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As the acting cybersecurity chief of a federal agency, Timothy DeFoggi should have been well versed in the digital footprints users leave behind online when they visit web sites and download images.

But DeFoggiconvicted today in Nebraska on three child porn charges including conspiracy to solicit and distribute child pornmust have believed his use of the Tor anonymizing network shielded him from federal investigators.

Hes the sixth suspect to make this mistake in Operation Torpedo, an FBI operation that targeted three Tor-based child porn sites and that used controversial methods to unmask anonymized users.

But DeFoggis conviction is perhaps more surprising than others owing to the fact that he worked at one time as the acting cybersecurity director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. DeFoggi worked for the department from 2008 until January this year. A department official told Business Insider that DeFoggi worked in the office of the assistant secretary for administration as lead IT specialist but a government budget document for the department from this year (.pdf) identifies a Tim DeFoggi as head of OS IT security operations, reporting to the departments chief information security officer.

The porn sites hes accused of usingincluding one called PedoBookwere hosted on servers in Nebraska and run by Aaron McGrath, who has already been convicted for his role in the sites. The sites operated as Tor hidden servicessites that have special .onion URLs and that cannot normally be traced to the physical location where they are hosted.

Although anyone could use the sites, registered users like DeFoggiwho was known online under the user names fuckchrist and PTasseatercould set up profile pages with an avatar, often child porn images, and personal information and upload files. The site archived more than 100 videos and more than 17,000 child porn and child erotica images, many of them depicting infants and toddlers being sexually abused by adults.

The FBI seized the sites in late 2012, after McGrath failed to secure his administrative account with a password. Agents were able to log in and uncover the IP address of the Nebraska server where he was hosting two of them. McGrath worked at the server farm, and hosted the third site from his home. The FBI monitored him for a year and after arresting him in November 2012 continued to operate his child porn sites secretly from a federal facility in Omaha for several weeks before shutting them down. During this time, they monitored the private communications of DeFoggi and others and engaged in various investigative techniquesto defeat the anonymous browsing technology afford by the Tor network and identify the real IP addresses of users.

These techniques successfully revealed the true IP addresses of approximately 25 domestic users who accessed the sites (a small handful of domestic suspects were identified through other means, and numerous foreign-based suspect IPs were also identified), prosecutors wrote in a court document. In March 2013, twenty suspects were indicted in Nebraska; followed by two others who were indicted the following August.

One of these techniques involved drive-by downloads that infected the computers of anyone who visited McGraths web sites. The FBI has been using malicious downloads in this way since 2002, but focused on targeting users of Tor-based sites only in the last two years.

Tor is free software that lets users surf the web anonymously. Using the Tor browser, the traffic of users is encrypted and bounced through a network of computers hosted by volunteers around the world before it arrives at its destination, thus masking the IP address from which the visitor originates.

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Federal Cybersecurity Director Found Guilty on Child Porn Charges

Aug 312014

Crunching Koalas

“We were thinking of a name for the studio,” says Tomaszewski. He’s sitting in the middle of the small but sparse room Crunching Koalas uses for its office. It’s the size of a large bedroom with bookshelves along one wall and a bank of floor-to-ceiling windows along the other.

When the Koalas moved into the space it was barren. Concrete walls painted battleship grey, bare floor, no bookshelves. It could resemble something out of a post-apocalypse scenario, which, in a way it is. The decaying building had been passed from hand to hand after the fall of communism, and eventually became a sort of low-rent, all-purpose space, used almost exclusively by small, young companies like Crunching Koalas. Warsaw is littered with these buildings most are scheduled for destruction and being squeezed for every possible last use before the wrecking ball swings.

Tomaszewski and his co-founders Lukasz Juszczyk and and Kris Lesiecki put in a particle board floor, built the shelves and painted the walls. Then they installed a set of lime green shades in front of the windows, which, on sunny days like this one, diffuse the room in a kind of acid trip green. The effect is at once alarming and mildly exotic.

