Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – January 20, 2015

iPhone users: How your government spies on you;  The essential guide to buying a HomePlug Ethernet adapter;  You Asked: What Is Bluetooth?  How to set Windows desktop items as public or private;  Five handy apps for booking a ride;  9 moviemaking apps;  Evernote apps: Hands-on with its handiest homegrown tools;  Fedora 21 review: Linux’s sprawliest distro finds a new focus;  Has The Antivirus Industry Gone Mad?!  Here’s How To Go Completely Paperless This Year;  Adventure Time Game Wizard: DIY game building;  Obama backs Cameron’s fight against encryption;  Security problems need to be made public: Linus Torvalds.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

People are increasingly worried about privacy and lax legal protections – In 11 of the 12 countries surveyed as part of a report published by Microsoft on Monday, respondents said that technology’s effect on privacy was mostly negative. Most concerned were people in Japan and France, where 68 percent of the respondents thought technology has had a mostly negative impact on privacy. A majority want better legal protections and say the rights of Internet users should be governed by local laws irrespective of where companies are based.

iPhone users: How your government spies on you – The iPhone is by far the most secure device around. But please don’t be complacent, as criminals, governments and criminal governments work really hard to subvert device security, no back door required. Now Der Spiegel has revealed additional techniques in its latest leak from Edward Snowden, a GCHQ document called “iPhone target analysis and exploitation with unique device identifiers.” This shows agencies have been using device UDID numbers to help them keep track of individuals who may have hit their surveillance lists. These surveillance lists seem rather extensive: In 2012, activist hackers from AntiSec published 1,000,001 UDIDs, saying these were extracted from a list of 12 million UDID numbers they had stolen from the FBI.

You Asked: What Is Bluetooth? – Bluetooth is a radio signal engineered to jump around between 42 different channels, hundreds of times per second, making it less likely it would interfere with Wi-Fi networks or cordless phones. In addition, that frequency-hopping also helps to make Bluetooth connections very secure. On top of that, the technology has government-grade encryption baked into it, making it nearly impossible to hack.

The essential guide to buying a HomePlug Ethernet adapter (including 6 hands-on reviews) – Wi-Fi may be the most popular networking technology, but sometimes even the fastest wireless connection just doesn’t hack it. Perhaps the signal can’t get to the farthest reaches of your home or office, or maybe there are so many wireless networks competing for limited bandwidth that the Netflix movie you’re streaming keeps freezing or stuttering. Ethernet is still the gold standard for wired networks, but few people have the cabling built into their walls, and even fewer are willing to tear up their walls to install it. Fortunately, you probably already have all the infrastructure you need to set up a wired network: The electrical circuitry in most homes and small offices can do the job. All you need to set up a power-line network are small adapters that plug into any wall outlet and connect via a cable to the Ethernet port of a network device.

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Five handy apps for booking a ride – You don’t have to unleash an earsplitting whistle to hail a cab. These smartphone apps offer a simple (and quieter) way to arrange a ride. Before we get started, I want to pass along one bit of advice: It’s a good idea to check the geographic service area prior to downloading an app. Many of the apps that are available work only in specific countries or specific cities.

How to set Windows desktop items as public or private – Desktop sharing and privacy is actually pretty simple, but it’s not well known. Unless you know the trick, you can’t control which items will appear only on your desktop, and which will appear on everyone’s desktop. The shortcuts and other files that show up on the desktop do so because they’re in a Desktop folder. (And yes, shortcuts are files—small files that point to other files.) But your PC has more than one Desktop folder, and therein lies the trick of creating public and private desktop shortcuts.

How dating app Grindr makes it easy to stalk 5 million gay men – Mobile dating apps have revolutionized the pursuit of love and sex by allowing people not only to find like-minded mates but to identify those who are literally right next door, or even in the same bar, at any given time. That convenience is a double-edge sword, warn researchers. To prove their point, they exploited weaknesses in Grindr, a dating app with more than five million monthly users, to identify users and construct detailed histories of their movements. As a result, geographic locations of Grindr users in the US and most other places can be tracked down to the very park bench where they happen to be having lunch or bar where they’re drinking and monitored almost continuously, according to research scheduled to be presented Saturday at the Shmoocon security conference in Washington, DC. Grindr officials declined to comment for this post beyond what they said in posts here and here published more than four months ago.

