• FBI investigates News Corp. for potential 9/11 victim hacks

    Lawmakers in the United States have waded into the growing controversy that has engulfed Rupert Murdoch’s media empire; on Wednesday several Democratic senators and Representative Pete King (R-New York), requested that the FBI begin an investigation into whether News Corp. attempted to hack into the phones of 9/11 victims; in response to their calls, the FBI opened an investigation into News Corp. to determine if the allegations of bribery and wiretapping are true

  • Michigan cell snooping furor

    The furor over Apple surreptitiously planting tracking software in users’ iPhones and iPads comes on the heels of reports that police in Michigan were using a portable device capable of scanning and downloading cell phone contents in a very short time

  • India bans Nokia push e-mail devices until govt. surveillance is allowed

    BlackBerry’s maker RIM complained that the Indian government singled out its popular smartphone for harsh regulatory treatment because of the phone’s e-mail encryption which prevented Indian law enforcement services from snooping on e-mails of people suspected of involvement in terrorism or crime; now the Indian government is considering putting a hold on the sales of Nokia devices with push e-mail until monitoring systems were in place

  • China clamps down further on Internet to prevent unrest

    The Chinese government has eyed the protests sweeping across the Middle East and North Africa with growing unease; to quash the prospect of wide spread protests at home, the government has increasingly clamped down on the Internet and other forms of communication; access to Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter have been blocked while government agents are more carefully monitoring cellphone calls, electronic messages, and emails; residents say they have never seen such high levels of censorship before

  • Video Surveillance Clock keeps watch

    If you want to keep an eye on the goings-on in your home or office while you are away, you may want to consider the Video Surveillance Clock; the small (2 3/4″ Diam. x 3/4″ D ) analog clock has a built-in, motion-activated video surveillance camera that records both audio and video and takes photographs too

  • FBI retreats from push to expand surveillance capabilities on Web

    The FBI recently retreated from calling for a push to introduce legislation that would require all Web-based email services and social networking sites to build backdoor access for law enforcement officials; when granted permission to conduct wiretaps by the courts, the FBI and other investigative agencies are unable to successfully monitor communications on encrypted channels like social networking sites and Web-based email servers; at a House hearing the FBI distanced itself from reports that suggested it was seeking legislation to demand backdoors on encrypted networks; the FBI believes that it can obtain the information using other means; the agency was not clear on how it plans to move forward

  • Police uneasy about cheap smart-phone scanner app

    Just a few years ago, someone wanting to listen to the dispatches of their local police department had to purchase and program special equipment; now, modern technology has made it possible to transform popular smart phones into personal police scanners; police say that criminals could use the increased accessibility provided by the new technologies as a tool for committing crimes

  • Are your phones really secure?

    Breakthroughs in technology have enabled malicious actors to listen in on any conversation using your phone even when not in use; eavesdroppers have circumvented encrypted audio channels by relying on a relatively simple principle in physics — resonance; by tapping into an object’s natural resonance, spies have turned phones and phone cables into listening devices even when they are not in use; researchers at Teo, a manufacturer of secure telecommunications equipment, were able to capture human voices using standard phones, unplugged Ethernet cables, or even a rock; to address this security gap, Teo has designed its IP TSG-6 phones with special vibration dampening circuitry and materials that render them impervious to these types of listening devices

  • Android apps send private data in the clear

    Cell phones running the Android operating system fail to encrypt data sent to and from Facebook and Google Calendar, shortcomings that could jeopardize hundreds of millions of users’ privacy; Facebook’s recently unveiled always-on SSL encryption setting to prevent snooping over insecure networks — but the encryption is no good, meaning that all private messages, photo uploads, and other transactions are visible to eavesdroppers

  • U.S. appealing warrantless wiretapping court defeat

    In the first and likely only lawsuit resulting in a ruling against the secret National Security Agency warrantless surveillance program adopted in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks, a San Francisco federal judge in December awarded $20,400 each to two American lawyers illegally wiretapped by the George W. Bush administration, and granted their counsel $2.5 million for the costs litigating the case for more than four years; the Obama administration is appealing the judge’s ruling

  • More than half of iPhone apps track users

    A recent study found that more than half of all iPhone apps could track users and collect data without an individual’s knowledge; researchers analyzed more than 1,400 iPhone apps to determine how they handle sensitive data; more than half collect an individual’s unique device ID or track a user’s location, and when combined with links to a Facebook account the app could gain a lot of sensitive data; researchers found that thirty six apps blatantly violated privacy rights by accessing an individual’s location without informing the user, while another five went so far as to take data from the user’s address book without first seeking permission

  • U.K. cyber-spy agency may sell technology to raise cash

    The U.K. government is considering selling technical expertise developed by the hush-hush Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) to the private sector to raise money for the government; the cutting edge cyber-security and computer research carried out at GCHQ could potentially generate cash for the government, although any moves to involve the private sector would have to be handled carefully due to the highly sensitive nature of the signals intelligence material it handles

  • U.S. gov't wants Google, Facebook to expand wiretaps of subscribers

    The U.S. government wants Silicon Valley companies such as Google and Facebook make it easier for law enforcement to wiretap the companies’ users; legislation under consideration would require cellphone carriers, Web sites, and other types of service providers to have a way to unscramble encrypted communications traveling over their networks

  • Canada introduces legislation to fight crime in today's high-tech world

    The Canadian government has reintroduced two bills that would provide law enforcement and national security agencies with up-to-date tools to fight crimes such as gang- and terrorism-related offences and child sexual exploitation; the proposed legislation would provide law enforcement agencies with new, specialized investigative powers to help them take action against Internet child sexual exploitation, disrupt on-line organized crime activity and prevent terrorism

  • U.K. examines surveillance plan's £2 billion price tag

    The U.K. coalition government has revived the sweeping digital surveillance program which had been abandoned by the previous Labor government — but the government said it is looking closely at the price tag, estimated at £2 billion, and that new figures will be released in November; industry sources had all along maintained that the original £2 billion estimate was unrealistically low; the government’s move means that they were correct, or that the scheme is being scaled back