There is no shortage of Web services to help you verify that a shortened link is legit and not something that's going to load you up with malware or steal personal information. But when it comes to online privacy, it's always good to have options. Instead of adding a "+" to the end of a bit.ly link, or using Unshorten.it, give URL Uncover a look the next time you get suspicious.
If you would like to encrypt a file or two on your Mac to keep it secure, there are several options available to you. There are a number of third-party tools, such as GPGTools' GPG Suite, which offer encryption options for files (more details here), but Apple also offers built-in encryption support with disk images.
While securely wrapping files in disk images generally requires using Disk Utility, you can do so through the command line as well, which may be useful if you are accessing a system remotely through SSH, or scripting a routine where you would like to encrypt … Read more
Just hours after President Obama defended the National Security Agency's activities, the foreign surveillance agency released a document in which it claims to review only a small faction of Internet traffic on a daily basis.
In a seven-page paper released late Friday titled "The National Security Agency: Missions, Authorities, Oversight and Partnerships"(PDF), the agency asserts that the amount of data it collects from the global communications apparatus on a daily basis is comparable in size to a dime placed on a basketball court.
According to figures published by a major tech provider, the Internet carries 1,… Read more
President Barack Obama defended the government's intelligence gathering policies, but outlined four initiatives to assuage concerns among Americans and foreigners regarding the legality of U.S. surveillance activities.
"The programs are operating in a way that prevents abuse...the question is how do I make the American people more comfortable," the president said, responding to questions during a press conference at the White House Friday. "If the American people examine exactly what is taking place and what the safeguards were...they would see that the folks are following the law."
He added that revelations in … Read more
The National Security Agency created a "secret backdoor" so its massive databases could be searched for the contents of U.S. citizens' confidential phone calls and e-mail messages without a warrant, according to the latest classified documents leaked by Edward Snowden.
A report in the Guardian on Friday quoted Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat who serves on the Senate Intelligence Committee, as saying the secret rule offers a loophole allowing "warrantless searches for the phone calls or emails of law-abiding Americans."
That appears to confirm what Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat, said in … Read more
Silent Circle shuttered its encrypted e-mail service on Thursday, the second such closure in just a few hours in an apparent attempt to avoid government scrutiny that may threaten its customers' privacy.
Silent Circle, which makes software that encrypts phone calls and other communications, announced in a company blog post that it could "see the writing on the wall" and decided it best to shut down its Silent Mail feature. The company said it was inspired by the closure earlier Thursday of Lavabit, another encrypted e-mail service provider that alluded to a possible national security investigation.
"We … Read more
An encrypted e-mail service reportedly used by Edward Snowden is shutting down, presumably in response to an investigation of the NSA whistleblower's use of the service.
Ladar Levison, the owner of Lavabit, announced the move Thursday in a note posted to the service's home page. Although Levison's cryptic note doesn't mention Snowden by name, he does say that he's "been forced to make a difficult decision: to become complicit in crimes against the American people or walk away from nearly 10 years of hard work by shutting down Lavabit."
In nonspecific language, Levison … Read more
The U.S. government is quietly pressuring telecommunications providers to install eavesdropping technology deep inside companies' internal networks to facilitate surveillance efforts.
FBI officials have been sparring with carriers, a process that has on occasion included threats of contempt of court, in a bid to deploy government-provided software capable of intercepting and analyzing entire communications streams. The FBI's legal position during these discussions is that the software's real-time interception of metadata is authorized under the Patriot Act.
Attempts by the FBI to install what it internally refers to as "port reader" software, which have not been … Read more
Documents declassified on Wednesday by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper describe the National Security Agency's data snooping, aka "Bulk Collection Program," carried out under the Patriot Act.
A 2009 document confirms the controversial program under which the NSA has the authority to collect from telecom providers such information as the date, time, and length of a call.
The document says that the actual call content is not collected, while any information gathered is not protected by the Fourth Amendment. The court orders served to telecom companies require them to turn over the records for any call … Read more
No search warrant is required if law enforcement wants to track your whereabouts through your cell phone records.
At least, that was the ruling handed down by the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans on Tuesday, according to The Wall Street Journal. Overturning an order by a federal judge in Houston, the Appeals Court found that your cell phone records actually belong to your carrier and are not protected by a probable cause standard as outlined in the Fourth Amendment.
Authorities must still get a court order to carry out a search of cell phone records. … Read more