Evernote apps: Hands-on with its handiest homegrown tools – Evernote is a note taker, a Web clipper, and most recently, a collaboration tool. Evernote also offers a handful of apps that tack extra talents onto the cloud service. We’ll delve into the raft of third-party Evernote apps in future columns, but for now, let’s look at the home-grown offerings, starting with one that’s just for photos.

The pplkpr App Wants To Tell You Which Friends Are Better To Hang With – Don’t know how you feel about someone in your life? By pairing a heart rate monitor with the pplkpr iOS app, you could soon find out. The app pairs up with any Bluetooth-enabled heart rate monitor to track your physical response around certain people in your life. Biofeedback from those devices log reactions such as joy, anger, sadness, and then uploads what it determines to be those emotional reactions to the app. pplkpr then decides if certain people stress you out or help calm you down and suggests un-friending, avoiding or blocking negative people. It can also delete contacts it determines to be bad for you.

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9 moviemaking apps – Do you picture yourself as an iPhone filmmaker, an Android auteur? In awards season, we sit back and critique other people’s films, and if those Golden Globes and Oscar nominees have inspired or irritated you — or if you simply want to level up from shooting home videos — take a shot at making your own movie. We’ve scouted nine affordable, time-saving, feature-rich apps to help you script, storyboard, shoot, and edit.

Fedora 21 review: Linux’s sprawliest distro finds a new focus – Like most Linux distros, Fedora is a massive, sprawling project. Frankly, it’s sprawl-y to the point that it has felt unfocused and a bit lost at times. Just what is Fedora? The distro has served as a kind of showcase for GNOME 3 ever since GNOME 3 hit the beta stage. So Fedora in theory is meant to target everyday users, but at the same time the project pours tremendous energy into building developer tools like DevAssistant. Does that make Fedora a developer distro? A newbie-friendly GNOME showcase? A server distro? An obscure robotics distro? Today, the answer to all the above questions is “yes.” And the way to make sense of it all is what Fedora calls Fedora.Next.

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GNOME’s Software app in Fedora 21.

How to teach contact names and relationships to Siri and Google Now – Help Google Now and Siri sift through your contacts faster by by assigning special names and relationships to your most important or frequent contacts.

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Facebook to add voice transcription to Messenger – Facebook has announced that it is trying out its voice to text product in Messenger with selected users before rolling it out across the platform.

Here’s How To Go Completely Paperless This Year – The first month of 2015 is quickly coming to a close, but if you’ve already tossed aside your New Year’s resolution of cutting back on paper, it’s not to late to grab it before it flies away. In fact, the time has never been better: your first bills of the year are starting to trickle in, and tax time is just about to begin. These five tech-fueled tips can help you to organize your statements, wrangle your receipts, and electronically file your personal documents, so you can cut paper out of your daily routine, now and forever.

Security:

Oracle E-Business suite wide open to database attack – Clear some time in you diary and drink an extra coffee, sysadmins: a top hacker has warned that Oracle will tomorrow patch a horror bug that needs urgent attention. Datacom TSS hacker David Litchfield told The Reg he has reported to Oracle that versions of its E-Business suite contain a “major” misconfiguration flaw that allowed anyone to fully compromise the database server. Litchfield told The Reg that the hole is a “real doozy” that could not be explained by Oracle. “The technical details are that the PUBLIC role has been granted the INDEX privilege on the DUAL table owned by SYS,” Litchfield told Vulture South.

Has The Antivirus Industry Gone Mad?! – We have seen a concerning trend that is about to spiral out of control: Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUPs) are further on the rise. What’s even more concerning is how they are spreading. After big vendors as Oracle (Java) and Microsoft (Bing and Skype) started bundling, now antivirus vendors have joined the game. We did research on some of the most popular PUP practices among the freeware antivirus vendors, and the results are quite disturbing. PUPs want to get on your computer to make money off of you First, lets quickly recap what PUPs are and why they’re spreading like wildfire.

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Two big bugs in VLC media player’s core library – A Turkish hacker has revealed two zero-day vulnerabilities in library code used by the popular VLC media player and others. The data execution prevention (CVE-2014-9597) and write access (CVE-2014-9598) violation vulnerabilities could lead to arbitrary code execution, researcher Veysel Hatas said in a post. “VLC Media Player contains a flaw that is triggered as user-supplied input is not properly sanitised when handling a specially crafted FLV” or M2V file, Hatas said. “This may allow a context-dependent attacker to corrupt memory and potentially execute arbitrary code.” He said both were high severity holes. Version 2.2.0-rc2, available to testers, is not vulnerable, according to the VLC project’s bug tracker.

