surveillance

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Germany considers replacing email with typewriters to evade spying

Germany to replace email with typewriters to duck US spying?

The country's pondering manual typewriters, however, unlike Russia's reported embrace of electric typewriters last year. Russia should be well aware that you can plug a keylogger into those e-typewriters, given that it pulled that stunt on IBM Selectrics back in the 70s!

iPhones are a security threat to the state, China claims

iPhone's a security threat to the state, China claims

China has cited Apple iPhone's ability to track and time-stamp users' whereabouts as reason to declare the mobile phone hazardous to state security.

UK to rush through "emergency" phone and internet data retention law

UK to rush through "emergency" phone and internet data retention law

The UK is rushing through Parliament what it calls an emergency law that will ensure it retains access to people's phone and internet records, in spite of the European Court of Justice having said in April that data retention violates human rights. It's not a rehash of the Snooper's Charter, politicians claim, but there's not a lot of time to eyeball it to make sure that's true.

Australian police using tower dumps to slurp mass phone data

Australian police using tower dumps to slurp mass phone data

Australian federal and state police have joined the ranks of mega-data slurpers - namely, the US, where 1 in 4 law enforcement agencies have reportedly used a "tower dump" - ordering phone providers to hand over personal information about thousands of mobile phone users, regardless of whether or not those people are under investigation.

Holiday snaps and nuclear intel: The NSA's data capture exposed

NSA catches only 10% of data legally, but is it a fair trade off?

That leaves large-scale privacy invasion on 90% of 160,000 analysed messages swept up illegally by the NSA. But credit where credit is due: the legal 10% of intercepts have significant intelligence value, including data about a secret overseas nuclear project and double-dealing by an ostensible ally.

Monday review - the hot 22 stories of the week

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It's weekly roundup time!

Here's all the great stuff we've written in the past seven days.

EFF sues NSA over hoarding of zero days

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Wouldn't it be nice to know just how, exactly, the spy agency decides whether to silently exploit zero days for snooping purposes while leaving businesses and individuals in the dark with their bellies exposed? The EFF has filed a FOIA lawsuit to help find answers.

Facebook's facing a losing battle to protect users' privacy

Facebook's facing a losing battle to protect users' privacy

Last year, prosecutors in Manhattan held Facebook up by the ankles and shook out personal data on 381 users. A judge last week said that it's up to the targeted users to complain about privacy invasion, not data-repository Facebook. But how are they supposed to stand up for their rights if they're never told about the sealed warrants to begin with?

US House votes "overwhelmingly" to cut funding of NSA surveillance

NSA surveillance funding cuts OKed by US House

A strong majority of the US House have voted to cut funding for surveillance on citizens or for planting backdoors that let the government slip past encryption that's supposed to shield communications.

Here's what bugging your own office NSA-style can reveal

Eavesdropping. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

A US reporter for National Public Radio found that NSA-style broad surveillance enabled by a pen-testing device and software crunching picked up on his research (in spite of Google's default search encryption), intercepted uncut interview tape, ferreted out his interview subjects' phone numbers and email addresses, and more.

Feds swoop in, snatch mobile phone tracking records away from ACLU

Feds swoop in, snatch mobile phone tracking records away from ACLU

After the Feds seized the surveillance records, US Marshals then moved the physical records 320 miles away, meaning the ACLU wouldn't be able to learn how, and how extensively, police use snooping devices.

Google says half of email is sent unencrypted

Open padlock. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

It's been an encryption-intensive start to the week - good news for all of us who are wary of snooping.

NSA facial recognition program scours web for images to identify suspects

NSA facial recognition program scours web for images to identify suspects

The US National Security Agency (NSA) has been collecting millions of images from the web and storing them in a database that can be mined by facial recognition software for identifying surveillance targets, a new report says.

Say hello to your vending machine - it might be watching you!

Say hello to spying vending machines!

You walk up, ready to quench your thirst with sucrose syrup, and the beverage vending machine decides to take your photo, guess your age, discern your gender and then target-market at you.

Yes, your smartphone camera can be used to spy on you...

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A researcher claims to have written an Android app that takes photos and videos using the device camera, even while the screen is turned off - so you wouldn't even know the camera was spying on you.

Snapchat, AT&T, Amazon = worst privacy protectors says EFF

Snapchat, AT&T, Amazon = worst privacy protectors says EFF

Snapchat makes its debut on the list with the lowest ranking of all when it comes to who's got our backs. The good news is that many companies have made vast strides in criteria including publishing transparency reports about government data requests and fighting for users' data privacy rights both in the courts and in Congress.

Apple releases OS X Mavericks 10.9.3, repeats last month's security updates

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Apple just issued a Security Advisory for OS X Mavericks 10.9.3. Don't get too excited - from a security point of view, it seems to be nothing more than last month's fixes all over again.

So, at betwen 0.5GB and 1GB to download, do you need it?

NSA intercepts routers, servers to slip in backdoors for overseas surveillance

Spying. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

US intelligence has been covertly implanting interception tools into US networking equipment heading overseas, alleges Glenn Greenwald.

US House committee unanimously votes to rein in NSA, end bulk data collection

Spy. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

The USA Freedom Act is a watered-down version of an earlier bill - it's been re-dubbed the "Freedumb Act" - and it's seen as a weakened compromise between the intelligence community and those concerned with people's rights not to be snooped on. But hey, privacy groups say, it's still a step in the right direction.

Apple will notify customers when the law demands their personal data

Apple logo. Image courtesy of 1000 Words/Shutterstock.

Except, of course, if data demands come with gag orders, Apple's new guidelines say.