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Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

Censorship

VK CEO Fired, Says Company Under Kremlin Control 122

Posted by timothy
from the finally-those-capitalist-pigs-oh-wait dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The embattled founder of VK, Russia's largest social networking site, said this week that the company is now 'under the complete control' of two oligarchs with close ties to President Vladimir Putin. In a VK post published Monday, Pavel Durov said he's been fired as CEO of the website, claiming that he was pushed out on a technicality, and that he only heard of it through media reports."
Education

L.A. Science Teacher Suspended Over Student Science Fair Projects 247

Posted by timothy
from the science-is-sometimes-dangerous dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A high school science teacher at Grand Arts High School in Los Angeles was suspended from the classroom in February, after two of his science fair students turned in projects deemed dangerous by the administrators. "One project was a marshmallow shooter — which uses air pressure to launch projectiles. The other was an AA battery-powered coil gun — which uses electromagnetism to launch small objects. Similar projects have been honored in past LA County Science Fairs and even demonstrated at the White House."
Censorship

Peoria Mayor Sends Police To Track Down Twitter Parodist 168

Posted by timothy
from the how-is-this-playing-in-peoria? dept.
New submitter rotorbudd (1242864) writes with an article at Reason about Jim Ardis, mayor of Peoria, Illinois, who ordered police to track down whoever was responsible for a parody Twitter account mocking him."Guess the good Mayor has never heard of the Streisand Effect. 'The original Twitter account had a total of 50 followers. The new account has over 200.'"
China

Chinese Man On Trial For Spreading False Rumors Online 53

Posted by Soulskill
from the rumors-on-the-internet-surely-you-jest dept.
hackingbear writes: "Qin Zhihui, a user of the Chinese Twitter-like website Weibo, has confessed in court to spreading false rumors about the Chinese government in the first public trial under a Chinese crackdown on online rumors. China has threatened criminal penalties against anyone who spreads rumors on microblogs that are reposted more than 500 times, or seen by more than 5,000 users. Qin invented a story that the government gave 200m yuan (US$32m) in compensation to the family of a foreign passenger killed in a high-speed train crash in 2011 in order to incite hatred to the government which gave much lower compensation to Chinese nationals. The Chinese government did have policies in the past to give more compensations to foreigners than locals in disasters, though those policies have been phased out in recent years. Online rumours are particularly pervasive in China, where traditional media is heavily regulated by the government and public trust in the media is low."
Government

More On the "Cuban Twitter" Scam 90

Posted by timothy
from the disrupting-the-moral-purity-of-the-cuban-autocracy dept.
We mentioned a few days ago the USAID-funded SMS social network that was connecting Cubans against the wishes of the Cuban government. Now Glen Greenwald's The Intercept has more on this kind of back-channel government intervention via what he characterizes as "the Internet propaganda bucket." Advocatus Diaboli (1627651) writes with an excerpt: "These ideas–discussions of how to exploit the internet, specifically social media, to surreptitiously disseminate viewpoints friendly to western interests and spread false or damaging information about targets–appear repeatedly throughout the archive of materials provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Documents prepared by NSA and its British counterpart GCHQ–and previously published by The Intercept as well as some by NBC News–detailed several of those programs, including a unit devoted in part to "discrediting" the agency's enemies with false information spread online.

The documents in the archive show that the British are particularly aggressive and eager in this regard, and formally shared their methods with their U.S. counterparts. One previously undisclosed top-secret document–prepared by GCHQ for the 2010 annual "SIGDEV" gathering of the "Five Eyes" surveillance alliance comprising the UK, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and the U.S.–explicitly discusses ways to exploit Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and other social media as secret platforms for propaganda."
Government

