Tech Thoughts Net News – Friday – November 6, 2015

New Android adware hits thousands of apps, can’t be removed;  How to check if your Android device is vulnerable to attack;  How to stop Windows 10 from saving files to OneDrive;  Watch Local News Broadcasts With NewsON App;  Create your own Wi-Fi hotspot with the help of these five free tools;  Need a ride home from work? Now you can call Lyft from Slack;  Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Drones;  Drone pilots get a guide to the sky, safety alerts with new app;  Hands-On With Priv, BlackBrerry’s First Android Phone;  Facebook adds song clips from Spotify and Apple Music to your News Feed;  Why Firefox Is (Still) the Web’s Best Browser;  Project Fi and Google Voice: Your questions answered;  Buy Your Favorite BBC Shows Online;  CNET’s guide to mastering the new Apple TV;  Is Facebook the new political town hall?  Ben Carson’s pyramid theory is from Sid Meier’s Civilization;  Hacking Team pitches encryption-cracking tools to US law enforcement.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

New Android adware hits thousands of apps, can’t be removed – Researchers have found a new type of Android malware found in thousands of apps, posing as popular titles — including Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, and more. Making matters worse, it’s almost impossible to remove, forcing a user to replace their device entirely. Lookout Security, a mobile security firm, discovered the new so-called “trojanized adware,” which puts a new twist on how cybercriminals are generating money. “Because these pieces of adware root the device and install themselves as system applications, they become nearly impossible to remove, usually forcing victims to replace their device in order to regain normalcy,” said the company in a blog post.

How to check if your Android device is vulnerable to attack – From Stagefright 1.0 to Stagefright 2.0, not to mention LTE flaws, and even trojanized malware and app hijacks, there have been a slew of issues that have plagued device makers and users alike. And with a fragmented market of Android versions and patches that don’t arrive because the carriers haven’t approved their release, it’s hard to know which devices are vulnerable to what. Now it’s relatively easy to do.

Apple wages battle to keep App Store malware-free – Apple is facing growing challenges keeping suspicious mobile applications out of its App Store marketplace.

Many US businesses are still running XcodeGhost-infected Apple apps – Dozens of U.S. enterprises are still using Apple mobile apps seeded with malware, a clever hacking scheme revealed last month known as XcodeGhost.

How to stop Windows 10 from saving files to OneDrive – If you don’t watch out, Windows 10 will put your documents, music, and photos into OneDrive. Here’s how to get them back and stop this behavior.

Watch Local News Broadcasts With NewsON App – Heads up, cord cutters: You no longer have to miss out on local news broadcasts, thanks to a new app called NewsOn. Launched on Tuesday for iOS, Android, and Roku, the free, ad-supported app offers live and on-demand local newscasts right to your mobile device or TV. The app features video content from 118 stations in 90 markets, covering approximately 75 percent of the U.S. That includes stations operated by ABC Owned Television Station Group, Cox Media Group, Hearst Television, Media General, and Raycom Media. Together, these five broadcast TV station groups formed NewsON back in June, and now the app is available for download.


Create your own Wi-Fi hotspot with the help of these five free tools – Whether you want to share a wired connection with your friends or just link multiple devices to a single Ethernet connection, having your own portable Wi-Fi hotspot can come in handy. Here are five free applications that can turn your own PC into a Wi-Fi hotspot to share its internet connection.

Access shared Google Drive files through push alerts, thanks to newest update – You don’t have to dig through your email any more to find sharing requests and collaboration invites with Drive for Android and iOS.

Microsoft cuts OneDrive storage, here are 3 cloud alternatives – In early November 2015, Microsoft announced plans to reduce OneDrive storage limits. Customers on Office 365 Home, Personal, or University plans will see storage limited to 1 TB, while free OneDrive users will see storage decrease from 15 GB to 5 GB. Microsoft will offer a new paid storage upgrade to 50 GB of storage for $1.99 a month. The changes won’t impact customers with other plans. So, if you need more storage, what are your options?

Just Stop Calling Things Unlimited – Microsoft’s elimination of unlimited OneDrive storage is just the latest tech industry abuse of “unlimited.”

Need a ride home from work? Now you can call Lyft from Slack – Back in August Slack added a new “Add to Slack” feature with launch partners including Box, and on Tuesday, it introduced another update designed to make tying in outside apps even easier.

