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Posts tagged as “NSA”

Ubuntu Hacked, Linux Journal Extremists & More…

Also included: Microsoft shows love of Linux with gift of Skype and Torvalds continues to be Torvalds.

FOSS Week in Review

The biggest Linux story this week by mainstream tech sites’ standards was Skype working to include Linux users in its installed base by releasing a new Linux client to replace obsolete software that hadn’t been updated in at least two years. According to many of the comments on FOSS Force’s coverage, Skype might consider itself a day late and a dollar short.

The big problem, of course, is Skype’s ownership by Microsoft, whose love of Linux is so far unrequited. Add to that the fact that Skype, like Microsoft, doesn’t have the monopoly it once had and the result is a less than enthusiastic response. However, it wouldn’t surprise me if Ubuntu doesn’t start installing the Skype client by default once it comes out of beta.

Now on to some news that’s really newsworthy…

Rule 41: Getting Around the Constitution and Having It Too

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand what’s wrong with the proposed federal court updates to Rule 41.

Anyone who’s even halfway following the news of the proposed updates to Rule 41 probably can’t help but be struck by the irony of the situation. It’s actually humorous, in a Vonnegutian tragicomic sort of way.

In case you haven’t been following the news, the proposed changes from the advisory committee on criminal rules for the Judicial Conference of the United States would update Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure and broadly expand law enforcement’s legal authority when it comes to hacking and surveillance. The Supreme Court has already passed the proposal to Congress, which must disavow the changes by December 1 or it becomes the governing rule for every federal court in the country.

Christine HallChristine Hall

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

Using Paris Attacks as Excuse to Expand Domestic Spying

It’s no surprise that Friday’s Paris attacks are already being used to push for both more and continued surveillance here in the U.S.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler was on Capitol Hill on Tuesday speaking before a House subcommittee, making the case for expanding the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) which compelled telecom companies, Internet providers and some VoIP services to make their networks easier for law enforcement to access. Wheeler would like Congress to consider expanding the scope of the law to include devices such as gaming platforms, which now have capabilities that go beyond mere gaming.

“You read in the press that [the Paris attackers] were using PlayStation 4 games to communicate on,” Wheeler told the subcommittee, “which is outside the scope of anything considered in CALEA, so there’s probably opportunities to update the ‘lawful intercept’ concept.”

Christine HallChristine Hall

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

The NSA, Windows & Antivirus

Poor Microsoft. The beleaguered company just can’t catch a break. We’ve already told you about how Snowden’s revelations have forced the pride of Redmond to spend who knows how many millions opening two “transparency centers” to allow government IT experts to pore through source code to prove there’s no back doors baked into Windows or other Microsoft products. Trouble is, while its engineers have been busy plastering over all traces of old back doors, they’ve left a side door standing wide open, waiting to be exploited.

Boris and NatashaIronically, this side door is intended to be a security door for third party add-ons that every Windows machine needs to keep it safe from cracker hackers — if that’s indeed possible. And this security tool is usually more trusted by Microsoft system admins, especially those outside the U.S., than Windows itself.

Christine HallChristine Hall

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

Nowhere to Run or Hide in the Technology Age

Free tech is about much more than free software. It’s more than just being able to see and modify code and deeper than the rivalry between proprietary and FOSS or Windows versus Linux. It’s not just about computers. Free tech is also about freedom and rights, and keeping our lifestyle from being destroyed by the misuse of technology.

LPR cameraEach day our news sites offer more evidence that this is happening. Collectively, we shrug and think there’s nothing to be done. This dragon is too huge to slay.

On Friday, Ars Technica and other sites reported that the town of Paradise Valley, Arizona, a suburb of Phoenix, is hiding license plate readers (LPRs) inside artificial cactuses. Ho-hum. The cameras aren’t very well hidden and there’s really nothing new here. LPR technology has been around for a while — cops love it because it makes their jobs easier — and other jurisdictions have been hiding them too.

Besides, the town is so inept that there can’t be much danger here. The town manager told a local TV station that the cameras weren’t active, although the local gendarmes had announced a few days earlier that the cameras had scored their first hit and that a motorist had been subjected to a traffic stop but not arrested. Another ho-hum. This would seem to be another case file from “The Dukes of Hazzard.”

Christine HallChristine Hall

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

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