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Google Promises Chrome Changes After Privacy Complaints

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2018-09-26 17:20
Google, on the defensive from concerns raised about how Chrome tracks its users, has promised changes to its web browser. From a report: Two complaints in recent days involve how Google stores data about browsing activity in files called cookies and how it syncs personal data across different devices. Google representatives said Monday and Tuesday there's nothing to be worried about but that they'll be changing Chrome nevertheless. "We've heard -- and appreciate -- your feedback from the last few days, and we'll be making some product changes," tweeted Parisa Tabriz, a security team leader at Google. Google added in a blog post Tuesday evening that it will add new options and explanations for its interface and reverse one Chrome cookie-hoarding policy that undermined people's attempts to clear those cookies.

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Ex-NSA Employee Gets 5 Years In Prison For Taking Home Top Secret Files

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2018-09-26 12:00
Former NSA employee Nghia Hoang Pho, 64, was sentenced to five and a half years in prison for taking top secret U.S. defense files to his home. Pho pleaded guilty in December to willful retention of national defense information, the U.S. Justice Department said in a statement. The maximum sentence for this crime is 10 years, but prosecutors were recommending a sentence of eight years. CNET reports: Pho, a naturalized U.S. citizen originally from Vietnam, worked in the NSA's Tailored Access Group, the agency's team that focuses on tools that can directly hack surveillance targets. Between 2010 and March 2015, Pho took home paper and digital copies of U.S. government documents and writings that contained national defense information on them, the Justice Department said. Pho reportedly had antivirus software from Kaspersky Lab on his home computer network and the software scooped up the top secret information as part of its virus scanning process. Kaspersky has acknowledged that its software lifted hacking tools from a home computer in 2014 but said it wasn't part of an intentional effort to steal information from the NSA. Pho said in court he took the materials home so he could put in more work to earn a promotion, according to CBS Baltimore.

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Millennials More Likely To Fall For Scams Than Baby Boomers

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2018-09-26 03:25
A new report from the Better Business Bureau suggests that millennials are now more likely to fall victim to a scam than Baby Boomers. Washington Examiner reports: The Better Business Bureau reports that 69 percent of scam victims are under the age of 45. Young adults heading off to college are especially gullible, the group says. "College students can be easy targets for scammers and identity thieves. They are old enough to have money, young enough to be vulnerable and are likely unsupervised as many are away from home for the first time," writes Heather Massey of the Better Business Bureau. Phishing scams now target cell phones as well as email and social media. "Millennials spend a lot of time on Facebook or other social media sites, where they can target them with these messages," said Jim Hegarty, Better Business Bureau president and CEO. College students also use sensitive information frequently, like student IDs, Social Security numbers, and banking information.

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Uber Wins Key Ruling In Its Fight Against Treating Drivers As Employees

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2018-09-26 00:40
A federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday that drivers "seeking to be classified as employees rather than independent contractors must arbitrate their claims individually, and not pursue class-action lawsuits," reports Reuters. Ars Technica explains the significance of this ruling: Employees are guaranteed to earn federal minimum wage and are entitled to overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours per week. Uber employees, in contrast, are paid by the ride and might earn much less than minimum wage if they drive at a slow time of day. California law also gives employees the right to be reimbursed for expenses they incur on the job, which would be significant for Uber drivers who otherwise are responsible for gas, maintenance, insurance, and other expenses of operating an Uber vehicle. Hence, the question of whether Uber drivers are employees or independent contractors is a big and important one. It's also a question that isn't addressed at all in Tuesday's ruling, as the courts never get to the substance of the plaintiffs' arguments about employment law. Instead, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit court ruled that the drivers signed away their rights to sue in court when they signed up to be Uber drivers. Uber's agreement with drivers requires that this kind of dispute be handled by private arbitration rather than by a lawsuit in the public courts. The court cited a Supreme Court ruling handed down in May that held that federal labor law did not preempt arbitration agreements. [...] the decision means that each driver's case must be fought on an individual, case-by-case basis. Class-action lawsuits in the federal courts allow plaintiffs to effectively pool their resources. [...] But under arbitration, each driver's case will be considered individually. Most won't have the resources to afford top-tier legal representation, and drivers won't have the inherent leverage that comes from being able to bargain as a group.

