A Freedom House assessment of Internet freedoms in 60 countries finds the number of "free" countries vastly outnumbered by countries in which freedom restrictions range from partial to nearly absolute. The Washington, D.C.-based nongovernmental organization's fourth annual assessment also finds that during the 12 month period ending this past April 30, Internet freedom has generally declined, with 34 out of 60 countries declining in metrics that measure obstacles to access, limits on content and violations of user rights.
Amazon Web Services prevailed this week in a lawsuit to overturn a Government Accountability Office June bid protest decision that disputed Amazon's win of a CIA cloud services contract worth up to $600 million over 4 years, with additional options.
The Army hopes it can improve the capabilities of cyber operations, electronic warfare and electromagnetic spectrum network operations by encouraging collaboration among them, said Col. Carmine Cicalese, chief of Army cyberspace and information operations during a recent television appearance. Army currently has eight centers of excellence that it hopes can absorb the consolidation of 32 schools for cyber, electronic warfare and spectrum operations.
The counterterrorism argument for keeping and sharing vast troves of information collected on Americans through mechanisms such as suspicious activity reports rests on a false assumption, says a new report from the Brennan Center for Justice. The intelligence failures that preceded 9/11 didn't stem from a lack of data. Rather, government agencies failed to share information connections to known al Qaeda and other foreign terrorist suspects.
Information technology workers behind Healthcare.gov spent the weekend fixing coding errors that resulted in customers finding difficulties with the federal online insurance marketplace, reports the Wall Street Journal. The Health and Human Services Department website serves as the health insurance exchange for 36 states that opted out from building their own healthcare exchange to permit Americans to buy health insurance as mandated under the Affordable Care Act.
Data.gov, the General Services Administration-run website that serves as a repository for federal open data, is down due to the government shutdown. As a result, many of the application programming interfaces once found on the site are no longer available. But most of the APIs aren't being updated and maintained anyway. That's because many agencies' offices that handle new media and open government programs are closed, as they are not consided essential government activities.
Tor, the anonymity-protecting Internet routing technology favored by users ranging from political dissidents to terrorists and pedophiles has been the subject of concerted attempts by the National Security Agency to break its protections. "With manual analysis we can de-anonymize a very small fraction of Tor users, however, no success de-anonymizing a user in response to a TOPI request/on demand," a leaked NSA presentation states.
A common response among Americans when learning of government surveillance programs, such as those managed by the National Security Agency, is to say surveillance is fine because "I have nothing to hide." A paper recently published in the San Diego Law Review, however, says there are several problems with the argument that if someone is a law-abiding citizen, they have nothing to worry about.
Communications networks at the 2014 Winter Olympics to be held next February in Russia will come under systemic surveillance by the Russian intelligence agency FSB, say two Russian Internet surveillance researchers.
Budget constraints outweigh cyber attacks as the largest threat to information technology infrastructure, finds a nonscientific poll of federal, state and local IT officials. Coincidentally, budget instability is a subject of the moment, with the government in its third day of shutdown due to failure by Congress to approve a spending measure for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1.
Some agencies have adopted the technique with such gusto they now have dedicated presonnel focused on running competitions. But not everyone thinks challenges are the vehicle for efficiency and innovation proponents claim. Challenges and competitions do more harm than good, writes Kevin Starr in an Aug. 22 post in the Stanford Social Innovation Review.
Americans ranging from researchers to investors are finding the government shutdown is hampering their work as online data sources go offline.
On Oct. 2 a federal judge unsealed documents in a case involving email provider Lavabit and the U.S. government. The company has since shuttered its service, which prided itself on its superior security and privacy and counted National Security Agency surveillance whistleblower Edward Snowden among its users.
The National Security Agency tested in 2010 and in 2011 the possibility of collecting cell phone location information, NSA head Gen. Keith Alexander acknowledged publicly during an Oct. 2 Senate hearing. Reading from a prepared statement during a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Alexander said the NSA "received samples in order to test the ability of its systems to handle the data format."
Army Chief Information Office and G6 Lt. Gen. Susan Lawrence is leaving her position, posting a final message online on Oct. 1. Lawrence's tenure saw the service migrating to a departmentwide Microsoft Exchange cloud solution for email--an effort that wasn't without challenge, leading Lawrence in August 2011 to announce an operational pause. "We uncovered some pretty nasty stuff," said Lawrence at the time, citing an unorganized network as the primary culprit for the delay
Auditors from the National Security Agency say they know of 12 cases of intentional misuses of NSA surveillance powers that have been uncovered since Jan. 1, 2003. In a September letter sent to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), auditors briefly profile each incident; the majority of them involve personnel spying on a significant other. It's a practice informally dubbed "LOVEINT," out of the same logic that shortens "signals intelligence" to "SIGINT."
Insufficient funds for the new fiscal year caused the much of the federal government to close on Oct. 1. In addition to somewhere between one-third and half of federal employees being furloughed, many federal websites are also on a hiatus. The response from federal web managers, however, appears inconsistent.
Auditors at the Justice Department say the FBI's assumption that there's no difference when it comes to privacy between manned and unmanned aerial surveillance doesn't take into account the technological capabilities of UAVs.