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Getting antibiotics as a baby may have lasting effects on brain,...

Mouse study backs up human observations showing long-term changes.

Apple sold $4.2 billion of product in New Zealand, paid $0...

"Their tax department is even more innovative than their product designers."

The Kim Dotcom film: How to avoid a trial for 5...

Dotcom's showmanship throws a small democracy for a loop.

New Zealand appeals court upholds Kim Dotcom extradition ruling

Case is far from over: Dotcom's lawyers vow to press on to Court of Appeal.

Calix and Northpower Fibre Showcase World’s First Multi-wavelength NG-PON2 Service Delivery...

The widely-deployed AXOS E7-2 Modular Access System demonstrates rapid new service turn-up; Points to a future of faster time-to-revenue over a converged infrastructure with dramatically reduced costsMARSEILLE, FRANCE – February 14, 2017 – Calix, Inc. (NYSE: CALX), the world leader in Subscriber Driven Intelligent Access, today announced that NG-PON2 has made the leap from promising technology to business transforming reality with the world’s first NG-PON2 demonstration in a live network. New Zealand’s Northpower Fibre leveraged... Source: RealWire

Microsoft fails to impress tech media by selling thousands of HoloLenses

$3,000 enterprise headsets experience lower sales than mass-market consumer devices.

US pulls out of Trans-Pacific Partnership

Enlarge / President Donald Trump signs an executive order Monday withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership as Chief of Staff Reince Priebus looks on in the Oval Office.Saul Loeb/Getty Images reader comments 249 Share this story With the stroke of a pen from President Donald Trump, the United States officially withdrew Monday from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a proposed and controversial 12-nation trade pact dealing with everything from intellectual property to human rights. "Everybody knows what that means, right? We’ve been talking about this for a long time," Trump said as he signed the order and made good on his campaign promise to remove the US from the trade deal. "A great thing for the American worker." During the election campaign, he called the TPP a "disaster." President Barack Obama had praised the pact, but it was put on life support just days after Election Day.

That's when congressional leaders told the White House that it would no longer consider entering the pact with a lame-duck president.

The failing deal was of interest to Ars due to how intellectual property would have been treated.

As we noted, "the TPP exported US copyright law regarding how long a copyright lasts.

For signing nations, the plan would have made copyrights last for the life of the creator plus 70 years after his or her death.

That's basically the same as in the US." The nations remaining in the sputtering pact include Japan, Australia, Peru, Malaysia, Vietnam, New Zealand, Chile, Singapore, Canada, Mexico, and Brunei.

China has proposed a 16-nation free-trade bloc that includes India.

The Trump administration is expected to begin trade negotiations with each TPP nation separately. The Motion Picture Association of America had hailed the TPP when the 2,000-page text of the pact was released in 2015, after negotiations were carried out in secret. "The TPP reaffirms what we have long understood—that strengthening copyright is integral to America’s creative community and to facilitating legitimate international commerce," Chris Dodd, the MPAA chairman, said at the time.

More, cheaper, bigger, faster: The defense and cyber strategy of Donald...

