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Campaigners say the chaos caused by the global IT outage last week underlines the risk of moving towards a cashless society.

Supermarkets, banks, pubs, cafes, train stations and airports were all hit by the failure of Microsoft systems on Friday, leaving many unable to accept electronic payments.

The Payment Choice Alliance (PCA), which campaigns against the move towards a cashless society, lists 23 firms and groups, at least some of whose outlets take only credit or debit cards.

Cash payments increased for the first time in a decade last year, according to UK Finance, which represents banks.

The GMB Union said the outage reinforced what it had been saying for years: that “cash is a vital part of how our communities operate”.

In March, McDonald’s, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Gregg’s suffered problems with their payment systems.


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The date for the introduction of the EU’s new entry-exit system has been pushed back again until November, allaying fears of long queues at the border during the October half-term holidays.

The launch of the new biometric checks for foreign travellers, including Britons, entering the EU, has been delayed from 6 October until at least 10 November, with many smaller airports yet to have facilities in place.

The move will again raise questions over the readiness of a system that has been long delayed from the planned 2021 start, with the French insisting the additional border controls should not be introduced before the Paris Olympics.

Under the entry-exit system (EES), non-EU citizens will have to register their biometric information – including fingerprints and facial scans – at the border, under the supervision of an EU officer, on their first visit.

There have been warnings of long queues at British points of entry – including the Port of Dover, and Eurostar’s St Pancras terminal – where the French and EU border is physically located in England, before passengers board ferries or trains.

The cross-Channel train operator said the process would add only a few seconds to border queues and not cause chaos, although passengers would have to ensure they arrived in time for the additional layer of biometric checks.


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Just last Monday the Southeast Asian nation of Vietnam began requiring face scans on phone banking apps as proof of identity for all digital transactions of around $400 and above.

Late last month, US cyber security firm Resecurity flagged similar concerns when it found a spike in leaked identity documents containing selfies of Singaporeans on the dark web.

Resecurity asserted that some were captured by cyber crime groups that run fake telemarketing or customer support scams and gather selfies so they can sell them to other miscreants.

“Using selfies for identity verification has been growing steadily for around the last five years, but the inflection point was during the pandemic when people were forced to engage digitally,” VP analyst at Gartner, Akif Khan, told The Register.

In his experience, businesses that rely on simple still selfies are typically smaller outfits that have experienced fraud and have implemented a selfie-based stopgap as they scramble to put a proper solution in place.

Khan thinks concern about identity theft from still images and picture IDs found on the dark web is overblown, as most entities will require liveness checks for opening bank accounts and other tasks.


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Europol published a position paper today highlighting its concerns around SMS home routing – the technology that allows telcos to continue offering their services when customers visit another country.

If a crime is committed by a Brit in Germany, for example, then German police couldn’t issue a request for unencrypted data as they could with a domestic operator such as Deutsche Telekom.

Under home routing, the current investigatory powers of public authorities should be retained and a solution must be found that enables lawful interception of suspects within their territory," reads Europol’s paper.

Two possible solutions were suggested, but the wording of the paper clearly favored a legal ban on PETs (service-level encryption) in home routing over making it possible for one EU member state to request the comms from another country.

There is one that was developed for EIOs but cops are concerned this could lead to scenarios where law enforcement efforts are dependent on foreign service providers, which isn’t ideal.

“With this position paper, Europol wishes to open the debate on this technical issue, which at present is severely hampering law enforcement’s ability to access crucial evidence,” it said.


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Officially (and drily) called the Digital Wallet Beta (Cartera Digital Beta), the app Madrid unveiled on Monday would allow internet platforms to check whether a prospective smut-watcher is over 18.

Once verified, they’ll receive 30 generated “porn credits” with a one-month validity granting them access to adult content.

While the tool has been criticized for its complexity, the government says the credit-based model is more privacy-friendly, ensuring that users’ online activities are not easily traceable.

It will be voluntary, as online platforms can rely on other age-verification methods to screen out inappropriate viewers.

It heralds an EU law going into force in October 2027, which will require websites to stop minors from accessing porn.Eventually, Madrid’s porn passport is likely to be replaced by the EU’s very own digital identity system (eIDAS2) — a so-called wallet app allowing people to access a smorgasbord of public and private services across the whole bloc.

“We are acting in advance and we are asking platforms to do so too, as what is at stake requires it,” José Luis Escrivá, Spain’s digital secretary, told Spanish newspaper El País.


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Australia’s Federal Police (AFP) has charged a man with running a fake Wi-Fi networks on at least one commercial flight and using it to harvest fliers’ credentials for email and social media services.

The man was investigated after an airline “reported concerns about a suspicious Wi-Fi network identified by its employees during a domestic flight.”

The AFP subsequently arrested a man who was found with “a portable wireless access device, a laptop and a mobile phone” in his hand luggage.

