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British regulator urges Russian authorities to shut down webcam site

11/21, 1:54pm

Site breached privacy by showing video feeds from unsecured webcams

A Russian website showing live video feeds from unsecured webcams has come under fire from a British government regulator. The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) of the United Kingdom has called for Russian authorities to take action against the site, "Insecam," which breaches the privacy of thousands of people who do not realize someone else may be watching, as well as calling for device owners to secure their cameras.

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NOAA admits to server breach, Chinese hackers blamed

11/13, 12:54pm

Officials slow to react in NOAA hacking, cover-up claimed by congressman

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has admitted that it has been the target of another online breach, just a few days after the United States Postal Service (USPS) revealed it too endured an intrusion. The attack took place in late September, though unlike the other governmental intrusion, NOAA officials are not revealing whether any classified data was acquired by intruders, nor if systems were altered.

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GCHQ chief asks US tech companies to work closely with law enforcement

11/04, 4:22pm

Terrorist use of social networks concerns new head of UK intelligence agency

The new head of a British intelligence agency has asked for technology companies in the United States to help law enforcement fight crime. Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) chief Robert Hannigan wrote in an article for the Financial Times that the use of technology and social networks by terrorist groups such as Isis should compel tech companies to work with government agencies, rather than overprotect customer data.

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FBI identifies 'second leaker,' opens up criminal investigation

10/28, 8:00pm

DOJ could be reluctant to pursue criminal charges after criticism in other cases

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has reportedly identified a "second leaker" that has been passing sensitive government information to journalists for months. While the subject isn't named, the FBI recently conducted a search of a government contractor's home believed to be tied to the leak of classified documents regarding government watch-lists. In addition to the search, federal prosecutors in North Virginia initiated a criminal investigation.

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Hungarian government proposes data transfer tax for Internet providers

10/23, 1:18pm

Proposed Internet tax could help Hungary with national budget deficit

Internet providers in Hungary may find their costs will increase, as the government mulls a possible tax on Internet traffic. A draft tax bill for 2015 has been submitted to the country's parliament, one which would require companies to pay for data transfers, as the country attempts to deal with a national budget deficit in alternative ways.

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FBI director asks Congress to update law to circumvent encryption

10/22, 3:50pm

Comey seeking update to CALEA to give law enforcement a 'front door' into devices

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director James Comey isn't giving up his crusade to persuade the government and businesses that law enforcement should have access to encrypted phone data. Comey took his fight to Congress recently, asking that it update the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) to cover newer technologies.

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Obama signs BuySecure executive order to hasten US EMV adoption

10/20, 1:57pm

Initiative adds EMV support to government channels, more identity theft protections, reporting

Last week, US President Barack Obama signed an executive order that will help consumers who are victims of identity theft, as well as speed up the adoption of the Europay, MasterCard, and Visa (EMV) chip standard for credit and debit cards. In the order, parts of the federal government will be adopting EMV measures, as well as strengthening the public's ability to monitor financial health or seek help when necessary.

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UK government threatens Internet trolls with two years in prison

10/20, 1:38pm

Online abuse proposals quadruple current maximum prison sentences

The government of the United Kingdom is attempting to increase the possible penalties for online harassment, following recent high-profile reports of "trolling" in the country. The proposals, an amendment to the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill undergoing the latter stages of parliamentary debate, potentially allows for people convicted for trolling to face prison sentences of up to two years, up from the current six-month maximum.

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Ireland closing 'Double Irish' loophole exploited by tech companies

10/14, 10:51am

Apple, Google, others will be affected by tax loophole closing in 2020

The Irish government is preparing to close a tax loophole that many technology companies are using to their advantage. The government has announced changes to tax law covering Ireland, which will prevent Google, Apple, and other large enterprises from taking advantage of current tax rules in what is commonly known as a "Double Irish" tax arrangement.

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Waze announces Connective Citizens initiative with governments

10/02, 6:23pm

Program exchanges traffic data between governments, crowdsourced traffic platform

Waze is expanding its data reach today, launching the Connective Citizens program to bring the crowdsourced navigation platform together with 10 governments across the globe. The initiative is expected to improve the amount of information available in Waze, while granting municipalities and other government bodies information on road incidents and traffic conditions.

