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NASA Is Back To Work, But the Effects of the Government Shutdown Linger

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2019-01-30 09:00
Following a record 35-day government shutdown, thousands of civil servants and contractors are heading back to work this week at NASA's various centers throughout the country. "These first few days back on the job will be consumed with practical matters, such as figuring out employee backpay and how to dive back into projects," reports The Verge. "The shutdown will undoubtedly result in delays for some of NASA's long-term programs, too, but it'll be a while before the space agency can fully assess the extent of the damage." From the report: To explain how NASA is adjusting in the wake of the shutdown, the space agency's administrator Jim Bridenstine addressed employees during a town hall meeting this afternoon at NASA's headquarters in Washington, DC. "Welcome to 2019," he said during the meeting, which was live-streamed on NASATV. "NASA is now open and we're very thankful for that." The comment was met by applause from those in attendance, while Bridenstine went on to acknowledge that it's been a rough start to the year for the agency. "I want to say thank you for your patience and for your commitment to this agency and to the mission we all believe in so dearly." Bridenstine told the room that some NASA employees did leave during the shutdown, though it wasn't a substantial amount. "We didn't have a mass exodus," he said. "I think had this gone on longer, we would have. But we did lose people -- onesies and twosies -- across the agency and even here at headquarters. That is absolutely true." Perhaps those hit hardest at NASA were the agency's contractors. [...] Each company funded by NASA has its own contract with the agency, and the provisions of those agreements differ from contract to contract. Some contractors were paid their funding in advance of the shutdown, allowing them to continue working mostly unfazed. However, the employees of contractors who did not receive funding in advance were unable to bill for the hours that they worked during the shutdown. And it's possible they'll never receive compensation for that time. "NASA is in the middle of selecting new planetary missions to pursue, as part of its New Frontiers and Discovery programs -- and the shutdown may have delayed that process, says Casey Dreier, chief advocate and senior space policy adviser at The Planetary Society," reports The Verge. "Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA's associate administrator for science, pushed back the date for when the agency would accept applications for new science research proposals. And there's uncertainty surrounding the new giant rocket NASA is working on to take astronauts to the Moon and beyond, called the Space Launch System." Boeing told Politico that the shutdown delayed testing of the rocket's hardware.

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Ask Slashdot: What Could Go Wrong In Tech That Hasn't Already Gone Wrong?

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2019-01-30 03:30
dryriver writes: If you look at the last 15 years in tech, just about everything that could go wrong seemingly has gone wrong. Everything you buy and bring into your home tracks you in some way or the other. Some software can only be rented now -- no permanent licenses available to buy. PC games are tethered into cloud crap like Steam, Origin and UPlay. China is messing with unborn baby genes. Drones have managed to mess up entire airports. The Scandinavians have developed a serious hatred of cash money and are instead getting themselves chipped. CPUs have horrible security. Every day some huge customer database somewhere gets pwned by hackers. Cybercrime has gone through the roof. You cannot trust the BIOS on your PC anymore. Windows 10 just will not stop updating itself. And AI is soon going to kill us all, if a self-driving car by Uber doesn't do it first. So: What has -- so far -- not gone wrong in tech that still could go wrong, and perhaps in a surprising way?

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Facebook Pays Teens To Install VPN That Spies On Them

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2019-01-30 02:50
A new report from TechCrunch details how "desperate" Facebook is for data on its competitors. The social media company "has been secretly paying people to install a 'Facebook Research' VPN that lets the company suck in all of a user's phone and web activity," a TechCrunch investigation confirms. "Facebook sidesteps the App Store and rewards teenagers and adults to download the Research app and give it root access in what may be a violation of Apple policy so the social network can decrypt and analyze their phone activity." From the report: Since 2016, Facebook has been paying users ages 13 to 35 up to $20 per month plus referral fees to sell their privacy by installing the iOS or Android "Facebook Research" app. Facebook even asked users to screenshot their Amazon order history page. The program is administered through beta testing services Applause, BetaBound and uTest to cloak Facebook's involvement, and is referred to in some documentation as "Project Atlas" a fitting name for Facebook's effort to map new trends and rivals around the globe. We asked Guardian Mobile Firewall's security expert Will Strafach to dig into the Facebook Research app, and he told us that "If Facebook makes full use of the level of access they are given by asking users to install the Certificate, they will have the ability to continuously collect the following types of data: private messages in social media apps, chats from in instant messaging apps -- including photos/videos sent to others, emails, web searches, web browsing activity, and even ongoing location information by tapping into the feeds of any location tracking apps you may have installed." It's unclear exactly what data Facebook is concerned with, but it gets nearly limitless access to a user's device once they install the app.

