United States

US Bombs Hit Doctors Without Borders Hospital 334

Prune writes: According to multiple news sources, U.S. airstrikes partially destroyed a Doctors Without Borders (MSF) hospital in Afghanistan, killing at least nine staff members and at least 50 overall, including patients, and this after giving its coordinates to U.S. forces multiple times. I'm especially saddened to report this given I had become one of the supporters of this charity after recommendations from Slashdot members in a discussion about choosing charities to donate to a while back.

DHS Detains Mayor of Stockton, CA, Forces Him To Hand Over His Passwords 301

schwit1 writes: Anthony Silva, the mayor of Stockton, California, recently went to China for a mayor's conference. On his return to San Francisco airport he was detained by Homeland Security, and then had his two laptops and his mobile phone confiscated. They refused to show him any sort of warrant (of course) and then refused to let him leave until he agreed to hand over his password.
United States

The FAA Has Missed Its Congressionally Mandated Deadline To Regulate Drones 182

derekmead writes: When Congress passed the FAA Modernization Act in 2012, it gave the agency until September 30, 2015 to fully regulate commercial drones for use in the United States. Well, it's October 1, and we're left with a patchwork of regulatory band-aids, quasi-legal "guidelines," and a small drone rule that still hasn't gone into effect yet. This news shouldn't surprise anyone. The agency has missed most every milestone—both internal and lawmaker mandated—that has been set for it. The last two years have been fraught with lawsuits, confusion on enforcement within its own local offices (some FAA agents have told pilots they can't post videos on YouTube, for example), and various conflicting guidelines as to who can fly a drone where, and for what purposes.

The Global Struggle To Prevent Cyberwar 57

blottsie writes: What constitutes war in the 21st century? In an age of almost constant cyberattacks against major corporations and world governments, the consensus among international-law experts is clear: Nobody knows. This sweeping Daily Dot investigation explores the ongoing struggle to define "cyberwar," the increasing geopolitical aggression in cyberspace, and the major players now attempting to write the rules of online battlefields before it's too late.

"Technical experts and legal scholars repeatedly stress that the idea of a 'cyber Pearl Harbor'—a devastating sneak attack on U.S. infrastructure by a powerful state actor that launched a sustained international conflict—is wildly overblown. Right now, Watts said, 'states bite at one another’s ankles in a way to impede progress or to harass them,' but 'as for the likelihood of a major cyber war, I would rate it pretty low.'

Cyber armageddon may be extremely unlikely, but the many attacks below the level of formal armed conflict have still extracted a staggering price, in both economic and political terms. ... For starters, cyber-arms control is effectively hopeless. There’s no point, experts say, in trying to contain the spread of offensive cyber technology. Instead, the best hope for international law is to focus on reducing the incentives for malicious behavior."

NY Times: Temporary Visas To Import Talent Help Copycats Take Jobs Abroad 225

ErichTheRed writes: A new article from the NY Times surprised me. It describes what we in the IT industry see all the time — H-1B visas being used way outside of their original purpose. I think this is significant because the article describes the problem well and shows how Tata, Accenture, etc. are offshoring regular office work as well as IT work. I feel that showing the average Joe/Jane that their nice safe middle class office job isn't so safe is the only way to sway popular opinion on this important matter! Reader theodp notes that Congress is making H-1B visa less costly for India-based IT services providers.

FBI and DEA Under Review For Misuse of NSA Mass Surveillance Data 86

Patrick O'Neill writes: The FBI and DEA were among the agencies fed information from an NSA surveillance program described as "staggering" by one judge who helped strike the program down. Now the two agencies are under review by the Justice Department for the use of parallel construction as well as looking into the specifics and results of cases originating from NSA tips. (Here's some more on the practice of parallel construction in this context.)
United States

Raytheon Wins US Civilian Cyber Contract Worth $1 Billion 62

Tokolosh writes: Raytheon is a company well-known in military-industrial and political circles, but not so much for software, networking and cybersecurity. That has not stopped the DHS awarding it a $1 billion, five year contract to help more than 100 civilian agencies manage their computer security. Raytheon said DHS selected it to be the prime contractor and systems integrator for the agency's Network Security Deployment (NSD) division, and its National Cybersecurity Protection System (NCPS). The contract runs for five years, but some orders could be extended for up to an additional 24 months, it said. Dave Wajsgras, president of Raytheon Intelligence, Information and Services, said the company had invested over $3.5 billion in recent years to expand its cybersecurity capabilities. He said cybersecurity incidents had increased an average of 66 percent a year worldwide between 2009 and 2014. As you might expect, Raytheon spends heavily on political contributions and lobbying.

