Clinton Home Servers Had Ports Open ( 272

Jim Efaw writes: Hillary Clinton's home servers had more than just the e-mail ports open directly to the Internet. The Associated Press discovered, by using scanning results from 2012 "widely available online", that the server also had the RDP port open; another machine on her network had the VNC port open, and another one had a web server open even though it didn't appear to be configured for a real site. Clinton previously said that her server featured "numerous safeguards," but hasn't explained what that means. Apparently, requiring a VPN wasn't one of them.

Treat Computer Science As a Science: It's the Law 186

theodp writes: Last week, President Obama signed into law H.R. 1020, the STEM Education Act of 2015, which expands the definition of STEM to include computer science for the purposes of carrying out education activities at the NSF, DOE, NASA, NOAA, NIST, and the EPA. The Bill was introduced by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Rep. Elizabeth Etsy (D-CT). Smith's February press release linked to letters of support from tech billionaire-backed (whose leadership includes Microsoft President Brad Smith), and the Microsoft-backed STEM Education Coalition (whose leadership includes Microsoft Director of Education Policy Allyson Knox).

Bernie Sanders Comes Out Against CISA 199

erier2003 writes: Sen. Bernie Sanders' opposition to the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act in its current form aligns him with privacy advocates and makes him the only presidential candidate to stake out that position, just as cybersecurity issues loom large over the 2016 election, from email server security to the foreign-policy implications of data breaches. The Senate is preparing to vote on CISA, a bill to address gaps in America's cyberdefenses by letting corporations share threat data with the government. But privacy advocates and security experts oppose the bill because customers' personal information could make it into the shared data.

Electoral System That Lessig Hopes To Reform Is Keeping Him Out of the Debate ( 227

schwit1 writes: Lessig has raised a million dollars, which is nothing to sneeze at, but he's being given the cold shoulder by the Democrats when it comes to participating in the debates. I think he's got a good argument for being included — he's certainly as serious a candidate as some of the others, and I'm hearing a lot about his campaign.

Why are they keeping Lessig out? According to Lessig, it's for the same reason he wants in: "My view is that if we can get this message [of reform] into the debate it would change the dynamics of this Democratic primary entirely. This issue framed in this way totally blows up the Democratic primary."

Hillary and Bernie, he says, are promising the moon to voters, but can't deliver. Lessig told me, "If I can get on that stage and say the rocket can't get off the ground, and we have to change this dynamic first," the narrative shifts in a way that the leading candidates can't address.

United States

2016 Election Cycle Led By Billionaire Donors 364

Nicola Hahn writes: The pluralist stance of American politics contends that true power in the United States has been constitutionally vested in "the people" through mechanisms like the electoral process, freedom of speech, and the ability to establish political parties. The traditional view is that these aspects of our political system result in a broad distribution of power that prevents any one faction from gaining an inordinate amount of influence. And today the New York Times has revealed the shortcomings of this narrative by publishing the names of the 158 wealthy families that have donated almost half of the money spent towards the 2016 presidential race. This group of donors is primarily Republican and is dominated by interests in the banking industry. These facts lend credence to the idea that national policy making is influenced heavily by a relatively small group of people. That the American body politic is largely controlled by a deep state.

China Arrests Hackers At Behest of US Government ( 74

An anonymous reader writes: For the first time, the Chinese government has arrested a group of hackers at the request of the United States. The hackers are suspected of having "stolen commercial secrets" from companies in the U.S., which were then passed on to Chinese competitors. "The arrests come amid signs of a potential change in the power balance between the U.S. and Chinese governments on commercial cyberespionage, one of the most fraught issues between the two countries. For years, U.S. firms and officials have said Beijing hasn't done enough to crack down on digital larceny." It's a big first step in establishing a functional cybersecurity relationship between the two nations. Now, everyone will be watching to see if China follows up the arrests with prosecution. "A public trial is important not only because that would be consistent with established principles of criminal justice, but because it could discourage other would-be hackers and show that the arrests were not an empty gesture."

EFF: the Final Leaked TPP Text Is All That We Feared ( 389

An anonymous reader writes: Wikileaks has released the finalized Intellectual Property text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which international negotiators agreed upon a few days ago. Unfortunately, it contains many of the consumer-hostile provisions that so many organizations spoke out against beforehand. This includes the extension of the copyright term to life plus 70 years, and a ban on the circumvention of DRM. The EFF says, "If you dig deeper, you'll notice that all of the provisions that recognize the rights of the public are non-binding, whereas almost everything that benefits rightsholders is binding. That paragraph on the public domain, for example, used to be much stronger in the first leaked draft, with specific obligations to identify, preserve and promote access to public domain material. All of that has now been lost in favor of a feeble, feel-good platitude that imposes no concrete obligations on the TPP parties whatsoever." The EFF walks us through all the other awful provisions as well — it's quite a lengthy analysis.

