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They spent years testing Google's algorithms—then everything changed.
Etsy, Kickstarter, Pinterest, and Tumblr say site moderation hangs in the balance.
All the single ladies... your ex-techbro boyfriends may have snooped on you, too A former Uber staffer claims the amateur taxi app maker routinely pried into customer records to spy on people, including celebrity riders and ex-partners of employees. The allegations against the ride-sharing giant were made by Ward Spangenberg, a former forensic investigator at Uber who is now suing the Silicon Valley biz for age discrimination. Spangenberg says in a court statement made as part of the case that Uber's administrative access to customer data (once dubbed "God mode") was routinely abused by employees to track their exes and follow the activity of celebrities – most notably, pop siren Beyonce. "Uber's lack of security regarding its customer data was resulting in Uber employees being able to track high-profile politicians, celebrities, and even personal acquaintances of Uber employees, including ex-boyfriends/girlfriends and ex-spouses," the former employee and whistleblower claimed. "I also reported that Uber's lack of security, and allowing all employees to access this information (as opposed to a small security team) was resulting in a violation of governmental regulations regarding data protection." The comments Spangenberg made in court were backed up by several other employees in comments given to the Center for Investigative Journalism claiming that "thousands" of Uber employees are able to view detailed rider information and activity logs on the service. The allegations surfaced just days after Uber was outed for tracking user activity even after rides end, and Spangenberg says the company's misdeeds go beyond privacy invasion. He also claims that, while a member of Uber's incident response team, he was involved in efforts to thwart government raids of Uber branch offices.
Spangenberg said that when the company got word of a pending police raid, it was standard practice to delete data and destroy equipment. "I would be called when governmental agencies raided Uber's offices due to concerns regarding noncompliance with governmental regulations," he said. "In those instances, Uber would lock down the office and immediately cut all connectivity so that law enforcement could not access Uber's information.
I would then be tasked with purchasing all new equipment for the office within the day." Uber did not respond to the allegations in the statement, citing a policy against commenting on active litigation.

The company did, however, provide The Register with a statement on the allegations made to the Center for Investigative Journalism. "It's absolutely untrue that 'all' or 'nearly all' employees have access to customer data, with or without approval.

And this is based on more than simply the 'honor system': we have built [an] entire system to implement technical and administrative controls to limit access to customer data to employees who require it to perform their jobs," Uber said. "This could include multiple steps of approval – by managers and the legal team – to ensure there is a legitimate business case for providing access." ® Sponsored: Want to know more about PAM? Visit The Register's hub
EnlargeWikimedia Commons/Maria Joner reader comments 35 Share this story The UK's Tory government cabinet ministers have reportedly been officially banned from wearing Apple Watches to crucial meetings in case they're compromised by Russian hackers. "The Russians are trying to hack everything," one unnamed source told the Telegraph. Apple Watches were said to be popular with several ministers, including former justice secretary and failed leadership candidate Michael Gove, who wore them to cabinet meetings during David Cameron's tenure as prime minister. However, under PM Theresa May—the former home secretary who repeatedly pushed for Britain's spies to have greater surveillance powers—the devices have been summarily banned amid fears that Russian security services could use them to listen in on government business. Cabinet ministers have been banned from bringing smartphones and tablets to meetings since late 2013. It was reported at the time that an iPad used during a presentation by then-cabinet minister Francis "Digital by Default" Maude was removed from the room "even before discussions could begin," and smartphones were placed into "soundproof lead-lined boxes." There were also fears that USB sticks handed to delegates at the G20 summit in Saint Petersburg that year could have been loaded with malware. Russian hackers are apparently everywhere at the moment, with the US department of homeland security officially accusing Putin's regime of attempting to disrupt the US elections amid a series of political hacks.

But Russia is by no means the only nation chancing its arm with government hacks. Last year, the NSA was accused of spying on Angela Merkel and other high-ranking German officials using Reign malware. This isn't the first time Apple Watches have disrupted cabinet meetings.

