Last fall, a California student discovered a GPS tracking device on his car during an oil change, and posted photos of the device on Reddit.

Then the FBI showed up at his home, demanding he give them the tracking device. Why was he being tracked? A random comment on Reddit written by his friend that when read in context did not represent any threat or warning that should have warranted FBI surveillance.

The student is suing the government over the tracking action for violating his civil rights. Does the government need a warrant to place GPS tracking devices on cars? You might be surprised at the answer.

Libyan Internet down again – new method employed

“When some future government faces this decision, backed into a corner by a popular uprising supported by Internet communication, they will probably reach the same conclusions that Libya and Egypt did: Reestablish control over national communications at any cost, and pick up the pieces later. That’s why the Internet is too vital to be left in the hands of centralized authority, and it’s why you should press for more diverse Internet connectivity wherever you happen to live.” Rensys blog

Two weeks ago, Libya’s Internet underwent a six-hour shutdown. Last week, as protesters held a rally in the city that was aggressively squelched by Moammar Gadhafi’s security forces, traffic monitors reported that Libya had again dropped Internet connectivity.

But this time, unlike the process used to shut down the connectivity in Egypt where Internet service providers simply shut down their servers, the routes in Libya were still up, according to Rensys, but there was no data packet traffic on the still open routes, as the traffic was “blackholed” just before it entered the Libyan netspace.

“It’s like a post-apocalyptic scenario where the roads are there, there just isn’t any traffic,” Rensys’ James Cowie told IBT. “Every time I think that someone has a way to shut down the Internet, they come up with a new way.”

Could we be getting a glimpse of what’s to come in Saudi Arabia and other countries? We’re keeping an eye on it.

Trail leads to China in massive WordPress attack

Last week I noticed that while posting, my WordPress site was acting sluggish. Long delays between uploads had me wondering if something was amiss with the blog provider. I checked Twitter to see if others were experiencing the same problem. Little did I suspect that China was involved.

Speaking of Twitter, when Bank of America was hit last Tuesday with a suspicious first-of-the-month outage, Twitter kept BofA customers informed and updated through BofA’s Twitter account @bofa_help. Turns out the service disruptions were caused by a routine update on the system the weekend before.

Google has its hands full

Besides one of its executives helping to foment a revolution last month in Egypt, Google was hit with malware last week, forcing them to pull 21 Android apps! Google’s search engine adjustment caused layoffs … at other companies.

And another revolution in the search engine business finds the two combatants – Google and Bing – fighting for dominance. Google’s battlefield opponent Bing launched “daily deals”. And Groupon’s right in the middle of it with its involvement.

But it’s not all bad news for Google. They’re photographing every square inch of the planet, snapping pix everywhere of everything. Google’s Street View leaves pavement and goes off-road with trike cams.

National ID Digital Card delayed – states revolt

“Because Real ID links state DMV databases, establishes a standard bar code that can be digitally scanned and mandates that original documents such as birth certificates be verified, backers claim the benefits extend beyond anti-terror and ID fraud cases.”

Which begs the question: Will the president be required to carry the Real ID Act National ID card? We won’t know until after the 2012 election.

Implementation of the controversial ID card has been postponed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security until January 15, 2013. The reason DHS gave for the delay of the May 11 effective date of the Real ID Act? The law is hardly popular. No, really! State governments cite privacy, federalism and funding as reasons for their refusal to cooperate. One estimate puts compliance costs as high as $11 billion.

The National Conference of State Legislatures lists 16 states, including Arizona, Georgia, Oregon and Washington, with laws forbidding them to comply with Real ID and 8 states, including Colorado, Hawaii and Illinois, that have enacted resolutions effectively boycotting it.

The regulation’s impact on residents of those 24 states would not be able to simply use their driver’s license to fly or to enter a federal building such as a courthouse, even for jury duty.

On the other side of the aisle, Real ID supporters were not happy with the delay. House Republican chairs reacted angrily to this third delay to date. Read why and learn who voted for it and how Real ID will affect you.

President Obama must be breathing a sigh of relief.

No BlackBerry for you!

BlackBerry manufacturer Research in Motion and other companies providing encryption in their products have been told they will have to be open to internal security and intelligence services if they wish to continue operating in India.

Zach Whittaker writes: “India faces a multitude of terror threats, just as many fast-developing economies and countries around the world. The increased use in technology to better communications in order to orchestrate acts of terror are clearly being used as the rest of ordinary society does.

India’s intelligence services need to be able to access encrypted data to prevent attacks in a “constant setting” – where attacks are likely and have occurred regularly. The ability for governments to intercept or read data sent to and from their citizens is commonplace in Western societies.

Under this premise, Google and Skype could also be forced to shut down in the country if they cannot provide keys to their services.

Czar gets grilled on legality of ICE, DHS domain seizures

Why are Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Homeland Security spending taxpayer dollars on a few random blogs, rather than actual criminals? A good question, especially since the agencies recently arbitrarily shut down 84 websites, claiming they were child pornography sites, smearing the small businesses represented on those sites.