Enlarge / Where's the defense and cyber-weapon procurement budget going, Mr. President-elect?Getty Images | Joe Raedle reader comments 75 Share this story Since Election Day, President-elect Donald Trump has taken an inordinate interest in some of the minutia of defense policy. His tweets (particularly about the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and the Air Force One presidential aircraft replacement program) have sent shockwaves through the defense industry. The same is true of the cyber realm—particularly in his treatment of the intelligence community that currently dominates the US' cyber-defense capabilities. The one thing that is certain is that Trump wants more muscle in both departments, urging an increase in the number of troops, ships, planes, and weapons deployed by the Department of Defense; the end of defense budget sequestration; and an expansion of the US nuclear and ballistic missile defense arsenal. And he has also pledged a new focus on offensive "cyber" capabilities, as outlined by his campaign, "to deter attacks by both state and non-state actors and, if necessary, to respond appropriately." That sort of aggressive posture is not a surprise. But the policies that will drive the use of those physical and digital forces are still a bit murky. Considering the position Trump has taken regarding the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and his attitudes toward Russia, Trump's statements may hint at a desire for a Fortress America—armed to the teeth and going it alone in every domain of conflict. Saddle up While not quite on a Reagan-esque scale, the Trump surge would (based on his statements) bring forces back above their active size during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (though less than during the 2007 "surge" period of the Iraq War). Trump declared that he'll add about 60,000 more active duty soldiers to the Army, increase the Navy's fleet to 350 ships, increase the Marine Corps' strength by over a dozen battalions (roughly 12,000 Marines), and "provide the Air Force with the 12,000 fighters they need." On the strategic front, Trump has tweeted that he wants to expand and improve the US military's nuclear capabilities, modernizing and increasing weapons to improve their deterrent value. The modernization effort had already been queued up by President Barack Obama's administration, including the new Long Range Strike Bomber program awarded to Northrop Grumman. But those investments have been at the expense of other military (particularly Air Force) programs. Trump has also proposed investment in a "serious missile defense system" based on updating the Navy's Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruisers' Aegis systems and building more Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers. The ballistic missile defense version of Aegis and the Standard Missile 3 (RIM-161) missile it controls are currently only capable of intercepting short- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles, not intercontinental ballistic missiles; to have a chance at taking down a US-targeted threat from North Korea, for example, they would have to be very close to the launch site and hit it early in its launch (the boost phase). How will Trump pay for all this hardware? By "conducting a full audit of the Pentagon, eliminating incorrect payments, reducing duplicative bureaucracy, collecting unpaid taxes, and ending unwanted and unauthorized federal programs," whatever those might be. There's certainly some room in the budget to be gained through increased administrative efficiency, as a Defense Business Board report found that the DOD could save as much in $125 billion in overhead (though that number may have been slightly inflated, as it was based on corporate, and not military, business models). Cyber up On the cyber side, it appears Trump wants to put the military on point for cyber defense. The campaign platform pushed for the DOD to place a new emphasis on offensive capabilities, including making enhancements to the US Cyber Command—currently led by NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers—to increase its offensive punch and turn it into an effective cyber-deterrence force. “As a deterrent against attacks on our critical resources, the United States must possess the unquestioned capacity to launch crippling cyber counter-attacks,” Trump said in a speech in October. Just exactly how that would work isn't clear. Given the difficulty of attribution—a point Trump made repeatedly in his castigation of intelligence findings of Russian interference in the election—the kind of very attributable cyber force that US Cyber Command would wield as part of the Strategic Command would likely not act as much of a deterrent to low-level intrusions, espionage, and information operations. Yet those make up the majority of what has recently been dumped into the "cyberwarfare" shopping cart. Trump's policy outline also calls for the Joint Chiefs of Staff to participate in Trump's vaunted "Cyber Review Team," contributing experts to evaluate "all US cyber defenses"—including critical infrastructure in the private sector—alongside law enforcement and experts from private industry. The Cyber Review Team, which may or may not have anything to do with the group being headed by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, has a big mandate: The Cyber Review Team will provide specific recommendations for safeguarding different entities with the best defense technologies tailored to the likely threats and will follow up regularly at various federal agencies and departments. The Cyber Review Team will establish detailed protocols and mandatory cyber awareness training for all government employees while remaining current on evolving methods of cyber-attack. On the domestic end, the Trump administration would seek to take the same model that has been applied to terrorism to the cyber side, creating joint task forces that put Department of Justice, FBI, and Department of Homeland Security personnel alongside state and local law enforcement to respond to "cyber threats." Nothing Trump or his proxies have said indicates any policy around shaping what "norms" in the world connecting the digital to the physical should be. If anything, Trump's position seems to be that a cyber-armed world is a polite world—or at least one that will be polite to the United States, the only confirmed state cyberwar actor to hit another nation's infrastructure (aside from squirrels). The eyes have it It will take some time to see how Trump's indifference toward the US' obligations toward allies will affect overall defense and cyber-security policy. But if reports are true regarding US intelligence officials warning allies of Trump's Russia ties and if Trump goes forward with weakening the US involvement in NATO, his views could significantly affect both—especially in the realm of digital intelligence collection. A weakened relationship with the other members of the "Five Eyes" group—the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada—on a military level could impact the National Security Agency's (and the CIA's) ability to collect intelligence from infrastructure that has up until now been widely shared. Only one thing is for certain: the defense industry should be expecting an aircraft carrier full of dollars headed in their direction.

The most dramatic patent and copyright cases of 2016

reader comments 6 Share this story Many of the biggest legal disputes in technology relate to "intellectual property," a broad term used for laws relating to everything from copyrights to patents, trademarks to trade secrets.

