U.S Government accused of spying on citizens, intercepting trillions of emails and phone calls

By on August 27, 2012 at 9:50 PM.

U.S Government accused of spying on citizens, intercepting trillions of emails and phone calls

US Government Domestic Surveillance

Governments around the world are repeatedly accused of spying on both domestic and foreign individuals and groups that may threaten the interests of their citizens; sometimes these accusations are without merit and sometimes they pan out. William Binney, a former official with the National Security Agency, recently said that domestic surveillance in the U.S. has increased under President Obama, and trillions of phone calls, emails and other messages sent by U.S. citizens have been intercepted by the government. In fact, in an interview with Democracy Now, the official-turned-whistleblower claims that the government currently possesses copies of almost all emails sent and received in the United States. More →

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U.S government attempts to silence Megaupload’s lawyers

By on April 13, 2012 at 1:30 PM.

U.S government attempts to silence Megaupload’s lawyers

Lawyers representing the six major Hollywood studios, the United States government and Megaupload met in District Judge Liam O’Grady’s courtroom on Friday, CNET reported. The appearance pertains to digital files belonging to as many as 60 million people throughout the world that are stored on Megaupload’s 1,100 servers. The files are currently located on servers owned by Carpathia Hosting, which is now housing them at its own expense, however the company is looking to delete the information or possibly sell off the servers. Carpathia claims the cost of hosting the data is a financial burden and has asked the court for relief. The U.S. government in January arrested and charged Megaupload’s founder Kim Dotcom, along with six others, with racketeering, copyright infringement and money laundering. But before the trial even starts, the first order of business will be to determine whether Megaupload’s lawyers will be allowed to address the court. More →

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RIM: BlackBerry sales to U.S. government on the rise

By on April 9, 2012 at 10:25 PM.

RIM: BlackBerry sales to U.S. government on the rise

Research In Motion’s BlackBerry line remains the platform choice for nearly half a million federal workers, including President Barack Obama. While the company struggles with consumers and the enterprise market, sales of BlackBerry devices are growing within the U.S. Government, Bloomberg reported on Monday. “Compared to the enterprise over the last year and a half or so, the federal business on whole is up,” said Scott Totzke, who runs RIM’s U.S. government sales business. “The employee base is shrinking, so if we’re looking at a market with fewer employees and our install base is stable to slightly up, that would seem to indicate that we have an increasing market share.” RIM sold 400,000 BlackBerry devices to the federal government in the past year, and more existing clients upgraded to the newer BlackBerry 7 devices and added BlackBerry servers, Totzke said. He added that 40% of RIM’s government customers also upgraded to new devices in the past 12 months. Some agencies are changing their policies, however, and allowing workers to choose other smartphones, which may impact BlackBerry’s government market share moving forward. More →

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BlackBerry remains top smartphone in Washington

By on April 5, 2012 at 1:35 PM.

BlackBerry remains top smartphone in Washington

Research in Motion’s BlackBerry operating system has gone from being a leading smartphone platform to the struggling OS it is today. While adoption rates may be slowing with consumers and businesses, the same cannot be said for U.S. Government workers, a new report claims. The Washington Post on Tuesday reported that nearly half a million federal workers, including President Barack Obama, are still using BlackBerry phones. That number hasn’t dipped over the past few years despite RIM’s plummeting sales. “We appreciate RIM’s focus on security, which is paramount for government use,” said Casey Coleman, chief information officer at the General Services Administration. Some agencies are changing their policies and allowing workers to choose other smartphones, however, which may impact BlackBerry’s government market share moving forward. Coleman added that other platforms are proving equally secure, and that the GSA places “a priority on adoption where appropriate of innovative new technologies.” 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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BlackBerry PlayBook becomes first tablet approved for U.S. government use

By on July 21, 2011 at 4:38 PM.