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China denies hacking involvement uncovered in US committee report

09/18, 10:26pm

Official states charges are 'groundless,' believes US should focus on upholding security

In a press conference today, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei responded to the government sponsored hacking allegations from the United States. In an unclassified report from the Senate Committee on Armed Services, the body accused the Chinese military of being responsible for at least 20 successful attacks on US Transportation Command (Transcom) contractors.

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Chinese hackers hit government contractors 20 times in past year

09/17, 9:53pm

Lack of communication between divisions, contractors left agency aware of two attacks

A US Senate committee discovered that Chinese hackers were able to gain access to computer systems for US Transportation Command (Transcom) contractors at least 20 times in a single year. In an unclassified report released today, the investigation focused on the security of Transcom due of the central role it plays in mobilizing troops and equipment.

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Hacker infiltrates Healthcare.gov, no personal information stolen

09/04, 9:40pm

Intruder installs 'malicious software' for cyber-attacks, breach access point unknown

Health care exchanges continue to hit rough patches, as the United States government has revealed that the federal health care portal Healthcare.gov was breached. While there is no evidence that any personal information from the 5.4 million people applying through the site was stolen during the event, the attack marks the first time an intrusion has successfully accessed systems attached to the website.

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White House creates US Digital Service to aid IT projects

08/12, 9:56am

US Digital Service created to avoid issues similar to Healthcare.gov launch

The Obama administration has launched a new team dedicated to managing the IT practices of government agencies. The US Digital Service (USDS), headed by former Google engineer Mikey Dickerson, aims to help government-created public IT projects work as effectively as privately-owned services, in order to avoid issues similar to the ill-fated Healthcare.gov launch, a project Dickerson helped rescue.

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China increases domestic security suppliers, removes foreign software

08/04, 1:38pm

Kaspersky, Symantec said to be excluded from procurement lists, could be due to security concerns

One of China's state-sponsored media channels is indicating that the government has removed all foreign-made software from its list of approved security software purchases. Newspaper The People's Daily posted on Twitter yesterday, indicating that Kaspersky and Symantec are now excluded from the country's government procurement channels.

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Chinese officials make surprise visits to four Microsoft offices

07/28, 4:13pm

Visit tied to investigation, Microsoft states that it will cooperate with officials

Officials from the China's State Administration for Industry and Commerce (AIC) showed up at four Microsoft offices in the country unannounced earlier today. Offices in Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou and Shanghai received the sudden visits, that could be tied to the start of an antitrust investigation for a presently-unknown reason. The visits come at a time when Microsoft faces scrutiny in the country, over spying allegations and government refusal of Windows 8.

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FISA Court judges ruling on surveillance reportedly own Verizon stock

07/28, 2:35pm

Report claims three judges in FISA Court bought Verizon stock in the last year

Judges sitting on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA Court) may not be entirely impartial, according to a report. A number of judges on FISA Court allegedly own stock in Verizon, one of the companies subject to NSA bulk surveillance orders issued by the court, with the report suggesting this could be considered as unethical behavior by judges in an important role.

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Presidential executive order over drone usage reportedly on the way

07/25, 7:34am

NTIA may be called to create voluntary best practices for commercial drones

President Barack Obama may issue privacy guidelines for commercial drones in the United States, claims a report. Plans to issue an executive order allegedly involve the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) working with consumer groups, and companies planning to operate drones in the future, to create "voluntary best practices" for the unmanned aircraft.

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Leaked documents reveal British GCHQ can manipulate communications

07/14, 5:06pm

Repository of JTRIG tools shows some that can modify or mimic existing information

Information posted by The Intercept revealed this week that the British Intelligence agency Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) has the tools to modify communications, on top of monitoring them and collecting data. A database in the form of a Wiki entry of internal tools was posted to the site, listing the function and development status of each. Data from social media sites like Facebook, video sites like YouTube and various forms of web traffic and phone calls can all be modified or spoofed.

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UK follows US in banning uncharged electronics from air travel

07/09, 10:39am

Department for Transport requires electronics to power on for security checks

Following on from a recent decision by the US Transportation Security Administration effectively banning uncharged electronics on flights to the United States, the United Kingdom is preparing to do something similar. The Department for Transport is now requiring air passengers arriving or departing the UK to have their devices charged before going through security checkpoints.

