EFF (Oct 1) - “ComputerCOP: The Dubious ‘Internet Safety Software’ That
Hundreds of Police Agencies Have Distributed to Families”:
> Police chiefs, sheriffs, and district attorneys have handed out hundreds of thousands of copies of the disc to families for free at schools, libraries, and community events, usually as a part of an “Internet Safety” outreach initiative. The packaging typically features the agency’s official seal and the chief’s portrait, with a signed message warning of the “dark and dangerous off-ramps” of the Internet.
> As official as it looks, ComputerCOP is actually just spyware, generally bought in bulk from a New York company that appears to do nothing but market this software to local government agencies.
> The way ComputerCOP works is neither safe nor secure. It isn’t particularly effective either, except for generating positive PR for the law enforcement agencies distributing it. As security software goes, we observed a product with a keystroke-capturing function, also called a “keylogger,” that could place a family’s personal information at extreme risk by transmitting what a user types over the Internet to third-party servers without encryption. That means many versions of ComputerCOP leave children (and their parents, guests, friends, and anyone using the affected computer) exposed to the same predators, identity thieves, and bullies that police claim the software protects against.
Here’s a rather amusing video mashup of apparently identical
advertisements for the software created by participating agencies,
including the Bexar County DA:
Webstock ‘13: Bruce Sterling - What a feeling!
In a performance full of subtle shades of meaning highlighting the delicate ebb and flow of the agitations of the body, Bruce Sterling, renowned science fiction author, design essayist, Net critic and a founder of the EFF, will recreate the famous audition scene from iconic eighties movie Flashdance.
Eric Holder To Step Down As Attorney General
Eric Holder Jr., the nation’s first black U.S. attorney general, will resign his post after a tumultuous tenure marked by civil rights advances, national security threats, reforms to the criminal justice system and 5 1/2 years of fights with Republicans in Congress.
President Obama said on Thursday that Holder, 63, intends to leave the Justice Department as soon as his successor is confirmed, a process that could run through 2014 and even into next year. A former U.S. government official says Holder has been increasingly “adamant” about his desire to leave soon. Holder and President Obama discussed his departure several times and finalized things in a long meeting over Labor Day weekend at the White House.
Holder already is one of the longest-serving members of the Obama Cabinet and currently ranks as the fourth-longest tenured AG in history. Hundreds of employees waited in lines, stacked three rows deep, in early February 2009 to witness his return to the Justice Department, where he previously worked as a young corruption prosecutor and as deputy attorney general — the second in command — during the Clinton administration.