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Boston Globe Outs Secret TSA Tracking Program 'Quiet Skies' At Airports

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - N, 2018-07-29 17:15
The Boston Globe reports of a previously undisclosed program, called "Quiet Skies," that targets travelers who "are not under investigation by any agency and are not in the Terrorist Screening Data Base." The insights come from a TSA bulletin in March that describes the program's goal as thwarting threats to commercial aircraft "posed by unknown or partially known terrorists. The program "gives the agency broad discretion over which air travelers to focus on and how closely they are tracked," reports The Boston Globe. From the report: But some air marshals, in interviews and internal communications shared with the Globe, say the program has them tasked with shadowing travelers who appear to pose no real threat -- a businesswoman who happened to have traveled through a Mideast hot spot, in one case; a Southwest Airlines flight attendant, in another; a fellow federal law enforcement officer, in a third. It is a time-consuming and costly assignment, they say, which saps their ability to do more vital law enforcement work. TSA officials, in a written statement to the Globe, broadly defended the agency's efforts to deter potential acts of terror. But the agency declined to discuss whether Quiet Skies has intercepted any threats, or even to confirm that the program exists. Already under Quiet Skies, thousands of unsuspecting Americans have been subjected to targeted airport and inflight surveillance, carried out by small teams of armed, undercover air marshals, government documents show. The teams document whether passengers fidget, use a computer, have a "jump" in their Adam's apple or a "cold penetrating stare," among other behaviors, according to the records. Air marshals note these observations -- minute-by-minute -- in two separate reports and send this information back to the TSA. All US citizens who enter the country are automatically screened for inclusion in Quiet Skies -- their travel patterns and affiliations are checked and their names run against a terrorist watch list and other databases, according to agency documents. The bulletin highlights 15 rules used to screen passengers. If someone is selected for surveillance, a team of air marshals will be placed on the person's next flight.

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Facebook Finally Discloses Pro-Brexit Ads

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - N, 2018-07-29 00:39
"The UK parliament has provided another telling glimpse behind the curtain of Facebook's unregulated ad platform by publishing data on scores of pro-Brexit adverts..." reports TechCrunch, adding that the 2016 ads "were run prior to Facebook having any disclosure rules for political ads. So there was no way for anyone other than each target recipient to know a particular ad existed or who it was being targeted at." An anonymous reader quotes their report: The targeting of the ads was carried out on Facebook's platform by AggregateIQ, a Canadian data firm that has been linked to Cambridge Analytica/SCL... [I]t's not clear how many ad impressions they racked up in all. But total impressions look very sizable. While some of what runs to many thousands of distinctly targeted ads which AIQ distributed via Facebook's platform are listed as only garnering between 0-999 impressions apiece, according to Facebook's data, others racked up far more views. Commonly listed ranges include 50,000 to 99,999 and 100,000 to 199,999 -- with even higher ranges like 2M-4.9M and 5M-9.9M also listed.... The publication of the Brexit ads is, above all, a reminder that online political advertising has been allowed to be a blackhole -- and at times a cesspit -- because cash-rich entities have been able to unaccountably exploit the obscurity of Facebook's systemically dark ad targeting tools for their own ends, and operate in a darkness where only Facebook had oversight (and wasn't exercising any), leaving the public no right of objection let alone reply, despite it being people's lives that are indelibly affected by political outcomes.... The company has been making some voluntary changes to offer a degree of political ad disclosure, as it seeks to stave off regulatory rule. Whether its changes -- which at best offer partial visibility -- will go far enough remains to be seen. Earlier this month the UK's data watchdog released a report titled "Democracy disrupted?" in which the UK's Information Commissioner recommends an "ethical pause" of political advertising on social media to allow key players "to reflect on their responsibilities in respect to the use of personal data..." And this weekend an interim report from the House of Commons' media committee "said democracy is facing a crisis because the combination of data analysis and social media allows campaigns to target voters with messages of hate without their consent," according to the Associated Press. "Tech giants like Facebook, which operate in a largely unregulated environment, are complicit because they haven't done enough to protect personal information and remove harmful content, the committee said."