This year saw significant changes in the copyright and patent landscapes. "Patent trolls" who sue technologists for fun and profit got smacked down by courts more often—and harder—than ever before.

At the same time, universities were filing patent lawsuits at an increased rate, and often winning.In the copyright realm, the Oracle v.

Google
trial dominated the spring.

A jury was left to decide the murky rules about when using an API could be "fair use." That legal uncertainty led to the two tech giants clashing over the ethics of each others' business practices and the history of the smartphone industry. In two very different cases in 2016, copyright issues led to criminal charges being filed. US authorities are seeking to extradite and put on trial a man named Artem Vaulin, who they say made $16 million annually by running a massive online storehouse of pirated films and songs.

And more than three years after they were condemned by a federal judge, lawyers behind a vast array of copyright lawsuits, a firm known as Prenda Law, were arrested and accused of fraud. Here's a look back at 2016's most dramatic IP cases. Graphiq CEO Kevin O'Connor and former director of operations Danny Seigle.

Graphiq (formerly FindTheBest) became the first company to win attorneys' fees in a patent case under the Supreme Court's new Octane Fitness standard.

An appeals court approved the fee award in January 2016. Patent trolls continued to face stiff fines throughout 2016. eDekka, the most litigious patent company just a year ago, collapsed and dropped its appeal after being hit with fees in East Texas. Carnegie Mellon University ended a prolonged patent battle with Marvell Technology in February, with Marvell agreeing to pay a $750 million settlement—the largest payout ever for a patent related to computer science. Pictured here is CMU Professor José Moura, inventor on the two patents in the case. An image explaining one of two patents owned by Carnegie Mellon University, which describe a method of reducing noise when reading data from hard disks.

The patents were used by CMU to sue Marvell Technology. Universities have increasingly been willing to become plaintiffs in high-stakes patent lawsuits, and are sometimes partnering with professional patent enforcement companies to do so.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation launched a "reclaim invention" campaign in June 2016, seeking to pressure universities not to partner with such "patent trolls." Since the US Supreme Court's 2014 Alice v.

CLS Bank
decision, it's been easier to get software patents thrown out of court. Until this year, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit had only upheld software patents in one post-Alice case.

But in 2016, the Federal Circuit gave approval to software patents in three more cases.

The image above is pulled from the McRo v.

Bandai Namco Games
opinion.

A Federal Circuit panel said McRo's digital animation patents could survive, rejecting arguments from public interest groups like EFF that McRo was being allowed to essentially patent mathematics. In May, a second jury trial between Oracle and Google over whether the Android operating system violated Java copyrights ended with a second resounding win for Google.

The testimony of Jonathan Schwartz, former president of Sun MicroSystems, loomed large in the case.
Schwartz testified that he had no problem with Android, since Google had followed the rules around Java intellectual property that Sun had established. Noah Berger/Bloomberg via Getty Images Oracle attorneys tried to sway the jury by painting former Sun Microsystems president Jonathan Schwartz as a hypocrite, who praised Google in public but privately decried its licensing practices.
It didn't work.

Above is a slide from Oracle's closing argument. In June, a Los Angeles federal jury considered whether or not Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" was ripped off from a song by psychedelic rock band Spirit.

The jury found in Led Zeppelin's favor, quelling some fears that the music industry may continue to be plagued with copyright lawsuits over similar-sounding songs.

The case followed a high-profile 2015 trial in which a jury found that the hit song "Blurred Lines" infringed the copyright of Marvin Gaye's "Got to Give it Up." In July, US prosecutors charged Artem Vaulin, a 30-year-old Ukrainian man, with criminal copyright infringement for running the popular website KickAssTorrents.
Vaulin was arrested and is being held in Poland awaiting extradition.
It's the highest profile criminal copyright case since the US charged Kim Dotcom—who's still living in New Zealand, where he's desperately hoping to avoid extradition.

Above is a screenshot of the now-shuttered torrent website. On July 21, the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a lawsuit that's been a long time coming.

EFF claims that the DMCA's ban on circumventing digital locks violates the First Amendment.

Digital locks may need to be sidestepped "in order to create a running critical commentary on... a political debate, sporting event, or movie," all legitimate activities that should be protected by fair use, EFF argues.