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Trump Administration Asks For Public Input on Data Privacy

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2018-09-25 19:23
The federal government wants to know the best way to protect your privacy online. On Tuesday, the Department of Commerce released a request for public comments as it outlined the Trump administration's approach to consumer data privacy. A report adds: In the proposal, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, a branch under the Commerce Department, recommended privacy regulations focused on giving users control over how their data is used by tech companies. The proposal comes a day before the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation is set to hold a hearing on consumer privacy, with companies like Apple, Google and Amazon testifying. The Commerce Department found public concern with how personal information has been used by tech companies and is taking a "risk-based flexibility" approach for privacy regulations. "The administration takes these concerns seriously and believes that users should be able to benefit from dynamic uses of their information, while still expecting organizations will appropriately minimize risks to users' privacy," the department wrote in the document.

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Qualcomm Accuses Apple of Stealing Trade Secrets and Giving Them To Intel

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2018-09-25 18:00
Mark Wilson writes: Chip-maker Qualcomm has today accused Apple of stealing trade secrets and sharing them with Intel. The company alleges that Apple wanted Intel to be able to improve its own chips so it could move away from using Qualcomm's. Qualcomm and Apple are already engaged in a legal battle, and with its latest accusations, the chip-maker wants the court to amend its existing lawsuit against the company. Apple stands accused of engaging in a 'multi-year campaign of sloppy, inappropriate and deceitful conduct'. In the new filings, Qualcomm says that upon Apple's request it allowed the iPhone maker deep access to its software and tools, but with strict limits on how those products could be used. It said, "Indeed, it is now apparent Apple engaged in a years-long campaign of false promises, stealth and subterfuge designed to steal Qualcomm's confidential information and trade secrets for the purpose of improving the performance of lower-quality modem chipsets, with the ultimate goal of eliminating Qualcomm's Apple-based business."

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Google CEO Sundar Pichai Is Headed To Washington This Week To Discuss Censorship, China

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2018-09-25 15:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Google CEO Sundar Pichai will be present at a private meeting with top Republican lawmakers this Friday to discuss the company's controversial plans to relaunch a search product in China and perceived liberal bias of search results, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal. According to the WSJ, Attorney General Jeff Sessions plans to meet with state attorneys general on Tuesday to discuss Google's alleged censorship of conservatives. Tech firms have denied the existence of liberal bias in products, and Google has pushed back against key Trump inaccuracies, but it sounds as if Pichai will be forced to answer questions nonetheless. The meeting is being organized by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). Late last week, Pichai sent an email to employees, which was obtained by The New York Times, in which he stated outright that Google has never influenced search results for political purposes and has no plans to do so in the future. Pichai also plans to attend a public hearing later this year held by the House Judiciary Committee following the November midterm elections, after Google co-founder and Alphabet CEO Larry Page notably declined to show up to a Senate Intel Committee hearing on election interference earlier this month. In addition to mending relationships over Page's absence, Pichai will also be addressing Google's plans to relaunch a search product for the Chinese market, a move that has resulted in widespread criticism given the likelihood such a product would be heavily censored and would aid in China's use of information control to maintain social and political order.

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Facebook Is Not Protecting Content Moderators From Mental Trauma, Lawsuit Claims

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2018-09-25 09:00
A former Facebook contract employee has filed a lawsuit, alleging that content moderators who face mental trauma after reviewing distressing images on the platform are not being properly protected by the social networking company. Reuters reports: Facebook moderators under contract are "bombarded" with "thousands of videos, images and livestreamed broadcasts of child sexual abuse, rape, torture, bestiality, beheadings, suicide and murder," the lawsuit said. "Facebook is ignoring its duty to provide a safe workplace and instead creating a revolving door of contractors who are irreparably traumatized by what they witnessed on the job," Korey Nelson, a lawyer for former Facebook contract employee Selena Scola, said in a statement on Monday. Facebook in the past has said all of its content reviewers have access to mental health resources, including trained professionals onsite for both individual and group counseling, and they receive full health care benefits. More than 7,500 content reviewers work for Facebook, including full-time employees and contractors. Facebook's director of corporate communications, Bertie Thomson, said in response to the allegations: "We take the support of our content moderators incredibly seriously, [...] ensuring that every person reviewing Facebook content is offered psychological support and wellness resources."

