Following revelations of America’s National Security Agency’s global internet surveillance system, combined with a desire to enhance domestic production, China is beating a path towards unveiling its own operating systems in October.
The Chinese-made substitutes would first be introduced on desktop devices, later expanding to include smartphones and other hand-held devices, Ni Guangnan heads an official operating system development alliance established in March, Xinhau reported at the weekend.
“We hope to launch a Chinese-made desktop operating system by October supporting app stores,” Ni told the trade paper. Continue reading »
A highly skilled hacker who presented at the recent Hackers On Planet Earth (HOPE/X) conference in New York has dropped a massive bomb on the state of smartphone privacy. Jonathan Zdziarski, an active member in the iPhone development community who helped work on many early iOS “jailbreak” iterations, says Apple has deliberately engineered back door surveillance systems into the iPhone, allowing both the company and the government easy access to users’ personal data.
During his presentation, Zdziarski, who goes by the hacker alias “NerveGas,” showed detailed slides explaining how iOS is inherently insecure — on purpose. His investigation into the coding behind iOS revealed that the seemingly user-friendly system, which is used on hundreds of millions of Apple iPhones, contains a number of “undocumented high-value forensic services” and “suspicious design omissions,” both of which make it relatively easy for private data to be extracted from users’ phones. Continue reading »
With threats and promises over cyber-crimes fleeting back and forth between the US and China, it appears – through the ‘back-channel’ of the nation’s state broadcaster CCTV – China has stepped it up once again. As AFP reports, China has accused US technology giant Apple of threatening national security through its iPhone’s ability to track and time-stamp a user’s location. While not exactly a ‘new feature’ of the phones, the timing of China’s public lambasting reflects the escalating mutual distrust between the US and China over the extent of cyber-espionage.
First it was burgers, then waiters, traders, and recently earnings-report-writers; but now it’s iPhones. The endless pressure to raise minimum wages, demand bathroom breaks, expect to sleep, and tolerable breathing standards have finally culminated in China’s FoxConn – manufacturer of the iPhone – to use a ‘robot army’ to build the new model. As The Daily Mail reports, The firm has pledged to have a million robot workers by the end of the year – and CEO Terry Gou has revealed the robots, dubbed ‘Foxbots’, are in the final stages of testing.
Four major tech companies including Apple and Google have agreed to pay a total of $324 million to settle a lawsuit accusing them of conspiring to hold down salaries in Silicon Valley, sources familiar with the deal said, just weeks before a high profile trial had been scheduled to begin.
Tech workers filed a class action lawsuit against Apple Inc, Google Inc, Intel Inc and Adobe Systems Inc in 2011, alleging they conspired to refrain from soliciting one another’s employees in order to avert a salary war. They planned to ask for $3 billion in damages at trial, according to court filings. That could have tripled to $9 billion under antitrust law.
Security researcher Jacob Appelbaum revealed what he calls “wrist-slitting depressing” details about the National Security Agency’s spy programs at a computer conference in Germany on Monday where he presented previously unpublished NSA files.
Appelbaum is among the small group of experts, activists and journalists who have seen classified United States intelligence documents taken earlier this year by former contractor Edward Snowden, and previously he represented transparency group WikiLeaks at an American hacker conference in 2010. Those conditions alone should suffice in proving to most anybody that Appelbaum has been around more than his fair share of sensitive information, and during his presentation at the thirtieth annual Chaos Communication Congress in Hamburg on Monday he spilled his guts about some of the shadiest spy tactics seen yet through leaked documents.
The troubled mobile phone maker BlackBerry still has at least one very loyal customer: U.S. President Barack Obama.
At a meeting with youth on Wednesday to promote his landmark healthcare law, Obama said he is not allowed to have Apple’s smart phone, the iPhone, for “security reasons,” though he still uses Apple’s tablet computer, the iPad.
The addition of MasterCard will help FIDO expand its standard to more types of transactions. The company’s experience handling the multitude of existing payments industry standards will also be valuable.
SAN FRANCISCO — MasterCard is joining the FIDO Alliance, signaling that the payment network is getting interested in using fingerprints and other biometric data to identify people for online payments.
