Geek Stuff

Erich Bloch, Who Helped Develop IBM Mainframe, Dies At 91

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shadowknot writes: The New York Times is reporting (Warning: may be paywalled; alternate source) that Erich Bloch who helped to develop the IBM Mainframe has died at the age of 91 as a result of complications from Alzheimer's disease. From the article: "In the 1950s, he developed the first ferrite-core memory storage units to be used in computers commercially and worked on the IBM 7030, known as Stretch, the first transistorized supercomputer. 'Asked what job each of us had, my answer was very simple and very direct,' Mr. Bloch said in 2002. 'Getting that sucker working.' Mr. Bloch's role was to oversee the development of Solid Logic Technology -- half-inch ceramic modules for the microelectronic circuitry that provided the System/360 with superior power, speed and memory, all of which would become fundamental to computing."

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Russian Supply Rocket Malfunctions, Breaks Up Over Siberia En Route To ISS

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An anonymous reader quotes a report from NPR: An unmanned cargo rocket bound for the International Space Station was destroyed after takeoff on Thursday. The Russian rocket took off as planned from Baikonur, Kazahkstan, on Thursday morning but stopped transmitting data about six minutes into its flight, as NPR's Rae Ellen Bichell reported: "'Russian officials say the spacecraft failed [...] when it was about 100 miles above a remote part of Siberia. The ship was carrying more than 2 1/2 tons of supplies -- including food, fuel and clothes. Most of that very likely burned up as the unmanned spacecraft fell back toward Earth. NASA says the six crew members on board the International Space station, including two Americans, are well stocked for now.'" This is the fourth botched launch of an unmanned Russian rocket in the past two years. Roscomos officials wrote in an update today: "According to preliminary information, the contingency took place at an altitude of about 190 km over remote and unpopulated mountainous area of the Republic of Tyva. The most of cargo spacecraft fragments burned in the dense atmosphere. The State Commission is conducting analysis of the current contingency. The loss of the cargo ship will not affect the normal operations of the ISS and the life of the station crew."

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International Authorities Take Down Massive 'Avalanche' Botnet, Sinkhole Over 800,000 Domains

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plover writes: Investigators from the U.S. Department of Justice, the FBI, Eurojust, Europol, and other global partners announced the takedown of a massive botnet named "Avalanche," estimated to have involved as many as 500,000 infected computers worldwide on a daily basis. A Europol release says: "The global effort to take down this network involved the crucial support of prosecutors and investigators from 30 countries. As a result, five individuals were arrested, 37 premises were searched, and 39 servers were seized. Victims of malware infections were identified in over 180 countries. In addition, 221 servers were put offline through abuse notifications sent to the hosting providers. The operation marks the largest-ever use of sinkholing to combat botnet infrastructures and is unprecedented in its scale, with over 800,000 domains seized, sinkholed or blocked." Sean Gallagher writes via Ars Technica: "The domains seized have been 'sinkholed' to terminate the operation of the botnet, which is estimated to have spanned over hundreds of thousands of compromised computers around the world. The Justice Department's Office for the Western Federal District of Pennsylvania and the FBI's Pittsburgh office led the U.S. portion of the takedown. 'The monetary losses associated with malware attacks conducted over the Avalanche network are estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars worldwide, although exact calculations are difficult due to the high number of malware families present on the network,' the FBI and DOJ said in their joint statement. In 2010, an Anti-Phishing Working Group report called out Avalanche as 'the world's most prolific phishing gang,' noting that the Avalanche botnet was responsible for two-thirds of all phishing attacks recorded in the second half of 2009 (84,250 out of 126,697). 'During that time, it targeted more than 40 major financial institutions, online services, and job search providers,' APWG reported. In December of 2009, the network used 959 distinct domains for its phishing campaigns. Avalanche also actively spread the Zeus financial fraud botnet at the time."

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French Man Sentenced To Two Years In Prison For Visiting Pro-ISIS Websites

Slashdot -

According to French media, a court in the department of Ardeche on Tuesday sentenced a 32-year-old man in France to two years in prison for repeatedly visiting pro-ISIS websites -- even though there was no indication he planned to stage a terrorist attack. Police raided his house and found the man's browsing history. They also found pro-ISIS images and execution videos on his phone, personal computer, and a USB stick, an ISIS flag wallpaper on his computer, and a computer password that was "13novembrehaha," referencing the Paris terrorist attacks that left 130 people dead. Slashdot reader future guy shares with us an excerpt from The Verge's report: In court, the man argued that he visited the sites out of curiosity. "I wanted to tell the difference between real Islam and the false Islam, now I understand," he said, according to FranceBleu. But the man reportedly admitted to not reading other news sites or international press, and family members told the court that his behavior had recently changed. He became irritated when discussing religion, they said, and began sporting a long beard with harem pants. A representative from the Ardeche court confirmed to The Verge that there was no indication that the man had any plans to launch an attack. In addition to the two-year prison sentence, he will have to pay a 30,000 euros (roughly $32,000) fine.

