COMPUTERS/INTERNET/SECURITY | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


COMPUTERS/INTERNET/SECURITY

Sep 19 09:22

Privacy Violation Alert: Google Admits To Changing Phone Settings Remotely

Google has apologized after admitting to changing the settings on Android users phones remotely and without the phone owners’ permission. Several Android users noticed their battery saver setting had been activated last week without their consent.

Most of the affected posters on Reddit described having a Google Pixel device. Other brands of Android devices were also mentioned, including the Essential Phone, which was designed by one of the creators of Android. Google Pixel phone users were surprised to see their phones’ battery saver function turned on while the battery is at 99% without them turning it on. This unusual incident was first reported by the Android Police, who said that a “substantial” number of Pixel owners complained about such a thing happening, according to the Business Times.

Sep 19 09:09

Mirai botmasters sentenced in District of Alaska federal court

Three men were sentenced to five years of probation in federal court in Anchorage for their role in operating the Mirai botnet.

Paras Jha, 21, of Fanwood, New Jersey; Josiah White, 20, of Washington, Penn.; and Salton Norman, 21, of Metairie, Louisiana, pleaded guilty in the District of Alaska in December to charges related to creating and operating the massive botnet.

"A botnet is a series of devices that have been compromised by a cybercriminal who is then able to control them from a remote location and cause them to respond to his commands," Supervisory Special Agent William Walton of the FBI Anchorage Division told Channel 2 in December.

[RELATED: Alaska spearheads investigation into 'one of the most powerful cyberattacks in history']

In operating the Mirai Botnet, Jha, White and Norman had harnessed a massively powerful collection of computers infected with malware that allowed the group to control them without the knowledge of the devices' owners.

Sep 19 08:38

This Windows file may be secretly hoarding your passwords and emails

If you're one of the people who own a stylus or touchscreen-capable Windows PC, then there's a high chance there's a file on your computer that has slowly collected sensitive data for the past months or even years.

This file is named WaitList.dat, and according to Digital Forensics and Incident Response (DFIR) expert Barnaby Skeggs, this file is only found on touchscreen-capable Windows PCs where the user has enabled the handwriting recognition feature [1, 2] that automatically translates stylus/touchscreen scribbles into formatted text.

Sep 19 08:28

Snowden Validated: European Court Says the Mass Surveillance He Exposed Violates Privacy Rights

When Edward Snowden revealed that the government was secretly collecting and storing mass amounts of our private communications data, he wasn't just talking about the United States government. He also exposed the United Kingdom's intelligence agency (Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ) as doing the same overseas.

Today the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the U.K.'s mass collection of everybody's internet communications data violated privacy and failed to provide sufficient safeguards. The Guardian explains that after Snowden exposed the British government's role in citizen surveillance, tapping into communication networks to suck on that massive firehose of data, 14 human rights and privacy groups filed suit against the U.K.

Sep 19 06:10

Powerful Android and iOS Spyware Found Deployed in 45 Countries

One of the world's most dangerous Android and iPhone spyware program has been found deployed against targets across 45 countries around the world over the last two years, a new report from Citizen Lab revealed.

The infamous spyware, dubbed Pegasus, is developed by NSO Group—an Israeli company which is mostly known for selling high-tech surveillance tools capable of remotely cracking into iPhones and Android devices to intelligence agencies around the world.

Pegasus is NSO Group's most powerful creation that has been designed to hack iPhone, Android, and other mobile devices remotely, allowing an attacker to access an incredible amount of data on a target victim, including text messages, calendar entries, emails, WhatsApp messages, user's location, microphone, and camera—all without the victim's knowledge.

Pegasus has previously been used to target human rights activists and journalists, from Mexico to the United Arab Emirates.

Sep 18 18:55

Google’s New ‘Selfish Ledger’ Aims to Direct Human Evolution and Track Your Entire Life

The Selfish Ledger is the title of a leaked Google video released earlier this year in May 2018. Now, a few months later, it’s worth taking a closer look at this apparently leaked vid.

Sep 18 15:55

Google signs up millions of carmakers to use Android in battle with Apple over in car entertainment systems

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, one of the world's top-selling automakers, has decided to go with Google's Android operating system to run its dashboard information and entertainment features.

Sep 18 15:52

Family claims SPS Google Drive is storing personal information

A local family has claimed that the Springfield Public School System is accessing their personal accounts and storing their private information on the system's Google Drive without their permission.

Springfield residents Norman and Diane Ely went before the school board earlier this year and asked that the district check into safety concerns regarding private information that was being stored on SPS's Google Drive. They claimed that since that meeting, nothing has changed.

Tuesday, the Ely's addressed the board again with more alarming discoveries.

Sep 18 12:51

Exclusive: US police 'using Tiger Text app to conceal evidence'

Al Jazeera's Investigative Unit has discovered that a self-deleting messaging app called Tiger Text has been adopted by at least one US police department, which may have used it to share sensitive and potentially incriminating information that they wouldn't want to be disclosed to a court.

