Tech Thoughts Net News – Friday Edition – August 14, 2015

Even when told not to, Windows 10 just can’t stop talking to Microsoft;  Viral video shows how easily predators lure kids on social media;  You Can Now Run Windows 10 On Your Mac;  Classic Shell and Start10 banish Windows 10 Live Tiles, bring back Windows 7 look;  5 tips to make your Android phone run faster, longer;  Five easy-to-use apps for comparison shopping;  Amazon Appstore gives away 39 paid apps, including Goat Simulator and Sonic the Hedgehog 2;  Twitter lifts 140 character limit on direct messages;  4 ways to make Evernote smarter and safer;  Lenovo used shady ‘rootkit’ tactic to quietly reinstall unwanted software;  YouTube Live Broadcast revealed: watch out Periscope;  Have an iPhone? Mac? Just about anything else Apple flogs? Patch now;  All the movies you can watch online for free in August;  Fallout 4: New perks, new shooting, and a very familiar feel;  Turn Your TV Into A Huge Smart Touch Display With The $99 Touchjet WAVE;  Microsoft quietly rewrites its activation rules for Windows 10;  The 15 Scariest Things at Black Hat 2015.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Viral video shows how easily predators lure kids on social media – Think your daughter would never get inside a car with a stranger or open the door of your home to someone she just met on Facebook? Think again. YouTuber Coby Persin — a self-described 21-year-old “prankster who looks like Zac Efron” — decided to put those questions to the test with the help of three families, and record the results on video. He created a fake Facebook profile for one 15-year-old “Jason Biazzo” and then, with the parents’ permission, contacted the three unsuspecting teenage girls to see how far they would go to meet their new online contact. Persin’s video is far from a prank, he insists, and his findings are extremely scary. The video, called The Dangers of Social Media (Child Predator Social Experiment), is also attracting attention, garnering more than 17 million views since being uploaded on August 10.


Even when told not to, Windows 10 just can’t stop talking to Microsoft – Windows 10 uses the Internet a lot to support many of its features. The operating system also sports numerous knobs to twiddle that are supposed to disable most of these features and the potentially privacy-compromising connections that go with them. Unfortunately for privacy advocates, these controls don’t appear to be sufficient to completely prevent the operating system from going online and communicating with Microsoft’s servers.

Microsoft quietly rewrites its activation rules for Windows 10 – With Windows 10, Microsoft has rewritten the rules for how it performs product activation on retail upgrades of Windows, including the free upgrades available for a year beginning on July 29, 2015. The net result is that clean installs will be much easier–but only after you get past the first one. The biggest change of all is that the Windows 10 activation status for a device is stored online. After you successfully activate Windows 10 for the first time, that device will activate automatically in the future, with no product key required. That’s a huge change from previous versions of Windows, which required a product key for every installation. And it’s potentially an unwelcome surprise for anyone who tries to do a clean install of Windows 10 without understanding the new activation landscape.

Classic Shell and Start10 banish Windows 10 Live Tiles, bring back Windows 7 look – While the Windows 10 Start menu brings back some elements from Windows 7, it’s not exactly the same as it used to be. Here are two ways to make the menu more familiar.


Default Windows 10 Start menu on the left, Start10 on the right.

You Can Now Run Windows 10 On Your Mac – Thanks to the new Boot Camp 6 update, you can now run Windows 10 on your Mac. Boot Camp, a program that allows users of Intel-based Macintosh computers to run the Microsoft Windows XP operating system, was revealed to be updated in a new support document on Apple’s website.

5 tips to make your Android phone run faster, longer – There’s a lot of power contained within that little glass rectangle you carry around all day. We’ve got eight-core CPUs, multiple gigabytes of RAM, and batteries with thousands of milliampere-hours of capacity, but sometimes the experience doesn’t live up to the hardware’s potential. Things go wrong, settings get screwed up, and apps get greedy for resources. This can render a phone sluggish and kill the battery. That’s certainly a problem, but don’t worry, we can fix it in a few simple steps.