The government has asked for the case to be dismissed, and the matter is awaiting a judge's decision. Pictured above is EFF client Andrew "bunnie" Huang, who wants to market a product for editing HD television signals, but is hampered by copyright limitations he believes are unconstitutional. Record label EMI sued MP3tunes, an early music locker service, in 2007, along with its founder Michael Robertson, pictured above in a 2006 photo.

The litigation caused MP3tunes to go bankrupt in 2012, but Robertson kept fighting his battle in court.
In October 2016, the 2nd Circuit appeals court upheld and even expanded EMI's court win—a disastrous result for Robertson and MP3tunes.

Today, cloud music services are thriving.

But the MP3tunes precedent shows that innovators who cross the music industry still must risk paying a heavy price. In an opinion published December 6, the US Supreme Court stopped Apple from collecting $399 million in patent infringement damages from Samsung over iPhone-related design patents.

The high court held that the lower court erred when it allowed Apple to automatically collect "lost profits" damages based on the entire value of a phone.
It was the first time in more than a century that the Supreme Court took a case involving design patents. Pictured above is one of the infringed patents, D618,677, describing a black rectangle with rounded corners. The lawyers behind Prenda Law were denounced in 2013 by a federal judge who called them a "porno-trolling collective" that had abused federal courts.
In December 2016, two of those lawyers, John Steele and Paul Hansmeier, were arrested and charged with fraud and perjury. Pictured above is John Steele's banner advertisement from his old firm, which practiced family law. Two band members of 60's rock band The Turtles, pictured above, have turned the once-obscure issue of pre-1972 songs into a hot copyright issue.

The Turtles sued Sirius XM and Pandora, demanding royalties for their old sound recordings, which are not protected by federal law.
Sirius and Pandora lost key legal battles in 2015, and Sirius paid out a $210 million settlement to record labels.

But the Turtles case went on, and on Dec. 21, 2016 the New York Court of Appeals handed a big victory to Sirius, saying that the state's common law offered no copyright protection for pre-1972 recordings.

The decision may be influential in other states. Nokia and Apple fought each other over smartphone patents between 2009 and 2011, but settled their case. Nokia has backed out out of the smartphone business, but is still licensing its patents, so the two companies are back at war. Nokia has sued Apple over patents in 11 different countries. Meanwhile, Apple has filed an antitrust lawsuit against Nokia, accusing the Finnish firm of working together with "patent-assertion entities"—a.k.a. patent trolls—to "maximize the royalties that can be extracted from product companies."

Is an NSA contractor the next Snowden? In 2017, we hope...

EnlargeGetty Images News reader comments 6 Share this story We covered a ton of legal cases in 2016. The entire Apple encryption saga probably grabbed the gold medal in terms of importance. However, our coverage of a California fisherman who took a government science buoy hostage was definitely our favorite.

The case was dropped in May 2016 after the fisherman gave the buoy back. Among others, we had plenty of laser strike cases to cover.

There were guilty verdicts and sentencing in the red-light camera scandal that consumed Chicago.

The Federal Trade Commission settled its lawsuit with Butterfly Labs, a failed startup that mined Bitcoins.

A man in Sacramento, California, pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful manufacture of a firearm and one count of dealing firearms—he was using a CNC mill to help people make anonymous, untraceable AR-15s. While we do our best to cover a wide variety of civil and criminal cases, there are five that stand out to us in 2017.

These cases range from privacy and encryption, to government-sanctioned hacking, to the future of drone law in America. Drone's up, don't shoot Case: Boggs v. MeridethStatus: Pending in US District Court for the Western District of Kentucky In 2016, we reported on another drone shooting incident (seriously folks, don’t do it!) in Virginia.

A 65-year-old named Jennifer Youngman used her 20-gauge shotgun to take out what many locals believe was a drone flying over her neighbor, Robert Duvall’s, adjacent property. Yes, that Robert Duvall. “The man is a national treasure and they should leave him the fuck alone,” she told Ars. Youngman touched on a concept that many Americans likely feel in their gut but has not been borne out in the legal system: property owners should be able to use force to keep unwanted drones out of their airspace.

But here’s the thing: for now, American law does not recognize the concept of aerial trespass. At this rate, that recognition will likely take years. Meanwhile, drones get more and more sophisticated and less expensive, and they have even spawned an entire anti-drone industry. Legal scholars have increasingly wondered about the drone situation.

