How Motorola Helps Enable Government Surveillance

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Since 2017 Motorola Solutions has invested US$1.7 billion to support or buy companies that build police body cameras, train the cameras with facial recognition, find suspects in videos, and track vehicle movement via license plates.

The company provided a statement that described its plan to add artificial intelligence products, including object detection and “unusual motion detection,” to a package it sells to public safety agencies. The systems can help flag a potential trespasser or the appearance of smoke, the company said. The company emphasized that the new tools are not meant to make automatic policing decisions but to help officers decide how to act.

If Elizabeth Warren Wins Mark Zuckerberg Will Sue the Government

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Mark Zuckerberg is scared of Elizabeth Warren over her plan to break up Big Tech monopolies, and a leaked audio recording reveals a rant in which he pledges to sue the government if she wins. You know, just your typical Tuesday stuff.

You have someone like Elizabeth Warren who thinks that the right answer is to break up the companies … if she gets elected president, then I would bet that we will have a legal challenge, and I would bet that we will win the legal challenge. And does that still suck for us? Yeah. I mean, I don’t want to have a major lawsuit against our own government. … But look, at the end of the day, if someone’s going to try to threaten something that existential, you go to the mat and you fight.

White House Blocks Audit of its Offensive Hacking Strategy

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The White House is blocking an audit by Congress for its offensive hacking policy it has already used for cyberattacks against Russia and Iran.

The policy, which loosened the reins on military strikes against U.S. adversaries, has been withheld for more than a year from lawmakers — even those who regularly review classified material. Lawmakers from both parties are concerned the Trump administration could plunge the country into a cyberwar without congressional approval or oversight, or at the very least, provoke retaliation that causes serious damage at home.

The White House hacking strategy is: “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.

Amazon Has a Mole in the California State Assembly

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Perhaps using the word “mole” is hyperbole. But it’s deeply concerning that California Assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin is actively trying to kill California’s privacy act that would impede companies like Amazon Ring, when her husband is the COO for Ring.

Like other companies that collect vast amounts of consumer data, Ring — and its parent company, Amazon — has a financial stake in the details of California’s groundbreaking data-privacy law. Industry groups, including those representing Amazon, have been scrambling to change the law before it takes effect Jan. 1.

“We can talk about this later,”Jacqui Irwin said, side-stepping questions about a potential conflict outside her office last week. “It’s a little bit offensive there.”

The United States Sues Edward Snowden Over Book

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Edward Snowden recently published a book called Permanent Record. The United States filed a civil lawsuit against him and his publisher, saying that he violated nondisclosure agreements because he didn’t submit the book to the CIA and NSA for pre-publication review.

The United States’ lawsuit does not seek to stop or restrict the publication or distribution of Permanent Record. Rather, under well-established Supreme Court precedent, Snepp v. United States, the government seeks to recover all proceeds earned by Snowden because of his failure to submit his publication for pre-publication review in violation of his alleged contractual and fiduciary obligations.

India Just Passed a Law That Will Help Apple

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Apple India

As part of a new proposal, India said that single-brand retail companies like Apple can open online stores before they set up physical stores in the country.

This would allow Apple, which has yet to set up retail stores in the country, to start selling a range of products through its own online store. Currently, Apple sells its products in India through partnered third-party offline retailers and e-commerce platforms such as Amazon India, Flipkart and Paytm Mall.

India is Apple’s next—and perhaps last—country for big potential growth in the electronics market. Keep a close eye on this relationship in the future. I expect Apple to build data centers and other resources in the country, if they don’t have such things already.

Here's Why DARPA Wants Underground Tunnels

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Popular news yesterday was about how DARPA, a military research agency, put out a request for giant underground tunnels by August 30. The media made it seem like it was some mysterious, scary thing, saying that DARPA didn’t give reasons. But they actually did, and it’s called the DARPA Subterranean Challenge (SubT).

The SubT Challenge is organized into two competitions (Systems and Virtual), each with two tracks (DARPA-funded and self-funded). Teams in the Systems tracks will develop and demonstrate physical systems to compete in live competitions on physical, representative subterranean courses, and focus on advancing and evaluating novel physical solutions in realistic field environments. Teams in the Virtual tracks will develop software and algorithms using virtual models of systems, environments, and terrain to compete in simulation-based events, and explore larger-scale runs in simulated environments that explore significantly expanded scenario sizes and durations.

