Did Arizona turn over its counterterrorism database to a Chinese spy? | The Verge

Arizona’s biggest counterterrorism center may be covering up a massive data breach. A new investigation from ProPublica and The Center for Investigative Reporting looks at Lizhong Fan, a Chinese national hired at Arizona’s Counterterrorism Information Center in 2007. In June of that year, Fan abruptly left the country, flying back to Beijing with two laptops and a number of other hard drives in his luggage. His bosses in Arizona weren’t told about the trip and found his work computers completely erased, leaving no trace of his activities. Fan sent a few more emails, expressing a desire to return to the US in the distant future, but after that fell silent. According to ProPublica, no one at the Arizona center has heard from him in over three years. [Read more]

Your secrets may not be safe with anonymous sharing app Secret | The Guardian

“Share with friends, anonymously,” runs the tagline for smartphone app Secret. But what to do if that anonymity starts to break down, or if the secrets being shared are distinctly unfriendly?

The popular but controversial social Android and iOS app is facing new scrutiny of its security and ethics policies this week, with its crackdown on cyberbullying undermined by claims that hackers can uncover people’s posts in the app using nothing more than their email addresses. [Read more]

Survey: People Don’t Want to Talk Online About the NSA | WSJ

The old truism that people speak more freely online than they would face to face isn’t always true — at least when it comes to talking about the NSA.

The Pew Research Center surveyed 1,801 U.S. adults last summer about their willingness to talk about Edward Snowden and his revelations about the National Security Agency. Pew said it chose the topic because Americans at the time were divided over whether the former NSA contractor’s leaks were justified. [Read more]

Paranoid much? Americans are now self-censoring online after Snowden’s NSA revelations | BetaNews

The effects of Edward Snowden’s revelations about the activities of the NSA continue to be felt. Internet users are now familiar with the idea that what they do online is possibly (probably?) being monitored in one way or another. Some users have taken to the likes of Tor in a bid to increase security and anonymity, but there has also been a more interesting side-effect. Figures released by “nonpartisan fact tank” the Pew Research Center suggests that a “spiral of silence” has developed as Americans start to censor themselves online.

The research group conducted a survey of more than 1,800 people in the middle of last year and found that while most people (86 percent) were quite happy to talk about state surveillance in person, less than half (41 percent) were willing to do so on Twitter (itself involved in censorship). This self-censorship is an interesting repercussion of the NSA’s activities, and it seems that social network users have been hardest hit: [Read more]

Anti-spy technology remains hot a year after NSA leaks | ars technica

More than a year after former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden leaked secret documents describing the breadth and depth of US surveillance, policy makers continue to debate the legal framework for such monitoring.

Yet a number of technology startups are blazing ahead to create a range of products that promise to restore people’s privacy online. Silent Circle, WhisperSystems, and Wickr offer a variety of services, from private instant messaging to secure data storage to encrypted phone calls. Other companies, such as Blackphone, have focused on creating a secure smartphone for the privacy-conscious. [Read more]

Journalists on the Government’s Blacklist | truthout

As states move to hide details of government deals with Wall Street, and as politicians come up with new arguments to defend secrecy, a study released earlier this month revealed that many government information officers block specific journalists they don’t like from accessing information. The news comes as 47 federal inspectors general sent a letter to lawmakers criticizing “serious limitations on access to records” that they say have “impeded” their oversight work.

The data about public information officers was compiled over the past few years by Kennesaw State University professor Dr. Carolyn Carlson. Her surveys found that 4 in 10 public information officers say “there are specific reporters they will not allow their staff to talk to due to problems with their stories in the past.” [Read more]


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