It’s alleged the accused’s collection of kit was used to create Wi-Fi hotspots with SSIDs confusingly similar to those airlines operate for in-flight access to the internet or streamed entertainment.

Airport Wi-Fi was also targeted, and the AFP also found evidence of similar activities “at locations linked to the man’s previous employment.”

AFP Western Command Cybercrime detective inspector Andrea Coleman pointed out that free Wi-Fi services should not require logging in through an email or social media account.


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Advances in artificial intelligence are leading to medical breakthroughs once thought impossible, including devices that can actually read minds and alter our brains.

Pauzaskie says our brain waves are like encrypted signals and, using artificial intelligence, researchers have identified frequencies for specific words to turn thought to text with 40% accuracy, “Which, give it a few years, we’re probably talking 80-90%.”

Researchers are now working to reverse the conditions by using electrical stimulation to alter the frequencies or regions of the brain where they originate.

But while medical research facilities are subject to privacy laws, private companies - that are amassing large caches of brain data - are not.

The vast majority of them also don’t disclose where the data is stored, how long they keep it, who has access to it, and what happens if there’s a security breach…

With companies and countries racing to access, analyze, and alter our brains, Pauzauskie suggests, privacy protections should be a no-brainer, "It’s everything that we are.


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As negotiations to end the long legal brawl between Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, and the United States reached a critical point this spring, prosecutors presented his lawyers with a choice so madcap that a person involved thought it sounded like a line from a Monty Python movie.

In April, a lawyer with the Justice Department’s national security division broke the impasse with a sly workaround: How about an American courtroom that wasn’t actually inside mainland America?

By early 2024, leaders in Australia, including Kevin Rudd, the ambassador to the United States, and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, began pressuring their American counterparts to reach a deal — not so much out of solidarity with Mr. Assange, or support for his actions, but because he had spent so much time in captivity.

But after a short period of internal discussions, senior officials rejected that approach, drafting a somewhat tougher counteroffer: Mr. Assange would plead to a single felony count, conspiracy to obtain and disseminate national defense information, a more serious offense that encompassed his interactions with Ms. Manning.

Instead, his initial refusal to plead guilty to a felony was rooted in his reluctance to appear in an American courtroom, out of fear of being detained indefinitely or physically attacked in the United States, Ms. Robinson said in the TV interview.

Nick Vamos, the former head of extradition for the Crown Prosecution Service, which is responsible for bringing criminal cases in England and Wales, believes the ruling might have “triggered” an acceleration of the plea deal.


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In communications with a federal confidential informant, the pair allegedly planned to “coordinate to get multiple [substations] at the same time.” Clendaniel pleaded guilty to conspiring to damage or destroy electrical facilities in May of this year.

But in a court filing, the ACLU attorneys say Russell has “reason to believe” that the government “intercepted his communications” and subjected him to a warrantless “backdoor search” by querying the Section 702 databases.

And less than a month after that initial query, we disrupted that US person who, it turned out, had researched and identified critical infrastructure sites in the US and acquired the means to conduct an attack.” The defense’s motion to compel the federal government to provide notice of use of Section 702 surveillance of Russell includes both the Politico report and Wray’s speech as exhibits.

The ACLU’s response, filed this Monday, notes that the government “does not dispute that Mr. Russell was subject to warrantless surveillance under Section 702” but instead claims it has no legal obligation to turn over FISA notice in this instance.

Legislators’ attempts to rein in the controversial surveillance authority failed, and multiple amendments requiring the FBI to obtain warrants to search or access Americans’ communications under Section 702 were voted down.

“Especially as recently expanded and reauthorized by Congress, this spying authority could be further abused by a future administration against political opponents, protest movements, and civil society organizations, as well as racial and religious minorities, abortion providers, and LGBTQ people.”


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“Civil rights guardrails are essential for consumer trust in a system that allows companies to collect and use personal data without consent,” the legal group said in a statement.

When first proposed in April by US House Rep Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and US Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), the APRA was sold as a way to give all Americans meaningful data privacy protections, something many have sought for decades.

The lobbying organization in April said it wanted to avoid the creation of “a federal floor” that might “encourage states to pass more restrictive privacy laws.”

“Moving forward without baseline civil rights protections would create blind spots and permit discriminatory data practices to remain undetected and unchallenged,” said Ruiz.

“This was the one comprehensive privacy bill that had a real chance of passing and now Congress has effectively gutted it as part of a backroom deal to appease right wing extremists,” Greer opined to The Register.

By removing crucial civil rights language, lawmakers have turned it into a bill that effectively endorses privacy violations and discriminatory uses of personal data.


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After last week looking at how FreeBSD 14.1 has improved performance over FreeBSD 14.0, here is an expanded cross-OS comparison now looking at how the new FreeBSD 14.1 stable release compares to the recently released NetBSD 10.0, the current DragonFlyBSD 6.4 release, and then CentOS Stream 9 and Ubuntu 24.04 LTS for some Linux comparison data points.