Circle with Disney keeps any device under parental eyes – Circle with Disney basically turns any device that connects to your home router into a kid-friendly device. Or any age-friendly device for that matter. And you don’t even need to buy specialized hardware aside from Circle itself. It doesn’t replace your router but instead connects to the router wirelessly. Because of this, parents can setup up fine grained control of any Internet content that goes to any device connected to Circle, which is practically any device in your house that connects to the Internet. Parents can set up time limits on apps and Internet access, filter content, and even “pause” the Internet entirely. That works not just for kids but for any member of the family, regardless of their age. The Circle management app allows parents to create profiles for each family member and group devices according each profile, tallying up total hours across devices owned by the same person.

Luma smart wifi system spreads the web around your home – There’s a router – which you already have – then there’s a Smart Wifi system like Luma. The folks behind Luma have decided that it’s time we started really digging in to how well wireless internet is applied to our homes – especially since we no longer just have a set of 2 or 3 computers as we did ten years ago. Luma is a also a secure system, promising monitoring abilities for kids and alerts of incoming hacker attacks. Below you’ll see an introductory video for Luma which tells of the more interesting bits of the system. There you’ll see a clever presentation of how these little devices will spread the web around your home in a smart way, protecting your data and monitoring the content of your web browsing for you in the process.


Drone pilots get a guide to the sky, safety alerts with new app – Drone pilots will have a little more insight into the world around them and get safety alerts through to a free smartphone app launching on Thursday called Hivemapper. The app is designed to supplement the video feed coming from the drone’s camera by adding a layer of data about buildings, locations of drone launch sites, no-fly zones and user-contributed waypoints that mark interesting or scenic places to fly. At the heart of Hivemapper is the building database that the company says contains information on 20 million structures across the U.S. including their shape and height. When combined with GPS and flight data from a drone, the app is able to figure out what buildings are in the vicinity and overlay that data on the video coming from the drone.


Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Drones: Watch this before buying one – Drones are guaranteed to be a hit this holiday season — one estimate says 1 million of them will be given as gifts this year. But what is a drone, how do they work and what kind of safety precautions do owners need to follow? Watch the video to find out.


Ed Bott: Is Windows 10 telemetry a threat to your personal privacy? – Microsoft has built an entirely new telemetry system for its ‘Windows as a Service’ engineering model. In Windows 10, you can dial data collection back almost to zero, but you can’t turn it off completely. Here’s why.

YouTube Adds Support For VR Video To Its Android App – Google’s YouTube app for Android now supports virtual reality (VR) video in combination with its Cardboard VR viewer. VR video takes the 360-degree videos you may already be familiar with a step further by using VR techniques like stereopsis and binocular disparity to give you a stronger feeling of immersion (which is what VR is all about, after all). The company has already worked with a few video creators to launch this feature, so you can already see a demo for a Hunger Games VR experience on YouTube now, as well as an ad for TOMS shoes. You can also find a few more here.

Facebook adds song clips from Spotify and Apple Music to your News Feed – As part of its ongoing effort to surface every bit of information you could possibly need without ever having to leave your News Feed, Facebook has begun rolling out a new music feature that will let you sample the music shared into your feed. A new post format called Music Stories will let users preview 30 second clips of songs and albums shared to Facebook from Spotify, Apple Music, and iTunes.

Hands-On With Priv, BlackBrerry’s First Android Phone – We’re told that the ‘priv’ in BlackBerry Priv, the Canadian handset maker’s first Android phone, stands for both privilege and privacy. Privilege perhaps because the Priv is being pitched very much as a flagship Android device with a price tag that pits it against the iPhones and Samsung Galaxy S6s of the world. Standout premium features include a 5’4″ curved display like the one Samsung recently debuted on the S6 Edge, an 18 MP dual-flash camera with optics ‘certified’ by Schneider-Kreuznach — similar to Nokia’s emphasis on Carl Zeiss for its camera-focused flagships back in the day — and a slide out physical QWERTY keyboard (more on that later). Meanwhile, Privacy is a reflection of BlackBerry’s legacy in security and some of the privacy feature additions it’s bringing to Google’s OS.


BlackBerry pomises monthly security updates for Priv – The recent spate of Android vulnerabilities, especially the Stagefright security hole, has left Google and many OEMs rethinking their update strategy. While Google confidently announced a regular monthly cycle for vanilla Android and its own Nexus devices, other manufacturers couldn’t make the same commitment. Considering how BlackBerry’s upcoming Priv smartphone revolves around the concepts of privacy and, therefore, security, it is only reasonable to expect the company to promise quick responses to such security issues, both on a monthly schedule and as needed.

