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Passport Database Outage: 'We Regret The Inconvenience'

posted onAugust 1, 2014
by l33tdawg

Job interviews missed, work and wedding plans disrupted, children unable to fly home with their adoptive parents -- the consequences keep proliferating in the aftermath of a database outage that crippled the US State Department's process for issuing passports, visas, and other documents related to travel to the US.

Obama, Merkel say they're still working on surveillance understanding

posted onMay 2, 2014
by l33tdawg

The U.S. and German governments remain far from an agreement on the appropriate level of surveillance by the U.S. National Security Agency on German residents, leaders of both countries said Friday.

The two countries still have “differences of opinion to overcome” on the appropriate use of surveillance, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a joint press conference with U.S. President Barack Obama. The two leaders met in Washington, D.C., this week to discuss political unrest in Ukraine and other issues.

Microsoft takes on the government again, this time focusing on the international community

posted onJanuary 21, 2014
by l33tdawg

Microsoft and the government are not strangers -- they have met in court, most notably during anti-trust hearings. More recently, the General Council of the company took matters into his own hands when he deemed the US government an "advanced persistent threat". Now Brad Smith is back for round two.

This time the lawyer is aiming at the upcoming World Economic Summit in Davos, Switzerland. Smith posted a missive today regarding the conference and calling for an international convention to address recent concerns.

Microsoft Predicts US Government Will Erode IT Industry Security Efforts

posted onDecember 16, 2013
by l33tdawg

Microsoft believes that the government, but not necessarily the National Security Agency (NSA), may stymie the IT industry’s efforts to safeguard corporate and user data.

Top security executives at the company have put together their top predictions for 2014 for the Microsoft Security Blog. Paul Nicholas, senior director of Global Security Strategy for Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing division says that government efforts to bolster cyber-security may end up doing more harm than good if all stakeholders fail to see eye-to-eye.

Top secret doc shows NSA demands Verizon hand over millions of phone records daily

posted onJune 6, 2013
by l33tdawg

On Wednesday, The Guardian published a secret order issued by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court allowing the National Security Agency (NSA) to demand vast swaths of metadata from Verizon. The order, which specifies that Verizon hand over the information on an “ongoing, daily basis,” encompasses the phone records pertaining to all of Verizon's American customers, whether the communications are between US-based callers, or between a US caller and an international caller.

Top Huawei exec: government snooping is standard practice

posted onMay 30, 2013
by l33tdawg

A senior Huawei executive has said he believes it's standard practice for governments to use the internet to spy and steal sensitive data.

Making the bold claim is the company's head of security operations and ex CIO for the British government, John Suffolk, who told the Australian Financial Review that states had always embarked on such practices.

His comments followed reports that the Chinese company had gained access to secret designs of US weapons, which it was alleged were taken from Australia's new intelligence agency headquarters.

NZ govt asks industry for help to stem security breaches

posted onMay 19, 2013
by l33tdawg

IT security firms have been asked to put themselves up for membership of a special-purpose panel to provide security services across all of government.

The move is partly in response to a number of recent incidents involving privacy and security breaches at government agencies, commissioning agency the Department of Internal Affairs says. It sees the panel arrangement as a way of ensuring more consistency in security “skills and techniques” provided to agencies.

Obama Administration Secretly Obtains Phone Records of AP Journalists

posted onMay 14, 2013
by l33tdawg

The Department of Justice secretly obtained phone records for reporters and editors who work for the Associated Press news agency, including records for the home phones and cell phones of individual journalists, according to the AP, in what the agency characterized as “serious interference with AP’s constitutional rights to gather and report the news.”

Which Encryption Apps Are Strong Enough to Help You Take Down a Government?

posted onMarch 11, 2013
by l33tdawg

It seems like these days I can't eat breakfast without reading about some new encryption app that will (supposedly) revolutionize our communications — while making tyrannical regimes fall like cheap confetti.

This is exciting stuff, and I want to believe. After all, I've spent a lot of my professional life working on crypto, and it's nice to imagine that people are actually going to start using it. At the same time, I worry that too much hype can be a bad thing — and could even get people killed.