More Mandatory Volunteerism: Men Surrender DNA in UK

The BBC reports that approximately 4,000 men in the UK are being “asked” to “voluntarily” give up their DNA to help solve the murder of a young model. Upon closer examination, however, we see that it is not so voluntary. The detective in charge of the investigation, Stuart Cundy, states:

“It is an entirely voluntary process. None of those DNA samples or finger prints will be used to check out an other unsolved crimes.

Obviously if someone does refuse then each case will be reviewed on its own merits.”

That sounds like a veiled threat to me and I’m not the only one. Bruce Schneier writes in his blog:

Did the detective chief inspector just threaten those 4,000 men? Sure seems that way to me.

See my related entry Soft Surveillance: The Growth of Mandatory Volunteerism for a link to an article that provides an in-depth analysis into this type of bullying.

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Your Cellphone is a Homing Device

There is a new FCC mandate that all non-compliant phones must be replaced to ones that will report GPS location for “Public Safety”… read about this technology.

read more | digg story

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OpenBSD 3.9 Ready for Testing

The OpenBSD 3.9 tree has been locked and snapshots are ready for testing. This means OpenBSD 3.9 Release is just around the corner – on time as always.

See a list of improvements since OpenBSD 3.8
Read the announcement at

Purchase books, t-shirts, CDs and posters to support the project at the OpenBSD store.

New IBM Security Software Employs Behavioral Profiling

Security TechPlanet’s Ong Boon Kiat reports on IBM’s latest security offering that profiles users’ behavior on the network and aims to detect fraud by analyzing deviations from the norm.

IBM has a new security solution that can detect fraud – by associating it with anomalous user behavior. Behave too differently from your usual self or from your peers when using your company’s network, and IBM’s new Identity Risk and Identification software will tip-off your bosses and have you nabbed.

IBM Checks for Good Behavior

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Windows Security: An Oxymoron

Even as a Linux/BSD bigot, I was shocked by the following quote from the New York Times article “Protecting Yourself From Keylogging Thieves“:

The network security firm Sophos estimates that an unprotected computer has a 40 percent chance of being infected by a malicious worm within 10 minutes of being connected to the Internet. After an hour, the odds rise to 94 percent.

Of course, implicit in the above statement is unprotected windows computer. An unprotected linux machine will eventually be hacked too but not so quickly. A properly configured OpenBSD machine may remain uncompromised for quite a long time. The big difference seems to be that even if you do all the right things regarding anti-virus, anti-spyware, anti-trojan and firewall software, your windows machine security is still swiss cheese (albeit with less holes) while with a locked-down *nix machine a cracker is really going to have to work and know his business if he’s going to gain unauthorized access. I think it is safe to say, however, that as cross-platform browsers like Mozilla Firefox and Opera become more popular then more attacks will be aimed their way exposing a greater number of linux and BSD users to the type of exploits that only windows users have had to deal with in the past. Time will tell.

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Keylogging Software Poses Significant Threat

Malicious websites can steal your passwords, date of birth, bank account numbers, social security numbers and other vital information using keylogging software. So explains this New York Times article.

Cyberthieves Silently Copy Your Passwords As You Type 

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Wiretapping 101

Are you paranoid about your phone being tapped? If not, you might be after reading this article. It provides a rather interesting introduction to the world of technical surveillance countermeasures or TSCM showing common points at which local wiretaps are installed. Courtesy of the Granite Island Group.

read more | digg story

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Spy Agencies Look For More Ways To Mine Data

The NSA takes a shopping trip in Silicon Valley. This article takes a peak at their shopping list and the new technologies being employed against imagined and real enemies of the state.

But by fundamentally changing the nature of surveillance, high-tech data mining raises privacy concerns that are only beginning to be debated widely. That is because to find illicit activities it is necessary to turn loose software sentinels to examine all digital behavior whether it is innocent or not.

“All digital behavior” – Keep that phrase in mind.

Read the New York Times article.

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Homeland Security Thugs Harass Library Patrons

For reasons unknown, a couple of uniformed Homeland Security thugs waltzed into a Bethesda, MD public library and sternly warned all the computer users that downloading pornography is forbidden. Then they chose to pick apart one patron’s choice of internet reading before a librarian intervened and called the police.

Read the Washington Post article: Policing Porn Is Not Part of Job Description

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‘Total Information Awareness’ Lives On

A controversial counter-terrorism program dubbed “Total Information Awareness” (TIA) which lawmakers halted more than two years ago amid outcries from privacy advocates, was stopped in name only and has quietly continued within the intelligence agency now fending off charges that it has violated the privacy of U.S. citizens.

read more | digg story

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