Europe Agrees To Agree With Everyone Except US What 5G Should Be 164

itwbennett writes: Following agreements signed by the EU with South Korea in June 2014 and with Japan in May 2015, the EU and China "have agreed to agree by the end of the year on a working definition for 5G," reports Peter Sayer. "About the only point of agreement so far is that 5G is what we'll all be building or buying after 4G, so any consensus between the EU and China could be significant," says Sayer.
The Internet

Government Finds New Emails Clinton Did Not Hand Over 348

PolygamousRanchKid writes with this Reuters report that The U.S. Defense Department has found an email chain that Hillary Clinton failed to turn over to the State Department despite her saying she had provided all work emails from her time as Secretary of State.The correspondence with General David Petraeus, who was commander of U.S. Central Command at the time, started shortly before she entered office and continued during her first days as the top U.S. diplomat in January and February of 2009. News of the previously undisclosed email thread only adds to a steady stream of revelations about the emails in the past six months, which have forced Clinton to revise her account of the setup which she first gave in March. Nearly a third of all Democrats and 58 percent of all voters think Clinton is lying about her handling of her emails, according to a Fox News poll released this week.

Clinton apologized this month for her email setup, saying it was unwise. But as recently as Sunday, she told CBS when asked about her emails that she provided 'all of them.' The emails with Petraeus also appear to contradict the claim by Clinton's campaign that she used a private BlackBerry email account for her first two months at the department before setting up her clintonemail.com account in March 2009. This was the reason her campaign gave for not handing over any emails from those two months to the State Department. The Petraeus exchange shows she started using the clintonemail.com account by January 2009, according to the State Department.
The Military

Don't Worry, That Blimp Isn't Watching You Much 43

According to the Baltimore Sun, and despite claims by its maker Raytheon that the system is "performing well right now," the expensive tethered-blimp observatory called JLENS (for "Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System") seems to be mostly a boondoggle. The report focuses on the JLENS installation that was launched in Maryland last year. The Sun makes much of the flight taken by disaffected postal worker Douglas Hughes last April to the White House lawn, directly in the JLENS observation area -- the success of which (to be charitable) casts doubt on the effectiveness of the flying observatory system. Beyond its evidently low utility in doing its job, JLENS seems to be a brittle system, amplying its potential costs as well as its military vulnerability with grand, expensive failures as well as everyday difficulties: in 2010, "a civilian balloon broke loose from its mooring, destroying a grounded JLENS blimp that had cost about $182 million." The article lays out some political shenanigans, too: politicians in a wide range of states have supported the project, which has a nationwide footprint of contractors and possible deployment locations. From the article: Within the Pentagon, Marine Corps Gen. James E. "Hoss" Cartwright, then vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, came to JLENS' defense, arguing that it held promise for enhancing the nation's air defenses. At Cartwright's urging, money was found in 2011 for a trial run of the technology in the skies above Washington. Cartwright retired the same year — and joined Raytheon's board of directors five months later. By the end of 2014, Raytheon had paid him more than $828,000 in cash and stock for serving as a director, Securities and Exchange Commission records show.
The Military

Tank Hack Ensured Farmland Didn't Thwart the Invasion of Europe 143

szczys writes: Ingenuity reigns supreme when trying to overcome obstacles standing in your way. So was the case during the Allied invasion of Europe during WWII. Land features in the Normandy bocage region were especially difficult for tanks to navigate. The obstacles were earthen dikes topped with mature trees originally put in place to contain livestock. The solution was to reuse materials from the Axis' own anti-tank measures to build a tank attachment to cut through the obstacles. The Allies were able to take the Axis by surprise as it was assumed the armored divisions wouldn't be able to break through this area.
United States

Nuclear Energy: The Good News and the Bad News In the EPA Clean Energy Plan 121

Lasrick writes: Peter Bradford explains what the EPA's new Clean Power Plan has in store for nuclear energy. He provides an excellent explanation of the details of the plan, and how the nuclear industry benefits (or doesn't). "The competitive position of all new low-carbon electricity sources will improve relative to fossil fuels. New reactors (including the five under construction) and expansions of existing plants will count toward state compliance with the plan's requirements as new sources of low-carbon energy. Existing reactors, however, must sink or swim on their own prospective economic performance—the final plan includes no special carbon-reduction credits to help them."
United States

The US and China Agree Not To Conduct Economic Espionage In Cyberspace 107

blottsie writes: The leaders of China and the United States agreed on Friday to take new steps to address cyberspying, vowing that neither country would conduct or knowingly support the theft of intellectual property. Senior law-enforcement and intelligence officials from both nations will evaluate how the two major powers respond to each other's requests for assistance fighting "malicious cyber activity," the White House said in a statement. The group will hold its first meeting before the end of the year, with subsequent meetings occurring twice per year.
United States

