from the good-deals-on-cool-stuff dept
Note: We earn a portion of all sales from Techdirt Deals. The products featured do not reflect endorsements by our editorial team.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Mar 27th 2015 11:35am
Rep. John Carter: I'm chairman of Homeland Security Appropriations. I serve on Defense and Defense subcommittees. We have all the national defense issues with cyber. And now, sir, on this wonderful committee. So cyber is just pounding me from every direction. And every time I hear something, or something just pops in my head -- because I don't know anything about this stuff. If they can do that to a cell phone why can't they do that to every computer in the country, and nobody can get into it? If that's the case, then that's the solution to the invaders from around the world who are trying to get in here. [Smug grin]Holy crap! Rep. John Carter just learned about encryption! And he thinks it's only on mobile phones but (ooooh, scary) might one day be used on "big super computers" to keep stuff safe. But he doesn't realize that it's been widely used for many, many, many years to keep his very own data safe and many of ours as well.
FBI Director Comey: [Chuckle and gives smug, knowing grin]
Carter: Then if that gets to be the wall, the stone wall, and even the law can't penetrate it, then aren't we creating an instrument [that] is the perfect tool for lawlessness. This is a very interesting conundrum that's developing in the law. If they, at their own will at Microsoft can put something in a computer -- or at Apple -- can put something in that computer [points on a smartphone], which it is, to where nobody but that owner can open it, then why can't they put it in the big giant super computers, that nobody but that owner can open it. And everything gets locked away secretly. And that sounds like a solution to this great cyber attack problem, but in turn it allows those who would do us harm [chuckles] to have a tool to do a great deal of harm where law enforcement can't reach them. This is a problem that's gotta be solved.
Carter: If you're following the Bill of Rights, you have every right to be able to go before a judge, present your probable cause, and if he sees it, that's a right, get a warrant and get into that machine. And I don't think there's a right of privacy issue in the world that prevents you following the law.Uh, right. There isn't a right of privacy issue that prevents the FBI from going and getting a warrant, but the larger argument is whether or not individuals can protect other things privately -- and they've always been able to do so. If you and I have a conversation just between the two of us, there is no way for the government to then find out what that conversation was about. Because there's no way to "decrypt" a verbal conversation that is now stored entirely in our minds. That's been true forever. Yet we don't see Rep. Carter or Director Comey demanding recording devices to record every conversation. But, to Carter, the fact that you might be able to do the same thing with your email, is a "monster."
Carter: So if that's what they've created, they've created a monster, that will harm law enforcement, national security and everything else in this country. And this really needs to be addressed. And I wasn't even going to talk about that, but that upsets the heck out of me. 'Cause, you know, I don't think that's right.Yeah, Rep. Carter, you're kind of decades too late. And you're totally wrong, too. It didn't create a monster. It didn't harm "everything else in this country." It protected millions of law abiding people -- including Carter by keeping their data safe. That's the whole point of encryption. Saying that "it needs to be addressed" is ridiculous. However, it does make it clear that Rep. Carter was being honest at the beginning when he admitted "didn't know anything about this stuff." Perhaps he should have stopped there.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Mar 27th 2015 10:36am
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55 permits the court to grant a motion for default judgment when the well-pled allegations of the complaint establish plaintiff's entitlement to relief, and where a defendant has failed to plead or defend as provided by the rules.... In the civil forfeiture context, default judgment is permitted where no potential claimant has filed a response to the complaint...But, wait, you say: Kim Dotcom did file a complaint about the asset forfeiture, so how could a default judgment happen here? That's where the whole "fugitive" bit comes in. Because Dotcom won't come to the US, he's been deemed a fugitive, and thus the Judge simply hands over all of his stuff to the US government. And thus, without any sort of criminal conviction at all, the US gets to steal millions of dollars from Dotcom.
A defendant in default, and a claimant who fails to assert a claim in rem, is deemed to have admitted all of the plaintiff's well-pled allegations of fact, which then form the basis for the judgment in the plaintiff's favor.
by Tim Cushing
Fri, Mar 27th 2015 9:37am
The Pentagon may not know where some very sensitive equipment has disappeared to, but a variety of private resellers seem to have some idea where it might be found. A leaked US Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) document obtained by The Intercept details the agency's inability to keep track of its explosives-detecting equipment, bequeathed to it by the Defense Department's Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO).
