And so much more. . .
We begin with the most fundamental sort of domestic InSecurity, via the Oakland Tribune:
Criminalization of homeless expensive, inhumane and ineffective, UC law team says
When homelessness increased nationwide in the early 1980s, California cities responded with ever more laws that unfairly punished the poor and failed to improve the problem, according to a critical UC Berkeley report released Thursday.
Over the past 30 years, cities statewide “have been engaged in a race to the bottom by increasing criminalization, hoping to drive homeless people away and make them someone else’s problem,” the study says.
The 53-page report, authored by the UC Berkeley School of Law Policy Advocacy Clinic, says the rising number of anti-homeless laws has been costly for taxpayers and brought more hardship than help to the state’s most vulnerable residents.
From TheLocal.fr, sounding the intolerance alarm across the Atlantic:
‘France must combat rising racism urgently’
A damning report from the Council of Europe has concluded that the French public are becoming more racist and more intolerant towards minorities, including Muslims and Jews and that there was an urgent need to combat it.
France has “issues” with intolerance, racism, and respect for the human rights of migrants, according to a new report by the Council of Europe, an independent body which aims to improve cooperation between European countries.
The Council’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muiznieks, based his findings on a visit in September last year – long before the Charlie Hebdo attacks that left the nation traumatized.
From TheLocal.at, a case of Austrian mistaken identity:
Suspect ‘Isis’ house turns out to be drug den
Armed police were called to a council flat on Vienna’s Margaretengürtel on Wednesday after a bailiff reported having seen an Isis-like flag with Arabic writing in the apartment.
The bailiff had entered the apartment because the tenants had not paid a mobile phone bill – but he quickly retreated and called the police when he saw what he thought was an Isis-flag in the hallway.
When armed police and sniffer dogs entered the empty apartment they found that rather than harbouring suspected extremists it appeared to be an amateur drugs lab, where the tenants may have been trying to manufacture crystal meth.
A report in the Heute tabloid said that police found Isis-flags, swords and machines guns in the apartment, but Vienna police spokesman Thomas Keiblinger said this was nonsense and that there was no evidence that the tenants had been radicalized or had anything to do with Isis. The flag with Arabic script was religious rather than Islamist, he said.
From Network World, hacking the world:
NSA, UK’s GCHQ reportedly hacked encryption of SIM card maker
U.S. and U.K. intelligence agencies have reportedly hacked into the computer network of giant SIM card maker Gemalto and taken smartphone encryption keys potentially used by customers of hundreds of mobile phone carriers worldwide.
The Gemalto hack, by the U.S. National Security Agency and the U.K. Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), allowed the two spy agencies to monitor a large portion of the world’s mobile phone voice and data traffic, according to a story in The Intercept.
The hack was detailed in a 2010 GCHQ document leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, the story said.
From the Guardian, a petition for British spooky disclosure:
Thousands sign petition to discover if GCHQ spied on them
- Privacy International campaign comes after tribunal rules that sharing between US and UK of intercepted communications was unlawful
More than 6,000 people in 24 hours have signed up to a campaign to discover if Britain’s communications intelligence agency, GCHQ, has illegally spied on them.
Privacy International launched the campaign in the wake of a court ruling this month that said regulations governing the sharing between Britain and the US of electronic communications intercepted in bulk breached human rights law for seven years until last December.
Privacy International says the decision by the investigatory powers tribunal allows anyone in the world to ask GCHQ if the US unlawfully shared their individual records with Britain. “Did GCHQ illegally spy on you?Have you ever made a phone call, sent an email, or, you know, used the internet? Of course you have,” says the campaign.
Homeland Security News Wire covers the universalized panopticon:
- Wireless sensors transform real-time monitoring infrastructure
Small wireless computing devices, ranging from the size of a matchbox to the size of a dime, are going to change the way Florida monitors its water quality, sea level rise, hurricanes, agriculture, aquaculture, and even its aging senior population. The types of sensing devices developed by computer scientist Jason Hallstrom, Ph.D., who recently joined Florida Atlantic University, can collect information about the surrounding environment and transmit that information to cloud-based computing systems that store, analyze and present that information to educators, researchers and decision-makers. Deployable at massive scales, the technology represents a paradigm shift in how our world is observed and managed.
