Sarkozy: Anyone who "consults Internet sites which promote terror" should go to jail | http://t.co/u34fQrH8
In another astonishing development in the Megaupload saga, a judge in New Zealand’s High Court has declared the order used to seize Kim Dotcom’s assets as “null and void”. The blunder, which occurred because the police applied for the wrong type of court order, means that the Megaupload founder could have his property returned.
Just when it seemed that the handling of the Megaupload case couldn’t get any more controversial, a development from New Zealand has taken things to the next level.
Following the raids on Kim Dotcom’s mansion in January, police seized millions of dollars worth of property belonging to the Megaupload founder. But thanks to a police blunder, he could now see all of those assets returned.
On Friday, Justice Judith Potter in the High Court declared the order used to seize Dotcom’s property “null and void” after it was discovered that the police had acted under a court order that should have never been granted.
The error dates back to January when the police applied for the order granting them permission to seize Dotcom’s property. Rather than applying for an interim restraining order, the Police Commissioner applied for a foreign restraining order instead, one which did not give Dotcom a chance to mount a defense.
According to New Zealand Herald, on January 30th prosecution lawyer Anne Toohey wrote to the court explaining that the wrong order had been applied for and detailed five errors with the application.
Justice Potter said that police commissioner Peter Marshall tried to correct the error by applying for the correct order after the raids were completed and retrospectively adding the items already seized.
Although the correct order was eventually granted albeit on a temporary basis, Potter said she will soon rule on whether the “procedural error” will result in Dotcom having his property returned.
The Crown is arguing that since the new order was granted the earlier error no longer matters, but Dotcom’s legal team framed it rather differently by describing the seizure of assets as “unlawful”.
Whether the assets are returned will rest on Dotcom’s legal team showing a lack of “good faith” in connection with the blunder. A hearing to decide if the assets will be returned will take place next week.
Wired | CIA Chief: We’ll Spy on You Through Your Dishwasher
More and more personal and household devices are connecting to the internet, from your television to your car navigation systems to your light switches. CIA Director David Petraeus cannot wait to spy on you through them.
Earlier this month, Petraeus mused about the emergence of an “Internet of Things” — that is, wired devices — at a summit for In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s venture capital firm. “‘Transformational’ is an overused word, but I do believe it properly applies to these technologies,” Petraeus enthused, “particularly to their effect on clandestine tradecraft.” All those new online devices are a treasure trove of data if you’re a “person of interest” to the spy community. Once upon a time, spies had to place a bug in your chandelier to hear your conversation. With the rise of the “smart home,” you’d be sending tagged, geolocated data that a spy agency can intercept in real time when you use the lighting app on your phone to adjust your living room’s ambiance.
“Items of interest will be located, identified, monitored, and remotely controlled through technologies such as radio-frequency identification, sensor networks, tiny embedded servers, and energy harvesters — all connected to the next-generation internet using abundant, low-cost, and high-power computing,” Petraeus said, “the latter now going to cloud computing, in many areas greater and greater supercomputing, and, ultimately, heading to quantum computing.” Petraeus allowed that these household spy devices “change our notions of secrecy” and prompt a rethink of “our notions of identity and secrecy.” All of which is true — if convenient for a CIA director.
The CIA has a lot of legal restrictions against spying on American citizens. But collecting ambient geolocation data from devices is a grayer area, especially after the 2008 carve-outs to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
Hardware manufacturers, it turns out, store a trove of geolocation data; and some legislators have grown alarmed at how easy it is for the government to track you through your phone or PlayStation.
That’s not the only data exploit intriguing Petraeus.
He’s interested in creating new online identities for his undercover spies — and sweeping away the “digital footprints” of agents who suddenly need to vanish.
“Proud parents document the arrival and growth of their future CIA officer in all forms of social media that the world can access for decades to come,” Petraeus observed.
“Moreover, we have to figure out how to create the digital footprint for new identities for some officers.” It’s hard to argue with that. Online cache is not a spy’s friend. But Petraeus has an inadvertent pal in Facebook.