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Nestle Discovers 'Breakthrough' Method To Cut Sugar In Chocolate By 40% Without Affecting Taste

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Nestle and its scientists have discovered how to "structure sugar differently" to reduce the amount of sugar in some of its products by 40%. What's more is that it can be done reportedly without compromising the taste. The Guardian reports: The new process is said to make sugar dissolve faster so that even when less is used, the tongue perceives an identical level of sweetness. It plans to patent the process, discovered by its scientists, which it says will enable it to significantly decrease the total sugar in its confectionery products. A four-finger milk chocolate Kit Kat currently contains 23.8g of sugar, a plain (milk chocolate) Yorkie contains 26.9g and a medium peppermint Aero has 24.9g of sugar. If the amount of sugar in each of these products was cut by 40% the new amounts would be 14.3g, 16.1g and 14.9g respectively.

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Apple Will Use Drones To Improve the Quality of Apple Maps

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An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: Apple plans to use drones and new indoor navigation features to improve its Maps service and catch longtime leader Google (Warning: source may be paywalled; alternate link), according to people familiar with the matter. The Cupertino, California-based company is assembling a team of robotics and data-collection experts that will use drones to capture and update map information faster than its existing fleet of camera-and-sensor ladened minivans, one of the people said. Apple wants to fly drones around to do things like examine street signs, track changes to roads and monitor if areas are under construction, the person said. The data collected would be sent to Apple teams that rapidly update the Maps app to provide fresh information to users, the person added. Apple is also developing new features for Maps, including views inside buildings and improvements to car navigation, another person familiar with the efforts said. Apple filed for an exemption on Sept. 21, 2015, from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly drones for commercial purposes, according to documents obtained by Bloomberg News. At that time, exemptions were required to commercially operate drones. In a response dated March 22, 2016, the FAA granted Apple approval to "operate an unmanned aircraft system to conduct data collection, photography, and videography," according to one of the documents. Apple's application told the FAA that it would use a range of drones sold by companies such as SZ DJI Technology Co. and Aibotix GmbH to collect the data. Apple has hired at least one person from Amazon's Prime Air division to help run the drone team, one of the people said.

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'Fatal' Flaws Found in Medical Implant Software

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Security researchers have warned of flaws in medical implants in what they say could have fatal consequences. The flaws were found in the radio-based communications used to update implants, including pacemakers, and read data from them. From a BBC report:By exploiting the flaws, the researchers were able to adjust settings and even switch off gadgets. The attacks were also able to steal confidential data about patients and their health history. A software patch has been created to help thwart any real-world attacks. The flaws were found by an international team of security researchers based at the University of Leuven in Belgium and the University of Birmingham.

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Earthquake-Sensing Mobile App 'MyShake' Detects Over 200 Earthquakes Large and Small

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Back in February, researchers at UC Berkeley released an app called MyShake that detects strong earthquakes seconds before the damaging seismic waves arrive. Several months have passed since its release and app has already detected over 200 earthquakes in more than ten countries. TechCrunch reports: The app has received nearly 200,000 downloads, though only a fraction of those are active at any given time; it waits for the phone to sit idle so it can get good readings. Nevertheless, over the first six months the network of sensors has proven quite effective. "We found that MyShake could detect large earthquakes, but also small ones, which we never thought would be possible," one of the app's creators, Qingkai Kong, told New Scientist. A paper describing the early results was published in Geophysical Research Letters -- the abstract gives a general idea of the app's success: "On a typical day about 8000 phones provide acceleration waveform data to the MyShake archive. The on-phone app can detect and trigger on P waves and is capable of recording magnitude 2.5 and larger events. The largest number of waveforms from a single earthquake to date comes from the M5.2 Borrego Springs earthquake in Southern California, for which MyShake collected 103 useful three-component waveforms. The network continues to grow with new downloads from the Google Play store everyday and expands rapidly when public interest in earthquakes peaks such as during an earthquake sequence." You can download the app for Android here.

