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If you haven't heard about the NSA's PRISM program yet, you really are behind in current events - and I suggest you check out the countless pieces we've all written on it here at TweakTown. Now we have The Washington Post unveiling a heap of new slides about the NSA's PRISM program, as shown below, or here.
The new slides give us a much better look into just how much, and how far this data collection goes. It also includes information on how an NSA analyst requests information from a particular company, the number of current surveillance targets in PRISM's database, as well as the dates the big players on the Internet began participating.
As you can see above, there are some serious companies involved, and they're taking everything. This includes e-mail, video, VoiP, file transfers, social networking details and more. Pretty much anything that is done electronically by any human being on Earth, is recorded by this program. Every company that matters is on there - Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Apple, Yahoo, and more.
Guardian journalist who broke the NSA whistleblower story says the NSA can store one billion cell phone calls each day
It continues to get worse for the NSA, with Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald saying he has another big scoop about the National Security Agency (NSA) and their PRISM program.
Greenwald, when speaking over Skype to the Socialism Conference in Chicago, claimed that the NSA has the ability to record, and store one billion phone calls each day. Greenwald was the one to write about NSA whistleblower, Edward Snowden, and the crazy but very real PRISM program. He says: "It talks about a brand new technology that enables the national security agency to redirect into its own repositories one billion cell phone calls every single day. One billion cell phone calls every single day."
He continued with:
But what we're really talking about here is a localized system that prevents any form of electronic communication from taking place without its being stored and monitored by the National Security Agency. It doesn't mean that they're listening to every call, it means they're storing every call and have the capability to listen to them at any time, and it does mean that they're collecting millions upon millions upon millions of our phone and email records.
If you've been following TweakTown over the past couple of weeks, you'll know about the Prism surveillance program that is being conducted by the NSA. Shortly after the revelations regarding the NSA and its spying programs, a petition popped up online. This petition, titled "Stop Watching Us," urges Congress to stop the NSA.
This dragnet surveillance violates the First and Fourth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, which protect citizens' right to speak and associate anonymously, guard against unreasonable searches and seizures, and protect their right to privacy.
A similar petition is taking place on The White House's We the People. This petition has reached the 100,000 signature threshold that forces the White House to make a response. The petition asks the government to pardon Edward Snowden.
If you want to sign the petition, you can find it here.
FDA and US officials seize more than 9,600 domains and confiscate $41 million from illegal online pharmacies
During what can only be described as a massive crackdown on illegal online pharmacies, the US FDA has taken down more than 9,600 websites that illegally sold "dangerous and unapproved" prescription drugs. The FDA says that it issued regulatory warnings to the site owners and proceeded to seize any websites along with $41 million of illegal medicine.
Dubbed "Operation Pangea," the operation took place from June 18-25 and involved not only the FDA, but many partners worldwide. The FDA says that many of these illegal sites operated as part of a large organized criminal network and most falsely claimed to be Canadian pharmacies.
Many of the sites displayed fake license and certification documents as well as falsely used drug brand names and the wording "FDA Approved" to put potential customers at ease. Furthermore, to manipulate potential victims, the sites would use names that look convincing to non-savvy browsers. Two examples given were Walgreens-store.com and c-v-s-pharmacy.com.
The crackdown was a small part of a larger week of international takedowns that was called the International Week of Internet Action which is formed by a coalition made up by the FDA, INTERPOL, and the Worlds Customs Organization. National health and law enforcement agencies from 99 countries also took part in the massive online raid.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg headed up the press conference this afternoon held by Spotify at its headquarters in New York City. At the announcement, the company unveiled its plans to build a brand-new US headquarters office on Sixth Avenue which will be several times the size of its current space.
The big news, however, came when the company announced its plans to create unique and original content. This news came from Ken Parks who heads up the company's NYC office. While brief and limited, we suspect this means that the company will be holding new live performances either in New York City or around the country. While some speculate that Spotify could create its own label, I feel that is highly unlikely, and the idea of Spotify-hosted concerts is much more realistic.
Google is most often referred to as the search king, and rightfully so as it does search better than all others. What we tend to forget is that Google makes most of it's money from advertising, which is something else the company does phenomenally well. Like most other companies, Google is not a fan of competition and this morning it has flexed its muscles in an effort to remove all "adult content ads" from Blogger.
Google is sending out notices to owners of adult-themed blogs hosted on its popular Blogger service. The notice warns of a change to its terms of service which will restrict its users from earning money by displaying adult ads on their blog. The email explicitly states that on June 30 Google will "strictly prohibit the monetization of Adult content on Blogger."
At the moment, it appears that Google is contacting Blogger users that have already manually mark their blogs as adult or have been identified (through means unknown) to be running explicit ads. The process does not appear to be flawless as some users have reported receiving email even though they have never made a single post on their blog.
NSA's PRISM system is reading everything you do, say, or whisper by yourself in a lonely corner - but those powers could soon be dealt a little kryptonite if US Senator Patrick Leahy's new bill is enacted upon.
Leahy's new bill has been called the "FISA Accountability and Privacy Protection Act of 2013" that aims to "strengthen privacy protections, accountability and oversight related to domestic surveillance." The bill aims to calm down the PATRIOT Act so that the government is forced to show evidence that a citizen is linked with a foreign group or power before surveillance on the citizen even begins.
I doubt we'll see that, and even if we do and it is enacted upon, how would you know if this is the way they do it? They could continue snooping and you would be none the wiser about it - just like most of the world was until Edward Snowden came onto the scene.
NSA's PRISM system is quite the beast indeed, but now it is being revealed that the US security agency have been intercepting SSL traffic too - which is meant to be a secure link - after all, it stands for secure sockets layer.
Obviously not, as the US security agency have been using their PRISM system to gather and store huge quantities (see: all) of SSL encrypted data for later cryptanalysis. Netcraft also reports that this huge volume of data is logged so that if an SSL private key later becomes available, they can be decrypted.
There are 'legal' methods of getting these private keys: a court order, social engineering, an attack against the website, or through cryptanalysis. But, it's the NSA - do you really expect them to use legal means to break your encrypted data that they weren't meant to take in the first place? Yeah, I thought so.
Just over a year ago, Google finalize a deal to buy Motorola's Mobility division, and today we're finally seeing Google officially welcoming Motorola into the family. The Motorola logo was updated this afternoon to reflect a more Google-like appearance and inform the whole world that it is a Google owned company.
The new logo features the original Motorola "M" but it is now surrounded by a circular rainbow of colors similar to the ones used in Google branding. Now that Google has the new logo out-of-the-way, let's hope they can do the same with the crappy phones Motorola has been releasing for years now.
I say that because of the news today surrounding the Motorola X Phone. It appears to be nothing more than another rehash of the Atrix, Photon 4G, and Razr Max. Those of us who were loyal to Motorola were really hoping to see something innovative with the new X phone but it appears that will not be the case.
A criminal gang was arrested by Shijiazhuang police in Hebei province, China, earlier this month, with the gang being arrested due to them dealing in black market organs.
One of the organs they had dealt with belonged to an 18-year-old Chinese man surnamed Zhang from Gangsu province. He ran into money troubles because of video games, and as you do, you sell a body part. He reached out to an organ dealer to sell his kidney, where he was matched up with one online. The dealer asked Zhang to go to Shijiazhuang and sign a pre-sale agreement.
This agreement includes that the sale of his kidney is of his own volition, and that all consequences and issues are his responsibility. Zhang signed it without hesitation and went in for surgery. His kidney was sold for just $6,510 - but considering the going rate of a kidney in China is $47,000 - he must have been quite desperate.