New Acting Attorney General Part Of A Patent Scam Company Recently Shut Down By The FTC And Fined Millions | Techdirt

Whitaker played a key role in a patent promotion scam company that was recently fined millions of dollars by the FTC. And, Whitaker apparently used his former job as an Assistant US Attorney to try to intimidate an unhappy “customer” of this firm away from filing a Better Business Bureau complaint. In other words, not only is Whitaker associated with a scammy patent marketing company, he also abused his former title in an effort to create a chilling effect on someone’s speech.

Source: New Acting Attorney General Part Of A Patent Scam Company Recently Shut Down By The FTC And Fined Millions | Techdirt

FTC: Warner Bros. paid YouTubers for positive reviews | Ars Technica


Studio gets a slap on the wrist and must disclose sponsored content in the future.

Source: FTC: Warner Bros. paid YouTubers for positive reviews | Ars Technica

AT&T blasts cable mergers, says cable companies should compete instead | Ars Technica

But our merger with DirecTV was totally fine, AT&T says.

Source: AT&T blasts cable mergers, says cable companies should compete instead | Ars Technica

Angry Austrian could turn Europe against the US – thanks to data

In a David versus Goliath battle, an Austrian law student may topple the biggest EU-US data sharing deal when he gets his day in court in a couple of weeks’ time.

Max Schrems, who set up the Europe v Facebook group, alleges that Facebook violated the so-called safe harbour agreement which protects EU citizens’ privacy by transferring personal user data to the US National Security Agency (NSA).

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) will hear details of the case on 24 March.

Schrems first appealed to the Irish Data Protection Commissioner to investigate his claims. He was refused on the grounds that Facebook was signed up to the safe harbour agreement and so could transfer data to the US with impunity.

Under European data protection law, companies can only transfer consumer data out of the EU to countries where there is an “adequate” level of privacy protection. As the US does not meet this adequacy standard, the European Commission and the US authorities came up with a workaround and, in 2000, set up the voluntary safe harbour framework whereby companies promise to protect European citizens’ data.

These promises are enforced by the US Federal Trade Commission – but since the Snowden revelations, there has been doubt these promises are worth the paper they’re written on.

Link (The Register)

The CIA Campaign to Steal Apple’s Secrets

RESEARCHERS WORKING with the Central Intelligence Agency have conducted a multi-year, sustained effort to break the security of Apple’s iPhones and iPads, according to top-secret documents obtained by The Intercept.

The security researchers presented their latest tactics and achievements at a secret annual gathering, called the “Jamboree,” where attendees discussed strategies for exploiting security flaws in household and commercial electronics. The conferences have spanned nearly a decade, with the first CIA-sponsored meeting taking place a year before the first iPhone was released.

By targeting essential security keys used to encrypt data stored on Apple’s devices, the researchers have sought to thwart the company’s attempts to provide mobile security to hundreds of millions of Apple customers across the globe. Studying both “physical” and “non-invasive” techniques, U.S. government-sponsored research has been aimed at discovering ways to decrypt and ultimately penetrate Apple’s encrypted firmware. This could enable spies to plant malicious code on Apple devices and seek out potential vulnerabilities in other parts of the iPhone and iPad currently masked by encryption.

The CIA declined to comment for this story.

The security researchers also claimed they had created a modified version of Apple’s proprietary software development tool, Xcode, which could sneak surveillance backdoors into any apps or programs created using the tool. Xcode, which is distributed by Apple to hundreds of thousands of developers, is used to create apps that are sold through Apple’s App Store.

The modified version of Xcode, the researchers claimed, could enable spies to steal passwords and grab messages on infected devices. Researchers also claimed the modified Xcode could “force all iOS applications to send embedded data to a listening post.” It remains unclear how intelligence agencies would get developers to use the poisoned version of Xcode.

Researchers also claimed they had successfully modified the OS X updater, a program used to deliver updates to laptop and desktop computers, to install a “keylogger.”

Link (The Intercept)