05-24-2018  2:50 pm      •     
The Skanner Report
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NEWS BRIEFS

Attorney General Forms Hate Crime Task Force

The task force will study hate-motivated crimes and review existing legal protections for victims ...

Portland Art Museum Celebrates Art Museum Day with Free Admission on May 25

Portland Art Museum joins art museums across North America, with great works of art and public programs ...

June Key Delta Community Center Hosts May Week ’18 Health Fair May 26

Event includes vision, glucose screenings, medication disposal and car seat installation ...

Mississippi Avenue Giving Tuesday

On Tuesday, May 22, 10 percent of proceeds from participating Mississippi Ave. businesses will go to SEI ...

Power outages temporarily halt flights at Sea-Tac Airport

SEATTLE (AP) — Officials say scattered power outages halted some flights on the south side of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.KOMO-TV reports airport spokesman Perry Cooper said after 12:30 p.m. Thursday that flights were slowly resuming.Airport officials said on Twitter that all power...

Amazon: Echo device sent conversation to family's contact

SEATTLE (AP) — Amazon says an "unlikely" string of events prompted its Echo personal assistant device to record a Portland, Oregon, family's private conversation and then send the recording to an acquaintance in Seattle.The woman told KIRO-TV that two weeks ago an employee of her husband...

OPINION

Racism After Graduation May Just Be What's on the Menu

Dr. Julianne Malveaux says that for our young millennials, racism is inevitable ...

Prime Minister Netanyahu Shows Limits of Israel’s Democracy

Bill Fletcher, Jr. on racial politics in Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s uneven treatment of African immigrants ...

Golfing While Black Is Not a Crime

Grandview Golf Club asks five Black women to leave for golfing too slow ...

Discovering the Best of Black America in 2018

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis discusses the DTU Journalism Fellowship & Scholarship Program ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

NFL's policy could mean a new playbook on protests this fall

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Now that the NFL is drawing the line against players kneeling during the national anthem, athletes protesting police brutality and racial inequality may need to find a new playbook.The question is whether they intend to escalate their protests in some way."The owners can...

Court: School can let trans students use bathroom of choice

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A Pennsylvania school district can allow transgender students to continue using bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their sexual identity, a federal appeals court panel ruled Thursday.A three-judge panel heard extended arguments in the case before conferring...

Body camera video is latest setback for Milwaukee police

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Body camera video showing police using a stun gun on an NBA player over a parking violation is just the latest setback for efforts to improve the strained relationship between Milwaukee officers and the city's black population.The confrontation involving Milwaukee Bucks...

ENTERTAINMENT

Scenes cut from 'Show Dogs' over resemblance to sexual abuse

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Two scenes are being cut from the family movie "Show Dogs" after complaints that they resemble real-life sexual abuse, the movie's distributor has announced.In the movie, a police dog goes undercover at a dog show to catch animal smugglers.In one scene, the dog is told to...

Stoner comedy pioneer Tommy Chong still toking, joking at 80

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Yeah man, Tommy Chong says he always knew he'd live to see the day marijuana legalization would be sweeping America.He knew when he and partner Cheech Marin pioneered stoner comedy 50 years ago, a time when taunting the establishment with constant reminders that they...

Paltrow: Brad Pitt threatened Harvey Weinstein

NEW YORK (AP) — Gwyneth Paltrow says ex-boyfriend Brad Pitt threatened producer Harvey Weinstein after an alleged incident of sexual misconduct.The 45-year-old actress told "The Howard Stern Show" on Wednesday she was "blindsided." Paltrow claimed she was 22 when Weinstein placed his hands...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

MLB panel says baseballs getting extra lift, cause unknown

NEW YORK (AP) — Baseballs really have been getting extra lift since 2015, and it's not from the exaggerated...

Body camera video is latest setback for Milwaukee police

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Body camera video showing police using a stun gun on an NBA player over a parking...

Bus driver charged in crash that killed student, teacher

A school bus driver with a history of driver's license suspensions caused a fatal crash on a New Jersey highway...

Israel defense chief plans 2,500 new West Bank settler homes

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's defense minister said Thursday he will seek approval next week to fast-track...

