US federal judges order companies to unlock seized phones
Thu 4 Dec 2014, 04:40

The US government invoked the All Writs Act in order to compel the assistance of smartphone manufacturers in unlocking devices pursuant to a search warrant. Orders from federal magistrate judges in Oakland and New York City require companies to bypass the lock screen on seized phones and enable law enforcement access.

US Department of Justice thinks companies need to trust gov't on cybersecurity
Tue 9 Dec 2014, 22:20

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) said that the fight against cybercrime would be more effective if private companies put more trust in the country's law enforcement agencies and if they engage more.

But DOJ calls for legislation to require mobile phone operating systems to include back doors in newly announced encryption tools may be a major stumbling block to additional cooperation. FBI Director James Comey raised concerns about law enforcement access to criminal evidence on smartphones after Apple and Google both announced encryption tools for their mobile operating systems.

Dean Garfield, CEO of tech trade group the Information Technology Industry Council, said the tech industry will oppose efforts to pass a law requiring a back door in encryption tools. Such regulations would be "incredibly disruptive in a negative way," he said.

Snowden revelations make IETF rethink security
Wed 31 Dec 2014, 12:18

After the Snowden revelations, the IETF said it was going to do something about mass surveillance. In May 2014, the IETF published a “best practice” document stating baldly that “pervasive monitoring is an attack.” Snowden’s revelations prompted a fundamental rethink within the IETF about what kind of security the internet should be aiming for overall. Specifically, the IETF is in the process of formalizing a concept called “opportunistic security” whereby — even if full end-to-end security isn’t practical for whatever reason — some security is now officially recognized as being better than nothing.

US bill prohibits government mandating backdoors in technolgy
Thu 4 Dec 2014, 18:19

Today, U.S. Senator Ron Wyden introduced a bill to prohibit the government from mandating backdoors in hardware and software technologies. The legislation prohibits any federal agency from intentionally weakening consumer encryption standards.

Secret US cybersecurity report: encryption vital to protect private data
Thu 15 Jan 2015, 22:40

A secret US cybersecurity report warned that government and private computers were being left vulnerable to online attacks from Russia, China and criminal gangs because encryption technologies were not being implemented fast enough. The advice, in a newly uncovered five-year forecast written in 2009, contrasts with the pledge made by David Cameron this week to crack down on encryption use by technology companies.

Spain is up for UN Human Rights Council country review
Wed 21 Jan 2015, 06:00

On Wednesday, the UN Human Rights Council will review the human rights record of the government of Spain as part of its Universal Periodic Review. Spain should be named and shamed for its worrying treatment on digital rights issues. In its latest encroachment, authorities have criminalized the use of legitimate encryption and security tools.

The Universal Periodic Review process at the UN Human Rights Council reviews the human rights record of each UN member country every four years.