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South Korea To Kill the Coin in Path Towards 'Cashless Society'

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The central bank in South Korea, one of the world's most technologically advanced and integrated nations, is taking a major step in getting rid of coins in the nation in what is an attempt to become a cashless society. The first step is to get rid of the metal, a feat authorities hope to achieve by 2020. From a report on FT: The Bank of Korea on Thursday announced it will step up its efforts to reduce the circulation of coins, the highest denomination of which is worth less than $0.50. As part of the plan it wants consumers to deposit loose change on to Korea's ubiquitous "T Money" cards -- electronic travel passes that can be used to pay for metro fares, taxi rides and even purchases in 30,000 convenience stores. The proposals are just the latest step for a nation at the forefront of harnessing technology to make citizens' lives more convenient. Online shopping is the norm, as are mobile payments for the country's tech-savvy millennials. South Korea is already one of the least cash-dependent nations in the world. It has among the highest rates of credit card ownership -- about 1.9 per citizen -- and only about 20 percent of Korean payments are made using paper money, according to the BoK. But while convenience is at the crux of the central bank's plan, there are other considerations. The BoK spends more than $40m a year minting coins. There are also costs involved for financial institutions that collect, manage and circulate them.

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Destructive Hacks Strike Saudi Arabia, Posing Challenge to Trump

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State-sponsored hackers have conducted a series of destructive attacks on Saudi Arabia over the last two weeks, erasing data and wreaking havoc in the computer banks of the agency running the country's airports and hitting five additional targets, according to two people familiar with an investigation into the breach. From a report on Bloomberg: Saudi Arabia said after inquiries from Bloomberg News that "several" government agencies were targeted in attacks that came from outside the kingdom, according to state media. Although a probe by Saudi authorities is still in its early stages, the people said digital evidence suggests the attacks emanated from Iran. That could present President-elect Donald Trump with a major national security challenge as he steps into the Oval Office. The use of offensive cyber weapons by a nation is relatively rare and the scale of the latest attacks could trigger a tit-for-tat cyber war in a region where capabilities have mushroomed ever since an attack on Saudi Aramco in 2012.

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Cyanogen Inc and CyanogenMod Creator Steve Kondik Part Ways

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bulled writes: In the middle of a press release discussing the move of employees from Seattle to California, Cyanogen Inc notes that it has parted ways with Steve Kondik. It is unclear what this means for the future of CyanogenMod. NDTV reports: "Kondik took to the official CyanogenMod developer Google+ community recently where he voiced what he thought were the reasons behind Cyanogen's plight and blamed Kirt McMaster, Cyanogen's Co-Founder. 'I've been pretty quiet about the stuff that's been going on but I'm at least ready to tell the short version and hopefully get some input on what to do next because CM is very much affected,' wrote Kondik in a private Google+ community first reported by Android Police. According to Kondik's version, Cyanogen's turmoil is way far from being over. He claimed that Cyanogen had seen success thanks to the efforts by the community and the company. Though, this also changed how the company worked. Explaining how it all started to come down, Kondik wrote, 'Unfortunately once we started to see success, my co-founder apparently became unhappy with running the business and not owning the vision. This is when the 'bullet to the head' and other misguided media nonsense started, and the bad business deals were signed. Being second in command, all I could do was try and stop it, do damage control, and hope every day that something new didn't happen. The worst of it happened internally and it became a generally shitty place to work because of all the conflict. I think the backlash from those initial missteps convinced him that what we had needed to be destroyed. By the time I was able to stop it, I was outgunned and outnumbered by a team on the same mission.' Kondik also seemingly confirmed a report from July which claimed Cyanogen may pivot to apps. He further wrote, 'Eventually I tried to salvage it with a pivot that would have brought us closer to something that would have worked, but the new guys had other plans. With plenty of cash in the bank, the new guys tore the place down and will go and do whatever they are going to do. It's probably for the best and I wish them luck, but what I was trying to do, is over.'"