Nextbook 10.1 Windows 2-in-1 for $179 at Walmart – Those looking for a budget-friendly Windows hybrid should check out this one at the local Walmart. An inexpensive Windows 2-in-1 — a laptop that can be also used as a tablet — can be the ideal purchase for the kids. It can also be a good way to get familiar with the latest version of Windows without losing the familiar version on the main PC. Walmart has such a laptop for just $179. The Nextbook 10.1 doesn’t have powerful hardware inside but the specifications aren’t bad for the price. It features a quad-core Intel Atom processor, 1GB of memory, 32GB of storage, and a 10.1-inch display (1280 x 800). It has a claimed battery life of 10 hours, which is quite good for this price range.


Five easy-to-use apps for comparison shopping – We all shop. There’s no way around it. Sometimes we shop to fill our personal needs and sometimes we shop to take care of our businesses. No matter the reason, you want to shop responsibly and save as much money as you can. Let’s take a look at five great apps that can streamline your shopping chores and help you save money.


Amazon Appstore gives away 39 paid apps, including Goat Simulator and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 – The best kind of back-to-school shopping is the free kind. Amazon has obliged with another fire sale in its Appstore for Android. You know the drill: be sure you’ve installed the Amazon Appstore app on your device, and then head there or to the web portal for the latest freebies. There are some neat titles here, like Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Goat Simulator, and tower defense game Bloons TD 5. The sale is good through August 15, so don’t dally. Here’s the full list, with a link to grab it directly from Amazon:

4 ways to make Evernote smarter and safer – Even if you’ve been regularly using Evernote to capture your notes and ideas, you’ve probably only scratched the surface of what it can do. Here are some features and tricks that can help you take your Evernote expertise to the next level.

Twitter lifts 140 character limit on direct messages, further enhancing DM functionality – There are plenty of services available that allow you to carry out private conversations across platforms. With today’s announcement, Twitter makes it easier to serve as your messaging service. Previously, direct messages were limited to the same 140 character limit as a public Tweet. Starting today, that limit has been lifted to 10,000 characters for direct messages. This should provide more than enough capacity for even the chattiest person.

Google launches “Android Experiments” for your phone, watch, and tablet – This morning Google launched (officially, this time) Android Experiments, a collection of apps for Android smartphones and tablets. Google suggests that these “experiments” celebrate creativity and code on Android – and they’ve got the hand-picked collection credentials to prove it. Every app in the Android Experiments gallery has been chosen by Google specifically because they embody the aim of this project. Google wants developers to “push the limits of what’s possible on phones, tablets, watches, and beyond.”


Yahoo’s Audio-Free Video Messaging App Livetext Is Now Available Worldwide – If you were intrigued by Livetext, the audio-free video messaging app launched by Yahoo last month, but don’t live in the U.S. or the handful of test markets where it was available, then we have news for you. The app is now live worldwide, which means anyone with an iOS and Android device can get hold of it.


Periscope Has 10M Registered Users Watching 40 Years Of Video Per Day – Periscope may have just hit the impressive milestone of 10 million registered users after just four months, but what it wants you to focus on is the sheer volume of video content that its users are streaming: nearly 40 years of watch time every day from its iOS and Android apps. The lifetime of content, which amounts to just over 350,000 hours of video streamed per day, doesn’t even include the videos viewed through browsers on, as the service is still looking to track Time Watched on that medium more precisely.

YouTube Live Broadcast revealed: watch out Periscope – If Periscope and Meerkat are to be believed, live-streaming video from your point of view is the new big thing, and so YouTube is getting in on the deal. YouTube Live Broadcast, revealed today as a feature on the new Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 edge+, turns the smartphone camera into a live-streaming platform. That video can be shared privately with just a few contacts, or alternatively beamed out publicly to anybody with access to your YouTube channel.

Turn your Fire TV or Fire TV Stick into a Chromecast (almost) with this $8 app – Google’s Chromecast dongle is the best way to send video from a phone, tablet, or PC to your television, but its lack of a proper remote and TV interface can be a sticking point. But if you have an Amazon Fire TV or Fire TV Stick, a new app could give you the best of both worlds. It’s called YouMap Cast Receiver, it costs just $8, and it duplicates much of Chromecast’s functionality, including tab mirroring in Chrome and sending video from Cast-supported apps. I’ve tried it, and it works fairly well with a few caveats.


Lenovo used shady ‘rootkit’ tactic to quietly reinstall unwanted software – Even when users reinstalled a clean version of Windows on some Lenovo devices, the software would still reappear.