Tomaszewski is one of a new generation of Polish game developers, raised after the fall of Communism in a country where the idea that you could grow up to do whatever you wanted had suddenly become somewhat normal. Tomaszewski learned to make games at the local technical university in an elite program for game development run by fellow indie game developers and the founders of Thing Trunk, Filip Starzynski and Konstanty Kalicki. After graduating, Tomaszewski entered a business plan competition in which the top four companies would get funding. He placed fifth.

“So I didn’t get anything,” he says. “We were sure we were going to get it. We already rented a flat, which was bigger. It was supposed to be our studio. When the results came and I was fifth, it was like, oh my God. How are we gonna do this?”

A few weeks later, he got a second chance. He applied again for the funding, and his business plan came in first. Now all he needed was a name.

“I know we wanted a sweet animal, a sweet creature in the name and the logo, because we’re making games that are partly casual,” Tomaszewski says. “We wanted to appeal to people who like sweet animals.”

“Capybaras was taken. There was no studio with koalas, so we took the koalas. We didn’t just want to be koalas, though. We needed something more. … The guys who funded our studio came up with the idea to name it the Crunching Koalas.”

Tomaszewski and his partners were “crunching” on games for other studios, putting in long hours and basically working themselves into exhaustion. To the company’s investors, this seemed cute. The team members were not just koalas; they were “crunching” Koalas.

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The Warsaw Indies



NSA Spying in the Modern Age: A Documentary
Sources: The Week Magazine, The Economist, The New York Times, Business Insider, and Russia Today. Music: A Clockwork Orange, War Pigs (Instrumental). I do not own any of the images or video…

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How to Set Up Google Places for Business to Boost Local SEO
During this week's marketing training we'll cover how to set up your Google Places account so you show up for local search.

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Small Business SEO And Advertising News Vol 1 Number 2
Today's version of the news is going to take a look at the breaking news that ebay has been hacked along with a story on the recent annual convention of the Local Search Association (#LSA14…

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Small Business SEO And Advertising News Vol 1 Number 2 – Video

May 262014

State regulators in Massachusetts and others around the country are taking a close look at virtual currencies as bitcoin continues to grow in popularity.

We will be trying to come up with a model law or regulations states can use, said David Cotney, commissioner of the Massachusetts Division of Banks and chairman of the Emerging Payments Task Force. This has gotten a lot of attention, and we want to make sure when we act, we get it right.

The task force is made up of nine state regulators from around the country, and will look at everything from bitcoin to mobile payments.

Last week though, the task force held a hearing on bitcoin and other virtual currencies, hearing testimony from bitcoin companies and regulators, include Barbara Anthony, undersecretary of the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation.

Anthony said one of the key issues is that average consumers may be interested in bitcoin, but are not aware of some of the risks.

Consumers and average consumers need to know that there are certain drawbacks to trading in a virtual currency, Anthony said. The kinds of consumer protections that were used to, people have to understand they are not available to virtual currencies.

Things consumers should be aware of about bitcoin, Anthony said, include volatile worth and the fact there is no central authority that guarantees bitcoins worth.

You could buy $100 worth of bitcoin right now and over a period of time that value is not going to be $100, Anthony said.

Cotney said he is not planning on implementing any regulations on bitcoin immediately, but could down the road.

We will certainly be looking at the efforts of this task force to help guide us, Cotney said.

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Regulations mulled for bitcoin

Social networking sites may call themselves technology companies, but the reality is their business is information The recent decision by the European Court of Justice, that EU citizens should have a "right to be forgotten" from Google search results, has picked the scab on a much deeper cultural issue; who defines the limits of free speech? American and European approaches to it could not be …

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Info wars: why it's time for Google & Co to come clean



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May 252014



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Amendment would remove requirement that the National Institute of Standards and Technology consult with the NSA on encryption standards

Amendment would remove requirement that the National Institute of Standards and Technology consult with the NSA on encryption standards

by Justin Elliott ProPublica, May 23, 2014, 4:55 p.m.

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An amendment adopted by a House committee would, if enacted, take a step toward removing the National Security Agency from the business of meddling with encryption standards that protect security on the Internet.

