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Security News This Week: Privacy Wins in Six Flags Fingerprints Ruling

Google’s elite security team, police scanner encryption, and other top security stories from the week.

PERSPECTIVES ON Roger Stone’s indictment has long been awaited as part of Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and Russia. On Friday, FBI agents arrested Trump’s longtime friend and advisor on seven counts, including obstruction, making false statements, and witness tampering. Garrett Graff summarizes the four most important takeaways from the 24-page indictment.

This week also served as a reminder that Nest Cams are an appealing (and easy) target for hackers. First, pranksters terrified a family by announcing via Nest Cams that North Korean missiles were heading straight for the US. Then a PewDiePie fan kidnapped dozens of cameras.

We followed one professor on his obsessive quest to reclaim his Cambridge Analytica data. Atomic scientists did not advance the Doomsday Clock this year, but before you celebrate, read this op-ed arguing that they should have. We also discussed stochastic terrorism and why it is a growing threat. And we assisted you in locating and evicting the freeloaders using your Netflix account.

There’s even more! As usual, we’ve compiled a list of everything we didn’t break or cover in depth this week. To read the full stories, click on the headlines. And remember to stay safe out there.

Rollercoasters and Fingerprints: Why a Biometric Court Case in Illinois is Important

Customers in Illinois have the right to sue businesses that take their biometric data, such as fingerprints or iris scans, without their permission. That was the decision of the Illinois Supreme Court on Friday, which overturned an earlier decision in the case of a 14-year-old boy who purchased a season pass to a Six Flags amusement park and unknowingly had his fingerprints taken by Six Flags. The case is based on Illinois’ strict biometric security law, which was passed in 2008 and established the strictest rules in the country for how companies can collect permanent personal data such as fingerprints. Though that specific law may limit the implications of this ruling to the state of Illinois, the Chicago Tribune explains why Silicon Valley firms are concerned in any case. Companies such as Facebook and Google have already had to change or withdraw offerings in the state of Illinois to comply with the law, and Facebook has previously been sued for it. The current ruling makes it clear that a violation of privacy is sufficient to cause for consumers to sue companies directly.

The Elite Security Team at Google

Former WIRED reporter Robert McMillan, now at the Wall Street Journal, takes an in-depth look at the Google security team in charge of keeping all your data safe from hackers. Every day, a team of 27 people tracks 200 specific hacking groups. They deal with everything from Google disinformation campaigns to hackers attempting to access your email. Google’s team may be the most powerful group in the world capable of tracking nation-state hackers, with so much data to keep track of but also rely on.

Police Transparency and crime reporting are jeopardized by encryption.
Encryption has long been viewed with suspicion by law enforcement. Back in 2016, the FBI attempted to persuade Apple to break iPhone encryption in order to gain access to a terrorism suspect’s phone. However, according to a report from the Columbia Journalism Review, police and law enforcement agencies in the state of Colorado have now embraced the use of encryption, despite the fact that the practice is problematic for government accountability. According to reports, more than a dozen government agencies use encrypted radio frequencies to communicate, making it impossible for journalists or citizens to listen in on scanners or apps. Colorado police say that is exactly why they are doing it, but CJR notes that this creates significant barriers to public information.

China has the potential to infiltrate computer supply chains

Last year, Bloomberg broke the story that Chinese hackers had infiltrated the manufacturing supply chain of American tech products in order to implant spyware on microchips inside the country’s most popular gadgets. It involved companies such as Apple and Amazon. However, no one else could confirm the reporting, and all of the companies involved flatly denied it. This week, The Intercept published an article demonstrating that, even if that specific story was incorrect, the risk of supply chain attacks is very real. And it’s something that both US tech companies and the government should be prepared for.

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The above article was written by the BestTopReviewsOnline team, which consists of some of the most knowledgeable technical experts in the United States. Our team consists of highly regarded writers with vast experience in smartphones, computer components, technology apps, security, and photography, among other fields.

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