MasterCard will be the first major payment network to join FIDO. The Alliance is developing an open industry standard for biometric data such as fingerprints to be used for identification online. The goal is to replace clunky passwords and take friction out of logging on and purchasing using mobile devices.
Apple’s new iPhone 5s smartphone has a fingerprint sensor, but the tech giant is not part of FIDO. However, Google is part of the Alliance, and devices running Google’s Android operating system will have fingerprint sensors by next year.
Just a week after it began the first phase of putting iPads in the hands of all 640,000 students in the region, the Los Angeles school district already has a fight on its hands. In a matter of days, 300 children at Theodore Roosevelt High School managed to work around protective measures placed on the Apple tablets, giving them complete access to features — including Facebook, Twitter and other apps — that should otherwise have been blocked.
Dubbed as a “game-changer” despite being around on devices for years (Motorola Atrix anyone); a ‘paradigm’ shift in mobile payment security; and a revolution in handheld devices by any and all investors bullish of the stocks; Appl’s fingerprint-scanning TouchID is everything you want it to be – apart from secure. As Der Spiegel reports, the well-respected German hacker group Chaos Computer Club (CCC) has thrown a wrench in the works by bypassing the smartphone’s much-heralded fingerprint scanner just two days after launch. The CCC, as the clip below illustrates, successfully bypassed the biometric security system, called TouchID, using “easy everyday means.” So, the question now is – will the NYPD demand everyone downgrade their phones?
It is supposed to represent a major step forward in mobile phone security by replacing the password. But the fingerprint sensor on Apple’s new iPhone 5S has already been compromised just two days after it went on sale. The German hacker organization Chaos Computer Club (CCC) says it has successfully bypassed the biometric security system, called TouchID, using “easy everyday means.”
the CCC said in a blog post, it wanted to demonstrate how fingerprint biometrics is “unsuitable as [an] access control method and should be avoided.”
Such fingerprint technology has been around for a while — it was included as a feature on the Motorola Atrix smartphone, launched in 2011 — but TouchID has been reported as a significant step forward. That assertion is categorically denied by the CCC, with a hacker known as Starbug, who was responsible for bypassing the fingerprint security, saying: “In reality, Apple’s sensor has just a higher resolution compared to the sensors so far. So we only needed to ramp up the resolution of our fake.”
“It is plain stupid to use something that you can’t change and that you leave everywhere every day as a security token,” he said, referring to fingerprints.
You can’t make this shit up. Three minutes that will crush any illusions you might have of the masses rising up and shaking off the yoke of corporate fascism. The decades of mass media propaganda and dumbing down of the people through our government run public education system has succeeded beyond Edward Bernays’ wildest dreams. I give you the next head of the Department of Commerce:
Lowest labor participation in 35 years, 47 million people on foodstamps, and real incomes haven’t gone up in four decades, but idiots by the thousands will stand in line for two days to whip out their credit cards for a fucking phone that they can order on-line. We are so fucked. And most of these iMorons are Millenials.
“Think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of them are even stupider”
– George Carlin
SPIEGEL has learned from internal NSA documents that the US intelligence agency has the capability of tapping user data from the iPhone, devices using Android as well as BlackBerry, a system previously believed to be highly secure.
The United States’ National Security Agency intelligence-gathering operation is capable of accessing user data from smart phones from all leading manufacturers. Top secret NSA documents that SPIEGEL has seen explicitly note that the NSA can tap into such information on Apple iPhones, BlackBerry devices and Google’s Android mobile operating system.
The documents state that it is possible for the NSA to tap most sensitive data held on these smart phones, including contact lists, SMS traffic, notes and location information about where a user has been.
The press has lost the plot over the Snowden revelations. The fact is that the net is finished as a global network and that US firms’ cloud services cannot be trusted
Repeat after me: Edward Snowden is not the story. The story is what he has revealed about the hidden wiring of our networked world. This insight seems to have escaped most of the world’s mainstream media, for reasons that escape me but would not have surprised Evelyn Waugh, whose contempt for journalists was one of his few endearing characteristics. The obvious explanations are: incorrigible ignorance; the imperative to personalise stories; or gullibility in swallowing US government spin, which brands Snowden as a spy rather than a whistleblower.