This round of benchmarking has a look at FreeBSD 14.1, DragonFlyBSD 6.4, NetBSD 10.0, CentOS Stream 9, and Ubuntu 24.04 LTS.

OpenBSD 7.5 booted fine from USB for installation but when it came to post-installation use when booting the installed system the display wouldn’t work nor was there any network connectivity and thus no ability to SSH into the system.

The same system hardware was used throughout all of the testing and was a System76 Thelio Major powered by an AMD Ryzen Threadripper 7980X.

This system was powered by the 64-core Zen 4 Threadripper 7980X, 128GB (4 x 32GB DDR5-4800) memory, 1TB Crucial NVMe SSD, and Radeon PRO W7900 graphics.

Each Linux and BSD operating system was cleanly installed and then tested the out-of-the-box performance in a variety of Linux/BSD-compatible tests, including the default compiler on each platform and other default packages.


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Google apparently accidentally posted a big stash of internal technical documents to GitHub, partially detailing how the search engine ranks webpages.

For most of us, the question of search rankings is just “are my web results good or bad,” but the SEO community is both thrilled to get a peek behind the curtain and up in arms since the docs apparently contradict some of what Google has told them in the past.

Google confirmed the authenticity of the documents to The Verge, saying, “We would caution against making inaccurate assumptions about Search based on out-of-context, outdated, or incomplete information.

The fun thing about accidentally publishing to the GoogleAPI GitHub is that, while these are sensitive internal documents, Google technically released them under an Apache 2.0 license.

That means anyone who stumbled across the documents was granted a “perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive, no-charge, royalty-free, irrevocable copyright license” to them, so these are freely available online now, like here.

Both bits of commentary from the SEO experts make them sound offended that Google would ever mislead them, but doesn’t the company need to maintain at least a slightly adversarial relationship with the people who try to manipulate the search results?


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"Users will be directed to the Chrome Web Store, where they will be recommended Manifest V3 alternatives for their disabled extension.

The most salient of these is the blocking version of the webRequest API, which is used to intercept and alter network traffic prior to display.

Under Manifest V2, it’s what extension developers use to stop adverts, trackers, and other content appearing on pages, and prevent certain scripts from running.

The new MV3 architecture reflects Google’s avowed desire to make browser extensions more performant, private, and secure.

Li acknowledged the issue by noting the ways in which Google has been responsive, by adding support for user scripts, for offscreen documents that have access to the DOM API, and by increasing the number of rulesets in the declarativeNetRequest API (the replacement for webRequest) to 330,000 static rules and 30,000 dynamics ones.

And by the beginning of 2025, when the API changes have been available for some time in the Chrome Stable channel, Manifest V2 extensions will stop working.


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The software giant on Monday revealed an upgraded version of Copilot, its AI assistant, as it confronts heightened competition from big tech rivals in pitching generative AI technology that can compose documents, make images and serve as a lifelike personal assistant at work or home.

The new features will include Windows Recall, enabling the AI assistant to “access virtually what you have seen or done on your PC in a way that feels like having photographic memory”.

Google rolled out a retooled search engine that periodically puts AI-generated summaries over website links at the top of the results page; while also showing off a still-in-development AI assistant Astra that will be able to “see” and converse about things shown through a smartphone’s camera lens.

ChatGPT-maker OpenAI unveiled a new version of its chatbot last week, demonstrating an AI voice assistant with human characteristics that can banter about what someone’s wearing and even attempt to assess a person’s emotions.

Though Microsoft has invested billions in OpenAI, the startup also rolled out a new desktop version of ChatGPT designed for Apple’s Mac computers.

The Apple CEO Tim Cook signaled at the company’s annual shareholder meeting in February that it has been making big investments in generative AI.


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Some iPhone owners are reporting that, after updating their phones to iOS 17.5, their deleted photos — some quite old — are popping up again, according to a Reddit thread that MacRumors spotted.

People reporting the apparent bug say that they’re seeing old photos appear in their Recents album after Monday’s update.

iOS does give users the option to restore deleted photos, but after 30 days, they’re supposed to be permanently removed.

The person who started the thread claimed that NSFW photos they had deleted “years ago” were back on their phone.

And a person claimed in a later post that “around 300” of their old pictures, some of which were “revealing,” appeared on an iPad they’d wiped per Apple’s guidelines and sold to a friend.

Computer data is never actually “deleted” until it’s overwritten with new 1s and 0s — operating systems simply cut off references to it.


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The Federal Trade Commission’s Office of Technology has issued a warning to automakers that sell connected cars.

Just because executives and investors want recurring revenue streams, that does not “outweigh the need for meaningful privacy safeguards,” the FTC wrote.

Based on your feedback, connected cars might be one of the least-popular modern inventions among the Ars readership.

Last January, a security researcher revealed that a vehicle identification number was sufficient to access remote services for multiple different makes, and yet more had APIs that were easily hackable.