Microsoft Outlook Hacked In China, New Report Finds – Only a few weeks after Google’s Gmail service was blocked in China, a new report from online censorship monitoring organization GreatFire.org released this morning states that Microsoft’s email system Outlook was recently subjected to a “man-in-the-middle” attack in China. This is a form of eavesdropping where the attacker inserts himself in between the victims’ connections, relaying messages between them while the victims’ continue believe they have a secure, private connection. Meanwhile, the attacker is able to read all the content they’re sharing. The attack continued for a about a day, and has since stopped, the report states.

U.S. Hacked North Korea Before North Korea Hacked U.S. – Ever wonder why President Obama so quickly and sure-footedly accused North Korea of hacking into Sony servers? Turns out, the United States had actually hacked into North Korean computer networks back in 2010, giving the government more confidence in their determination of the situation. This begs the question: why wasn’t the NSA able to prevent the Sony hack altogether?

NSA: We’re in YOUR BOTNET – The NSA quietly commandeered a botnet targeting US Defence agencies to attack other victims including Chinese and Vietnamese dissidents, Snowden documents reveal. The “Boxingrumble” botnet was detected targeting the Defence Department’s Nonsecure Internet Protocol Router Network prompting NSA bods to redirect the attack to a server operated by the Tailored Access Operations unit. A DNS spoofing attack tricked the botnet into treating the spies as trusted command and control agents. The NSA then used the bot’s hooks into other victims to foist its own custom malware.

Company News:

How much does Microsoft make from PC makers with Windows 8.1? – Microsoft is making Windows 8.1 available to its PC partners for anywhere from ‘zero dollars’ to $15 per copy, according to recently disclosed OEM licensing information.

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Amazon is going to produce its own movies and release them in theaters – On Monday Amazon said it would begin to produce and acquire feature films for theatrical release that it would then stream on Amazon Prime four to eight weeks after the theatrical debut. Amazon said its goal was to cut down the 39 to 52 weeks it usually takes for theatrical releases to make it to streaming services. Amazon, for its own part, said it planned to produce 12 movies a year. The new model will challenge not only the entertainment industry, whose customers have grown to expect long windows between a movie’s release and its availability on other mediums, but also its own competitors in the content streaming space. Netflix is the most well-known streaming service that also produces its own original content.

Google said close to $1bn SpaceX investment – Google is reportedly near to splashing a considerable amount of cash on SpaceX, Elon Musk’s ambitious space exploration company, as part of a funding round that would value the company at more than $10bn. SpaceX has already begun running unmanned resupply missions to the International Space Station, and is currently testing reusable rocket technology that could potentially slash the cost of putting people, satellites, and other cargo into orbit, or even further beyond, such as a manned mission to Mars that Musk continues to promise. According to insiders, with Google’s own space plans stumbling, the next best thing is a slice of SpaceX.

Twitter Confirms Acquisition Of India’s Missed Call Marketing Platform ZipDial – Last week TechCrunch reported Twitter was in final talks to acquire ZipDial for between $30 million and $40 million, and today the company announced the deal has closed. ZipDial allows people to call a special phone number for a business, hang up before they incur a charge, and then receive a phone call or SMS with information about the business. This “missed call” marketing platform allows people to access content for free, which is especially useful in the developing world where many can’t afford data plans.

Uber woos European cities with the promise of 50,000 new jobs in 2015 – Uber Technologies has promised 50,000 new jobs in Europe from its service in 2015 alone, in an overture to get more cities on the continent to approve its ride-hailing service. “We want to make 2015 the year where we establish a new partnership with EU cities,” Uber CEO and cofounder Travis Kalanick said at the DLD (Digital-Life-Design) conference in Munich on Sunday. Kalanick said his company could take 400,000 cars off the road this year, and reduce congestion and emissions in Europe, by expanding its ride-sharing service, UberPool, and by efficient routing of cars.

Chinese LTE boosts ZTE to nearly double yearly profit – Chinese telecommunications equipment maker ZTE has increased its total profit by 98 percent while only bumping up its revenue by 8 percent.