While it did manage to track down some of its missing equipment at various equipment resellers (the document lists a variety of URLs, including ebay.com and craigslist.org), it still has no idea how much of it is still in the military's possession.
In all, more than 32,000 pieces of equipment were issued. Some kits are still in use, making it difficult to compile a precise inventory of what was issued and what might be missing.The March 2014 document asks for assistance in locating missing devices to prevent them from being used against the US and its allies. It also points out that the failure to keep tabs on this equipment is mostly internal.
These investigations also determined the loss and theft of advanced technologies intended to give US military personnel tactical advantage on the battlefield was due to poor accountability controls by many of the military units who were issued the gear.The Intercept managed to track down two eBay listings for NCIS equipment -- one from December of last year and an active listing for a CNVD-T Clip-On Night Vision Device Thermal System. For only $16,599, this equipment can be yours.... (Update: For what it's worth, the ebay seller featured below got in touch to insist that he is a licensed dealer of these items from the manufacturer, and that it's perfectly legal to sell these items).
JIEDDO has been heavily criticized over the years for expending large sums of money without attaining clear results. According to a 2012 report by the Government Accountability Office, JIEDDO had spent over $18 billion yet lacked an effective way to oversee its programs.And as is so often the case when the government finds new ways to hand out military gear, those receiving the handouts seem alarmingly unconcerned with keeping close tabs on the equipment's whereabouts. Last year, another Pentagon-related equipment dispersal program caught heat for its lousy inventory control systems. The 1033 program, which hands out military equipment and weapons to local law enforcement agencies, is decentralized and disorganized, leading to 184 law enforcement agencies losing their access to militarization toys for misplacing everything from several assault rifles to an entire Humvee.
by Tim Cushing
Fri, Mar 27th 2015 8:18am
The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) received a whistleblower disclosure alleging a sufficiently notorious convicted felon was improperly cleared for TSA Pre✓ screening, creating a significant aviation security breach. The disclosure identified this event as a possible error in the TSA Secure Flight program since the traveler’s boarding pass contained a TSA Pre✓ indicator and encrypted barcode.The good news (such as it were) is that the TSA did not grant the unnamed felon/terrorist PreCheck approval through its laborious and intrusive application process. It also didn't wave him/her through because lines were backing up at the normal checkpoints. (This is called "Managed Inclusion" by the TSA, but it more resembles "For the Hell of It" in practice…) That ends the good news.
We also determined the Transportation Security Officer (TSO) followed standard operating procedures, but did not feel empowered to redirect the traveler from TSA Pre✓ screening to standard lane screening.The OIG recommends more "empowerment" for rank-and-file. Good luck with that. If officers don't feel empowered, it's because management has shown them that questioning the (broken and wildly inconsistent) system isn't an option. Neither is doing any independent thinking. When this officer attempted to push it up the line, he/she ran into a pretty predictable response.
[T]he TSO knew of the traveler's TSA Pre✓disqualifying criminal convictions. The TSO followed the standard operating procedures and reported this to the supervisory TSO who then directed the TSO to take no further action and allow the traveler through the TSA Pre✓ lane. As a result, TSA does not have an incident report for this event.One of the TSA's Behavioral Detection Officers (highly-trained in the art of the mental coin toss) was also contacted by the concerned officer. And, again, no further action was taken/recommended.
TSA officials did not concur with Recommendation 1. In its response, TSA said that with respect to individuals who may pose an elevated security risk to commercial aviation, theU.S. Government's approach to domestic aviation security relies heavily on the TSDB and its Selectee List and No Fly List subcomponents. TSA said, had the intelligence or national law enforcement communities felt that this traveler posed an elevated risk to commercial aviation, they would have nominated the traveler to one of these lists and prevented the traveler from being designated as lower-risk.To which the OIG responded, "Well, that 's obviously not working because this traveler should have been automatically denied PreCheck approval."