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New Proposal Would Ban Government Facial Recognition Use In San Francisco

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2019-01-30 02:10
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The San Francisco Examiner: San Francisco could be the first city in the nation to ban city agencies from using facial recognition surveillance technology under proposed legislation announced Tuesday by Supervisor Aaron Peskin. The legislation, which will be introduced at Tuesday's Board of Supervisors meeting, echoes ordinances adopted by cities including Oakland and Berkeley, as well as by the transit agency BART, that require legislative approval before city agencies or law enforcement adopt new surveillance technologies or policies for the use of existing technologies. However, the new proposal takes things a step further with an outright ban on facial recognition technology. The San Francisco proposal would not only ban facial recognition but would also require the Board of Supervisors to approve new surveillance technology in general. The board would have to find that the benefits of the technology outweigh the costs, that civil rights will be protected and that the technology will not disparately impact a community or group. Peskin portrayed the proposal to be introduced Tuesday as an extension of his "Privacy First Policy," approved by voters in November, which sets new limits and transparency requirements on the collection and use of personal data by companies doing business with The City.

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US Judge Rejects Yahoo Data Breach Settlement

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2019-01-29 20:10
A U.S. judge rejected Yahoo's proposed settlement with millions of people whose email addresses and other personal information were stolen in the largest data breach in history, faulting the Internet services provider for a lack of transparency. From a report: In a Monday night decision, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, said she could not declare the settlement "fundamentally fair, adequate and reasonable" because it did not say how much victims could expect to recover. Yahoo, now part of New York-based Verizon Communications, was accused of being too slow to disclose three breaches from 2013 to 2016 that affected an estimated 3 billion accounts. The settlement called for a $50 million payout, plus two years of free credit monitoring for about 200 million people in the United States and Israel with nearly 1 billion accounts.

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Singapore HIV Registry Data Leaked Online in Health Breach

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2019-01-29 19:04
Confidential data about more than 14,000 people diagnosed with HIV, including foreign visitors, has been stolen in Singapore and leaked online. From a report: Authorities revealed details about the 2016 health data breach on Monday. They believe an HIV-positive American whose partner was a senior Singaporean doctor is behind the leak. The hack comes just months after the records of 1.5m Singaporeans, including Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, were stolen last year. Confidential information including names, addresses, HIV status and other medical information is reportedly included in the latest breach. Officials say the details of 5,400 Singaporeans and 8,800 foreigners dating up to January 2013 have been compromised.

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Google's Sidewalk Labs Plans To Sell Location Data On Millions of Cellphones

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2019-01-29 15:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Intercept: Most of the data collected by urban planners is messy, complex, and difficult to represent. It looks nothing like the smooth graphs and clean charts of city life in urban simulator games like "SimCity." A new initiative from Sidewalk Labs, the city-building subsidiary of Google's parent company Alphabet, has set out to change that. The program, known as Replica, offers planning agencies the ability to model an entire city's patterns of movement. Like "SimCity," Replica's "user-friendly" tool deploys statistical simulations to give a comprehensive view of how, when, and where people travel in urban areas. It's an appealing prospect for planners making critical decisions about transportation and land use. In recent months, transportation authorities in Kansas City, Portland, and the Chicago area have signed up to glean its insights. The only catch: They're not completely sure where the data is coming from. Typical urban planners rely on processes like surveys and trip counters that are often time-consuming, labor-intensive, and outdated. Replica, instead, uses real-time mobile location data. As Nick Bowden of Sidewalk Labs has explained, "Replica provides a full set of baseline travel measures that are very difficult to gather and maintain today, including the total number of people on a highway or local street network, what mode they're using (car, transit, bike, or foot), and their trip purpose (commuting to work, going shopping, heading to school)." To make these measurements, the program gathers and de-identifies the location of cellphone users, which it obtains from unspecified third-party vendors. It then models this anonymized data in simulations -- creating a synthetic population that faithfully replicates a city's real-world patterns but that "obscures the real-world travel habits of individual people," as Bowden told The Intercept. The program comes at a time of growing unease with how tech companies use and share our personal data -- and raises new questions about Google's encroachment on the physical world.