Games and Entertainment:

Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell gameplay first impressions – Review time is nearly upon us, but we got the game a bit later than expected. Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell is a game we’re going to give a little bit more time to than the less-than-a-day we’ve had with it thus far – but for now, here’s some gameplay to skewer your eyeballs with. This game takes what we knew about the game it jumps off from: Saints Row IV, and drops it all into a pit of despair. You had super powers in Saints Row IV, now you’ve got what amounts to magic. This game is decidedly more metal.

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Hatred gets Adults Only rating, making console, Steam release unlikely – The rating was disclosed by one of the game’s developers on its official forum, which expressed surprise that the title did not get the more lenient Mature (M) rating, writing “Well, I’m not quite convinced why Hatred got AO rating while it lacks any sexual content, but it’s still some kind of achievement to have the second game in history getting AO rating for violence and harsh language only.” Hatred is in fact the third game to receive an AO rating for violence alone, with both Thrill Kill and Manhunt 2 also receiving that evaluation. Thrill Kill, however, had its release cancelled after Electronic Arts bought its publisher and objected to its content. The rating is similarly problematic for games that see boxed retail sales; major retailers like Walmart, Gamestop, and Target refuse to stock AO games.

Face-Stabbing and Cop-Killing: Inside 2015’s Most Controversial Video Game – Destructive Creations’ Hatred has drawn plenty of criticism for the fact that its main character, a big hairy man, seems intent on killing innocent civilians for no particular reason.

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PS4 Remote Play Shines On The Xperia Z3 With The DualShock 4 Game Control Mount – The PlayStation 4 is a platform that keeps giving, thanks to frequent software updates from Sony. Remote Play for Xperia mobile devices is one such gift, and it works very well on the Xperia Z3, Sony’s latest flagship smartphone. The Remote Play app is available now via the Google Play Store for compatible Xperia devices, and anyone who as both one of those and a PS4 at home should grab it.

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Adventure Time Game Wizard: DIY game building made super simple – This week the folks at Cartoon Network are bringing some heat to the mobile gaming worlds of both iOS and Android. They’re bringing a game by the name of Adventure Time Game Wizard – working with the Adventure Time cartoon series as a theme and the old-school side-scrolling skeleton of the original Mario Bros as innards. Here we’re finding just about the easiest-to-work-with platform for creating game levels we’ve ever seen. With the added bonus of Adventure Time, of course – that only makes things more slap-happy!

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AI Mario listens and learns from voice commands – A team of German researchers built a brain for Mario, allowing him to feel happiness, fear, curiosity, and hunger.

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Rockstar offers free game with GTA V pre-order on PC – For GTA V, we were expecting it to arrive for PC on January 27, but last week Rockstar pushed the release date back to March 24. With the wait to play now extended by several weeks, Rockstar is keen to grab as many pre-orders as possible, so it is offering a deal if you order the game direct this month. If you visit the Rockstar Warehouse online store and pre-order the game (at full RRP I should add) by February 1st, Rockstar will throw in $1.3 million of in-game credit split between GTA V ($500,000) and GTA Online ($800,000). On top of that you’ll get to select a free digital download game from a selection of 11 titles.

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Off Topic (Sort of):

Security problems need to be made public: Linus Torvalds – Summary:The creator of the Linux kernel and Git has said that security issues should be publicly disclosed, not swept under the rug where vendors can leave them unsolved for years.

Courts Ill-Equipped To Police Cyber Threats And Cyberbullying In The Anonymous Age – Hardly a week goes by without another story of cyber threats against our public institutions or cyberbullying against our youth, often with significant costs to businesses, public service providers or innocent young victims. The surprising fact is that the majority of cyber threats are perpetrated by adolescent boys, while cyberbullying is perpetrated by groups of two or more adolescent or pre-adolescent girls. While the more extreme cyber threats and cyberbully stories make the headlines, the costs to businesses, public facilities and youth often go unaccounted for. These stories demonstrate the need for more informed and remedial measures by our legislatures and judicial system.

The Chinese have 3-D printed an entire mansion, and it looks awesome – While 3-D printing buildings is not exactly new, the Chinese at Winsun have taken it to a whole new level by making two large constructions that are almost entirely 3-D printed.

