‘Big brother’ black boxes to soon be mandatory in all new cars

By on April 19, 2012 at 11:05 AM.

‘Big brother’ black boxes to soon be mandatory in all new cars

Beginning in 2015, all new cars in the United States will likely need to be fitted with data-recording “black boxes” very similar to the devices currently used in aircraft. The U.S. Senate has already passed a bill that will make the devices a requirement, and the House is expected to approve the bill as well. Section 31406 of Senate Bill 1813 states that mandatory event data recorders must in installed in all cars starting in 2015, and it outlines civil penalties that will be levied against violators, Infowars.com reports. While the primary function of the black box devices would be to record and transmit data that could be used to assist a driver and passengers in the event of an accident, the bill has legislation built in that would give the government access to the data with a court order, and it also gives authorities the ability to access the data as part of an investigation. According to the report, these caveats could potentially lead to Big Brother-like scenarios where citizens are monitored or even actively tracked without their knowledge or consent. More →

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WikiLeaks founder to run for Australian Senate

By on March 20, 2012 at 12:00 AM.

WikiLeaks founder to run for Australian Senate

WikiLeaks announced that its founder and leader Julian Assange is planning to run for a seat on the Australian Senate, the Associated Press reported on Saturday. Despite being under house arrest in England and facing sex crime allegations in Sweden, the group said it is possible for Assange to run. “We have discovered that it is possible for Julian Assange to run for the Australian Senate while detained. Julian has decided to run,” WikiLeaks announced on Twitter. The group also announced that it would be supporting a candidate who will run against Prime Minister Julia Gillard for her seat of Lalor. “The name of the Lalor candidate and the state Julian will run for will be announced at the appropriate time,” the group said. Assange has criticized Gillard for her lack of support as he faced the threat of extradition to the United States over WikiLeaks’s release of classified U.S. documents. While Australian police have said that WikiLeaks and Assange have not broken any Australian laws, Gillard condemned the action, calling it “grossly irresponsible.” More →

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Megaupload founder claims U.S. government officials used his file-sharing service

By on March 12, 2012 at 2:05 PM.

Megaupload founder claims U.S. government officials used his file-sharing service

Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom is currently trying to work out a deal with the Department of Justice to allow users to download their personal files that were stored on Megaupload’s servers prior to the service’s closure. “Megaupload’s legal team is working hard to reunite our users with their data,” Dotcom said to TorrentFreak. “We are negotiating with the Department of Justice to allow all Mega users to retrieve their data.” Dotcom, the company’s founder, who was charged with racketeering, copyright infringement and money laundering, claims that many high-ranking U.S. government officials were among the users of the popular file sharing website. “Guess what – we found a large number of Mega accounts from U.S. Government officials including the Department of Justice and the U.S. Senate,” he said. “I hope we will soon have permission to give them and the rest of our users access to their files.” More →

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Senate gives Carrier IQ until December 14th to address privacy concerns

By on December 1, 2011 at 2:50 PM.

Senate gives Carrier IQ until December 14th to address privacy concerns

Senator Al Franken, chairman of the Senate subcommittee on privacy, technology and law, sent a letter to Carrier IQ on Thursday asking the company to address a number of concerns that have arisen after security expert Trevor Eckhart revealed the software might allow wireless carriers to spy on customers. “I am very concerned by recent reports that your company’s software — preinstalled on smartphones used by millions of Americans — is logging and may be transmitting extraordinarily sensitive information from consumers’ phones,” Senator Franken wrote in his letter. Read on for more. More →

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U.S. Senate votes in favor of FCC net neutrality rules

By on November 10, 2011 at 4:15 PM.

U.S. Senate votes in favor of FCC net neutrality rules

The United States Senate on Thursday voted 52-46 in opposition of a Republican bill that sought to block the Federal Communication Commission’s net neutrality rules. Here’s one small example of how a society without net neutrality might work: Say you’re an avid fan of Netflix or Hulu but, since you’re using those services instead of your cable company’s on-demand movie rental platform, your cable company decides to block all access to Netflix and Hulu. Under the FCC’s net neutrality rules, that move by your cable company would be illegal. Instead, cable companies must allow access to all legal content crossing their networks. However, cable and internet companies fear that net neutrality is giving the government too much control over their networks. Verizon moved to appeal the net neutrality rules in January when it said it was “deeply concerned by the FCC’s assertion of broad authority for sweeping new regulation of broadband networks and the internet itself.” The FCC has since filed a motion to toss Verizon’s suit. The rules are set to go into effect on November 20th, Reuters said. More →

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Google rivals head to D.C. for antitrust dogpile

By on September 21, 2011 at 8:15 PM.