Federal Bill Would Criminalize Revenge Porn Websites 328

Posted by timothy
from the drawing-lines dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from a thought-provoking article at TechDirt: "My own representative in Congress, Jackie Speier, has apparently decided to introduce a federal 'revenge porn' bill, which is being drafted, in part, by Prof. Mary Anne Franks, who has flat out admitted that her goal is to undermine Section 230 protections for websites (protecting them from liability of actions by third parties) to make them liable for others' actions. Now, I've never written about Franks before, but the last time I linked to a story about her in a different post, she went ballistic on Twitter, attacking me in all sorts of misleading ways. So, let me just be very clear about this. Here's what she has said: '"The impact [of a federal law] for victims would be immediate," Franks said. "If it became a federal criminal law that you can't engage in this type of behavior, potentially Google, any website, Verizon, any of these entities might have to face liability for violations.' That makes it clear her intent is to undermine Section 230 and make third parties — like 'Google, any website, Verizon... face liability.'"
The Internet

Oxford Internet Institute Creates Internet "Tube" Map 56

Posted by samzenpus
from the follow-the-lines dept.
First time accepted submitter Jahta (1141213) writes "The Oxford Internet Institute has created a schematic of the world's international fiber-optic links in the style of the famous London Tube map. The schematic also highlights nodes where censorship and surveillance are known to be in operation. The map uses data sourced from cablemap.info. Each node has been assigned to a country, and all nodes located in the same country have been collapsed into a single node. The resulting network has been then abstracted."
Censorship

ZunZuneo: USAID Funded 'Cuban Twitter' To Undermine Communist Regime 173

Posted by timothy
from the fine-idea-to-me dept.
barlevg (2111272) writes "In a country where the government severely limits access to the world wide web, ZunZeneo, an anonymous SMS-based social network, drew more than 40,000 Cuban users at its peak, the Associated Press reports. On it, people shared news and opinions about music and culture. But what none of its subscribers knew was that the project was secretly funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), though a series of shell corporations and foreign bank accounts, and that its stated goal was 'renegotiate the balance of power between the state and society' in the Communist stronghold, hopefully leading to a 'Cuban Spring.'"
The Almighty Buck

Smartphone Kill-Switch Could Save Consumers $2.6 Billion 218

Posted by samzenpus
from the kill-it dept.
itwbennett (1594911) writes "Creighton University professor William Duckworth has released a report finding that kill-switch technology that remotely makes a stolen smartphone useless could save American consumers up to $2.6 billion per year — mostly from reduced insurance premiums. Duckworth estimated that Americans currently spend around $580 million replacing stolen phones each year and $4.8 billion paying for handset insurance. If a kill-switch led to a sharp reduction in theft of phones, most of the $580 million spent on replacing stolen phones would be saved. And a further $2 billion in savings could be realized by switching to cheaper insurance plans that don't cover theft."
China

China Prosecuted Internet Policeman In Paid Deletion Cases 26

Posted by Soulskill
from the who-censors-the-censors dept.
hackingbear writes: "In China, censorship is not just about politics; it's also a vibrant business. Police in Beijing have detained at least ten people, including employees at web giant Baidu and a web censor working at the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau (cached version), over allegations that they deleted defamatory online posts about companies and government enterprises in return for money, the Beijing News reports. The case was first surfaced when Baidu noticed and reported several of its workers' illegal activities. From 2010 to 2012, Gu, an ex-Baidu employee, is believed to have deleted over 2,000 posts on Baidu, 500 on news site Sohu and 20 posts on qianlong.com, with over 2 million yuan ($322,000) reportedly changing hands. While Gu can delete negative Internet posts for topics ranging from environmental issues to product quality problems on behalf of companies, he could not delete posts relating to his government clients. So he paid and asked Liu, a Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau web censor, to issue official orders to the web sites to remove the posts (Google translation of Chinese original). Liu was found to have accepted 770,000 yuan ($124,000) from Gu for deleting posts. He also received 150,000 yuan ($24,000) from other sources."
The Courts

U.S. Court: Chinese Search Engine's Censorship Is 'Free Speech' 284

Posted by Soulskill
from the filtering-the-internet dept.
jfruh writes: "You will probably not be surprised to learn that Chinese search giant Baidu censors a wide range of content, particularly political material deemed to be pro-democracy — and does so for users everywhere, not just in China. A group of activists filed suit against Baidu in New York for violating free speech laws, but the judge in the case declared (PDF) that, as a private entity in the United States, Baidu has the right to provide whatever kind of search results it wants, even for political reasons."
Twitter