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Motorola Has No Plans For a New Smartwatch

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An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Lenovo Moto today confirmed that it will not be releasing a new smartwatch for the launch of Android Wear 2.0, due early next year. The company had earlier said it would not be releasing a new smartwatch in 2016, but it is now saying that it doesn't plan to put out a new device timed to the arrival of Google's newest wearable platform, either. Shakil Barkat, head of global product development at Moto, said the company doesn't "see enough pull in the market to put [a new smartwatch] out at this time," though it may revisit the market in the future should technologies for the wrist improve. "Wearables do not have broad enough appeal for us to continue to build on it year after year," Barkat said, and indicated that smartwatches and other wearable devices will not be in Moto's annual device roadmap. Whether or not Moto does jump back into the smartwatch market is still up in the air, but Barkat is leaving the possibility open. "We believe the wrist still has value and there will be a point where they provide value to consumers more than they do today," Barkat said. But it doesn't appear that we'll be getting a new Moto 360 or other smartwatch any time in the near future. Google announced back in September that it would be delaying the launch of Android Wear 2.0 from this fall to next year. LG and Huawei have also confirmed that they would not be releasing new smartwatches until at least next year.

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Seagate Duet is a portable hard drive that syncs with Amazon Cloud Drive

Liliputing -

Backing up your data is always a good idea. But you know what’s even better? Making two backups including one that’s stored remotely so that if your house or office burns down with your computer and backup drive in it, you won’t lose all your data.

Now Amazon and Seagate have introduced a new portable hard drive that’s designed to do just that. Data you back up to the $100 Seagate Duet hard drive can be automatically uploaded to Amazon Cloud Drive for safe keeping.

Continue reading Seagate Duet is a portable hard drive that syncs with Amazon Cloud Drive at Liliputing.

Bitcoin Exchange Ordered To Give IRS Years of Data On Millions of Users

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Last month, instead of asking for data relating to specific individuals suspected of a crime, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) demanded America's largest Bitcoin service, Coinbase, to provide the identities of all of the firm's U.S. customers who made transactions over a three year period because there is a chance they are avoiding paying taxes on their bitcoin reserves. On Wednesday, a federal judge authorized a summons requiring Coinbase to provide the IRS with those records. Gizmodo reports: Covering the identities and transaction histories of millions of customers, the request is believed to be the largest single attempt to identify tax evaders using virtual currency to date. As a so-called "John Doe" summons, the document targets a particular group or class of taxpayers -- rather than individuals -- the agency has a "reasonable basis" to believe may have broken the law. According to The New York Times, the IRS argued that two cases of tax evasion involving Coinbase combined with Bitcoin's "relatively high level of anonymity" serve as that basis. "There is no allegation in this suit that Coinbase has engaged in any wrongdoing in connection with its virtual currency exchange business," said the Justice Department on Wednesday. "Rather, the IRS uses John Doe summonses to obtain information about possible violations of internal revenue laws by individuals whose identities are unknown." In a statement, Coinbase vowed to fight the summons, which the company's head counsel has previously characterized as a "every, very broad" fishing expedition.

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Fighting NSL Gag Orders, With Help From Our Friends at CREDO and Internet Archive

EFF's Deeplinks -

Thanks to our clients and friends at CREDO Mobile and the Internet Archive, EFF was able to shine a rare light on national security letters (NSLs) this week. The FBI uses NSLs to force Internet providers and telecommunications companies to turn over the names, addresses, and other records about their customers. NSLs almost always come with a secrecy provision that bars the companies—in violation of the Constitution—from publicly disclosing the requests. Worse still, NSL gags generally last forever and are imposed by the FBI without any mandatory court oversight. 

The FBI has issued hundreds of thousands of NSLs since 9/11, and because of their secrecy, NSLs have become a totemic representation of the government’s overreaching surveillance powers.

EFF has been litigating the constitutionality of NSLs on behalf of unnamed clients in a total of three related court cases beginning in 2011. This week, telecom provider CREDO confirmed that it was the company involved in one of these long-running cases, and published the letters it received three years ago.

CREDO, represented by EFF, challenged the gag orders associated with these NSLs in 2013, and in March of this year, a district court found that the FBI had failed to demonstrate the need for the gags. The court struck down the gags, but its order was put on hold while the government went to an appeals court to overturn that ruling. This month the government decided to drop that cross-appeal, so CREDO is finally free to talk about its courageous decision to fight for the right to go public and let the world, and importantly, its customers, know that the government was accessing customers’ private communications.

Along with EFF’s two other NSL lawsuits, CREDO’s case remains on appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, where EFF is continuing to fight unconstitutional NSL gags. The identity of EFF’s clients in the other cases remains secret, but their position is clear: the Constitution doesn’t allow the government to outlaw discussion and debate about FBI surveillance and the use of NSLs by gagging recipients merely on the FBI’s own say-so.