The Telegraph also reports that when Gove was chief whip he accidentally played a few bars of a Beyonce song while "surreptitiously checking his e-mails." This post originated on Ars Technica UK
Man behind exposed.su document dump and swatting rampage jailed The New York man behind a 2014 data dump site exposed.su has been sentenced to a year in prison, plus 12 months for time already served, for doxing high-profile figures including First Lady Michelle Obama, Presidential candidate Donald Trump, and artist Jay Z, and placing dozens of highly-dangerous swatting calls. Mir Islam, 22, exposed data on some 50 public figures including former FBI director Robert Mueller, former Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan, and celebrities Ashton Kutcher, Beyonce, and Tom Cruise. Their personal information was uploaded to exposed.su triggering a MediaOutrageStormTM. KrebsonSecurity reported at the time that the hackers were obtaining cheap credit reports using information provided by the sssndob.ru service. Swatting is the practice of calling police to report bogus threats at a victim's location, an action that often results in the appearance of heavily armed SWAT officers. Islam pleaded guilty on 6 July last year to three charges including one count of conspiracy to commit a range of federal offenses, including identity theft; access device fraud; social security number misuse; computer fraud; wire fraud; assaulting federal officials; and interstate transmission of threats.

The other charges included one count of threatening and conveying false information concerning the use of explosives and one count of cyber-stalking. “The crimes committed by this defendant violated the privacy of dozens of people, fostered identity theft, and endangered the safety of many others,” US Attorney Channey Phillips says. “Mir Islam put people at risk on the internet and in their own homes, placed responding police officers at risk, created a dangerous situation on a college campus, caused substantial emotional distress to numerous victims, and diverted law enforcement from work they could be doing to protect the public. "Today’s sentence reflects the seriousness of his crimes and hopefully will deter others from similar actions.” KrebsonSecurity reports Islam's defence argued he suffered from multiple psychological disorders and that the crimes were perpetrated from a sense of “anarchic libertarianism” intended to expose government overreach on consumer privacy and use of force. Islam was previously arrested with 24 others under the FBIs Carder Profit sting, but was sentenced to a mere day in jail. The hacker admits to running Exposed.su while cooperating with police during the time of the Carder Profit arrests, Krebs on Security reports. Islam was re-arrested in September 2013 for violating the terms of his parole, and for the swatting and doxing attacks to which he pled guilty. ® Sponsored: 2016 Cyberthreat defense report

Woody Guthrie published "This Land" in 1945. The lawyers who successfully got "Happy Birthday" put into the public domain and then sued two months ago over "We Shall Overcome" have a new target: Woody Guthrie’s "This Land." Randall Newman and his colleagues have filed a proposed class-action lawsuit against The Richmond Organization (TRO) and Ludlow Music, the two entities that also claim to own the copyright for "We Shall Overcome." The new suit is filed on behalf of a Brooklyn, New York-based band, Satorii, which obtained a license (at $45.40 for the privilege) to record a version that they sell as a download. However, the band has recorded another version with a different melody, and the musicians are concerned that they'll be sued over it. According to the "This Land" suit, the melody of the song is actually a Baptist hymn from the late 19th or early 20th century, often referred to as "Fire Song." As the complaint states: Guthrie published the Song in 1945 with a proper copyright notice, which created a federal copyright in the Song.

The copyright to the 1945 publication was not renewed.

As a result, the copyright expired after 28 years, and the Song fell into the public domain in 1973. Despite Guthrie’s 1945 publication of the Song, Defendant Ludlow purportedly copyrighted the Song in 1956.

Based on that 1956 copyright, Defendant Ludlow has wrongfully and unlawfully insisted it owns the copyright to This Land, together with the exclusive right to control the Song’s reproduction, distribution, and public performances pursuant to federal copyright law. In addition to the "This Land" suit, Newman filed an amended complaint against TRO and Ludlow regarding "We Shall Overcome" on Friday. Newman later told Ars that his firm isn’t making a point of suing over songs that they feel should be in the public domain. "Certainly if someone brought [a song] to our attention we would [look into it], but I’m not aware of any other songs at this point," he said. "People have bought stuff that I’ve looked into and didn’t agree with them.

From the 1930s to the 1960s there was a lot of copyright fraud going on. You had people trolling the South and copyrighting songs that they didn’t write—they had heard because people in the South were not familiar with copyright laws and their rights, so it happened a lot, in my opinion. You’re not going to see that with Beyoncé, you know what I mean?" TRO did not immediately respond to Ars’ request for comment. Listing image by Library of Congress