After all, banning all aircraft would be impractical.
So what is the appropriate limit? The best case law on the issue dates back to 1946, long before inexpensive consumer drones were feasible.

That year, the Supreme Court ruled in a case known as United States v.

Causby
that Americans could assert property rights up to 83 feet in the air. In that case, US military aircraft were flying above a North Carolina farm, which disturbed the farmer's sleep and upset his chickens.

As such, the court found that Farmer Causby was owed compensation. However, the same decision also specifically mentioned a "minimum safe altitude of flight" at 500 feet—leaving the zone between 83 and 500 feet as a legal gray area. "The landowner owns at least as much of the space above the ground as he can occupy or use in connection with the land," the court concluded. In 2015, a Kentucky man shot down a drone that he believed was flying above his property.

The shooter in that case, William Merideth, was cleared of local charges, including wanton endangerment. By January 2016, the Kentucky drone's pilot, David Boggs, filed a lawsuit asking a federal court in Louisville to make a legal determination as to whether his drone’s flight constituted trespassing.

Boggs asked the court to rule that there was no trespass and that he is therefore entitled to damages of $1,500 for his destroyed drone. Although the two sides have traded court filings for months, the docket has not been updated since June 2016, when Boggs’ attorneys pointed to a recent case out of Connecticut that found in favor of the Federal Aviation Administration’s regulation of drones. As Boggs’ legal team wrote: The Haughwout pleadings are directly relevant to the subject matter jurisdiction issue currently before the court.

The current dispute turns on whether a controversy has arisen that cannot be resolved without the Court addressing a critical federal question—the balance between the protection of private property rights versus the safe navigation of federal airspace.

The Haughwout dispute places this critical question in the context of an administrative investigation.
It highlights, as argued by Mr.

Boggs—and now the FAA—that questions involving the regulation of the flight of unmanned aircraft should be resolved by Federal courts. US District Judge David J. Hale has yet to schedule any hearings on the matter. Flood of torrents Case: United States v.
Vaulin
Status: Pending in the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois In July 2016, federal authorities arrested the alleged founder of KickassTorrents (KAT).

The arrest was part of what is probably the largest federal criminal complaint in an intellectual property case since Megaupload, which was shuttered in early 2012. (That site’s founder, Kim Dotcom, has successfully beat back efforts to extradite him from New Zealand to the United States. He was ordered extradited a year ago, but that court decision is now on appeal.) In the case of KAT, Ukranian Artem Vaulin, 30, was formally charged with one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, and two counts of criminal copyright infringement.
Vaulin was arrested in Poland, where he remains in custody pending a possible extradition to the United States. Like The Pirate Bay, KAT does not host individual infringing files but rather provides torrent and magnet links so that users can download unauthorized copies of TV shows, movies, and more from various BitTorrent users. According to the 50-page affidavit, Vaulin and KAT’s claims that they respected the Digital Millennium Copyright Act were hogwash.

The affidavit was authored by Jared Der-Yeghiayan, who is a special agent with Homeland Securities Investigations and was also a key witness in the trial of Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht. Vaulin has since retained Dotcom’s lawyer, Ira Rothken, who has made similar arguments in court filings on behalf of his more famous client. Namely, that there is no such thing as secondary criminal copyright infringement, and while some files uploaded to KAT may have violated copyright, that does not make Vaulin a criminal. Rothken has not yet been able to directly correspond with or even meet his Ukrainian client (and has to do so only through Polish counsel). Nevertheless, he filed a motion to dismiss in October 2016.

The government responded weeks later, and Rothken filed another response on November 18. Prosecutors, for their part, said that the Rothken-Vaulin theory was ludicrous: “For the defendant to claim immunity from prosecution because he earned money by directing users to download infringing content from other users is much like a drug broker claiming immunity because he never touched the drugs.” The two sides met before US District Judge John Z. Lee for a status conference on December 20, 2016. Judge Lee has not yet ruled on the motion to dismiss. Hoarder vs. Hacker Case: United States v. MartinStatus: Pending in the US District Court for the District of Maryland While everyone knows about Edward Snowden and the shockwaves he sent through the intelligence community in 2013, fewer people know the name Harold “Hal” Martin. Martin, like Snowden, was a contractor for the National Security Agency at Booz Allen Hamilton and held a top-secret clearance.
In August, he was arrested and criminally charged with “unauthorized removal and retention of classified materials by a government employee or contractor.” Prosecutors alleged that Martin had a substantial amount of materials that should never have left government custody. Unlike Snowden, it’s unclear whether Martin is simply a “hoarder” (as his own lawyer argued) or whether he was someone who meant to sell, divulge, or disclose classified NSA material. (Recent years have seen several unsolved leaks of classified material, including a source that provided intelligence materials that were published by the German magazine Der Spiegel.
In August 2016, there was the “Shadow Brokers” dump of NSA exploits. Neither leak has been definitively attributed.) Two months later, when news of his arrest became public, Martin was immediately fired and stripped of his clearance.

