cross-posted from: https://exploding-heads.com/post/85304
> It appears that these banks, especially Signature, were the victims of an opportunistic campaign to decapitate banks serving the crypto industry. Not only was the bank run opportunistically exploited by regulators to shut down Signature, but it may even trace its origins to Choke Point 2.0. Did the Biden Administration actually instigate the now-global bank run as part of a grievance campaign against the crypto space? If so, this represents a colossal scandal, and one that the Biden administration must be made to answer for.
> The preponderance of public evidence suggests that Silvergate and Signature didn’t commit suicide — they were executed.
> The Fed also made it abundantly clear that new crypto-focused bank charters like that of Custodia (a fully reserved model, immune to bank runs!) would be denied, which is exactly what happened at the end of January. Banking crypto firms wasn’t prohibited, just rendered extremely expensive and reputationally risky.
cross-posted from: https://exploding-heads.com/post/81895
> Cryptos various disasters haven’t produced any meaningful contagion. The industry had a full-blown credit crisis in 2022, with virtually every major lender going bankrupt, but the damage was contained. The worst fallout in the banking space was suffered by Silvergate, which suffered an $8b drawdown, but survived. No onshore, fiat-backed stablecoin suffered any meaningful adverse effects, despite the massive crypto selloff in 2021 and 2022. They functioned as intended. And no contagion spilled into traditional finance via mass selling of Treasuries, something officials have historically felt might be a key transmission channel.
cross-posted from: https://community.hackliberty.org/post/25300
The proposed Chat control EU law will not only seize totalitarian control of all private communication. It will also ban open source operating systems as an unintended consequence.
The EU is currently in the process of enacting the chat control law. It has been criticized for creating an EU-wide centralized mass surveillance and censorship system and enabling government eavesdropping on all private communication. But one little talked about consequence of the proposed law is that it makes practically all existing open source operating systems illegal, including all major Linux distributions. It would also effectively ban the F-Droid open source Android app archive.
cross-posted from: https://community.hackliberty.org/post/22554
In 2017, as Julian Assange began his fifth year holed up in Ecuador’s embassy in London, the CIA plotted to kidnap the WikiLeaks founder, spurring heated debate among Trump administration officials over the legality and practicality of such an operation.
Some senior officials inside the CIA and the Trump administration even discussed killing Assange, going so far as to request “sketches” or “options” for how to assassinate him. Discussions over kidnapping or killing Assange occurred “at the highest levels” of the Trump administration, said a former senior counterintelligence official. “There seemed to be no boundaries.”
The conversations were part of an unprecedented CIA campaign directed against WikiLeaks and its founder. The agency’s multipronged plans also included extensive spying on WikiLeaks associates, sowing discord among the group’s members, and stealing their electronic devices.
cross-posted from: https://community.hackliberty.org/post/20301
> Digital ID verification is now mandatory for tobacco purchases in the state of Nevada.
> The state passed bill AB 360, which came into effect on January 1, that requires all retailers selling tobacco and vape products to verify the age of buyers. The law applies to vape shops, liquor stores, grocery stores, casinos, bars, and even eCommerce stores that sell tobacco or vape products and to customers under the age of 40.
> Locations selling tobacco or vape products are required to use “scanning technology, or other automated, software-based system, to verify that the person is at least 18 years of age.”
> These locations are required to scan an identity document of anyone who looks to be under the age of 40. Non-compliance results in a civil fine of $100.
> AB 360 was modeled around state legislation that requires age verification for cannabis sales.
> Establishments have several options, including upgrading existing point-of-sale systems to scan IDs. However, the state does not have laws governing how businesses scan IDs or the information they are allowed to retain.
cross-posted from: https://community.hackliberty.org/post/20300
> The UK government plans to update the 2017 Digital Economy Act to allow departments to more easily share citizens’ personal data in an attempt to support the rollout of One Login, a new digital platform for accessing public services that is expected to roll out in the next two years.
> The proposal was unveiled this week by the Cabinet Office, the aim being making “identity verification” a specified objective and to update the law to “enable public bodies to share a wider range of specified data than is currently possible.”
> The amendment would involve four agencies that the government plans “will either hold data to verify an individual’s identity and/or help to deliver the identity verification service.” These departments include the Cabinet Office, which is the home of the Government Digital Service (GDS) that is delivering One Login, the Disclosure and Barring Services (which provides background checks for citizens), the Department of Transport, mainly via its Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, and the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs.
> The personal data to be shared by the agencies include names, dates of birth, photos, income, passport and driver’s license information, contact information, and only other government-held data.
> “Other data items may be processed as identity verification services develop,” the proposals said. “This may include special category data.”
