“Hacker” is an extremely opaque, arguably insidious word. It conjures images of a computer mastermind with an appetite for destruction, theft, and a cocktail of illegal ambitions. This stereotype leaves little room for images of moral crusaders in the tradition of Martin Luther King, Jr. or Mahatma Ghandi. Yet, there are hackers who more closely resemble such icons than the cyber-criminals often associated with the hacker moniker. These other hackers have their own label — hacktivists. This article explores the role of hacktivists in democracy and discusses domestic laws that make hacktivist activities illegal. The article further explores how these restrictive laws are inconsistent with democratic tradition and international law, and how domestic law should be reformed to eliminate this inconsistency.
Tuesday, September 08, 2015
Is there such a thing?
Ben Monarch, a University of Kentucky College of Law student, has an article that he has uploaded to SSRN that calls for amendments to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) to recognize hacktivism as a defense. Monarch argues that the U.S. “application of the CFAA and (attempted) simultaneous adherence to Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (“ICCPR”) and Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (“UDHR”) are inconsistent.”
Here’s the Abstract:
Of course, that might assume that federal prosecutors and those who wish to use the CFAA for civil litigation actually give a damn about the ICCPR and UDHR. Those arguing for amendments to CFAA seem more inclined to consider exemptions for journalists and researchers than for those engaging in political protest.
You can download Monarch’s full article for free at SSRN.
Monarch, Ben, The Good Hacker: A Look at the Role of Hacktivisim in Democracy (May 8, 2015). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2649136 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2649136
The real concern is that you can convince the car there is nothing in front of it.
Researcher Hacks Self-driving Car Sensors
The multi-thousand-dollar laser ranging (lidar) systems that most self-driving cars rely on to sense obstacles can be hacked by a setup costing just $60, according to a security researcher.
“I can take echoes of a fake car and put them at any location I want,” says Jonathan Petit, Principal Scientist at Security Innovation, a software security company. “And I can do the same with a pedestrian or a wall.”
Using such a system, attackers could trick a self-driving car into thinking something is directly ahead of it, thus forcing it to slow down. Or they could overwhelm it with so many spurious signals that the car would not move at all for fear of hitting phantom obstacles.
… “You can easily do it with a Raspberry Pi or an Arduino. It’s really off the shelf.”
Petit set out to explore the vulnerabilities of autonomous vehicles, and quickly settled on sensors as the most susceptible technologies. “This is a key point, where the input starts,” he says. “If a self-driving car has poor inputs, it will make poor driving decisions.”
I can see a few (Okay, many) problems with this. If only “officials” can authenticate the information, then I can create a bogus license to prove that I'm Millard Fillmore.
Last year, we told you about Iowa's interest in launching digital driver's licenses, a move that might begin the phasing out of plastic licenses currently in use nationwide.
On Wednesday, the state announced live testing of what it calls the Mobile Driver License (mDL) in a number of settings, but that testing will be limited to hundreds of Iowa Department of Transportation employees.
The license appears on your smartphone, and looks much like a normal driver's license, including a photo, date of birth, address and license expiration date. In a demonstration video, which uses an iPhone, a quick screen swipe flips the license to its back, revealing a bar code and the class of the license.
But the feature that really makes the mDL special is that it allows the Department of Motor Vehicles to instantly update any information that may change, such as when a driver reaches the age of 21, or when a driver is hit with restrictions to their license.
Officials can check the authenticity of the mDL by using MorphoTrust's (the creator of the system) verification app, which acts as a mobile watermark reader. Using the verification app, a police officer can check the identity and license details of a driver without touching the driver's phone.
… Although the Supreme Court recently ruled that police need a warrant to search your smartphone, making your smartphone a part of the process of checking your identity seems like fertile territory for official intrusions into your device that might not otherwise occur with a plastic identity card.
… Expected to launch next year, MasterCard's new biometrics software, which is being integrated into the MasterCard app, will give consumers the option to purchase things by either offering up their faces or fingers for authentication.
… "When consumers shop on the Internet, their banks need ways to verify their identities," said Bhalla. "So this particular product seamlessly integrates biometrics into the overall payments experience."
The app's fingerprint scanner converts prints into code, which is stored on the mobile device. Its facial recognition software, however, is a bit more trendy right now.
Those annoying robo-calls are exempt from the “do not call” laws as long as they from politicians to us second class citizens. Imagine how intrusive social media could be if they get similar exemptions. I think there will be a huge market for ad blockers that work on everything!
Tech firms are courting campaigns ahead of the 2016 presidential election, where budgets for digital advertising are expected to reach new highs.
The election will be tweeted, googled, snapped, liked on Facebook, and shared on numerous other social media platforms. And Silicon Valley is hoping to turn that engagement into big profits.
While billions will be spent on political advertising over the next year, television remains the prime mover and budgets for digital ads trail traditional media.
But even by one recent estimate from Borrell Associates, 9.5 percent of political media budgets could go towards digital media — a total of $1 billion.
And the very polite argument continues.
Over at the Volokh Conspiracy, Orin Kerr responds, point by point, to my disagreement with his take on the Microsoft warrant case. I thank Kerr for continuing the conversation, and make four points in response:
Take me for a ride and I'll buy your stock?
A little more than a year after announcing a $100 million mega-round, we’re hearing from multiple sources that long-distance ride-sharing platform BlaBlaCar is in the process of raising another round with Insight Venture Partners. TechCrunch has learned that the French startup is raising $160 million at a post-money valuation of $1.2 billion.
… As a reminder, BlaBlaCar is a marketplace where you can find a driver who is driving from one city to another and book a seat in advance. It connects people with empty seats with riders. Drivers can make a bit of money while riders can travel for cheap. Like Airbnb, the company takes a small cut on every ride (currently around 10 percent).
Another “Thing” on the Internet of Things? Automating medicine? (iDoctor?)
The stethoscope, that iconic tool of doctors, has been upgraded several times since it was invented two centuries ago. Eko Devices, a start-up led by three recent graduates of the University of California, Berkeley, is betting that it is time for another innovative overhaul.
Last Friday, the fledgling company received approval from the Food and Drug Administration to market its Eko Core, a digital device that attaches to a conventional stethoscope and allows it to record, amplify and wirelessly send audio and sound wave images to an iPhone application. Its software meets federal standards for privacy and security, the founders say, and it can transmit its heart sounds and waveforms to the electronic health records used in hospitals and clinics. An Android app is scheduled to be released early next year.
Interesting. Perhaps a “hot air” map to locate politicians?
5 Mesmerizing Maps That Will Blow Your Mind