Foreign Articles

Articles against identity cards

Christopher Joye reports on the Australian Financial Review website that Chinese state sponsored hackers have been ramping up their spying activities on Australian companies. The attacks have been revealed by Mandiant, a cyber security firm.  Mark Goudie, Mandiant’s Australian Director of Investigations, claimed that highly skilled hackers referred to in the industry as “advanced persistent threats” or APT’s had been penetrating Australian mining and natural resources companies and lawyers and financial advisors associated with them. The Chinese hackers particularly target companies that have dealings with organisations in China; however, another driver is to steal intellectual property which China can use to fuel its own economic growth.

Chinese state sponsored hackers increase attacks on Australian Companies

Jim Finkle reports on the Reuters website that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is investigating cybersecurity flaws in medical devices and hospital equipment that officials fear could be exploited by hackers. There are no known instances of hackers attacking patients through medical devices; however, the agency is concerned that it may be possible to gain control of the devices remotely and create problems, such as instructing an infusion pump to overdose a patient with drugs, or forcing a heart implant to deliver a deadly jolt of electricity.

U.S. government probes medical devices for possible cyber flaws

The BBC News website reports that the South Korean national identity card scheme is going to have to be completely rebuilt at the cost of billions of dollars. Identity card numbers have been a prime target for hackers due to their use across a variety of sectors for accessing services.  It is estimated that the ID numbers and personal details of an estimated 80% of the country’s 50 million people have been stolen from banks and other targets.  Even the South Korean president has been a victim of data theft. The rebuild may take up to a decade to complete.

South Korean Identity Card System to be Rebuilt from Scratch

Reuters reports that Community Health Systems Inc., one of the largest providers of Health Care in the US, have been victims of a cyber attack in April and June of this year resulting in the loss of personal data belonging to 4.5 million patients. The cyber attack is believed to have originated from China and involved a hacking group called “APT18” which is believed to have links to the Chinese government.

US Hospital group loses patient data in cyber attack

James Risen and Laura Poitras write in the the New York Times about the US National Security Agency collecting facial recognition images from the web: The National Security Agency is harvesting huge numbers of images of people from communications that it intercepts through its global surveillance operations for use in sophisticated facial recognition programs, according to top-secret documents. The spy agency’s reliance on facial recognition technology has grown significantly over the last four years as the agency has turned to new software to exploit the flood of images included in emails, text messages, social media, videoconferences and other communications, the N.S.A. documents reveal. Agency officials believe that technological advances could revolutionize the way that the N.S.A. finds intelligence targets around the world, the documents show. The agency’s ambitions for this highly sensitive ability and the scale of its effort have not previously been disclosed.    

N.S.A. Collecting Millions of Faces From Web Images

The Spectator’s editorial proclaims its own role in pushing “Health Tourism” up the political agenda: In February, an NHS surgeon came to The Spectator’s offices to discuss a piece he felt it was time to write. He wanted to blow the whistle on health tourism. Professor J. Meirion Thomas knew he was taking a tough decision, given the hostile reaction of the doctors’ unions and civil servants to anyone who makes the slightest criticism of the NHS. But the Francis Report into the Stafford Hospital scandal had just come out, reminding GPs of their ‘statutory duty of candour’. The professor said that he would like to expose what he regarded as the systematic abuse of the NHS. His Spectator article was read at the highest levels of government. At the time, the Department of Health insisted that there was nothing to see — that health tourism cost just £12 million, […]

How the Spectator helped blow the whistle on health tourism

Katrina Gajevska writes at Left Foot Forward about the ‘Snooper’s Charter’. She concludes: Thus, it is disappointing to see that Labour’s response to the Communications Data Bill and Tempora has so far resembled tacit consent, if not outright support. Having listened to voices from all corners of the Labour Party, a group of concerned members, of which I am part, have launched a campaign in order to push for a fundamental rethinking of Labour’s strategy regarding civil freedoms. We are the Labour Campaign for Human Rights. We think it is time all members and sympathisers constructively engaged with the party on digital snooping, helping it to understand this is not something we can afford to get wrong. After all, online surveillance will surely reappear as a prominent concern as we continue to find ourselves in the midst of a struggle against terrorism and crime. It is our sincere wish that […]

The clock is ticking on surveillance

Madlen Davies writes in Pulse: Private companies and researchers will be able to access data from GP records for £1, under plans revealed by NHS England to radically reduce the cost and boost the availability of information about patients available outside the NHS. The body’s chief data officer has revealed he wants to reduce the costs for companies to access NHS datasets, from around £20,000 to £30,000 currently, to just £1. NHS England said the data would be used to identify where improvements and efficiencies could be made in the NHS and that only approved companies would have access to the data. But the GPC has raised concerns that private companies would have access to NHS patient data ‘on the cheap’. Phil Booth of MedConfidential provides some commentary: The government’s announcement today that private companies are to be given access to patient data for the princely sum of £1, is […]

Private companies set for access to patient data for just ...