Separately, the FBI in August sent an NSL to EFF’s client the Internet Archive that contained legally erroneous information about what the Archive could do to challenge the secrecy provisions. The FBI told the Internet Archive—a digital library that has archived millions of web sites, books and videos—that it could make one request annually to challenge the nondisclosure requirement. That was wrong. In fact, Congress updated the law last year to allow NSL recipients to make more than one request annually so that they could try to speak out and let their customers know about the government’s request as soon as possible.

Represented by EFF, the Archive told the FBI that it was a library and therefore under the terms of the statute couldn’t be the target of an NSL in the first place, and it didn’t have the information the agency was seeking. We also pointed out the erroneous legal information the agency had provided. In a victory for our client, the FBI dropped the gag order without litigation and allowed the Archive to publish the NSL. We can’t know exactly how or why the FBI gave the Archive bad information about challenging the gag order. But we do know that the Archive wasn’t the only NSL recipient that was misled. In a letter withdrawing the gag order, the FBI acknowledged that it had given the same bad information to other NSL recipients. Given that the FBI issued nearly 13,000 NSLs in 2015 alone, this means that potentially tens of thousands of providers that received NSLs between June 2015 and November 2016 may have been deterred from petitioning a court for the right to go public.

The publication of NSLs in these two instances may be only a few drops in the bucket in light of the hundreds of thousands that remain secret, but they are important victories for transparency nonetheless. The disclosures remind us how difficult yet important it is to push back on NSL gag orders, especially now. For years, the FBI has been pushing to expand the scope of NSLs so it can use them to obtain Internet browsing history and other sensitive records. These efforts are likely to resurface next year after the Trump administration begins. We believe, and many technology companies agree, that users have a right to know when the government is getting access to their private communications. 

Related Cases: National Security Letters (NSLs)In re: National Security Letter 2011 (11-2173)In re National Security Letter 2013 (13-80089)In re National Security Letter 2013 (13-1165)2016 Internet Archive NSL
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Internet Archive Received National Security Letter with FBI Misinformation about Challenging Gag Order

EFF's Deeplinks -

Potentially Thousands of Communication Providers Received Bad Instructions for Fighting Secrecy Provisions

The Internet Archive published a formerly secret national security letter (NSL) today that includes misinformation about how to contest the accompanying gag order that demanded total secrecy about the request. As a result of the Archive’s challenge to the letter, the FBI has agreed to send clarifications about the law to potentially thousands of communications providers who have received NSLs in the last year and a half.

The NSL issued to the Archive said the library had the right to “make an annual challenge to the nondisclosure requirement.” But in 2015, Congress updated the law to allow for more than one request a year, so that communications providers could speak out about their experience without unneeded delay. Represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the Archive informed the FBI that it did not have the information the agency was seeking and pointed out the legal error. The FBI agreed to drop the gag order in this case and allow the publication of the NSL.

“The free flow of information is at the heart of the Internet Archive’s work, but by using national security letters in conjunction with unconstitutional gag orders, the FBI is trying to keep us all in the dark,” said Brewster Kahle, founder and digital librarian of the Internet Archive. “Here, it’s even worse: that secrecy helped conceal that the FBI was giving all NSL recipients bad information about their rights. So we especially wanted to make this NSL public to give libraries and other institutions more information and help them protect their users from any improper FBI requests.”

The Archive received this NSL in August, more than a year after Congress changed the law to allow more gag order challenges. In its letter removing the gag order, the FBI acknowledged that it issued other NSLs that included the error, and stated that it will inform all recipients about the mistake. Given that the FBI has said that it issued about 13,000 NSLs last year, thousands of communications providers likely received the false information, and potentially delayed petitioning the court for the right to go public.

“The opaque NSL process—including the lack of oversight by a court—makes it very vulnerable to errors of law.  Add to that the routine use of gags and enforced secrecy, and those errors become difficult to find and correct,” said EFF Staff Attorney Andrew Crocker. “We are grateful to the Internet Archive for standing up to the FBI and shining some light on this error. We hope that others who receive the correction will also step forward to have their gags lifted and shine more light on these unconstitutional data collection tools.”

This is the second NSL that the Internet Archive has published after battling with the FBI. In 2007, the Archive received an NSL that exceeded the FBI’s authority to issue demands to libraries. With help from EFF and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the FBI withdrew the letter and agreed to let the Archive go public in May of 2008.