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Massachusetts Proposes Public Shaming of Net Neutrality Violators

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2018-07-28 22:34
An anonymous reader quotes CNET: Massachusetts plans to protect net neutrality by naming and shaming internet service providers that don't adhere to open internet principles. Lawmakers in the state Senate have proposed a bill (S2160) that would create an "internet service provider registry" to track whether broadband and wireless providers adhere to policies that keep the internet open and neutral. Motherboard reports: In the wake of the FCC's repeal of net neutrality, more than half the states in the union are considering their own, state-level net neutrality rules. Some states are tackling the problem with legislation (California, Oregon, Washington), while others (like Montana) are signing executive orders banning state agencies from doing business with ISPs that behave anti-competitively... when the FCC repealed net neutrality, it included a provision attempting to "pre-empt" (read: ban) states from protecting consumers. As a result, large ISPs have threatened to sue any states that stand up for consumer welfare, and at least one ISP (Charter Spectrum) has tried to use the repeal to wiggle out of state lawsuits for terrible broadband. Charter's efforts on that front have failed, and the the FCC's authority to tell states what to do has been highly contested. Still, Massachusetts thought it might be a better idea to try and publicly shame ISPs into behaving.

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One Year After Data Breach, Equifax Goes Unpunished

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2018-07-28 21:34
"It's been a year since Equifax doxed the nation of America through carelessness, deception and greed, lying about it and stalling while the problem got worse and worse," writes Cory Doctorow. Equifax's new CSO says they've spent over $200 million on security upgrades, in work being overseen by auditor from eight different states. An anonymous reader quotes Doctorow's response: This all sounds very good and all, but it's still monumentally unfair. The penalty for Equifax's recklessness should have been the corporate death penalty: charter revoked, company shut down, assets sold to competitors... The fact that Equifax's investors and execs kept all the money they made by risking all America with shoddy security, and that no one went to jail for a monumental act of corporate recklessness, is a moral hazard, virtually guaranteeing that Equifax's competitors will not take the care they owe to the people on whom they have amassed nonconsensual, potentially life-destroying dossiers. Equifax's CEO and several top officials did leave the company, notes Government Technology -- but that's about it. Thus far, no financial punishment has been imposed on Equifax itself. Despite contentious hearings, no Congressional action has been taken. A few months later, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau tabled action against the company. And while the Federal Trade Commission said it opened an investigation into the Equifax breach in September, the agency has since named as chief of its consumer protection division a lawyer who has represented Equifax. This past week, Equifax asked a federal judge to reject the claims from 46 banks and credit unions for payment of damages because of the massive data breach. The companies claimed that Equifax owes them for all the costs they incurred protecting data after the breach was revealed, costs that could easily run into many millions of dollars.... Equifax had revenue of $876.9 million during the second quarter of 2018, up 2 percent from the same quarter of last year, officials said.

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German State Plans To Migrate 13,000 Workstations From Linux to Windows

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2018-07-28 16:34
An anonymous reader quotes ZDNet: The German state of Lower Saxony is set to follow Munich in migrating thousands of official computers away from Linux to Microsoft's Windows. As initially reported by Heise, the state's tax authority has 13,000 workstations running OpenSuse -- which it adopted in 2006 in a well-received migration from Solaris -- that it now wants to migrate to a "current version" of Windows, presumably Windows 10. The authority reasons that many of its field workers and telephone support services already use Windows, so standardisation makes sense. An upgrade of some kind would in any case be necessary soon, as the PCs are running OpenSuse versions 12.2 and 13.2, neither of which is supported anymore. According to the Lower Saxony's draft budget, €5.9m is set aside for the migration in the coming year, with a further €7m annually over the following years; it's not yet clear how many years the migration would take... Munich's shift away from LiMux -- the city's own Ubuntu-based distribution -- is expected to cost more than €50m overall, involving the deployment of around 29,000 Windows-based computers.

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Canadian Malls Are Using Facial Recognition To Track Shoppers' Age, Gender Without Consent

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2018-07-28 12:00
At least two malls in Calgary are using facial recognition technology to track shoppers' ages and genders without first obtaining their consent. "A visitor to Chinook Center in south Calgary spotted a browser window that had seemingly accidentally been left open on one of the mall's directories, exposing facial-recognition software that was running in the background of the digital map," reports CBC.ca. "They took a photo and posted it to the social networking site Reddit on Tuesday." From the report: The mall's parent company, Cadillac Fairview, said the software, which they began using in June, counts people who use the directory and predicts their approximate age and gender, but does not record or store any photos or video from the directory cameras. Cadillac Fairview said the software is also used at Market Mall in northwest Calgary, and other malls nationwide. Cadillac Fairview said currently the only data they collect is the number of shoppers and their approximate age and gender, but most facial recognition software can be easily adapted to collect additional data points, according to privacy advocates. Under Alberta's Personal Information Privacy Act, people need to be notified their private information is being collected, but as the mall isn't actually saving the recordings, what they're doing is legal. It's not known how many other Calgary-area malls are using the same or similar software and if they are recording the data.