Project Fi and Google Voice: Your questions answered – Google’s new wireless service and its long-standing phone management service work together in confusing ways. Time to sort it all out.


Verizon’s new Ellipsis tablet was made for kids – Although not as popular as some of the top brands in the tablet market, Verizon has regularly put out its own brand of slates aimed at budget conscious customers. Now it’s bringing its Ellipsis brand to its youngest demographic yet. Joining the announcement of the new GizmoPal 2 and GizmoGadget from LG, Verizon is revealing the Ellipsis Kids tablet. The name says it all, delivering an Android tablet that’s designed both inside and out for kids, with age-appropriate content, colorful rugged bumpers, and, of course, parental controls.


Why Firefox Is (Still) the Web’s Best Browser – The Mozilla Foundation and its thousands of coding volunteers just keep innovating with the open-source Firefox Web browser. Lately, the most-customizable, privacy-respecting browser has added tracking protection in its Private Browsing mode, Hello video chat, a clean-reading mode for ad-jumbled pages, Windows 10 customizations, new social-sharing capabilities, Pocket integration, and even a Web-app store. Microsoft is making noise with its innovative and fast new Edge browser, but for now, Firefox remains our first choice for day-to-day browsing. It’s fast, web-standards compatible, and supremely customizable. For all that, Firefox remains our Editors’ Choice for Web browsers.

Build a Windows 10 PC for under $400 – I’ve previously shown you how to build a Windows 10 PC for under $500, but is it possible to shave another $100 off the build? You bet!

Microsoft delivers next big Windows 10 update to testers – Microsoft has released a fresh new build of Windows 10 to preview members today. That’s a fairly regular occurrence, but today’s release is the final version of a big new Windows 10 update that will arrive to everyone next week. The update includes a number of fixes and UI changes that were originally planned for the final version of Windows 10. Microsoft is expected to deliver this Windows 10 Fall Update next week on November 10th as part of the company’s regular Patch Tuesday.


New type of auto-rooting Android adware is nearly impossible to remove – Researchers have uncovered a new type of Android adware that’s virtually impossible to uninstall, exposes phones to potentially dangerous root exploits, and masquerades as one of thousands of different apps from providers such as Twitter, Facebook, and even Okta, a two-factor authentication service. The researchers have found more than 20,000 samples of trojanized apps that repackage the code or other features found in official apps available in Google Play and then are posted to third-party markets. From the end user’s perspective, the modified apps look just like the legitimate apps, and in many cases they provide the same functionality and experience. Behind the scenes, however, the apps use powerful exploits that gain root access to the Android operating system. The exploits—found in three app families known as Shedun, Shuanet, and ShiftyBug—allow the trojanized apps to install themselves as system applications, a highly privileged status that’s usually reserved only for operating system-level processes.

Wireless jammers cast a dark shadow on IoT security – Imagine someone deploying a Wi-Fi jammer in a major retailer’s store on Black Friday. These types of IoT security disasters are fast approaching.

Booming crypto ransomware industry employs new tricks to befuddle victims – Ransomware that uses strong cryptography to hold entire hard drives’ worth of data hostage keeps getting nastier, as criminals attempt to find new ways to extort more people into paying increasingly hefty ransoms to recover their files. A case in point is Chimera, a relative newcomer to the crypto ransom racket that targets primarily businesses. In an attempt to turn up the pressure on infected victims, the malware threatens to publish their pictures and other personal data somewhere on the Internet unless a ransom of $638 in bitcoins is paid. There’s no evidence yet that the new cryptoware title has made good on the threat to post victims’ private data online, but it’s a likely bet the prospect is enough to convince some undecided victims to go ahead and pay the fee.


3 Warning Signs Of A Breach – What Security Teams Should Be Looking For – Between hackers using a smoke-and-mirrors approach to manipulate enterprise attention and resources, unusual file access activity and user behavior patterns requiring consistent investigations, and account lockout maintenance, security staff members are busy putting out fires when they should be standing back and surveying their risk landscapes. What are some early warning signs of a breach that security operations centers should have a heightened focus on, in order to help them decrease initial response resources and put more energy toward bigger security initiatives?

