ZDNetGovWeek: Glitches in the US courts, retail hacking worries, and Australia doesn't like Snowden either

ZDNetGovWeek: Glitches in the US courts, retail hacking worries, and Australia doesn't like Snowden either

Summary: Last week was a big week for the steal-from-and-betray-your-government crowd as the patron saint of hit-and-split-treason spoke out from his secret lair hiding behind Putin's pants. Meanwhile, there was actual real news going on in government throughout the world. Click in and read.


ZDNet's worldwide team provides global 24/7 technology news and analysis. In addition to my own coverage analysis here in the ZDNet Government column and on ZDNet's DIY-IT, every week I'll bring you a selection of the best government-related articles posted by our intrepid reporters and analysts. Here are some of the most interesting from the last week.

Top stories this week

US Court System downed by technical glitch, not hackers
The U.S. Court system was taken down Friday afternoon for several hours by a suspected denial-of-service attack. The FBI challenged such claims on Saturday.

FBI issues security warning to US retailers
The federal agencies warn that retailers' point of sales systems are being targeted by criminals.

Julie Bishop lashes Snowden on US visit
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has lashed out at Edward Snowden, accusing the US intelligence leaker of 'unprecedented treachery' after he unveiled Canberra's efforts to spy on Indonesia.

Snowden speaks (but does anyone really care?)

NSA engaged in industrial espionage, claims Snowden
The U.S. did not limit spying to issues of national security, but also tapped corporations such as Siemens for the country's national interests, says former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

'Not all spying is bad': Three key takeaways from Snowden's Q&A
U.S. fugitive and whistleblower Edward Snowden said "not all spying is bad," but indiscriminate mass surveillance was a global problem — one that America "needs to take a lead in fixing."

Other government coverage around ZDNet

Will you buy your servers from a Chinese company?
Lenovo's purchase of IBM's server hardware product line could cause businesses to rethink buying options.

NBN Co seeks exemption for VDSL interference
NBN Co's fibre-to-the-building trial agreement document reveals that the company seeks no liability for crosstalk on its VDSL services as part of the trial.

Critical IT upgrades play role in Australian Valuation Office closure
A total of AU$1 million in required IT upgrades for the Australian Valuation Office was part of the reason why the Abbott government has decided to shut down the office, Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer Steven Ciobo has said.

China blames hackers for outage, but fingers point at govt
Chinese government says a malicious attack caused the massive Web outage which affected up to 600 million online users, but observers point the finger at the national censorship system which likely malfunctioned.

Parents want transparency from schools concerning use of student data
A new survey suggests that the majority of American adults are concerned about how student data is collected, stored and shared in schools.

Social media watchdog has 'serious risks': Freedom commissioner
Australia's incoming Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson has said there are 'serious risks' with the government's proposed children's eSafety commissioner having the power to remove content deemed to be 'harmful'.

World Cup boosts e-registration in Brazilian hotels
A guest registration database developed by the government aims to create tourist profiles and support public investment in tourism.

Verizon touts its transparency report as a 'first' for a telco
Verizon's general counsel reveals asserted that telcom providers receive more government demands than those in any other industry.

BitTorrent, Level 3 among a dozen companies to settle FTC privacy complaint
Twelve US companies, including Level 3 Communications and BitTorrent, agreed to settle FTC charges that they falsely claimed to be in compliance with an international privacy framework known as the US-EU Safe Harbor.

South Korea raises regulatory penalties following massive data leaks
Top execs face dismissal, while financial firms face heavier fines and suspensions as part of proposed measures in the wake of the data breach involving over 20 million credit card customers revealed earlier this week.

Mega CEO resigns, joins Dotcom's Internet Party
Vikram Kumar, CEO of Mega, shifts to Kim Dotcom's Internet Party, aiming to win the "hope and excitement" vote.

Credit card signatures to be phased out in Australia
Australians will need to get used to using their PIN for credit card purchases, with signatures set to be phased out from the middle of 2014.

Topics: Government, Government Asia, Government AU, Government US, Government UK, Privacy, Security


David Gewirtz, Distinguished Lecturer at CBS Interactive, is an author, U.S. policy advisor, and computer scientist. He is featured in the History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets and is a member of the National Press Club.

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  • You know David...

    ...yous Snowden hatred is really tiresome...

    "Snowden speaks (but does anyone really care?)" - really? Keep fulling yourself with it.
    Australian Foreign Minister (and not Australia as you put it) cares anough to hate him in your own words.
    Hate him or love him - people care. Try to portray him as insugnificant and all you get is... A single coment to your post. :-P
  • Betrayed the government?