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364 Idaho Inmates Hacked Their Prison Tablets For Free Credits

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2018-07-28 02:50
According to local Idaho media, 364 inmates across at least five institutions exploited a vulnerability in their prison-issued tablets to assign nearly $225,000 worth of digital credits to their accounts. They were then able to use these credits to buy music and games. Bleeping Computer reports: The hacked tablets have been used at low-security level prisons across the U.S. for a few years now. They've been offered through a partnership between CenturyLink and JPay. Spokespersons for both companies said the vulnerability inmates exploited was identified and fixed. Officials from the Idaho Department of Correction (IDC) said there was no loss of state funds as a result of the hack, as inmates transferred only JPay-managed (fictitious) digital credits to their accounts. Most inmates transferred small amounts of credits to their tablet accounts. JPay said it recovered more than $65,000 worth of digital credits from the 364 inmate accounts. The company has suspended the ability to buy games and music via digital credits on the tablets of offending inmates. Email functionality was left intact, and the company plans to recover the incurred losses.

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New York City May Cap the Number of Uber, Lyft Vehicles On Its Streets

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2018-07-28 01:30
New York City may become the first major U.S. city to cap the number of Uber and other ride-sharing vehicles on the road. According to Engadget, "The City Council is looking at proposed legislation that would largely freeze the issuance of ridesharing vehicle licenses while officials work on a year-long study of the cars' effects." Wheelchair-accessible vehicles would be exempt from any cap. From the report: This wouldn't be the first time the city tried a cap -- it abandoned an attempt in 2015. There's greater pressure to consider a limit this time, though. NYC now has over 100,000 ride-hailing cars (up from 63,000 back in 2015), and a string of suicides by both ridesharing and taxi drivers has raised questions about working conditions that can include low pay, long hours and poor compensation for time off. On top of the cap, the Council is looking at raising minimum pay and otherwise regulating on-demand transportation services. NYC is concerned that the growth of ridesharing is coming at the expense of drivers' well-being (regardless of who they work for), and it's unlikely to back down until it's satisfied these workers are receiving fair treatment. Uber argues the cap would "leave New Yorkers stranded" without solving issues like congestion, taxi medallion ownership and mass transit. It claimed it would hinder passengers who live outside of Manhattan and don't have reliable alternatives to cabs or public transportation. The company even posted a commercial underscoring how difficult it was for some residents to hail taxis.

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Should Bots Be Required To Tell You That They're Not Human?

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2018-07-28 00:50
"BuzzFeed has this story about proposals to make social media bots identify themselves as fake people," writes an anonymous Slashdot reader. "[It's] based on a paper by a law professor and a fellow researcher." From the report: General concerns about the ethical implications of misleading people with convincingly humanlike bots, as well as specific concerns about the extensive use of bots in the 2016 election, have led many to call for rules regulating the manner in which bots interact with the world. "An AI system must clearly disclose that it is not human," the president of the Allen Institute on Artificial Intelligence, hardly a Luddite, argued in the New York Times. Legislators in California and elsewhere have taken up such calls. SB-1001, a bill that comfortably passed the California Senate, would effectively require bots to disclose that they are not people in many settings. Sen. Dianne Feinstein has introduced a similar bill for consideration in the United States Senate. In our essay, we outline several principles for regulating bot speech. Free from the formal limits of the First Amendment, online platforms such as Twitter and Facebook have more leeway to regulate automated misbehavior. These platforms may be better positioned to address bots' unique and systematic impacts. Browser extensions, platform settings, and other tools could be used to filter or minimize undesirable bot speech more effectively and without requiring government intervention that could potentially run afoul of the First Amendment. A better role for government might be to hold platforms accountable for doing too little to address legitimate societal concerns over automated speech. [A]ny regulatory effort to domesticate the problem of bots must be sensitive to free speech concerns and justified in reference to the harms bots present. Blanket calls for bot disclosure to date lack the subtlety needed to address bot speech effectively without raising the specter of censorship.