Warning Sign No. 2: Unexpected file activity – Unexpected file activity or unusual log-in patterns from your team.

Microsoft follows Firefox in considering early ban on SHA-1 website certificates – Microsoft is considering advancing the blocking of the SHA-1 hashing algorithm on Windows to as early as June next year, taking a cue from a similar decision by the Mozilla Foundation. There have been concerns about the security of the algorithm, which led Microsoft, Google and Mozilla to announce that their browsers would stop accepting SHA-1 SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificates. Researchers have proven that a forged digital certificate that has the same SHA-1 hash as a legitimate one can be created, and users can then be tricked into interacting with a spoofed site in what is called a hash collision.

Company News:

Facebook No Longer Counts Third-Party Apps And Still Has 1.55 Billion Users – Some say Facebook inflates its monthly active user count by including people who shared from or used a Facebook-connected third-party app. But today Facebook quieted those critics with a 10-Q update to its SEC filing that says it now only counts people who used Facebook or Messenger directly. That means the 1.55 billion user count it gave yesterday on its earning report is real.


Microsoft finally ties the knot with Red Hat for Linux on Azure – In a move many consider long overdue, Microsoft and Red Hat on Wednesday announced a new partnership through which Microsoft will offer Red Hat Enterprise Linux as the preferred choice for enterprise Linux workloads on Azure.


Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella proclaimed the company’s newfound love for Linux last year. Credit: James Niccolai

Apple prepping a new 4-inch iPhone for 2016 – When Apple refreshed their iPhone line-up this fall, there were only two new phones: the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. Next year, though, their larger handsets may be joined by a brand new 4-inch iPhone. This isn’t just some rumor that popped up on an Apple forum, either. The report comes from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, so there’s a very, very good chance it’s on target. Kuo has an unbelievably good track record when it comes to predicting products in Apple’s pipeline.

Nvidia easily beats Q3 earnings expectations with strong Q4 outlook – Nvidia published third quarter financial results after the bell on Thursday, and the tech brand best known for its gaming hardware looks to be sailing smoothly into the holiday season already. The graphics chip maker reported a net income of $246 million, or 44 cents per share. Non-GAAP earnings were 46 cents per share on a revenue of $1.305 billion, up seven percent year-over-year. Wall Street was looking for earnings of 25 cents per share with $1.18 billion in revenue.

Microsoft buys Mobile Data Labs, maker of MileIQ mileage tracker – Microsoft has acquired Mobile Data Labs, the company behind the MileIQ mileage-tracking app. Microsoft announced the pending Mobile Data Labs acquisition on November 5, declining to disclose financial terms of the deal. MileIQ takes advantage of sensors in mobile devices to capture, log and calculate business miles for tax-deduction purposes. According to Microsoft’s blog post, MileIQ has more than one million users and has been the top-grossing finance app in the iTunes store for 20 months straight. The DataIQ app is also available in the Android Play Store.

Games and Entertainment:

CNET’s guide to mastering the new Apple TV – The new Apple TV has arrived. The streaming box from Apple features a redesigned remote control, a revamped interface and a full App Store. In addition to streaming content from Netflix, Hulu and other services, the Apple TV doubles as a gaming console. Read on to learn more about all of the cool new features the Apple TV is capable of. This guide will be updated frequently with more tips and tricks from members of our How To and Reviews team, so be sure to keep checking back.

Buy Your Favorite BBC Shows Online – Whether you’re in the mood for period dramas, creepy cops, or soothing nature shows, the new BBC Store has something for everyone. The British Broadcasting Corporation today unveiled a new digital service that lets audiences buy and keep their favorite programs. Visit to register and start downloading seasons of Peaky Blinders, Luther, Orphan Black, and Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. Sift through categories like children’s, comedy, drama, entertainment, factual, and music & arts; hunt for new programs alphabetically; or use the search box to find exactly what you’re looking for.


Amazon will deliver Black Ops III at midnight using Prime Now – Lazy early adopter super fans rejoice! Now you can replace standing in line in the freezing cold for a midnight video game launch with the comfort of your home. How is that possible? It’s all thanks to Amazon Prime Now. Amazon launched Prime Now late last year, allowing products to be ordered and delivered within an hour if you are willing to pay a higher delivery price ($7.99) and live in a city that supports it. Never one to miss an opportunity, Amazon has decided to experiment with using Prime Now to deliver midnight game launch games. The first of these being Call of Duty: Black Ops III, which is released November 6.