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Apple Releases macOS Mojave Featuring Dark Mode and Other Features; Earlier Today a Security Researcher Published 0Day Bypass For a Privacy Bug in the new OS

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pn, 2018-09-24 19:15
Apple on Monday made available to the public macOS Mojave -- aka macOS 10.14, the latest major update to its desktop operating system. From a report: Though Mojave is substantially focused on under-the-hood improvements, it includes several major changes to the Mac's Finder, as well as a small collection of apps that were ported from iOS. On the Finder side, Apple has introduced a system-wide Dark Mode, which optionally reskins the entire user interface with black or dark gray elements. Dark Mode pairs up with Dynamic Desktop, which can automatically adjust certain desktop images in sync with time of day (morning, afternoon, and evening) changes. Minutes ahead of the release, Patrick Wardle, chief researcher officer at Digita Security, tweeted a video of an apparent privacy feature bypass that's designed to prevent apps from improperly accessing a user's personal data. From a report: For years, Macs have forced apps to ask for permission before accessing your contacts and calendar after some iOS apps were caught uploading private data. Apple said at its annual developer conference this year that it would expand the feature to include apps asking for permission to access the camera, microphone, email and backups. Wardle told TechCrunch that his findings are "not a universal bypass" of the feature, but that the bug could allow a malicious app to grab certain protected data, such as a user's contacts, when a user is logged in.

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Google Secretly Logs Users Into Chrome Whenever They Log Into a Google Site

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pn, 2018-09-24 16:00
Catalin Cimpanu, writing for ZDNet: Starting with Chrome 69, whenever a Chrome user would access a Google-owned site, the browser would take that user's Google identity and log the user into the Chrome in-browser account system -- also known as Sync. This system, Sync, allows users to log in with their Google accounts inside Chrome and optionally upload and synchronize local browser data (history, passwords, bookmarks, and other) to Google's servers. Sync has been present in Chrome for years, but until now, the system worked independently from the logged-in state of Google accounts. This allowed users to surf the web while logged into a Google account but not upload any Chrome browsing data to Google's servers, data that may be tied to their accounts. Now, with the revelations of this new auto-login mechanism, a large number of users are angry that this sneaky modification would allow Google to link that person's traffic to a specific browser and device with a higher degree of accuracy. That criticism proved to be wrong, as Google engineers have clarified on Twitter that this auto-login operation does not start the process of synchronizing local data to Google's servers, which will require a user click. Furthermore, they also revealed that the reason why this mechanism was added was for privacy reasons in the first place. Chrome engineers said the auto-login mechanism was added in the browser because of shared computers/browsers. Well-respected cryptographer Matthew Green was disappointed by the move. In a post, he wrote: [...] In the rest of this post, I'm going to talk about why this matters. From my perspective, this comes down to basically four points: 1. Nobody on the Chrome development team can provide a clear rationale for why this change was necessary, and the explanations they've given don't make any sense. 2. This change has enormous implications for user privacy and trust, and Google seems unable to grapple with this. 3. The change makes a hash out of Google's own privacy policies for Chrome. 4. Google needs to stop treating customer trust like it's a renewable resource, because they're screwing up badly.