Those were rather abstract cases, but earlier this year, we saw a very concrete misuse of connected car data.

Writing for The New York Times, Kash Hill learned that owners of connected vehicles made by General Motors had been unwittingly enrolled in OnStar’s Smart Driver program and that their driving data had been shared with their insurance company, resulting in soaring insurance premiums.


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Telegram CEO Pavel Durov issued a scathing criticism of Signal, alleging the messaging service is not secure and has ties to US intelligence agencies.

Durov made his remarks on his Telegram channel on Wednesday, pushing a variety of points against the rival messenger app, including alleging it has ongoing ties to the US government, casting doubt over its end-to-end encryption, and claiming a lack of software transparency, as well as describing Signal as "an allegedly “secure” messaging app.

The comments seem to have been inspired by a City Journal report that detailed the origins of Signal, which was kickstarted by a $3 million grant from the US government’s Open Technology Fund.

The report says that Maher was an “agent of regime change” during the Arab Spring, and communicated with dissidents in the Middle East and North Africa.

The CEO also claims that users’ Signal messages have popped up in court cases or in the media, and implies that this has happened because the app’s encryption isn’t completely secure.

It’s hard to say, but Durov may be making a reference to Sam Bankman-Fried, whose Signal messages were a key part of the trial that resulted in the ex-CEO being convicted.


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That’s what Robin Wilton, director of internet trust at the Internet Society, told us when we spoke recently about the state of E2EE in light of Europol becoming the latest international law enforcement group to urge regulators and tech giants to ditch the practice.

Law enforcement argues this leaves them unable to shut down serious crime – from human trafficking and drug smuggling, to child sexual abuse material (CSAM) production – because investigators can’t intercept and pore over people’s communications.

“If you look back to about 2015 and look at the proliferation of available end-to-end encrypted messaging services and apps since then … somehow the number of arrests for illegal images [should] have dropped off the cliff,” Wilton said.

In other words, the cops haven’t shown that encryption has impeded crime solving.

The claims made by Europol were “a lot of statements and assertions, but pretty thin on evidence,” Wilton said.

“Think of the number of connected things that we’re surrounded by now,” Wilton told us, adding that widespread use of E2EE is a necessity in the modern world.


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Translating human-readable domain names into numerical IP addresses has long been fraught with gaping security risks.

Microsoft on Friday provided a peek at a comprehensive framework that aims to sort out the Domain Name System (DNS) mess so that it’s better locked down inside Windows networks.

Adding cryptographic authentication and encryption to DNS often obscures the visibility admins need to prevent user devices from connecting to malicious domains or detect anomalous behavior inside a network.

As a result, DNS traffic is either sent in clear text or it’s encrypted in a way that allows admins to decrypt it in transit through what is essentially an adversary-in-the-middle attack.

Admins are left to choose between equally unappealing options: (1) route DNS traffic in clear text with no means for the server and client device to authenticate each other so malicious domains can be blocked and network monitoring is possible, or (2) encrypt and authenticate DNS traffic and do away with the domain control and network visibility.

Jake Williams, VP of research and development at consultancy Hunter Strategies, said the union of these previously disparate engines would allow updates to be made to the Windows firewall on a per-domain name basis.


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Hundreds have joined a UK class action lawsuit against LGBTQ+ dating app Grindr, seeking damages over a historical case of the company allegedly forwarding users’ HIV status as well as other sensitive data to third-party advertisers.

A total of 670 individuals have joined the class action, filed today in England’s High Court, and lawyers Austen Hays believe the number could rise into the thousands.

The discovery that the data may have been shared with analytics firms led to heavy criticism of the app maker, which at the time didn’t apologize for its alleged role in the furor, but did alter its privacy policy soon after.

Its then-CTO Scott Chen said Grindr would never sell the kind of sensitive data researchers specified to third parties, and reminded users that any information they themselves added to their profile would become public.

In addition to the claim brought to Grindr in the UK, the company is also facing flak in the US, as recently as October 2023, again for alleged data protection failings.

Chaya Hanoomanjee, managing director at Austen Hays and the lawyer leading the UK claim, said: "Our clients have experienced significant distress over their highly sensitive and private information being shared without their consent, and many have suffered feelings of fear, embarrassment, and anxiety as a result.


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In the latest iteration of the neverending (and always head-scratching) crypto wars, Graeme Biggar, the director general of the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA), has called on Instagram-owner Meta to rethink its continued rollout of end-to-end encryption (E2EE) — with web users’ privacy and security pulled into the frame yet again.

Currently, as a result of being able to scan message content where E2EE has not been rolled out, Biggar said platforms are sending tens of millions of child-safety related reports a year to police forces around the world — adding a further claim that “on the back of that information we typically safeguard 1,200 children a month and arrest 800 people”.

Pointing out that Meta-owned WhatsApp has had the gold standard encryption as its default for years (E2EE was fully implemented across the messaging platform by April 2016), Robinson wondered if this wasn’t a case of the crime agency trying to close the stable door after the horse has bolted?