Current and former officers from the Long Beach Police Department in Southern California have told Al Jazeera that their police-issued phones had Tiger Text installed on them.

The Tiger Text app is designed to erase text messages after a set time period. Once the messages have been deleted, they cannot be retrieved - even through forensic analysis of the phone.

Sep 18 08:16

Card-stealing code that pwned British Airways, Ticketmaster pops up on more sites via hacked JS

Essentially, this is a textbook demonstration of why sensitive pages on websites – particular payment pages – should not carry any third-party code. If the JavaScript or other elements are hosted by an external source, and that source is pwned, and there is no way to detect that, it's game over for everyone. And if the source is supplying scripts to thousands of websites, it becomes a very valuable target: hacking it will compromise many, many online stores in one fell swoop.

Sep 18 08:02

Hillary Clinton used an unsecured Blackberry INSIDE Russia while Robert Mueller was FBI Director

NEW EVIDENCE proves that Hillary Clinton used her personal cell phone inside Russia as Secretary of State, exposing her phone and private email server to extreme risk of hacking by Russian intelligence agencies in mid-October 2009, just 10 months into her 4-year term. Clinton would later lie to the public and the FBI about her security practices in Russia, after apparently forgetting that this photo ever existed.

Sep 17 13:09

Watch: Censored Film Reveals The Israel Project's Secret Facebook Campaign

The Israel Project, a major advocacy group based in Washington, is running a secret influence campaign on Facebook.

This is revealed in The Lobby – USA, an undercover Al Jazeera documentary that has never been broadcast due to censorship by Qatar following pressure from pro-Israel organizations.

The video above, exclusive to The Electronic Intifada, shows the latest excerpts to leak from the documentary

>>>

Sep 17 12:57

Police Reveal Surveillance of Activists In Tweet About Recent Explosions, Then Commit Obstruction

By Aaron Kesel

The Massachusetts State Police shared the extent of damage of the gas explosion spreading across Merrimack Valley. But in the process they also shared a bookmarks folder at the top of the browser, which revealed they were spying on activists, Raw Story reported.

The state police’s official Twitter account shared a picture of the screen showing the locations of 39 fires and explosions...

Sep 17 11:45

What's up with these 'Congratulations Amazon User' pop-up ads?

Pop-up ads have long been the scourge of the internet. But the rise of ad blockers, plus anti-pop-up moves by Google and Firefox had given us hope that those days would soon be behind us.

So why are even the most tech-savvy among us starting to see ads appear congratulating us for being "selected as a winner" of a $1,000 Amazon gift card?

If you've found yourself staring at one of these ads on your phone and you have no idea how it happened, it's because of a "forced redirect" on the webpage, caused by a malware-like script running in one of the ads on the page. Needless to say, the gift card offer is almost guaranteed to be a scam.

The pop-ups in question appear on both smartphone and desktops, promising a prize in exchange for your personal information or a few clicks. They are is undeniably annoying, and quite clearly a scam.

Neither Android nor iPhone users are safe, and some frustrated web denizens are at their wits' end.

Sep 17 11:42

Robinhood Investing App Secretly Makes Millions Selling Millennials' User Data To HFT Firms

Stealing from millennials to give to the rich. Robinhood App sells user customer data to make a quick buck from the high-frequency trading (HFT) firms on Wall Street.

Robinhood Financial, LLC, a US-based mobile stock brokerage company, founded on the basis of disrupting the brokage industry by offering commission-free trading, has been secretly making millions of dollars in a profit scheme by selling users' data to HFT traders, said Logan Kane, a writer for North of Sunset Publishing.

Sep 17 10:42

Nasty piece of CSS code crashes and restarts iPhones

A security researcher has discovered a vulnerability in the WebKit rendering engine used by Safari that crashes and restarts the iOS operating system used by iPhones and iPads.

The vulnerability can be exploited by loading an HTML page that uses specially crafted CSS code. The CSS code isn't very complex and tries to apply a CSS effect known as backdrop-filter to a series of nested page segments (DIVs).

Sep 17 10:41

Beware! Unpatched Safari Browser Hack Lets Attackers Spoof URLs

A security researcher has discovered a serious vulnerability that could allow attackers to spoof website addresses in the Microsoft Edge web browser for Windows and Apple Safari for iOS.

While Microsoft fixed the address bar URL spoofing vulnerability last month as part of its monthly security updates, Safari is still unpatched, potentially leaving Apple users vulnerable to phishing attacks.

Sep 17 10:39

Watch Out! This New Web Exploit Can Crash and Restart Your iPhone

It's 2018, and just a few lines of code can crash and restart any iPhone or iPad and can cause a Mac computer to freeze.

Sabri Haddouche, a security researcher at encrypted instant messaging app Wire, revealed a proof-of-concept (PoC) web page containing an exploit that uses only a few lines of specially crafted CSS & HTML code.