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Judge Orders Cloudflare To Turn Over Identifying Data In Copyright Case

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - N, 2018-09-23 23:21
Cal Jeffrey reporting for TechSpot: Back in May, several studios started targeting movie-pirating sites and services. Dallas Buyers Club, Cobbler Nevada, Bodyguard Productions, and several other copyright owners filed a lawsuit against ShowBox, a movie-streaming app for mobile devices. The companies tried pressuring CDN and DDoS protection provider Cloudflare into releasing information on the operators of some of these platforms. However, Cloudflare told them if they wanted such information they would have to get it the right way -- through legal action. The plaintiffs did just that. A subpoena was issued in the case from a federal court in Hawaii. The documents were not made public, but TorrentFreak was able to obtain a portion of the subpoena from a source. The court order demands the details of the operators behind the Showboxbuzz website, Showbox.software, website Rawapk, Popcorn Time, and others. Cloudflare has not filed a motion to quash, so it appears likely that the company will hand over the requested data.

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Wendy's Faces Lawsuit For Unlawfully Collecting Employee Fingerprints

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - N, 2018-09-23 22:20
An anonymous reader quotes a report from ZDNet: A class-action lawsuit has been filed in Illinois against fast food restaurant chain Wendy's accusing the company of breaking state laws in regards to the way it stores and handles employee fingerprints. The complaint is centered around Wendy's practice of using biometric clocks that scan employees' fingerprints when they arrive at work, when they leave, and when they use the Point-Of-Sale and cash register systems. Plaintiffs, represented by former Wendy's employees Martinique Owens and Amelia Garcia, claim that Wendy's breaks state law -- the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) -- because the company does not make employees aware of how it handles their data. More specifically, the lawsuit claims that Wendy's does not inform employees in writing of the specific purpose and length of time for which their fingerprints were being collected, stored, and used, as required by the BIPA, and nor does it obtain a written release from employees with explicit consent to obtain and handle the fingerprints in the first place. Wendy's also doesn't provide a publicly available retention schedule and guidelines for permanently destroying employees' fingerprints after they leave the company, plaintiffs said. [The plaintiffs also claim that Wendy's sends this data to a third-party without their consent.]

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Ecuador Wanted To Make Julian Assange a Diplomat and Send Him To Moscow

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - N, 2018-09-23 16:14
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Last year, Ecuador attempted to deputize WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as one of its own diplomats and send him to Russia, according to a Friday report by Reuters. Citing an "Ecuadorian government document," which the news agency did not publish, Assange apparently was briefly granted a "special designation" to act as one of its diplomats, a privilege normally granted to the president for political allies. However, that status was then withdrawn when the United Kingdom objected. The Associated Press reported earlier in the week that newly-leaked documents showed that Assange sought a Russian visa back in 2010. WikiLeaks has vehemently denied that Assange did so.

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Thieves Who Stole GPS Tracking Devices Were Caught Within Hours

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - N, 2018-09-23 15:34
"These devices kind of look like cell phone chargers, so they probably thought they had some kind of street value," said the co-founder of Roambee, a shipping-monitoring services company, in a classic story shared by Iwastheone: [He's] talking about the hundred or so GPS tracking devices that were stolen recently from the company's Dela Cruz Avenue labs. "The moment we realized they had a box of trackers, we went into recovery mode," Subramanian said. "We notified the police and equipped them to track the devices, and in about 5 or 6 hours, it was done...." It wasn't long before the police were using Roambee's software to locate the devices and the thieves. "We were able to pinpoint the location of these trackers to a warehouse in Union City and two of the devices had gone mobile, and the thieves were driving around with them in the East Bay," Subramanian said. The two men were arrested in Alameda. Before stealing 100 battery-powered GPS-tracking devices, one of the thieves also grabbed a beer out of the office refrigerator -- and cut themselves -- leaving behind both fingerprints and an actual blood sample. The company is now using this 2017 episode as an instructive case study. "Roambee wirelessly synced with all 100 devices and remotely set them to stealth mode (so there's no blinking LEDs to alert the thieves) and then switched the location reporting intervals from once every hour to once every minute."

