Saturday, July 05, 2014

2012 was the first time encryption kept the cops from the plaintext (4 times) Perhaps now my lawyer friends will encrypt?
Andy Greenberg reports:
The spread of usable encryption tools hasn’t exactly made law enforcement wiretaps obsolete. But in a handful of cases over the past year—and more than ever before—it did shut down cops’ attempts to eavesdrop on criminal suspects, the latest sign of a slow but steady increase in encryption’s adoption by police targets over the last decade.
In nine cases in 2013, state police were unable to break the encryption used by criminal suspects they were investigating, according to an annual report on law enforcement eavesdropping released by the U.S. court system on Wednesday.
Read more on Wired.
[From the 2013 report:
The number of state wiretaps in which encryption was encountered increased from 15 in 2012 to 41 in 2013. In nine of these wiretaps, officials were unable to decipher the plain text of the messages. Encryption was also reported for 52 state wiretaps that were conducted during previous years, but reported to the AO for the first time in 2013. Officials were able to decipher the plain text of the communications in all 52 intercepts.

(Related) Why would they not?
NSA tracking users of privacy applications and monitoring services
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Jul 4, 2014
NSA targets the privacy-conscious - von J. Appelbaum, A. Gibson, J. Goetz, V. Kabisch, L. Kampf, L. Ryge. “The investigation discloses the following:
  • Two servers in Germany – in Berlin and Nuremberg – are under surveillance by the NSA.
  • Merely searching the web for the privacy-enhancing software tools outlined in the XKeyscore rules causes the NSA to mark and track the IP address of the person doing the search. Not only are German privacy software users tracked, but the source code shows that privacy software users worldwide are tracked by the NSA.
  • Among the NSA’s targets is the Tor network funded primarily by the US government to aid democracy advocates in authoritarian states
  • The XKeyscore rules reveal that the NSA tracks all connections to a server that hosts part of an anonymous email service at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It also records details about visits to a popular internet journal for Linux operating system users called “the Linux Journal – the Original Magazine of the Linux Community”, and calls it an “extremist forum”.
  • Via EFF – “Learning about Linux is not a crime—but don’t tell the NSA that. A story published in German on Tagesschau, and followed up by an article in English on today, has revealed that the NSA is scrutinizing people who visit websites such as the Tor Project’s home page and even Linux Journal. This is disturbing in a number of ways, but the bottom line is this: the procedures outlined in the articles show the NSA is adding “fingerprints”—like a scarlet letter for the information age—to activities that go hand in hand with First Amendment protected activities and freedom of expression across the globe.”

How to fight city hall without fighting? Zen and the art of legal protest? There's more than one way to skin a court?
Google Super Successful At Spinning Europe’s Right To Be Forgotten Ruling As Farce
Blink and you’ll still see it. Google’s strategy to spin the European Court of Justice’s right to be forgotten ruling as ‘unworkable’ is in full swing.
The ruling, made in late May, requires Google to process requests by private individuals to de-index outdated or irrelevant personal information when a search is made for their name.
The data is only de-indexed from European Google search results, not And refers specifically to private individuals — those with a public profile would be exempt on the grounds of public interest. Google says it’s had about 70,000 requests for data to be de-indexed so far.
Google started de-indexing links at the end of last month to comply with the law. But this week it’s clear that the advertising giant is outsourcing a public campaign of ‘censorship outrage’ to the media organizations whose business models entirely align with its own.
… Google has barely had to lift a finger to find a sympathetic mouthpiece from media outlets that also rely on people finding information on their sites to drive their own digital businesses.
Still, there is evidently more than a little behind the scenes string-pulling going on. For starters Google has been emailing news websites to flag up when it’s removed a link to their content in its search results — to give them the required nudge to get to work on a piece attacking the ruling as censorship. (Google declined to specify how many notification emails it has sent out when I asked.)
… So far Google’s spin strategy has been spectacularly successful. By publishing stories about the removed links, the media is neatly turning a right to be forgotten on its head — shining the spotlight back on private individuals who may have been seeking to de-emphasize outdated or irrelevant information about them.

Amazon wants to enable “impulse buying” wherever possible.
Amazon ready to fight the FTC over in app purchases
Amazon is risking the wrath of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over the company's policies regarding in app purchases, and it seems the online retailer turned hardware maker doesn't care. The FTC has asked Amazon to update its policies on the already controversial in-app purchase policy, but the company is ignoring the request and could be willing to fight its corner in the courts.
… Amazon insists that its policies are fine as they are and the company says it has refunded any customers who have complained about wrong purchases. The company is so adamant about its stance that it is willing to let the FTC take it to court, a move that could cost Amazon some pretty hefty fines and added regulation.
… Besides, it just seems like obvious practice to make users write their password before making in app purchases, the slight inconvenience can make a difference in the long run, especially to parents.
Although, it was not until June that Amazon implemented any kind of authentication for purchases, so the company has sort of been asking for this.

...and these people teach children?
… The New York Court of Appeals struck down an Albany County law that had made cyberbullying a crime, ruling that the law violated the First Amendment.
… Despite initially supporting efforts to require schools offer healthier lunches, the School Nutrition Association is now lobbying to allow schools to opt out of new nutritional requirements.
LAUSD will allow 27 of its high schools to buy laptop computers instead of iPads. The new devices will cost $40 million. (That’s in addition to the $30 million contract the district signed with Apple last year. The entire cost of the project – to equip every student in the district with an iPad… computing device: $1 billion.)
Marginal Revolution University’s goal, reads The Chronicle of Higher Education headline: “MOOC Lectures That Go Viral”

For my students. Useful stuff!
Search Less & Learn More: Explore Online Courses, Books & More On Bing
Some search engine wars are being fought in classrooms. If there’s Google for Education, there’s also Bing in the Classroom. It’s less of a sibling rivalry and more of a backyard brawl as the two search giants rapidly make changes to the way learners search for information.
In the latest volley, Bing brings in two nice touches for students who look to the Web for learning.
  • Search for free online courses by the Khan Academy.
  • Search for a book title available at a library, for free download, or for viewing online.

For my iStudents... More in the article.
Start Your Diary Today: DayOne for iPhone & iPad Is Free [iOS Sales]
DayOne ($4.99, now free)
Apple’s App of the Week, and thus free until Wednesday, is the much-celebrated journal app DayOne. It’s a universal app that syncs with either iCloud or Dropbox, and supports the separate Mac version (also currently reduced at 30% off). Whether you’ve kept a journal for years and are upgrading it to a digital version, or if you’ve never tried before and would like to improve your writing then DayOne is the gold standard for iOS diary keeping.
Halftone 2 ($1.99, now free)
The original Halftone app allowed you to create simple comic strips from your images, and Halftone 2 takes it even further by throwing whole comic books and videos into the mix.

We might get more students to read the style guide if we replaced the APA guide with these...
CIA Style Manual Available Online
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Jul 4, 2014
  • “National Security Counselors law firm has obtained a copy of the CIA Directorate of Intelligence Style Manual, Eighth Edition, 2011. It is entitled Style Manual & Writers Guide for Intelligence Publications. The CIA Guide is not alone. Each of the members of the Intelligence Community - IC - have one or more Style Manuals to conform the reports and documents of that agency to a consistent writing style and usage. This is highly important to achieving clear and unambiguous communications of such matters.
  • Here is another example: the NSA SIGINT Style Guide
  • The National Security Counselors web site publishes a large number of interesting documents released under FOIA, or under litigation arising from FOIA requests.”

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