Xbox One Backward Compat questions answered ahead of launch – In just a week’s time, Xbox One owners will be receiving the biggest software update to the console ever. And while the update will be bringing many, many features, like Windows 10 and a revamped interface, one thing that many gamers are waiting for is the backwards compatibility feature for Xbox 360 games. Since such a feature has never before heard of in a mainstream console, it is only natural that there are many questions surrounding it. Luckily, Major Nelson has taken some time with FLitz from Smosh Games to answer some of those.

Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 releases Feb. 23 – We’ve seen the game in numerous videos, and it will take the franchise to new heights, or so the story goes. Still, Plants vs. Zombies fans couldn’t get too excited, as they’ve still been waiting for information about when the latest installment in the series will be released. That changed today, with the launch date being officially announced. Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 will be arriving for gamers on multiple consoles on February 23, 2016.


Fallout 4 cars come to Microsoft’s Forza Motorsport 6 – Now here’s a bit of an unexpected cross-over: Xbox One gamers are getting treated to a special set of Fallout 4-themed cars as DLC for the recently released racing game Forza Motorsport 6. Feast your eyes on the vehicle above, a 1956 Ford F100 adorned with Vault-Tec logos and looking it’s rolled right out of the post-nuclear apocalypse that makes up the world of Fallout 4. Forza 6 players can download that pickup truck starting today, and it’s completely free.


‘The Hateful Eight’: new trailer arrives – A new trailer for Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming movie The Hateful Eight has been released, this one joining the one we saw back in August. That last one was officially the “teaser” trailer, though it was more than two minutes long. This new one is more than two minutes long, too, though it is shorter than the first. Samuel L. Jackson again shows up right at the start of things.


Steam Item Stores revisits the idea of paid mods on Steam – Remember earlier this year when Valve and Bethesda teamed up to allow paid mods for Skyrim via Steam? It’s safe to say that the effort blew up in their faces, as users lashed out at both companies. Eventually the paid mod store was pulled down, and considered to be a failure. Well, Valve has decided to re-introduce the idea of putting community-created content up for sale, but they’re taking a different approach this time.

Nvidia readies Game Ready driver flood, $100k in prizes for GeForce Experience push – Nvidia is using a giveaway to encourage PC gamers to register with GeForce Experience before it becomes mandatory for access to game-ready, day one drivers. Prizes for the driver download giveaways include copies of hot games like Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, Call of Duty: Black Ops III, and a mystery third title Nvidia can’t discuss right now but promises is awesome. Nvidia will also give away some hot hardware including GTX 980 Ti, GTX 960, and GTX 950 graphics cards, and Shield Android TV boxes. Nvidia didn’t announce exactly when the giveaway kicks-off or when it will end.

Windows 10 adoption rises with Steam users: 25 percent have jumped to the new OS – Windows 10 hit a milestone in the PC gaming world last month: The operating system is now installed on more than a quarter of all computers running Steam. Valve’s monthly Steam hardware and software survey shows that 26.63 percent of users were running 64-bit Windows 10 in October. Another 1.01 percent were running “Windows 10,” which presumably refers to the 32-bit version, for a grand total of 27.64 percent. The survey was first spotted by WinBeta.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Ben Carson’s pyramid theory is from Sid Meier’s Civilization – Ben Carson, ex neurosurgeon and current Republican hopeful for President of the United States of America, holds an unpopular theory about the pyramids in real-world Egypt that shares with the turn based strategy game Sid Meier’s Civilization. It might not be a popular opinion with scientists or his fellow Republican nominees, but it conforms to Civilization’s Great Wonder mechanic and a verse from the Bible, so he’s sticking to his guns. In 1998, Carson gave a commencement speech at Andrews University, a school associated with the Christian Seventh-Day Adventist Church, where he said that the pyramids were not constructed by aliens to be tombs, like all the scientists think, they were built by Joseph (of technicolor dreamcoat fame) to store grain.


Artificial intelligence will attempt to persuade thousands of people via smartphone app – Researchers in Singapore began a two-year trial this week of a smartphone app that attempts to use artificial intelligence to influence the real world decisions of users.

Watch crazy jetpack daredevils fly in formation with a jumbo airplane – Fly the friendly skies with a couple of jetpack-wearing risk-takers who pull off one of the scariest aerial stunts ever seen.


