Investment pledge by UK carriers to avoid implementing national roaming proposal
A suggestion by the British government has prompted carriers to improve their mobile networks. EE, O2, Vodafone, and Three have all agreed to collectively invest at least £5 billion ($7.8 billion) into a program to improve their mobile networks across the United Kingdom, in order to avoid being forced to implement a proposed "National Roaming" scheme.
Uber hit by multiple legal, regulatory issues over the last few days
Uber is continuing to have a turbulent week, with issues in a number of different cities and countries within the last few days. The driving service has been banned in Spain, Thailand, and India, with Vietnam also taking a close look at the company's practices, while the city of Portland, Oregon has filed a lawsuit to shutter the service within days of launch.
Secure Data Act attempts to ban the inclusion of vulnerabilities for surveillance, search
A new Senate bill was introduced on December 4 that aims to halt one channel of government intrusion into electronic devices and software. Privacy and technology supporter Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) unveiled the Secure Data Act, which he drafted to cut off recent attempts by government officials to change laws and render new private encryption and device trends obsolete in the name of government access.
Wireless company said to overcharge for wiretaps, pen registers for three years
AT&T's budget wireless brand Cricket Communications has agreed to pay back more than $2.1 million in charges stemming from government-related wiretaps and pen registers. In a statement from the US Attorney's Office for the Northern District of California, the company is settling in order to bring an end to the allegations that it overcharged the government for services and facilities tied to electronic surveillance for three years.
Sellers of unregistered Bluetooth sticks face a maximum of three years in prison or $27,000 fine
In South Korea, the Ministry of Science is stepping in to regulate the market for "selfie sticks" on a technicality. The governmental action isn't prompted by competitive markets or public complaints, but by a subset of the small sticks that use Bluetooth. It turns out that many of the sticks that utilize the wireless functionality aren't registered, and therefore haven't been submitted for testing for radio interference.
China report indicates Microsoft will pay $16.2M per year in additional taxes
Microsoft's tax troubles aren't limited to the US, according to a report from a Chinese news agency. The software company is being accused of tax evasion in the country, after years of posting heavy losses in a Chinese-based subsidiary. As a result, Microsoft is paying the Chinese government $137 million in back taxes and interest.
All Writs Act compels 'reasonable' unlock assistance, gives idea of future circumvention
In the face of increasing security measures on consumer devices, the US Department of Justice appears to be returning to old school tactics to get at data in devices. A judge in New York ordered an unnamed smartphone manufacturer to provide technical assistance in unlocking a device, something prosecutors argued under the All Writs Act of 1789. While the All Writs Act has been used in the past in technological situations, it could be the de facto means of law enforcement data requests in the future.
Proposed security bill will force Internet providers to log IP address allocations for one year
The UK government is proposing a law which would require Internet service providers (ISPs) to keep records of IP address allocations and provide them to the police. Part of the "Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill," the measure is said to help law enforcement officials identify and track devices used for online crime, terrorism, and to help protect vulnerable people.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.