UK goes all Big Brother, Russia stifles free speech, N. Korea still cranky [Government IT News]

It wouldn't be another news week if our governments didn't disappoint us in some way or another. The UK seems to be tiring of civil liberties, Russia is tiring of civility, and North Korea is way overdue for its little nap. Plus (no surprise), the Department of Homeland Security is insecure.
Written by David Gewirtz, Senior Contributing Editor

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

Obama: End laws that protect big ISPs, so Americans can get faster, better broadbandThe president is pushing for the end of laws that protect larger, established Internet providers from competition, which he says harms the rollout of rural broadband services.

Department of Homeland Security oversight report: DHS is a terrifying failure
Analysis: A report assessing the Department of Homeland Security since its formation in 2002 finds mission-critical failures across all five of the DHS sectors, and struggles to prove the DHS is effective.

UK declares war on privacy under the facade of "national security"
Great Britain just isn't that great anymore. An astounding erosion of my home country's fundamental civil liberties and freedoms has made it difficult to envision one day returning home.

Obama proposes new privacy laws, including mandatory data breach warnings
Ahead of the State of the Union later this month, the president's proposed laws aim to force companies to disclose hacks and breaches inside a month.

The price and privilege of free speech and a free press
Some countries and cultures have a hatred of our freedoms. Not only do they persecute their own subjects relentlessly, they feel they can reach outside of their own closed societies and attack us. They are wrong. We will not be silenced.

Intel self-censors as Russian free speech crackdown comes into force
The chip-making giant turns off all ways of contribution to its Russian developer forums in response to a controversial law that stifles free speech.

North Korea slams 'hostile' US sanctionsPyongyang has again denied its involvement with the hacking of Sony Pictures, and said that new sanctions would only strengthen its military-first policy.

Other government coverage around ZDNet

NBN Co begins fibre-to-the-basement rollout
Approximately 6,000 premises in Sydney, Melbourne, and the ACT will be the first to be connected to the NBN via fibre to the basement.

Hackers for hire: Anonymous, quick, and not necessarily illegal
Lack skills yourself? A new website allows you to find a hacker in minutes for revenge against an ex or to take down local competition.

EU sheds more light on Amazon's 'illegal state aid' tax deal in Luxembourg
The European Commission has detailed its reasons for accusing Luxembourg of giving Amazon favourable treatment.

Mt Gox chief was suspected as Silk Road operator
It has been revealed during the trial of alleged Silk Road operator Ross Ulbricht that the CEO of failed bitcoin exchange Mt Gox, Mark Karpeles, had been suspected of being behind the online black market site, according to reports.

Australian Defence eyes Google Apps in public cloud pilot
The Australian Department of Defence is running a 24-month pilot of Google Apps as its first major step towards using cloud services.

Alleged Silk Road 'kingpin' on trial in New York
Ross Ulbricht, the alleged mastermind behind the Silk Road anonymous website, has gone on trial in New York, with government prosecutors calling him a criminal 'kingpin'.

UK PM looking to outlaw encrypted online communication
UK Prime Minister David Cameron wants to legislate against forms of communication that cannot be read by law-enforcement and intelligence agencies.

Australia's broadband ranking isn't Turnbull's fault
To blame Australia's drop in the Akamai State of the Internet ranking for peak and average broadband speeds on the government's decision to move away from fibre to the premises for the NBN defies reality.

UK spy chief warns Apple, Google privacy effort is "closing off" ability to catch terrorists
MI5 chief warns "technology and market changes," including those in response to activities conducted by British intelligence, are making it harder for the agency to catch terrorists.

British spy agency seeks snooping powers, as London's mayor is "not bothered" with civil liberties
Britain's domestic spy agency wants more powers to spy, as the London mayor expresses how he is "not particularly bothered" by civil liberties after the Paris terror attacks.

Zero Day Weekly: Super cookies, Gogo Inflight fake certs, Microsoft security notice paywall
A collection of notable security news items for the week ending January 9, 2015. Covers enterprise, controversies, reports and more.

FBI chief: North Korean Sony hackers 'got sloppy'
The FBI's chief says hackers responsible for Sony's data breach "got sloppy," which enabled forensics teams to unmask the culpable country.

Silent Circle taps Bill Conner as CEO
Silent Circle has snapped up the security heavyweight following the successful launch of the surveillance-thwarting Blackphone.

T-Mobile to pay $90 million in settling FTC cramming case
The mobile provider has agreed to refund its customers for unwanted third-party charges placed on phone bills to the total sum of approximately $90 million.

FBI says North Korea is 'responsible' for Sony hack, as White House mulls response
UPDATED. The FBI said it had "enough information to conclude," following technical analysis, that the rogue state was behind the cyberattack that crippled Sony's networks.

Bluster, bravado and breaches: Today's 'terrorist' players in cybersecurity
An emailed threat can send companies to their knees and propel individuals without so much as a parking ticket straight to a holding cell. The problem is, today's puffed-up chest hacktivists know it, and Sony has borne the brunt. [Analysis]

Congress blocks ICANN transition. Good.
The "Cromnibus" budget bill blocks the Obama administration's plans to relinquish control of Internet domain name and address administration. We're all better off this way.

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