The Switchboard: ‘Most hated man on the Internet’ indicted on federal charges


A man uses his cell phone to read updates about former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden answering users' questions on Twitter in this photo illustration, in Sarajevo, January 23, 2014. (REUTERS/Dado Ruvic)

Published every weekday, the Switchboard highlights five tech policy stories you need to read.

Revenge-porn king Hunter Moore indicted on federal charges. Jessica Roy at TIME reports that the so-called "most hated man on the Internet" was indicted by a federal grand jury Thursday. "Moore and an alleged accomplice Charles 'Gary' Evens were indicted on 15 counts, including conspiracy, seven counts of unauthorized access to a protected computer to obtain information and seven counts of aggravated identity theft."

Edward Snowden: ‘Not all spying is bad’. The Switch's Brian Fung covered a live-chat with former NSA contractor Edward Snowden Thursday -- where he said something surprising: "Not all spying is bad." However, as Fung noted "the international fugitive pivoted quickly, arguing that surveillance conducted in bulk, without the public's consent, was a 'global problem.'"

Government board report refutes 9/11 argument for NSA phone records program. The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board's report Thursday described the 215 call records program illegal and recommended ending it, the Washington Post reported. It also debunked an often-cited claim used to bolster the system: That the government needed it to locate 9/11 hijacker Khalid al-Mihdhar before the terrorist attacks. "The failure to identify Mihdhar’s presence in the United States stemmed primarily from a lack of information sharing among federal agencies, not of a lack of surveillance capabilities."

Snapchat has a new security feature. It was broken by a hacker in 30 minutes. Snapchat has had a fair share of security issues lately, and a new one that used a graphical CAPTCHA to identify humans was broken extremely, quickly reports The Switch's Brian Fung. "After learning of the new measure, [security researcher Steven] Hickson said on his blog that he spent about half an hour writing a program that was capable of automatically detecting the company's ghost logo, just like a real human."

Neiman Marcus: 1.1 million in-store customers affected by breach. "So far, credit card companies have told the high-end retailer that about 2,400 cards from Neiman Marcus customers have been used in fraudulent transactions linked to the breach," reports the Post's Hayley Tsukayama. "The upscale retail-store operator said online customers were not affected by the intrusion. It also said sensitive information such as Social Security numbers, birth dates and PIN numbers were not taken in the cyberattack."

Andrea Peterson covers technology policy for The Washington Post, with an emphasis on cybersecurity, consumer privacy, transparency, surveillance and open government.
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Brian Fung · January 23