Why? With the arrival of Timeline, Facebook made it super-easy to backdate your online history. Barack Obama, for instance, hasn’t been on Facebook since his birth in 1961. Creating new identities for CIA non-official cover operatives has arguably never been easier. Thank Zuck, spies. Thank Zuck.
FBI Can't Crack Android Pattern-Screen Lock | Threat Level | Wired.com
Pattern-screen locks on Android phones are secure, apparently so much so that they have stumped the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The bureau claims in federal court documents that forensics experts performed “multiple attempts” to access the contents of a Samsung Exhibit II handset, but failed to unlock the phone.
An Android device requires the handset’s Google e-mail address and its accompanying password to unlock the handset once too many wrong swipes are made. The bureau is seeking that information via a court-approved warrant to Google in order to unlock a suspected San Diego-area prostitution pimp’s mobile phone. (For details on the pimp investigation, check out Ars Technica‘s story on the case.)
Locking down a phone is even more important today than ever because smart phones store so much personal information.
What’s more, many states, including California, grant authorities the right to access a suspect’s mobile phone, without a warrant, upon arrest for any crime.
Forensic experts and companies in the phone-cracking space agreed that the Android passcode locks can defeat unauthorized intrusions.
“It’s not unreasonable they don’t have the capability to bypass that on a live device,” said Dan Rosenberg, a consultant at Boston-based Virtual Security Research.
A San Diego federal judge days ago approved the warrant upon a request by FBI Special Agent Jonathan Cupina. The warrant was disclosed Wednesday by security researcher Christopher Soghoian, In a court filing, Cupina wrote: (.pdf)
Failure to gain access to the cellular telephone’s memory was caused by an electronic ‘pattern lock’ programmed into the cellular telephone. A pattern lock is a modern type of password installed on electronic devices, typically cellular telephones. To unlock the device, a user must move a finger or stylus over the keypad touch screen in a precise pattern so as to trigger the previously coded un-locking mechanism. Entering repeated incorrect patterns will cause a lock-out, requiring a Google e-mail login and password to override. Without the Google e-mail login and password, the cellular telephone’s memory can not be accessed. Obtaining this information from Google, per the issuance of this search warrant, will allow law enforcement to gain access to the contents of the memory of the cellular telephone in question.
Rosenberg, in a telephone interview, suggested the authorities could “dismantle a phone and extract data from the physical components inside if you’re looking to get access.” However, that runs the risk of damaging the phone’s innards, and preventing any data recovery.
Linda Davis, a spokeswoman for forensics-solutions company Logicube of suburban Los Angeles, said law enforcement is a customer of its CellXtract technology, which it advertises as a means to “fast and thorough forensic data extraction from mobile devices.” But that software, she said in a telephone interview, “is not going to work” on a locked device.
All of which is another way of saying those Android screen locks are a lot stronger than one might suspect.
It was not immediately clear whether the iPhone’s locking system is as powerful as its Android counterpart. But the iPhone’s passcode has been defeated with simple hacks, the latest of which was revealed in October 2010.
Clearly, the bureau is none too happy about having to call in Google for help. The warrant requires Google to turn over Samsung’s “default code” in “verbal” or “written instructions for overriding the ‘pattern lock’ installed on the Samsung model SGH-T679.” Google spokesman Chris Gaither would not say if Google would challenge any aspect of the warrant. Google, he said, does not comment on “specific cases.” “Like all law-abiding companies, we comply with valid legal process. Whenever we receive a request we make sure it meets both the letter and spirit of the law before complying,” he said in an e-mail. “If we believe a request is overly broad, we will seek to narrow it.” Photo: Mike Dent/Flickr
Damn the Lawsuits — It’s Full Speed Ahead for Aereo In New York
NEW YORK — Aereo, the startup which aims to rock the TV world by renting you a remote high definition antenna that allows you to watch and record broadcasts via a web browser, launched Wednesday despite lawsuits which allege that the company is violating the copyrights of broadcasters who own the programming.
Two lawsuits have been filed against Aereo (and it has filed a counterclaim of its own) but there is no court injunction preventing the launch, so here we go. In what is perhaps a little tweak at the broadcasters who are trying to shut Aereo down — or just good business of the “first taste is free” variety — Aereo takes to the airwaves with a 90-day free trial, up from the 30 days initially planned. After that 90 days, it’ll cost New Yorkers $12 a month to get the roughly 20 channels broadcasting in this market in HD.
