STLR Link Roundup – September 27, 2013

Senate Bills Would Limit NSA Surveillance

A group of senators has introduced a bill that would limit the NSA’s surveillance powers. The Intelligence Oversight and Surveillance Reform Act, sponsored by Senators Ron Wyden (D, Oregon), Mark Udall (D, Colorado), Richard Blumenthal (D, Connecticut), and Rand Paul (R, Kentucky), would prohibit bulk data collection of cell phone records, close a loophole in the FISA Amendment Act that empowers the PRISM program to target domestic communications, and create an independent “constitutional advocate” who would oppose the NSA in FISA court proceedings.

High-ranking Intelligence Panel Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-California) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Georgia) are currently writing a bill that makes “some substantive changes” but would not go as far in limiting NSA powers.

Both bills follow a series of leaks by Edward Snowden concerning NSA surveillance practices. They coincide with Intelligence Committee Hearings with Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and NSA Director General Keith Alexander. During those hearings, General Alexander refused to answer Senator Wyden’s questions about the collection of cell phone data on the grounds that the information is classified.

BlackBerry Announces Plan to Go Private

Following Friday’s news that BlackBerry will report a loss of almost $1 billion in the second quarter alone, the struggling smartphone manufacturer announced a preliminary deal with shareholder Fairfax Financial Holdings to take the company private. Fairfax, a Canadian insurance firm, already owns 10% of BlackBerry shares. The deal would have Fairfax acquire the remaining 90% at $9 a share. A conference call scheduled to address BlackBerry’s quarterly report was canceled on Wednesday, raising concerns that the deal will fall through.

JSTOR to Sell Subscriptions to Individual Users

JSTOR, a digital, nonprofit library of scholarly texts, will be available to individuals through a new subscription plan called JPASS. The service was previously only available to institutions like universities and libraries. However, JPASS users will be limited to JSTOR archives, which do not include articles published within the last three to five years.

New York Task Force Proposes New Measures to Fight White-Collar Crime

A white-collar task force, led by the District Attorneys Association of New York, released a report Tuesday that proposes several changes to the New York penal law. The proposals address technology-enabled economic crime, including so-called “Insider Trading 2.0,” in which data providers charge a premium in exchange for early access. The report was released during the high-profile prosecution of Sergey “Fab” Aleynikov by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance. Mr. Aleynikov allegedly stole secret code from Goldman Sachs, his former employer.


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