Google shifts on email encryption tool, leaving its fate unclear

Google is asking developers to take over its effort to make end-to-end email encryption more user-friendly, raising questions over whether it’ll ever become an official feature in the company’s browser.

On Friday, the search giant said its email encryption tool, originally announced in 2014, was no longer a Google product. Instead, it’s become a “full community-driven open source project,” the company said in a blog post.

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Google shifts on email encryption tool, leaving its fate unclear

Google is asking developers to take over its effort to make end-to-end email encryption more user-friendly, raising questions over whether it’ll ever become an official feature in the company’s browser.

On Friday, the search giant said its email encryption tool, originally announced in 2014, was no longer a Google product. Instead, it’s become a “full community-driven open source project,” the company said in a blog post.

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FCC puts the brakes on ISP privacy rules it just passed in October

The new chairman of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission will seek a stay on privacy rules for broadband providers that the agency just passed in October.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai will ask for either a full commission vote on the stay before parts of the rules take effect next Thursday or he will instruct FCC staff to delay part of the rules pending a commission vote, a spokesman said Friday.

The rules, passed when the FCC had a Democratic majority, require broadband providers to receive opt-in customer permission to share sensitive personal information, including web-browsing history, geolocation, and financial details, with third parties. Without the stay, the opt-in requirements were scheduled to take effect next week.

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What to expect from the Trump administration on cybersecurity

Look for U.S. President Donald Trump's administration to push for increased cybersecurity spending in government, but also for increased digital surveillance and encryption workarounds.

That's the view of some cybersecurity policy experts, who said they expect Trump to focus on improving U.S. agencies' cybersecurity while shying away from new cybersecurity regulations for businesses. 

Trump is likely to look for ways for the National Security Agency and other agencies to assist the government and companies defend against cyberattacks, said Jeffrey Eisenach, a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a tech advisor during Trump's presidential transition.

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Verizon knocks $350 million off Yahoo deal after massive data breaches

Verizon Communications will pay $350 million less for Yahoo after two major data breaches reported by the struggling internet pioneer.

Verizon will pay about $4.48 billion for Yahoo’s operating business, and the two companies will share any potential legal and regulatory liabilities arising from two major data breaches announced in late 2016. The companies announced the amended terms of the deal Tuesday.

Back in October, one news report had Verizon seeking a $1 billion discount after the first breach was announced.

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Windows 10’s data-gathering changes don’t satisfy European privacy watchdogs

European Union privacy watchdogs are still not happy with Windows 10’s gathering of data about its users, over a year after they first wrote to Microsoft to complain.

While the company has developed ways to give users more control over what data is collected, their consent to its collection cannot be valid without further explanation, according to the Article 29 Working Party, an umbrella body for the EU’s national privacy regulators.

The working party welcomed Microsoft’s introduction of five new options in Windows 10 to limit or switch off certain kinds of data processing, but said they provided insufficient information about their operation.

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Tech groups gear up for FISA surveillance fight

A controversial provision in U.S. law that gives the National Security Agency broad authority to spy on people overseas expires at the end of the year, and six major tech trade groups are gearing up for a fight over an extension.

Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act expires on Dec. 31, and Congress almost certain to extend it in some form. 

The tech trade groups, including BSA, the Consumer Technology Association, and the Computer and Communications Industry Association, are asking lawmakers to build in new privacy protections for internet users. 

"It is critical that Congress takes a balanced yet focused approach with respect to Section 702," the groups said in a letter sent to top lawmakers Wednesday. "We urge your committees to ensure that any reauthorization includes meaningful safeguards for internet users' privacy and civil liberties."

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US legislation revived to curb warrantless geolocation tracking

U.S. legislators have reintroduced bills that would place curbs on warrantless access by the government to electronically generated geolocation information of Americans, including on the use of cell-site simulators that can capture cellphone data.

Bicameral legislation introduced Wednesday, called the Geolocation Privacy and Surveillance Act, aims to create clear rules for when law enforcement agencies can acquire an individual’s geolocation information, generated from electronic devices like smartphones, GPS units and Wi-Fi equipped laptops.

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