We consider TSA's actions nonresponsive to the intent of Recommendation 1, which is unresolved and open. TSA said it relies on the U.S. Government watchlisting process to identify individuals that represent an elevated risk to commercial aviation. However, not all non-watchlisted passengers are lower-risk and eligible for TSA Pre✓. For example, TSA has established disqualifying criteria, in addition to the watchlisting process, for an applicant seeking TSA Pre✓ Application Program membership. TSA will deny membership to an applicant convicted of any of the 28 disqualifying criminal offenses or not a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident. Even though the traveler is not watchlisted, the traveler would be permanently ineligible for TSA Pre✓.And yet, a convicted murderer has been PreCheck approved. The TSA wants to blame the rest of the government. The OIG just wants someone to use common sense, rather than never questioning a boarding pass. The OIG has a good point. The TSA claims it's shifting to a smarter, more responsive travel security, like the PreCheck program and its many Behavioral Detection Officers. But when a situation involving both arose, it left the thinking to its brainstem -- unwavering faith in databases and policy -- rather than making any move indicative of higher thought processes.
by Karl Bode
Fri, Mar 27th 2015 6:13am
"Were we pleased that it pushed to Title II, probably not, right? I mean, we were hoping that, there might be a non-regulated solution to it. But it seems like companies that are pursuing their commercial interests including us have to arrive at something like that. So we're super pleased that there is now a notion, at least a vehicle, for a complaint...So I would say we are very pleased with what's been accomplished."Wells pretty clearly explains that while it would have been nice if we could have protected net neutrality without regulation, it became pretty clear that Title II was the only way regulators could adequately police anti-competitive behavior in the broadband sector. That's what Title II supporters have been saying for months: while Title II isn't perfect, it's the best option we have given the lack of broadband competition in the sector (which despite a lot of rhetoric isn't improving anytime soon). There's nothing hypocritical -- or even shocking -- about what Wells said.
"Why, a month after this deluge of demurrers, did Netflix change its tune radically and call for utility regulation of even the upstream “network of networks,” which previously had not been considered part of the net-neutrality debate? Because Netflix was then rolling out its own network, Open Connect, to bypass the public network in favor of direct tie-ups with last-mile providers like Comcast,Verizon and AT&T. This largely ignored story has been told in detail by a disparate group of analysts and lawyers including Dan Rayburn, Larry Downes, Jonathan Lee and Fred Campbell. Netflix effectively engineered a slowdown of its own service in late 2013 by relying on an intermediary with inadequate capacity, then waved a bloody shirt in pursuit of the direct-connection deals that today allow Netflix to distribute its content more efficiently and cheaply.One, as we've noted repeatedly, the new rules are not "utility-style regulations." ISPs are being classified as common carriers, but the FCC is forbearing from a massive swath of Title II regulations reserved for utilities, including price controls and local-loop unbundling. It's more like "Title II lite," and given the ample remaining loopholes for things like zero rated apps, it's very, very far from "heavy handed regulation." Two, Netflix's Open Connect CDN is a free CDN that benefits ISPs, Netflix and consumers alike, and which ISPs are free to refuse. It's not, as Jenkins and FCC Commissioner Pai have tried to claim, some kind of secret devil-worshiping cult (though that would certainly add an awesome twist to the story).
At least now we understand the famous but nearly indecipherable remarks of Netflix CFO David Wells at a Morgan Stanley media conference two weeks ago. To wit, Netflix had been happy to flog the net-neutrality meme while negotiating these agreements, Mr. Wells indicated, and then unhappy when the FCC took its rhetoric seriously and imposed sweeping Title II regulation.
"Netflix revealed its Title II advocacy was a ruse on March 4, when Netflix chief financial officer David Wells said the company was disappointed by the ultimate outcome at the FCC...Wells didn’t say what “non-regulated solution” Netflix had hoped to achieve, but anyone who followed last year’s shenanigans between Netflix and major ISPs knows that its interest was aimed at obtaining free interconnection deals. Wells’s statement makes clear that Netflix hoped its public push for Title II would force ISPs to capitulate to its demands."So again, the proof-optional narrative being pushed by ISPs and net neutrality opponents is that the entire ten year net neutrality debate is really all just a clever ploy by Netflix -- to save a few bucks. Netflix is the villain, the narrative continues, and companies like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast -- with a generation of anti-competitive behavior under their belt -- are the real victims here.
by Tim Cushing
Fri, Mar 27th 2015 4:07am
Nothing was changed at all apart filling the new forced content rating form and suddenly lost all my revenues.His complaints reached his fans and customers, who then made their presence felt. This finally prompted a Google human to give Yatse the details he needed so he could fix his app and get it relisted.