Beyond just a simple crash, the web page, if visited, causes a full device kernel panic and an entire system reboot.

Sep 17 10:37

Ransomware Attack Takes Down Bristol Airport's Flight Display Screens

Bristol Airport has blamed a ransomware attack for causing a blackout of flight information screens for two days over the weekend.

The airport said that the attack started Friday morning, taking out several computers over the airport network, including its in-house display screens which provide details about the arrival and departure information of flights.

The attack forced the airport officials to take down its systems and use whiteboards and paper posters to announce check-in and arrival information for flights going through the airport and luggage pickup points for all Friday, Saturday, and the subsequent night.

Sep 17 10:21

A VIEW OF THE DEADLY WORLD ORDER

As of five years ago half of the wealth in the world belonged to the top 1%. Furthermore, the top 10% hold 85% of the total world wealth. But these figures do not tell the whole story. A Credit Suisse Report, “Wealth Distribution & Gini (2013)” tells us the damnable reality of disproportionate value our world is faltering under. While some would argue that the United States of America’s citizens being thirty times wealthier on average than Russian citizens is some kind of golden badge of excellence, others would argue about who is benefiting from whom. Countries like Denmark, with virtually no natural resources, have a citizenry 25 times richer than Russians, 12 times richer than South Africans, 35 times wealthier than Venezuelans, and nearly twice as prosperous as people from oil-rich Qatar. Don’t take my word, parous the unbelievable statistics yourself.

Sep 17 10:13

POLICE STUMPED IN SEARCH FOR MISSING WIKILEAKS-LINKED CYBERSECURITY EXPERT

Nobody has heard from cybersecurity expert and occasional Wikileaks collaborator Arjen Kamphuis since he checked out of his hotel in Bodo, Norway one month ago.

In the intervening weeks, items purportedly belonging to Kamphuis, including his ID and a recently purchased kayak, were discovered by a local fisherman 50 kilometers from his hotel. While this would at first seem to suggest some type of fatal accident, in a strange twist, authorities say that both Kamphuis' work and mobile phones were briefly switched on more than 1,700 km from Bodo 10 days after Kamphuis - who is Dutch and was purportedly traveling back to Amsterdam when he disappeared - was seen leaving his hotel.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

My best guesses here are that he has either been done away with, by an excellent hired assassin who knows how to leave no trail whatsoever, or that the man is running for his life, and knows his "threat assessment" is near to death, because of the way in which Wikileaks has consistently ticked off people in power by telling the American public the truth about them.

Sep 17 09:53

MAJOR: NATO MAY INVOKE ARTICLE 5 IF ‘CYBER ATTACKED’ BY RUSSIA

Article 5 of the 1949 Washington Treaty established the principle of collective defense in the case of an attack against one of the allies, which would then be considered an attack on all signatories. The text, however, did not anticipate a cyber attack at the time.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in an interview released on Monday that the bloc could invoke Article 5 on collective defense in the event of a cyber attack by Russia.

“We will never be specific [about] when we will turn to Article 5,” Stoltenberg told Axios news portal, responding to strategies for a possible cyber attack in Russia. Stoltenberg added that the alliance was boosting its cyber security and planned to develop cybernetic offensive capabilities.

Sep 17 09:02

Efforts To Protect Us From Unproven 5G Cell Towers Radiation Health Effects

By Catherine J. Frompovich

Americans for Responsible Technology and Grassroots teamed up the week of September 9, 2018 to visit members of the U.S. Congress House and Senate Commerce Committees, which have jurisdiction over the Federal Communications Commission, in order to inform legislative directors and aides about the science on wireless radiation, which has been “memory-holed” by all who fast track 5G wireless with its special cell towers that must be placed within very close proximity to consumers residences, or even on their properties, in order to implement that technology...

Sep 16 17:16

Google engineers and scientists flee the company as EVIL takes over

Google has become so unethical that even some of its own employees want nothing to do with it anymore. In the latest example of the company driving away valued workers, senior research scientist Jack Poulson has quit his job in protest of the company’s plans to launch a censored version of the Google search engine in China.

Sep 16 12:30

Hacker Steals Tesla Model 3 From Mall of America Using Only A Smartphone

After several humiliating months for Elon Musk and Tesla, the company may have just set a new standard for embarrassing itself when one of its Model 3 vehicles was allegedly stolen from the Mall of America by a 21-year-old, using only his smartphone.

In what will likely come as a blow for confidence in Tesla's software security and deeply troubling set of circumstances for the folks at Tesla customer service, The Drive reported that the car was stolen after Tesla customer service, over the phone, reportedly "handed the thief the keys" by allowing him to add the car, by VIN number, to his Tesla account. The alleged thief then made it 1,000 miles before being caught.

Sep 15 10:42

FEMA to test 'Presidential Alert' system next week

President Donald Trump may soon be communicating with you directly on your phone — even if you don't follow him on Twitter.

