Electronic Frontier Foundation

EFF Joins Nameless Coalition and Demands Facebook Kills Its Real Names Policy 216

Mark Wilson writes: Facebook has seen heavy criticism for its real names (or 'authentic identities' as they are known to the social network) policy. Over the last year, all manner of rights groups and advocates have tried to convince Facebook to allow users to drop their real name in favor of a pseudonym if they want. Now the Electronic Frontier Foundation is part of the 74-member strong Nameless Coalition and has written to Facebook demanding a rethink on the ground of safety, privacy, and equality. This is far from being the first time Facebook has been called on to allow the use of 'fake names', and the latest letter is signed by LGBT groups, freedom advocates, privacy supporters, and feminist organizations.

Twitter Shuts Down JSON API and Names New CEO 100

An anonymous reader writes: This month Twitter is closing down the JSON endpoint API which thousands of third-party software and plugin developers have depended upon for years. The alternative Rest API offers data which is aggregated or limited in other ways, whilst the full-featured share data offered by Gnip (purchased last year by Twitter) can cost developers thousands per month to access — in one case up to £20,000 a month. The general objective seems to be to either drive users back to the core Twitter interface where they can be monetized via the social network's advertising, or to regain lost advertising by converting open source data — currently utilized a lot in scientific research — into premium information, offering the possibility for well-funded organizations to gain reputations as Twitter barometers without ever needing to expose the expensive, accurate share figures. The company also announced today that co-founder Jack Dorsey would be the new CEO.

Nissan Creates the Ultimate Distracted Driving Machine 136

jfruh writes: More and more research is suggesting that it isn't safe to text or even talk on our phones hands-free while driving, but one brave car company is pushing full-speed in the other direction. Nissan has created a concept car in which every surface, including the entire dashboard and even the seats, is a display device. The car is the result of "extensive" surveys with the younger generation that came to the conclusion that, according to Nissan, young people "feel that time spent in a car should be time for connecting and sharing experiences with friends."

Soon-to-Be US Ed Chief Was Almost FB CEO's Ed Chief 30

theodp writes: Before President Obama announced John B. King as his pick to replace outgoing U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan (who is returning to Chicago, where his kids now attend a $30K-a-year private school), King was Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's pick to lead Zuck's failed $100 million "reform" effort of Newark's Schools. From The Prize: Who's in Charge of America's Schools?: "[Newark Mayor Cory] Booker asked [NJ Governor Chris] Christie to grant him control of the schools by fiat, but the governor demurred, offering him instead a role as unofficial partner in all decisions and policies, beginning with their joint selection of a 'superstar' superintendent to lead the charge. Booker's first choice was John King, then deputy New York State education commissioner, who had led some of the top-performing charter schools in New York City and Boston and who credited public school teachers with inspiring him to persevere after he was orphaned as a young boy in Brooklyn. [Mark] Zuckerberg and [his wife Priscilla] Chan flew King to Palo Alto for a weekend with them and [Facebook executive Sheryl] Sandberg; Christie hosted him at the governor's beach retreat on the Jersey Shore; and Booker led King and his wife, Melissa, on a tour of Newark, with stops at parks and businesses that hadn't existed before his mayoralty. But after much thought, King turned them down. Zuckerberg, Christie, and Booker expected to arrive at their national model within five years. King believed it could take almost that long to change the system's fundamental procedures and to raise expectations across the city for children and schools. "John's view was that no one has achieved what they're trying to achieve: build an urban school district serving high-poverty kids that gets uniformly strong outcomes," said an acquaintance who talked with King about the offer. "You'd have to invest not only a long period of time but tremendous political capital to get it done." King had questions about a five-year plan overseen by politicians who were likely to seek higher office."

Experian Breached, 15 Million T-Mobile Customer's Data Exposed 161

New submitter Yuuki! writes: The Washington Post reports that T-Mobile's Credit Partner, Experian, has been breached revealing names, addresses, Social Security numbers, birth dates and driver's license and passport numbers for any customer who has applied for device financing or even services from T-Mobile which required a credit check. Both parties were quick to point out that no no credit card or banking data was stolen as part of the attack. The attack started back in September 2013 and was only just discovered on September 16, 2015. Both Experian and T-Mobile have posted statements on their websites and Experian is offering credit for two free years of identity resolution services and credit monitoring in the wake of the breach.

Patreon Hacked, Personal Data Accessed 79

AmiMoJo writes: In a blog post Jake Conte, CEO and co-founder of Patreon, writes: "There was unauthorized access to registered names, email addresses, posts, and some shipping addresses. Additionally, some billing addresses that were added prior to 2014 were also accessed. We do not store full credit card numbers on our servers and no credit card numbers were compromised. Although accessed, all passwords, social security numbers and tax form information remain safely encrypted with a 2048-bit RSA key."