“If you want to have the possibility of some privacy someday, you’d better join the fight now, because now a bunch of other people are joining the fight. Now is the moment when you can make a difference. If you wait until the day you wish you had some privacy and only then try to do something…well, that day you will be one of a few people doing it and that won’t be enough. You’ve got to help make a critical mass when other people are doing it – and that’s now.”“We call Windows 8.1 ‘Windows PRISM Edition’ because it’s designed to require people to send data to Microsoft servers, and of course, Microsoft will hand over any of that data to the US government on request. It puts the users in PRISM.”
- Richard Stallman in the interview embedded below
If you don’t know who Richard Stallman, aka RMS is, it’s time to to get up to speed. I can’t think of a better way to do that than by watching the video interview below. He starts off explaining why he doesn’t own a mobile phone (it can continue to listen to you even when it’s turned off), and then goes on to answer almost every technology question imaginable to a layperson. Definitely worth the time.
Newly published top-secret documents detail how NSA interfaces with tech giants such as Google, Apple and Microsoft
The Washington Post has released four previously unpublished slides from the NSA’s PowerPoint presentation on Prism, the top-secret programme that collects data on foreign surveillance targets from the systems of nine participating internet companies.
The newly published top-secret documents, which the newspaper has released with some redactions, give further details of how Prism interfaces with the nine companies, which include such giants as Google, Microsoft and Apple. According to annotations to the slides by the Washington Post, the new material shows how the FBI “deploys government equipment on private company property to retrieve matching information from a participating company, such as Microsoft or Yahoo and pass it without further review to the NSA”.
Manufacturing giant Foxconn Technology Group is on track with its goal to a create a “million robot army”, and already has 20,000 robotic machines in its factories, said the company’s CEO Terry Gou on Wednesday.
Workers’ wages in China are rising, and so the company’s research in robots and automation has to catch up, Gou said, while speaking at the company’s annual shareholder’s meeting in Taipei. “We have over 1 million workers. In the future we will add 1 million robotic workers,” he said. “Our [human] workers will then become technicians and engineers.”
Foxconn is the world’s largest contract electronics maker and counts Apple, Microsoft and Sony as some of its clients. Many of its largest factories are in China, where the company employs 1.2 million people, but rising are threatening to reduce company profits.
Wondering why the money world got its knickers in a twist last week? The answer is simple: the global economy is breaking apart and its constituent major players are doing face-plants on the downhill slope of a no-longer-cheap-oil way of life. Let’s look at them case by case.
What do Google, AOL, Skype, Facebook, Apple, Hotmail and Yahoo all have in common? They have all been caught turning over private user data to the government’s spy agency, the NSA. All these companies routinely turn over the emails, voice calls, text chats, photos, files and even logins and passwords of their users, including Americans.
“There is a massive apparatus within the United States government that with complete secrecy has been building this enormous structure that has only one goal,” journalist Glenn Greenwald recently told Piers Morgan (who knows all about spying and hacking people’s private data). “And that is to destroy privacy and anonymity not just in the United States but around the world.”
In the aftermath of the PRISM spying scandal, the first and logical response was an expected one: lie. Thepresident did it, and so did the various companies implicated in the biggest US surveillance scandal ever exposed. To wit:
Zuckerberg: “Facebook is not and has never been part of any program to give the US or any other government direct access to our servers.”
Google CEO Larry Page: “We have not joined any program that would give the US government – or any other government – direct access to our servers.”
Yahoo: “We do not provide the government with direct access to our servers, systems, or network.”
One small problem: they are all lying.
The NYT explains just how the explicit handover of private customer data from Corporate Server X to NSA Server Y takes place.
The companies that negotiated with the government include Google, which owns YouTube; Microsoft, which owns Hotmail and Skype; Yahoo; Facebook; AOL; Apple; and Paltalk, according to one of the people briefed on the discussions. The companies were legally required to share the data under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. People briefed on the discussions spoke on the condition of anonymity because they are prohibited by law from discussing the content of FISA requests or even acknowledging their existence.