Amy Davidson writes for the New Yorker: Not every suspension-of-service notice for an e-mail company comes with a link to a legal-defense fund. Ladar Levison, the owner and operator of Lavabit, whose clients, reportedly, have included Edward Snowden, made it sound today as though he could use the help. “I have been forced to make a difficult decision: to become complicit in crimes against the American people or walk away from nearly ten years of hard work by shutting down Lavabit,” Levison wrote in a note posted on his site. I wish that I could legally share with you the events that led to my decision. I cannot. I feel you deserve to know what’s going on—the first amendment is supposed to guarantee me the freedom to speak out in situations like this. Unfortunately, Congress has passed laws that say otherwise. As things currently stand, I cannot share my experiences […]

The N.S.A. and Its Targets: Lavabit Shuts Down

Gary Marshall writes for TechRadar: Back in 2009, UK monitoring agency GCHQ flatly denied that it was “developing” technology to monitor what people do online. With hindsight – and with all credit to TechRadar commenter Ken Paton, who said it at the time – the words were carefully chosen. GCHQ wasn’t developing technology, because the technology was already up and running; it had no plans “to store centrally all communications data in Britain” because the NSA was storing the data in the USA. Everything you do online can be intercepted. Despite this, the government has pressed on with plans for its so-called Snooper’s Charter, AKA the Communications Bill, which has risen from the dead despite being shot down previously. There’s an obvious question here: why is the snooper’s charter necessary when the NSA is doing everything short of monitoring our brainwaves?

Why you should be outraged by the government’s web of ...

John Naughton writes in The Observer that the Snowden revelations also have implications for everyone: They tell us, for example, that no US-based internet company can be trusted to protect our privacy or data. The fact is that Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft are all integral components of the US cyber-surveillance system. Nothing, but nothing, that is stored in their “cloud” services can be guaranteed to be safe from surveillance or from illicit downloading by employees of the consultancies employed by the NSA. That means that if you’re thinking of outsourcing your troublesome IT operations to, say, Google or Microsoft, then think again. And if you think that that sounds like the paranoid fantasising of a newspaper columnist, then consider what Neelie Kroes, vice-president of the European Commission, had to say on the matter recently. “If businesses or governments think they might be spied on,” she said, “they […]

Edward Snowden’s not the story. The fate of the internet ...

Terri Dowty writes on the MedConfidential web site: If you thought your medical records were confidential, you’re in for a bit of a shock. Until now they have, by default, stayed in your GP’s record system. This is no longer true. The new default is that identifiable details about your health can be extracted directly from your GP record and held on a central system. From there, they will be made available to others for a variety of purposes. Unless you take action to stop it, this will be done without your knowledge or consent. The story is rather complex but we have broken it down into what we hope is a series of straightforward building blocks. Starting next Monday July 15th, we will talk you through the changes to the way your medical records are used, with a daily blog post that takes them one step at a time. […]

MedConfidential: What’s the story?

Jacob Rees-Mogg MP, writing in the Daily Telegraph, reflects on the revelations that the Metropolitan Police’s Special Demonstration Squad was asked to discover “any intelligence that could have smeared the campaign” for justice for Stephen Lawrence. He concludes: It is against this background that the Government has on its books a Communications Bill that will enhance the snooping power of the state. To his great credit the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, has continued to oppose this even after the brutal murder of Lee Rigby in Woolwich. He is right to do this because the more unbridled access the state is given to private information, the higher the risk that it will be abused. Under existing powers in 2011, 494,078 requests were made for communications data under Part 1, Chapter II of the Regulation of Investigatory Power Act, 2000. This enormous amount of information no doubt includes some that will […]

The Stephen Lawrence ‘smear’ proves that we cannot trust the ...

John Naughton writes in The Observer: Watching William Hague doing his avuncular routine in the Commons on Monday, I was reminded of the way establishment figures in the 1950s used to reassure hoi polloi that they had nothing to worry about. Everything was in order. The Right Chaps were in charge. Citizens who had done nothing wrong, declared Uncle Hague, had nothing to fear from comprehensive surveillance. Oh yeah? As Stephen Fry observed in an exasperated tweet: “William Hague’s view seems to be ‘we can hide a camera & bug in your room & if you’ve got nothing to hide, what’s the worry?’ Hell’s teeth!” Hell’s teeth indeed. I can think of thousands of people who have nothing to hide, but who would have good reasons to worry about intrusive surveillance. Journalists seeking to protect their sources, for example; NHS whistleblowers; people seeking online help for personal psychological torments; frightened […]

The NSA has us snared in its trap – and ...

Henry Porter writes in The Observer: Two former Labour home secretaries, a security minister and a former “independent” reviewer of terror laws have called for the swift review of the communications data bill, following the Woolwich killing. If I didn’t believe these were the first reactions to a shocking crime, I’d put the interventions of Jack Straw, Lord (John) Reid, Lord (Alan) West and Lord (Alex) Carlile down to cynical opportunism, because I’m afraid that is very much how it looked. Give our guys the tools to fight terror on the streets, they say; “the proportionate tools”, eagerly adds the former reviewer of terror laws, Lord Carlile. But not one of them bothered to produce the smallest evidence that the type of surveillance proposed in the “snoopers’ charter” would have stopped the two suspects, Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale. The simple flaw in their case is that both men were […]

Mass surveillance wouldn’t have saved the life of Drummer Rigby