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Psychiatric illnesses have more in common than we thought — which could be good news for treatment – Schizophrenia, depression, and bipolar disorder have more in common than previously thought. Not only are they linked through shared genes, the genetic mutations associated with them also work together to govern immunity, brain signaling, and genome function later in life, according to a Nature Neuroscience study. The new finding may mean that only one drug will be required to treat all these disorders in the future. This is the first study to show the genetic overlap between psychiatric disorders leads to meaningful paths for treatment, says Peter Holmans, a biostatistician at King’s College London and a co-author the study. Essentially, it translates the genetic information into a roadmap for drug discovery.

Selfie photobomb causes international incident at Miss Universe – Technically Incorrect: The contestants are gathered in Miami for Miss Universe. Israel and Lebanon are still at war. This is not the time for modern diplomacy. Can a selfie cause an international incident? Yes, it can.

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The offending image, as posted to Instagram by Miss Israel. Doron Matalon/Instagram screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

10 good reasons why working remotely makes sense – Remote work, flextime, career sabbaticals, and zero-hours contracts are all types of flexible work. But it’s remote work that’s disrupting the traditional tech industry 9-to-5 grind. Here’s why.

Something to think about:

“When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative.”

–    Martin Luther King Jr.

Today’s Free Downloads:

ChrisPC Win Experience Index – ChrisPC Win Experience Index is the free tool that lets you rate your computer and check again the Windows Experience Index on your Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 installation, giving you the possibility to view the CPU, RAM, HDD scores or re-run the Windows benchmark tests.

You wonder what gaming or graphical processing power unleashes your PC/Laptop hardware? Just get the Windows indexing scores calculated by Windows using ChrisPC Win Experience Index.

Get back Windows Experience Index on your Windows 8.1 installation!

You want to have the latest Windows version 8.1 and also to be able to check your Windows Experience Index ?

From now on is quite simple, just install ChrisPC Win Experience Index software and you will get back the Windows interface that you are already familiar from Windows 7 and Windows 8.

Totally convenient, ChrisPC Win Experience Index runs on any Windows version on 32 or 64 bits, but aims to be used mainly for Windows 8.1.

ChrisPC Win Experience Index has many key features like:

– Brings back the Windows Experience Index to Windows 8.1.

– Rate your computer on Windows 8.1 with 1 click.

– Fast access to Windows Experience Index scores on Windows 7, 8, 8.1.

– See your computer ratings for CPU, Memory, Storage Disk, Graphics, Gaming.

– Re-run assessments with a single click on Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1.

– Simple and intuitive interface.

The Windows Experience Index measures the capability of your computer’s hardware and software configuration and expresses this measurement as a number called a base score. A higher base score generally means that your computer will perform better and faster than a computer with a lower base score, especially when performing more advanced and resource-intensive tasks.

When you’re shopping for a new PC, the Windows Experience Index can help you find the model that suits your needs. Scoring a PC you already own can help pinpoint slower components worth upgrading.

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Firefox Environment Backup Extension (FEBE) – FEBE allows you to quickly and easily backup your Firefox extensions. In fact, it goes beyond just backing up — It will actually rebuild your extensions individually into installable .xpi files. Now you can easily synchronize your office and home browsers.

FEBE backs up and restores your extensions, themes, and (optionally) your bookmarks, preferences, cookies. and much more.

Backup as little or as much of your Firefox environment as you wish. Perform backups on demand or schedule daily, weekly, or monthly unattended runs. Sequential backups can be stored in timestamped directories so you can restore back as far as you like.

You may specify “User-defined” items to have FEBE backup Thunderbird, Greasemonkey scripts, or virtually any data on your computer – Firefox related or not.

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NirLauncher – NirLauncher is a package of more than 100 portable freeware utilities for Windows, all of them developed for NirSoft Web site during the last few years.

Features:

NirLauncher can be used from USB flash drive without need of any installation.

NirLauncher and all the utilities in the package are completely freeware, without any Spyware/Adware/Malware.

NirLauncher package includes variety of tools that you may need for your daily computer use, including utilities to recover lost passwords, to monitor your network, to view and extract cookies, cache, and other information stored by your Web browser, to search files in your system, and more…

For every utility in the package, you can easily run it, view the help file, or jump to the Web page of the utility.