3DPhotoWorks Brings Great Art To The Blind – Art belongs to everyone and enlightenment is available to all. Thus we present 3DPhotoWorks, a project that aims to bring the “world’s greatest art” to the blind. The team, led by John Olson wants to convert famous paintings into digitally sculpted objects that blind people can touch and experience.


Is Facebook the new political town hall? – Candidates for the U.S. presidential nomination are turning to Facebook to reach potential voters, COO Sheryl Sandberg said Wednesday.


Republican candidates for the 2016 presidential nomination on stage at CNBC’s debate in Boulder, Colorado, on Oct. 28, 2015. Credit: Jason Bahr/CNBC

Leftovers aren’t making your fridge stink, it’s the fridge itself – So you’ve removed all of the moldy takeout containers and that wedge of fancy cheese, but your fridge still smells? Don’t worry. There’s some simple reasons why your fridge probably stinks and they’re very simple to fix.

Something to think about:

“Just think of the tragedy of teaching children not to doubt.”

–    Clarence Darrow     (1857 – 1938)


Unchecky! Keeps your checkboxes clear – Tired of unchecking unrelated offers while installing software?

Have you ever felt, while installing software, that the installer tries to push additional unwanted programs at all cost? Ever missed a checkbox, and spent hours afterwards removing adware? Ever opened your browser after an installation, only to find out that you have a new homepage, a new search engine, or even a new browser?

Unchecky aims to keep potentially unwanted programs out of your computer.

Unchecks – Unchecky automatically unchecks unrelated offers, both saving you mouse clicks and making it less likely to miss a checkbox of an unwanted offer.

Warns – Installers often try to sneak additional programs as a natural part of the installation. Unchecky warns you when you try to accept a potentially unwanted offer, which makes it less likely to be accepted accidentally.

Updates automatically – Install and forget. Unchecky automatically updates whenever a new version is available, so you don’t have to worry about running the latest version.


Watch Unchecky in action

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Hacking Team pitches encryption-cracking tools to US law enforcement – Hacking Team, the Italian company that provides offensive intrusion and surveillance software to governments, intelligence and law enforcement agencies, is back in the saddle, knocking on the doors of US law enforcement.

Motherboard reports that in an email sent to a mailing list containing addresses of contacts at various US law enforcement agencies, government agencies, and local police departments, Hacking Team CEO David Vincenzetti has been offering encryption-cracking tools.

“Most [law enforcement agencies] in the US and abroad will become ‘blind,’ they will ‘go dark:’ they will be simply be [sic] unable to fight vicious phenomena such as terrorism,” he warned. “Only the private companies can help here, we are one of them.”

“It is crystal clear that the present American administration does not have the stomach to oppose the American IT conglomerates and to approve unpopular, yet totally necessary, regulations,” he added.

What Type of Biometric Data Are Cops Collecting? – Cops around the country are using biometric technologies to catch lawbreakers. But what does that mean for local residents and the future of police work?

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and MuckRock in August launched a joint investigation into how state and local departments use mobile biometrics in the field—starting with California. Of the 31 agencies contacted, nine submitted data to the project.

The most popular technique—employed by five of the respondents—is facial recognition. Using a smartphone camera and mobile app, officers can snap a photo of the suspect, then scan the database for quick results.

It seems to be working for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) and Pasadena Police Department, which use iOS, Android, and Windows 8 devices to connect. The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), San Diego Police Department, and Carlsbad Police Department, meanwhile, count on Android devices to compare mugshots.

Also common among four of the nine departments is a mobile ID system that scans fingerprints and matches them to criminal files while on the go.

TPP Trade Agreement Slammed For Eroding Online Rights – Measures agreed to in an international trade treaty between Pacific Rim countries threaten Internet users’ privacy and consumer rights, civil and digital rights organizations have warned today.

The full text of the Trans Pacific-Partnership (TPP) international trade agreement — some eight years in the negotiating — was published online earlier today (in a version marked “subject to legal review”), after agreement was reached between the 12 countries early last month, which include the U.S., Australia, Canada, Japan and New Zealand.

The text still needs to be ratified in the individual countries before the treaty becomes binding.

“The E-Commerce chapter has serious implications for online privacy,” said Peter Maybarduk, of non-profit consumer rights organization, Public Citizen, in a statement on TPP. “The text reveals that policies protecting personal data when it crosses borders could be subject to challenge as a violation of the TPP.”

