The ACLU Demands To Know How TSA Is Screening Your Electronics

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In the United States, a police officer has to get a warrant before searching the property of someone who’s under suspicion or has been arrested — a law that also covers electronic property like a mobile device or laptop. Yet that protection does not extend to airports, where Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employees are free to search the electronic devices of anyone passing through the U.S. borders.

On March 12, (ACLU) Foundation of Northern California filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit requesting government documents that detail the policies around this process for domestic travelers, which the organization says are “shrouded in secrecy.”

“TSA is searching the electronic devices of domestic passengers, but without offering any reason for the search,” said ACLU staff attorney Vasudha Talla in a statement. “We don’t know why the government is singling out some passengers, and we don’t know what exactly TSA is searching on the devices,” she said.  “Our phones and laptops contain very personal information, and the federal government should not be digging through our digital data without a warrant.”

The use of electronic property has become a hot legal issue of late, as governments seek more latitude in using personal data to seek out and prosecute wrongdoers. VICE Motherboard reports that U.S. Customs and Borders Protection (CBP) agents have recently increased the number of searches done on electronic devices: from 5,000 in 2015 to over 19,000 in 2016 and over 30,000 in 2017. That’s an increase of over 70 percent from 2015-2016, and nearly 60 percent from 2016-2017 — a spike that made its way into many a news report.

An October 2017 announcement of increased screenings, plus a directive on electronic searches released by the CBP earlier this year, suggest that the agency has no intention of stopping these searches.

“We don’t know why the government is singling out some passengers, and we don’t know what exactly TSA is searching on the devices”

“Travelers are obligated to present electronic devices and the information contained therein in a  condition that allows inspection of the device and its contents,” the mandate reads, noting: “Passcodes or other means of access may be requested and retained as needed to facilitate the examination of an electronic device or information contained on an electronic device, including information on the device that is accessible through software applications.”

Unless airport security gets a modern upgrade, such policies could put passengers’ privacy at serious risk. The ACLU’s lawsuit is seeking records from the TSA field office in San Francisco and the TSA headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, with a focus on the policies and protocols around searches, the equipment and software used to extract data, and how officers conducting the searches are trained. The ACLU did not receive a response to a public records request filed in December 2017, prompting this most recent lawsuit.

“It speaks to a growing attempt by the government to investigate individuals not based on probable cause or reasonable suspicion, but perhaps based on impermissible factors,” Talla told The Guardian.“These are materials that should not be terribly difficult to track down. We’re just not clear what they’re doing and why they’re doing it.”

The post The ACLU Demands To Know How TSA Is Screening Your Electronics appeared first on Futurism.


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ACLU sues the TSA for domestic electronics screening details

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Scientists Use Graphene to Create Edible Electronics

James Tour believes anything can be turned into graphene — well, anything with the right carbon content, that is.

For the past few years, the Rice University chemist’s lab has investigated new and innovative ways to use graphene, a so-called “miracle material,” and for their latest research, they developed a method of imprinting graphene patterns onto objects.

Graphene: The Miracle Material of the Future [INFOGRAPHIC]
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The team’s laser-induced graphene (LIG) tags comprise only a few layers of single-atom-thick graphene, which is produced out of the materials already present in an object. “This is not ink,” said Tour in a press release. “This is taking the material itself and converting it into graphene.”

The LIG tags can be burned into paper, cardboard, cloth, and cork, and the process takes place at room temperature. The LIG patterns can be used as supercapacitors, biological sensors, radio-frequency ID antennae, or even electrocatalysts for fuel cells.

The researchers also discovered they could embed ID tags and sensors onto certain foods, including coconut shells, potatoes, and toast. This discovery isn’t all that surprising given that Tour’s lab seems to have a penchant for combining food and science — in 2011, they even turned Girl Scout cookies into graphene.

If put into practice, the edible graphene tags could be used to track information about a food item.

“Very often, we don’t see the advantage of something until we make it available,” said Tour. “Perhaps all food will have a tiny RFID tag that gives you information about where it’s been, how long it’s been stored, its country and city of origin, and the path it took to get to your table.”

The tags could also be used for food safety, for example, by warning a consumer if bacteria like E. coli has been detected. “They could light up and give you a signal that you don’t want to eat this,” said Tour. “All that could be placed not on a separate tag on the food, but on the food itself.”

No word yet on how these edible graphene tags taste.

The post Scientists Use Graphene to Create Edible Electronics appeared first on Futurism.


This $6 electronics screwdriver repair kit belongs in your toolbox

Update: This deal has expired.

The Intey Magnetical Precision 58-piece Electronics Repair Tool Set falls to just $ 5.52 when you use code JM7NB3HC at checkout. It includes two specially-designed bits for smartphones, and a wide variety of other bits for commonly-used electronics. This is magnetized so you won’t have to scramble around for teeny-tiny parts. It also comes with a plastic case, and various shafts and a driver for different types of projects.

Pro tip: keep your screws in an ice cube tray when repairing electronics. Just please, whatever you do, don’t knock it over.

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Man causes explosion in Chinese electronics store by biting replacement iPhone battery

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Arrow Electronics announces technology collaboration with AT&T IoT Foundry

Arrow Electronics has announced a team-up with AT&T Internet of Things (IoT) Foundry to leverage its whole range of “sensor-to-sunset” technology solutions and help customers get their products to market quickly.

Aiden Mitchell, VP of IoT global solutions at Arrow, said: “The AT&T IoT Foundry is a world-class facility designed to help companies bridge the technology gap and simplify the process of bringing connected products to market. Arrow’s capabilities, ranging from engineering to manufacturing and product deployment, are an ideal complement to AT&T’s work at the IoT Foundry. Arrow is proud to be part of the AT&T IoT Foundry program.”

Igal Elbaz, SVP of wireless network architecture and design at AT&T, said: “At the AT&T IoT Foundry, we help refine companies’ concepts for connected solutions, then convert them into tangible products and services through rapid prototyping. Working with Arrow will enable us to bring together some of the best people in the industry to innovate quickly and turn these ideas into economical, market-ready solutions. We welcome Arrow to the Foundry and are excited to create new products with our mutual customers."

AT&T has certainly been in the news around IoT in recent months. Back in November, the operator approved Altair Semiconductor’s ALT1210 LTE-M chipset to run on its IoT network. The approval furthers Altair’s commitment to AT&T and broadens the device and module partner ecosystem supporting LTE-M deployments. Earlier this month, Gemalto announced that its Cinterion LTE-M IoT module has won AT&T certification. The certification helps Gemalto in expanding the cellular connectivity possibilities for solutions related to IoT. Latest from the homepage