But many gag orders are still in place. Yesterday, CREDO Mobile confirmed it was at the center of EFF's long-running fight against NSLs after a three-year-old gag order was finally revoked. Along with CREDO's case, EFF is litigating two other challenges to NSL gag orders on behalf of communications providers who are still gagged.

For the national security letter published by the Internet Archive:
https://www.eff.org/document/national-security-letter-sent-internet-archive

For more on the fight against NSLs:
https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2016/12/fighting-nsl-gag-orders-help-our-friends-credo-and-internet-archive

Contact:  AndrewCrockerStaff Attorneyandrew@eff.org InternetArchiveinfo@archive.org
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Malware y Misterios: La vigilancia secreta en Argentina

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Este post forma parte de la serie "Ojos que no parpadean: El Estado de la Vigilancia de las comunicaciones en América Latina", un proyecto elaborado en colaboración con organizaciones de Derechos Digitales en América Latina, que documenta y analiza las leyes y prácticas de vigilancia en doce países: Argentina, Brasil, Chile, Colombia, el Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Perú, México, Nicaragua, Paraguay y Uruguay. Además de los informes de cada país, la EFF produjo un análisis jurídico comparativo de las leyes de vigilancia en esos doce países, así como un análisis jurídico a nivel regional de los 13 Principios “Necesario y Proporcional” escrito junto con Derechos Digitales, y un mapa interactivo que resume nuestros hallazgos en alianza con Ojo Público.

El 2004, cuando el abogado argentino Alberto Nisman fue asignado, por el presidente Nestor Kirchner, para investigar el atentado más mortal de la historia argentina, pocos sospecharon que el mismo Nisman terminaría siendo una víctima. La historia de Alberto Nisman refleja aquellas partes sombrías de la Argentina moderna, incluyendo el uso, aún misterioso, de la vigilancia digital contra el imperio de la ley.

Nisman estuvo a cargo de la investigación de un ataque terrorista de 1994 en Buenos Aires contra un centro judío; la Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA), matando a 85 personas. Dos años después de ser nombrado fiscal principal, Nisman acusó públicamente a Irán de dirigir el ataque. Nisman finalmente acusó a siete funcionarios del gobierno iraní. Con cinco órdenes internacionales de detención aseguradas, el gobierno argentino instó públicamente a Irán a extraditar a los sospechosos. El gobierno de Irán se negó.

Con los años, el caso dejó a los dos países en un callejón sin salida. Nisman siguió adelante. Su investigación fue apoyada públicamente por Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, quien asumió la presidencia argentina después de la dimisión de su esposo en 2007. Hasta que rumores de negociaciones a puerta cerrada entre ella y el gobierno iraní llevaron a Nisman a acusar a la presidenta Fernández de forjar un acuerdo secreto entre Argentina e Irán que cubriría cualquier participación en el bombardeo.

El 18 de enero de 2015, la noche anterior al día en que Nisman debía declarar en el Congreso contra el presidente y su ministro de Relaciones Exteriores, fue encontrado muerto en su casa.

Una investigación llevada a cabo – posteriormente – por el experto en seguridad Morgan Marquis-Boire para The Intercept, indicó que Nisman había descargado, poco antes de su muerte, malware en su teléfono celular. Marquis-Boire explica que el software estaba oculto en un PDF marcado como "confidencial", y tenía la intención de infectar el equipo Windows de Nisman. Debido a que Nisman abrió el archivo en su teléfono Android, el spyware no pudo ejecutarse apropiadamente. Nadie sabe si Nisman, finalmente, abrió el archivo en su computadora primaria y la infectó con spyware, pero Marquis-Boire cree que este ataque por malware no fue un evento aislado. Quien estuviera detrás del último spyware de Nisman parecía usar herramientas de vigilancia similares en otros temas, incluyendo al periodista argentino Jorge Lanata. La atribución del spyware es difícil, pero Marquis-Boire cree que hay fuertes indicios de que un actor del gobierno estaba detrás de estos ataques.