> Specific category data includes information that could reveal a person’s race, ethnicity, religious or political beliefs, sexual orientation, biometric data, and information on trade union membership.
> However, agencies will be required to “process the minimum number of data items… necessary for verifying the identity of an individual.”
> Public consultation on the proposal is open until March 1.
cross-posted from: https://community.hackliberty.org/post/20272
Australia’s authorities have updated their “misinformation code” but remain unhappy that large end-to-end encrypted apps are still not “regulated” in a way they would find satisfactory.
That’s despite the fact the “update” does what various governments like the most – leave a lot of room to interpret the rules as best suits them. Thus harm is now communication that represents “serious and credible” threat. And the previous definition is that this threat must also be imminent – however, that is no longer included in the wording.
The code in question, published late [last month](https://docs.reclaimthenet.org/Australian-Code-of-Practice-on-Disinfo.pdf), is said to be “voluntary” and concerns combating whatever’s flagged as “disinformation and misinformation” – but now the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is making it clear that it is not nearly enough.
cross-posted from: https://community.hackliberty.org/post/20271
While announcing the 2023/2024 budget proposal, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said that the state will launch a digital ID in “a matter of months,” and that the state will “do it like no other state has done it.”
California has been working on a digital ID, with the state’s DMV receiving permission to test a Digital ID back in 2021.
cross-posted from: https://community.hackliberty.org/post/20270
Last month, a young woman went to work at Sarzamineh Shadi, or Land of Happiness, an indoor amusement park east of Iran’s capital, Tehran. After a photo of her without a hijab circulated on social media, the amusement park was closed, according to multiple accounts in Iranian media. Prosecutors in Tehran have reportedly opened an investigation.
Shuttering a business to force compliance with Iran’s strict laws for women’s dress is a familiar tactic to Shaparak Shajarizadeh. She stopped wearing a hijab in 2017 because she views it as a symbol of government suppression, and recalls restaurant owners, fearful of authorities, pressuring her to cover her head.
But Shajarizadeh, who fled to Canada in 2018 after three arrests for flouting hijab law, worries that women like the amusement park worker may now be targeted with face recognition algorithms as well as by conventional police work.
After Iranian lawmakers suggested last year that face recognition should be used to police hijab law, the head of an Iranian government agency that enforces morality law said in a September interview that the technology would be used “to identify inappropriate and unusual movements,” including “failure to observe hijab laws.” Individuals could be identified by checking faces against a national identity database to levy fines and make arrests, he said.
cross-posted from: https://community.hackliberty.org/post/14541
The Digital Asset Anti-Money Laundering Act will impose know-your-customer (KYC) requirements on providers of blockchain infrastructure, including developers of decentralized networks as well as validators supporting such networks and miners.
We obtained a copy of the bill for you [here](https://docs.reclaimthenet.org/DAAML-Act-of-2022.pdf).
The bill would require the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) to treat miners, validators, crypto wallet providers, and other such networks as “money service businesses.” As such, they would be required to collect KYC data on participants and required to implement anti-money laundering (AML) programs.
cross-posted from: https://community.hackliberty.org/post/14540
A group of private companies have published a digital ID blueprint encouraging state governments to implement policies involved in creating a digital ID system.
The blueprint was published by the Better Identity Coalition, a group of 27 US companies, including Mastercard, Equifax, AT&T, and more. The group either wants to stop the worry about ID fraud or to profit from preventing ID fraud by pushing to normalize digital IDs.
cross-posted from: https://community.hackliberty.org/post/13195
In 2001, NSA published the secret "Transition 2001" report defining our strategy for the 21st century. No longer could we simply access analog communications using conventional means, the new digital world of globally-networked encrypted communications required a dramatic change to our surveillance strategy: NSA would need to "live on the network".
We've turned our nation's Internet and telecommunications companies into collection partners by installing filters in their facilities, serving them with secret court orders, building back doors into their software and acquiring keys to break their encryption.
cross-posted from: https://community.hackliberty.org/post/8856
The FBI, through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) has announced that a mandatory wait period for 18–20-year-old legal adults, as enacted by the gun control known as Cornyn-Murphy or the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, will go into effect November 14, 2022.
Gun Owners of America reported on this issue in October 2022, when the FBI launched their Enhanced Background Checks for 18–20-year-olds in the state of Maine.
Those under the age of 21 will receive an initial delay that could last about two weeks. This delay is supposedly to allow the FBI to contact local law enforcement and check with state databases to enhance the background check system's effectiveness. This is nothing but a way to make it more difficult for young adults to own firearms. It's a mandatory wait period that anti-gunners have now added to a background check system that is broken well beyond repair.
cross-posted from: https://community.hackliberty.org/post/6686
The UK House of Commons passed the controversial Public Order Bill by 276 to 231 votes. The bill aims to give police and courts more power to prevent protests and the ability to electronically monitor protesters with an ankle tag before they’ve even been tried in a court of law.
