Canada’s New Phone Laws, Brazilian Malware, and Tim Berners-Lee on the Internet

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If you’re arrested in Canada, the police can search your phone, without a warrant

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After a 4:3 decision by the Supreme Court in Canada, it is now legal for the Canadian police to search the contents of a mobile phone upon arrest without a warrant just as long as the search is related squarely to the suspected crime and all records are documented.records are kept.

Those against this decision argued that the mobile phones were an “intensely personal and uniquely pervasive sphere of privacy”.

This decision comes after the conviction of Kevin Fearon who was involved in a robbery. Upon capture, the authorities proceeded to search his phone although it was performed after he was arrested but before police had a warrant to search his vehicle and other belongings. They found a draft message with an image of a firearm with the words “We did it”.

Although the high court dismissed Fearon’s appeal against his conviction, it gave a brief outline for how police should handle mobile phone searches.

U.S Navy now has laser weapons

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In a somewhat futuristic looking video, it was revealed that the US Navy are testing, well more or less showing off their laser weapons system which have been equipped on ships located in the persian gulf.

Christened LaWS (Laser Weapon System), it is designed to assist Navy vessels to defend against attacks by small, fast-moving threats like UAV drones or patrol boats packed with explosives.

The video, with accompanying music to boot has the LaWS using directed-energy beams which would essentially heat up and explode any and all oncoming threats. Needless to say, unlike sci-fi movies, there are no visible laser bolts. All you see is stuff blowing up.

In a report done by the U.S. Naval Institute, it was noted that the system, installed on the transport ship USS Ponce successfully disabled incoming UAVs and rocket-propelled grenades and blew out the engines of approaching rigid hull inflatable boats.

The Navy hopes that they can deploy these laser weapons across an entire fleet by 2020.

Brazil tops list for online banking malware threats

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In a research report carried out by Kaspersky Labs, it lists Brazil as the country that has the most number of users with an approximate 299,830 users falling victim to these threats from a period of  November 2013 to October 2014 followed by Russia in second place with 251,917 attacked users and Germany in third place with 155,773 malware attacks in 2014.

The total number of attacks saw a rise in the middle of 2014 where an estimated 300,000 attacks were carried out in May and reached 350,000 in June while the average number of attacks was more or less below 250,000.

The top reasons for the rise in attacks according to the report are online banking that occurs during the holiday season and also the World Cup in Brazil. These provide an adequate feeding ground for cybercriminals to steal tourists’ payment data.

Banking trojan ZeuS remained the most widespread in the world, closely followed by Brazilian malware ChePro with Lohmys coming in third place.

Tim Berners-Lee – The internet is less free and more unequal

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According to a report carried out by the World Wide Web Foundation, the web is becoming less free and more unequal.

it suggests that not only are web users at a risk of government surveillance, but that laws that prevent eavesdropping are weak and are at times no-existent in almost 84% of countries.This has led to web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee calling for the access to internet to be recognised as a human right.

In addition, other findings include:

  • 74% of countries either lack clear and effective net neutrality rules and/or show evidence of traffic discrimination
  • 62% of countries report that the web plays a major role in sparking social or political action
  • 74% of countries are not doing enough to stop online harassment of women

Countries were ranked in terms of:

  • Universal access
  • Relevant content and use
  • Freedom and openness
  • Empowerment

Anne Jellema, chief executive of the World Wide Web Foundation, and lead author of the report said that “The richer and better educated people are, the more benefit they are gaining from the digital revolution”. “Extreme disparities between rich and poor have been rightly identified as the defining challenge of our age, and we need to use technology to fight inequality, not increase it.” she also added.

In his statement to make Internet access a human right, Tim Berners- Lee states “That means guaranteeing affordable access for all, ensuring internet packets are delivered without commercial or political discrimination, and protecting the privacy and freedom of web users regardless of where they live.”. He also said that rights to privacy, freedom of expression and affordable access should be “hardwired” into the basic rules of net use.

 

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