That is, assuming Aereo is still around in 90 days.
The suits against the start-up, whose backers include broadcast veteran Barry Diller, allege that Aereo is blatantly violating the copyrights of broadcasters who air shows that are otherwise available generally only via cable and satellite middlemen, or if you have your own HD antenna attached to a TV set. Aereo contends it has the legal right to provide this service because its potential customers a) have the right to these broadcasts, made available as they are on publicly-owned airwaves and b) have the right to put an antenna anywhere they want to pull in these signals for our own, personal, non-commercial use.
Aereo essentially says it is merely enabling legal private behavior, and charging for that convenience.
Copyright is a justifiably powerful tool which often trumps all — and I am no lawyer — but I’ve already made clear that I find Aereo’s theory compelling. That said, I’m fantastically interested in how the arguments on both sides will be made. Either way this case will change things: Someone is going to do what Aereo is doing, even if it’s only the broadcasters who didn’t bother to, first.
Last week I posted an article about an app being developed to help undocumented immigrants, specifically in Arizona, notify their family and attorney that they've been arrested. Lest this blog be judged neither fair nor balanced, here's an app for those in the other 49 states.
iWitness: A new iPhone app that looks to stop crime in its tracks
It’s happened to all of us. You’re walking alone and you get that creepy feeling that someone is watching or tracking your movements. You feel unsafe, and you’re not sure what to do, so you clutch your mobile phone.
Greg Heuss wants to turn that fear into a situation of empowerment with iWitness, an iPhone application that not only quickly notified 911 but records audio and video of the events taking place. The Seattle upstart, which plans to release the iPhone app in the next 30 days, has been flying under the radar for a bit now. But the company, which just landed $600,000 in seed capital, is starting to share more of what it’s up to.
Heuss shared the idea behind iWitness with GeekWire, noting that the application was built by early pioneers in the e-911 sector.
Here’s how it works.
“Any time the user feels endangered, the user simply touches the screen of their phone,” explains Heuss, who previously worked at PerfectMatch and EyeAlike. “At that point, the phone begins capturing video and audio of the scene … a steady light is emitted from the phone, and the user’s GPS coordinates are recorded. If a “threat” feels imminent, the user touches the screen again, triggering the following: 911 is called, an SMS/email notice is sent to six contacts previously authorized by the user, and a loud siren begins to sound.” The iWitness iPhone app costs $30 per year, with the company planning to work on an Android version and its own standalone device that could be provided to children or seniors who don’t own smartphones.
“The space is wide open, the team is assembled, and the technology is built,” says Heuss, adding that focus groups, including those with law enforcement agencies, have responded positively to the concept.
“No one out there is using video and audio in an app like this so we separate ourselves immediately there,” said Heuss, adding that they plan to market the application to women.
“It is tough for males to really understand the “fear” that exists out there with women. My wife, for example, calls me every night for those 30 seconds she is walking across the parking lot to her car from her office – just so people know she is talking to someone. Gals in our office actually dial 911 on their phone and walk to the bus stop with their finger on the call button until they safely get on the bus.”
The advertising agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty’s BHH Labs launched a campaign at the film, music and interactive festival South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas, that is raising ire among critics.
In what appears to be a case of poor judgment, BBH Labs kicked off a campaign called “Homeless Hotspots.” Yep. It is exactly what it sounds like—walking, talking homeless people who provide access to a 4G network in exchange for a donation (BHH Labs suggests $2 per 15 minutes).
The homeless people in question include Clarence from New Orleans, who lost his house to Hurricane Katrina, and Jeffrey from Pittsburgh who was treated for traumatic brain injury. Their short biographies are heart-wrenching, immediately evoking empathy for their situation.
The 13 men who have been chosen to participate in the program are roaming the streets of Austin in T-shirts that say “I am a 4G hotspot.” The campaign has drawn ire from some who claim it’s dehumanizing.