As we reported with the Guardian and the New York Times last year, the NSA has for years engaged in a multi-front war on encryption, in many cases cracking the technology that is used to protect the confidentiality of intercepted communications. Part of the NSAs efforts centered on the development of encryption standards by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which sets standards that are adopted by government and industry.

Documents provided by Edward Snowden suggest that the NSA inserted a backdoor into one popular encryption standard, prompting NIST to launch an ongoing review of all its existing standards.

The amendment adopted this week by the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology would remove an existing requirement in the law that NIST consult with the NSA on encryption standards.

In a Dear Colleague letter, the amendments sponsor, Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL), quoted our story on the NSA from last year.

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House Committee Puts NSA on Notice Over Encryption Standards

A portrait of Inspector-General of Taxation Ali Noroozi. Photo: Nic Walker

A senior Macquarie Group executive sought to ”engage the assistance” of Inspector-General of Taxation Ali Noroozi in the financial services group’s fight with the Australian Taxation Office, court documents show.

Mr Noroozi’s senior staff agreed to use the financial services group as a ”case study” in a review of ATO policy ”U-turns”, according to the Federal Court documents.

A member of Mr Noroozi’s staff allegedly also told Macquarie the Inspector-General’s office would question ATO officers and require the agency to search its records for information that Macquarie lawyer Peter Speed hoped would ”assist Macquarie’s cause”.

Mr Noroozi told BusinessDay he always acted independently and impartially when investigating complaints about the tax system.

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”We are doing a U-turn review; we are looking at the Macquarie decision because it has a real impact Our interest in Macquarie is, because we do not at the moment handle single complaints, not about the rights or wrongs as far as Macquarie is concerned, but is more about the fundamental issue of principle.”

A policy ”U-turn” is when the Tax Office changes its mind about how the law should be applied. While U-turns are allowed, under Tax Office policy they should apply only to new cases.

At present the Inspector-General of Taxation is able to investigate only systematic tax problems, but as part of this month’s budget, Treasurer Joe Hockey said he would give Mr Noroozi the power to investigate individual complaints. How and when the transfer of power will happen is yet to be determined.

The Federal Court fight between Macquarie and the ATO arose out of a long-running audit, after which the ATO alleged Macquarie had not paid enough tax because it was counting expenses against the domestic bank that should have been expenses of the offshore banking unit (OBU).

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Macquarie sought help in U-turn policy

A portrait of Inspector-General of Taxation Ali Noroozi. Photo: Nic Walker

A senior Macquarie Group executive sought to ”engage the assistance” of Inspector-General of Taxation Ali Noroozi in the financial services group’s fight with the Australian Taxation Office, court documents show.

Mr Noroozi’s senior staff agreed to use the financial services group as a ”case study” in a review of ATO policy ”U-turns”, according to the Federal Court documents.

A member of Mr Noroozi’s staff allegedly also told Macquarie the Inspector-General’s office would question ATO officers and require the agency to search its records for information that Macquarie lawyer Peter Speed hoped would ”assist Macquarie’s cause”.

Mr Noroozi told BusinessDay he always acted independently and impartially when investigating complaints about the tax system.

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”We are doing a U-turn review; we are looking at the Macquarie decision because it has a real impact Our interest in Macquarie is, because we do not at the moment handle single complaints, not about the rights or wrongs as far as Macquarie is concerned, but is more about the fundamental issue of principle.”

A policy ”U-turn” is when the Tax Office changes its mind about how the law should be applied. While U-turns are allowed, under Tax Office policy they should apply only to new cases.

At present the Inspector-General of Taxation is able to investigate only systematic tax problems, but as part of this month’s budget, Treasurer Joe Hockey said he would give Mr Noroozi the power to investigate individual complaints. How and when the transfer of power will happen is yet to be determined.

The Federal Court fight between Macquarie and the ATO arose out of a long-running audit, after which the ATO alleged Macquarie had not paid enough tax because it was counting expenses against the domestic bank that should have been expenses of the offshore banking unit (OBU).