An October 20 filing states that Martin also took home “six full bankers’ boxes” worth of paper documents, many of which were marked “Secret” or “Top Secret.” The documents are dated from 1996 to 2016. “The weight of the evidence against the Defendant is overwhelming,” the government plainly stated in its filing, which continued: For example, the search of the Defendant’s car revealed a printed email chain marked as “Top Secret” and containing highly sensitive information.

The document appears to have been printed by the Defendant from an official government account. On the back of the document are handwritten notes describing the NSA’s classified computer infrastructure and detailed descriptions of classified technical operations.

The handwritten notes also include descriptions of the most basic concepts associated with classified operations, as if the notes were intended for an audience outside of the Intelligence Community unfamiliar with the details of its operations. The docket in Martin’s case has not advanced since October 31.

For now, he remains in custody. No further hearings have been scheduled. You say NIT, I say malware Case: United States v.

Croghan
Status: Appeal pending in 8th US Circuit Court of Appeals On December 1, a change to a section of the Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure went into effect. Under the revised Rule 41, any magistrate judge is now allowed to issue warrants authorizing government-sanctioned hacking anywhere in the country. Prior to that, magistrates could only sign off on warrants within their own federal district. As Ars has reported previously, for more than two years now, the Department of Justice has pushed to change Rule 41 in the name of thwarting online criminal behavior enabled by tools like Tor. The rule change might have gone unnoticed if not for over 100 child porn cases.

The cases are currently being prosecuted nationwide against suspects accused of accessing a Tor-hidden website called Playpen. Many of those cases have progressed “normally,” or at least as “normally” as child porn cases can progress.

But some suspects have challenged the use of what the government calls a “network investigative technique” (NIT), which security experts have dubbed as malware. As Ars reported before, investigators in early 2015 used the NIT to force Playpen users to cough up their actual IP address, which made tracking them trivial.
In another related case prosecuted out of New York, an FBI search warrant affidavit described both the types of child pornography available to Playpen's 150,000 members and the malware's capabilities. As a way to ensnare users, the FBI took control of Playpen. Playpen users came to the site with their Tor-enabled digital shields down, revealing their true IP addresses.

The FBI was able to identify and arrest nearly 200 child porn suspects.

After 13 days, the FBI shut Playpen down. However, nearly 1,000 IP addresses were revealed as a result of the NIT’s deployment, which suggests that even more charges could be filed. Beau Croghan, a man in Iowa, was one of those hit by this NIT. He’s accused of downloading child porn via Playpen. However, this past year, his case was just one of three in which a judge ruled to suppress the evidence due to a defective warrant. In 2016, federal judges in Massachusetts and Oklahoma made similar rulings and similarly tossed the relevant evidence.

Thirteen other judges, meanwhile, have found that, while the warrants to search the defendants' computers via the hacking tool were invalid, they did not take the extra step of ordering suppression of the evidence.

The corresponding judges in the remainder of the cases have yet to rule on the warrant question. In Croghan’s case, however, US District Judge Robert Pratt seemed to have a clear understanding as to how the NIT worked. He rebuked the government’s arguments. Judge Pratt wrote: Here, by contrast, law enforcement caused an NIT to be deployed directly onto Defendants’ home computers, which then caused those computers to relay specific information stored on those computers to the Government without Defendants’ consent or knowledge.

There is a significant difference between obtaining an IP address from a third party and obtaining it directly from a defendant’s computer. In November, the government appealed the ruling up to the 8th Circuit, arguing that the district court had gotten it wrong: ordering suppression of the evidence was going too far. As prosecutors argued in their November 22 filing: The facts of this case fall comfortably within this body of law and mandate the same result.

