Posts Tagged technology

Sign Petition To Stop Warrantless Spying

From EFF:

The law behind the NSA’s sweeping Internet surveillance programs—Section 702, as enacted by the FISA Amendments Act—is set to expire at the end of 2017. Built-in expiration dates like this force lawmakers to review, debate, and update wide-reaching surveillance laws that impact their constituents’ privacy.

The looming Section 702 sunset gives Congress a chance to rein in the warrantless surveillance of millions of innocent people’s online communications. But some have another, much more dangerous idea.

Sen. Tom Cotton and a group of other Senate Republicans recently introduced a bill (S. 1297) that would not only reauthorize Section 702 without making much-needed changes, but it would also make the law permanent, effectively forfeiting lawmakers’ responsibility to periodically reexamine Section 702 and the impact it has on their constituents.

It would be unacceptable for Congress to ignore our privacy concerns and hand off their obligation to review surveillance law.

Sign our petition and tell Congress to oppose S. 1297.

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Defense Distributed Part of New Documentary

From The Verge:

In the film, Wilson is openly positive about the election of Donald Trump, which may help explain the film’s chilly reception among the liberal-leaning Sundance audience. Then again, there are plenty of reasons for people on the left — Lough included — to find Wilson unsettling. Lough interviews him at length in The New Radical, about other pioneers of the crypto movement, other libertarian radical activists, and how printable weapons level the playing field for anyone who wants a potentially undetectable plastic gun without any government oversight.

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Marines To Use Tablets For Fire Support

From KitUp:

The Target Handoff System Version 2 will work with the Samsung Tab 2, an 8-inch tablet that retails for about $400, Capt. Jesse Hume, project officer for the system, told Military.com. Roughly 900 Marines will receive the systems this spring, including joint fires observers, joint terminal attack controllers, forward air controllers, and air officers throughout all Marine Corps ground units, he said.

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Defense Distributed Snubbed By NSSF

From Guns.com:

During the Second Amendment Foundation’s annual gun rights policy conference in Tamp, Florida last weekend, Wilson revealed he was denied membership to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry’s largest trade group, for reasons he is unsure of.

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Choosing A Strong Password Is Easier Than You Think

From EFF:

Randomly-generated passphrases offer a major security upgrade over user-chosen passwords. Estimating the difficulty of guessing or cracking a human-chosen password is very difficult. It was the primary topic of my own PhD thesis and remains an active area of research. (One of many difficulties when people choose passwords themselves is that people aren’t very good at making random, unpredictable choices.)

Measuring the security of a randomly-generated passphrase is easy. The most common approach to randomly-generated passphrases (immortalized by XKCD) is to simply choose several words from a list of words, at random. The more words you choose, or the longer the list, the harder it is to crack. Looking at it mathematically, for k words chosen from a list of length n, there are kn possible passphrases of this type. It will take an adversary about kn/2 guesses on average to crack this passphrase. This leaves a big question, though: where do we get a list of words suitable for passphrases, and how do we choose the length of that list?

In general choosing four five-letter words is better than one long word with number substitutions and some weird characters thrown in. It’s easier to remember and vastly harder for a computer to guess.

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Sharing Passwords May Now Be A Crime

From Motherboard:

At issue is language in the CFAA that makes it illegal to access a computer system “without authorization.” McKeown said that “without authorization” is “an unambiguous, non-technical term that, given its plain and ordinary meaning, means accessing a protected computer without permission.” The question that legal scholars, groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and dissenting judge Stephen Reinhardt ask is an important one: Authorization from who?

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Cody Wilson Versus The United States

From Fox News:

The (15) members of Congress, led by Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Kent., signed onto an amicus brief in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, where Texas inventor Cody Wilson is fighting a lower court ruling in favor of the government agency. The State Department in 2013, citing a law allowing it to regulate international arms trafficking, blocked Wilson and his nonprofit group Defense Distributed from posting technical data for 3-D printing of legal handguns.

Wilson has received more “friend of the court” backup from policy think tank Cato Institute and various free speech organizations.

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WaPo: Printed Guns Will Lead To Printed Nukes

From The Washington Post:

The ability to “print” or manufacture guns privately will allow individuals to bypass background checks, the primary way that guns are regulated today. And that challenge will expand exponentially as the technology advances, one day enabling individuals to print chemical, biological and nuclear weapons of mass destruction at home.