US Government Will Not Force Companies To Decode Encrypted Data... For Now ( 108

Mark Wilson writes: The Obama administration has announced it will not require companies to decrypt encrypted messages for law enforcement agencies. This is being hailed as a "partial victory" by the Electronic Frontier Foundation; partial because, as reported by the Washington Post, the government "will not — for now — call for [such] legislation." This means companies will not be forced to build backdoors into their products, but there is no guarantee it won't happen further down the line. The government wants to continue talks with the technology industry to find a solution, but leaving things in limbo for the time being will create a sense of unease on both sides of the debate. The EFF has also compiled a report showing where the major tech companies stand on encryption.

EU Court of Justice Declares US-EU Data Transfer Pact Invalid 203

Sique writes: Europe's highest court ruled on Tuesday that a widely used international agreement for moving people's digital data between the European Union and the United States was invalid. The decision, by the European Court of Justice, throws into doubt how global technology giants like Facebook and Google can collect, manage and analyze online information from their millions of users in the 28-member bloc. The court decreed that the data-transfer agreement was invalid as of Tuesday's ruling. New submitter nava68 adds links to coverage at the Telegraph; also at TechWeek Europe. From TechWeek Europe's article: The ruling was the court’s final decision in a data-protection case brought by 27-year-old Austrian law student Max Schrems against the Irish data protection commissioner. That case, in turn, was spurred by Schrems’ concerns over the collection of his personal data by Facebook, whose European headquarters is in Ireland, and the possibility that the data was being handed over to US intelligence services.

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."

Carly Fiorina: I Supplied HP Servers For NSA Snooping 488

MFingS writes: According to an article at Motherboard, shortly after 9/11, NSA director Michael Hayden requested extra computing power and Carly Fiorina, then CEO of HP, responded by re-routing truckloads of servers to the agency. Fiorina acknowledged providing the servers to the NSA during an interview with Michael Isikoff in which she defended warrantless surveillance (as well as waterboarding) and framed her collaboration with the NSA in patriotic terms. Fiorina's compliance with Hayden's request for HP servers is but one episode in a long-running and close relationship between the GOP presidential hopeful and U.S. intelligence agencies.

Analysis: China-US Hacking Accord Is Tall On Rhetoric, Short On Substance 38

An anonymous reader writes: Ars takes a look at the cyberspying agreement between the U.S. and China. The article looks at what the accord does but more importantly, what it does not. "But even assuming both sides would follow the pact, the accord is tall on rhetoric and short on substance. The deal, for instance, defines the method of enforcement as requiring the two nation's to create a 'high-level joint dialogue mechanism,' according to a joint statement from Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Homeland Security chief Jeh Johnson. More important, the two superpowers make no commitment not to hack one another for intelligence-gathering purposes. That means the recent hack of the Office of Personnel Management's background investigation data—5.6 million sets of fingerprints from US federal employees, contractors and other federal job applicants—doesn't run counter to the accord. The OPM hack is believed to have originated in China and the data, as Ars has previously reported, is 'in the hands of the foreign intelligence services of China.'"
The Internet

Government Finds New Emails Clinton Did Not Hand Over 348

PolygamousRanchKid writes with this Reuters report that The U.S. Defense Department has found an email chain that Hillary Clinton failed to turn over to the State Department despite her saying she had provided all work emails from her time as Secretary of State.The correspondence with General David Petraeus, who was commander of U.S. Central Command at the time, started shortly before she entered office and continued during her first days as the top U.S. diplomat in January and February of 2009. News of the previously undisclosed email thread only adds to a steady stream of revelations about the emails in the past six months, which have forced Clinton to revise her account of the setup which she first gave in March. Nearly a third of all Democrats and 58 percent of all voters think Clinton is lying about her handling of her emails, according to a Fox News poll released this week.

