A small, perhaps temporary, but important victory has been won by privacy advocates today, as the US Senate has allowed three sections of the USA PATRIOT Act to expire.
As digital rights lawyer and special counsel to the Electronic Frontier Foundation Marcia Hofmann correctly noted in her keynote at Hack in the Box Amsterdam 2015 on Thursday, this issue is like a pendulum: sometimes, like in the wake of the 1990s crypto wars, it swings towards strong encryption, but it could now swing in the other direction.
Cybercriminals were able to successfully steal tax forms full of personal information of more than 100,000 taxpayers through IRS’ Get Transcript application.
In a job posting published last week, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) - the UK version of US' National Security Agency - openly announced its intention to recruit "committed and responsible individuals who have the potential to carry out computer network operations to keep the UK safe." "This is the first time that GCHQ has openly recruited for Computer Network Operations Specialists (CNOS).
The highly debated USA FREEDOM Act, a bill whose purpose is "to rein in the dragnet collection of data by the NSA and other government agencies, increase transparency of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), provide businesses the ability to release information regarding FISA requests, and create an independent constitutional advocate to argue cases before the FISC," has been backed by the US House of Representatives.
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