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IBM Wins $83 Million From Groupon In E-Commerce Patents Case

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2018-07-27 23:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: A U.S. jury awarded International Business Machines Corp. $83.5 million after finding that Groupon Inc. infringed four of its e-commerce patents. Friday's verdict cements the prowess of IBM's portfolio of more than 45,000 patents and is a boon to its intellectual-property licensing revenue, which brought in $1.19 billion in 2017. The jury in Wilmington, Delaware, sided with the argument of IBM's lawyers, who had said Groupon was trying to portray IBM as claiming to have patented the Internet and had called that effort "a smoke screen." As they began the trial, IBM's lawyers said Groupon built its online coupon business on the back of IBM's e-commerce inventions without permission. [T]he patents at issue don't protect IBM's products or services, said David Hadden, Groupon's lawyer. IBM never used the patents and instead relies on its huge portfolio to extract money from other companies, he said. Two of the patents, one of which expired in 2015, came out of the Prodigy online service, which started in the late 1980s and predated the web. Another, which expired in 2016, is related to preserving information in a continuing conversation between clients and servers. The fourth patent is related to authentication and expires in 2025, the latest among the case's patents. IBM stressed throughout the trial that a range of companies have paid for licenses to use its patents. Tech giants such as Amazon, Alphabet's Google, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn have paid from $20 million to $50 million each in cross-licensing agreements, allowing them access to IBM's cadre of more than 45,000 patents.

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New York Orders Charter Out of State

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2018-07-27 22:50
Yesterday, it was reported that Charter Communications could lose its license in New York because of its failure to meet merger-related broadband deployment commitments. Today, according to Ars Technica, the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) voted to revoke its approval of Charter Communications' 2016 purchase of Time Warner Cable (TWC). "The PSC said it is ordering Charter to sell the former TWC system that it purchased in New York, and it's 'bring[ing] an enforcement action in State Supreme Court to seek additional penalties for Charter's past failures and ongoing non-compliance," reports Ars. From the report: Charter has repeatedly failed to meet deadlines for broadband expansions that were required in exchange for merger approval, state officials said. The PSC has steadily increased the pressure on Charter with fines and threats, but Charter never agreed to changes demanded by state officials. As a result of today's vote, "Charter is ordered to file within 60 days a plan with the Commission to ensure an orderly transition to a successor provider(s)," the PSC's announcement said. "During the transition process, Charter must continue to comply with all local franchises it holds in New York State and all obligations under the Public Service Law and the Commission regulations. Charter must ensure no interruption in service is experienced by customers, and, in the event that Charter does not do so, the Commission will take further steps, including seeking injunctive relief in Supreme Court in order to protect New York consumers." The five types of misconduct that the commission cited to support its decision include: the company's repeated failures to meet deadlines; Charter's attempts to skirt obligations to serve rural communities; unsafe practices in the field; its failure to fully commit to its obligations under the 2016 merger agreement; and the company's purposeful obfuscation of its performance and compliance obligations to the Commission and its customers.

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The Trump Administration is Talking To Facebook and Google About Potential Rules For Online Privacy

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2018-07-27 18:10
The Trump administration is crafting a proposal to protect Web users' privacy, aiming to blunt global criticism that the absence of strict federal rules in the United States has enabled data mishaps at Facebook and others in Silicon Valley. From a report: Over the past month, the Commerce Department has been huddling with representatives of tech giants such as Facebook and Google, Internet providers including AT&T and Comcast, and consumer advocates [Editor's note: the link may be paywalled; alternative source], according to four people familiar with the matter but not authorized to speak on the record. The government's goal is to release an initial set of ideas this fall that outlines Web users' rights, including general principles for how companies should collect and handle consumers' private information, the people said. The forthcoming blueprint could then become the basis for Congress to write the country's first wide-ranging online-privacy law, an idea the White House recently has said it could endorse. "Through the White House National Economic Council, the Trump Administration aims to craft a consumer privacy protection policy that is the appropriate balance between privacy and prosperity," Lindsay Walters, the president's deputy press secretary, said in a statement. "We look forward to working with Congress on a legislative solution consistent with our overarching policy."