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A Bug in FaceTime Allows One To Access Someone's iPhone Camera And Microphone Before They Answered the Call; Apple Temporarily Disables Group FaceTime Feature

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2019-01-29 07:29
Social media sites lit up today with anxious Apple users after a strange glitch in iPhone's FaceTime app became apparent. The issue: It turns out that an iPhone user can call another iPhone user and listen in on -- and access live video feed of -- that person's conversations through the device's microphone and camera -- even if the recipient does not answer the call. In a statement, Apple said it was aware of the bug and was working to release a fix later this week. In the meanwhile, the company has disabled Group calling functionality on FaceTime app. From a report: The issue was so serious that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, and even Andrew Cuomo, governor of the state of New York, weighed in and urged their followers to disable FaceTime. [...] That's bad news for a company that's been vocal about privacy and customer data protection lately. The timing couldn't be worse, given that Apple is set to host its earnings call for the October-December quarter of 2018 in just a matter of hours.

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US Accuses Huawei of Stealing Trade Secrets, Defrauding Banks

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2019-01-29 02:10
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: U.S. prosecutors filed criminal charges against Huawei, China's largest smartphone maker, alleging it stole trade secrets from an American rival and committed bank fraud by violating sanctions against doing business with Iran. Huawei has been the target of a broad U.S. crackdown, including allegations it sold telecommunications equipment that could be used by the China's Communist Party for spying. The charges filed Monday also mark an escalation of tensions between the world's two largest economies, which are mired in a trade war that has roiled markets. In a 13-count indictment in Brooklyn, New York, the government alleged Huawei, two affiliated companies and its chief financial officer of fraud and conspiracy in connection with deals in Iran. A 10-count indictment in Washington state accused the company of stealing trade secrets from T-Mobile and offering bonuses to employees who succeeded in getting technology from rivals. T-Mobile sued Huawei and its U.S.-based unit, Huawei Device USA Inc., in 2014, and three years later, a federal jury in Seattle found Huawei liable for both breach of contract and misappropriation of trade secrets. A person familiar with the case, who sought anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak, said T-Mobile's claims regarding the theft of its technology caught the attention of federal authorities in the Western District of Washington. T-Mobile said Huawei sent its engineers to T-Mobile's Bellevue, Washington, facility to see a robot, called "Tappy," which simulates smartphone use. T-Mobile said in its lawsuit that Huawei was able to use stolen parts from the robot to "develop, improve and troubleshoot its own robot." Separately, Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Canada on allegations that she committed fraud to sidestep sanctions against Iran. "The U.S., which had requested Canadian authorities arrest Meng, must submit a formal extradition request for her by Jan. 30," Bloomberg reports. "Canada's justice minister then has up to 30 days to assess it. If she issues an 'authority to proceed,' that means Canada is officially moving to extradition hearings. If so, they would likely be scheduled months later."

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Online Piracy Can Be Good For Business, Researchers Find

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2019-01-29 00:10
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: Piracy isn't always the vile market bogeyman it's portrayed to be by the entertainment industry, a new joint study by Indiana University has found. Indiana University Researchers like Antino Kim say that online piracy can sometimes have a positive impact on markets, and being overly-aggressive in the policing and punishing of pirates may sometimes be counterproductive. As an example, Kim's study ("The 'Invisible Hand' of Piracy: An Economic Analysis of the Information-Goods Supply Chain") points to the hit HBO show Game Of Thrones, which routinely breaks piracy records thanks to heavy file sharing on BitTorrent. The researchers found that piracy often acts as a form of invisible competition, keeping both the manufacturer (HBO) and the cable operator (say, Comcast) from raising prices quite as high as they might otherwise. Raise prices too high, for example, and users will just flee to piracy, creating even higher losses. The researchers are clear to note their findings have their limits, and that they're not openly advocating for companies to fully embrace piracy. They do, however, argue that if you understand the benefits of piracy as a form of invisible competition, you'll find that overly-aggressive anti-piracy efforts can actually harm the market. "Our results do not imply that the legal channel should, all of a sudden, start actively encouraging piracy," researchers said. "The implication is simply that, situated in a real-world context, our manufacturer and retailer should recognize that a certain level of piracy or its threat might actually be beneficial and should, therefore, exercise some moderation in their anti-piracy efforts."

