Former CIA Director Thinks EU “Gets in the Way” of Security Services

Security is a big issue with companies and governments alike having issues raised when it comes to people’s data. With the UK soon to take part in a referendum, the EU is at the heart of debates about security, both digital and physical. It would seem that some think the EU doesn’t quite help security services.

Retired General Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA, seems to think that the EU wasn’t “a natural contributor to national security”. The EU proposed late last year a set of guidelines for its member countries to follow in cybersecurity, with specialist teams designed to help track and address issues, countries would be expected to share information and help each other learn about the new threat that can be found in the digital world.Digital

Digital security became a big topic when Edward Snowden revealed the extent that the US government (and other governments around the world, including the UK) monitored and tracked people’s information. Europe is currently debating how the new data sharing policy it has with the US should look like, a decision that will change how much information both Europe and America will be allowed to store, save and access.

Mr. De Backer of the Belgian Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe has stated that members of the EU need to forget the “old concept of sovereignty” and understand that sharing information and pooling resources could only be beneficial to security services, something that is all too true for global systems like the internet.

Data Leak Reveals 22,000 ISIS Members

In history there is a tale as old as time, no matter how large something gets, no matter what happens, when they start to perform questionable acts it will always be someone on the inside that will address the situation by letting everyone know about it. We’ve already seen with Edward Snowden revealing the extent that America was spying and retaining information illegally on people from all over the world. The same reason has now revealed 22,000 ISIS members details.

A defector from the group alleges to have carried with him a USB drive containing more than your average backup of files. TheUSB is claimed to have details of 22, 000 ISIS fighters, including:

  • Name
  • Phone Number
  • Hometown
  • Blood Type

The paperwork it apparently contains is reported to be filled out before fighters come to the country, therefore representing foreign fighters coming to the group from abroad. The paperwork included questionnaires filled out by members of ISIS, including information regarding how they were recruited and would get to the group from their location, bypassing the restrictions and warning systems currently in place.

Currently, agencies around the world are trying to track down and confirm that this information is genuine, but if it does prove to be real information then this could help agencies track down recruiters and start cutting off access to the group from their countries.

Europe Might Take the Lead in Adopting Electric Vehicles

It’s really surprising to hear something like this, but the fact is that Europeans are more interested in electric vehicles. I know the EV hype has been going on in the US for quite some time, but according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association, Europe has seen a 78% rise year over year in Q1 2015. So if you were eyeing these futuristic vehicles, it’s time to get informed because you never know when they might rule the EU roads!

Of course, the majority of people interested in acquiring EVs are found in countries such as France, Germany, UK, but the interesting thing is that developing countries are interested in them as well. It might not be a big number of them, but selling a dozen or more EVs instead of a couple of them is still big progress for a developing country. The report states that there are already a little over 53,000 EVs sold in the EU, with more to come in the near future.

The huge gap between the US and Europe EV sales seems to come from two problems. Fuel prices are about the same amount you get for a full EV recharge in Europe and the distance that a regular individual travels is in the range of what an EV can offer. These two factors are really a game-chager for EV adoption. I myself live in the EU and to be honest, I would definitely choose an EV over a fuel-powered vehicle anytime, should I be given the option to choose between the two.

Thank you Endgadget for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Komu

China Bans Supercomputer and UAV Exports Based on National Security Concerns

The Chinese superpower seems to be a bit concerned about its latest tech getting into the wrong hands and has banned the export of unlicensed supercomputers and some UAV models.

The ban seems to forbid any company attempting to export machines capable of outputting eight TFlops of data or more than 2 Gbps of network bandwidth. Taking a look at the Top 500 list of supercomputers, we see China’s Tianhe-2 at the top of it, while the US occupies the 2nd and 3rd place.

The UAV ban comes from news about an Indian drone being shot down in Pakistan, suspected of using Chinese tech. Pakistan has close ties with the US and we all know how the US is keen on getting their hands on Chinese technology, so the word regarding the drone seems to have freaked out some high-ranking officers enough to ban UAV exports from China too.