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Bugs In Samsung IoT Hub Leave Smart Home Open To Attack

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2018-07-27 09:00
secwatcher writes from a report via Threatpost: Cisco Talos researchers found flaws located in Samsung's centralized controller, a component that connects to an array of IoT devices around the house -- from light bulbs, thermostats, and cameras. SmartThings Hub is one of several DIY home networking devices designed to allow homeowners to remotely manage and monitor digital devices. "Given that these devices often gather sensitive information, the discovered vulnerabilities could be leveraged to give an attacker the ability to obtain access to this information, monitor and control devices within the home, or otherwise perform unauthorized activities," researchers said in a report. Threatpost goes on to detail the "multiple attack chain scenarios." Thankfully, Samsung has since patched the bugs. "We are aware of the security vulnerabilities for SmartThings Hub V2 and released a patch for automatic update to address the issue," a Samsung spokesperson told Threatpost. "All active SmartThings Hub V2 devices in the market are updated to date." The company released a firmware advisory for Hub V2 devices on July 9th.

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Massachusetts Senate Passes Resolution To Do In-Depth Study On Right-To-Repair

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2018-07-27 05:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: On July 25, the Massachusetts Senate approved a Resolution that would create a special commission that would research the feasibility of forcing device manufacturers to treat customers and independent repair shops the same as officially licensed repair outlets. According to the proposed study, that means providing customers and independent repair shops with "repair technical updates, diagnostic software, service access passwords, updates and corrections to firmware, and related documentation." Gay Gordon Byrne, executive director of The Repair Organization, helped push the bill in 2012 and has been working to extend the law to tech companies ever since. "This is just one step in a series of steps that will end Repair Monopolies for technology products. I'm thrilled," Byrne told me in an email about the pending study. The Resolution to create the study group still needs to pass the Massachusetts House, but the session ends July 31 so right-to-repair watch dogs won't have to wait long to see if it goes forward. The proposed makeup of the study commission shows that the legislature is serious about the issue and also reveals how big tech's repair monopoly is about much more than just being able to open up your iPhone without voiding the warranty. The legislature wants the study commission to include 23 members, including various members of the legislature but also a wealth of experts in various tech fields. They want someone from the Massachusetts Farm Bureau, a medical device manufacturer, an expert on electronic waste recycling, someone who repairs complex medical equipment, an intellectual property lawyer, a cyber security expert, a local farmer, and various other experts and citizens affected or knowledgeable about the right-to-repair.

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New Crime-Predicting Algorithm Borrows From Apollo Space Mission Tech

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2018-07-27 03:00
Researchers from Georgia Tech and the UK's University of Surrey have developed a new predictive policing algorithm that aims to better manage police resources and gain an upper hand in the war on crime. It reportedly uses technology that's been previously used in weather forecasting and the Apollo space missions. Digital Trends reports: The new algorithm built on previous work carried out by researchers from the University of California and police forces in both the U.S. and U.K. Their 2015 research showed how a predictive policing algorithm could accurately predict between 1.4 and 2.2 times more urban crime than specialist crime analysts. By making recommendations about where to patrol, the algorithm led to a 7.4 percent reduction in crime. However, while effective, this approach has also been criticized due to concerns about possible racial profiling and the underreporting of crime. The new algorithm has so far been demonstrated on a data set of more than 1,000 violent gang crimes in Los Angeles carried out between 1999 and 2002. Early conclusions suggest that the upgraded predictive tool could prove superior for coping with the constantly fluctuating world of real-time crime prediction. The researchers published their paper in the journal Computational Statistics & Data Analysis.

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Facebook Forced To Block 20,000 Posts About Snack Food Conspiracy After PepsiCo Sues, Says Report

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2018-07-27 01:40
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Gizmodo: There is a rumor that Kurkure, a corn puff product developed by [Pepsico] in India, is made of plastic. The conspiracy theory naturally thrived online, where people posted mocking videos and posts questioning whether the snack contained plastic. In response, PepsiCo obtained an interim order from the Delhi High Court to block all references to this conspiracy theory online in the country, MediaNama reports. Hundreds of posts claiming that Kurkure contains plastic have already been blocked across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, according to LiveMint, and the court order requires social networks to continue to block such posts. According to MediaNama, PepsiCo petitioned for 3412 Facebook links, 20244 Facebook posts, 242 YouTube videos, six Instagram links, and 562 tweets to be removed, a request the court has granted. PepsiCo's argument is that these rumors are untrue and defame the brand -- though it's evident that a number of the posts are satirical in tone, poking fun at the rumor rather than earnestly trying to spread misinformation.