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Authorities Shut Down xDedic Marketplace For Buying Hacked Servers

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pn, 2019-01-28 21:30
The FBI, together with authorities from several European countries, have seized the domains and servers of xDedic, a notorious online marketplace where cyber-criminals would sell and buy access to hacked servers. From a report: The site has been around since 2014, but it became widely known after a Kaspersky report published in June 2016. According to the report, the site was operating as a registration-based online marketplace where several criminal groups would either put up for sale or buy hacked servers, usually in the form of compromised RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) accounts. At the time, Kaspersky said the site listed nearly 70,000 hacked servers, for prices as little as $8 per server. [...] In Europol and FBI press releases published today, authorities announced that they've seized both the domains and the servers hosting the marketplace, effectively shutting down the site and gaining access to its list of customers.

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Facebook's Plan To Merge WhatsApp, Instagram, and Messenger Sounds a Privacy Alarm

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - N, 2019-01-27 22:20
Facebook's new plan to integrate WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger will lead to more data about users being shared between them, a new report warns. The effort to make it easier for people to participate in conversations across its various messaging platforms sounds harmless, but it raises issues about how data will be shared across the platforms, and with third parties. The good news is that the apps will all be required to use end-to-end encryption. MIT Technology Review reports: Facebook says it wants to make it easier for people to communicate across its "ecosystem" of apps. But the real driver here is a commercial one. By making it easier to swap messages, Facebook can mine even more data to target ads with, and come up with more money-spinning services. There's another potential benefit: by integrating its messaging apps more tightly, Facebook can argue it would be harder to spin one or more of them off, as some antitrust campaigners think it should be forced to do.

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Pentagon Documents the Military's Growing Domestic Drone Use

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - N, 2019-01-27 18:16
New data on the Pentagon's domestic drone use documents 11 missions during the 2018 fiscal year. That's up from 11 missions over the entire span of 2011 through 2017, as noted by Dan Gettinger, co-director of Bard College's Center for the Study of the Drone. ZDNet reports: Most of the military's 2018 missions fell under the category of "Defense Support of Civil Authorities." That meant responding to requests from the governors of California and Oregon for support during last year's wildfire season, as well as helping the South Carolina National Guard with its Hurricane Florence flood response. Defense Department drones were also on call throughout 2018 to provide Southern Border support for a regiment of the Army. In 2018, the military also used its unmanned aerial systems (UAS) in three cases to provide Defense Department installation and airspace support. It also responded to a request from the governor of New York for support during an emergency response training exercise. And for five months during the fiscal year, it used drones to support the US Customs and Border Patrol's counterdrug operations.

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Bill Gates Promises Congress $1 Billion To Build Nuclear Reactors For Fighting Climate Change

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - N, 2019-01-27 07:34
An anonymous reader quotes the Washington Post: Bill Gates thinks he has a key part of the answer for combating climate change: a return to nuclear power... Gates, who founded TerraPower in 2006, is telling lawmakers that he personally would invest $1 billion and raise $1 billion more in private capital to go along with federal funds for a pilot of his company's never-before-used technology, according to congressional staffers. "Nuclear is ideal for dealing with climate change, because it is the only carbon-free, scalable energy source that's available 24 hours a day," Gates said in his year-end public letter. "The problems with today's reactors, such as the risk of accidents, can be solved through innovation." Gates's latest push comes at an important turn in climate politics. Nuclear power has united both unpopular industry executives and a growing number of people -- including some prominent Democrats -- alarmed about climate change. But many nuclear experts say that Gates's company is pursuing a flawed technology and that any new nuclear design is likely to come at a prohibitive economic cost and take decades to perfect, market and construct in any significant numbers... Edwin Lyman, a nuclear expert at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said TerraPower is one of many companies that is raising the public's hopes for advanced nuclear reactor designs even though they're still on the drawing boards and will remain unable to combat climate change for many years. Jonah Goldman, of Gates Ventures, stressed to The Post that Gates was not advocating for TerraPower alone, according to GeekWire. "Gates thinks the U.S. has 'the best minds, the best lab systems and entrepreneurs willing to take risk,' Goldman told the newspaper. 'But what we don't have is a commitment on Congress' part.'"