Yelp For People To Launch In November 447

HughPickens.com writes: Caitlin Dewey reports in the Washington Post that 'Peeple' — basically Yelp, but for humans will launch in November. Subtitled "character is destiny," Peeple is an upcoming app that promises to "revolutionize the way we're seen in the world through our relationships" by allowing you to assign reviews of one to five stars to everyone you know: your exes, your co-workers, the old guy who lives next door. You can't opt out — once someone puts your name in the Peeple system, it's there unless you violate the site's terms of service. And you can't delete bad or biased reviews — that would defeat the whole purpose. "People do so much research when they buy a car or make those kinds of decisions," says co-founder Julia Cordray. "Why not do the same kind of research on other aspects of your life?"

According to Caitlin, one does not have to stretch far to imagine the distress and anxiety that such a system will cause even a slightly self-conscious person; it's not merely the anxiety of being harassed or maligned on the platform — but of being watched and judged, at all times, by an objectifying gaze to which you did not consent. "If you're one of the people who miss bullying kids in high school, then Peeple is definitely going to be the app for you!," says Mike Morrison. "I'm really looking forward to being able to air all of my personal grievances, all from the safety of my phone. Thanks to the app, I'll be able to potentially ruin someone's life, without all the emotional stress that would occur if I actually try to fix the problem face-to-face."

Snowden Joins Twitter, Follows NSA 206

wiredmikey writes: Edward Snowden joined Twitter Tuesday, picking up more than a quarter of a million followers on the social network in just over two hours. Snowden followed a single Twitter account: the U.S. National Security Agency, from which he stole electronic documents revealing the agency's secret surveillance programs. "Can you hear me now?" he asked in his first tweet, which was quickly resent by Twitter users tens of thousands of times. In his second, Snowden noted the recent news about the planet Mars and then quipped about the difficulty he had finding asylum after the U.S. government fingered him as the source of the NSA leaks. "And now we have water on Mars!" he wrote. "Do you think they check passports at the border? Asking for a friend."

When Schools Overlook Introverts 307

Esther Schindler writes: A few years ago, Susan Cain's book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking seemed to give the world a bit of enlightenment about getting the most out of people who don't think they should have to be social in order to succeed. For a while, at least some folks worked to respect the needs and advantages of introversion, such as careful, reflective thinking based on the solitude that idea-generation requires.

But in When Schools Overlook Introverts, Michael Godsey writes, "The way in which certain instructional trends — education buzzwords like "collaborative learning" and "project-based learning" and "flipped classrooms" — are applied often neglect the needs of introverts. In fact, these trends could mean that classroom environments that embrace extroverted behavior — through dynamic and social learning activities — are being promoted now more than ever." It's a thoughtful article, worth reading. As I think many people on slashdot will agree, Godsley observes, "This growing emphasis in classrooms on group projects and other interactive arrangements can be challenging for introverted students who tend to perform better when they're working independently and in more subdued environments."

Intelligent System Hunts Out Malware Hidden In Shortened URLs 16

An anonymous reader writes: Computer scientists at a group of UK universities are developing a system to detect malicious code in shortened URLs on Twitter. The intelligent system will be stress-tested during the European Football Championships next summer, on the basis that attackers typically disguise links to malicious servers in a tweet about an exciting part of an event to take advantage of the hype.

Police Program Aims to Pinpoint Those Most Likely to Commit Crimes 243

An anonymous reader writes: Using profiling algorithms, police are tracking suspected criminals to prevent them from committing predicted crimes. We're one step from locking people up for what they might do. The New York Times reports: "The strategy, known as predictive policing, combines elements of traditional policing, like increased attention to crime “hot spots” and close monitoring of recent parolees. But it often also uses other data, including information about friendships, social media activity and drug use, to identify “hot people” and aid the authorities in forecasting crime."
United States

OPM Says 5.6 million Fingerprints Stolen In Cyberattack 93

mschaffer writes: The Office of Personnel Management data breach that happened this summer just got a little worse. The OPM now says that 5.6 million people's fingerprints were stolen as part of the hacks. The Washington Post reports: "That's more than five times the 1.1 million government officials estimated when the cyberattacks were initially disclosed over the summer. However, OPM said Wednesday the total number of those believed to be caught up in the breaches, which included the theft of the Social Security numbers and addresses of more than 21 million former and current government employees, remains the same."
Social Networks

Selfies Kill More People Than Shark Attacks 160

HughPickens.com writes: The Independent reports that so far this year more people have died while trying to take a 'selfie' than from shark attacks. So far, 12 people have lost their life while trying to take a photo of themselves but the number of people who have died as a result of a shark attack was only eight. Some recent selfie-fatalities: A 66-year-old tourist from Japan recently died after falling down some stairs while trying to take a photo at the Taj Mahal in India, a Mississippi woman was gored to death by a bison while visiting Yellowstone National Park, and in August a man trying to take a selfie was gored to death during a running of the bulls in Villaseca de la Sagra, Spain. Some groups have been trying to get on top of the wave. In June Disney banned selfie sticks in its amusement parks. And foreseeing the selfie crisis in a very specific way, New York State passed a bill in June 2014 to prohibit people from having their photo taken (or taking it themselves) while "hugging, patting or otherwise touching tigers."

