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Jul 20, 2022

The FBI Forced A Suspect To Unlock Amazon’s Encrypted App Wickr With Their Face

Posted by in categories: encryption, government, law enforcement, mobile phones, privacy

In November last year, an undercover agent with the FBI was inside a group on Amazon-owned messaging app Wickr, with a name referencing young girls. The group was devoted to sharing child sexual abuse material (CSAM) within the protection of the encrypted app, which is also used by the U.S. government, journalists and activists for private communications. Encryption makes it almost impossible for law enforcement to intercept messages sent over Wickr, but this agent had found a way to infiltrate the chat, where they could start piecing together who was sharing the material.

As part of the investigation into the members of this Wickr group, the FBI used a previously unreported search warrant method to force one member to unlock the encrypted messaging app using his face. The FBI has previously forced users to unlock an iPhone with Face ID, but this search warrant, obtained by Forbes, represents the first known public record of a U.S. law enforcement agency getting a judge’s permission to unlock an encrypted messaging app with someone’s biometrics.

According to the warrant, the FBI first tracked down the suspect by sending a request for information, via an unnamed foreign law enforcement partner, to the cloud storage provider hosting the illegal images. That gave them the Gmail address the FBI said belonged to Christopher Terry, a 53-year-old Knoxville, Tennessee resident, who had prior convictions for possession of child exploitation material. It also provided IP addresses used to create the links to the CSAM. From there, investigators asked Google and Comcast via administrative subpoenas (data requests that don’t have the same level of legal requirements as search warrants) for more identifying information that helped them track down Terry and raid his home.

Continue reading “The FBI Forced A Suspect To Unlock Amazon’s Encrypted App Wickr With Their Face” »

Jun 26, 2022

Google Insider Says Company’s AI Could “Escape Control” and “Do Bad Things”

Posted by in categories: law enforcement, policy, robotics/AI

Suspended Google engineer Blake Lemoine made a big splash earlier this month, claiming that the company’s LaMDA chatbot had become sentient.

The AI researcher, who was put on administrative leave by the tech giant for violating its confidentiality policy, according to the Washington Post, decided to help LaMDA find a lawyer — who was later “scared off” the case, as Lemoine told Futurism on Wednesday.

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Jun 12, 2022

Fearing lawsuits, factories rush to replace humans with robots in South Korea

Posted by in categories: law enforcement, robotics/AI

“Throughout our history, we’ve always had to find ways to stay ahead,” Kim told Rest of World. “Automation is the next step in that process.”

Speefox’s factory is 75% automated, representing South Korea’s continued push away from human labor. Part of that drive is labor costs: South Korea’s minimum wage has climbed, rising 5% just this year.

But the most recent impetus is legal liability for worker death or injury. In January, a law came into effect called the Serious Disasters Punishment Act, which says, effectively, that if workers die or sustain serious injuries on the job, and courts determine that the company neglected safety standards, the CEO or high-ranking managers could be fined or go to prison.

Jun 1, 2022

Instagram puts Amber Alerts in your feed to help find abducted children

Posted by in categories: electronics, law enforcement

Amber Alerts are an important tool in helping locate abducted children. They’re authorized by law enforcement and broadcast via TVs, text messages, and other means. Now, Instagram will also push Amber Alerts into users’ feeds with the feature rolling out in the US today and set to be available in 25 total countries “in the next couple of weeks.” It shows how apps like Instagram have become basic communication infrastructure in the modern world.

Adding Amber Alerts to Instagram makes sense for a few reasons. First, younger generations may well ignore text messages but scroll through Instagram with some regularity. Second, while text alerts require people to click a link to get more information and photos of the missing child, Instagram’s alerts will include this info directly. It doesn’t seem the alerts will be issued as notifications — they’ll just appear in users’ regular feeds.

May 11, 2022

Researchers testing light technology that could protect against the next pandemic

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, health, law enforcement

New technology could add another layer of protection against the next pandemic by simply turning on a light. Researchers are exploring a new way of using ultraviolet light to make indoor air safer.

“It’s been known for 80 years or so that ultraviolet light can kill bacteria and inactivate viruses in the air so that they’re no longer infectious,” Don K. Milton, professor of occupational and environmental health at the University of Maryland School of Public Health, told CBS News.

Conventional UV-C light has been used extensively in places like hospitals, homeless shelters and prisons. But that conventional UV light can damage the skin and eye, so should not be shined directly at people.

Apr 27, 2022

Apple tricked into releasing personal data used to sexually extort minors

Posted by in category: law enforcement

We learned last month that Apple was tricked into releasing personal data to hackers, after they posed as law enforcement officials with emergency data requests. A follow-up report reveals that some of this data was used to sexually extort minors.

The latest report also sheds light on how the hackers were able to fool Apple and other tech giants, including Facebook, Google, Snap, Twitter, and Discord …

Usually, a company will only release customer data to law enforcement officials on receipt of a court order, and even then will scrutinize the request carefully, sometimes offering to supply only part of the data requested.

Apr 4, 2022

Scientist Who Genetically Modified Human Babies Released From Prison

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics, law enforcement, mobile phones

Remember He Jiankui, the Chinese scientist who shocked the world when it emerged in late 2018 that he had used CRISPR to tinker with the genetic code of IVF embryos, leading to the birth of twins who are likely the world’s first genetically modified humans?

The news led to a broad outcry among scientists, ethicists and regulators, not the least because experts in the field later found the experiment to be tainted by “egregious scientific and ethical lapses.”

Long story shot, China ended up imprisoning He, who also lost his research position at the Southern University of Science and Technology in China — but now MIT Technology Review, which first broke the news of the experiment back in 2018, reports that he’s out of prison and even answered his cell phone for a brief call.

Mar 30, 2022

Apple and Meta Gave User Data to Hackers Who Used Forged Legal Requests

Posted by in category: law enforcement

Apple Inc. and Meta Platforms Inc., the parent company of Facebook, provided customer data to hackers who masqueraded as law enforcement officials, according to three people with knowledge of the matter.

Mar 18, 2022

US government clients unaffected by Viasat cyberattack

Posted by in categories: cybercrime/malcode, government, law enforcement

“The investigation into the recent cyber event on the KA-SAT European network continues in partnership with law enforcement, government partners and Viasat’s third-party cybersecurity firm,” Viasat said in a statement March 11. “We currently believe this was a deliberate, isolated and external cyber event.”

Mar 13, 2022

From drugs to brain surgery—the consciousness technology of the future

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, law enforcement, neuroscience

Our complicated emotional lives can often feel like a prison. Insecurities, depression and anxiety can all hold us back in life. But what if we could just eliminate the mental states that we don’t want? Or enhance the moods we do? There’s every reason to believe that this may be commonplace in the future. In fact, a lot of the technology that could achieve this already exists.

More than half of us will have experienced an extended period of sadness or low mood during our lives, and about a fifth will have been diagnosed with major depression, although these figures depend a lot on the culture in which you live. The fact that mood disorders are so common – and also so difficult to treat – means that research into the future of mood modulation is constantly evolving.

If you go to a doctor in the UK with suspected depression today, you will start on a pathway of care including “talking cures” such as cognitive behavioural therapy, or drug treatments including serotonin re-uptake inhibitors like Prozac. People who do not respond to these treatments may progress to heavier regimes or combinations of drug treatments. Since most psychoactive drug treatments are associated with side effects, there is pressure to develop new treatment options that are better tolerated by most people.

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