Backdoors to come? There is, finally, a powerful political reason to introduce strong end-to-end encryption now, beyond the obvious benefits for individual users. The FBI, which fears that its digital wiretaps will “go dark” as encrypted communications become more popular, has been quietly but vigorously promoting an update to the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act to cover providers of online communication services like Google and Skype. Just as phone companies have to build wiretap capability into their networks, they want Skype and Google to build in centralized backdoors for law enforcement: Strong end-to-end encryption would be out, as companies would be required to hold copies of the keys to all “secure” communications for police convenience. This myopic move would drastically reduce the security of everyone’s communications in the name of making it a bit easier to spy on a tiny handful of criminals. It’s also unlikely to do much … [Read more...] about Op-ed—A plea to Google: Protect our e-mail privacy
Consumer protection from unfair trading regulations
June 24, 2019: Huawei says it'll increase its 5G investment in spite of US ban, while attorneys for its imprisoned CFO have asked for the US extradition request to be withdrawn. Also, an FCC commissioner wants Huawei gear out of US networks, and the Trump administration reportedly is thinking about requiring domestic 5G equipment to be made outside China. … [Read more...] about Huawei ban: Full timeline as it posts smallest profit increase in 3 years
Regardless of what Japan’s doing in its own waters, hydrothermal vents — and other underwater mineral deposits — in the high seas may well be opened to mining soon. And the scientific community will be weighing in to determine how to do it best. At stake is one of the most unique ecosystems on our planet. Globally, active vents are estimated to cover about 34 square miles, less than 1 percent of the area of Yellowstone National Park, Lee Van Dover says — they’re very rare. But also very understudied. Deep-sea animals have yielded big discoveries before, including one small organism that contains a compound that could help treat Alzheimer’s. Maybe hydrothermal vents host communities of organisms that may yield the next big drug. And, Thaler says, we should protect them for their own right: these weird, deep-sea creatures exist in pure darkness amidst toxic chemicals that’d be fatal to most animals. … [Read more...] about Deep-sea mining could find rare elements for smartphones — but will it destroy rare species?
In May, the regulator confirmed that it planned to crack down on ISP ads that separate out line rental prices—often buried in the small print—from seemingly attractive headline broadband fees. The changes will be enforced from October this year, and Vodafone became the first ISP to strip away separate line rental charges on Tuesday in a clear, if welcome, marketing ploy to grow its small broadband customer base. … [Read more...] about Broadband speed fibs scoff at UK’s rural dwellers, say local councils
Global warming in scores of years One of SoCal Gas’ main contentions with the CARB proposal is that the regulator measures the greenhouse gas potential of the leaked methane in 20-year terms rather than 100-year terms. Methane is much more harmful to the climate than carbon dioxide over 20 years, but after that time period, it decays into less-potent molecules. Over 20 years, one ton of methane has the global warming potential of 84 tons of carbon dioxide, CARB explained in the final draft of its proposal (PDF). Over 100 years, however, one ton of methane has the global warming potential of just 28 tons of carbon dioxide. … [Read more...] about SoCal Gas says it will fix damage after methane leak—if the price is right