Google rivals head to D.C. for antitrust dogpile

Expedia, Nextag and Yelp are in Washington, D.C. to participate in a Senate judiciary antitrust subcommittee hearing about whether or not Google has acted anti-competitively in the market. Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman is one of the executives who has been asked to provide testimony during the hearing and he has posted his written testimony on Yelp’s website. “Google is no longer in the business of sending people to the best sources of information on the web,” Stoppelman said. “It now hopes to be a destination site itself for one vertical market after another, including news, shopping, travel and now, local business reviews. It would be one thing if these efforts were conducted on a level playing field, but the reality is they are not.” Read on for more. More →

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Senate Antitrust Subcommittee chairman asks regulators to block AT&T / T-Mobile merger

By on July 20, 2011 at 3:24 PM.

Senate Antitrust Subcommittee chairman asks regulators to block AT&T / T-Mobile merger

Senator Herb Kohl, the chairman of the Senate’s antitrust subcommittee is recommending that federal regulators deny AT&T’s $39 billion planned acquisition of T-Mobile. ”I have concluded that this acquisition, if permitted to proceed, would likely cause substantial harm to competition and consumers, would be contrary to antitrust law and not in the public interest, and therefore should be blocked by your agencies,” Kohl said on Wednesday. Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, chairwoman of the House Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee, Congressman John Conyers, and Congressman Edward Markey also recently wrote a letter to the Justice Department and the FCC expressing concern that the acquisition would hurt competition in the U.S. wireless market. “We believe that AT&T’s acquisition of T-Mobile would be a troubling backward step in federal public policy–a retrenchment from nearly two decades of promoting competition and open markets to acceptance of a duopoly in the wireless marketplace,” the letter said. “Such industry consolidation could reduce competition and increase consumer costs at a time our country can least afford it.” Sprint and its CEO Dan Hesse have also been very involved in trying to stop the merger. While Hesse has argued the deal will “stifle innovation” in the U.S. Wireless market, AT&T’s CEO Randall Stephenson has argued the opposite and has said it will result in “net job growth.” In June AT&T’s General Counsel Wayne Watts said that the deal, which has been backed by other big tech hitters such as Microsoft, was on schedule for a March 2012 approval. More →

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Google chairman Eric Schmidt to testify during Senate antitrust hearing

By on July 11, 2011 at 4:01 PM.

Google chairman Eric Schmidt to testify during Senate antitrust hearing

Google’s chairman and former CEO Eric Schmidt has agreed to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee’s antitrust subcommittee, Reuters reported on Monday. On June 24th, Google announced that the Federal Trade Commission would be reviewing its business practices. The search giant said it was “still unclear” as to what the FTC’s concerns were but that it would cooperate fully with the investigation. Watchdog groups such as Fairsearch.org have repeatedly accused Google of eangaging in anti-competitive behavior. “I look forward to discussing a number of important issues relating to Google and Internet search competition,” Senator Mike Lee, the lead Republican on the Judiciary Committee’s anti-trust subcommittee said. More →

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LulzSec’s last lulz: Malware for all those who downloaded hackers’ final plunder

By on June 28, 2011 at 12:30 PM.

LulzSec’s last lulz: Malware for all those who downloaded hackers’ final plunder

The small group of hackers known as Lulz Security, or simply “LulzSec,” would never disband without one final round of fun. BGR reported on Monday that the group’s reign of terror was coming to an end after 50 lul-filled days. During that period of time, LulzSec released data stolen in a series of online breaches with targets ranging from Sony to the U.S. Government. In its coup de grâce, LulzSec released a stash of stolen data from a variety of targets, including AT&T, Disney and the U.S. Navy. But data obtained through online breaches wasn’t the only thing LulzSec stuffed into the file; a directory named “BootableUSB” also contained a variety of malware including trojans and worms. While “LulzSec” is no more and its notorious Twitter account now sits dormant, members of the well-known hacktivism group “Anonymous Operations” have confirmed that LulzSec is gone in name only — the six LulzSec members have been absorbed by Anonymous, according to the group’s official Twitter feed. More →

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LulzSec says ‘bon voyage’ after 50-day hack fest

By on June 27, 2011 at 3:20 PM.