If we read between the lines, I think a safe assumption is that this is about developing and improving autonomous systems. Think laser mapping, self-driving vehicles, and indoor combat drones.

You Could be Fined up to $15,000 For Sharing Memes

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The Senate is moving a bill forward that could impose fines of up to US$15,000 for people who share memes.

The Senate Judiciary Committee last week approved the “Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act of 2019,” which “creates a voluntary small claims board within the Copyright Office that will provide copyright owners with an alternative to the expensive process of bringing copyright claims, including infringement and misrepresentation …. in federal court,” according to the Copyright Alliance.

“This new board, called the Copyright Claims Board (CCB), would allow recovery in each case of up to $30,000 in damages total, with a cap of $15,000 in statutory damages per work infringed,” according to the alliance, an advocacy group for the copyright industry.

Apple Blocks Spying Kazakhstan Root Certificate

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The Kazakhstan government is trying to spy on citizens with a government-issued root certificate for websites. Apple, Google, and Mozilla are blocking it in their browsers.

The root certificate in question, labeled as “trusted certificate” or “national security certificate,” if installed, allows ISPs to intercept, monitor, and decrypt users’ encrypted HTTPS and TLS connections, helping the government spy on its 18 million people and censor content.

Once installed, the certificate allowed the Kazakh government to decrypt and read anything a user visiting popular sites—Facebook, Twitter, and Google, among others—types or posts, including intercepting their account information and passwords.

White House Drafts Order to Investigate Alleged Social Media Left-Wing Bias

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The White House is drafting an executive order that would address alleged left-wing bias by social media companies, with an official saying:

If the internet is going to be presented as this egalitarian platform and most of Twitter is liberal cesspools of venom, then at least the president wants some fairness in the system. But look, we also think that social media plays a vital role. They have a vital role and an increasing responsibility to the culture that has helped make them so profitable and so prominent.

A WH official actually used the phrase “liberal cesspools of venom.” What a trashy administration.

DOJ Approves T-Mobile, Sprint Merger

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The U.S. Department of Justice has approved the T-Mobile-Sprint merger, but a lawsuit from 13 state attorneys is currently pending.

The merger can’t be finalized however until a lawsuit from 13 state attorneys general and the District of Columbia is concluded. A trial date is set for Oct. 7, though that date could be pushed as late as Dec. 9.

It’s also possible that the case could be settled out of court, since it revolves around a lack of competition in the national wireless space. With Dish being propped up as a replacement for Sprint, there may not be reason to continue.

Air Force Might Defend Area 51 With Force

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Over the weekend a Facebook event page to raid Area 51 has had over 400,000 people signing up. This is because of the belief that aliens or alien technology are held there. But the Air Force is prepared.

“[Area 51] is an open training range for the US Air Force, and we would discourage anyone from trying to come into the area where we train American armed forces,” McAndrews said. “The US Air Force always stands ready to protect America and its assets.”

Lawmakers Want Apple to Turn Privacy Talk into Action

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Although Tim Cook vocally supports privacy laws in the United States, Apple doesn’t actually support many of them.

A number of privacy advocates and U.S. lawmakers — who did not attend the meeting — say Apple has not put enough muscle behind any federal effort to tighten privacy laws. And state lawmakers, who are closest to passing rules to limit data sharing, say Apple is an ally in name only — and in fact has contributed to lobbying efforts that might undermine some new data-protection legislation.

This is something I’ve noticed as well. I think Tim and co should do more to support privacy legislation.

News+: Backpage.com Versus the Feds

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Backpage.com was a website modeled after the classifieds section of print. People could use it to post ads, and it also had a thriving section for adult ads. But the Feds seized it and arrested the owners. Christine Biederman wrote all about it.

The government indictment that triggered Lacey and Larkin’s arrests, United States v. Lacey, et al, includes 17 “victim summaries”—stories of women who say they were sexually exploited through Backpage. Victim 5 first appeared in an ad on the platform when she was 14; her “customers” made her “perform sexual acts at gunpoint, choked her to the point of having seizures, and gang-raped her.” Victim 6 was stabbed to death. Victim 8’s uncle and his friends advertised her as “fetish friendly.” The indictment accuses Backpage of catering to sexual predators, of essentially helping pimps better reach their target audiences.

This is part of Andrew’s News+ series, where he shares a magazine every Friday to help people discover good content in Apple News+.