Researchers Push For Access To Confidential Government Records of the Public 14

schwit1 writes: Researchers in a number of fields want access to the vast amount of private government data that is routinely gathered from the public. Nature reports: "In the past few years, administrative data have been used to investigate issues ranging from the side effects of vaccines to the lasting impact of a child's neighborhood on his or her ability to earn and prosper as an adult. Proponents say that these rich information sources could greatly improve how governments measure the effectiveness of social programs such as providing stipends to help families move to more resource-rich neighborhoods. But there is also concern that the rush to use this data could pose new threats to citizens' privacy. 'The types of protections that we're used to thinking about have been based on the twin pillars of anonymity and informed consent, and neither of those hold in this new world,' says Julia Lane, an economist at New York University. In 2013, for instance, researchers showed that they could uncover the identities of supposedly anonymous participants in a genetic study simply by cross-referencing their data with publicly available genealogical information."

Under Public Pressure, India Withdraws Draft Encryption Policy 35

An anonymous reader writes: The government of India withdrew its draft policy on encryption owing to public responses just a day after releasing the document. The Communications and Information Technology minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said — "I read the draft. I understand that the manner in which it is written can lead to misconceptions. I have asked for the draft policy to be withdrawn and reworded." While it is encouraging that the government recognized it mistake and withdrew, many fear that this is part of a larger problem when it comes to this government taking technology policy decisions. Recently, the government was in the dock for its lack of clarity on Net Neutrality.

Legislation Requiring Tech Industry To Report Terrorist Activity Dropped 30

itwbennett writes: John Ribeiro reports that 'the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee has dropped a provision that would have required Internet companies to report on vaguely-defined terrorist activity on their platforms.' The draft legislation, which was unanimously passed by the Committee in July, was widely derided by the tech industry for its technical difficulty and by users for invasion of privacy.

Facebook Dislike Hype Exploited In Phishing Campaign 54

An anonymous reader writes: A new Facebook scam is quickly spreading across the social network which plays on the announcement of the highly-anticipated 'Dislike' button. A new scamming campaign is now exploiting impatient Facebook users anxiously awaiting the dislike button addition, by tricking them into believing that they can click on a link to gain early access to the feature. Once the unsuspecting victim selects a link, they are led to a malicious website, which enables access to their private Facebook accounts and allows the hackers to share further scam links on their behalf.

India's Worrying Draft Encryption Policy 114

knwny writes: The government of India is working on a new National Encryption Policy the contents of which have raised a few alarms.Among other things, the policy states that citizens and businesses must save all encrypted messages (including personal or unofficial ones) and their plaintext copies for 90 days and make them available to law enforcement agencies as and when demanded. The policy also specifies that only the government of India shall define the algorithms and key sizes for encryption in India. The policy is posted on this website.
Your Rights Online

Ask Slashdot: How Do I Recover From Doxxing? 370

An anonymous reader writes: I've been doxxed on a popular forum, by one of the moderators no less. The forum owner doesn't care, the hosting company doesn't care. I'm getting bombarded by email and social media, even via GitHub. How does a person recover from this? I don't want to create a whole new identity or shut down all my web sites, social media etc. Can't really change my real name either, at least not without an incredible amount of hassle. The police don't care, and since the forum owner is on the other side of the world it's unlikely there could be any legal consequences, and even if they were they would probably only draw more attention to me. I've tried to clean up Google's search results about me. How do I fix this? What does a fix even look like?

Private Medical Data of Over 1.5 Million People Exposed Through Amazon 106

Gizmodo reports that a wide variety of information about 1.5 million people -- everything from police injury reports, doctor's notes about their patients, and social security numbers -- "all were inexplicably unveiled on a public subdomain of Amazon Web Services. Welcome to the next big data breach horrorshow. Instead of hackers, it's old-fashioned neglect that exposed your most sensitive information." From the article: Tomorrow, [Texas-based researcher Chris Vickers, who discovered the breach] will turn over the data to the the Texas Attorney General, where it will be destroyed. But that doesn’t mean Systema is in the clear. Vickers may not be the only person who downloaded those millions of records as they sat out in the Amazon cloud. We don’t know how long the information was available for everyone to see. But no matter what the timeframe, the neglect could be a HIPAA violation: Systema failed to protect the security of patients’ electronic medical information.