Next Thursday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency will do its first test of a system that allows the president to send a message to most U.S. cellphones.

More than 100 mobile carriers, including all the major wireless firms, are participating in the roll out, FEMA stated in a message on its website posted Thursday.

"The EAS [Emergency Alert System] is a national public warning system that provides the President with the communications capability to address the nation during a national emergency," FEMA said.

The test message will have a header that reads "Presidential Alert," according to the agency.

Users whose phones are on will twice hear a tone and vibration and then see an English-only (for now) message: "THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”

Webmaster's Commentary: 

One has to wonder at the timing of this test, and what "national emergency" information(or false flag disinfo) we will be getting the first time this is actually used for real.

Sep 15 10:19

Israel running campaign against Jeremy Corbyn

An app operated as part of an Israeli government propaganda campaign issued a “mission” for social media users to make comments against Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, accusing him of anti-Semitism.

This is the latest evidence of an Israeli campaign of psychological warfare against the UK’s main opposition party.

The Act.IL app on Sunday falsely accused Corbyn of comparing Israel to Nazi Germany in a 2010 meeting which had been resurfaced by The Times last week.

The “mission” was documented in this Tweet by Michael Bueckert, a Canadian researcher who has been monitoring the app since last year.

The reality is very different from the app’s claims.

Sep 15 10:12

Israeli government launch video of Twitter/Facebook “Command Centre”, which monitors “all posts” for “anti-semitism”

AI culture wars: Israeli government launch video of Twitter/Facebook "Command Centre", which monitors "all posts" for "anti-semitism" with "artificial intelligence" then lodges complaints e.g with "intelligence & law enforcement" in a "certain european country" or other officials

Sep 14 16:32

Facebook Will Begin Fact Checking Videos And Pictures

By Aaron Kesel

Facebook will begin fact-checking photographs and videos posted on its platform that are misleading or controversial, WSJ reported.

The company stated Thursday it will begin using technology and human reviewers to stop the spread of “misinformation in these new visual formats.” Previously, the company’s efforts have been focused on rooting out false articles and links...

Sep 14 16:11

iPhone owners who want to use regular headphones will now have to PAY for the adapter dongle, after Apple stops including it for free with purchase

iPhone owners will have to pony up extra cash if they want to buy a dongle.

Lost in the fray of Apple's big hardware event was the announcement that it would no longer include a dongle, free of charge, with the purchase of a new iPhone.

Sep 14 11:08

UK Mass Surveillance Ruled Unlawful in Landmark Judgment

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) today ruled that the UK’s mass interception programmes breached the Article 8 right to privacy enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights.

Sep 14 10:15

Chrome vs Edge vs Firefox: Is Microsoft's browser really faster?

Microsoft is testing the idea of warning users they're installing an inferior browser after they download Chrome and Firefox.

But to what extent should you believe Microsoft's claims that its Edge browser is both "safer" and "faster" than the competition?

TechRepublic put recent versions of Chrome, Edge and Firefox browsers to the test.

Sep 14 09:30

Bulk Data Collection By NSA and GCHQ Violated Human Rights Charter, European Court Rules

GCHQ surveillance revealed by Snowden breached privacy rights, according to Strasbourg judges.

GCHQ’s methods for bulk interception of various online communications violated privacy rights and failed to provide sufficient surveillance safeguards, the European court of human rights ruled in a 5-2 ruling

The court found that GCHQ’s “bulk interception” violated article 8 of the European convention on human rights, which guarantees privacy due to “insufficient safeguards” relating to the “communications data.”

Sep 14 09:29

Article 13: What Happened? first-hand account.

Article 13: What Happened?

European Parliament

Sep 14 07:21

Bitcoin is punk rock - deal with it! - aantonop


Presenting as part of the session "Beyond Bitcoin, Unleashing the Blockchain", Andreas M Antonopoulos opens with a contrarian perspective. It's not about "beyond bitcoin", and you can't put this technology on a leash to make it more palatable. Bitcoin is the real thing, the revolutionary and disruptive technology that can't be tamed. Bitcoin is punk rock and you can't turn it into smooth jazz just to satisfy the sensibilities of a timid boardroom.

Sep 13 17:54

Bulk Data Collection By NSA and GCHQ Violated Human Rights Charter, European Court Rules

By Aaron Kesel

GCHQ surveillance revealed by Snowden breached privacy rights, according to Strasbourg judges.

GCHQ’s methods for bulk interception of various online communications violated privacy rights and failed to provide sufficient surveillance safeguards, the European court of human rights ruled in a 5-2 ruling

The court found that GCHQ’s “bulk interception” violated article 8 of the European convention on human rights, which guarantees privacy due to “insufficient safeguards” relating to the “communications data.”...

Sep 13 17:54

What are Zello and Firechat, the apps people are downloading for Hurricane Florence?