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UK government plans reinstatement of metadata collection programs

07/07, 11:54am

Collection of call, text, Internet data to continue under plans by UK ministers

The government of the United Kingdom seeks to force telecommunication companies to log records of calls, texts, and Internet usage for a 12-month period, according to a report. Ministers are said to be attempting to counteract the effects of an European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling in April, by introducing surveillance laws reinstating powers struck down by the court's decision.

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Japanese government considering removal of SIM locks on handsets

07/02, 5:04pm

Government could oblige carriers to remove locks, allow citizens device freedom

The Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry of Japan is considering a plan to remove all SIM locks from handsets in the country. Carriers would be obliged to remove the locks, ending a hold on customers that they currently have through current phone discounts. Sources from Jiji Press indicate that the plan was being addressed at a panel of experts earlier this week, with the intent of "drastically" reviewing the guidelines.

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US Attorney General promises stronger data privacy rights to Europeans

06/27, 12:19pm

Proposal would extend US Privacy Act rights to EU citizens

European citizens could receive some of the same rights to privacy as Americans in the future, if new proposals are adopted. US Attorney General Eric Holder advised to European leaders in Athens, Greece on Wednesday that the Obama administration is working on legislation that would provide EU residents similar protections under the US Privacy Act as US citizens already have.

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Germany declines to renew Verizon government contract over spying

06/26, 8:10pm

NSA snooping of officials turns German government away from American company

Verizon is going to be out a high profile government client, thanks to the spying actions of the United States. Today, Germany indicated that it would not be renewing its contract with the wireless carrier based on concerns that Verizon had potentially abetted spying from the National Security Agency (NSA). Germany's contract with Verizon is set to expire in 2015.

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South Korea ponders the implications of video game addiction law

06/23, 4:31pm

Debate considers law that would regulate games like drugs and alcohol

South Korea is struggling with how it should deal with the population's booming interest in playing video games. From eSports involving games like League of Legends or Starcraft, to the surge of internet cafés and "PC bangs," games are rooted in the culture of the country. However, a string of gaming incidents and growing concern has caused the government to consider passing a law that would regulate videos games in a similar fashion to drugs and alcohol.

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US Department of Transportation wants to regulate navigation apps

06/16, 6:40pm

Government seeks right to require app changes if dangerous, remove device distractions

With smartphone navigation sitting in a gray area for operation in cars, the United States government is looking to set rules on how applications can be used. If the recently-announced Grow America Act is enacted as law, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) would have control to set rules for in-car navigation systems. This would include any applications powered by smartphones, including Google Maps, Apple Maps and Waze among others.

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US Marshals holding auction for 29,656 Bitcoins seized from Silk Road

06/13, 9:05am

Bitcoin pool seized during Silk Road takedown expected to fetch over $17M

The United States Marshals Service will be selling off the collection of Bitcoin it seized following the take-down of black-market drug site Silk Road. Almost 30,000 Bitcoins will be sold in the online auction on June 27th, with the pool estimated at current exchange rate prices to be worth a total of $17.91 million at the time of writing, down from the $27 million it was originally expected to fetch during initial reports of the sale in January.

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Vodafone confirms some governments wiretap customers without warrants

06/06, 7:58am

Law enforcement disclosure report claims phone tapping widely used on various Vodafone networks

The world's second-largest carrier has revealed its service is being monitored by government agencies. Following the lead of other technology companies in publishing a transparency report, Vodafone claims phone tapping is being widely used by agencies in a number of the 29 countries it operates in, and in some cases, authorities are able to access customer data without even requiring a warrant.

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Instagram latest social media to be blocked by Iran government

05/25, 6:07pm

Application blocked by court order after lawsuit filed over privacy concerns

Facebook-owned Instagram has been blocked in Iran, marking another social media block from the country this month. A different Facebook company, WhatsApp, was banned at the beginning of the month, stemming from Mark Zuckerberg's family heritage, which is Jewish. Instagram was also temporarily banned in the country for 12 hours last December.

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China bans Windows 8 from government computers over support concerns

05/20, 10:07am

End of Windows XP support pushes China to avoid Windows 8

China has banned the use of Windows 8 on new computers used by the government, citing security issues. The limited lifetime of support for Microsoft operating systems, as evidenced recently with Windows XP, is said to have forced the government to decree all desktops, notebooks, and tablet PCs to run any other operating system than Windows 8.