However, the UAV ban seems to affect only aircraft capable of flying for more than an hour or reaching altitudes of 50,000 feet, so there aren’t many UAVs boasting those kind of specs outside of military use.

There has been no official reason for the ban in question, but speculations point to the ban as a result of the US blocking Intel’s export of high-end x86 chips to China. The race for who has the best tech has been noticed between the US and China for ages now, but signs like this just keep on cropping up. So where is all of this heading? It could be anyone’s guess, but we like to hear your own!

Thank you The Register for providing us with this information

Russia Looking Into Blocking Facebook Over Gay Emoji

Russia has been trying to push a lot of western companies out of the country for some time now. After it closed access to Google and Intel back in 2014, the country is now looking to block the world’s most popular social media platform, namely Facebook.

Russian Facebook users have been told to stop using the platform numerous times up until now, throwing a lot of accusations. However, with the addition of gay emojis, the government now believes it has actual proof to build a case that will block the social media for good.

Russian senator, Mikhail Marchenko, called an investigation to check if the emojis in question are violating the Russian anti-gay laws. This is quite interesting, since Twitter and even Apple’s own emoji keyboard come with gay emojis.

The above leads us to believe that Russia might have something personal against the social media platform, but the saddest part is that the government has high chances of succeeding. The country’s Federal Service For Supervision of Communication, Information Technology and Mass Media closed over 10,000 up to date, so blocking Facebook will just be another addition to the latter websites. But how comfortable are you with this decision? Should a few emojis be enough to get a website banned?

Thank you Tech Radar for providing us with this information

Costa Rica Has Been Fully Powered by Renewable Energy for 75 Days Straight

Costa Rica has achieved a major milestone in clean energy, having the country be fully powered by renewable energy for 75 straight days.

“The year 2015 has been one of electricity totally friendly to the environment for Costa Rica,” the state-owned power supplier Costa Rica Electricity Institute (ICE) said.

The milestone has been achieved with the help of heavy rainfall at four of its hydroelectric power facilities during the first quarter of 2015. What this means is that no fossil fuel was used during the months of January, February and March so far, having the country being powered by hydro power primarily, in conjunction with a mixture of geothermal, wind, biomass and solar energy.

To be noted is that the country is fairly small, having an area of 51,100 square km and a population of around 4.8 million. Another thing to take into account is that the country focuses more on tourism and agriculture, rather than heavy industry such as mining or manufacturing.

Still, Costa Rica has done an excellent job in developing its electricity sector, having the World Economic Forum ranking it as the second in Latin American countries behind only Uruguay with regards to electricity and telecommunications infrastructure.

Back in mid-2014, the Costa Rica government approved a $958 million geothermal energy project, having the first plants expected to generate about 55 MW and cost approximately $333 million to build, while two other are expected to output 50 MW.

Thank you Science Alert for providing us with this information

YO App Used for Notifying People About Missile Strikes in Israel

Increasingly popular social media application, Yo, the application which lets you say ‘YO’ to another friend may seem ridiculous to some smartphone users, but in fact it is apparently used for more complicated things than just ‘yo-ing’ around.

The Times of Israel apparently has stated that some developers are now using Yo as a means of notifying people when terrorist attacks are happening in the country. It is said that the notification will be triggered on all devices using the Yo app and are subscribed to the Red Alert: Israel group.

For those who use Red Alert to stay notifying of such activities probably know that the group even has their own standalone application which sends more detailed push notification about the same type of terrorism activities happening in the country.

Though this may seem useless given that a standalone app for Red Alert exists, it might not be for some users if other countries. The Red Alert standalone application is said to work only when you are in Israel, having a limited audience. With its partnership with the Yo application, users can now receive push notifications outside the Israeli borders, having friends and family abroad notified immediately as on the Red Alert app.

Thank you The Verge for providing us with this information