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Britain To Create 2,000-Strong Cyber Force, Boost Budget By £250M

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - N, 2018-09-23 13:34
Slashdot reader cold fjord writes: Britain's Ministry of Defence and GCHQ signals intelligence establishment have put forward a plan to increase staff devoted to offensive cyber operations up to 2,000, quadrupling it over current levels. Funding would also increase by at least £250m, according to one source. The initiative comes "amid a growing cyber threat from Russia and after the UK used cyber weapons for the first time to fight Islamic State." General Sir Richard Barrons commented, "By adopting offensive cyber techniques in the UK we are levelling the playing field and providing new means of both deterring and punishing states that wish to do us harm."

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Huge Trove of Employee Records Discovered At Abandoned Toys 'R' Us

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - N, 2018-09-23 03:34
An anonymous reader writes: Hackaday recently engaged in a bit of urban exploration, taking a look inside of a recently purchased Toys "R" Us location that has been boarded up since the once giant toy store chain folded in June. Inside they found plenty of hardware left behind, from point-of-sale systems to the Cisco networking gear in the server room. But the most interesting find was on paper. In a back office, they found "several boxes" of personal information about the store's employees, from their medical records to photocopies of their driver's licenses and Social Security cards [and also tax forms]. A video included with the article gives the viewer an impression of just how large a collection of files were left behind. The author wonders if the situation in this particular store was a fluke, or if the other [800] Toys "R" Us locations were left in a similar state. The article calls it "a very surprising look at what get's left behind when the money runs out and the employees simply give up...." "We saw the great lengths the company went to protect customer information, so to see how little regard they had for their own people was honestly infuriating."

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MIT's Elegant Schoolbus Algorithm Was No Match For Angry Parents

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - N, 2018-09-23 01:34
"Computers can solve your problem. You may not like the answer," writes the Boston Globe. Slashdot reader sandbagger explains: "Boston Public Schools asked MIT graduate students Sebastien Martin and Arthur Delarue to build an algorithm that could do the enormously complicated work of changing start times at dozens of schools -- and re-routing the hundreds of buses that serve them. In theory this would also help with student alertness...." MIT also reported that "Approximately 50 superfluous routes could be eliminated using the new method, saving the school district between $3 million and $5 million annually." The Globe reports: They took to the new project with gusto, working 14- and 15-hour days to meet a tight deadline -- and occasionally waking up in the middle of the night to feed new information to a sprawling MIT data center. The machine they constructed was a marvel. Sorting through 1 novemtrigintillion options -- that's 1 followed by 120 zeroes -- the algorithm landed on a plan that would trim the district's $100 million-plus transportation budget while shifting the overwhelming majority of high school students into later start times.... But no one anticipated the crush of opposition that followed. Angry parents signed an online petition and filled the school committee chamber, turning the plan into one of the biggest crises of Mayor Marty Walsh's tenure. The city summarily dropped it. The failure would eventually play a role in the superintendent's resignation... Big districts stagger their start times so a single fleet of buses can serve every school: dropping off high school students early in the morning, then circling back to get the elementary and middle school kids. If you're going to push high school start times back, then you've probably got to move a lot of elementary and middle schools into earlier time slots. The district knew that going in, and officials dutifully quizzed thousands of parents and teachers at every grade level about their preferred start times. But they never directly confronted constituents with the sort of dramatic change the algorithm would eventually propose -- shifting school start times at some elementary schools by as much as two hours. Even more... Hundreds of families were facing a 9:30 to 7:15 a.m. shift. And for many, that was intolerable. They'd have to make major changes to work schedules or even quit their jobs... Nearly 85% of the district had ended up with a new start time, and "In the end, the school start time quandary was more political than technical... This was a fundamentally human conflict, and all the computing power in the world couldn't solve it." But will the whole drama play out again? "Last year, even after everything went sideways in Boston, some 80 school districts from around the country reached out to the whiz kids from MIT, eager for the algorithm to solve their problems."