In at least two cases, at Google and Facebook, one of the plans discussed was to build separate, secure portals, like a digital version of the secure physical rooms that have long existed for classified information, in some instances on company servers. Through these online rooms, the government would request data, companies would deposit it and the government would retrieve it, people briefed on the discussions said.
The UK’s electronic eavesdropping and security agency, GCHQ, has been secretly gathering intelligence from the world’s biggest internet companies through a covertly run operation set up by America’s top spy agency, documents obtained by the Guardian reveal.
The documents show that GCHQ, based in Cheltenham, has had access to the system since at least June 2010, and generated 197 intelligence reports from it last year.
The US-run programme, called Prism, would appear to allow GCHQ to circumvent the formal legal process required to seek personal material such as emails, photos and videos from an internet company based outside the UK.
Classified information obtained by the Washington Post and The Guardian has revealed a massive, warrantless online surveillance system in use by a US military intelligence agency, giving access to Americans’ search history, emails, live chats and more.
The 41-page PowerPoint presentation, which has been verified by both papers and published almost concurrently on Thursday evening, outlines details of a previously undisclosed program known as PRISM, which allows the fabled military intelligence agency to harvest massive amounts of data on everything from electronic correspondence to file transfers.
The slides were meant to be declassified in 2036.
According to the documents, the program currently boasts access to some of the largest Internet companies in the world, with Microsoft thought to be the first corporation to sign onto the surveillance arrangement in 2007.
That company’s participation was followed by Yahoo in 2008, Google, Facebook and PalTalk in 2009, YouTube in 2010, Skype and AOL in 2011, and Apple joining in 2012. Meanwhile, cloud storage company Dropbox is described as “coming soon.”
With the participation of those companies, PRISM and thereby Washington intelligence workers have access to the bulk of Americans’ email, video and voice chat, videos, photos, voice-over-IP (Skype) chats, file transfers, social networking details and more. Continue reading »
And there it is. Moments ago Bloomberg disclosed the final terms of the just launched Goldman-led syndication of AAPL paper. The total size: $17 billion, which surpasses the previous record set by Roche at $16.5 billion, and makes it the biggest corporate bond synidcation in history. The breakdown:
$1B 3Y FRN LAUNCH AT 3ML + 5 BPS
$1.5B 3Y FIXED NOTES LAUNCH AT + 20 BPS
$2B 5Y FRN LAUNCH AT 3ML+25 BPS
$4B 5Y FIXED NOTES LAUNCH AT + 40 BPS
$5.5B 10Y FIXED NOTES LAUNCH AT +75 BPS
$3B 30Y DEBT LAUNCHES AT +100 BPS
30 Year paper in a tech company whose market cap has fluctuated by roughly $500 billion in the past year, and yielding just under 4%?
Everyone knows that for the better part of the past year Apple, Inc. (“AAPL”, or “The Company”) was the world’s biggest company by market cap, with Exxon finally regaining that title on Friday, following AAPL’s latest price drop in the aftermath of its disappointing earnings. Most know that AAPL aggressively uses all legal tax loopholes to pay as little State and Federal tax as possible, despite being one of the world’s most profitable companies.Many also know, courtesy of our exclusive from September, that Apple also is the holding company for Braeburn Capital: a firm which with a few exceptions (Bridgewater; JPM’s CIO prop trading desk) also happens to be one of the world’s largest hedge funds, whose function is to manage Apple’s massive cash hoard, with virtually zero requirements, and whose obligation is to make sure that AAPL’s cash gets laundered legally and efficiently in a way that complies with prerogative #1: avoid paying taxes.
What few if any know, is that as part of its cash management obligations, Braeburn, and AAPL by extension, has conducted a mindboggling $600 billion worth of gross notional trades in just the past four years, consisting of buying and selling assorted unknown securities, or some $250 billion in 2012 alone: a grand total which represents some $1 billion per working day on average, and which puts the net turnover of some 99% of all hedge funds to shame!
Finally, what nobody knows, except for the recipients of course, is just how much in trade commissions AAPL has paid over the past four years on these hundreds of billions in trades to the brokering banks, many (or maybe all) of which may have found this commission revenue facilitating AAPL having a “Buy” recommendation: a rating shared by 52, or 83% of the raters, despite the company’s wiping out of one year in capital gains in a few short months.