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Wozniak writes open letter to FCC asking to keep Internet open

05/18, 1:45pm

Apple co-founder relays how important keeping Internet open is to country

Inventor and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has penned an open letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) emphasizing the importance of the agency to the people of the United States, and its role as a protector of the open Internet. The letter, published in The Atlantic magazine, chronicles Wozniak's history with telecom and the headaches he's run across at various times because of the monopoly companies have had as a result of government policies.

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FCC adopts controversial 'net neutrality' proposal in 3-2 vote

05/15, 12:34pm

Chairman's vision of 'fast lane' access may be misinterpreted by public

The Federal Communication Commission has voted on Chairman Tom Wheeler's revised net neutrality proposal, and has accepted it. Starting immediately, the US government will begin a long period of debate and public comment on the issue, which has already proven contentious amongst both Capital Hill insiders as well as the public at large.

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House Republicans bash FCC over 'antiquated regulation' of Internet

05/14, 6:35pm

GOP leaders warn that FCC proposal could harm internet economy, innovation

Four Republicans in the United States House of Representatives including Speaker John Boehner sent a letter today to Federal Communications Committee (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler asking that he halt his plan on regulation of the Internet. Government leaders think the plan will be a detriment to the economy and innovation that currently thrives.

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Tech firms teaming up to notify users of government data requests

05/01, 11:56pm

Goal is to force greater openness, courts to weigh in on secret collection

Apple and other tech companies are planning to adjust privacy policies to begin notifying customers when their information is requested by most law enforcement agencies, according to reports. Microsoft, Facebook and Google are also said to be planning to implement the same idea, as all four companies strongly support the right of users to know when their data is being requested by government officials in most cases. The move is widely seen as an attempt to force the process to become more lawful and transparent.

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Turkey's prime minister accuses Twitter of tax evasion

04/13, 8:50pm

Claim of Twitter as tax evader follows lifting of ban in Turkey

The Prime Minister of Turkey is continuing to attack Twitter, accusing the microblogging service of tax evasion. In a televised address, Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed the recent ruling by Turkey's highest court against a ban on the service places the interests and rights of companies ahead of those of Turkey itself, and that his government will "go after" Twitter for supposedly due taxes.

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Facebook issues second transparency report, adds censorship requests

04/11, 4:21pm

US continues to ask for most user data, India most censorious

Facebook has updated its global government transparency report for the second time, covering the second half of 2013. Aside from revealing that it had 28147 requests for user data from 81 countries, up from between 25,607 and 26,607 requests from 71 countries in the previous report, Facebook is also revealing which countries are restricting or removing content from view.

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UK prepares to legalize CD, DVD ripping, private backups of content

03/28, 2:44pm

Modernization of UK copyright law may occur in June

The United Kingdom is preparing to legalize the ripping of DVDs and CDs for private use, it has revealed. As part of a larger movement to modernize its copyright laws, the government is also changing the way copyright laws cover quotations, caricature and parody usage, with the new rules likely to come into force June 1st of this year.

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Google transparency report shows 120-percent increase in data requests

03/27, 4:05pm

US tops list of countries requesting user data from Google

Requests for user information received by Google from government agencies have increased 120 percent since 2009, according to the search company's latest transparency report. The quantity of requests in the second half of 2013 reached an all-time high of 27,477, up from 25,879 for the first half of the year, while the percentage of requests where some data is provided has reached its lowest point since the report began, with 64 percent.

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Apple hires new top DC lobbyist, also creates new 'privacy counsel'

03/24, 11:06pm

Data protection specialist, former Senate staffer picked for top jobs

A former Senate staffer will take on the role of Apple's new top US government lobbyist in Washington DC, while a certified privacy professional with a background in healthcare, national security and social network privacy issues has been named to a new "privacy counsel" position within the company. Amber Cottle served as a staff director for an influential congressional committee, while Sabrina Ross as already begun her job overseeing the protection of customer data.

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US Department of Commerce asks ICANN for DNS transition plan

03/15, 2:20pm

NTIA starts process to end DNS management, American monitoring in 2015

The United States government has asked the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to begin drafting a proposal to transition the National Telecommunications and Information Administration's (NTIA) responsibility of domain name system (DNS) administration away from the United States. Stepping away from governance of ICANN would mark the final phase of DNS privatization that had been set in motion in 1998, allowing ICANN to operate independently.