Android security on the ropes with one-two punch from researchers – Android security woes got worse on Thursday, with two separate reports of code defects that put millions of end users at risk. The first involves the update Google released last week fixing a flaw that allowed attackers to execute malicious code on an estimated 950 million phones with nothing more than a maliciously crafted text message. Seven days later, security researchers are reporting that the patch, which has been in Google’s possession since April, is so flawed that attackers can exploit the vulnerability anyway.

Have an iPhone? Mac? Just about anything else Apple flogs? Patch now – Apple has issued a huge wad of updates to address dozens of CVE-listed security vulnerabilities in iOS, OS X Yosemite, Safari, and OS X Server. The update includes fixes for security flaws that an attacker could exploit to remotely execute code on one’s shiny belongings. For newer iOS devices, Apple is putting out the iOS 8.4.1 software update. The patch applies to iPhone 4S and later, iPod Touch 5th generation and later, and iPad 2 and later. Among the fixes are patches for four code-signing vulnerabilities in iOS discovered and used by the TaiG Jailbreak Team, a hacking team famous for discovering ways to unlock iOS devices via security exploits. Those flaws would allow unsigned (and potentially unsafe) code to run on iOS hardware.

Microsoft Just Fixed Windows 10’s First Problems – In its monthly round of security fixes, Microsoft has included five bulletins that address Windows 10 issues, and one that covers the new Edge browser included in their newly-launched operating system. These patches include addressing vulnerabilities in the .NET framework that could allow for elevation of privilege (meaning a hacker could potentially make changes only a user with admin rights could make), vulnerabilities in a Microsoft graphics component that could allow remote code execution, and fixing an information disclosure vulnerability.

‘Cyberflashing’ incident ushers in new era of perverts – The modern world is full of funny new terms that speak of situations facilitated by the gadgets we carry around with us. The new word buzzing around is ‘cyberflashing’, and some are saying the first of such incidents has taken place via a lone pervert using AirDrop. Reportedly, the suspect used Apple’s AirDrop to send unsolicited indecent pictures (it is unclear whether they were images of the suspect) to a passenger on a train in London. Police say they have investigated the matter.


Cisco warns customers about attacks installing rogue firmware on networking gear – Installing rogue firmware on embedded devices has long been a concern for security researchers, and it seems that such attacks have started to gain ground with hackers. In an advisory Tuesday, Cisco Systems warned customers that it is aware of a limited number of cases where attackers have replaced the boot firmware on devices running its IOS operating system. IOS runs on most Cisco routers and switches and provides a complex set of networking tools and features. Attackers used valid administrative credentials in order to replace the ROMMON image on IOS devices, Cisco said.

This card skimmer is so slim it was hidden inside the card slot – You might be able to avoid some card skimmers by checking an ATM for obvious signs of tampering before using it. This one, however, you’d never even notice. It was hiding right inside the machine’s card slot. Experts actually have a special name for this thing — it’s called a shimmer because of its incredibly slim profile. It’s specifically designed for use in ATMs that feature a chip reader, and all a criminal has to do is slide it in through the card slot like he or she was inserting a card to make a withdrawal.


Researchers reveal electronic car lock hack after 2-year injunction by Volkswagen – In 2012, researchers at Radboud University in the Netherlands discovered a security flaw in a common automotive security chip used in theft prevention by Volkswagen, Audi, Fiat, Honda, and Volvo vehicles. But after they disclosed their results to the auto manufacturers—a full nine months before they planned to publish them—the automakers sued to keep them quiet. Today, that suppressed paper is finally being presented at the USENIX security conference in Washington, DC. Entitled “Dismantling Megamos Crypto: Wirelessly Lockpicking a Vehicle Immobilizer,” the paper details how researchers Roel Verdult, Flavio Garcia, and Baris Ege uncovered weaknesses in the cryptography and authentication protocol used in the Megamos RFID transponder used in car immobilizers used in many luxury vehicles. The list of impacted cars includes vehicles from Volkswagen’s Porsche, Audi, Bentley, and Lamborghini brands.

Lax IoT security: Smart TVs and wearables are paving the way for massive privacy breaches – However secure a connected device is when consumers buy it, there’s little guarantee of its safety in the long haul, which is one of the reasons why internet-of-things vendors are being told they need industry guidelines.