While introducing the bill, former Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “What we have seen in recent years is a rise in criminal, disruptive and self-defeating guerrilla tactics, carried out by a selfish few in the name of protest.
“Not only do these anti-social protests cause untold delays and misery for the law-abiding public wanting to get on with their lives, it tears police away from communities where they are needed most to prevent serious violence and neighborhood crime.
“This bill backs the police to take proactive action and prevent such disruption happening in the first place. These measures stand up for the responsible majority and it is time that Parliament got behind them.”
In a joint briefing, a coalition of human rights groups and other organizations criticizing the bill, warned that the bill would have a “chilling effect on our ability to stand up to power.”
cross-posted from: https://community.hackliberty.org/post/6529
Though lauded as a check on the federal government, the Constitution is actually what gives it power. Hamilton’s Federalists insighted a frenzy similar to that around the Patriot Act with intentions of building a strong federal government that would even elect the governors of each state and veto their laws. Though the resulting government had much less power, can we truly arrive at solution to our problems without examining the Constitution in earnest and even questioning if a federal government is necessary at all?
cross-posted from: https://community.hackliberty.org/post/5299
Brazenly exploiting a loophole in anti-gun logic, a man who only identified himself as “Kem” to WKTV said he made the “firearms” out of parts he printed on a $200 3D printer he received for Christmas.
“I 3D-printed a bunch of lower receivers and frames for different kinds of firearms,” he said.
Kem then drove six hours to Utica, New York, where the state’s attorney general’s office was holding a no-questions-asked gun buyback event.
“They buy from you as many guns as you want to surrender,” WKTV reports.
A man took home $21,000 in gift cards after bringing more than 100 3D-printed guns to the state attorney general’s buyback event in Utica last month.
“Nobody thought this through,” the man said. “When you look at the flyer, it is just the gravest thing Letitia James could have done. She literally put a bounty on 3D-printed guns… She said, ‘I will give you extra money if it doesn’t have a serial number on it.'”
cross-posted from: https://community.hackliberty.org/post/5098
### Key Takeaways
- Mexican digital rights organization R3D (Red en los Defensa de los Derechos Digitales) has identified Pegasus infections against journalists and a human rights defender taking place between 2019-2021.
- The Citizen Lab provided technical support for R3D’s analysis and validated the infections.
- Victims include two journalists that report on issues related to official corruption and a prominent human rights defender.
- The infections occurred years after the first revelations of Pegasus abuses in Mexico.
- They also occurred after Mexico’s current President, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, assured the public that the government no longer used the spyware and that there would be no further abuses.
cross-posted from: https://community.hackliberty.org/post/4832
A lawsuit that was filed after FBI agents raided a vault company, seizing more than $86 million in cash as well as jewelry and gold from 1,400 safe-deposit boxes, says the owners' items have still not been returned and that agents misled a judge to get the warrant.
Agents raided the Beverly Hills, California, branch of US Private Vaults in March 2021 and seized assets from boxes held by hundreds of people who were not suspected in any crimes, court papers reported on by the Los Angeles Times say.
The lawsuit alleges the FBI and the US attorney's office in Los Angeles obtained search-and-seizure warrants against US Private Vaults by concealing critical details from the judge who approved them.
Robert Frommer, a lawyer with the Institute for Justice, which filed the lawsuit, said in the court papers: "The government did not know what was in those boxes, who owned them, or what, if anything, those people had done."
cross-posted from https://community.hackliberty.org/post/4258
According to a message on the tor-relays mailing list, a Tor exit node operator in Germany was raided by the police.
Volker wrote that law enforcement officers raided him because “some Nazis used TOR to send nazi-emails to several schools in Germany.” Authorities accused him of Volksverhetzung, which is “incitement to hatred” (which in Germany means “insulting… segments of the population”).
cross-posted from: https://community.hackliberty.org/post/2974
Codogno, a town in Italy’s north, is introducing a social credit style app, local authorities have announced. It will be happening via the EcoAttivi app, to be used “to certify virtuous behavior” via geo-localization and QR codes.
The app’s users will be given “points” if they behave a certain, proscribed way in their environmental, cultural, and social activities, and in exchange, the “virtuous behavior” will get rewarded by discount coupons. Business entities will be giving these discounts – and then the municipality will refund the money to those companies.
cross-posted from: https://community.hackliberty.org/post/3049
Australia’s major banks: ANZ, CBA, NAB and Westpac, are happy with EFTPOS’ payment system known as ConnectID to provide the national digital ID.