“The digital divide has never hit us over the head with a more blunt display of unselfconscious gall,” said ReadWriteWeb’s Jon Mitchell who also wonders why their T-shirts say “I am a hotspot.” Mitchell cited Content Magazine editor Erin Kissane’s tweet, “Last thought before sleeping: the difference between ‘I’m running a hotspot’ and ‘I am a hotspot’ is a difference that matters.” “We are not selling anything. There is no brand involved. There is no commercial benefit whatsoever,” BHH Labs responded to the criticism in a blog post. The problem is they are selling and branding something: their company. Not to mention, the company’s current project “Underheard in NY.” BHH Labs used that project to segue to the “Homeless Hotspots” campaign.
In a blog post on March 6, BHH Labs compared “Homeless Hotspots” with street newspapers, like San Francisco’s Street Sheet or New York City’s Street News. That analogy is troublesome because street newspapers serve to advocate the plight of homeless people by enabling them to work.
Typically, street newspapers are staffed by homeless people and report on topics that are relevant to their struggle. The newspapers are then distributed for free to the homeless, who can sell them on the streets in exchange for a donation. Using a human being as an Internet connection for a festival is not quite the same thing.
BHH Labs did admit their analogy was ill-conceived.
“The biggest criticism (which we agree with actually) is that Street Newspapers allow for content creation by the homeless (we encourage those to research this a bit more as it certainly does not work exactly as you would assume),” the BHH Labs said in a statement.
It’s not just the lack of meaningful content that is bothersome.
The “Homeless Hotspot” campaign turns these 13 men into a social experiment with apparently little merit.
“It was an honest attempt to help, but the chosen priorities left it with all model and no substance,” said Mitchell.
This post was originally published on CBSNews.com’s Tech Talk blog.
Aside from preparing the cases of the Megaupload defendants, a team of lawyers is working hard to grant the site’s users access to their personal data. The cyberlocker is working out a deal with the Department of Justice to allow users to download their personal files. Interestingly enough, Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom reveals that these users include many high-ranking US Government officials.
In the wake of the MegaUpload shutdown many of the site’s users complained that their personal files had been lost due to collateral damage.
From work-related data to personal photos, the raid disabled access to hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of files that were clearly not infringing.
With most of the news coverage focusing on Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom and the racketeering, copyright infringement and money laundering charges, the fate of these users hasn’t received the attention it deserves.
By taking down Megaupload many of the site’s users were directly harmed. To resolve this matter Megaupload has been talking to the Department of Justice.
“Megaupload’s legal team is working hard to reunite our users with their data. We are negotiating with the Department of Justice to allow all Mega users to retrieve their data,” Kim Dotcom told TorrentFreak.
Over the past weeks Megaupload has been looking into the various options they have to grant users temporary access. Interestingly enough, this quest revealed that many accounts are held by US Government officials.
“Guess what – we found a large number of Mega accounts from US Government officials including the Department of Justice and the US Senate.” “I hope we will soon have permission to give them and the rest of our users access to their files,” Dotcom told us.
One of the affected Megaupload users.
Megaupload itself is not the only outfit concerned about the lost data of the site’s users. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) took up the issue as well and launched the MegaRetrieval campaign to make an inventory of disadvantaged users.
Thus far EFF hasn’t made a decision on how to move forward, which will in part depend on the outcome of the negotiations between Megaupload and the Department of Justice.
“EFF continues to identify more people who have lost access to legitimate personal files. Our goal is to help them get their files back as quickly and efficiently as possible,” EFF staff attorney Julie Samuels told TorrentFreak.
Megaupload users who’re missing vital data, including US Government officials, can contact the EFF at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Aside from securing user data, EFF is extremely worried about the consequences the Megaupload case has on other file-hosting services.
“In general we are very concerned about the implications the ‘Mega conspiracy’ indictment has for the future of cloud computing and file-hosting services, and innovation more generally. It’s hard to imagine how the nature in which this went down won’t have a chilling effect going forward. We hope to come up with processes for future cases that will counteract that,” Samuels said.
It is expected that in the coming week more news will come out about an eventual resurrection of Megaupload, so users can download their personal files.