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Advocacy Groups Are Pushing The FTC To Break Up Facebook

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - N, 2019-01-27 04:34
An anonymous reader quotes the Verge: Advocacy groups are calling for Facebook to be broken up as a result of its Cambridge Analytica scandal, subsequent privacy violations, and repeated consumer data breaches. Groups like Open Market Institute, Color of Change, and the Electronic Privacy Information Center wrote to the Federal Trade Commission Thursday requesting a major government intervention into how Facebook operates. The letter outlined several moves the FTC could take, including a multibillion-dollar fine, reforming the company's hiring practices, and most importantly, breaking up one of the most powerful social media companies for abusing its market position... According to organizations like Open Market Institute and Color of Change, Facebook should be required to give up $2 billion and divest ownership of Instagram and WhatsApp for failing to protect user data on those platforms as well. "Given that Facebook's violations are so numerous in scale, severe in nature, impactful for such a large portion of the American public and central to the company's business model, and given the company's massive size and influence over American consumers," the letter reads, "penalties and remedies that go far beyond the Commission's recent actions are called for."

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Russian YouTube-Ripping Site Wins In US Court

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - N, 2019-01-27 00:34
An anonymous reader quotes TorrentFreak: YouTube rippers are seen as the largest piracy threat to the music industry, and record labels are doing their best to shut them down. In 2017, YouTube-MP3, the world's largest ripping site at the time, shut down after being sued, and several other folded in response to increased legal uncertainty. Not all stream-ripping sites throw in the towel without a fight though. FLVTO.biz and 2conv.com, owned by Russian developer Tofig Kurbanov, remained online despite being sued by several record labels last August.... According to the defense, the court has no jurisdiction over the matter. Only a small fraction of the visitors come from the US, and the site is managed entirely from Russia, it argued.... Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Claude M. Hilton ruled on the matter. In a 14-page opinion, he clearly sides with the operator of the YouTube rippers. Kurbanov doesn't have to stand trial in the U.S. so the case was dismissed. Billboard notes that the site was the 322nd most-visited web site in the world last year (for the 12 months ending in September, according to court documents) -- and that nearly 10 percent of the site's traffic -- 26.3 million visitors -- came from the U.S, including 500,000 from Virginia.

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State of Emergency Declared in Washington State Over Measles Outbreak

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2019-01-26 22:34
An anonymous reader quotes CBS News: The governor of Washington state declared a state of emergency Friday over a measles outbreak that has sickened dozens of people in a county with one of the state's lowest vaccination rates. Gov. Jay Inslee said in a statement that the outbreak in Clark County "creates an extreme public health risk" that could spread throughout the state... Clark County Public Health has confirmed 30 measles cases since January 1 and identified another nine suspected cases. Twenty-six of the confirmed cases were people who were not immunized for measles, the agency said... Only 77.4 percent of all public students there complete their vaccinations, according to state records cited by the Oregonian...Most of the confirmed cases -- 21 -- were with children between 1 and 10 years old. Eight cases involved people 11 to 18 years old, and one case was someone 19 to 29. Time magazines also reports that authorities in the neighboring states of Oregon and Idaho "have issued warnings to residents." In November the World Health Organization warned that measles cases worldwide had jumped more than 30% from 2016 to 2017, according to AFP, "in part because of children not being vaccinated."

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Canada's Ambassador To China Hopes US Won't Extradite Huawei Exec, Gets Fired

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2019-01-26 19:34
First, a Canadian diplomat on Thursday contradicted what he'd said on Wednesday, according to a story shared by hackingbear: John McCallum, Canada's ambassador in China, appeared to provide legal advice to Meng Wanzhou, who is fighting extradition to the U.S. over fraud allegations. Saying she had a "strong case", McCallum outlined numerous weaknesses of the legal proceedings: political interference from Donald Trump, the extraterritorial nature of the charges and the fact that Canada is not party to American sanctions against Iran. "I regret that my comments with respect to the legal proceedings of Ms Meng have created confusion. I misspoke," McCallum said in a statement released late on Thursday afternoon. "These comments do not accurately represent my position on the issue. As the government has consistently made clear, there has been no political involvement in this process." But ABC News reports that the same diplomat then said Friday that it would be "great" for Canada if the U.S. dropped its extradition request, "in what seem like off script remarks again...." "The Canadian government didn't return multiple messages in response to questions about whether McCallum is speaking for the Canadian government." UPDATE (1/26/2019): "Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has fired Canada's ambassador to China, John McCallum," reports the BBC.