Company News:

Lenovo pre-tax income drops 80 percent with 3,200 jobs to go – Despite an increase in its first-quarter revenue, Chinese computing giant Lenovo has seen a significant drop in its profit, and in response will be restructuring its business. For the quarter, revenue improved by 3 percent, to come in at $10.7 billion, but pre-tax income fell 80 percent year on year to be reported at $52 million, with operating profit taking a 67 percent year-on-year cut to $96 million. The company said its numbers were a result of “severe challenges” as it saw significant declines in PC and tablet sales across the world, and faced a slower growth and increased competition in China.

Tinder follows Twitter meltdown with new CEO – This week Tinder was in the news for its epic meltdown, which took place on Twitter in tweet form following a piece about the company in Vanity Fair. The company has left that news behind, though, admitting that it shouldn’t have happened and then quickly shifting focus: the company has given CEO Chris Payne the boot, and will be replacing him with former CEO and co-founder Sean Rad. The reason is said to revolve around Payne not being a good fit for the company, something Payne is said to agree with. As a result, Payne will be leaving and Rad, who stepped down from his position several months ago, will be resuming his former role.

Apple subscription TV service said to face further delay – Web-based TV service won’t debut until at least next year because of a lack of progress in licensing programming, Bloomberg reports.

HTC to cut work force by 15 percent, amid struggling smartphone sales – Struggling HTC is cutting 15 percent of its work force in an attempt to cut costs and revive its ailing smartphone business. The Taiwanese company announced the lay offs on Thursday, after its second quarter earnings took a dive, for a NT$8 billion (US$257 million) loss. HTC declined to mention the exact number of layoffs. But as of March 31, the company had 15,685 employees, according to its most recent annual report. This means a 15 percent reduction could end up cutting 2,300 jobs.

Google gets more time to answer EU charge of abusing search dominance – The European Commission grants the technology giant another two weeks to respond to allegations of using its dominance in search to advance its own services and harm rivals. The EC antitrust investigation began in 2010, and is considering whether Google took advantage of its dominant position in the search market by promoting its own products, such as shopping search, above those of competitors.

Games and Entertainment:

Fallout 4: New perks, new shooting, and a very familiar feel – The more popular a franchise gets, the less room there is to take creative risks and rock the boat. Such is the curse of success. From what I’ve seen Fallout 4 is an apt demonstration of this idea. Its approach is one of enhancing past successes rather than exploring new directions. Perks, shooting, levelling up, and exploration have all been boosted in some way, but only within the predefined boundaries that the audience already understands. This direction is not necessarily good or bad—it all comes down to how much you value iteration over innovation, and of course, how entertaining the thing is in the first place.


Hateful Eight trailer released: watch Tarantino’s next epic – Up front of this next trailer is Samuel L Jackson, set to light up The Hateful Eight the right way. Eight Strangers. One Deadly Connection. And one of them fellas is not what he says he is. And you’re going to be able to see this film in “glorious” 70mm, Ultra Panavision 70, just like Quentin Tarantino wanted you to. Just so long as the theater you’re going to has the capability of showing you that the way he wanted.


All the movies you can watch online for free in August – You look like someone who needs to watch many movies about leprechauns who terrorize humans. You’re in luck! Six “Leprechaun” movies arrived on Crackle just for the month of August. In case you are not a leprechaun-phile, some great titles are arriving include “Jerry Maguire,” “District 9,” “Legend of Zorro,” and perhaps the best horror-comedy of all time, “Shaun of the Dead.” Check out the full list below:

Windows 10’s secret Xbox setting makes game streaming look way better – Xbox One game streaming to Windows 10 PCs is one of the best features of the new operating system. While Microsoft has a variety of settings that will suit a home network bandwidth, there’s a secret one hidden away that unlocks the full potential of Xbox One streaming. Reddit users have uncovered a way to unlock a “very high quality” setting that streams games with better quality. I’ve tested the setting and there’s a noticeable difference in quality from the regular high quality setting. Games look less blurred and sharper, but the required bandwidth naturally increases.

