Thursday, October 22, 2015

This might not have anything to do with El Salvador or Human Rights or lawsuits, but then again, it might.
Jennifer Wing reports:
The theft of a computer and hard-drive containing the names and stories of people who survived the war in El Salvador has human rights workers on edge. The break-in happened in Smith Hall, in the offices of the University of Washington’s Center for Human Rights, or CHR.
UW’s Campus Police Department says sometime between October 14-18, Dr. Angelina Godoy’s desktop computer and an external hard drive were taken. Godoy is CHR’s Director. There was no sign of forced entry.
The stolen devices contain personal testimonies that are part of ongoing human rights investigations involving survivors of the war in El Salvador, a civil war that killed more than 75,000 people between 1980 and 1991. During the conflict the US provided military aid to the Salvadoran Government.
Read more on KPLU.
In related coverage, Derek Wang and Gil Aegerter explain:
The center’s lawsuit alleges that the CIA is illegally withholding information about an El Salvador army officer who is suspected of human rights violations during that Central American country’s civil war in the 1980s.
Center officials say they have backup copies of the information on the computer drives, but they’re concerned because the drives had about 90 percent of the information being used in the lawsuit, including sensitive details about personal testimonies and pending investigations.
Read more on KUOW.

Adding insult to injury. Can Hillary now claim “Everyone does it?”
Sam Thielman reports:
WikiLeaks on Wednesday released documents it said had been collected from CIA director John Brennan’s personal AOL account, the first in what the group said would be a series of publications.
The embarrassing leaks include a questionnaire for the official’s security clearance marked: “Review copy – Do not retain.”
Other documents included an early version of the Limitations on Interrogations Techniques Act of 2008, a bill defining the limits of interrogation methods. Also released was a letter from Missouri Republican senator Christopher Bond, then a member of the Senate select committee on intelligence.
All the documents in the WikiLeaks cache are from 2008 and before. Brennan assumed office in 2013.
Read more on The Guardian.
[From the article:
Authorities told CNN that Brennan’s account did not contain any classified information.

So these devices would never need to decrypt message contents.
Law enforcement: Phone spying software not capable of collecting content
Cell phone spying technology used by federal law enforcement will not have the software capability to scoop up individuals' actual communications, like texts or pictures, law enforcement officials said Tuesday.
Officials from the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) told lawmakers the devices will not be configured to collect the actual content from people's phones. 
… DHS said its use of the technology in the past never scooped up actual content from mobile phones, while the Justice Department demurred.
"I will have to get back to you about what the policy said," Tyrangiel said.

Bad procedure. “This data is really, really important, but we didn't bother to protect it.” It's not like the name change came as a surprise. (Goes to the “Right to be remembered” issue?)
Radio New Zealand reports:
Child sex abuse survivors in Britain are calling for an investigation after discovering some testimonies may have been deleted due to a technical error.
Claims of paedophiles in Westminster in the 1980s sparked the inquiry and cases under investigation could date back to the 1970s.
But the inquiry’s website has said information victims submitted between 14 September and 2 October was deleted before it reached the investigation’s engagement team.
“Due to a change in our website address to on 14 September, any information submitted to the inquiry between 14 September and 2 October through the online form on the ‘Share your experience’ page of our website, was instantly and permanently deleted before it reached our engagement team,” it said.
Read more on Radio New Zealand.

An interesting argument: “Give up your gnome or die!”
Your Genome Isn’t Really Secret,’ Says Google Ventures’s Bill Maris
Bill Maris has a simple proposition for those who are a little freaked out by his efforts to digitize human DNA: “If we each keep our genetic information secret, then we’re all going to die.” OK then.
The Google Ventures managing partner has shifted the firm’s focus this year to investing in companies that aim to slow aging, reverse disease, and extend life. Many of those life-sciences companies do this by collecting customers’ genetic information and looking for trends.
Hoarding this kind of personal data introduces risks, particularly as hacking becomes an everyday occurrence. But Maris dismissed privacy concerns surrounding the prospect of genomic data becoming public. “What are you worried about?” he said at a Wall Street Journal technology conference in Laguna Beach, Calif., on Tuesday. “Your genome isn’t really secret.”
That’s because people constantly leave traces of their genomic material lying around in public. If someone really wanted the information, they don’t need to hack a server. They could just pull a cup with your saliva out of the trash and test it, said Maris

Kieren McCarthy reports:
DNA testing company 23andMe says it has received four requests from law enforcement agencies for “user data” in the past quarter, all of them from the United States.
Those stats came in the first “transparency report” from the company on Wednesday.
Read more on The Register.

Healthcare Sector Security Woefully Weak, Survey Says
… Healthcare is indeed a major target for cybercriminals, Raytheon|Websense found in a report released last month. The healthcare sector experiences 340 percent more security incidents and attacks than the average for other industries, and it is more than 200 percent more likely to encounter data theft.
Advanced malware is used in one of every 600 attacks in the healthcare sector. Compared to other sectors, healthcare is four times more likely to be hit by advanced malware.

For my App building students.
Twitter buys Fastlane, a popular tool for building iPhone apps, and adds Android support
Twitter has acquired Fastlane, a set of tools that found a lot of popularity with iPhone developers as an easy way to constantly test and update their apps.
… Also important, as far as not annoying developers: Fastlane has always been available as a free download, available as "open source" for programmers all over the world to look at and improve on. Krause says his employment at Twitter won't change that at all.

(Related) For those not Twit Apps.
One of Microsoft's best friends just hit the gas pedal on its already huge growth
Xamarin, a fast-growing mobile app development startup that's got a close partnership with Microsoft, has snapped up tiny startup RoboVM in a little acquisition that could lead to some huge growth.
… When Xamarin first got started in 2011, it had a simple sales pitch. Write your smartphone app in C#, and it provides the tools to make it into an iPhone, Android, Mac, or Windows app with a minimum of effort.
RoboVM, a tiny startup founded earlier in 2015, has the exact same pitch — only it did it with Java.

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