Public Citizen says the agreement puts a requirement on countries to allow unregulated cross-border transfer of Internet users’ data and prohibits governments from requiring companies host data on local servers — with what it says is no express protection for privacy and data protection policies to be exempted from the rules.

FBI official: It’s America’s choice whether we want to be spied on – FBI General Counsel James Baker today spoke about how encryption is making it increasingly difficult for law enforcement agencies to conduct surveillance. While the FBI has previously argued in favor of backdoors that let authorities defeat encryption, Baker said the issue must ultimately be decided by the American people.

“We are your servants,” Baker said. “The FBI are your servants, we will do what you want us to do.”

Baker was speaking in a panel discussion titled “Going Dark: The Balance Between Encryption, Privacy, and Public Safety” at the annual Advanced Cyber Security Center conference in Boston.

But while FBI officials are America’s servants, Baker argued that encryption is making it harder for the bureau to protect the nation from terrorism and other criminal activity. Even when law enforcement agencies get a warrant, they aren’t always able to get the information they want, he said.

“We go to judges, we do what the law requires, we show up with the order and we can’t get the fruits of surveillance for a variety of technical reasons, increasingly due to encryption,” he said.

Anonymous Hackers Officially Dox Hundreds of Alleged KKK Members – The infamous hacktivist group Anonymous has delivered on its threat of doxing members of the Ku Klux Klan, publishing a list of hundreds of names of alleged members of the racist group on Thursday. A Twitter account believed to be controlled by hackers behind the operation tweeted a link to a Pastebin containing a detailed list of names and their affiliation with local KKK groups, and links to the alleged members’ social media profiles as part of its “OpKKK.”


In the UK, Web browsing history must now be stored for a year – The UK home secretary, Theresa May, confirmed today that the UK government will seek to force all ISPs to retain a record of your Web browsing history for the previous year, even though the existence of tools like Tor and VPNs can make such data useless. This “Internet Connection Record” will be “a record of the Internet services a specific device has connected to, such as a website or instant messaging application.” It does not include details of individual webpages visited.

Moreover, the police will only be able to request details about accessing certain classes of website. As May explained in her statement to the House of Commons when she introduced the draft Investigatory Powers Bill: “They would only be able to make a request for the purpose of determining whether someone had accessed a communications website, an illegal website or to resolve an IP address where it is necessary and proportionate to do so in the course of a specific investigation.” She went on to explain, “If someone has visited a social media website, an Internet Connection Record will only show that they accessed that site, not the particular pages they looked at, who they communicated with, or what they said.”

TSA airport screeners’ ability to detect weapons declared “pitiful”– US lawmakers and federal watchdogs on Tuesday derided the Transportation Security Administration’s ability, or lack thereof, to adequately detect weapons and other contraband during the passenger screening process at the nation’s airports.

According to a report, secret test operation uncovers widespread security failures.

“In looking at the number of times people got through with guns or bombs in these covert testing exercises it really was pathetic. When I say that I mean pitiful,” said Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.), speaking Tuesday during a House Oversight hearing concerning classified reports from federal watchdogs. “Just thinking about the breaches there, it’s horrific,” he added.

Auditors from the Inspector General’s Office, posing as travelers, discovered enormous loopholes in the TSA’s screening process. A leaked classified report this summer found that as much as 95 percent of contraband, like weapons and explosives, got through during clandestine testings. Lynch’s comments were in response to the classified report’s findings.

Exxon Mobil under state investigation over climate change research – Oil and gas giant Exxon Mobil is the target of a new state investigation that seeks to determine whether the company deliberately misled the public about the risks of climate change. The New York Times reports that New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman issued a subpoena to the company on Wednesday, in which he demanded access to financial records, emails, and other documentation, dating back to the late 1970s.

The investigation will include a ten-year period from the mid-1990s to 2007, during which Exxon Mobil provided funding to groups and scientists who rejected or attacked climate change. Speaking in the wake of the subpoena, Kenneth P. Cohen, Exxon Mobil’s vice president for public affairs, said that the company “unequivocally reject[s] the allegations that Exxon Mobil has suppressed climate-change research.” But recent reports have indicated that Exxon Mobil was indeed conscious of the risks of climate change, choosing to fund groups that denied concepts of global warming even as it conducted its own research that showed climate change was a real problem. In the wake of these reports, members of Congress called for an investigation into the company.


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