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New York Threatens To Kick Charter Out of State After Broadband Failures

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2018-07-26 23:40
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Charter Communications could lose its authorization to operate in New York State because of its failure to meet merger-related broadband deployment commitments, a key government official said. NY Public Service Commission (PSC) Chairman John Rhodes said that "a suite of enforcement actions against [Charter] Spectrum are in development, including additional penalties, injunctive relief, and additional sanctions or revocation of Spectrum's ability to operate in New York State," according to a PSC announcement last week. Charter agreed to expand its network in exchange for state approval of its 2016 purchase of Time Warner Cable (TWC). New York officials say that Charter has failed to meet its commitments, even though Charter claims it has. Rhodes accused Charter of "gaslighting" and noted that the PSC has already ordered Charter to stop making misleading claims about its broadband deployment progress. The PSC last month ordered Charter to pay a $2 million fine and complete the promised network construction. If Charter doesn't meet its merger-related obligations, the company will "face the risk of having the merger revoked," the commission said at the time. A revocation of the merger could force Charter to spin off its Time Warner Cable division in New York, but it wouldn't affect Charter's ownership of TWC in other states.

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Police Are Seeking More Digital Evidence From Tech Companies

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2018-07-26 22:46
U.S. law enforcement agencies are increasingly asking technology companies for access to digital evidence on mobile phones and apps, with about 80 percent of the requests granted, a new study found. From a report: The report released Wednesday by the Center for Strategic and International Studies found local, state and federal law enforcement made more than 130,000 requests last year for digital evidence from six top technology companies -- Alphabet's Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, Verizon' media unit Oath and Apple. If results from telecom and cable providers Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast are added in, the number jumps to more than 660,000. The requests covered everything from the content of communications to location data and names of particular users. "The number of law enforcement requests, at least as directed at the major U.S.-based tech and telecom companies, has significantly increased over time," the Washington-based think tank found. "Yet, the response rates have been remarkably consistent."

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Amazon's Facial Recognition Wrongly Identifies 28 Lawmakers, ACLU Says

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2018-07-26 16:50
Representative John Lewis of Georgia and Representative Bobby L. Rush of Illinois are both Democrats, members of the Congressional Black Caucus and civil rights leaders. But facial recognition technology made by Amazon, which is being used by some police departments and other organizations, incorrectly matched the lawmakers with people who had been arrested for a crime, the American Civil Liberties Union reported on Thursday morning. From a report: The errors emerged as part of a larger test in which the civil liberties group used Amazon's facial software to compare the photos of all federal lawmakers against a database of 25,000 publicly available mug shots. In the test, the Amazon technology incorrectly matched 28 members of Congress with people who had been arrested, amounting to a 5 percent error rate among legislators. The test disproportionally misidentified African-American and Latino members of Congress as the people in mug shots. "This test confirms that facial recognition is flawed, biased and dangerous," said Jacob Snow, a technology and civil liberties lawyer with the A.C.L.U. of Northern California. Nina Lindsey, an Amazon Web Services spokeswoman, said in a statement that the company's customers had used its facial recognition technology for various beneficial purposes, including preventing human trafficking and reuniting missing children with their families. She added that the A.C.L.U. had used the company's face-matching technology, called Amazon Rekognition, differently during its test than the company recommended for law enforcement customers.

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Native American Tribe Can't Be a 'Sovereign' Shield During Patent Review, Says Court

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2018-07-26 12:00
Cyrus Farivar writes via Ars Technica: In a unanimous decision, an appellate court has resoundingly rejected the legal claim that sovereign immunity, as argued by a Native American tribe, can act as a shield for a patent review process. On July 20, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit found in a 3-0 decision that the inter partes review (IPR) process (a process that allows anyone to challenge a patent's validity at the United States Patent and Trademark Office) is closer to an "agency enforcement action" -- like a complaint brought by the FTC or the FCC -- than a regular lawsuit. This case really began in September 2015. That was when Allergan, a pharma company, sued rival Mylan, claiming that Mylan's generics infringed on Allergan's dry eye treatment known as Restasis. Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe was initially filed in the Eastern District of Texas, known as a judicial region that is particularly friendly to entities that are often dubbed patent trolls. By 2016, Mylan initiated the IPR. But Allergan, in an attempt to stave it off, struck a strange deal, transferring ownership of the six Restasis-related patents to the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe, based in Upstate New York, near the Canadian border. As part of that deal, Allergan paid $13.75 million to the tribe, with a promise of $15 million in annual payments -- if the patents were upheld, that is. The Mohawk Tribe attempted to end the IPR, citing sovereign immunity, which was denied. The tribe struck at least one other similar deal with a firm known as SRC Labs, which sued Amazon and Microsoft.

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