The Illinois State Police recently received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to add “unmanned aircraft” to its list of tools for the next two years. In a statement released to the Sun-Times Media Wire, the police department said that it was intentionally avoiding the word “drone” because “it carries the perception of pre-programmed or automatic flight patterns and random, indiscriminate collection of images and information.”

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Security experts have discovered a potentially catastrophic flaw that for more than a decade has made it possible for attackers to decrypt HTTPS-protected traffic passing between Android or Apple devices and hundreds of thousands or millions of websites, including AmericanExpress.com, Bloomberg.com, NSA.gov, and FBI.gov.

In recent days, a scan of more than 14 million websites that support the secure sockets layer or transport layer security protocols found that more than 36 percent of them were vulnerable to the decryption attacks. The exploit takes about seven hours to carry out and costs as little as $100 per site. The so-called FREAK attack—short for Factoring attack on RSA-EXPORT Keys—is possible when an end user with a vulnerable device—currently known to include Android smartphones, iPhones, and Macs running Apple’s OS X operating system—connects to a vulnerable HTTPS-protected website. Vulnerable sites are those configured to use a weak cipher that many had presumed had been retired long ago. At the time this post was being prepared, most Windows and Linux end-user devices were not believed to be affected.

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Turkey’s defense minister has announced that the Turkish military will go ahead with the $3.5 billion purchase of an air defense system from China—one that is fundamentally incompatible with the NATO air defense network. Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz said that the system, which will be purchased with “foreign financing,” will be “integrated with the national system for Turkey’s defense and will be used without integrating with NATO.”

Yilmaz’s statement was in response to a question submitted by the Turkish parliament. But the purchase decision, which was initially announced in September of 2013, may not yet be final. In a statement sent to Reuters, a spokesperson for Turkey’s undersecretariat for defense industries said that negotiations were still underway, and “we are continuing discussions with all the bidders.”

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The US Secret Service, the federal law enforcement agency tasked with protecting the safety of current and former national leaders and their families, visiting heads of state, and others, posted a work order on Monday seeking the development of social media analytics software capable of detecting sarcasm online.

Seriously!

In addition to the “ability to detect sarcasm and false positives,” the work order seeks the development of software with such alternative capabilities as “influencer identification,” “access to historical Twitter data,” the “ability to search online content in multiple languages,” “audience segmentation,” and “data visualization representations, [like] heat maps,” etc.

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The Peng! Collective is a Berlin-based activist group that specializes in “subversive direct action, culture jamming, civil disobedience, and guerrilla communications.” As part of its participating in the recent Re:publica conference in Berlin, the group made a parody site presenting several new Google “products,” including Google Bee (offering personal drones), Google Hug (location-based crowdsourced hug-matching), and Google Bye (online profiles for the afterlife).

It looks like Google’s trademark lawyers are about as humorless as trademark lawyers for other tech companies. The company sent a cease and desist letter asking Peng to not only change the site, but to assign the domain name to Google.

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