(MotherJones) – Last week the Wall Street Journal ran a terrific series of stories called “What They Know.” The general subject was personal privacy—or the lack of it—in the digital world, and the first article in the series explained how websites routinely track your movements on the web and collect a genuinely astonishing amount of personal information about you in the process. The Journal examined 50 sites using a test computer and discovered that these sites collectively installed a total of 3,180 tracking files—an average of 63 tracking files per site:
The state of the art is growing increasingly intrusive, the Journal found. Some tracking files can record a person’s keystrokes online and then transmit the text to a data-gathering company that analyzes it for content, tone and clues to a person’s social connections. Other tracking files can re-spawn trackers that a person may have deleted.
….Some of the tracking files identified by the Journal were so detailed that they verged on being anonymous in name only. They enabled data-gathering companies to build personal profiles that could include age, gender, race, zip code, income, marital status and health concerns, along with recent purchases and favorite TV shows and movies.
A full list of the sites they examined is here. The most intrusive were dictionary.com and msn.com, which installed over 200 tracking files each. The least intrusive were craigslist.org and wikipedia.org. Continue reading →
(BostonGlobe) – Federal investigators have identified several dozen Pentagon officials and contractors with high-level security clearances who allegedly purchased and downloaded child pornography, including an undisclosed number who used their government computers to obtain the illegal material, according to investigative reports. Video Link Here
(Cryptome) – Conficker is a computer worm which has been infecting PC’s on the Internet since November 2008. Worryingly, nothing is publicly known of its mission, because it has yet to do anything of great note. Conficker is building and maintaining a powerful network of enslaved computers, and machines infected with the worm can be made obey the whims of Conficker’s unknown commanders. Its advanced peer-to-peer networking design makes the program’s control network difficult for Internet providers to shut down. Today this strange worm constitutes a powerful overlay of control across an unknown vastness of Internet-connected computers. With the exception of distributing some small-time malware, however, it has been essentially dormant. Conficker is like an army, recruiting and training for two and a half years, with no history save for robbing the corner store. Continue reading →
(PaulWatson) – The Transportation Security Administration will block all websites that contain “controversial opinion” from its federal computers in the latest example of how Internet censorship is expanding in both the private and public sector as the federal government prepares to push through a power grab that will empower President Obama to shut down the world wide web with an emergency decree.
“The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is blocking certain websites from the federal agency’s computers, including halting access by staffers to any Internet pages that contain a “controversial opinion,” according to an internal email obtained by CBS News.”
The new rules came into force on July 1, and prevent TSA employees from accessing such content, though what is deemed “controversial opinion” is not explained. Undoubtedly, the ban list will include websites which specialize in criticism of the government and federal agencies. Continue reading →
(RussiaToday) – The personal computer may soon be not-so-private, with the U.S. and some European nations working on laws allowing them access to search the content held on a person’s hard drive… Continue reading →
(AP) – The U.S. should counter computer-based attacks swiftly and strongly and act to thwart or disable a threat even when the attacker’s identity is unknown, the director of the National Security Agency told Congress.
Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander, who is the Obama administration’s nominee to take on additional duties as head of the new Cyber Command, also said the U.S. should not be deterred from taking action against countries such as Iran and North Korea just because they might launch cyber attacks. Continue reading →
(PopSci) – If the idea of turning consumers into true cyborgs sounds creepy, don’t tell Intel researchers. Intel’s Pittsburgh lab aims to develop brain implants that can control all sorts of gadgets directly via brain waves by 2020. Continue reading →