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Hackers and Journalists Unite!

At the 10th biennial Hackers on Planet Earth (HOPE X) conference, one of the premiere get-togethers of the digital world, it was clear that the nefarious forces the cyberworld is now most concerned with are lodged within our own government.

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The 'War' Against Whistleblowers

Under the current presidential administration, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has brought espionage prosecutions against more people for alleged mishandling of classified information than all previous administrations combined, a New York conference was told Friday. “I think this war on whistleblowers, this war on journalists, and this war on hacktivists is really a war for [control of] information,” human rights attorney Jesselyn Redack said at the 10th biennial Hackers on Planet Earth (HOPE X) conference. Redack, a former whistleblower […]

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Beware the Plugged-In Cop

Local police agencies are using rapidly emerging surveillance technology to collect, store and share information about “everyday Americans…on a level that has never happened before,” says Jennifer Lynch, a senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Lynch spoke at the annual convention of the Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) in San Francisco this week at a panel sponsored by Criminal Justice Journalists. Lynch, whose San Francisco-based nonprofit serves as a civil liberties watchdog, said the data collection is driven […]

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“House Of Cards” Accused Of Getting Key Surveillance Issue Wrong

In its new season, the political drama “House of Cards” touches on issues of government surveillance and law enforcement access to phone and Internet data. AlJazeera.com reports that privacy experts are criticizing the program for getting a key aspect of law enforcement’s surveillance authority wrong. The script for a D.C. police officer in one early episode reads, “Even if we got the case reopened, which isn’t gonna happen, do you have any idea how hard it is to get a […]

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Size Of Credit Data Breaches Mean “We Can No Longer Do Nothing”–Senator

The sheer size and frequency of credit card data breaches at Target, Neiman Marcus and other companies are prompting study of legislative options to keep sophisticated cyberthefts from happening, NPR reports. “If anything, we’ve learned from this major, major breach that we can no longer do nothing,” said Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). “We have to take action.” The bad guys who stole data from as many as 110 million Target customers are so good at what they do that even […]

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Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Challenge to NSA Phone, Internet Sweeps

The Supreme Court today refused to consider a challenge to the National Security Agency's global sweep of telephone and electronic communications. SCOTUSBlog said it was the first such test case to reach the court since former NSA analyst Edward Snowden began releasing secret papers disclosing details of that surveillance. The Court made no comment as it turned aside an unusual request by an advocacy group, the Electronic Privacy Information Center. The plea was filed directly in the high court without […]

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The Spy in the Mosque

How far can police go in surveilling ethnic groups that they believe are associated with terrorism? New York City attorney Peter Farrell argued in court yesterday that the global nature of Islamic terrorism requires police to gather as much information as possible, at times as quickly as possible, in ethnic neighborhoods and mosques—even if there's no prior evidence of a crime plot. “Prudence dictates, and common sense frankly, that the department find out if violence would ricochet here,” Farrell said […]

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FBI Uses Computer Hacking Techniques In Organized Crime, Porn, Terror Cases

Law-enforcement officials are expanding use of tools used by computer hackers to gather information on suspects, bringing the criminal wiretap into the cyber age, reports the Wall Street Journal. Officials have kept quiet about these capabilities, but court documents and interviews provide new details about hacking tools that include spyware delivered to computers and phones through email or Web links. The use of hacking tools under court orders has grown as agents try to keep up with suspects who use […]

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Can the Fourth Amendment Protect You From NSA Snooping?

Is it really constitutional for the National Security Agency (NSA) to collect “metadata” on Americans' phone usage? You've probably seen talking heads shouting back and forth about it, and wondered whether someone could just please give you a straightforward, accurate, thousand-word primer on the underlying constitutional doctrine. Well, here's your primer. I hope it's helpful, at least as a starter for cocktail party conversations. The Fourth Amendment forbids “unreasonable searches.” In my last Viewpoint essay, I described how “reasonableness” has […]

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