Policy Articles

Digital Privacy at the U.S Border: A New How-To Guide from EFF

An update from the EFF on Digital Privacy at the U.S Border: A New How-To Guide from EFF - download the PDF.

PROTECTING THE DATA ON YOUR DEVICES  AND IN THE CLOUD
 
We have fewer rights at the U.S. border than in the interior. Still, we can all take action before, during, and after our border crossings to protect our digital privacy.  See more at the EFF site.

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FBI Enlists Geek Squad

By Tom Jackman January 9 
 
At a giant Best Buy repair shop in Brooks, Ky., Geek Squad technicians work on computers owned by people across the country, delving into them to retrieve lost data. Over several years, a handful of those workers have notified the FBI when they see signs of child pornography, earning payments from the agency.  Read full article at Washington Post
 
NOTE - In this case, the alleged files weree in "unallocated space" - they had been deleted.  The tech had to intentionlly scan for dleted files and would not have been able to see or recover them without special tools.

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HP "Time Bomb" Locks Out 3rd Party Ink Cartridges

The Guardian Alex Hern
 
Hewlett-Packard printers have suddenly started rejecting ink cartridges produced or refilled by third parties, apparently due to a “ticking timebomb” left by the manufacturer in an update released in March 2016.
 
The printers, in the company’s OfficeJet, OfficeJet Pro and OfficeJet Pro X ranges, accepted refills made by third-parties and sold at a significantly lower price than the official ink made and sold by HP itself. But on 13 September, the printers began to reject those refills, with error messages including “cartridge problem”, “one or more cartridges are missing or damaged” and “older generation cartridge”.
 
Adding insult to injury, the printers themselves have not received a software update recently, suggesting that the last update, six months ago, had a delayed-action effect. In doing so, it prevented affected users from getting the word out about the lockdown and discouraging others in a similar situation from updating their own printers.  read more...
 
UPDATE  HP issued a non-apology and made it possible for users to back out the change by applying patched firmware to their printers.  See the HP Blog Post. "As a remedy for the small number of affected customers, we will issue an optional firmware update that will remove the dynamic security feature. We expect the update to be ready within two weeks and will post additional information here as it becomes available".  Emphasis is mine.

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High Profile Cyber Attacks Open Door to More Surveillance

Recent cyber attacks against private companies such as Sony, Target and Home Depot have legislators proposing new cyber security legislation that would open the door to more government surveillance and less individual privacy while doing little to address cyber threats.  

Congress Should Say No to "Cybersecurity" Information Sharing Bills

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FCC's New Rules Could Threaten Net Neutrality

Expect Delays Sign Photo

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler is circulating a proposal for new FCC rules on the issue of network neutrality, the idea that Internet service providers (ISPs) should treat all data that travels over their networks equally. Unfortunately, early reports suggest those rules may do more harm than good.  READ MORE

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Proposal to Prevent Grid Attack Lacks Power, Critics Say

April 17, 2014

A year after gunfire knocked out a substation that funnels power to Silicon Valley, the U.S. government has promised to make power companies amp up protection of equipment vital to the electric grid.  Read full article at the WSJ

See original post

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Assault on California Power Station Raises Alarm on Potential for Terrorism

February 5, 2014
 
SAN JOSE, Calif.—The attack began just before 1 a.m. on April 16 last year, when someone slipped into an underground vault not far from a busy freeway and cut telephone cables.
 
Within half an hour, snipers opened fire on a nearby electrical substation. Shooting for 19 minutes, they surgically knocked out 17 giant transformers that funnel power to Silicon Valley. A minute before a police car arrived, the shooters disappeared into the night.  Read the original WSJ article  about the susceptibility of the US power grid and how a critical vulnerability of being ignored.
 

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