Argentina tiene una larga historia de secreto y vigilancia del gobierno. Uno de los mayores escándalos de vigilancia del país, desvelado durante la presidencia de Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, fue el descubrimiento del Proyecto X; una base de datos de la policía nacional conteniendo información de inteligencia sobre dirigentes sindicales y miembros de la oposición recogidos sin orden judicial. El proyecto X violaba claramente la ley nacional de inteligencia y la ley de protección de datos personales. Las escuchas telefónicas ilegales no son desconocidas en el país, de hecho el actual presidente Mauricio Macri estuvo bajo investigación durante cinco años por su supuesta participación en uno de esos casos. Aunque fue absuelto en diciembre de 2015, Macri ha atenuado la separación de poderes al nombrar a un amigo cercano como jefe de la agencia federal de inteligencia (AFI), y a un funcionario del partido con estrechos vínculos con la comunidad de inteligencia como subdirector. La sociedad civil argentina ha criticado, duramente, a los nominados por su falta de idoneidad pero el Senado confirmó sus nombramientos en agosto de 2016; una señal que puede sugerir que las agencias de inteligencia se están volviendo menos autónomas y volviendo a las viejas prácticas.

Estos señales públicas de vigilancia incontrolada motivaron al EFF, junto a nuestros socios en Argentina; El Centro de Estudios sobre Libertad de Expresión y Acceso a la Información (CELE), Verónica Ferrari y Daniela Schnidrig, a escribir "Vigilancia de las Comunicaciones Estatales y la Protección de los Derechos Fundamentales En Argentina ", un informe que analiza la ley de vigilancia en Argentina y ofrece recomendaciones. Este informe es parte del proyecto más amplio "Ojos que no Parpadean: El Estado de la Vigilancia de las comunicaciones en América Latina". Aquí están algunos de sus principales hallazgos:

Vigilancia en Argentina, hoy

Argentina ha ratificado varios tratados de derechos humanos protegiendo el derecho a la privacidad, como la Convención Americana sobre Derechos Humanos (CADH). Todos los tratados que Argentina ha ratificado son vinculantes y aplicables en el derecho interno.

Sin embargo, existe una falta de claridad en las salvaguardias a la privacidad que las leyes argentinas proporcionan. El marco legal del país utiliza definiciones vagas en sus disposiciones legales y su marco de inteligencia permite excepciones significativas a las protecciones constitucionales de privacidad en "estados de emergencia" (una frase que no está adecuadamente definida).

En Transparencia

No existen obligaciones legales de presentar informes de transparencia sobre las intercepciones de comunicaciones referidas a asuntos penales en Argentina. Sin embargo, las agencias de inteligencia deben presentar informes anuales sobre sus actividades a la Comisión Bicameral sobre la Supervisión de los Organismos de Inteligencia y sus Actividades. Estos informes son confidenciales.

En septiembre de 2016, la Cámara de Representantes de Argentina aprobó la Ley de Acceso a la Información Pública. La nueva ley permite a los argentinos solicitar información al Fiscal General y a cualquier magistrado del Poder Judicial. La ley contiene – sin embargo – excepciones por materia de seguridad nacional; no se proporcionará información en circunstancias en que se pueda poner en peligro una investigación penal.

Sobre la Notificación al Usuario

No existe obligación legal obligando a las empresas o al estado a notificar a una persona cuando ha sido objeto de vigilancia. Existe la posibilidad de que una persona descubra que ha sido vigilada si la información recopilada en ellos se usa como evidencia en un procedimiento penal. Pero no existe ninguna obligación que obligue a los funcionarios públicos a revelar dónde obtuvieron tales pruebas. Sin embargo, los ciudadanos tienen derecho a solicitar el acceso a la información recopilada por las agencias de inteligencia1

Sobre Supervisión pública

La Comisión Bicameral sobre Supervisión de los Organismos y Actividades de Inteligencia es el mecanismo de control legislativo del país. Por ley, supervisa y controla las actividades del Sistema de Inteligencia Nacional - el servicio de inteligencia argentino - para asegurar que cumple con las regulaciones legales y constitucionales. La Comisión debería también examinar cualquier legislación relativa a las actividades de inteligencia. Sin embargo, la eficiencia real de la Comisión se ve considerablemente debilitada por varios factores.

