Twitter has hit a substantial roadblock in its nearly two-year legal battle against restrictions on what it can reveal to users about requests for data from federal law enforcement agencies. Yesterday, a U.S. District Court dismissed a substantial chunk of Twitter’s case, though the social media platform will be given an opportunity to try again. [More]
The federal court set up to review government requests for surveillance involving issues of national security is either rubber-stamping everything that it sees, or the FBI and the National Security Agency are incredibly good at filing these requests. A new report claims that the court approved every single one of the 1,457 requests it received last year. [More]
A month ago, the FBI dropped its legal effort to compel Apple to unlock a dead terrorist’s iPhone after a third party provided the agency with a way to bypass the device’s encryption. While the federal law enforcer is okay with using what it learned to aid other criminal investigations, it doesn’t look like the FBI is jumping at the chance to let Apple in on the secret. [More]
As you may have heard, on Friday afternoon the U.S. Department of Justice backed off its efforts to compel Apple to aid in unlocking a criminal suspect’s iPhone — for the second time in only a few weeks. While some have heralded this as a significant victory for Apple (or at least as a loss for the government), it’s really just a tiny, unresolved spat in what looks to become a protracted legal battle for both sides. [More]
It’s understandable why someone who uses a website to cheat on their significant would want anonymity — mostly, they don’t want to get caught. But the former Ashley Madison customers seeking to sue over the massive data hack last year that exposed personal information for 30 million users or so will have to attach their names to the lawsuit, a federal judge ruled recently. [More]
Legislators in D.C. are currently considering a law that would compel tech companies to have weak device and software encryption so that law enforcement can snoop when necessary, while federal prosecutors have repeatedly used a 227-year-old law to try to force Apple and Google to work around existing security on their products. A new lawsuit seeks to find out if the government has also been using a highly secretive court to force tech companies to assist in breaking their own encryption. [More]
With the U.S. Department of Justice still attempting to compel Apple to unlock the iPhone of a drug suspect, the tech giant is asking the court why this is so important when the former owner of that iPhone has already pled guilty. [More]
If you think you’re evading the constantly tracking eye of the Internet by using throw-away email addresses and obscure screen names to register your social media accounts and other apps, you’re probably wrong. A new study demonstrates how simple it can be to correctly identify someone using otherwise anonymous data. [More]
Before the advent of cloud computing, law enforcement would often have to physically go into an office or home and seize computers and servers of criminal suspects and their cohorts — an obvious tip-off that an investigation is taking place. But now, with so much data living far from the devices used to access it, the government can seize that information without having to load up a van full of hardware, leaving the target of the investigation none the wiser. What’s more, the government can try to block cloud-computing companies from telling affected customers about these seizures, which Microsoft believes is a violation of the Constitution. [More]
Usually, D.C. moves slowly. There’s a kind of plodding, methodical rhythm to Congress and the federal agencies, and very little turns on a dime. So it stands out that less than 48 hours after introducing a bill into the Senate, over 42,000 people have already objected to basically everything about it.
A week after it was first reported that Senators Dianne Feinstein (CA) and Richard Burr (NC) were prepping a bipartisan bill that would compel tech companies to build their devices and software with weakened encryption or built-in backdoors for law enforcement, the actual bill has been introduced. Here’s what you need to know about why consumer and privacy advocates are concerned.
While we’ve been talking about virtual reality for decades, the current slate of VR headsets marks the first time we’ve seen anything close to widespread adoption of the technology. And when one of the leading companies in the field also happens to be owned by a company that makes billions of dollars tracking your online behavior, you can’t fault people for being concerned about privacy.
In February, while a federal court in California was pondering whether or not to compel Apple’s assistance in unlocking a terrorist’s iPhone, a federal magistrate judge in New York ruled — in a drug-related case — that the government couldn’t force Apple to defeat its own encryption. In spite of that ruling, the Justice Department now tells the court that it is going ahead with its effort to require Apple’s help. [More]
Even though the FBI has figured out a work-around that — for now — allows the agency to bypass an iPhone’s encryption, the debate still continues about which is more important: privacy for all consumers, or ready-but-limited access for law enforcement? Today, Facebook-owned messaging service WhatsApp made it clear which side of that argument it comes down on. [More]
The number-one complaint we get from Consumerist readers is “You guys just don’t have enough ads on your site! Where are all the pop-ups, roll-overs, pop-overs, auto-play videos, and page-crashing ad units that make surfing the web so dang enjoyable?” We hear you, we do; we just don’t have the staff to sell all those ads you want bogging down your browser and tracking you across pages and platforms. And even if we did, those pesky jerks at the FCC are trying to rob us — and consumers — of more options to be marketed to, and commodified by, our Internet service providers. [More]
The Federal Communications Commission today in their monthly meeting voted narrowly to move forward with two high-profile, contentious proposals. One is formally adopting a plan to modernize the Lifeline program, and the other is to start considering how to apply stronger consumer privacy protections to ISPs.