PlayStation 4 still on top in July, says NPD – Microsoft may have wowed the crowd at Gamescom early this month, and may even have won hearts, but Sony is still winning wallets, at least in July and for now. Market research firm NPD has just given their report on the console gaming market in the US for the past month and Sony is only too happy to share it. That’s because, despite not having new games for the season, both in general and for Sony specifically, the PlayStation 4 still ranked as the top console and its games the top software for July.

Sesame Street gets “exclusive” with HBO – Sesame Street is about to break standards for television shows that’ve been on for 45 seasons. Not that a lot of shows have been on for that long, of course. But here the Sesame Street show is prepared not to go off and fade away, but to grow. Signing a deal with HBO, Sesame Workshop has promised five seasons to HBO with “almost twice as much new content as previous seasons.” This content will be “exclusive” to HBO for nine months after each episode is aired, after which PBS will be allowed to show reruns for free.


This game will shut itself down when enough players have died – The first-person, multiplayer thriller takes place in a post-apocalyptic version of the year 3000, one where players compete for a mysterious object known as the “light artifact.” As you battle you can, like in most games, die. But each death brings The Flock closer to its ultimate conclusion. Dutch studio Vogelsap has set a counter, and once the in-game death toll reaches 215,358,979, new players won’t be able to purchase the game, and the story for those who are playing will move into the final phase.


Here Are The Drugs You Can’t Use in Professional Gaming – The Electronic Sports League (ESL) on Wednesday revealed the full list of drugs it will ban for gaming competitions. “As the world’s largest and oldest esports organization, ESL has an ongoing commitment to safeguarding both the integrity of our competitions and that of esports as a whole—we wish to ensure we can provide a fair playing field for all participating players,” Ella McConnell, senior editor of ESLGaming, wrote in a statement. ESL is working with the World Anti-Doping Agency to choose which drugs are prohibited. The current list includes everything from cocaine to steroids to ADHD medication Adderall. Those with legitimate medical reasons for taking Adderall will need proof from a physician.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Eagle joins kangaroo, hawk in sky battle against drones – Most drones are equipped with cameras, and those cameras are excellent at capturing the assaults against the drone and its death spiral out of the sky. Nature itself hasn’t taken kindly to drones on more than one occasion — we’ve seen one drone get taken down by an apparently annoyed kangaroo after a drone wouldn’t stop being nosy, and we’ve seen a hawk swoop down and take a drone out of the sky. The latest video to surface is similar, but this time involves an eagle that decides to engage in a brief sky battle.


Turn Your TV Into A Huge Smart Touch Display With The $99 Touchjet WAVE – Innovations on the good ol’ family television have moved from 3D to 4K to curved panel over the years. But what all of those evolutions have shared are a heightened price tag for a whole new device. An Indiegogo campaign that launched yesterday is hoping to bring some crazy new functionality to your existing TV by way of a $99 device that adds touch controls and other smart features to your TV. The Touchjet WAVE allows you to control your television with your finger, a stylus or your smartphone, while also letting you download a host of apps directly to your TV.


ISS pictures are being used to map global light pollution – A project called Cities at Night is using photographs taken by astronauts from the International Space Station to map nightly light pollution in cities across the world. The project started last summer, and requires the mapping of more than 130,000 high-resolution photographs using geo-centric details. This project is looking at the amount of light produced by cities across the entire globe, including the smaller sources of scattered light in addition to the bigger, more obvious points of light pollution.


11 Jaw-Dropping Miniature Movie Sets – In the good old pre-digital days, if filmmakers wanted to shoot a scene in a fantastic environment they had to get their hands dirty and build it. Good set design could go a long way, but for wide shots a very specific art form was born: the art of the miniature. In this feature, we’ll spotlight 11 awesome movies that featured incredible miniature sets. We’ll also delve into how they were constructed and even what happened to them once filming was over.


Escape From New York

Zero Latency: The VR revolution begins in Melbourne, Australia – Once confined to realm of science-fiction movies like Walt Disney’s “Tron,” virtual reality has grown into a real-world industry worth an estimated $7 billion. But since the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset appeared on Kickstarter in 2012 and reignited passions for VR, the big question has been when these prototypes and concepts will launch for public consumption. And when we reach commercial launch, will the experience live up to the hype? Zero Latency is one of the first ventures that will put mainstream viability to the test.