When using it from USB flash drive, the configuration of every utility is saved into .cfg file on the flash drive.

On x64 systems, NirLauncher automatically run the x64 version of the utility, when there is a separated x64 version.

NirLauncher also allows to add more software packages in additional to the main NirSoft package.

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

New radar lets law enforcement peek into homes – Privacy is a growing concern for many as technology — and the snooping it enables — continues to grow. It’s no surprise, then, that concerns have been raised about a new radar technology that provides law enforcement agencies with the ability to “see” through the walls of one’s home from the outside — something sensitive enough to pick up breathing and motion, and to identify the approximate location of anyone inside. Police have been silently acquiring and utilizing the technology for more than two years, spurring complaints. The use of the technology entered public awareness last month when a legal case in Denver included the revelation that law enforcement had employed the technology sans a search warrant.

Obama backs Cameron’s fight against encryption – Flip-flopping somewhat on his earlier stance against putting backdoors in software, US President Barack Obama took UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s side in telling tech companies to give government agencies access to encrypted devices and communication. Of course, all in the aid of the fight against terrorism and in the interests of national security. The calls from the world’s top government leaders came after two recent incidents that are directly related or being linked to encryption: the hacking of Sony computers last year and the shooting at newspaper Charlie Hebdo this month.

Pointing up    Are you one of the countless shepple who are satisfied with the  2+2=5 political dogma, pushed out by these two perpetual war advocates – a political dogma that has replaced common sense in their shadow world?

The two most dangerous men in the world collaborate, yet again, on their ever expanding schemes to deprive the masses of their few remaining privacy rights, and you sit there –right there – on your arse!

Satisfied, are you, in handing over what little is left of your democracy to your children and grandchildren?

You should be ashamed that you don’t take a forceful and active role in protecting the rights, freedoms and obligations, your forebearers sacrificed to establish, expand, and preserve.

Get off your arse and advocate for change!! What the hell is wrong with you?

Ex-CIA Officer John Kiriakou Speaks – John Kiriakou is the only CIA employee to go to prison in connection with the agency’s torture program. Not because he tortured anyone, but because he revealed information on torture to a reporter.

Kiriakou is the Central Intelligence Agency officer who told ABC News in 2007 that the CIA waterboarded suspected al-Qaeda prisoners after the September 11 attacks, namely Abu Zubaydah, thought to be a key al Qaeda official. Although he felt at the time that waterboarding probably saved lives, Kiriakou nevertheless came to view the practice as torture and later claimed he unwittingly understated how many times Zubaydah was subjected to waterboarding.

In January 2012, Kiriakou was charged by the Justice Department for allegedly and repeatedly disclosing classified information to journalists. The Justice Department accused Kiriakou of disclosing the identity of a CIA officer involved in Zubaydah’s capture to a freelance reporter. The reporter did not publicly reveal the official’s name, but his name did appear on a website in October 2012. Kiriakou also allegedly provided New York Times reporter Scott Shane information on CIA employee Deuce Martinez, who was involved in Zubaydah’s capture and interrogation.

After agreeing to a plea deal in October 2012, Kiriakou was sentenced in January 2013 to 30 months in prison. That sentence made him the second CIA employee ever to be locked up under the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, which bars the release of the name of a covert agent; the first was Sharon Scranage, who in 1985 pled guilty to disclosing the identities of intelligence agents in Ghana after giving classified information to a Ghanaian, reportedly her lover.

Kiriakou is is scheduled for early transfer out of federal prison in Loretto, Pennsylvania on February 3. In a wide-ranging phone interview with The Intercept, Kiriakou, 50, shared his thoughts on the Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA interrogation techniques, on his incarceration, and on his future after prison.

Feds operated yet another secret metadata database until 2013 – In a new court filing, the Department of Justice revealed that it kept a secret database of telephone metadata—with one party in the United States and another abroad—that ended in 2013.

The three-page partially-redacted affidavit from a top Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) official, which was filed Thursday, explained that the database was authorized under a particular federal drug trafficking statute. The law allows the government to use “administrative subpoenas” to obtain business records and other “tangible things.” The affidavit does not specify which countries records were included, but specifically does mention Iran.

This database program appears to be wholly separate from the National Security Agency’s metadata program revealed by Edward Snowden, but it targets similar materials and is collected by a different agency. The Wall Street Journal, citing anonymous sources, reported Friday that this newly-revealed program began in the 1990s and was shut down in August 2013.