Court Orders Turkish Twitter Ban Temporarily Lifted, Twitter Prepares Challenge 29

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the conveniently-too-many-days-to-comply dept.
redletterdave (2493036) writes "Less than a week after the Turkish government banned Twitter over failing to remove allegations of government corruption from the social network, a Turkish court on Wednesday suspended the ban, calling it 'illegal.'" Unfortunately, according to the BBC Twitter may remain blocked until after the elections: "The administrative court in Ankara issued a temporary injunction on Wednesday ordering the TIB to restore access to Twitter until it could deliver its full verdict on the ban. Turkish media reports suggested the ban would be suspended soon afterwards but a source in Mr Erdogan's office told Reuters news agency the TIB had 30 days to implement or appeal against the court ruling." In the meantime, Twitter is attempting to fight the ban directly.
Censorship

Turkey Heightens Twitter Censorship with Mandated IP Blocking 102

Posted by timothy
from the until-tomorrow dept.
The Net may have briefly routed around Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoan's DNS-based anti-Twitter censorship, but the minister's next move has been to mandate that Turkish ISPs block Twitter's assigned IP addresses. Reports Ars Technica: " This move essentially erases Twitter from the Internet within Turkey—at least to those people who don’t have access to SMS messaging, a foreign virtual private network or Web proxy service, or the Tor anonymizing network. 'We can confirm that Turkey is now blocking the IP addresses of Twitter after the previous DNS blocking technique proved ineffective,' said Doug Madory, of the Internet monitoring company Renesys, in an e-mail to Ars. A Turkish government webpage shows that there is an IP address block order in effect for 199.16.156.6, the primary IP address for twitter.com."
Social Networks

The Net Routes Around Censorship In Turkey 82

Posted by Soulskill
from the working-as-intended dept.
lpress writes: "Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has been embarrassed by social media over corruption, vowed yesterday to 'eradicate Twitter.' He followed through by cutting off access, but users soon found work-arounds like posting by email and using VPNs. The hashtag #TwitterOlmadanYaayamam (I can't live without Twitter) quickly rose to the top of Twitter's worldwide trending topics."
Censorship

Some Sites That Blue Coat Blocks Under "Pornography" 119

Posted by timothy
from the say-what's-under-that-blue-coat? dept.
Bennett Haselton writes this week with a dissection of the effects of one well-known, long-known problem with so-called Internet filters. "The New Braunfels Republican Women, the Weston Community Children's Association, and the Rotary Club of Midland, Ontario are among the sites categorized as 'pornography' by Blue Coat, a California-based Internet blocking software company. While the product may not be much worse than other Internet filtering programs in that regard, it reinforces the point that miscategorization of sites as 'pornographic' is a routine occurrence in the industry, and not just limited to a handful of broken products." Read on below for the rest.
Censorship

Full-Disclosure Security List Suspended Indefinitely 162

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the poking-the-hornet's-nest-for-12-years dept.
An anonymous reader writes with news that John Cartwright has been forced to shut down the full disclosure list. The list was created in 2002 in response to the perception that Bugtraq was too heavily moderated, allowing security issues to remain unpublished and unpatched for too long. Quoting: "When Len and I created the Full-Disclosure list way back in July 2002, we knew that we'd have our fair share of legal troubles along the way. We were right. To date we've had all sorts of requests to delete things, requests not to delete things, and a variety of legal threats both valid or otherwise. However, I always assumed that the turning point would be a sweeping request for large-scale deletion of information that some vendor or other had taken exception to.

I never imagined that request might come from a researcher within the 'community' itself (and I use that word loosely in modern times). But today, having spent a fair amount of time dealing with complaints from a particular individual (who shall remain nameless) I realised that I'm done. The list has had its fair share of trolling, flooding, furry porn, fake exploits and DoS attacks over the years, but none of those things really affected the integrity of the list itself. However, taking a virtual hatchet to the list archives on the whim of an individual just doesn't feel right. That 'one of our own' would undermine the efforts of the last 12 years is really the straw that broke the camel's back.