The threat of privately printed weapons will soon grow beyond the lethal handguns now in circulation. As we argue in research forthcoming in the October issue of the Journal of Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism, considering expected advances in the technologies, terrorist groups will threaten nations with 3-D printed chemical, biological and nuclear weapons within a couple of decades.

 

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Defense Distributed Injunction Against State Department Denied

From Reason.com:

This week U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman denied a motion for a preliminary injunction against the State Department in the case of Defense Distributed v. U.S. Dep’t of State.

Quotes and comment from Judge Pitman’s decision.

He starts with explaining that it takes a lot to get a preliminary injunction to stop someone from an action you assert violates your rights, and he believes the very fact it took DD so long after the injury to file suit proves that they do not face any urgent necessity to stop the State Department from violating their rights.

Judge Pitman does then grant that, well, precedent states that First and Second Amendment violations do rise to the level of “irreparable”  that might demand an injunction.

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Wireless Thermal/NVG Scope Connects To Helmet

From KitUp:

In three years, the Army hopes to start fielding the Family of Weapon Sights-Individual, a new lightweight thermal weapon sight that is designed to communicate wirelessly with the service’s latest Enhanced Night Vision Goggle (ENVG).

Linking these two technologies creates a new capability called Rapid Target Acquisition, according to Lt. Col. Timothy Fuller, product manager for Soldier Maneuver Sensors at Fort Belvoir, Va.

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State Department Gun Regs Designed To Counter Defense Distributed Lawsuit

According to Sean Davis at The Federalist the new regulations are nothing more than retaliation against Defense Distributed:

On June 3, just four weeks after Defense Distributed filed its complaint in federal court, the State Department suddenly decided to propose a new rule giving it the authority to pre-approve speech related to publicly available firearm plans. The State Department’s play here is obvious: it hopes to promulgate a new rule making its previous anti-speech efforts superficially legal in order to short-circuit Defense Distributed’s court case. If that were to happen, the non-profit would then have to file a new and separate suit alleging the unconstitutionality of the new rule.

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Feds Want To Restrict Talking About Guns On The Net

The State Department has proposed new ITAR rules that would cover merely talking about guns according to the NRA.

From The Washington Examiner:

…the NRA boiled it down for gun owners with this warning:

“In their current form, the ITAR do not (as a rule) regulate technical data that are in what the regulations call the ‘public domain.’ Essentially, this means data ‘which is published and which is generally accessible or available to the public’ through a variety of specified means. These include ‘at libraries open to the public or from which the public can obtain documents.’ Many have read this provision to include material that is posted on publicly available websites, since most public libraries these days make Internet access available to their patrons.

“The ITAR, however, were originally promulgated in the days before the Internet. Some State Department officials now insist that anything published online in a generally-accessible location has essentially been ‘exported,’ as it would be accessible to foreign nationals both in the U.S. and overseas.

“With the new proposal published on June 3, the State Department claims to be ‘clarifying’ the rules concerning ‘technical data’ posted online or otherwise ‘released’ into the ‘public domain.’ To the contrary, however, the proposal would institute a massive new prior restraint on free speech. This is because all such releases would require the ‘authorization’ of the government before they occurred. The cumbersome and time-consuming process of obtaining such authorizations, moreover, would make online communication about certain technical aspects of firearms and ammunition essentially impossible.”

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Making Your Own Firearm Has A Long History

From Slate.com:

While the technological ingenuity and legal maneuvering of makers such as Wilson and Imura may strike us as quintessentially modern, in fact the work of these garage gunsmiths hearkens back to the first experiments with gun-making in the late Middle Ages, an era before firearms became the province of corporations—and centuries before their subjection to any kind of government regulation or oversight.

The story begins with that most dastardly of medieval inventions, gunpowder, first developed in China probably during the Tang Dynasty before gradually making its way to Western Europe by the middle of the 13th century. Initially the use of gunpowder weapons on the medieval battlefield was limited to larger artillery pieces such as the pot-de-fer and theribauldequin. Soon, though, gunsmiths began experimenting with smaller, increasingly portable weapons that could be carried more easily across a battlefield.

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DARPA Self Guiding Ammo

From DARPA:

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