Assuming that the NIT Warrant was void because the magistrate judge lacked territorial authority to issue it, and further assuming that the FBI’s use of the NIT thereby amounted to an unconstitutional warrantless search or was somehow prejudicial, suppression is not warranted because the agents acted in objectively reasonable reliance on the subsequently invalidated warrant and were not culpable for the magistrate judge’s purported error. Croghan’s attorneys have been ordered to file their response by January 12, 2017. Hands off Case: United States of America v.
In the matter of a Warrant to Microsoft, Inc.
Status: Appeal pending en banc in 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals It’s a case that’s being watched closely by many in the privacy community and the tech industry: Apple, the American Civil Liberties Union, BSA The Software Alliance, AT&T, Rackspace, Amazon, and others have joined in as amici. The question before the court was simple: does the Stored Communications Act, an American law that allows domestically held data to be handed over to the government, apply abroad? In other words: can the government order an American company (Microsoft) to give up data held overseas (in this case, in Ireland)? In July 2016, the 2nd Circuit said no. The case dates back to December 2013, when authorities obtained an SCA warrant, which was signed by a judge, as part of a drug investigation.

The authorities served it upon Microsoft, but when the company refused to comply, a lower court held the company in contempt. Microsoft challenged that, too.

The 2nd Circuit has vacated the contempt of court order, writing: The SCA warrant in this case may not lawfully be used to compel Microsoft to produce to the government the contents of a customer’s e‐mail account stored exclusively in Ireland.

Because Microsoft has otherwise complied with the Warrant, it has no remaining lawful obligation to produce materials to the government. What the government hopes would be revealed by acquiring the e-mail is not publicly known.

The authorities have also not revealed whether the e-mail account owner is American or if that person has been charged with a crime related to the drug investigation. On October 13, the government filed its en banc appeal before a full panel of judges at the 2nd Circuit, which has not formally decided to hear the case. As prosecutors wrote in that filing: There is no infringement of the customer’s privacy interest in his email content based on where Microsoft, at any given moment, chooses to store that content. Rather, the privacy intrusion occurs only when Microsoft turns over the content to the Government, which occurs in the United States.

The majority’s conclusion that the intrusion instead occurs where Microsoft “accessed” or “seized” the email content, Op. 39, is plainly wrong, because Microsoft could “access” or “seize” the email content on its own volition at any time and move it into the United States, or to China or Russia, or anywhere it chose, and the content would remain under Microsoft’s custody and control and the subscriber could not be heard to complain, unless and until the content were disclosed to the Government or another party.

This point is amply demonstrated by the concession of both Microsoft and the majority that Microsoft would have to comply with the Warrant if it had chosen (without consulting the subscriber) to move the target email account into the United States, even mere moments before the Warrant was served. Microsoft has not yet filed its response.

Pre-rolled stripped, hardened Copperhead Androids hit Oz, NZ

Flash for free or pick up a Nexus that's ready to roll Antipodeans can now buy secure, if pricey, Nexus 5 and 6p phones running the lauded hardened Android operating system dubbed "Copperhead". The stripped-down and fortified Copperhead operating system is an open source effort led by the developer duo James Donaldson and Daniel Micay. Launched in April last year, Copperhead aims at significantly raising the effort required to exploit Android. "The point of it is to increase the amount of resources an attacker needs to expend ... to the point where hopefully they will just give up," says Donaldson in this video. The developers have so far maintained regular updates for their Nexus 5 and 6p ROM, even beating Google and all other vendors to patch the Quadrooter vulnerability by harvesting the fix straight from a Qualcomm out of band update, and implementing advanced security features not yet in the latest vanilla Google operating system. Their firm formed in 2014 and served Canadian legal and intelligence industries.

The pair later noticed the dearth of secure and open source ROMs.
Secure phones like Circle's BlackPhone don't share their code. The operating system does not permit Google Play - Donaldson calls it a "Pandora's Box" - to avoid the chance Copperhead devices could be compromised by malicious apps, and instead uses the F-Droid security-focused store. Donaldson says it's teamed with NCrypt to allows users and enterprises in Australia and New Zealand to buy the pre-rolled Copperhead phones, avoiding an otherwise more difficult flashing process. "(NCrypt) are a shining example of a pro-privacy organisation in a world that seems to unfortunately increase intrusive surveillance day-by-day," Donaldson says. ® Sponsored: Next gen cybersecurity.
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