But, most likely, it’s some form of client-side scanning technology they’re lobbying for — such as the system Apple had been poised to roll out in 2021, for detecting child sexual abuse material (CSAM) on users’ own devices, before a privacy backlash forced it to shelve and later quietly drop the plan.

If technology does exist to allow law enforcement to access E2EE data in the plain without harming users’ privacy, as Biggar appears to be claiming, one very basic question is why can’t police forces explain exactly what they want platforms to implement?

In an emailed statement a company spokesperson repeated its defence of expanding access to E2EE, writing: “The overwhelming majority of Brits already rely on apps that use encryption to keep them safe from hackers, fraudsters, and criminals.


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The US Constitution’s Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination does not prohibit police officers from forcing a suspect to unlock a phone with a thumbprint scan, a federal appeals court ruled yesterday.

The ruling does not apply to all cases in which biometrics are used to unlock an electronic device but is a significant decision in an unsettled area of the law.

Judges rejected his claim, holding “that the compelled use of Payne’s thumb to unlock his phone (which he had already identified for the officers) required no cognitive exertion, placing it firmly in the same category as a blood draw or fingerprint taken at booking.”

Payne conceded that “the use of biometrics to open an electronic device is akin to providing a physical key to a safe” but argued it is still a testimonial act because it “simultaneously confirm[s] ownership and authentication of its contents,” the court said.

The Supreme Court “held that this was not a testimonial production, reasoning that the signing of the forms related no information about existence, control, or authenticity of the records that the bank could ultimately be forced to produce,” the 9th Circuit said.

The Court held that this act of production was of a fundamentally different kind than that at issue in Doe because it was “unquestionably necessary for respondent to make extensive use of ‘the contents of his own mind’ in identifying the hundreds of documents responsive to the requests in the subpoena.”


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WordPress.com owner Automattic is acquiring Beeper, the company behind the iMessage-on-Android solution that was referenced by the Department of Justice in its antitrust lawsuit against Apple.

Reached for comment, Automattic said it has started the process of onboarding the Beeper team and is “excited about the progress made” so far but couldn’t yet share more about its organizational updates, or what Bagaria’s new title would be.

But going forward, the Beeper brand will apply to all of the messaging efforts at Automattic,” he said, adding, “Kishan … I’ve known him for years now — there’s not too many other people in the world that are doing what we do — and it was great to be able to combine forces with them.”

The deal, which closed on April 1, represents a big bet from Automattic: that the future of messaging will be open source and will work across services, instead of being tied up in proprietary platforms, like Meta’s WhatsApp or Apple’s iMessage.

Unlike Beeper Mini, which focuses only on iMessage, the main app connects with 14 services, including Messenger, WhatsApp, Telegram, Signal, Instagram DM, LinkedIn, Twitter/X, Discord, Google Messages and others.

In the meantime, Beeper supports RCS, which solves iMessage to Android problems like low-res images and videos, lack of typing indicators and encryption.


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If approved by a California federal judge, the settlement could apply to 136 million Google users.

The 2020 lawsuit was brought by Google account holders who accused the company of illegally tracking their behavior through the private browsing feature.

Google would need to address data collected in private browsing mode in December 2023 and earlier.

Google spokesperson José Castañeda said in a statement that the company is “pleased to settle this lawsuit, which we always believed was meritless.” Though the plaintiffs valued the proposed settlement at $5 billion, which was the amount they originally sought in damages, Castañeda said that they are “receiving zero.” The settlement does not include damages for the class, though individuals can file claims.

Part of the agreement includes changes to how Google discloses the limits of its private browsing services, which the company has already begun rolling out on Chrome.

Individuals can still file claims for damages in California state court, according to the settlement terms.


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Researchers have found a malicious backdoor in a compression tool that made its way into widely used Linux distributions, including those from Red Hat and Debian.

An update the following day included a malicious install script that injected itself into functions used by sshd, the binary file that makes SSH work.

So-called GIT code available in repositories aren’t affected, although they do contain second-stage artifacts allowing the injection during the build time.

In the event the obfuscated code introduced on February 23 is present, the artifacts in the GIT version allow the backdoor to operate.

“This could break build scripts and test pipelines that expect specific output from Valgrind in order to pass,” the person warned, from an account that was created the same day.

The malicious versions, researchers said, intentionally interfere with authentication performed by SSH, a commonly used protocol for connecting remotely to systems.


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Within minutes of walking through an Israeli military checkpoint along Gaza’s central highway on Nov. 19, the Palestinian poet Mosab Abu Toha was asked to step out of the crowd.

The expansive and experimental effort is being used to conduct mass surveillance there, collecting and cataloging the faces of Palestinians without their knowledge or consent, according to Israeli intelligence officers, military officials and soldiers.

