DTNS 2596 – Zero Dark Facebook

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comPatrick Beja is on the show and we’ll talk about protest letters regarding encryption back doors and zero-rating, an app store for your 10-year-old car and the most annoying innovations in tech.


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Show Notes

Today’s guests: Patrick Beja


The Washington Post reports 164 tech companies organizations and security researchers sent a letter to US President Obama asking him to reject any proposed law that would “deliberately weaken the security of their products.” US FBI Director James B. Comey is among several US government officials pushing companies to allow government to have access to all encrypted data. The letter is signed by three of the five members of a presidential review group appointed to assess policy in the wake of the Snowden leaks.

The BBC reports 67 digital rights groups from around the world signed a letter to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg stating concerns about the Internet.org initiative. The letter says the project threatens freedom of expression, privacy and the principle of net neutrality. Internet.org lets users access participating services without incurring data charges. It does not currently support https, ssl or TLS. Internet.og is currently available in Zambia, India, Colombia, Guatemala, Tanzania, Kenya, Ghana, the Philippines, Indonesia and Malawi.

TechCrunch has the tech specs on Apple’s just updated MacBook Pro iMac. The 15” Retina MacBook Pro now comes with a new force touch trackpad, improved PCIe-based flash drive with 2.5x the performance, one more hour of battery life, and a new Radeon R9 M370X discrete GPU option. Prices start at $1999 for a 16GB, 2.2GHz quad-core Core i7, and 256GB of storage. The iMac 5K Retina now comes with a 3.3 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor and Radeon R9 M290 graphics card. And Apple is now selling a lightning dock for your iPhone 6 and 6 plus for $40. This one should last through a few more models since the base is open.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple shelved plans for a 4K television, according to people familiar with the matter. The reason? The features — including a camera that would allow users to make video calls — were not compelling enough to impress executives. However, according to Reuters, prominent investor Carl Icahn says Apple will still introduce a TV, and a car. And he wants Apple to buy back more stock. And he wants a pony. The pony part is unconfirmed.

ZDNet reports that Microsoft has released public previews of Word, Excel and PowerPoint for Android phones today. The new Office app previews require KitKat 4.4.x or higher and devices with 1 GB of RAM or more.You’ll also need to join the Office Android Preview group. “Become a tester” on Google Play by visiting the Word,Excel and PowerPoint apps. Wait for Google Play to replicate permissions, then click above mentioned links and follow the download links to install apps from the Google Play Store. Finally join Microsoft’s Google+ community for support, feedback and queries. But that’s all!

Tech Crunch reports that Google is adding tweets to its search results. Use the word Twitter in your search request or just search for a term and see if people are saying anything about it on Twitter.
Results will show up for English-language mobile users today on browsers and Android and iOS Google apps. Google is working on adding it to the desktop and other languages.

Automatic is launching an app store and SDK for its on-board diagnostic— or OBD plug— according to CNET. First-generation Automatic dongles are compatible with the new App Gallery but not the new SDK. The new dev platform includes a streaming SDK that only works with second-generation Automatic hardware. The new hardware is able to send raw, real-time performance data to select third-party apps over Bluetooth. The streaming SDK is in currently in private beta. The second-generation Automatic adapter will retail for $99.95 same as the first-gen.

News From You:

This was our top vote-getter on the subreddit today. johnsie776 posted the Ars Technica report that the state of North Carolina has sued the US Federal Communications Commission. The FCC pre-empted state law to help the City of Winston expand its municipal broadband network. The state claims that the FCC unlawfully inserted itself between the State and the State’s political subdivisions. The case is now in the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Tennessee is also suing the FCC in the Sixth Circuit regarding municipal broadband in Chatannooga.

jaymz668 sent the KitGuru post noting a Chrome and Android engineer said in a Reddit AMA session late last week— that developers are working on improving Chrome’s resource usage on mobile as well as memory leaks on the desktop. Here’s hoping.

habichuelcondulce pointed out the PC World article that the Center for Digital Democracy and the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood filed an update to their U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) complaint against The YouTube Kids app. The update adds a video of allegedly harmful content to the complaint originally filed in April. The groups also added the complaint that Google is deceiving parents about the effectiveness of the screening process. Google said it is working to make the videos in YouTube Kids as family friendly as possible.

Discussion Section Links:  


Pick of the Day:

Daryl Sensenig (in lovely Lancaster County, Pennsylvania):

My pick is Bing Maps. I know that nearly everyone uses Google Maps, but I feel that Bing is much better in several ways:

1. In my experience, the routing is better and the travel time estimates are more accurate.
2. Their satellite view (bird’s eye view) is actually photos from airplanes and not satellites. So, it is much more detailed than Google Maps in many areas.
3. I prefer the interface over the new Google Maps

That said, there are a few drawbacks:

1. Their street view doesn’t have quite as good coverage
2. Business search isn’t quite as strong.


Alex writes in:

Long time listener to the show. Since the United In-Flight systems “hack” keeps popping up in the news, I figure I should clarify some points. My company created and maintains the In-flight Entertainment (IFE) system for United. The IFE server receives one-way communication from the planes avionics, such as altitude and heading. Those values are saved as a variable and used to trigger automated functions, such as retracting overhead monitors when descending for landing. In my test lab, I have to manipulate those variables to test the systems operations during various flight scenarios, since I’m not on a real aircraft. Those are the variables that the security researcher saw. Modifying them in flight will have no effect on other systems. You can trick the IFE system to show that we are flying to Hawaii on the passenger map display, but plane’s auto-pilot won’t change. Also on the real aircraft, the avionics systems will periodically refresh any modified data with real data. It just that the polling rate is really slow to avoid flooding these underpowered systems.

Reports also say that he tampered with his seat box casing and got access to the internal diagnostic port to achieve this hack. Also, reports say that he obtained the admin password which how he was able to jump firewall from the seat subnet to the server subnet.

TL;DR if you have physical access to a client machine and the admin password, you can get access to the servers. But you can’t change anything beyond the server. Only what the server perceives to be real data, but the data will be refreshed periodically anyways.

Sean wrote:

“On Fridays show Darren talked about car trains. He was using some sarcasm, but had a point. Everytime I hear about self driving cars I get frustrated. I live where we have snow and other forms of weather. This never seems to be addressed by companies developing self driving technology.”

Rolando – Your fan from Paraguay, the heart of South America writes:

As our communication becomes increasingly more digital, I think we need a symbol for ironic comments, pics, etc. to have the same immediate recognizable unmistakable effect as other symbols have for their own meaning [for instance, no one doubts the meaning of the ‘bird’ (pardon my French)].
This has been tried before, but the proposed symbol for irony didn’t catch on.
So, when I heard you talking with @veronica in her official appearance (great add!) about emojis, I thought that I’d ask you, to ask to your bright and passionate audience, to create and establish a universal Irony emoji.
Wouldn’t it be great? It’ll be a great legacy! #NotBeingIronicHere
Congrats on your newest milestone and keep it up!


Wednesday’s guest:  Scott Johnson & Lamarr Wilson