Firechat works even without an internet or cell phone connection, making it useful for close, crowded areas where signal is weak or nonexistent, like disaster shelters. The app itself says it works in an area of around 200 feet. The app uses peer-to-peer Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to keep everyone’s phones connected, and it can be downloaded from the Google Play and iPhone app store.

Sep 13 12:08

Iran WARNING: US tells airlines not to fly through airspace as WW3 fears rise

The advisory also warns military activities linked to the bloody conflict in Syria have been ramped across Iran's airspace.

Tensions between Tehran and Washington are running high following Donald Trump’s controversial decision to pull out of the landmark Iran nuclear deal re-introduce economic sanctions last month.

Flight Service Bureau, which provides safety information on airspace to airlines, said "without seeming alarmist", the deteriorating relationship between the US and Iran must be taken into account when planning flights in Iran's airspace.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

This is getting just about as serious as is a heart attack: I find myself very alarmed at these developments.

Sep 13 11:35

Missing Wikileaks Associates' Belongings Discovered In Waters Near Norway

More than three weeks after Wikileaks associate Arjen Kamphuis disappeared without a trace, a local fisherman has discovered his belongings in a sea in northern Norway, prompting local police to search the water and land around where the items were found, the Daily Mail reports.

Arjen Kamphuis, 47, had been missing since leaving his hotel in the northern Norwegian town of Bodo on Aug. 20. He was staying there while on holiday, but the time had come for him to travel back to his home country, the Netherlands. He had been expected to fly home to Amsterdam on Aug. 22, but Kamphuis didn't show up for his flight, which was set to depart from the Norwegian town of Trondheim, located more than 700 kilometers south of Bodo.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Looks to me, potentially, like more "wet work", ahead of the US midterms.

Sep 13 11:21

Hillary Slips Up, Tweets Furious Screed Based On Debunked Kavanaugh Smear

Hillary Clinton went on 6-tweet tirade Wednesday against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, citing a debunked fake news story that Kavanaugh referred to birth-control pills as "abortion-inducing drugs."

I want to be sure we're all clear about something that Brett Kavanaugh said in his confirmation hearings last week. He referred to birth-control pills as "abortion-inducing drugs." That set off a lot of alarm bells for me, and it should for you, too.

The rest of the screed, which you can read by clicking on her tweet, condemns Kavanaugh for making it "clear that safe and legal abortion isn't the only fundamental reproductive right at grave risk if he is confirmed. Access to birth control is, too."

Except, Kavanaugh never said that...

And Hillary either didn't get the message, or is choosing to deceive her 23.4 million followers.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

This sounds like desperation on the cusp of madness.

President Clinton, kindly get your wife away from the computer, so she doesn't mis-Tweet again!!

Sep 13 11:17

Latest Tesla Software Update "Disabled" Autopilot

Many Tesla owners have lost all autopilot functionality as a result of the company’s latest "over the air" software update, according to Jalopnik . Tesla knows about the issue and has promised to fix it by Friday of this week, according to the article, saying it was "a known issue".

Tesla has been sending out its latest "over the air" software update over the course of this week. The purpose of the software update was to increase the capabilities of Autopilot and help it further incorporate traffic lights, stop signs, lane changes and off-ramps.

As a reminder, numerous Tesla Autopilot incidents have occurred when a vehicle moves out from in front of a Tesla vehicle, and/or when there's an option to take an off-ramp nearby. Videos like this one, on YouTube, have confirmed the issue:

Webmaster's Commentary: 

OK, it's official: Elon Musk needs someone he will listen to, and respect, to start managing the day to day nuts and bolts of the operation, so that flaws like the one indicated above stop from happening.

The foul-ups, bleeps and blunders these cars keep making are not good advertising for a financially or engineering-capable company, and Musk will loose both face, and money, if these problems continue.

Sep 13 11:10

In latest Windows test builds, Microsoft discourages alternate browsers

In a new test build for an upcoming Windows 10 feature update, Microsoft appears to be testing a warning dialog box that will discourage users from installing third-party browsers. The feedback has been less than kind.

Sep 13 10:34

Axel Voss’s JURI Report on Article 13 Would Violate Internet Users’ Fundamental Rights

Last week, the Legal Affairs (JURI) Committee of the European Parliament voted in favour of Rapporteur MEP Axel Voss’s proposal on Article 13 of the draft Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market. The saga surrounding this infamous text is however far from over. A group of MEPs are currently challenging the JURI version of the proposal through the so-called rule 69c procedure. This means that on the 5 July at 12:00, the plenary of the Parliament will vote on whether the JURI report provides an acceptable basis to start “trilogue” negotiations with the Council. This will be a yes/no vote. If the EP decides to vote against the JURI mandate, every MEP will be able to file an amendment to the JURI report in the next plenary session in September. This would allow for Article 13 (as well as the equally contested Article 11) to be reworded.

