national security

Smart home makers hoard your data, but won’t say if the police come for it

A decade ago, it was almost inconceivable that nearly every household item could be hooked up to the internet. These days, it’s near impossible to avoid a non-smart home gadget, and they’re vacuuming up a ton of new data that we’d never normally think about. Thermostats know the temperature of your house, and smart cameras and sensors know when someone’s walking around your home. Smart assistants know what you’re asking for, and smart doorbells know who’s coming and going. And thanks to the cloud, that data is available to you from anywhere – you can check in on your pets from your phone or make sure your robot vacuum cleaned the house. Because the data is stored or accessible by the smart home tech makers, law enforcement and government agencies have increasingly sought out data from the ...

Unbiased algorithms can still be problematic

Creating unbiased, accurate algorithms isn’t impossible — it’s just time consuming. “It actually is mathematically possible,” facial recognition startup Kairos CEO Brian Brackeen told me on a panel at TechCrunch Disrupt SF. Algorithms are sets of rules that computers follow in order to solve problems and make decisions about a particular course of action. Whether it’s the type of information we receive, the information people see about us, the jobs we get hired to do, the credit cards we get approved for, and, down the road, the driverless cars that either see us or don’t, algorithms are increasingly becoming a big part of our lives. But there is an inherent problem with algorithms that begins at the most base level and persists throughout its adaption: human bias that is baked into these ...

UK warns of satellite and space program problems in case of Brexit ‘no deal’

The U.K. government says that access to satellites and space surveillance programs will suffer in the event of a “no deal” departure from the European Union . Britain has less than six months to go before the country leaves the 28-member state bloc, after a little over half the country voted to withdraw membership from the European Union in a 2016 referendum. So far, the Brexit process has been a hot mess of political infighting and uncertainty, bureaucracy and backstabbing — amid threats of coups and leadership challenges. And the government isn’t even close to scoring a deal to keep trade ties open, immigration flowing and airplanes taking off. Now, the government has further said that services reliant on EU membership — like access to space programs — will be affected. The reassuring ne...

T-Mobile quietly reveals uptick in government data demands

T-Mobile has revealed an uptick in the number of demands for data it receives from the government. The cellular giant quietly posted its 2017 transparency report on August 14, revealing a 12 percent increase in the number of overall data demands it responded to compared to the previous year. The report said the company responded to 219,377 subpoenas, an 11 percent rise on 2017. These demands were issued by federal agencies and do not require any judicial oversight. The company also responded to 55,372 court orders, a 13 percent rise, and 27,203 warrants, a rise of 19 percent. But the number of wiretap orders — which allow police to listen in to calls in real time — went down by half on the previous year. A spokesperson for T-Mobile told TechCrunch that the figures reflect a “typical increa...

Pompeo Says U.S. Can Send ‘Capital’ to North Korea Once Nukes Go

The U.S. is ready to allow investments in North Korea once it has verifiable proof of the Asian nation’s denuclearization, two of President Donald Trump’s top national security officials said. “We’re prepared to open the trade and investment with North Korea as soon as we can,” National Security Adviser John Bolton said on ABC’s “This Week,” one of two appearances on Sunday political shows. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo went further in an interview on CBS. He talked of the potential for U.S. investment in the North Asian nation from America’s “entrepreneurs, our risk takers, our capital providers” to help North Korea’s people “get the opportunity that they so richly deserve.” Before any such benefits flow, though, Bolton and Pompeo said the U.S. must have proof that the denuclearization p...

Comey Says Nunes’s Demand for Classified FBI Data Is Dangerous

A demand by House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes for the Justice Department and FBI to turn over classified information about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation is extremely dangerous to the U.S., former FBI Director James Comey said. “You cannot overstate the danger in that kind of behavior to the security of the United States,” Comey said at an event in Washington Friday hosted by the Brookings Institution. Nunes is demanding that the Federal Bureau of Investigation reveal to him details about a U.S. citizen who has served as an intelligence source for the probe into Russia meddling, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. “I thought everyone understood that the absolute core of the intelligence community, including the FBI, is its human sources,” C...