Clinton apologized this month for her email setup, saying it was unwise. But as recently as Sunday, she told CBS when asked about her emails that she provided 'all of them.' The emails with Petraeus also appear to contradict the claim by Clinton's campaign that she used a private BlackBerry email account for her first two months at the department before setting up her account in March 2009. This was the reason her campaign gave for not handing over any emails from those two months to the State Department. The Petraeus exchange shows she started using the account by January 2009, according to the State Department.
The Military

Don't Worry, That Blimp Isn't Watching You Much 43

According to the Baltimore Sun, and despite claims by its maker Raytheon that the system is "performing well right now," the expensive tethered-blimp observatory called JLENS (for "Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System") seems to be mostly a boondoggle. The report focuses on the JLENS installation that was launched in Maryland last year. The Sun makes much of the flight taken by disaffected postal worker Douglas Hughes last April to the White House lawn, directly in the JLENS observation area -- the success of which (to be charitable) casts doubt on the effectiveness of the flying observatory system. Beyond its evidently low utility in doing its job, JLENS seems to be a brittle system, amplying its potential costs as well as its military vulnerability with grand, expensive failures as well as everyday difficulties: in 2010, "a civilian balloon broke loose from its mooring, destroying a grounded JLENS blimp that had cost about $182 million." The article lays out some political shenanigans, too: politicians in a wide range of states have supported the project, which has a nationwide footprint of contractors and possible deployment locations. From the article: Within the Pentagon, Marine Corps Gen. James E. "Hoss" Cartwright, then vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, came to JLENS' defense, arguing that it held promise for enhancing the nation's air defenses. At Cartwright's urging, money was found in 2011 for a trial run of the technology in the skies above Washington. Cartwright retired the same year — and joined Raytheon's board of directors five months later. By the end of 2014, Raytheon had paid him more than $828,000 in cash and stock for serving as a director, Securities and Exchange Commission records show.

Speaker of the House Boehner Announces Resignation 406

halfEvilTech writes: House Speaker John A. Boehner announced Friday morning that he will resign at the end of October. The Washington Post reports: "The resignation will end a nearly five-year reign as speaker, allowing House Republicans to approve a short-term government funding bill that will avert a shutdown of federal agencies. Boehner's hold on the speaker's gavel had grown increasingly unsteady amid threats from more than 30 Republicans that they would force a no-confidence vote in his speaker's position, which would have forced him to rely on Democratic votes in order to remain in charge. Several GOP members told The Washington Post that Boehner would step down from Congress Oct. 31."

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.

RIP: Tech Advocate and Obama Advisor Jake Brewer 142

SpaceGhost writes: The BBC reports that Jake Brewer, a 34-year-old senior policy advisor in the White House Chief Technology Office, has died while participating in a charity bike race on Saturday. Some of his work included global policy and external affairs at, the White Houses TechHire initiative, and the administration's efforts to expand broadband connectivity. Brewer's death has triggered emotional tributes from many in the worlds of politics and technology. Brewer was well known for his work on, and in his role at the White House as an advocate for education, access to technology, and intelligent use of data to make government more effective.

A Call To RICO Climate Change Science Deniers 737

GregLaden writes: The argument could be made that the organized effort to disrupt climate change science and the development of effective policies to address climate change is criminal, costing life and property. The effort is known to be generally funded by various actors and there are people and organizations that certainly make money on this seemingly nefarious activity. A group of prominent scientists have written a letter to President Obama, Attorney General Lynch, and OSTP Director Holdren asking for this to be investigated under RICO laws, which were originally designed to address organized crime.
United Kingdom

UK Govt's Expensive Mobile Coverage Project Builds Just 8 Masts In 4 Years 75

An anonymous reader points out a dismal report at The Register on a project intended by the UK government to connect lots of internet have-nots, but which has so far not accomplished as much as hoped. The Mobile Infrastructure Project is intended to provide last-mile connectivity, but the project has languished, and fallen short of its promises. This year, Department for Culture, Media and Sport has managed to erect only six masts, which can serve about 200 homes apiece. Originally more than 575 sites had been commissioned, following the publication of the “no coverage” database by watchdog Ofcom. At the rate seen so far of four masts a year it will take over 140 years to complete the £150m Mobile Infrastructure Project. The original deadline was to to have all the sites equipped and live by the end of 2015. However, that deadline was extended to March 2016 to "ensure that benefits of the program are maximized."

Some Trump Donors Get Fleeced By 3rd-Party Payment System 113

According to an article in Maine's WMTW Channel 8, some Donald Trump supporters claim they've ended up giving more than they intended to this campaign, because a since-resolved "glitch" (according to campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks) meant they were charged multiple times. From the article: "Heather Nason of Saco told WMTW News 8 that her husband was one of the affected customers. ... Nason said a series of unauthorized charges appeared on her husband's bank statement days later. She said someone tried to make 13 withdrawals from her husband's account. After the first six charges went through, the account was almost empty."