Surveillance of Hamas in Gaza was instead conducted by tapping phone lines, interrogating Palestinian prisoners, harvesting drone footage, getting access to private social media accounts and hacking into telecommunications systems, Israeli intelligence officers said.

Robert Watts, Corsight’s president, posted this month on LinkedIn that the facial recognition technology could work with “extreme angles, (even from drones,) darkness, poor quality.”

Mr. Abu Toha, the Palestinian poet, was named as a Hamas operative by someone in the northern Gaza town of Beit Lahia, where he lived with his family, the Israeli intelligence officers said.

In a statement at the time, the Israeli military said Mr. Abu Toha was taken for questioning because of “intelligence indicating a number of interactions between several civilians and terror organizations inside the Gaza Strip.”


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The streaming business’ demise has seemed related to cost cuts at Meta that have also included layoffs.

The letter, made public Saturday, asks a court to have Reed Hastings, Netflix’s founder and former CEO, respond to a subpoena for documents that plaintiffs claim are relevant to the case.

One of the first questions that may come to mind is why a company like Facebook would allow Netflix to influence such a major business decision.

By 2013, Netflix had begun entering into a series of “Facebook Extended API” agreements, including a so-called “Inbox API” agreement that allowed Netflix programmatic access to Facebook’s users’ private message inboxes, in exchange for which Netflix would “provide to FB a written report every two weeks that shows daily counts of recommendation sends and recipient clicks by interface, initiation surface, and/or implementation variant (e.g., Facebook vs. non-Facebook recommendation recipients).

Meta said it rolled out end-to-end encryption “for all personal chats and calls on Messenger and Facebook” in December.

The company told Gizmodo that it has standard agreements with Netflix currently but didn’t answer the publication’s specific questions.


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More than half of Americans are using ad blocking software, and among advertising, programming, and security professionals that fraction is more like two-thirds to three-quarters.

More striking are the figures cited for technically savvy users who have worked at least five years in their respective fields – veteran advertisers, programmers, and cybersecurity experts.

“People who know how the internet works – because they work as developers or in security or in advertising – they’ve all over the years decided that it was a good idea to use a tracker blocker or content blocker or adblocker, whatever you call it,” said Jean-Paul Schmetz, CEO of Ghostery, in an interview with The Register.

“It’s pretty unanimous that people who work in this industry and know how these things function want to protect themselves.”

Schmetz said one surprising finding had to do with the extent to which people trust various companies that collect online data.

But truly the best way to support The Register is to sign up for a free account, comment on stories, share our links, and spread the word of our honest independent IT journalism.


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In 2016, Facebook launched a secret project designed to intercept and decrypt the network traffic between people using Snapchat’s app and its servers.

On Tuesday, a federal court in California released new documents discovered as part of the class action lawsuit between consumers and Meta, Facebook’s parent company.

“Whenever someone asks a question about Snapchat, the answer is usually that because their traffic is encrypted we have no analytics about them,” Meta chief executive Mark Zuckerberg wrote in an email dated June 9, 2016, which was published as part of the lawsuit.

When the network traffic is unencrypted, this type of attack allows the hackers to read the data inside, such as usernames, passwords, and other in-app activity.

This is why Facebook engineers proposed using Onavo, which when activated had the advantage of reading all of the device’s network traffic before it got encrypted and sent over the internet.

“We now have the capability to measure detailed in-app activity” from “parsing snapchat [sic] analytics collected from incentivized participants in Onavo’s research program,” read another email.


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The UK tech industry has deep concerns over government plans to amend a law dubbed a “snooper’s charter”.

The statement has been signed by more than a dozen bodies and individuals focused on the tech industry and human rights.

In January, Apple told the BBC ministers were seeking to pre-approve new security features introduced by tech firms - something it said amounted to “unprecedented overreach”.

The Investigatory Powers (Amendment) Bill will make urgent, targeted changes to reflect the reality of modern threats to national security whilst utilising the necessary tools to keep the public safe, underpinned by world-leading safeguards and oversight".

The signatories to the statement include the the Computer and Communications Industry Association, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, and the Internet Society, as well as human rights groups such as Liberty and Privacy International.

“We continue reiterating the critical need for rigorous scrutiny, to ensure all concerns are addressed, as is appropriate for a Bill with such significant impacts,” they wrote.


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Produced by Olivia Natt, Alex Stern, Diana Nguyen, Will Reid and Rikki Novetsky

Original music by Marion Lozano, Pat McCusker and Rowan Niemisto

As cars become ever more sophisticated pieces of technology, they’ve begun sharing information about their drivers, sometimes with unnerving consequences.

Kashmir Hill, a features writer for The Times, explains what information cars can log and what that can mean for their owners.