Cyclone Mekunu pounds Yemen island on its path to Oman

SALALAH, Oman (AP) — Cyclone Mekunu roared over the Yemeni island of Socotra in the Arabian Sea on its way...

Saudi Arabia releases 3 women as other activists still held

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Saudi authorities have released three prominent women's rights...

CNN and The Skanner News



The U.S. National Security Agency has secretly succeeded in breaking much of the encryption that keeps people's personal data safe online, according to reports by The New York Times, The Guardian and ProPublica.

The reports, produced in partnership and published Thursday, are the latest to emerge based on documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden to Britain's Guardian newspaper.

According to the reports, the NSA, alongside its UK equivalent, Government Communications Headquarters, better known as GCHQ, has been able to unscramble much of the encoding that protects everything from personal e-mails to banking systems, medical records and Internet chats.

The agencies' methods include the use of supercomputers to crack codes, covert measures to introduce weaknesses into encryption standards and behind-doors collaboration with technology companies and Internet service providers themselves.

"Through these covert partnerships, the agencies have inserted secret vulnerabilities -- known as backdoors or trapdoors -- into commercial encryption software," The Guardian says.

And the agency spends $250 million a year to get corporations and tech companies to cooperate.

The Guardian cites a 2010 GCHQ memo that it says describes a briefing on NSA accomplishments given to GCHQ employees.

"For the past decade, NSA has lead (sic) an aggressive, multi-pronged effort to break widely used Internet encryption technologies," the memo reportedly says. "Vast amounts of encrypted Internet data which have up till now been discarded are now exploitable."

A second memo is quoted as saying that when the British analysts, who often work alongside NSA officers, were first told about the program, "those not already briefed were gobsmacked."

Another document states that GCHQ has been working to find ways into the encrypted data sent via four big Internet firms, Google, Yahoo, Facebook and Microsoft's Hotmail, the reports claim.

GCHQ told CNN it had no comment on The Guardian report.

The reports claim that the NSA worked to develop more covert ways of unscrambling online data after losing a public battle in the 1990s to insert a government "back door" into all programming.

'Foundation of web security'

Computer security expert Mikko Hypponen believes the revelation is the most important leak to date from Snowden.

"It may not have gained as many headlines as some of his other stories, because most people don't understand how crypto systems work. If indeed U.S intelligence does indeed have such a wide range of systems, then I'm surprised," he told CNN.

Crypto encryption is relevant to everyday applications that everyone uses, for example in communications and transactions, he said. "Now we learn that the foundation of web security has been compromised."

Hypponen, the chief research officer for F-Secure, said he believes the NSA and GCHQ had probably cracked the encryption by placing moles in key companies at key locations. "Any major service provider must have sizable amounts of moles from intelligence agencies. Remember that the NSA has 35,000 people working for it," he said.

"The ordinary user should not be worried by these revelations -- it's obvious that intelligence agencies are not interested in hacking financial transactions -- but they should be outraged."

He suggested those outside the United States should be the most concerned.

"How many U.S. politicians use French cloud-services? Almost none. But how many French politicians use U.S. cloud services? All of them," he said. "Remember that 96 percent of the planet's inhabitants are foreigners to the United States, so it's wrong that the U.S. has a legal right to access foreign communications."

Public concern

The scope of hidden U.S. surveillance programs has been brought to public light through leaks to media outlets by Snowden, who fled the United States and is now in Russia under temporary asylum. He faces espionage charges.

The revelations have led many Americans, according to polls, to harbor skepticism about the NSA programs. They've also generated concern in Congress as well as from privacy groups and libertarians.

Last month, President Barack Obama sought to allay people's unease over the work of the intelligence agency in an interview with CNN "New Day" anchor Chris Cuomo.

Obama said he was confident no one at the NSA is "trying to abuse this program or listen in on people's e-mail." The president chalked much of the concern with domestic snooping on changes in technology.

"I think there are legitimate concerns that people have that technology is moving so quick," Obama said. "What I recognize is that we're going to have to continue to improve the safeguards and as technology moves forward, that means that we may be able to build technologies that give people more assurance."

CNN's Bharati Naik contributed to this report.

 

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