I hope someone human answer with details soon, but I'm joining the anger from all developers around about how #Google treat devs, take 30% share without problem but certainly do not do support or act as human when killing someone.
Hi Tolriq,This part of Google's response refers to screenshots used in the app's listing. They used to look something like this…
Thank you for your additional comments.
As previously explained, your promotional images include content that you do not appear to have permission to distribute. For example, images related to films are most likely protected by the various studios that produced and released them. It is reasonable to assume that these would not be made legally available in public domain or via Creative Commons as most studios are extremely protective of their intellectual property. The same could be said of images from various TV series…
If you are able to prove otherwise, either via direct authorization from a studio representative or the location where you sourced these images (public domain and/or Creative Commons), we could review that information and reconsider the merits of this case.The motivating factor for this non-consideration is potential litigation, according to the Google Play Team.
This may represent a change from two years ago in that most studios today will file complaints over use of their content unless someone has entered into an agreement with them on some level, and that should not come as a surprise to you.Even with a direct response, there are still some gray areas the developer is left to address himself.
We are unable to provide specific guidance as to which images may be allowed, but we trust that you will use your best judgment based on what we have mentioned above and in previous communications.As Yatse points out, this isn't good news for developers.
The answer is very interesting for all Google Play developers :Google Play has moved to preemptive takedowns, unprompted by studio complaints. This isn't a good thing. It may protect Google (but only slightly, considering the studios' ongoing antipathy towards the tech company) but it does nothing for developers whose sales it takes a portion of.
- Google will remove your application on suspicions and not on real facts.
- No human will check what you upload or say.
- It's nearly impossible to have a real contact and support.
- You need to try to fix problem yourself without details and hope to have it fixed before ban. (Very hard when in fact there's no problem)
#Yatse is now back on Play Store, without any images until I can figure out what the Google bot does not like in open sources ones.This understandably limits his options and makes it much harder to convey the app's functionality. Here are the screenshots currently available at Google Play, which show that Yatse (the app) is probably some sort of remote control program and has some color options.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Mar 27th 2015 1:09am
It’s time to talk about security.While I question that 80% number -- given that we had difficulty finding many ad providers who supported HTTPS a year ago -- it's good to see the industry finally recognizing how important this is.
In fact, last year was the time to talk about security. From The New York Times to Google, the call went out for websites to encrypt communications with their users, protecting the integrity and privacy of information exchanged in both directions. Even the U.S. government heard this call, and is working to require HTTPS delivery of all publicly accessible Federal websites and web services.
This year, the advertising industry needs to finish catching up. Many ad systems are already supporting HTTPS - a survey of our membership late last year showed nearly 80% of member ad delivery systems supported HTTPS. That’s a good start, but doesn’t reflect the interconnectedness of the industry. A publisher moving to HTTPS delivery needs every tag on page, whether included directly or indirectly, to support HTTPS. That means that in addition to their ad server, the agency ad server, beacons from any data partners, scripts from verification and brand safety tools, and any other system required by the supply chain also needs to support HTTPS.
Let’s break that down a bit more - once a website decides to support HTTPS, they need to make sure that their primary ad server supports encryption. That ad server will sometimes need to include tags from brand safety, audience and viewability measurement, and other tools - all of which also need to support encryption. The publisher’s ad server will often direct to one of several agency ad servers, each of which will also need to serve over HTTPS. Each agency ad server also may include a variety of beacons or tags, depending on how the deal was set up, all of which similarly need to have encrypted versions available. That’s a lot of dependencies - and when one fails to support HTTPS, the website visitor’s experience is impacted, initiating a costly search for the failure point by the publisher.