    Wow, when did ZDnet get taken over by Fox News? It now has its very own Sean Hannity!

    I mean really, he betrayed his *government*? That's the refrain of corrupt dictatorships through the ashes. What about the people? What if the government betrayed the people?

    Anybody that helped Woodward and Bernstein betrayed their government. Does it not matter that Nixon was a crook and a liar?

    Anybody that tried to undermine Hitler and the Nazis (who came to power by democratic means, remember) betrayed their government.

    You know what? Screw the government! They're sure as he'll screwing *you*!
    • Interestingly enough...

      ...neither Woodward, Bernstein, nor their sources were ever charged with unauthorized disclosure of classified information; presumably because even Mr. Nixon didn't consider classifying data on his reelection campaign.

      Daniel Ellsberg did disclose classified information (that probably shouldn't have been classified to begin with), was prosecuted for it and the court threw the case out. Nixon's initial impulse was to declassify the Pentagon Papers as they contained no legitimate military or diplomatic secrets and were a lot more embarrassing to the Democrats than to the Republicans; his National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger talked him out of it. Says me, Nixon should have done it anyway, as it was the right thing to do both politically and ethically.
      John L. Ries
    • And...

      ...Hitler's government virtually abrogated the Constitution within months of taking office (the Enabling Act authorized the Government to issue decrees that violated constitutional guarantees). I can't say that everything the current US Administration has done has been constitutionally kosher, but President Obama continues to govern with a Congress partially controlled by the opposition, a majority of states governed at least partially by the opposition, and a Supreme Court that's as independent as it was when John Marshall was Chief Justice two centuries ago (and on which five of nine justices were appointed by Presidents affiliated with the opposing party).

      Contrast that with the behavior of Hitler, who quickly abolished state and local elected institutions (retaining the Reichstag for ceremonial purposes only), curtailed the independence of the courts, and illegally assumed the presidency in all but name as soon as his erstwhile boss, President Hindenberg, was safely dead.
      John L. Ries
  • Snowden, Australia and David Gewirtz

    Dear Mr. Gewirtz :

    I noted with interest the article in which an Australian minister rants and raves about that "awful 'traitor' Edward Snowden", primarily because a few of the Snowden revelations appear to confirm skullduggery on the part of the Australian equivalent of the NSA, in spying on Indonesia's executive branch.

    What this really deconstructs to, of course, is someone who is engaged in misconduct, whining about the fact that he or she got caught, and simultaneously whining that "they 'cheated' in catching me doing it".

    It is halfway between amusing and enraging to see U.S. conservatives -- who endlessly complain about "how criminals 'get away with it'" because of legal protections such as the "Miranda Rule" (which disallows "evidence unfairly obtained by the police"), now turning around and whining about how Snowden "stole" all the goods about how the NSA has been engaging in systematic misconduct for approximately the last 15 years, and thereby going "well we shouldn't be blamed for all the stuff that the NSA's been doing, because the evidence of it was 'illegally' obtained".

    In other words, it's ridiculous, hyperbolic hypocrisy.

    Just like your own position, on Mr. Snowden.
    • Snowden, Australia and David Gewirtz

      Be careful, he'll ban you like he did me for bringing this up years and years ago. Tinfoil Hat wearing idiot I believe it was? Or he'd use the you were cussing excuse even though there was NEVER a cuss word in my postings, just truth. Censored posts were common place several years back. Been reading this rag since it was in print form way before the internet was invented. Used to get them in corporate mail all the time. Watched this entire mess morph over the last 2 decades. Shills and Gate Keepers come to mind. When it was a print rag there were no forums and no feedback from the readers. Now that they have to defend themselves and what they write and they don't like it one bit. Gewirtz rants are no different than the Australian Foreign Minister's because they have the same roots. Once you've had a taste of that government hog trough you're done, isn't that the case Mr. USA policy adviser, Mr. Gatekeeper, Mr. Shill?

      Go back to posting about Iphones, you'll have pages and pages of meaningless replies and your blog #'s will skyrocket again. That clientele can tell you all about the best phones and the best sports players stats and all that meaningless dribble while this stuff goes on quietly behind the scenes, for decades now. Where you you when it mattered, at the trough advising? There are NO moral justifications for governments to break their own laws and bring harm to their own populations. You defend this constantly. You keep bring up these topics and you will keep getting a few posts with truth in them. Fanboy's don't know anything about these topics or they are simply scared to death to post their opinions. And that is the reality of the sorry state of affairs we find ourselves stuck with. This is truly the refrain of corrupt dictatorships and their mouth-pieces.