U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., recently quizzed IP Czar Victoria Espinel about the recent domain name seizures. And to Lofgren’s credit, she let Espinel have it, both barrels.

In a seven-minute long video of the proceedings, Lofgren grills the Obama-appointed czar.

Quoting from TechDirt: “Where it gets good is when Espinel tries to claim that there was due process in the domain seizures, where Lofgren jumps back in and points out that Espinel is wrong and that there is no due process here. Espinel pulls out the same claim we keep hearing: that a magistrate judge approved the seizures based on ‘probable cause,’ but Lofgren responds by pointing out that judges in such circumstances approve almost anything – and highlights ICE’s similar massive screwup in taking down 84,000 innocent sites – which also happened with a magistrate judge’s rubber-stamped approval. Lofgren knows that that’s not due process by any stretch of the imagination, and ICE and Espinel really should give up on this line of argument. What they should do is actually provide real due process. Rather than seizing domains, file a lawsuit.”

Cyberattack on electrical power system – next Pearl Harbor?

In testimony before the U.S. Congress last month, CIA Director Leon Panetta said: “The potential for the next Pearl Harbor could very well be a cyberattack. If you have a cyberattack that brings down our power grid system, brings down our financial systems, brings down our government systems, you could paralyze this country. And I think that’s a real potential.”

The threat is real and it’s only getting worse, according to Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., a member of the House Cybersecurity Caucus, who appeared with Paul Molitor, assistant VP for Strategic Initiatives for NEMA during an interview on Fox News last Sunday.

Is your company’s IT security strategy up to the challenge? Here are a set of questions worth asking to find out.

High-profile personalities unknowingly support Gadhafi on Facebook

What would you do if someone secretly added your name to a Facebook group? And making matters worse, one whose cause you did not endorse?

It happened to hundreds of high-profile politicians and TV and film stars who were unknowingly signed up to the “Colonel Gaddafi Support Group” on Facebook.

Monty Python comedian John Cleese, musician Elvis Costello and academics Camille Paglia and Simon Schama were among those who were included on a page created by London-based Claire Khaw, a self-confessed “agent provocateur and Facebook entertainer” who took advantage of a change in the site’s policy, allowing her to enlist friends to the group without their consent.

Khaw said she was just trying to highlight problems with Facebook, including the issue of people adding others to groups without their permission.

A Facebook spokesman said this incident underscores the importance of only accepting friend requests from people you know and trust.

“If you accept a person on Facebook as a friend, you are giving them permission to connect with you and do things like add photos of you, or tag you in a video or add you to a group,” the spokesman said. “You can only be added to a group by one of your friends. When a friend adds you to a group, you’ll get a notification right away, and you can leave a group anytime.”

McCain calls Zuckerberg “hero in Middle East”

“The No. 1 hero in Tunisia is a guy named Mark Zuckerberg,” says U.S. Senator John McCain, R-Ariz. Read why.

Medical “Killer app” developing into lifesaver for millions

LUCAS, a lens-free cell phone microscope application is being hailed as a “lifesaver.” And its innovator says it will “replace bulky optical microscopes with computer codes and architectures that will make them extremely lightweight, compact and cost effective.”

Traditional hi-tech optical microscopes can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy. The LUCAS uses the silicon sensor in cell phone cameras, bringing the cost of using it down to $5 to $10.

LUCAS (Lensless, Ultra-wide-field Cell monitoring Array platform based on Shadow imaging) clips onto to the back of a standard cell phone (minus its lens) and is comprised of an LED light, a spatial filter and a slot for a medical slide.

Inventor Aydogan Ozcan, a UCLA associate professor of electrical engineering who heads his own research group, has been working on his microscope since 2007 intended to improve detection of deadly diseases like malaria and tuberculosis (TB).

Bit and bytes

The time capsule

1817 – New York Stock Exchange formally established

1913 – IRS begins to levy and collect income taxes

1952 – Ronald Reagan marries Nancy Davis

1964 – Teamster union president Jimmy Hoffa going to prison

1965 – Alabama Governor halts civil rights march, many injured

1969 – James Earl Ray gets 99 years for King assassination

Now playing at the Princess Theater, Urbana, Ill.

Congratulations to WorldNetDaily readers Caleb Hope of Louisville, Ky., and Meredith Jensen of Atlanta, Ga., who were among the first to correctly guess actor Elliott Gould in his portrayal of Trapper John in the 1970 movie “MASH.” Directed by Robert Altman, the Oscar-winning film depicted the humor and hijinks of a medical staff at a Korean War field hospital in the face of the horrors of war.

The quote: “We are the pros from Dover and we figure to crack this kid’s chest and get out to golf course before it gets dark.”

This week’s quote: “Ever wonder why fund managers can’t beat the S&P 500? ‘Cause they’re sheep, and sheep get slaughtered.”

Name the movie, the actor and the character. Send your answer to me at the email address below. Good luck!

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