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'This Time It's Russia's Emails Getting Leaked'

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2019-01-26 18:34
"Russian oligarchs and Kremlin apparatchiks may find the tables turned on them," writes Kevin Poulsen at The Daily Beast, reporting on a new leak site that's unleashed "a compilation of hundreds of thousands of hacked emails and gigabytes of leaked documents." "Think of it as WikiLeaks, but without Julian Assange's aversion to posting Russian secrets." Slashdot reader hyades1 shared their report: The site, Distributed Denial of Secrets, was founded last month by transparency activists. Co-founder Emma Best said the Russian leaks, slated for release Friday, will bring into one place dozens of different archives of hacked material that, at best, have been difficult to locate, and in some cases appear to have disappeared entirely from the web. "Stuff from politicians, journalists, bankers, folks in oligarch and religious circles, nationalists, separatists, terrorists operating in Ukraine," said Best, a national-security journalist and transparency activist. "Hundreds of thousands of emails, Skype and Facebook messages, along with lots of docs...." The site is a kind of academic library or a museum for leak scholars, housing such diverse artifacts as the files North Korea stole from Sony in 2014, and a leak from the Special State Protection Service of Azerbaijan. The site's Russia section already includes a leak from Russia's Ministry of the Interior, portions of which detailed the deployment of Russian troops to Ukraine at a time when the Kremlin was denying a military presence there. Though some material from that leak was published in 2014, about half of it wasn't, and WikiLeaks reportedly rejected a request to host the files two years later, at a time when Julian Assange was focused on exposing Democratic Party documents passed to WikiLeaks by Kremlin hackers. "A lot of what WikiLeaks will do is organize and re-publish information that's appeared elsewhere," said Nicholas Weaver, a researcher at the University of California at Berkeley's International Computer Science Institute. "They've never done that with anything out of Russia." The Russian documents were posted simultaneously on the DDoSecrets website and on the Internet Archive, notes the New York Times, adding that the new site has also posted a large archive of internal documents from WikiLeaks itself. "Personally, I am disappointed by what I see as dishonest and egotistic behavior from Julian Assange and WikiLeaks," Best tells the Times. "But she added that she had made the Russian document collection available to WikiLeaks ahead of its public release on Friday, and had posted material favorable to Mr. Assange leaked from the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, where he has lived for more than six years to avoid arrest."

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FBI Arrests Three More Men Who Hired 'SWAT' Perpetrator

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2019-01-26 17:34
"Three men allegedly conspired with admitted 'swatter' Tyler Barriss to make hoax reports of bombs and murders to police departments, high schools and a convention center across the United States, according to three indictments unsealed today," reports America's Department of Justice. An anonymous reader quotes NBC News: The three people charged -- Neal Patel, 23, of Des Plaines, Illinois; Tyler Stewart, 19, of Gulf Breeze, Florida; and Logan Patten, 19, of Greenwood, Missouri -- are not accused in the "swatting" call allegedly made by another man that preceded the police shooting of Andrew Finch, a 28, in Wichita on Dec. 28, 2017. But they are accused of asking the suspect in the fatal Kansas case, Tyler Barriss, through Twitter direct messages to make false reports of bombs or threats of shootings that would trigger a law enforcement response and the evacuation of buildings against other targets, including a high school and a Dallas video game tournament.... Patel allegedly conspired with Barriss to make false reports to police in Milford, Connecticut, in December of 2017, and to make a false bomb threat targeting a video game convention in Dallas, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of California in Los Angeles. Stewart is accused of conspiring with Barriss to make two false bomb threats about a high school in Gurnee, Illinois, in early December of 2017, and Patten is charged with hiring Barriss to "swat" people in Indiana and Ohio, also in December of 2017, and of scheming with Barriss to "swat" a high school in Missouri, according to prosecutors. After this week's arrests, the three men each face up to 15 years in federal prison. Patel allegedly also used "unauthorized" credit cards to pay Barriss -- and now faces two more bank fraud charges which each carry up to 30 years in federal prison. The article also notes that the 25-year-old who actually made the calls -- and the call which led to a fatal shooting in Wichita -- "has agreed to serve a sentence of between 20 and 25 years in federal prison." And the two gamers involved in the dispute which led to that shooting have also been criminally charged.

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