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Macquarie Group sought Inspector-General of Taxation's help in U-turn policy

Macquarie’s rush of FOI requests covered more than 1500 documents. Photo: Ian Waldie

Macquarie Group made eight freedom-of-information requests in one day as part of a legal battle with the Tax Office over a large-scale audit, court documents show.

The blizzard of FOI requests, which covered more than 1500 documents dating back more than 15 years, were filed in an attempt to show efforts by the ATO to levy millions of dollars in tax and penalties on Macquarie should not be allowed because they represented a policy ”U-turn”.

Responding to a BusinessDay report on Tuesday revealing that the tax bill was price-sensitive information that had not been disclosed to the stock exchange, Macquarie told the ASX that the ”matter has been substantially resolved”.

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The ATO bill relates to Macquarie’s treatment of its offshore banking unit, which is taxed at a concessional rate, in 2006, 2007 and 2008. But the financial services group confirmed it still had outstanding issues with the ATO, on which it held ”appropriate provisions”.

Separately, analysts have raised concerns the ATO might also pursue Macquarie over the 2009, 2010 and 2011 years, when it paid tax at well below the company rate of 30 per cent. In a March 17 note to clients, BBY analyst Brett Le Mesurier said ”the worst-case scenario is a tax bill for 2009 to 2011 of $570 million”.

A Macquarie spokeswoman declined to comment.

ATO auditors have been investigating whether expenses that Macquarie should have been allocated to the offshore banking unit were instead counted against the ordinary domestic bank, where they attract a higher tax deduction.

Federal Court documents show Macquarie’s FOI requests were lodged with the ATO as part of a flurry of activity by the group and its teams of lawyers on January 17, 2013.

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Macquarie Group hit Tax Office with FOI blizzard



6.Safari (11 June 1999)Lakhwadeep Islands*Indian Ocean*Manjira_Wildlife_Sanctuary
Bombay-based Anjali Aggarwal lives a wealthy lifestyle with her mom, Asha, and dad, Ajit, who is the owner of Aggarwal Industries. When Asha challenges Ajit that she can run the business better,…

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6.Safari (11 June 1999)Lakhwadeep Islands*Indian Ocean*Manjira_Wildlife_Sanctuary – Video

Bank of America tops the list of Charlotte-based companies avoiding big tax bills by keeping profits offshore, according to a new report by a nonprofit tax research and advocacy group.

Citizens for Tax Justice found that 301 U.S. Fortune 500 companies disclosed holding nearly $2 trillion in profits offshore. By holding this income overseas, those companies are saving nearly $550 billion in estimated taxes, according to the report.

The group said the findings show that a wide variety of companies are using offshore tax havens, not just a select few companies such as Apple that have faced congressional scrutiny in recent years.

The study is based on the disclosures companies make in annual securities filings, but some disclose more than others.

Among Charlotte companies, Bank of America and Duke Energy were among only 58 companies that disclosed how much they would have to pay in taxes if their income was repatriated and brought back to the U.S.

Bank of America said it would owe $4.3 billion in taxes on $17 billion of income, while Duke said it would owe $288 million on $1.7 billion of income, according to the report. The companies with the largest estimated tax bills if they brought profits home were Apple ($36.4 billion) and Microsoft ($24.4 billion).

Bank of America spokesman Jerry Dubrowski noted that the Charlotte bank has paid more than $25 billion in federal income taxes over the last 10 years.

There are a variety of reasons and factors involved in the decision to create a subsidiary in a specific geographic locale including legal, regulatory and accounting requirements, as well as the need to serve the business needs of a particular client or customer, he said.

Duke spokesman Tom Williams said 10 to 15 percent of the companys earnings are generated overseas. The company has advocated that the federal government find a tax-efficient way for companies like Duke to bring profits back to the U.S., he said.

Three other Charlotte-area companies disclosed unrepatriated income but not their estimated tax bill. Industrial conglomerate SPX said it had $1.6 billion in profits overseas, followed by steel maker Nucor with $222 million and home improvement retailer Lowes with $51 million. Representatives of Lowes and SPX declined comment, and Nucor did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Report: Bank of America among US companies saving on taxes by keeping profits offshore



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CIS Consultants Wakefield – SEO marketing – Video



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