How the NYPD’s Counterterrorism Apparatus Is Being Turned on Protesters – Activists organizing protests against police brutality in New York are marking Martin Luther King Day with a march beginning in Harlem. Some attendees might be surprised along the way to encounter officers in blue jackets with the words “NYPD Counter Terrorism” emblazoned on the back. But Linda Sarsour, a prominent Muslim-American activist and member of the anti-police brutality group Justice League NYC, one of the sponsors of the march, is almost used to it by now.

As head of the Arab American Association of New York, Sarsour has been a leader in the fight against police misconduct. Much of her energy has gone into speaking out against the NYPD’s expansive spying program that since 9/11 has targeted Muslims and activists. She’s part of a broad coalition trying to change policies ranging from surveillance to ” broken windows” policing, the philosophy that going after minor offenses will deter serious crime.

“When I see counterterrorism folks amongst protesters, it sends me a message that I’m the enemy, and that they are trying to keep other New Yorkers safe from those protesting for their civil rights,” said Sarsour. “It vilifies the people who are being peaceful and asking for something they should already have, asking for things like ending of police brutality.”

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4 Comments

Filed under Free Software Downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Latest Tech News

4 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – January 20, 2015

  1. Fred

    Hi Bill,
    Yet another outrage by the regime, as you stated so eloquently:
    “You should be ashamed that you don’t take a forceful and active role in protecting the rights, freedoms and obligations, your forebearers sacrificed to establish, expand, and preserve.

    Get off your arse and advocate for change!! What the hell is wrong with you?”
    They don’t do anything, Bill, they watch Football, Basketball, the women watch Kim Kardashian and Honey Boo Boo and all the TV and believe what the media tells them. Boy oh boy this is not what the Bill of Rights writers would have ever believed.
    What a disgusting mess this nation has become:
    http://apnews.myway.com/article/20150120/us–health_overhaul-privacy-8b7c5d925b.html
    New privacy concerns over government’s health care website
    “A little-known side to the government’s health insurance website is prompting renewed concerns about privacy, just as the White House is calling for stronger cybersecurity protections for consumers.

    It works like this: When you apply for coverage on HealthCare.gov, dozens of data companies may be able to tell that you are on the site. Some can even glean details such as your age, income, ZIP code, whether you smoke or if you are pregnant.”
    Reading the article it is even worse than the headline. Good grief!

    With best wishes always,
    Fred

    • Thanks Fred – I posted your referenced article on the government’s health care website, this morning. What a fiasco!

      When you have leadership driven by a win at any cost ideology – leadership that neglects to factor past decision making and impacts into current decision making – leadership that is driven by an ideology that focuses on isolating and punishing real and perceived enemies – leadership that refuses to come to terms with that reality that we live in a fragile world and that absolute security is an impossibility – leadership that’s driven by backroom bagmen – leadership that….

      Backstopping all of this, is a population that has little or no understanding of the technology, cultural, and historical significance, of the issues in play. Mind blowing really.

      If Obama and Cameron, and the knee benders that surround these two, are intent on creating violence in the streets – then, they’ve made a bloody good start in putting the dominoes in place.

      Best,

      Bill

  2. Mal

    Hey Bill,

    Re: Obama backs Cameron’s fight against encryption

    I am getting a bit sick and tired of idiots like these two saying “give us access to encrypted data or else we will make you”, Is that the way to get people on side? A bit like Tony Abbott’s “Team Australia” approach, except it has to be his version of it, or else you are on the wrong side.

    I don’t know if there is much point fighting the idiots directly, but for me pesonally, I talk to friends and anyone else who will listen about the importance of encryption. Most think I am just some computer moron (which is true in a sense), but some do listen. Governments do not have an automatic f***ing right to our private information.

    Unless I am doing something financially sensitive, I run with encryption all the time. Because I can and to stick it up the government.

    Cheers
    Mal

    • Hey Mal,

      That’s it – you’re either with us, or you’re with (fill in the appropriate target of the day). No thinking allowed here – just do as you’re told. The ruling conservatives here even have a publicly disclosed “enemies” list.

      Encryption is the last remaining bastion against the forces of evil government – without it, freedom of expression will disappear. We can’t let that happen.

      Best,

      Bill