  1. El Poder Ejecutivo decide a qué información puede acceder la Comisión. Dado que la ley impone una restricción general a la información relativa a las actividades de inteligencia y contrainteligencia, la Comisión debe recibir autorización del Presidente o de un funcionario designado para acceder a cualquiera de este tipo de información.
  2. La Comisión opera, generalmente, en secreto. Grupos de la sociedad civil han tratado de solicitar información sobre las actividades operacionales de la Comisión Bicameral, pero no han recibido respuesta.2
  3. La Comisión debe presentar un informe anual sobre la efectividad operativa del Sistema Nacional de Inteligencia tanto al Ejecutivo como al Congreso Nacional. Sin embargo, el informe es confidencial, lo que hace imposible que el público en general verifique su exactitud.
La Asociación por los Derechos Civiles (ADC), una ONG que trabaja por las libertades civiles en Argentina, concluyó que el secreto envuelve a la Comisión Bicameral al punto que es imposible evaluar su funcionamiento. De hecho, los testimonios reunidos durante la investigación en torno a la muerte de Alberto Nisman sugieren que la Comisión no está operando en absoluto. Veronica Ferrari, anteriormente investigadora y coordinadora de políticas y derechos de Internet en el Centro de Estudios sobre Libertad de Expresión y Acceso a la Información (CELE) afirma:

La [t]radición de secretismo alrededor de la inteligencia en la Argentina debe ser revertida. El gobierno tiene la prerrogativa de recopilar inteligencia, pero para asegurar que los derechos humanos no sean afectados es necesaria la implementación efectiva de mecanismos de supervisión pública, como la Comisión Bicameral.

A lo que Daniela Schnidrig, ex investigadora del Centro de Estudios sobre Libertad de Expresión y Acceso a la Información (CELE), y actual miembro de Global Partners Digital añade,

En los meses y años venideros, el Presidente Macri debe centrar su atención en el desarrollo de mecanismos de transparencia y rendición de cuentas sólidos para asegurar que cualquier vigilancia de las comunicaciones se lleve a cabo respetando las normas de derechos humanos.

Hemos visto las consecuencias de gobiernos que operan en secreto sin control alguno. Los políticos y jueces de Argentina deben mejorar e incorporar medidas de transparencia y mecanismos de supervisión a su legislación para evitar futuros abusos de poder, corrupción interna y violaciones de los derechos humanos de su población.

  • 1. Corte Suprema de Justicia de la Nación. Ganora s / hábeas corpus. Decisión de 16 de septiembre de 1999.
  • 2. Ramiro Álvarez Ugarte y Emiliano Villa. ¿Quién está mirando a los vigilantes? Privacidad Internacional, Asociación por los Derechos Civiles - ADC. https://www.privacyinternational.org/sites/default/files/Who's%20Watching%20the%20Watchers_0.pdf

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Teclast X5 Pro is a Surface-like tablet with Core M Kaby Lake

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Chinese tablet maker Teclast is launching a new tablet featuring a 12.2 inch, 1920 x 1200 pixel IPS display, a kickstand, and a detachable keyboard cover.

Like a lot of 2-in-1 tablets, the Teclast X5 Pro looks a lot like a Microsoft Surface, but this model has a mix of features that are unlike anything Microsoft currently offers.

Gearbest has posted a product page for the Teclast X5 Pro, but there’s no word on the price yet.

Continue reading Teclast X5 Pro is a Surface-like tablet with Core M Kaby Lake at Liliputing.

Facebook Developing AI To Flag Offensive Live Videos

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Facebook is working on automatically flagging offensive material in live video streams, building on a growing effort to use artificial intelligence to monitor content, said Joaquin Candela, the company's director of applied machine learning. Reuters added: The social media company has been embroiled in a number of content moderation controversies this year, from facing international outcry after removing an iconic Vietnam War photo due to nudity, to allowing the spread of fake news on its site. Facebook has historically relied mostly on users to report offensive posts, which are then checked by Facebook employees against company "community standards." Decisions on especially thorny content issues that might require policy changes are made by top executives at the company. Candela told reporters that Facebook increasingly was using artificial intelligence to find offensive material. It is "an algorithm that detects nudity, violence, or any of the things that are not according to our policies," he said.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Microsoft Says Summer's Windows 10 Upgrade Fit For Business

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Microsoft has moved Windows 10 August update to the Current Branch for Business release track, putting the "Anniversary Update" in the queue for automatic downloads and installation on enterprise PCs. From a report on ComputerWorld: The move will also set in motion a two-month countdown clock on support for the original mid-2015 version of Windows 10. "Windows 10 1607, also known as the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, has been declared as Current Branch for Business (CBB) and is ready for deployment," Michael Niehaus, a director of product marketing, said in a post to a company blog that used similar wording to the first upgrade to the CBB. In April, Microsoft moved the November 2015 upgrade to the corporate delivery track. Microsoft issued the Anniversary Update Aug. 2, even though its numerical designation of 1607 referred to July (07) of this year (16). The upgrade will be released in January through Windows Update, Windows Update for Business and Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), Niehaus said.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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