Smartphone Touted as 'Remote for Your Life' at CES
Huawei's Ascend Mate smartphone is seen at the Huawei booth during the 2013 International CES at the Las Vegas Convention Center on January 10, 2013 in Las Vegas. Dozens of firms at the International Consumer Electronics Show are touting the smartphone as consumer's remote control for life.
It can talk to your car, your refrigerator, water your plants and help you stay fit and healthy: the smartphone is become the consumer's remote control for life. That was the message delivered by dozens of firms at the International Consumer Electronics Show, where terms like "appification" were tossed around freely.
The hundreds of thousands of "apps" developed for mobile platforms such as Apple's iOS, Google's Android and Microsoft's Windows Phone and showcased at the Las Vegas tech gathering are quickly taking a lot of functions that people or different devices used to do. Nowhere was this more evident in the "connected home" zone of the world's biggest technology show.
Samsung, the South Korean tech giant, showed a connected refrigerator which can stream music from a smartphone, while US appliance maker Dacor unveiled what it called the "first Android oven," with a panel to check emails and the Web. -Source
Federal Surveillance Continues Despite Constitutional Concerns
HARRISBURG — The federal government will probably continue to keep secret even the most basic data involving "warrantless wiretapping" despite calls for transparency.
The U.S. Senate in December voted to reauthorize the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 Amendments Act of 2008, and both members of Pennsylvania’s delegation — Democrat Sen. Bob Casey and Republican Sen. Pat Toomey — voted for it. The act allows the National Security Agency, under the guise of foreign intelligence, to intercept communications to or from an American citizen without a traditional court order as long as one party is outside the United States.
Multiple amendments that would’ve made public more information about the scope and gravity of surveillance fell short of collecting the 60 necessary votes to pass. Requests included providing estimates of the number of Americans whose communications have been tapped, disclosures of interpretations of the law made in a classified court and a shorter sunset period to boost discussion.
Over the years, civil liberties advocates, constitutional defenders and digital rights champions have lambasted the FAA, arguing the program violates the Fourth Amendment. -Source
DHS Watchdog OKs ‘Suspicionless’ Seizure of Electronic Devices Along Border
The Department of Homeland Security’s civil rights watchdog has concluded that travelers along the nation’s borders may have their electronics seized and the contents of those devices examined for any reason whatsoever — all in the name of national security.
The DHS, which secures the nation’s border, in 2009 announced that it would conduct a “Civil Liberties Impact Assessment” of its suspicionless search-and-seizure policy pertaining to electronic devices “within 120 days.” More than three years later, the DHS office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties published a two-page executive summary of its findings. “We also conclude that imposing a requirement that officers have reasonable suspicion in order to conduct a border search of an electronic device would be operationally harmful without concomitant civil rights/civil liberties benefits,” the executive summary said. The memo highlights the friction between today’s reality that electronic devices have become virtual extensions of ourselves housing everything from e-mail to instant-message chats to photos and our papers and effects — juxtaposed against the government’s stated quest for national security.
The President George W. Bush administration first announced the suspicionless, electronics search rules in 2008. The President Barack Obama administration followed up with virtually the same rules a year later. Between 2008 and 2010, 6,500 persons had their electronic devices searched along the U.S. border, according to DHS data. According to legal precedent, the Fourth Amendment — the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures — does not apply along the border. By the way, the government contends the Fourth-Amendment-Free Zone stretches 100 miles inland from the nation’s actual border. -Source
Cloud is the Next Chapter in the Government's Identity Management Saga
Sometimes it takes time for an idea to germinate. Take the Bush administration's desire for a federated identity management gateway under the E-Authentication initiative. The White House began developing it in 2003 as part of its e-government strategy.
E-Authentication struggled to gain traction and OMB refocused it in 2007 with the emergence of Homeland Security Presidential Directive-12.
Flash forward to fiscal 2013, the Postal Service issued a draft request for proposals and a final RFP to create and run a Federal Cloud Credential Exchange (FCCX). The system would let citizens log onto federal services using usernames and passwords from third parties, such as Google or PayPal, as long as those companies meet federal standards under the Federal Identity Credential and Access Management framework (FICAM).
The FCCX would act as the identity authenticator, taking advantage of the build once, use many philosophy. Agencies wouldn't have to build separate identity management systems or manage separate usernames and passwords for each of their online services, and citizens would reduce the number of usernames and passwords they have to remember.
Experts in and out of government say the FCCX is borrowing heavily from E-Authentication. "Looking back at E-Authentication, it was not a bad idea, but it was a little bit ahead of its time," said Jeremy Grant, the senior executive advisor for identity management at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and leader of the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC) program office. "Certainly, having worked, when I was in industry, on some of the implementations then, you had agencies that didn't necessarily understand the value of it. You had technology and standards that were not necessarily bad, but they were relatively new to the marketplace and not readily understood or easy to work with. If you fast forward from 2005 to 2012, you have lots of agencies where senior executives not only understand the value of federated identity within government, but are actively looking to bring these types of applications online and realizing they can't do it unless they have a better identity infrastructure than they do today." -Source