• Encryption & terroristsEncryption firm tightens access following Paris attacks

    Encrypted communications specialist Silent Circle, after learning that ISIS was recommending two of the company’s products — the encrypted Blackphone handset and Silent Phone applications for private messaging — to the organization’s followers, is taking steps to make it more difficult for terrorists and their followers to use these products.

  • Encryption & terroristsTelegram IM app recalibrates policies after Paris attacks

    Pavel Durov, the creator of the popular instant messaging app Telegram, has said that following the Paris terrorist attacks, his company has blocked dozens of accounts associated with the jihadist Islamic State group. As is the case with other technology companies, Telegram is trying to negotiate the balance between privacy and security: the same privacy-enhancing technology which keeps customers’ communication private, also helps terrorists communicate with each other and plot attacks safe from monitoring and surveillance by intelligence agencies and law enforcement.

  • Personal protective equipmentWireless technology enables advanced up protective clothing

    Combining the latest advances in sensor and wireless technology with comfortable protective clothing has opened up new partnership possibilities across a range of sectors. Numerous end users stand to benefit from the inclusion of smart technology in protective clothing. One French start-up has pioneered intelligent active protection systems for ski racers. Further advances may see the use of advanced protective clothing by soldiers and first responders.

  • SurveillanceFacebook: Governments’ demanding more user data, content restrictions

    Facebook says that governments’ requests for information and for the removal of content have increased in the first half of 2015. Such requests have substantially increased in the last two years, since the company began releasing such information. The number of accounts for which governments around the world have requested account data jumped 18 percent in the first half of 2015, to 41,214 accounts, up from 35,051 requests in the second half of 2014.

  • CybersecurityDHS S&T-funded technology protects devices from cyberattacks

    In 2011, a small group of university researchers working on securing embedded devices caught the attention of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T). That effort has since evolved into a one-of-a-kind technology — called Symbiote — which Hewlett-Packard (HP) recently licensed from Red Balloon Security, to protect its printers from cyberattacks.

  • PrivacyLeading tech companies get failing grade for their privacy policies

    The Ranking Digital Rights’ report, 2015 Corporate Accountability Index, find that the world’s leading technology companies deserve a failing grade for their privacy policies and the level of protection they offer their users. Some of the companies have also been found lacking for their freedom of expression practices. “Even the companies that ranked highest are missing the mark in some ways, and improvements are needed across the board to demonstrate a greater commitment to users’ freedom of expression and privacy,” the report says.

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  • Radiation risks$100 million NIAID contract to SRI International to develop radiation exposure treatment

    SRI International has been awarded a resource contract of up to $100 million over five years by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, for the development of products to mitigate or treat acute or delayed effects of radiation exposure.

  • PrivacyIf you think your emails are private, think again

    By Lydia A. Jones

    When you type up a racy e-mail to a loved one, do you consider the details private? It appears that at least some Internet users expect a different, and higher, level of privacy simply because the information is cloaked in an e-mail. That’s the issue at stake in a pending lawsuit against Yahoo! Inc. Plaintiffs filed an e-mail privacy lawsuit against Yahoo in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California under several privacy laws, including the Stored Communications Act (SCA) — a federal law that prohibits an e-mail service provider from knowingly divulging to any person or entity the contents of a communication while in electronic storage. The plaintiffs won a short-term victory in achieving class action certification, but the bigger issue over whether they can object to the scanning of their e-mails by Yahoo — based on a right to privacy — given Yahoo’s disclosure of its scanning and possible sharing practices and given that they chose to send and/or receive an e-mail to a Yahoo user, is far from being decided in their favor.

  • Ray gunsLockheed Martin begins production of modular high-power laser

    Lockheed Martin has begun production of a new generation of modular high power lasers this month. The first laser built using the modular technique will be a 60-kilowatt system for a U.S. Army vehicle. The Army has the option to add more modules and increase power from 60kW to 120kW. Laser weapons provide a complement to traditional kinetic weapons in the battlefield. In the future, they will offer reliable protection against threats such as swarms of drones or large numbers of rockets and mortars.

  • First response technologyDHS recruits Silicon Valley entrepreneurs to develop first-response technology

    DHS wants better technology for first responders — police, firefighters, and EMTs — but rather than pushing for innovation from within the massive corporations that already provide technology to government agencies, the DHS has come to Silicon Valley to tap the entrepreneurial ecosystem of northern California. Giant technology firms have resources of large scale manufacturing and distribution, but there is one crucial difference. Technology startups are much more nimble, and can shift their development much faster than the huge corporations can.

  • BioterrorismHHS in strategic alliance to accelerate new antibiotic development

    Multiple drugs to combat bioterrorism threats and other life-threatening bacterial infections will be developed under a public-private partnership agreement between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (APSR) and AstraZeneca, a global biopharmaceutical company. The partnership will also stimulates pipeline of drugs to treat multi-drug resistant bacterial infections. CDC has estimated that in the U.S. antibiotic-resistant bacteria are responsible for two million infections and 23,000 deaths annually with an estimated annual economic burden of $35 billion on the healthcare system.

  • Food safetyFormer peanut company owner to jail for 28 years for fatal 2009 salmonella outbreak

    In a rare instance of a prison sentence in a food contamination case, Stewart Parnell, the former owner of Peanut Corporation of America, was sentenced to twenty-eight years in prison for his role in a 2009 salmonella outbreak which killed nine people and sickened hundreds. Parnell, 61, who once managed the Peanut Corporation of America, and his brother, Michael Parnell, who was a food broker for the company, were convicted on Monday on federal conspiracy charges for knowingly shipping salmonella-tainted peanuts to customers.

  • CybersecurityImproving cybersecurity, reducing online theft

    NIST the other day announced it will award nearly $3.7 million for three pilot projects designed to make online transactions more secure and privacy-enhancing for healthcare, government services, transportation, and the Internet of Things. The three recipients of the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC) grants will pilot solutions aimed at reducing tax refund theft, improving the security of medical information and providing secure online data storage.

  • CybersecuritySecuring and protecting the emerging Internet of Things

    The digital world once existed largely in non-material form. But with the rise of connected homes, smart grids and autonomous vehicles, the cyber and the physical are merging in new and exciting ways. These hybrid forms are often called cyber-physical systems (CPS), and are giving rise to a new Internet of Things. National Science Foundation and Intel Corporation team to improve the security and privacy of computing systems that interact with the physical world using a new cooperative research model.

  • EncryptionApple's encryption prevents it from complying with U.S. court order

    Apple said it could not comply with a court order to hand over texts sent using iMessage between two iPhones because the company’s encryption system makes it impossible to do so. The Justice Department persuaded the court to issue the order to facilitate an investigation involving guns and drugs. Legal experts say this is the first known direct face-off between the U.S. government and Apple over encryption. The FBI contends that such encryption puts the American public at risk because it makes it harder, if not impossible, to track and catch terrorists, pedophiles, and other criminals.