Thu, Mar 26th 2015 9:07pm
The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled in favor of a Cuban state-owned company and refused to intervene in a dispute over the “Cohiba” trademark. This is the most recent development in the long-standing rivalry between General Cigar Co Inc., an American (and Scandinavian) company, and Cubatabaco, a Cuban company.How fun! We finally open up the borders for some business with Cuba and one of the Castro companies decides it's trademark time! Keep in mind, of course, that the state that owns Cubatabaco is a communist nation, but not so communist that they'll refuse to use our capitalist tools to make that money. This dispute actually goes back nearly two decades, with Cubatabaco originally filing a trademark claim in 1997, which was eventually tossed in 2005 by the Second Circuit court, finding that any transfer of property, including a trademark, to a Cuban company would violate the embargo.
by Michael Ho
Thu, Mar 26th 2015 5:00pm
Explore some core concepts:
|15:47||California Legislators Pushing Warrant Requirement For All Access To Electronic Information, Including That Obtained By Stingrays (12)|
|14:36||Dangerously Underpowered NSA Begging Legislators For Permission To Go To Cyberwar (26)|
|13:39||Free Speech, Censorship, Moderation And Community: The Copia Discussion (16)|
|12:32||New York Legislators Seeking A 'Right To Repair' Law For Electronic Devices (13)|
|12:30||Daily Deals: Cyber Security Developer Course Bundle (0)|
|11:33||Bill Introduced To Repeal Patriot Act And Prevent The Government From Demanding Encryption Backdoors (30)|
|10:31||CyberNadir: Former Pilot Randomly Speculates (Incorrectly) That Recent Airbus Crash Could Be The Work Of Hackers (50)|
|09:27||Bad Copyright Laws Scaring Off Necessary Investment In New Digital Platforms (22)|
|08:13||FBI Quietly Removes Recommendation To Encrypt Your Phone... As FBI Director Warns How Encryption Will Lead To Tears (68)|
|06:11||Showtime, HBO Working With ISPs To Make Their Streaming Services Cap Exempt (64)|
|04:09||Corporate Sovereignty Provisions Of TPP Agreement Leaked Via Wikileaks: Would Massively Undermine Government Sovereignty (65)|
|01:05||Unimpressed, UK's Parliamentary Committee For Business Calls For 'Evidence-Based Approach' To TAFTA/TTIP (13)|
|21:01||IOC Forces School To Remove Rings From Crest For Some Reason (41)|
|17:00||DailyDirt: Suicide Isn't Painless -- Neither Is The Death Penalty (Yet?) (38)|
|14:50||Senator Wants To Know Why The US Marshals Asset Forfeiture Division Is Blowing Money On $10,000 Tables (22)|
|13:48||Accidentally Revealed FTC Document Details Some Questionable Google Practices, But Not The Ones Most People Focused On (14)|
|12:41||New York Times Turns Ads Off On 'Sensitive' Stories (6)|
|12:40||Daily Deals: 72% Off Power Vault 18000mAh Portable Battery Pack (13)|
|11:41||Copyright Troll Perfect 10 Ordered To Pay $5.6 Million Over Bogus Lawsuit (16)|
|10:40||Google's Ridiculous AdSense Morality Police Strike Again (26)|
|09:39||US Pressured Japan, Canada, New Zealand And Others Into Extending Copyright (32)|
|08:23||Copyright Industry Keeps Asking For More In Australia: VPN Ban Next? (35)|
|06:22||Apple's Attempt At A TV Revolution Runs Face First Into Comcast Corporation (28)|
|04:19||No Copyright Lives Forever: How The Apathy Of IP Rights Holders About Their Copyrights Killed A Game Re-Release (77)|
|01:15||Attorney General Threatens To Prosecute Reporters For Doing Their Job (23)|
|21:11||Open Letter To Key EU Copyright Working Group Calls For 'Balanced Representation Of Views' (7)|
|17:00||DailyDirt: Breaking Bad... Passwords (17)|
|15:46||Cops To Congress: Please Leave Us And Our License Plates Readers Alone (49)|
|14:42||Why Princess Twilight Sparkle May Be The Key To Keeping 3D Printing Revolutionary (11)|
|13:36||Despite Throwing Money At Congress, Comcast Finds Merger Support Hard To Come By (13)|