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House Report Warns Congress Against Anti-Encryption Meaures

A bipartisan working group on Capitol Hill is urging fellow lawmakers to abandon plans to mandate backdoors to encrypted information at the behest of law enforcement. The group—comprised of members from the House Energy and Judiciary Committees—has spent the past six month studying the issue of encryption. Efforts included conducting interviews with digital security experts and law enforcement officials. Their conclusion: “Any measure that weakens encryption works against the national interest.” The analysis is likely to ruffle FBI Director James Comey, who, on behalf of the… Keep Reading

GAO Warns Next Census Could Be Phisher’s Paradise

The US Census Bureau is gearing up for its 2020 population count by deploying new technology to boost efficiency and cut costs. But a government watchdog is warning that the modernization efforts could leave the bureau and respondents vulnerable to cyber attacks. For the first time its history, some citizens will be able to respond online to the decennial survey. Census enumerators will also be using mobile devices as they collect demographics across the country, and the bureau is employing “in office” technology to cut… Keep Reading

Federal Banking Regulators to Subject Fat Cats to New Cybersecurity Rules

Prudential regulators announced on Wednesday that they intend to formulate new cybersecurity rules for the country’s largest banks. Three major agencies said that they plan on formally proposing the guidelines in January, and welcomed public comment, per standard procedure. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and the Federal Reserve are administering the push. In an advance notice of the proposal, they stated that efforts will focus on “cyber risk governance; cyber risk management; internal dependency management; external… Keep Reading

post office truck

GAO: Cyber Hacking Anxiety Could Reverse USPS Woes

A government watchdog analyzed how the internet is reducing Americans’ reliance on the US Post Office, and suggested that the downward trend of paper mail delivery may only be temporary. Postal experts interviewed by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) claimed that continued “electronic diversion” in mail delivery is likely to be short-lived, as more people get burned in cyberspace. “Internet privacy and security concerns could be contributing to a slowed rate of electronic diversion,” four of the officials interviewed by GAO stated. The oversight agency… Keep Reading

Hillary Clinton on her phone

Clinton’s “Instinct” is to Side with Law Enforcement on Encryption & Surveillance, Campaign Chair Said

Throughout the campaign, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has shied away from the heated debate between the government and tech companies over access to encrypted devices. An email, however, from her campaign chair, John Podesta, released by WikiLeaks, does offer a glimpse into how a President Clinton might approach the issue. “Her instincts are to buy some of the law enforcement arguments on crypto and Snowden type issues,” Podesta wrote in a message from November 20, 2015. Podesta’s email was in response to Democratic lobbyist… Keep Reading

electronic voting machines

Legislation Introduced to Designate Voting Machines as “Critical Infrastructure”

Reacting to concerns about the integrity of elections in the US, one Democratic lawmaker has put forward a measure to provide federal cybersecurity protections to all voting machines. Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) introduced the Election Infrastructure and Security Promotion Act on Wednesday. The bill would require the Department of Homeland Security to classify election systems around the country as “critical infrastructure.” The department identifies 16 critical infrastructure sectors in the US that receive enhanced cybersecurity assistance from the federal government. They include water treatment facilities, energy… Keep Reading

voter ballot example

“Critical” Protection Needed: Voter Registration Data Stolen in State Election Hack

As the Department of Homeland Security weighs adding new federal cyber security protection to election systems across the country, the FBI is revealing it may be too late for some voters. The bureau sent an alert this month to state officials, warning them to examine their systems for malicious actors, following the hack of two State Board of Elections databases. FBI sources informed Yahoo News that voter databases in Illinois and Arizona had been compromised by hackers who are believed to be foreign. According to… Keep Reading

polling place voters

Sen. Carper Calls on D.H.S. to Enhance Cyber Security for Voting Machines

The ranking Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security Committee is holding Secretary Jeh Johnson to his word on boosting cyber security for American voting machines. In a letter sent to the Department of Homeland Security chief, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) urged Johnson to designate election systems in the US as “critical infrastructure.” Such a label would afford them enhanced security oversight and protections from the federal government. During a breakfast with reporters last week, Johnson stated that the department was “actively thinking about election security,”… Keep Reading

new neutrality now in lights

Conglomerates’ Attack on Net Neutrality Reaches Next Step

Telecoms industry groups late last week launched their challenge of a major ruling that upheld President Obama’s 2015 Net Neutrality initiative. The trade organizations, led by the US Telecom Association (USTA), asked the federal appeals court in Washington to reconsider their case “en banc”–with every judge on the circuit weighing in. Federal appellate cases are litigated first before three-judge panels. In June, one of those panels ruled 2-1, in favor of Net Neutrality rules passed in Feb. 2015 by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). In a… Keep Reading

Al Franken, Like Many of Us, Has Questions About Pokemon Go’s Privacy Policy

A United States Senator is unimpressed with Pokemon Go’s “Gotta Catch ‘Em All” approach to data-mining. Al Franken (D-Minn.) wrote a letter on Tuesday to John Hanke the CEO of Niantic, which last week released the widely-popular mobile app-based game. Franken asked the executive a number of questions, mostly concerning “the extent to which Niantic may be unnecessarily collecting, using, and sharing a wide range of users’ personal information without their appropriate consent.” “From a user’s general profile information to their precise location data and… Keep Reading

Netflix and Jail? Federal Appeals Court Says Password Sharing is Forbidden by CFAA

A federal appellate court in San Francisco last week ruled that password sharing can be illegal, in a case that could have a chilling effect on access to content-streaming sites like Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBOGO and others. The circuit said in a 2-1 ruling that David Nosal violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) when he accessed proprietary data owned by his former employer. While the court concluded that the ruling shouldn’t be read too broadly—because, it held, Nosal was stealing trade secrets—it did… Keep Reading

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