The 15 Scariest Things at Black Hat 2015 – Three PCMag analysts attended Black Hat this year, and made it back alive. They brought with them terrifying tales, but also good advice, and the hope that our digital lives can be made safer and more robust through better security. Check out the slideshow to see what made them come back from Vegas wearing tinfoil hats.

Something to think about:

“Never look back unless you are planning to go that way.”

–     Henry David Thoreau


SpeedFan – SpeedFan is a program that monitors voltages, fan speeds and temperatures in computers with hardware monitor chips. SpeedFan can even access S.M.A.R.T. info and show hard disk temperatures. SpeedFan supports SCSI disks too. SpeedFan can even change the FSB on some hardware (but this should be considered a bonus feature). SpeedFan can access digital temperature sensors and can change fan speeds accordingly, thus reducing noise. SpeedFan works fine with Windows 9x, ME, NT, 2000, 2003, XP, Vista, Windows 7, 2008, Windows 8, Windows 10 and Windows Server 2012. It works with Windows 64 bit too.


In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Twitter sees its largest increase from governments wanting account information – Governmental bodies around the world have an appetite for Twitter account information and are wanting more than ever, with the social network reporting its largest increase in requests for account information in the history of its transparency report.

Twitter said it had experienced a 52 percent increase in requests for account information, and over the six months to the end of June had handled 4,363 requests and produced information in 58 percent of cases. The company said the number of accounts affected by information requests had jumped by 78 percent, to 12,711.

The United States made the highest number of requests, with 2,436 requests impacting 6,324 accounts and an 80 percent success rate, followed by Japan, with 425 requests on 529 accounts and information coughed up 42 percent of the time. Japan overtook previous second-highest requester Turkey, which is now the third-highest, having made 412 requests impacting 670 accounts, all of which were unsuccessful.

Turkey was far and away the country that made the highest number of content removal requests, making 92 percent of the 442 requests Twitter received globally from courts, and 55 percent of all content takedown requests made by government bodies such as police forces. In Turkey from January to June, Twitter withheld 1,667 tweets from 125 accounts.

Reddit Responds After Being Threatened, Banned And Unbanned By The Russian Government – Reddit has had a pretty bizarre last few days in Russia. The entire site was blacklisted and banned yesterday for a number of users in Russia following a clear threat made by Russia’s FCC, the Roskomnadzor, to remove a thread about growing psychedelic mushrooms that had been posted on the site.

Roskomnadzor’s post on Vkontakte (basically the Russian Facebook) read:

Those who have contacts with the [Reddit] administration – ask them to check their email for messages from Roskomnadzor, otherwise… a number of operators may block the entire site.

Late yesterday, it was reported that the site had been blocked in its entirety for many users depending on their ISP, after being placed on a government blacklist. Yet, within hours the site was mysteriously unbanned, leading many users to question what was actually going on.

Canada’s democratic institutions are on trial – When I published Governing from the Centre: The Concentration of  Power in Canadian Politics in 1999, some political aides in Ottawa insisted that I had overstated the case. I hear no one making the argument today, and for good reason. One only needs to look at the pile of e-mails that were made public from the Mike Duffy trial this week to appreciate the extent to which governing from the centre now drives everything in Ottawa, from major policy decisions down to minor management issues, if the centre decides it needs to go there.

Staffers from the Prime Minister’s Office roamed the corridors of the Senate as if it were an extension of their office. Audit reports were regarded as little more than briefing notes to be carefully managed by the centre. What truly matters in government now is the ability to manage the “blame game,” and it seems that only those operating at the centre have the required political clout to dictate how it should be managed. If PMO staffers think that they are free to tell the Senate how it should go about its work, one can only imagine what it must be like for ministers, their staffs and senior public servants whose careers are tied directly to the wishes of the prime minister.

We have created a two-tier system of government in Ottawa, or an upstairs-downstairs to governing. More to the point, governing from the centre has created a fault line in the government where things that matter to the prime minister and his immediate advisers are brought above the line and dealt with quickly and effectively. Only the prime minister and his advisers will decide what belongs above the fault line. It can be anything from a decision to go to war while not consulting the relevant ministers – let alone the cabinet – down to a $90,000 problem considered sufficiently important to generate 450+ pages of e-mails. Under these circumstances, why would anyone other than a career politician want to run for Parliament?

