Sunday, June 03, 2018

Why I teach my Computer Security students about encryption.
I missed this important story while I was away at the Privacy Law Scholars Conference. Craig Timberg reports:
Surveillance systems that track the locations of cellphone users and spy on their calls, texts and data streams are being turned against Americans as they roam the country and the world, say security experts and U.S. officials.
Federal officials acknowledged the privacy risk to Americans in a previously undisclosed letter from the Department of Homeland Security to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) last week, saying they had received reports that “nefarious actors may have exploited” global cellular networks “to target the communications of American citizens.”
The letter, dated May 22 and obtained by The Washington Post, described surveillance systems that tap into a global messaging system that allows cellular customers to move from network to network as they travel. The decades-old messaging system, called SS7, has little security, allowing intelligence agencies and some criminal gangs to spy on unwitting targets — based on nothing more than their cellphone numbers.
Read more on Washington Post.

This is not a search?
DNA that led to Golden State Killer suspect's arrest was collected from his car while he shopped
When the suspected Golden State Killer drove into a Hobby Lobby parking lot in April, investigators were waiting nearby. As he walked into the craft store, it gave them a perfect chance to collect a secret DNA sample.
Police swabbed the driver's side handle of Joseph James DeAngelo's car, according to arrest and search warrants released Friday.
Authorities sent it for testing and matched it to semen recovered at some of the Golden State Killer's crime scenes, the arrest warrant said.
The DNA collection at a public parking lot in Roseville, California, became a crucial turning point in the decades-old search for the suspect in the killings.
… On April 23, a day before his arrest, police say they collected multiple samples from a trash can outside DeAngelo's home in Citrus Heights, a town 16 miles northeast of Sacramento. They had watched the home for three days, the warrant said.
Only one item inside the trash – a piece of tissue – provided enough DNA to run a test. Police matched it to evidence from the crime scenes, the documents said.

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