judgecorp writes "The Syrian Electronic Army has hijacked various Twitter accounts belonging to the Guardian newspaper. Guardian journalists report that the pro-Assad hacking group used a campaign of spear phishing to seize various of its feeds, following success hacking other media outlets including CBS."
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sl4shd0rk writes "Remember SOPA? If not, perhaps the name Lamar Smith will ring a bell. The U.S. House Committee on Science, Space and Technology chose Smith to Chair as an overseer for the National Science Foundation's funding process. Smith is preparing a bill (PDF) which will require that every grant must benefit 'national defense,' be of 'utmost importance to society,' and not be 'duplicative of other research.' Duplicating research seems reasonable until you consider that this could also mean the NSF will not provide funding for research once someone has already provided results — manufactured or otherwise. A strange target since there is a process in place which makes an effort to limit duplicate funding already. The first and second requirements, even when read in context, still miss the point of basic research. If we were absolutely without-a-doubt-certain of the results, there would be little point in doing the research in the first place."
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from The Daily Dot: "A Senate committee aide, who requested to not be named, told the Daily Dot that 'there is no possible plan to bring up CISPA,' in the Senate. The aide cited the fact that the Senate tried to pass its own cybersecurity bill, the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 (CSA). While unsuccessful, it underscored a desire for legislation that took more explicit efforts to protect individuals' Internet privacy. 'There are just too many problems with it,' the aide said of CISPA. This is backed up by U.S. News and World Report, which has reported that a staffer on the Senate's Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation explicitly claims CISPA is no longer a possibility, and senators are 'drafting separate bills' to include some CISPA provisions."
judgecorp writes "The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, has effectively 'killed' the Communications Data Bill which would have required service providers to share personal communications data with the police. Clegg has withdrawn the support of the Liberal Democrat Party (part of the Coalition in power in the UK) from the so-called 'Snooper's Charter.' The announcement is timed to block the measure from the Queen's Speech on 8 May, which introduces the next programme of planned legislation."
An anonymous reader writes "Two men were arrested in Canada, accused of conspiring to carry out an 'al-Qaeda supported' attack against a VIA passenger train in the Greater Toronto Area. The arrests were products of 'extensive' co-operation between Canadian and US intelligence agencies, who had been investigating the plot since August 2012." From this article, it's not clear whether any actual al-Qaeda support was forthcoming, or whether the accused plotters merely thought there was, by means of an FBI sting operation, as in the 2006 case in Florida.
An anonymous reader writes "Former diplomat to Belgium and the European Union Brendan Nelson describes his astonishment at his inability to get any response from Facebook when trying to get a diplomatically damaging fake page taken down. The social network ignored official protestations from the department of foreign affairs and security agencies."
An anonymous reader writes "Silicon Valley tech firms, banks and other powerful industries are mounting a quiet but forceful campaign to kill an Internet privacy bill that would give California consumers the right to know how their personal information is being used. A recent letter signed by 15 companies and trade groups — including TechAmerica, which represents Google, Facebook, Microsoft and other technology companies — demanded that the measure's author, Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, drop her bill. They complain it would open up businesses to an avalanche of requests from individuals as well as costly lawsuits."
New submitter JoeyRox writes "On 3/22 the Senate approved a non-binding proposal to allow states to tax online sales to residents outside their state. That vote was a trial balloon to gauge the support for the Marketplace Fairness Act. This week Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid filed a cloture to allow the law to be voted on for real this time. The vote may occur as soon as tomorrow. eBay is attempting to rally Americans against the bill via a massive email campaign."
An anonymous reader writes "I am the Technology Manager of the Justice Party (sorry, no relationship to the Avengers). We are currently working on our Platform (version 2.0) and I would be interested to know what people in the science and technology field would like to see in a platform of a political party. For example, we are considering planks that relate to Open Government (data) access, science and maths promotion, space industries, promotion of open source, dealing with SOPA/ CISPA laws, improvement in user privacy and much more. Give us your comments so we can help build a more tech-savvy America."
An anonymous reader writes with a story at the Daily Dot: "Despite the protests of Internet privacy advocates, the controversial Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) passed the House of Representatives Thursday. The vote was 288-127. ... CISPA saw a handful of minor amendments soon before passage. A representative for the EFF told the Daily Dot that while they were still analyzing the specifics, none of the actual changes to the bill addressed their core criticisms. ... But also as was the case the year before, on Tuesday the Obama administration issued a promise to veto the bill if it reaches the president’s desk without significant changes." Techdirt has a short report on the vote, too — and probably more cutting commentary soon to follow.
gale the simple writes "Mike Rodgers made a minor splash Tuesday when he decided to liken CISPA opponents to 14-year-old basement dwellers. The EFF, naturally, picked up on this generalization and asked everyone to let the representative know that it is not just the 14-year-olds that care about privacy."
New submitter zayyd writes "The CBC reports that publicly-elected Gerry Rogers, member of the Provincial Government for Newfoundland and Labrador, 'has been removed from the house of assembly for refusing to apologize for comments made by other users on a Facebook group of which she had been added to as a member.' Rogers was unwillingly added to a Facebook Group which included comments of death threats aimed at Premier Kathy Dunderdale from other users. From the article: 'Dunderdale said her government understands how Facebook groups work, and she said it is up to every MHA to monitor the comments posted on Facebook groups to which they belong.' Facebook's policies for Groups are somewhat clear, even if they don't actually answer the question of 'Can I prevent people from adding me to a new group?'"
An anonymous reader writes "A letter addressed to Senator Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi) was tested and found to contain ricin, a highly toxic, inexpensive, and easily produced substance derived from castor beans. The letter was intercepted at the U.S. Capitol's off-site mail facility and nobody has been injured. The letter was postmarked Memphis, Tennessee, but listed no return address. Sen. Claire McCaskill told reporters that a suspect has been identified." And, this morning, a letter addressed to the President was discovered containing a suspicious substance. Update: 04/17 16:25 GMT by U L : And the substance is ricin. Apparently, air filters at another facility have also tested positive for ricin.
An anonymous reader sent in word that the Obama administration is threatening to veto CISPA in its current form because "The Administration, however, remains concerned that the bill does not require private entities to take reasonable steps to remove irrelevant personal information (PDF) when sending cybersecurity data to the government or other private sector entities. Citizens have a right to know that corporations will be held accountable — and not granted immunity — for failing to safeguard personal information adequately. The Administration is committed to working with all stakeholders to find a workable solution to this challenge." Ars has a few more details, the EFF urges U.S. citizens to oppose the bill, and one of the sponsors tweeted that those opposed to the bill are basement dwelling fourteen-year-olds. Note that the Administration still wants there to be some kind of comprehensive data sharing law in the name of cybersecurity, so this may very well rear its head again in the coming months.
dcblogs writes "The U.S. Senate comprehensive immigration bill, due Tuesday, will allow the H-1B cap to rise from 65,000 to as high as 180,000. The bill, overall, contains some interesting provisions. It will require the U.S. Labor Dept. to create a website of H-1B job openings that employers must post to. The jobs must be posted least 30 calendar days before hiring an H-1B applicant to fill that position. The bill also raises wages for H-1B workers to make them more competitive, although the amount wasn't specified. One provision that will affect India, in particular, limits H-1B visa use to 50% of a firm's U.S. workforce. The provision may prompt India firms to buy U.S. companies to expand their U.S. presence."