LulzSec says ‘bon voyage’ after 50-day hack fest

The now infamous hacking team LulzSec recently announced that it was swabbing the decks of its “Lulz Boat” and closing up shop — for now. The group made its name after attacking a number of high visability targets recently, including Sony, the CIA’s website, and the U.S. Senate. It’s unclear if the group’s decision was made after its leader and chat logs were exposed, but the group makes a convincing argument that a 50-day hack-fest was planned the entire time. In its final press release, LulzSec said “Our planned 50 day cruise has expired, and we must now sail into the distance, leaving behind – we hope – inspiration, fear, denial, happiness, approval, disapproval, mockery, embarrassment, thoughtfulness, jealousy, hate, even love.” The letter, at times a bit awkward and out of character for the group, called on hackers to continue the fight against poor security in support of freedom of information. LulzSec — short for “Lulz Security” — confirmed it had a crew of six members and thanks its supporters, but we have a feeling we’ll hear more from the group in the future. Read on for the full release. More →

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Apple and Google to review DUI checkpoint-dodging applications

By on May 11, 2011 at 8:20 PM.

Apple and Google to review DUI checkpoint-dodging applications

Apple and Google are in Washington, D.C., testifying before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law. Both companies have already testified in regards to collecting location data from users, but there are more questions to be answered. Senator Charles Schumer asked Apple and Google why the firms were allowing developers to publish applications that alert drivers of DUI checkpoints. “Apple and Google shouldn’t be in the business of selling apps that help drunk drivers evade the police, and they shouldn’t be selling apps that they themselves admit are terrible,” Schumer said.  The iTunes App Store is home to “DUI Dodger,” a $2.99 application that allows users to submit and view DUI checkpoints in their area. The developer’s iTunes page says: “The idea is that information is power, and people will be less inclined to drink and drive if they know that there is a checkpoint in their area, that they are drunk, and that driving drunk carries major consequences.” The Android Market has similar applications including “Checkpoint Wingman,” a $1.99 app with a feature set that’s similar to DUI Dodger. “We do have a set of content policies regarding our Android Marketplace and although we have to evaluate each app separately, apps that share information about sobriety checkpoints are not a violation of our policies, director of public policy at Google, Alan Davidson, said. “We definitely have a policy that… [we] will not allow apps that will encourage illegal activity” Bud Tribble, Apple’s vice president of software technology, said. Apple and Google will review the applications and have been asked to follow-up with Schumer’s office within one month to explain whether or not the applications will be pulled. More →

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Senate schedules hearing to review AT&T’s T-Mobile acquisition

By on April 8, 2011 at 11:26 AM.

Senate schedules hearing to review AT&T’s T-Mobile acquisition

A United States Senate subcommittee on Friday announced that it will hold a hearing next month to review AT&T’s proposed acquisition of T-Mobile USA. The $39 billion deal, which has been strongly and publicly opposed by Sprint, would see AT&T once again become the nation’s top carrier by subscriber count. It would also give AT&T control of T-Mobile’s AWS spectrum for use with the carrier’s upcoming LTE network rollout. A Senate Judiciary antitrust subcommittee headed by Wisconsin Democrat Herb Kohl will convene on May 11th to review the proposed merger in a hearing. More →

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Eight U.S. senators call for investigation of Huawei equipment sale to Sprint

By on August 19, 2010 at 3:37 PM.

Eight U.S. senators call for investigation of Huawei equipment sale to Sprint

The Washington Post is reporting that eight Republican U.S. senators are trying to block the sale of telecommunications equipment from Chinese manufacturer Huawei to U.S. wireless provider Sprint Nextel. The group, led by Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona, is asking the Obama administration to investigate if the country’s national security will be compromised by the equipment. In a statement, the group said, “A Chinese company with such a leading role in Iran’s economy and close relationship with the IRGC should not be able to do business in the U.S.” Pretty interesting language out of a group that heralds the wonders of the “free market.” The senators also note that Huawei sells equipment to the Chinese Military, Afghanistan, and Iraq. “At worst, Huawei’s becoming a major supplier of Sprint Nextel could present a case of a company, acting at the direction of and funded by the Chinese military, taking a critical place in the supply chain of the U.S. military, law enforcement and private sector,” said the eight senators. You get the idea… what do you think? Is Huawei equipment in the U.S. a national security risk or is this just more political gamesmanship?

Thanks, Q! More →

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