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NSA's 'Codebreaker Challenge' Features Exploiting Blockchain To Steal Ethereum

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2018-09-22 23:34
"The National Security Agency's 2018 Codebreaker Challenge kicked off on Friday, 9/21, and runs through 12/31," writes Slashdot reader eatvegetables. Each year's challenge -- which is open to U.S. students -- comes with its own (fictitious) backstory which the organizers say is "meant for providing realistic context." This year's story? A new strain of ransomware has managed to penetrate several critical government networks and NSA has been called upon to assist in remediating the infection to prevent massive data losses. For each infected machine, an encrypted copy of the key needed to decrypt the ransomed files has been stored in a smart contract on the Ethereum blockchain* and is set to only be unlocked upon receipt of the ransom payment. Your mission is to ultimately (1) find a way to unlock the ransomware without giving in to the attacker's demands and (2) figure out a way to recover all of the funds already paid by other victims. * For the purposes of this challenge, a private blockchain has been created with no real monetary value associated with the Ether. "The first half focuses on network protocol analysis and binary reverse-engineering," writes eatvegetables, while "The second half is all about attempting to exploit the blockchain." An email address from "a recognized U.S. school or university" is required, and the original submission notes that America's college students "are already hard at work trying to push their school to the top of the leaderboard."

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Should The US Government Break Up Google, Twitter, and Facebook?

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2018-09-22 22:34
The Bay Area Newsgroup reports: Political momentum for a crackdown on Silicon Valley's social media giants got a boost this week when a state attorney general said he would tell U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions next week that Google, Facebook and Twitter should be broken up. Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry wants the federal government to do to the social media firms what it did to Standard Oil in 1911, according to a Louisiana newspaper report Tuesday... "This can't be fixed legislatively," Landry told the paper. "We need to go to court with an antitrust suit." He or another high official from his office will next week present the break-up proposal to Sessions... Landry, president of the National Association of Attorneys General, had spent months with his colleagues probing what they described as anti-competitive practices by Facebook, Google and Twitter, according to the paper. CNET reports: On Friday, Bloomberg reported it had obtained a draft of a potential White House executive order that asks certain government agencies to recommend actions that would "protect competition among online platforms and address online platform bias." The order, reportedly in its preliminary stages, asks US antitrust authorities to "thoroughly investigate whether any online platform has acted in violation of the antitrust laws."

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Cody Wilson, 3D-Printed Gun Pioneer, Arrested In Taiwan

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2018-09-22 21:34
Cody Wilson, maker of the first 3D-printed plastic gun, has been arrested in Taiwan. Long-time Slashdot reader SonicSpike quotes Reason: Earlier this week, Texas police issued a warrant for his arrest. Wilson, they claimed, found a woman on sugardaddymeet.com, a website that requires all users to assert they are 18 or over, then met her and paid for sex with her. Police say the woman was actually 16, which made that act a violation of Texas penal code 22.011 (A)(2)(a), regarding sex with a minor, which is legally considered sexual assault regardless of consent or payment. While Taiwan has no formal extradition treaty with the U.S., and Wilson was not said to have been doing anything directly criminal in Taiwan, the press there reports that he was arrested without incident because the U.S. had revoked his passport, making his mere presence in Taiwan illegal. (The U.S. government has the power to revoke the passports of people facing felony arrest warrants.) Wilson was then, according to The New York Times, "delivered...to the National Immigration Agency" in Taiwan. It is expected to deport him to the U.S. to face those charges, which carry a potential 2 to 20 years in prison and $10,000 fine. A reporter for Ars Technica visited Wilson's home weapons printing company, and was told that "A management restructuring is coming." But they also contacted Adam Bhala Lough, who directed and wrote a documentary film about Wilson. Prior to Wilson's arrest, Lough argued that "Without Cody, it can't last. It's like Tesla and Elon Musk, you can't separate the two. "If he comes home and faces the music, there is a chance Defense Distributed will survive because it is a totally independent company without a board or any regulatory body. And the buyers of these products -- not to generalize, but at least the ones I met while doing the documentary -- they won't care about buying a product from an [accused] pedophile. In fact they may be even more emboldened by the idea that Cody was 'set-up' or that it is a 'deep-state conspiracy' against him, even if (or when) he admits to it."

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