“This is a thrilling time to join Florida Atlantic University,” said Hallstrom. “The university is on an amazing trajectory, driven by capabilities and opportunities that span every college, at every campus. There is incredible capacity to build interdisciplinary teams here, teams that are going to have a fundamental impact on the state and the nation.”
An FAU release reports that Hallstrom, a professor in FAU’s College of Engineering and Computer Science, will serve as director of the Institute for Sensing and Embedded Network Systems Engineering at FAU (ISENSE@FAU). ISENSE will serve as an interdisciplinary research hub, drawing talent from both within and outside FAU to tackle grand challenge problems head-on through novel hardware, software and ideas.
From El País, automotive panopticon disclosure in Spain:
Spanish highway agency to reveal locations of all speed cameras
- Motorists to be given early warning of upcoming traffic controls, both fixed and mobile
Drivers on Spanish roads will soon know the location of all speed cameras and speed traps and receive early warnings of their presence, the head of Spain’s DGT national highway agency announced on Wednesday.
“Our 2014 figures consolidate us as one of the safest countries in terms of moving around,” said DGT director general María Segui during a congressional appearance.
But the announcement follows news that the decline in road deaths appears to have bottomed out after a decade of sharp drops: 1,131 people died in traffic accidents last year compared with 1,134 in 2013.
From Nextgov, a cell for your cell?:
Justice, DHS Quarantine Smartphones Returning from Abroad
Officials at the departments of Justice and Homeland Security typically expect employees’ smartphones will be bugged when they travel overseas. So, they are experimenting with various ways to neutralize foreign spy gear.
For years, the FBI has warned government and corporate executives not to use hotel Wi-Fi connections, because of reports that foreign travelers were unknowingly downloading spyware.
When DHS personnel travel, “we understand you go there, you go to Ukraine, you come back, there’s a good chance that the BlackBerry or any other device, Androids, iOS, whatever, is probably owned. We get that,” said Vincent Sritapan, a cybersecurity division program manager at the DHS Science and Technology Directorate.
To contain the damage, Homeland Security limits what employees can see on their mobile device overseas, and “when it comes back, it’s usually quarantined,” he added.
From the Yomiuri Shimbun, lost in translation:
Documents leaked through free online translation service
Documents, including customers’ information of a megabank, have been posted on the Internet without owners’ knowledge after they were translated through a free online translation service, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.
There are at least 30 cases of e-mail leaks in which the senders of the information were identified. They include e-mails between a ministry’s official and a major home appliance maker’s employee as well as e-mails from an automobile manufacturer to the company’s affiliate in Indonesia.
This online translation service is not that of major website operators such as Google, Yahoo and Excite. However, about 60 languages, including those spoken in Southeast Asian countries, are translated through the service.
From BBC News, hacked in the factory:
Lenovo taken to task over ‘malicious’ adware
Computer maker Lenovo has been forced to remove hidden adware that it was shipping on its laptops and PCs after users expressed anger.
The adware – dubbed Superfish – was potentially compromising their security, said experts.
The hidden software was also injecting adverts on to browsers using techniques more akin to malware, they added.
Lenovo faces questions about why and for how long it was pre-installed on machines – and what data was collected.
A hacking conviction via Network World:
Swedish man pleads guilty to peddling Blackshades malware
A Swedish man pleaded guilty Wednesday to peddling one of the most prevalent spying programs called Blackshades that was widely used by the criminal underground.
Alex Yucel, 24, pleaded guilty to one count of distributing malicious software. He could face a maximum of 10 years in prison, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York said. He is expected to be sentenced on May 22.