I'm not willing to fight this fight any longer. It's getting harder to operate an open forum in today's legal climate, let alone a security-related one. There is no honour amongst hackers any more. There is no real community. There is precious little skill. The entire security game is becoming more and more regulated. This is all a sign of things to come, and a reflection on the sad state of an industry that should never have become an industry.

I'm suspending service indefinitely. Thanks for playing."
The archives are still up on seclists.org, gmane, and Mail Archive. For now at least.
United Kingdom

UK Government Wants "Unsavory" Web Content To Be Removed 250

Posted by samzenpus
from the won't-somebody-please-think-of-the-children? dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The UK minister for immigration and security, James Brokenshire has called for the government to do more to deal with 'unsavoury', rather than illegal, material online. 'Terrorist propaganda online has a direct impact on the radicalisation of individuals and we work closely with the internet industry to remove terrorist material hosted in the UK or overseas,' Brokenshire told Wired.co.uk in a statement."
Censorship

Russia Blocks Internet Sites of Putin Critics 309

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-net-for-you dept.
An anonymous reader writes in with news about Russias censorship of internet sites critical of President Vladimir Putin. "Russia blocked access to the internet sites of prominent Kremlin foes Alexei Navalny and Garry Kasparov on Thursday under a new law critics say is designed to silence dissent in President Vladimir Putin's third term. The prosecutor general's office ordered Russian internet providers to block Navalny's blog, chess champion and Putin critic Kasparov's internet newspaper and two other sites, grani.ru and ej.ru, state regulator Roskomnadzor said. The move was the latest evidence of what government opponents see as a crackdown on independent media and particularly the internet, a platform for dissenting views in a nation where state channels dominate the airwaves. Ej.ru editor Alexander Ryklin called it 'monstrous' and a 'direct violation of all the principles of freedom of speech,' More at EFF, and in earlier stories at the The Huffington Post, and Deutsche Welle, which notes, 'This year's report by Reporters Without Borders on World Day against Cyber Censorship condemns Russia as one of the "Enemies of the Internet." "Russia has adopted dangerous legislation governing the flow of news and information and freedom of expression online," it concludes.'"
Security

CanSecWest Presenter Self-Censors Risky Critical Infrastructure Talk 66

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the security-through-obscurity dept.
msm1267 writes "A presenter at this week's CanSecWest security conference withdrew his scheduled talk for fear the information could be used to attack critical infrastructure worldwide. Eric Filiol, scientific director of the Operational Cryptology and Virology lab. CTO/CSO of the ESIEA in France, pulled his talk on Sunday, informing organizer Dragos Ruiu via email. Filiol, a 22-year military veteran with a background in intelligence and computer security, said he has been studying the reality of cyberwar for four months and came to the decision after discussions with his superiors in the French government. Filiol said he submitted the presentation, entitled 'Hacking 9/11: The next is likely to be even bigger with an ounce of cyber,' to CanSecWest three months ago before his research was complete. Since his lab is under supervision of the French government, he was required to review his findings with authorities.

'They told me that this presentation was unsuitable for being public,' Filiol said in an email. 'It would be considered as an [incentive] to terrorism and would give precise ideas to terrorists on the know-how (the methodology) and the details regarding the USA (but also how to find weaknesses in other countries)."
Censorship

Youtube and Facebook May Be Banned In Turkey, Again 57

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the cat-videos-considered-subversive dept.
Taco Cowboy writes "Istanbul (dpa) — Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is considering banning YouTube and Facebook after local elections at the end of this month, according to remarks carried by local media Friday. It may, or may not be related to the criticisms arising from (not-yet verified) leaked recordings of Mr. Erdogan's involvement with corruption. 'We will not let YouTube and Facebook destroy our nation. We will take measures, including closure,' said Erdogan, who has previously made comments against social media sites. YouTube had been banned in the country for two years and was recently unblocked."

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