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US government developing data-farming tool for 'inside threat'

03/10, 2:59pm

Government employees will be subject to near-constant surveillance

US intelligence and military commands are in the process of evaluating a widespread government employee surveillance system that would accumulate databases in order to evaluate the behavior of security clearance holders. The system would be tailored to identify present and future corrupt officials, data leakers, and other "rogue agents", and pulls from aspects of a US military model that has been in the works for more than 10 years. The new system will collate data from many databases, public and private, to form a profile of a targeted individual, and evaluate them for threats to the US government from within.

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Report: GCHQ collected photographs of Yahoo webcam chat users

02/27, 12:41pm

Automated facial recognition performed on webcam stills by UK security agency

The British security intelligence agency GCHQ secured millions of photographs from webcams used with Yahoo's chat services, a report alleges. The agency is claimed to have captured and stored images from more than 1.8 million users in one six month period in 2008 alone, with the surveillance activities said to have continued from 2008 to 2010, though it is possible the program continued for years afterward.

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Secret surveillance court accepts two of Obama's NSA metadata reforms

02/07, 1:25pm

Agrees to measures requiring court approval for NSA metadata searches

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has given its approval to changes President Barack Obama has requested as part of a surveillance reforms speech last month. Two measures in the reforms have been accepted by the court, which will affect the way the National Security Agency (NSA) searches its phone records database in the future.

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Twitter attacks US over FISA reporting, publishes transparency report

02/06, 2:53pm

Twitter complains over lack of detail when reporting FISA requests

Twitter has published its latest Transparency Report, detailing information requests and takedown notices, while at the same time taking the opportunity to attack the US government over its lack of transparency on national security requests. While Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, and LinkedIn provided limited details about Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) requests, Twitter has opted not to, due to its current lack of usefulness.

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Google, Facebook, others release updated transparency report data

02/03, 4:30pm

FISA requests detailed in agreement with US government

A group of tech companies have released more information about government requests from the NSA and other agencies for user information, as part of their transparency reporting programs. Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Yahoo, and Microsoft have all posted more statistics online for these Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) requests, following an agreement between the companies and the US Department of Justice (DoJ).

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Latest Snowden leaks claim NSA data collection from 'leaky' apps

01/27, 3:21pm

NSA,GCHQ allegedly claimed to collect information on individuals from mobile advertising

Intelligence agencies in the United States and the United Kingdom are allegedly taking advantage of smartphone apps to collect a wealth of information about individuals, in new spying allegations. The National Security Agency (NSA) and the UK's Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) are able to use the "leaky" nature of popular mobile phone apps to extract information about an individual, according to new leaked documents.

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South Korea rules to allow pre-installed smartphone app deletion

01/24, 7:08pm

Users must be allowed to delete unwanted apps already installed on devices

Owners of smartphones in South Korea will be able to delete pre-installed apps from their devices in the future, the country's government has ruled. From April, carriers will be required to allow users to uninstall software placed onto the device before purchase, in an effort to let device owners make better use of a device's storage, as well as to improve its battery life.

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Federal watchdog calls for end of NSA call log collection programs

01/23, 2:14pm

Collection programs such as Prism is illegal according to review board

An independent federal watchdog has decided that the National Security Agency's (NSA) phone call logging and collection activity is illegal. The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board advises that the call log collection provided "minimal" benefits to current counter-terrorism operations and should be stopped, in a 238-page report set to be released today.

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US Marshals preparing to dump $27M in Silk Road's seized Bitcoin?

01/17, 6:16pm

Agency said to be mulling auction

The US Marshals Service may soon be tasked with liquidating $26.5 million worth of Bitcoin that was seized last year during the Silk Road takedown. Federal prosecutors in New York recently finalized the forfeiture of 29,655 Bitcoins from the Silk Road servers, while another 144,336 Bitcoins--worth approximately $129 million--awaits formal forfeiture as the government proceeds with its prosecution of alleged Silk Road founder Ross William Ulbricht.

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President Obama announces reforms to data collection methods of NSA

01/17, 12:45pm

Collected data to be handed to third party, judicial findings required for access

The United States government will reform the way it uses surveillance data, President Barack Obama has announced. Addressing concerns over the National Security Agency (NSA) and the various programs employed to monitor potential threats, Obama outlined a number of changes in how the data will be accessed by security agencies as he attempts to ease the concerns of US citizens.

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