“The future is already here. It's just unevenly distributed.”
~ William Gibson, Neuromancer
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The government has the ability to track cellphones using the portable device pictured above called the Stingray — it was recently revealed in a criminal case in Arizona, but the government doesn’t want anyone to know how it works. When the judge in the case asked for more information about the Stingray in order to determine if its use requires a search warrant, the government filed a memo basically arguing both ways: it said Stingray use generally doesn’t require a warrant, but concedes that one was required in this specific instance — a huge concession that could cost them the case, just so the Stingray’s design and functionality remain a secret.
Although the government’s lawyers are willing to tie themselves in knots trying to conceal the Stingray, we do have some information on how it works: experts told the WSJ that it mimics an actual cell tower pinging for a specific device, and the data can be used to triangulate a phone’s location. It can be concealed in the back of a van and measure the distance to any type of cell phone from multiple locations — circles drawn from each point will intersect within 100 meters of the phone’s location. Our FBI contact told us that tracking a cellphone normally requires a wireless provider’s cooperation, which could take weeks to obtain — the Stingray simplifies investigations because cell towers aren’t needed. We’ll see what happens — if it comes down to keeping the Stingray a secret or allowing law enforcement to track anyone they want without a warrant, we suppose we prefer the first.
(keep reading at theverge.com)
The total power of the Bitcoin network has broken through 100 petahashes per second (PH/s) for the first time in the cryptocurrency’s five years of life. According to blockchain.info, the hash rate peaked at 103.4 PH/s on Wednesday before fluctuating back down to 85.3 PH/s on Thursday. It rose up on Friday to around 98 PH/s and will likely break 100 again over the weekend.
The Bitcoin hash rate is a measurement of the entire network’s computing power, generated by a vast system of miners who perform complex mathematical calculations in order to secure the blockchain — Bitcoin’s public ledger of all transactions that ever occurred.
The hash rate generally increases because Bitcoin mining gets more difficult and energy-intensive as time goes on and more people join the network. There’s only so much BTC to be made by securing the single blockchain, and miners are in an arms race of computational power to claim as many block rewards as possible.
(keep reading at coinbrief.net)
A new WikiLeaks-style website targeting the kingpins of wildlife crime has attracted serious leads on elephant, tiger, fishery and forest destruction across the globe in its first three months.
The WildLeaks website, which uses Tor technology to ensure anonymity, has been set up by Andrea Crosta, a security consultant who first revealed how the al-Shabaab terrorist group in Somalia generated funds via ivory smuggling.
The slaughter of elephants, rhinos, tigers and other species has surged in the last decade, part of an illicit wildlife trade worth $10-20bn a year according to Interpol. Only drugs, people and arms trafficking earn more for criminals and the corruption and violence accompanying wildlife crime takes a heavy toll on local communities.
“We had our first tip within 24 hours and the response has been beyond our wildest imagination,” said Crosta, now executive director of theElephant Action League. He said the pervasive corruption means that whistleblowers frequently fear that contacting local law enforcement could put their lives in danger. “You can’t, for example, export containers full of ivory from Mombasa without bribing people left, right and centre,” Crosta told the Guardian. “We definitely feel we are filling a gap.”
A three-month trial period has yielded 24 serious tip-offs, spanning the world including:
• elephant poaching in Africa and illicit ivory trading in Hong Kong;
• killing of Sumatran tigers, of which there are just 400 left in the wild;
• illegal lion and leopard hunting in South Africa;
• chimpanzee trafficking in Liberia;
• illegal fishing activities in Alaska, including alleged mafia involvement;
• importing of illegal African wildlife products into the US;
• illegal logging in Mexico, Malawi and Siberia.
(keep reading at theguardian.com)