from “first to invent” to “first to file” and is the most significant change to the system in nearly 60 years. The act has wide ramifications concerning the kinds of innovations that are patentable, who owns inventions, who can use inventions, and how patents are challenged and defended. A panel of speakers discussed how the act has affected the patent process and the dramatic and unforeseen impacts they have seen since the law went into effect.” [via Lorna Newman]

Better late (accompanied by supportive news articles) than years ago when it started?
Craig Timberg reports:
Google asked the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court on Tuesday to ease long-standing gag orders over data requests it makes, arguing that the company has a constitutional right to speak about information it’s forced to give the government.
The legal filing, which cites the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech, is the latest move by the California-based tech giant to protect its reputation in the aftermath of news reports about sweeping National Security Agency surveillance of Internet traffic.
Read more on Washington Post.

My students might find this useful.
… On the web, ... the most popular document file format is PDF. And if you have a bunch PDF files (documents, books etc) on your computer which you would like to port to your Kindle device, check out pdf4kindle. It is a web service that lets you convert PDF files into MOBI format supported by Kindle. To convert a file simply go to their website, click “Upload pdf file” to select and upload PDF file from your computer. Wait while it converts the file and once it is finished download the .mobi file to your Kindle device.
Related tools – Total PDF Converter, Epub2Mobi

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