BlackBerry PlayBook becomes first tablet approved for U.S. government use

Research In Motion on Thursday announced that its BlackBerry PlayBook tablet has become the first tablet device to be certified for use by the U.S. government. The company’s slate has received FIPS 140-2 certification according to RIM, and it is currently the only media tablet to have been awarded this certification from the National Institute of Standards and Technology at this point. FIPS certification is required in order for a device to be considered for use by the U.S. government. “RIM is pleased to announce that the BlackBerry PlayBook is the first tablet approved under FIPS for use within the U.S. federal government,” said RIM’s Senior Vice President of Security Scott Totzke in a statement. “This certification demonstrates our continued commitment to meeting the needs of security-conscious organizations and enables the U.S. federal government to buy with confidence knowing that the PlayBook meets their computing policy requirements for protecting sensitive information.” RIM’s full press release follows below. More →

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LulzSec IRC chat leaked; group says it was just a ‘subcrew channel’

By on June 24, 2011 at 7:00 PM.

LulzSec IRC chat leaked; group says it was just a ‘subcrew channel’

The Guardian has posted the full text of what is reportedly a LulzSec IRC chat room log from May 31st to June 4th. LulzSec — the notorious hacking group responsible for recent attacks on Sony, the CIA’s website, and the U.S. Senate — has fired back claiming that the room’s sole purpose is for recruiting new members. The Guardian reported that LulzSec’s members include hackers “Kayla,” “Topiary” — who runs the group’s Twitter feed and writers the press releases — and “Sabu,” who services as the group’s father figure and mastermind. The chat log, from a room called #pure-elite, is filled with text from other IRC users including “jopie91,” “Neuron,” “Storm,” “trollpoll,” and “voodoo,” but LulzSec’s press release said that those users just “hang out” with the group and aren’t involved with LulzSec. The IRC conversations run the gamut from comedic content to serious warnings. In one instance, the group’s alleged leader Sabu issued a command: “You realise we smacked the FBI today. This means everyone in here must remain extremely secure.” LulzSec affirmed that it’s still operating at full strength and added: “The Lulz Boat sails stronger than ever, nice try though. We are too sexy to be sunk, hacking continues as usual, u mad bros?” Read on for the full press release from LulzSec. More →

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Google's software battle with U.S. government heats up

By on April 14, 2011 at 3:04 AM.

Google's software battle with U.S. government heats up

New details emerged recently in the battle between Microsoft, Google, and the U.S. government’s choice of default software. Here’s the rub: Google filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government in November 2010 alleging that the Department of Interior didn’t give its Google Apps Premier a fair shake before choosing to use Microsoft’s Business Productivity Online Suite-Federal for all of its employees. That’s the tip of the iceberg, as the story gets a bit more complicated. See, in order for the software to be certified for government use, it needs to get a FISMA stamp from the General Services Administration (GSA). Google Apps Premier was certified in June 2010, but it appears that a subset “Google Apps for Government,” — introduced later — has yet to receive that certification. According to Business Insider, Google assumed that since its Google Apps for Government product was more secure the original FISMA certificate would fit the bill. Technically, it sounds like that alone is reason enough for the government to choose Microsoft’s suite, making Google’s entire lawsuit moot. But we’re sure we’ll hear more from the Google defense. Hit the jump for a testimony from the GSA’s David McClure while speaking to U.S. Senator Tom Carper. More →

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U.S. Government exempt from Early Termination Fees

By on June 13, 2008 at 5:06 AM.

U.S. Government exempt from Early Termination Fees

It seems there are some benefits to working for the man. In 2004, a company then known simply as Nextel began investigating whether they could assess ETF’s to government contracts that ended before their pre-determined termination date. At the time, Nextel’s VP of marketing issued a public statement hypothesizing that “the government will never, never accept such penalty amounts”. Uh, ok. After a lengthy process, Sprint-Nextel has now, according to the Associated Press, “ultimately decided against charging the fees to the government even though it charges the same fees to consumers and businesses.” Great. No justification for the selective treatment was given, but perhaps Sprint executives now enjoy diplomatic immunity in the Baltic region. No word on whether other telecom companies harbor similarly shady policies, but we wouldn’t be surprised if this was the case across the board. 

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