What EFTPOS (stylized as, “eftpos”) stands for is, “electronic funds transfer at point of sale” – (if you’re in Singapore, you might know it as “NETS”). It’s an electronic payment system involving electronic fund transfers based on the use of debit or credit cards, at payment terminals located at points of sale.
Australia’s Payments Plus (AP+) – described as a broker for digital identity initiatives both behind EFTPOS and BPAY – made the announcement. And BPAY is an Australian electronic bill payment company working with online financial institutions, mobile or telephone banking with registered billers.
With that information and “banking cabal” circle complete – let’s see what Australia’s big bank’s digital ID actually means – especially for those who cannot escape it.
It’s supposed to be a “seamless online identity verification experience” – as AP+ CEO Lynn Kraus put in, in quotations cited by biometrics industry-friendly media outlets.
cross-posted from: https://community.hackliberty.org/post/2980
The data broker Fog Data Science has been selling access to what it claims are billions of location data points from over 250 million smartphones to local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies around the US.
The data comes from tech companies and cell phone towers and is collected in the Fog Reveal tool from thousands of iOS and Android apps. Crucially, access to the service is cheap, often costing local police departments less than $10,000 per year, and investigations by the Associated Press and Electronic Frontier Foundation found that law enforcement sometimes pulls location data without a warrant.
The EFF conducted its investigation through more than 100 public records requests filed over several months. “Troublingly, those records show that Fog and some law enforcement did not believe Fog’s surveillance implicated people’s Fourth Amendment rights and required authorities to get a warrant,” the EFF wrote.
cross-posted from: https://community.hackliberty.org/post/2979
More than 22,000 customers of Xcel Energy were locked out of their smart thermostats during an “energy emergency” on Tuesday, the company confirmed to local media.
“Due to a rare energy emergency that may affect the local energy grid, your temperature slider has been changed from 8:00 pm – 8:00 pm because you enrolled in a Community Energy Savings program.”
Participants in the program receive a one-off $100 bill credit and a meager $25 annual reward in exchange for surrendering control of their thermostats to Xcel.
cross-posted from: https://community.hackliberty.org/post/2977
Canada’s Minister for Public Safety Marco Mendicino said that there would be a new bill targeting legal content on the internet that will be rushed through parliament this fall.
Mendicino said that the new bill would “ensure” Canadians have “robust free speech.” But, he then said the bill would “also delineate some clear boundaries on what is not acceptable.”
Some have speculated that Mendicino’s new bill will be an introduction of the controversial Bill C-36, which was “an Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Canadian Human Rights Act and to make related amendments to another Act (hate propaganda, hate crimes and hate speech).”
If it passed, those found guilty of online hate would face house arrest and fines of up to $70,000.
cross-posted from: https://community.hackliberty.org/post/2976
Kollona Amn – which roughly translates to “We Are All Security” in Arabic – was launched by the Saudi Interior Ministry in 2017, but the last few years have seen a “dramatic” surge in court cases referencing the app, according to legal-rights activists.
The app “encourages everyday citizens to play the role of police and become active participants in their own repression. Putting the state’s eyes everywhere also creates a pervasive sense of uncertainty – there is always a potential informant in the room or following your social media accounts,” said Noura Aljizawi, a researcher at Citizen Lab, which focuses on threats to free speech online.
The Orwellian nature of the app is such that users often report on people “defensively,” fearing they could face punishment themselves for merely overhearing speech deemed offensive to the regime. In some cases, the app has also been used for “blackmail” and to “settle scores,” Insider noted.
Despite its role in crushing dissent in the repressive Gulf monarchy, the app is still sold by both Google and Apple, neither of which responded to Insider’s requests for comment. Google, moreover, is set to open two new offices in Saudi Arabia sometime this year, and is now working on a controversial data partnership with the state-run oil firm Saudi Aramco. The tech giant insists it will safeguard user data, but some activists say the move will “risk lives” and hand the government additional tools to spy on citizens.
In some cases, privacy concerns have led activists to keep two or three phones – one containing government apps and others without them – in an attempt to avoid the Kingdom’s totalitarian surveillance, facilitated by American companies.
cross-posted from: https://community.hackliberty.org/post/2973
The new strict hijab law was signed by Iran’s hardline president Ebrahim Raisi on August 15. It followed the Hijab and Chastity Day, a national holiday held on July 12, which saw women protest all over the country by posting on social media pictures of themselves without the head covering.
Some of the women that have been arrested for violating the new law were identified after videos showing them without the hijab or wearing the hijab the wrong way went viral on social media.
One woman, whose video showed her being harassed on public transportation for not wearing the hijab properly, was arrested, beaten, and forced to apologize on national television to the person who harassed her, The Guardian reported.