The Daily is made by Rachel Quester, Lynsea Garrison, Clare Toeniskoetter, Paige Cowett, Michael Simon Johnson, Brad Fisher, Chris Wood, Jessica Cheung, Stella Tan, Alexandra Leigh Young, Lisa Chow, Eric Krupke, Marc Georges, Luke Vander Ploeg, M.J. Davis Lin, Dan Powell, Sydney Harper, Mike Benoist, Liz O. Baylen, Asthaa Chaturvedi, Rachelle Bonja, Diana Nguyen, Marion Lozano, Corey Schreppel, Rob Szypko, Elisheba Ittoop, Mooj Zadie, Patricia Willens, Rowan Niemisto, Jody Becker, Rikki Novetsky, John Ketchum, Nina Feldman, Will Reid, Carlos Prieto, Ben Calhoun, Susan Lee, Lexie Diao, Mary Wilson, Alex Stern, Dan Farrell, Sophia Lanman, Shannon Lin, Diane Wong, Devon Taylor, Alyssa Moxley, Summer Thomad, Olivia Natt, Daniel Ramirez and Brendan Klinkenberg.

Special thanks to Sam Dolnick, Paula Szuchman, Lisa Tobin, Larissa Anderson, Julia Simon, Sofia Milan, Mahima Chablani, Elizabeth Davis-Moorer, Jeffrey Miranda, Renan Borelli, Maddy Masiello, Isabella Anderson and Nina Lassam.


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Safe Browsing is a Google API that’s free to use for non-commercial purposes, and allows client applications to look up websites in a database to see whether they pose a known risk.

The Enhanced version has offered more extensive protection using real-time URL lookups and machine learning, though it sends information to Google – which the tech titan claims “is only used for security purposes.”

What’s more, the Googlers observe, the size of the local list and the need to maintain connectivity for updates can present a challenge for devices that are resource constrained or have intermittent network access.

So in Chrome for desktop and iOS, and Android later this month, the Standard tier of Safe Browsing is getting privacy-preserving, real-time protection.

This requires some technical enhancement like the implementation of an asynchronous mechanism to prevent network calls from blocking page loads and degrading the user experience.

The system works by first looking in a local cache file to see if the website URL to be visited is known to be safe.


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Airbnb is prohibiting the use of indoor security cameras in its listings globally, the vacation homestay rental company announced on Monday.

While the majority of its listings — more than 7 million worldwide at the end of last year — don’t report having indoor security cameras, Airbnb said the policy change was made in an effort to prioritize the privacy of guests.

Previously, the company allowed indoor security cameras in common areas, as long as they were disclosed on the listing page before booking and clearly visible to guests.

“The update to this policy simplifies our approach and makes clear that security cameras are not allowed inside listings, regardless of their location, purpose or prior disclosure,” read the statement.

The revised policy — which takes effect on April 30 — also includes more thorough rules on the use of outdoor security cameras and other devices such as noise decibel monitors, which are required to be disclosed before guests book.

In a 2022 interview with NPR, Thorin Klosowski — who at the time was privacy and security editor at Wirecutter — also recommends unplugging “anything that looks kind of fishy, whether that’s an alarm clock or just a USB plug that seems random in the wall.”


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Based on a phone number, the federal prosecutors were asking for the user’s name, address, correspondence, contacts, groups, and call records to assist with an FBI investigation.

Whenever Signal receives a properly served subpoena, they work closely with the American Civil Liberties Union to challenge and respond to it, handing over as little user data as possible.

Whittaker stressed that this is “a pretty narrow pipeline that is guarded viciously by ACLU lawyers,” just to obtain a phone number based on a username.

Signal’s leadership is aware that its critics’ most persistent complaint is the phone number requirement, and they’ll readily admit that optional usernames are only a partial fix.

She gave an example of a person who faces severe threats and normally maintains vigilance but whose mother is only on WhatsApp because she can’t figure out the numberless Signal.

Signal engineers have discussed possible alternatives to phone numbers that would maintain that friction, including paid options, but nothing is currently on their road map.


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Spain has moved to block Sam Altman’s cryptocurrency project Worldcoin, the latest blow to a venture that has raised controversy in multiple countries by collecting customers’ personal data using an eyeball-scanning “orb.”

Mar España Martí, AEPD director, said Spain was the first European country to move against Worldcoin and that it was impelled by special concern that the company was collecting information about minors.

The Spanish regulator’s decision is the latest blow to the aspirations of the OpenAI boss and his Worldcoin co-founders Max Novendstern and Alex Blania following a series of setbacks elsewhere in the world.

At the point of its rollout last summer, the San Francisco and Berlin headquartered start-up avoided launching its crypto tokens in the US on account of the country’s harsh crackdown on the digital assets sector.

While some jurisdictions have raised concerns about the viability of a Worldcoin cryptocurrency token, Spain’s latest crackdown targets the start-up’s primary efforts to establish a method to prove customers’ “personhood”—work that Altman characterizes as essential in a world where sophisticated AI is harder to distinguish from humans.

The project attracted media attention and prompted a handful of consumer complaints in Spain as queues began to grow at the stands in shopping centers where Worldcoin is offering cryptocurrency in exchange for eyeball scans.