Top Republican ‘Would Counsel Against’ Ending Iran Deal

The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee said Sunday he “would counsel against” President Donald Trump pulling the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear deal this week. “I thought it was a bad deal,” Representative Mac Thornberry said of the 2015 accord on “Fox News Sunday.” “But the key question is, ‘OK, now we are where we are, what happens next if the U.S. pulls out?’” Thornberry, a Texas Republican, suggested Iran could kick out inspectors if the deal is scrapped, “so that we lose what visibility we have there.” He also said that rising tensions between Iran and the Israel would make it crucial for the U.S. and its allies in the deal “to be united to prevent that conflict.” “Maybe the best thing is for the president to delay a bit more his deadline,” Thornberry added, suggesting that ...

Trump to Meet Moon May 22 Before Planned North Korea Summit

South Korean President Moon Jae-In plans to travel to Washington May 22 in advance of a historic planned summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the White House said Friday. Trump and his national security team will welcome Moon to the White House as they prepare for a meeting with Kim that could happen in a matter of weeks. Trump told reporters Friday that a time and location had already been set for the summit, but didn’t elaborate. Moon has played a central role in calming tensions on the Korean peninsula, holding several historic meetings with representatives of the Kim regime and pushing for a peace deal with North Korea to officially end the Korean War. Moon is scheduled to travel to Tokyo next week for meetings with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Ch...

Quitting Iran Deal a Bad Idea But Not End of World, Rice Says

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal would send a message that the U.S. doesn’t stick to its commitments but wouldn’t be devastating to national security. “I would probably stay in it because once you’re in an agreement, you don’t want to send the signal that the United States just turns its back on agreements that are there,” Rice said during an interview Wednesday on Bloomberg Television’s “The David Rubenstein Show: Peer-to-Peer Conversations.” But, she added, it “won’t be the end of the world” if President Donald Trump withdraws from the agreement reached with Iran and six world powers, she said. Rice, a Republican who served under Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, made her comments as the Trump administration we...

Ross Says U.S. to Extend Duty Relief to Some Allies, Not All

The Trump administration plans to extend relief from steel and aluminum tariffs to some countries, but not all, when their temporary exemptions expire on Tuesday, said Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. Ross, in an interview in Washington with Bloomberg late Saturday, declined to identify which nations would be spared from the tariffs. He said the announcement will be made right before the May 1 deadline for the duties to kick in. The secretary indicated on Friday that nations have been asked to accept import quotas in return for tariff-free access of the metals into the U.S. The steel and aluminum tariffs are fueling tensions with some of America’s strongest allies, just as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin leads a delegation this week to China for talks on what the U.S. sees as Beijing’s un...

Pompeo Says Left Kim Meeting Thinking Nuclear Deal Possible

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he assessed North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during their meeting ahead of a planned summit with President Donald Trump, and concluded that there’s at least a chance for the U.S. to strike a denuclearization deal. “My goal was to try and identify if there was a real opportunity there,” Pompeo said during an interview on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday. “I believe there is.” Trump said on Saturday he expects a historic meeting with Kim will take place “over the next three or four weeks” and that details of the summit are still being ironed out. Pompeo was CIA director when he met with the North Korean leader in a secretly-arranged meeting in Pyongyang over the Easter weekend. The former representative from Kansas was confirmed by the Senate as the top U.S. dip...

EU Sounds Alarm Over Trade War as Trump Puts Gun to Its Head

The European Union warned about the costs of a trans-Atlantic trade war while bracing for one to erupt after the U.S. signaled it will reject the bloc’s demand for an unconditional waiver from metals-import tariffs. “A trade war is a losing game for everybody,” Belgian Finance Minister Johan Van Overtveldt told reporters in Sofia. “We should stay cool when we’re thinking about reactions but the basic point is that nobody wins in a trade war so we try to avoid it at all costs.” Donald Trump’s administration is asking Europe, Canada and other allies to accept quotas in exchange for an exemption from steel and aluminum tariffs that kick in May 1, when a temporary waiver expires. “We are asking of everyone: quotas if not tariffs,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Friday. This puts the EU...