Sep 13 10:34

Guy In Charge Of Pushing Draconian EU Copyright Directive, Evasive About His Own Use Of Copyright Protected Images

As Mike reported a couple of weeks ago, Voss offered a pretty poor defense of his proposals, showing little understanding of the Internet. But he made clear that he thinks respecting copyright law is really important. For example, he said he was particularly concerned that material is being placed online, where "there is no remuneration of the concerned author." Given that background, it will probably come as no surprise to Techdirt readers to learn that questions are now being asked whether Voss himself has paid creators for material that he has used on his social media accounts:

Sep 13 10:31

EU VOTES TO BAN MEMES

The EU Parliament voted by a margin of 2:1 today to adopt Article 13 of the EU Copyright Directive, a stringent copyright restriction that has the potential to ban memes. MEPs were made to vote again after having voted to reject it in July. Sound familiar?

Article 13 requires web companies to automatically filter out any copyrighted content, from songs to videos to even pictures. Say goodbye to your favourite gifs, movie stills, or other potentially copyrighted material on any social network.

Sep 13 10:16

Back to Project Maven? Google hires head of major defense task force as chief of cloud AI

The US tech giant risks attracting new controversy by recruiting Andrew Moore, three months after the company was embroiled in a scandal over its work for Pentagon’s Project Maven.

Moore, who was last dean of the School of Computer Science at Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University, will become the chief of cloud computing AI at the California company, where he previously worked between 2006 and 2014, at the end of the year.

”I am bursting with excitement about this,” said Moore in a statement published by Google. “I have always deeply believed in the power of technology to improve the state of the world, so for me it's a big opportunity to help Google bring useful AI to all the other industry verticals."

Sep 13 09:42

European Union "link tax" is on its way

A daft European Union move to break the internet with a widely-criticised new Copyright Directive has been blasted by activists and members of European Parliament who are working out if there is any way to keep the trade bloc from fully implementing the worst parts of the proposal.

The move was set up to protect old-style newspapers and news agencies by forcing those who make links to pay a tax on content. Article 11, which would require EU News outlets to pay a "link tax" just to share anything more than "insubstantial" snippets of published content, and Article 13, which would require that EU member countries implement the kind of automated copyright filters which are famous for breaking things. Other problematic measures were passed as well, including Article 12a, which prohibits sports fans from posting their photos or videos of sporting events online, while stating that only event "organisers" have the right to do so.

Sep 13 09:38

‘Catastrophic’: EU Passes Copyright Directive Including Internet ‘Link Tax’ and ‘Upload Filter’

The European Parliment has passed a controversial copyright directive that contains provisions which force tech giants to install content filters and sets in place a potential tax on hyperlinking.

The bill was passed in a final vote of 438 – 226 and will need to be implemented by individual EU member states.

Critics of the directive have been laser-focused on two key provisions: Articles 11 and 13, which they have dubbed the “link tax” and “upload filter.”

Sep 13 09:29

Google Responds To Leaked Video As Damning History Of Bias Haunts Company; Parscale Calls For Investigation

In a late Wednesday statement, Google spokeswoman Riva Sciuto said "For 20 years, everyone at Google has been able to freely express their opinions at these meetings" (just not over email - like conservative former employee James Damore, who is currently suing Google for discrimination after he was fired for criticizing the company's diversity policies).

"Nothing was said at that meeting, or any other meeting, to suggest that any political bias ever influences the way we build or operate our products," Google's statement continues. "To the contrary, our products are built for everyone, and we design them with extraordinary care to be a trustworthy source of information for everyone, without regard to political viewpoint."

Except several examples suggest otherwise...

Webmaster's Commentary: 

The "Goo" in Google.... is that sticky/sweet collection of algorithms which prevent conservative thoughts from ever being heard on the site, by suppressing them.

Please abandon this search engine, and use one of the others featured on the left hand side of today's headlines at WRH.

Your info is getting sold/shared/manipulated.

Is this really what you want in a search engine?!? I would bet, almost universally, that the short answer is, "HELL, NO!!'

Sep 13 08:45

California city blocks deployment of cancer causing 5G infrastructure

The California city of Mill Valley is one of the first to successfully block deployment of any and all 5G infrastructure after the city council voted unanimously against the flawed technology which can cause serious health effects to humans and animals including cancer.

Sep 12 17:15

YouTube Bans Media Supporting Syria's Liberating Struggle

Ahead of what may be the mother of all battles to liberate US-supported terrorists in Syria’s Idlib province, YouTube banned Damascus state-run and other pro-government channels – including the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA), channels belonging to the country’s presidency and Defense Ministry, each closure accompanied by one of these shameful statements saying:

“This account has been terminated due to a legal complaint,” or

“This account has been terminated for a violation of YouTube’s Terms of Service.”

A message on SANA’s takedown said:

“This page isn’t available. Sorry about that. Try searching for something else.”

Sep 12 15:13

You know all those movies you bought from Apple? Um, well, think different: You didn't

Remember when you decided to buy, rather than rent, that movie online? We have some bad news for you – you didn't.