BlackShades, a remote access trojan, was marketed by its developers as a program for legitimate computer monitoring but was mostly used for stealing payment card data, recording a computer’s keystrokes and secretly controlling webcams. It was sold for between US$40 to $100.
A corporate snooping limitation: in Germany, via Deutsche Welle:
In ‘sick-leave secretary’ ruling, federal court limits spying on employees
- A secretary on sick-leave for two months who was spied on has won a suit against her employer in Germany’s highest labor court. The ruling defines when detectives can be used to monitor employees.
Only under very limited circumstances can German companies spy on their workers, said judges of the Federal Court of Labor on Thursday, in a case that weighed a complaint by a secretary who claimed she had been unlawfully spied on.
“Only when an employer’s suspicions of a breach of duty are concrete and based on fact can a detective be used to monitor an employee,” the judges in Erfurt said on Thursday.
Specifically, the judges said that the secretary – who had been on sick leave – at a small metal parts plant in the western German city of Münster had been unlawfully spied on; her boss, they said, hadn’t possessed concrete justification for hiring a private detective to determine the veracity of her claims.
From the TheLocal.no, a Norse alarm:
Norway hunts suspected suicide bomber
Norway’s intelligence services have put out an international alert warning about a female Norwegian Islamic militant suspected of planning a suicide attack in Europe.
According to Sweden’s Göteborgs Tidning newspaper, Norway’s Police Security Service (PST) has put out an “orange notice” warning that the woman, who has they believe has received weapons training in Syria, is now back in Europe.
According to the newspaper, the agency had received a tip-off from friends of the woman, who said that she may have had weapons training in Syria, and could be planning a suicide attack.
The woman has not been seen by her relatives for more than two months and there are fears that she may have crossed the border into Sweden. Swedish police and security services have been asked to keep an eye out for the potential terror suspect and to pass on any relevant information to authorities in Norway.
Danish announces a $150 million in new anti-terror security measures, via TheLocal.dk:
Denmark announces new anti-terror initiatives
The Danish government will spend nearly one billion kroner over the next four years to better defend the nation against terror, the prime minister announced Thursday.
In the aftermath of the twin shootings over the weekend that shocked the nation, Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt on Thursday presented a new 12-point plan to combat terror.
“Our security level is high. Preparedness is high. But we are also challenged. Militant Islamists are constantly developing new ways of challenging our security,” the PM said at a press conference where she was joined by her ministers of justice, defence and the interior.
The plan will enable the intelligence services to better monitor Danes travelling abroad to fight with Isis, while also targeting the radicalisation of prisoners in jails.
And from Deutsche Welle, a comforting embrace:
Norwegian Muslims show solidarity with Jewish shooting victims
- Norwegian Muslims are planning to form a “ring of peace” around a synagogue in the country’s capital, Oslo. Deadly shootings targeting free speech and the Jewish community in Copenhagen last week sparked the idea.
Young Muslims in Norway announced an event to a show of solidarity with Jews across Europe, as well as with their neighbors in Denmark: building a peace ring around a synagogue.
On a Facebook invitation for the event, to be held on Saturday, organizers say “Muslims want to show that we strongly reject any type of anti-Semitism and that we are here to support them.”
By Thursday, around 1,500 people had accepted the invitation.
The head of Oslo’s Jewish community, Ervin Kohn, told Norwegian broadcaster NRK he welcomed the idea, and hoped lots of people would turn up.
After the jump, Turkey alarms NATO with a possible Chinese missile deal, Washington reveals an Iraqi military move, Western doubts over more military involvement in Libya, Washington sets parmenters, and a pro-ISIS militia seizes a university, Boko Haram loses ground to Chad troops in Nigeria, Washington promises anti-Boko Haram forces intel and hardware, Afghan Taliban seek Pakistani talks and Pakistan sends signals, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe outline legal plans for military support abroad, more questions overs Abe’s WWII apology, and Japanese banks get government data to shut out Yakuza, Abe says gay marriage barred by constitution, and a curious case of corporeal intelligence. . . Continue reading