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The EU has designated six companies as gatekeepers, which it defines as large digital platforms providing “core” services like app stores, search engines, and web browsers.

Alphabet has a sprawling empire, stretching from a dominant search engine to a major web browser and popular mobile operating system, with many services interlinked to augment their power.

Apple has fiercely contested its services falling under the DMA, arguing that it actually runs five separate App Stores (which would be conveniently small enough to avoid the EU regulation) instead of a single platform.

While that gambit wasn’t successful, it did convince the EU commission that iMessage doesn’t qualify as gatekeeper service, avoiding requirements to make it interoperable with other messaging platforms.

The choice to lean on a paid option resulted in a lawsuit from the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC), which claimed the “very high subscription fee” meant users “do not have a real choice.” In January, Meta announced the gradual rollout of some other data protection features, including the ability to sever linked Facebook and Instagram accounts and manage them separately.

Microsoft’s Windows operating system falls under the DMA’s regulations, and that’s changing how much the company promotes — or lets users avoid — numerous other apps and services inside it.


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AI is “not open in any sense,” the battle over encryption is far from won, and Signal’s principled (and uncompromising) approach may complicate interoperability efforts, warned the company’s president, Meredith Whittaker.

“We’re seeing a number of, I would say, parochial and very politically motivated pieces of legislation often indexed on the idea of protecting children And these have been used to push for something that’s actually a very old wish of security services, governments autocrats, which is to systematically backdoor strong encryption,” said Whittaker.

” ‘Accountability’ looks like more monitors, more oversights, more backdoors, more elimination of places where people can express or communicate freely, instead of actually checking on the business models that have created, you know, massive platforms whose surveillance advertising modalities can be easily weaponized for information ops, or doxing, or whatever it is, right?

One specific such proposal is comes via the Investigatory Powers Act in the United Kingdom, under which the government there threatens to prevent any app updates — globally — that it deems a threat to its national security.

“And honestly,” she added, “I think we need the VC community, and the larger tech companies more involved in naming what a threat this is to the industry, and pushing back.”

But of course Signal can’t interoperate with another messaging platform, without them raising their privacy bar significantly,” even ones like WhatsApp that support end-to-end encryption and already partly utilize the protocol.


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Starting with the next software update, though, the company will begin collecting and aggregating “anonymized data about… device usage” from Quest users.

That anonymized data will be used “for things like building better experiences and improving Meta Quest products for everyone,” the company writes.

A linked help page on data sharing clarifies that Meta can collect anonymized versions of any of the usage data included in the “Supplemental Meta Platforms Technologies Privacy Policy,” which was last updated in October.

That document lists a host of personal information that Meta can collect from your headset, including:

The anonymized collection data is used in part to “analyz[e] device performance and reliability” to “improve the hardware and software that powers your experiences with Meta VR Products.”

Those who use a legacy Oculus account are subject to a separate privacy policy that describes a similar but more limited set of data-collection practices.


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Anyone living in the modern world has grown familiar with diminishing privacy amid a surge security cameras, trackers built into smartphones, facial recognition systems, drones and other forms of digital monitoring.

“This is a giant camera in the sky for any government to use at any time without our knowledge,” said Jennifer Lynch, general counsel of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, who in 2019 urged civil satellite regulators to address this issue.

“It’s taking us one step closer to a Big-Brother-is-watching kind of world,” added Jonathan C. McDowell, a Harvard astrophysicist who publishes a monthly report on civilian and military space developments.

As predicted, pictures from orbit have continually improved in quality, aiding news reporting on wars, refugees, secret bases, human rights abuses, environmental destruction, natural disasters and military buildups.

Albedo’s website says its imagery can help governments “monitor hotspots, eliminate uncertainty, and mobilize with speed.” The company, in listing its core values, says it supports “data-driven investigative journalism” among other activities that “ensure we improve the world we live in.”

Illustrating the fleet’s observational powers, Mr. Tri, the Albedo co-founder, said the space cameras could detect such vehicle details as sunroofs, racing stripes and items in a flatbed truck.


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Last week, co-founder David Crosby said that “so far” the company had identified 14 people who were able to briefly see into a stranger’s property because they were shown an image from someone else’s Wyze camera.

The revelation came from an email sent to customers entitled “An Important Security Message from Wyze,” in which the company copped to the breach and apologized, while also attempting to lay some of the blame on its web hosting provider AWS.

It also claims that all impacted users have been notified of the security breach, and that over 99 percent of all of its customers weren’t affected.

One Reddit user, who described herself as a “23 year old girl” was getting ready for work during the breach, described herself as “disgusted and upset” and said she would be deleting her account.

Wyze is scrambling to fix things by adding an additional layer of verification before users can view images or footage from the Events tab.

“We have also modified our system to bypass caching for checks on user-device relationships until we identify new client libraries that are thoroughly stress tested for extreme events like we experienced on Friday,” the company’s email reads.


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