Biologist Anders Gonçalves da Silva was surprised this week to find three movies he had purchased through iTunes simply disappeared one day from his library. So he contacted Apple to find out what had happened.

And Apple told him it no longer had the license rights for those movies so they had been removed. To which he of course responded: Ah, but I didn't rent them, I actually bought them through your "buy" option.

At which point da Silva learnt a valuable lesson about the realities of digital purchases and modern licensing rules: While he had bought the movies, what he had actually paid for was the ability to download the movie to his hard drive.

Sep 12 15:12

Apple in XS new sensation: Latest iPhone carries XS-sive price tag

The internet has already taken to calling Apple's flashy flagship device the "iPhone Excess," sparing would-be wags the need to call out the device's one-grand plus pricing.

Sep 12 11:52

Utah County signs off on plan to lure a major data center — like Facebook? — to Eagle Mountain through tax breaks

In what is currently 500 acres of open fields, Eagle Mountain City leaders envision a sprawling data center that jump-starts development on Utah County’s west side.

And that vision could soon be a reality, after members of the Utah County Commission voted Tuesday to approve roughly $150 million in property tax incentives to lure an as-yet-unnamed company — that sounds an awful lot like Facebook — to the southern end of Pony Express Parkway.

“Ideology aside, all the politics aside, our council decided that this was what was best for our community,” said Ifo Pili, Eagle Mountain’s city administrator.

Sep 12 10:49

Hackers Stole $50 Million in Cryptocurrency Using 'Poison' Google Ads

For years, hackers have robbed Bitcoin investors, emptying their cryptocurrency wallets without fear of being caught thanks to the relative anonymity of the blockchain. Now, Cisco (CSCO, -0.60%) has exposed the thieves behind a string of particularly flagrant attacks.

A Ukrainian hacker group dubbed Coinhoarder has stolen more than $50 million in cryptocurrency from users of Blockchain.info, one of the most popular providers of digital currency wallets, according to a report published Wednesday by Cisco’s Talos cybersecurity team.

The report explains how thieves preyed upon their victims using a “very simple” yet treacherous technique: Buying Google ads on popular search keywords related to cryptocurrency “to poison user search results” and snatch the contents of crypto wallets. This meant people Googling terms like “blockchain” or “bitcoin wallet,” saw links to malicious websites masquerading as legitimate domains for Blockchain.info wallets.

Sep 12 09:47

End of internet memes? EU approves controversial copyright law that 'could kill off the web's user-generated content' such as reaction GIFs, quotes from online articles and music remixes

The European Parliament has approved a controversial copyright law that threatens to 'destroy the internet as we know it', according to digital rights groups.

The rule intends to update copyright for the internet age, and hands more power to news and record companies against Internet giants like Google and Facebook.

But it also allows companies to make sweeping blocks of user-generated content, such as internet memes or reaction GIFs that use copyrighted material.

The tough approach could spell the end for internet memes, which typically lay text over copyrighted photos or video from television programmes, films, music videos and more.

Sep 12 09:45

Google faces legal action after it was revealed it really DOES record your every movement even when you tell it not to

Google is facing fresh legal action over claims it recorded users' locations, even after they had switched off its optional 'Location History' setting on their device.

The company is under investigation by Arizona's attorney general, who is looking into whether the search firm deceived its users.

Google could face huge fines – up to $10,000 (£7,770) per violation – if the claims are confirmed by a team of lawyers assembled by the state of Arizona.

This could lead to unprecedented penalties in the United States, potentially prompting similar moves elsewhere in the world.

Sep 12 08:39

Judicial Watch Sues DOJ for Emails Found on Anthony Weiner’s Laptop

Judicial Watch announced Tuesday that it has sued the Department of Justice for all of the emails found by the FBI on former Congressman Anthony Weiner’s laptop just days before the 2016 presidential election. Weiner is married to top Clinton aide, Huma Abedin, and the lawsuit comes after DOJ “did not act” on two FOIA requests for the documents.

The government watchdog organization released a statement which reads, in part:

In October 2016 The Washington Post reported that the FBI obtained a warrant to search the emails found on a computer used by Weiner that may contain evidence relevant to the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email server.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Sep 11 15:04

Security experts urge Tesla owners to use two-factor authentication after researchers show a Model S key fob can be hacked in just TWO SECONDS

In a new study, researchers from KU Leuven University in Belgium, describe a technique where they cloned a signal from a Model S key fob in fewer than two seconds.

This would allow a savvy hacker to open the car door and simply drive away.

Sep 11 15:00

Apple removes anti-malware apps that harvested browser data

Apps from a well-known cyber-security firm were taken down from the Mac app store by Apple after they were found to export users' browser histories.

Several anti-malware apps made by Trend Micro have since been updated by the cyber-security company.

However, Trend Micro strongly denied allegations that the apps had been "stealing user data" and sending it to a server in China.

