CLIP-ings July 19, 2013Internet Governance
Journalist Records: Following an investigation into US Department of Justice policies earlier this year, Attorney General Eric Holder is proposing restrictions on government seizure of reporters' records except where that reporter is a subject of criminal investigation.
Government Cooperators: More often than not, Internet companies choose to cooperate with government surveillance programs due to the threat that federal agents may install their own surveillance devices on internal networks by court order if the companies refuse.
Cause for Road Rage? Police agencies use automated systems to track the movement of cars by taking pictures of license plates, and some keep those records indefinitely even if the owners never violate a law.
Traveler Data: Under the Terrorism Act 2000, UK border officials can download nearly all data from a traveler's cell phone, except for content of text messages and emails, and retain that data indefinitely even if the person is allowed to proceed into the country.
Information Security & Cyberthreats
New Toys: Chinese hacker gang DNSCalc now uses fake DropBox accounts to distribute malware-ridden PDF files, which point to a Wordpress site containing contact information for the command and control server, as its newest arsenal in distributing malware without exploiting any vulnerabilities.
Cyber Détente: After Chinese hackers peppered US commercial interests with attacks six months ago and the New York Times broke the story of the newspaper's own breach, the US is fighting back, even if with a rather passive approach to retaliation in the interest of foreign relations.
Import Ban: Microsoft filed suit against various government agencies for their failure to enforce an ITC ban on the importation of certain Motorola devices; Microsoft's complaint alleges that US Customs contravened the ITC's decision by accepting ex parte arguments from Motorola that allowed devices' entry.
Meet the Patent Troll: Erich Spangenberg is owner of IPNav and a professional patent asserter, who sued 1,638 companies in the last five years for patent infringement, and amassed a personal fortune in the process.
Free Expression & Censorship
Charitable Donation: Texas teenager, charged with making terroristic threats for posts he claims were in jest on an online message board following the Sandy Hook shooting, was recently freed after an anonymous donor came forward to post his $500,000 bail.
French Connection: Twitter bows to pressure and releases personal information to authorities from the accounts of French anti-Semitic tweeters and works with organizations to develop an easier reporting method for hateful tweets.
On the Lighter Side
Bowl and Arrow: Giant four-shot homemade crossbow fires toilet brush metal-tipped arrows, perfect for those days when your zombie hunting and toilet cleaning needs coincide.