Pointing up     The Harper government is a quasi-criminal government – history will recognize it as having been so.

DOJ calls for encryption balance that includes law enforcement needs – It’s possible for companies to design their encryption systems to allow law enforcement agencies to access customer data with court-ordered warrants while still offering solid security, U.S. Department of Justice officials said.

When DOJ and FBI officials raised recent concerns over end-to-end encryption on Android and iOS mobile phones, some security experts suggested it was difficult or unsafe to build in provider access to encrypted consumer data. But many companies already offer encryption while retaining some access to user information, two senior DOJ officials said Wednesday.

Many email service providers offer encryption but retain access to the content of users’ email to deliver advertising based on keywords in email text, to filter out spam or malware or to enforce terms of service, one DOJ official said on background during a press briefing. Many U.S. companies also encrypt employee mobile phones or laptops, while retaining the ability to access the content on those devices, he added.

Some of the same companies offering end-to-end encryption also retain access to customers’ email in other services, one DOJ official said.



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

14 responses to “Tech Thoughts Net News – Friday Edition – August 14, 2015

  1. pseudoid

    I look forward to each one of your blogs (Mon/Wed/Fri) and they contain much worthy information and thank you for such a great service. This morning you had a link to the topic of “Viral video shows how easily predators lure kids on social media” and that is by far one of the MOST newsworthy stories ever. I am not a fan of chain letters (actually I despise them) but I had to send an email to almost everyone I knew and told them to send it to everyone they knew. This is amazingly scary YouTube video at 25million hits already! Thank you!

    • Hi pseudoid,

      Very much agree – happy to see you take action within your peer group. Working together, in such a manner, is the only way to impact this horrific problem.

      Thank you for commenting on this – and, thank you for being such a faithful reader.



  2. window 10, i just try it and i don’t want to return window 7

  3. pseudoid

    I know you are way too security/privacy minded (as I am) and Windows10 can only be considered “best ever” if the user goes thru the trouble of neutering it by disabling all of its report-home functions but today’s generation see(s) nothing wrong with computing devices being 100% connected at 100% of the time. And I don’t mean just the opt-out changes that need to be made on all of those 13 pages of on/off switches but also by ONLY logging in with a local account and using gpedit.msc to disable some of its ‘free and bonus’ new features. Kinda of sad to short circuit some of those features because by doing so, we also end up missing out Cortana and the apps that have the potential to always report home. Upon cutting off these connectivity features, Win10 really (and in essence) becomes a Win8.1 on steroids, of sorts, which really is not a bad thing especially considering that those steroids came free of charge! LOL
    Cheers, pID

    • Hi pseudoid,

      Well said – “cutting off these connectivity features, Win10 really (and in essence) becomes a Win8.1 on steroids.” Looked that way to me from my initial install back in October.

      Clearly though, your notion that “today’s generation see(s) nothing wrong with computing devices being 100% connected at 100% of the time,” goes to the heart of the issue – the abandonment of personal privacy control in favour of immediacy, and an unjustified trust in corptocracy.

      Anecdotally, this past week I had an opportunity to meet with a small group of Win 10 users who, when recommendations were offered to tighten overall security, simply rolled their eyes. But, I’ve seen this lack of interest from Win 95 onward. I’m sure you have as well. Some things never change. 🙂



  4. pseudoid

    I guess it is not fair to solely single out today’s generation: Since Snowden revelations; it infuriates me to no ends, when the discussion gets on the topic of security/safety and I hear people blurt out “I have nothing to hide, why should I worry?” grrrrrrrrrr!

    • Hi pseudoid,

      “I have nothing to hide” (of course I do, WE ALL DO)- otherwise paper shredders (on the low tech side), would not be a fixture around here.

      On the high tech side, I think the Ashley Madison fiasco might go a long way in convincing the “slow to grasp reality crowd” that we all have something to hide. Some of us more than others. 🙂



  5. Mal

    Hey Bill,

    After all the news about the Ashley Martin hack, I was surprised just the other night to see it being advertised on TV in a commercial break. They have got some cheek, I’ll give them that.


  6. Mal

    Acutally I meant Madison lol.