Sep 11 11:28

GOOGLE WAS "WORKING TO GET HILLARY CLINTON ELECTED" WITH "SILENT DONATION" ACCORDING TO LEAKED INTERNAL EMAIL

Tucker Carlson just blew the cover off the 2016 election influence charade, after he read an internal email on Monday night's show from a senior Google employee who admitted to using company resources to make a "silent donation" to a liberal group that was creating ads and donating funds to bus Latinos to voting stations during the 2016 election in key swing states, in an effort to help Hillary Clinton win.

The email was sent by the former head of Google's multicultural marketing department, Eliana Mario, on November 9, 2016.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Absoflippinglutely unbelievable, but perfectly predictable.

Sep 11 11:26

ARE NEW YORK’S FREE LINKNYC INTERNET KIOSKS TRACKING YOUR MOVEMENTS?

Since plans for LinkNYC were first unveiled, journalists, residents, and civil liberties experts have raised concerns that the internet kiosks might be storing sensitive data about its users and possibly tracking their movements. For the last two years, the American Civil Liberties Union, Electronic Frontier Foundation, and a small but vocal group of activists — including ReThink LinkNYC, a grassroots anti-surveillance group, and the anonymous Stop LinkNYC coalition — have highlighted the kiosk’s potential to track locations, collect personal information, and fuel mass surveillance.

Now an undergraduate researcher has discovered indications in LinkNYC code — accidentally made public on the internet — that LinkNYC may be actively planning to track users’ locations.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

"Minority Report", writ large; it is sometimes terrifying how quickly science fiction becomes science fact.

Sep 11 11:21

BOSTON'S VISION-ZERO EXPOSED: LOWERING THE SPEED LIMIT INCREASES SPEEDING TICKET REVENUE BY 47%

All across the country, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is hard at work convincing cities to lower their speed limits from 30 MPH to 25 MPH.

The national effort to lower speed limits in cities is known as "Vision-Zero."

To date, the NHTSA, NSC and the IIHS have convinced more than thirty cities to lower their speed limits.

Last month the IIHS published a controversial report titled "Lowering the speed limit from 30 to 25 mph in Boston: effects on vehicle speeds." (To learn more about Boston's Vision-Zero program, click here.)

Why is it controversial?

The Newspaper, recently interviewed the National Motorists Association who pointed how the IIHS cherry-picked data to convince the public that lowering speed limit 5 MPH saves lives.

Sep 11 11:16

CIA-BACKED FIRM TOUTED SOCIAL MEDIA SURVEILLANCE OF STUDENTS TO SELL SERVICES TO EVANSTON POLICE

Emails obtained by Lucy Parsons Labs reveal that Geofeedia touted social media surveillance of middle and high school students by its suburban Chicago police customers in an effort to sell their services to Evanston police.

Geofeedia provides law enforcement with tools to monitor social media use by mapping location and other data. It has received funding from the investment arm of the CIA, In-Q-Tel.

The company became infamous after the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) published a report in 2016 on the use of their products by police to monitor demonstrations against police violence.

Geofeedia’s courting of the Evanston Police Department (EPD) goes back to 2013, and as emails show, the company developed a relationship with police at a time when the sale of surveillance technology to law enforcement became ubiquitous.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Color me completely unsurprised by this revelation.

Everything you send, post, tweet is already recorded by every alphabet soup agency this country has to offer, and is swept up in a vacuum of surveillance.

As a Christian pacifist activist, who never advocates violence, but understands I would like to believe I am the least of these agencies' worries. :-)

Sep 11 10:26

Some of the Mac App Store's biggest security apps found spying on users' browsing habits

A number of security apps for the Apple Mac, offered via Apple's curated Mac App Store, have been taken down after it was found that they were spying on users' web browsing habits.

Apps by the name of Dr Unarchiver, Dr Cleaner, Adware Medic, Adware Doctor and App Uninstall have all be removed - with the finger of blame for some of them being pointed at security giant Trend Micro. The apps were some of the most popular apps available in the Mac App Store, too, with Adware Doctor also available as a paid-for version for $4.99.

All the apps work in much the same way: first, they trick the user into giving them MacOS home directory access with virus scanning and clear cache options. Once granted, the apps abuse these access privileges to gather browser-history data from Chrome, Firefox and Safari and covertly send them back to a server in China.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

For Mac users, these revelations must be more than a little scary!!

Sep 11 09:38

New York City’s WiFi Hotspots Confirmed As Surveillance and Tracking Devices

By Kevin Samson

Back in early 2016 I wrote about a plan for New York City to turn 7,500 payphones into WiFi hotspots. The program was called LinkNYC and indeed has begun its rollout with more than 1,500 now online.

At the time, I raised some of the health concerns surrounding the implementation of a grid that would enhance the public’s exposure to electromagnetic radiation (without their consent of course). However, I also cautioned about issues of privacy and the potential for pervasive surveillance through these structures.

Unfortunately, a new report by The Intercept is confirming privacy invasion as it appears that these devices are being used to track the movements of passersby...

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