Car Industry "Buried Report Showing US Car Safety Flaws Over Fears For TTIP Deal" 181

schwit1 writes: The American auto industry has been accused of withholding a report that showed U.S. cars are substantially less safe than their European counterparts. It is alleged that releasing the study would hamper the drive to harmonize safety standards as part of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) deal. The research was commissioned by the car industry to show that EU and US safety standards were similar, but the research actually showed that American models are much less safe when it comes to front-side collisions. András Bálint, Traffic Safety Analyst at Chalmers, told the Independent: “The results of our study indicate that there is currently a risk difference with respect to the risk of injury given a crash between EU specification cars and US models. Therefore, based on these results, immediate recognition of US vehicles in the EU could potentially result in a greater number of fatalities or serious injuries in road traffic. The potential impact is difficult to quantify because it depends on a number of other parameters.”

Speaker of the House Boehner Announces Resignation 404

halfEvilTech writes: House Speaker John A. Boehner announced Friday morning that he will resign at the end of October. The Washington Post reports: "The resignation will end a nearly five-year reign as speaker, allowing House Republicans to approve a short-term government funding bill that will avert a shutdown of federal agencies. Boehner's hold on the speaker's gavel had grown increasingly unsteady amid threats from more than 30 Republicans that they would force a no-confidence vote in his speaker's position, which would have forced him to rely on Democratic votes in order to remain in charge. Several GOP members told The Washington Post that Boehner would step down from Congress Oct. 31."
United States

EU May Forbid the Transfer of Personal Data To the US 202

An anonymous reader writes: As the Snowden revelations have shown, personal data stored in the United States of America is not protected from the US government, be it through warrantless eavesdropping or national security letters. In light of this, the general attorney for the Court of Justice of the European Union has just issued an opinion requiring the US to be removed from the list of "safe harbors", where the transfer of personal data of European citizens is permitted. If the court follows his opinion, the change will have deep impact in the operations of large transnational Internet companies, between a US government that wants to keep on spying, and European authorities that will punish them if they let it happen.
United States

Obama Administration Explored Ways To Bypass Smartphone Encryption 142

An anonymous reader writes: According to a story at The Washington Post, an Obama Administration working group considered four backdoors that tech companies could adopt to allow the government to break encrypted communications stored on phones of suspected terrorists or criminals. The group concluded that the solutions were "technically feasible," but they group feared blowback. "Any proposed solution almost certainly would quickly become a focal point for attacks. Rather than sparking more discussion, government-proposed technical approaches would almost certainly be perceived as proposals to introduce 'backdoors' or vulnerabilities in technology products and services and increase tensions rather [than] build cooperation," said the unclassified memo. You can read the draft paper on technical options here.

Phone Passwords Protected By 5th Amendment, Says Federal Court 178

Ars Technica reports that a Federal court in Pennsylvania ruled Wednesday that the Fifth Amendment protects from compelled disclosure the passwords that two insider-trading suspects used on their mobile phones. In this case, the SEC is investigating two former Capital One data analysts who allegedly used insider information associated with their jobs to trade stocks—in this case, a $150,000 investment allegedly turned into $2.8 million. Regulators suspect the mobile devices are holding evidence of insider trading and demanded that the two turn over their passcodes. However, the court ruled, "Since the passcodes to Defendants' work-issued smartphones are not corporate records, the act of producing their personal passcodes is testimonial in nature and Defendants properly invoke their fifth Amendment privilege."
The Internet

US Rank Drops To 55th In 4G LTE Speeds 70

alphadogg writes: The U.S. has fallen to No. 55 in LTE performance as speeds rise rapidly in countries that have leapfrogged some early adopters of the popular cellular system. The average download speed on U.S. 4G networks inched up to 10Mbps (bits per second) in the June-August quarter, according to research company OpenSignal. That was an improvement from 9Mbps in the previous quarter, but the country's global ranking fell from 43rd as users in other countries enjoyed much larger gains.
United States

OPM Says 5.6 million Fingerprints Stolen In Cyberattack 93

mschaffer writes: The Office of Personnel Management data breach that happened this summer just got a little worse. The OPM now says that 5.6 million people's fingerprints were stolen as part of the hacks. The Washington Post reports: "That's more than five times the 1.1 million government officials estimated when the cyberattacks were initially disclosed over the summer. However, OPM said Wednesday the total number of those believed to be caught up in the breaches, which included the theft of the Social Security numbers and addresses of more than 21 million former and current government employees, remains the same."