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Tech Help, Electronics, & Gaming Discuss Walt's Technology News at the General Discussion; Pros and cons of big data... Facebook to Provide Data Maps to Help Agencies After Natural Disasters June 07, 2017 ...

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Old 06-08-2017, 04:13 AM
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Pros and cons of big data...

Facebook to Provide Data Maps to Help Agencies After Natural Disasters
June 07, 2017 — Facebook is working with three global relief organizations to provide disaster maps — close to real-time data about where people are, where they are moving, and whether they are in danger in the hours and days after a flood, fire or earthquake.
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The social networking giant — with nearly 2 billion users, or about 25 percent of the world's population — said it has agreed to provide maps to UNICEF, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and the World Food Program, the food-assistance branch of the United Nations. "We are excited about this," said Toby Wicks, a data strategist at UNICEF. "Facebook has vast amounts of data." The company will provide maps of data in the aggregate. No Facebook user will be identified, the firm said. After a disaster, "the first thing you need is data, which is extremely scarce and perishable," said Molly Jackman, a public policy manager at Facebook. But Facebook, particularly in areas with a high concentration of users, can "present a more complete picture of where people are," she said.

Types of maps

Facebook will offer the organizations three types of disaster maps that will be updated as frequently as possible. Facebook's location density maps show where people are located before, during and after a disaster. In addition to using satellite images and population estimates, these maps also draw from Facebook users who have their location data setting turned on. Facebook's movement maps show how people move during and after a disaster, and can help organizations with directing resources. For example, Facebook created maps after the 7.8-magnitude earthquake in Kaikoura, New Zealand, last year to show where people were going in the days after the quake struck.


Landslides block State Highway One near Kaikoura on the upper east coast of New Zealand's South Island following an earthquake, Nov. 14, 2016. Facebook created maps after the earthquake to show where people were going in the days after the quake struck.

Facebook's Safety Check maps are based on where Facebook users are when they use the firm's Safety Check service to tell friends and family they are safe. Facebook will create maps showing areas where people are declaring themselves safe and where help may be needed. For example, after a disaster, "we might know where the house is, but we don't know where the people are," said Dale Kunce, global lead for information communication technology and analytics for the American Red Cross. "Our first reaction may be to go to where the devastation happened," Kunce said. "But maybe most people are 10 miles away, staying with families when they reported they were safe. So the place to go may be where they are. We're excited to see what the possibilities and potential are."

Snapshots

Wicks, of UNICEF, said the partnership is at the beginning stages, but daily snapshots of where populations are have the potential to help his organization with disaster planning. For example, knowing how close people are to a health facility and how long it takes for them to travel to a medical clinic can help with decisions such as where to deploy medical services in case of a disaster.


A screenshot of a Facebook Safety Check page is shown from Nigeria

The data maps will be most helpful in places where internet connectivity is high and in regions with a lot of Facebook users, Wicks said. "Are these data representative of the populations we are trying to serve?" Wicks asked. "That's the key question." Facebook said that it intends to make it possible for other organizations and governments, including local organizations, to be part of the program.

https://www.voanews.com/a/facebook-d...s/3890772.html
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Facebook Vows Steps to Create 'Hostile Environment' for Terrorists
June 04, 2017 — Facebook said it wanted to make its social media platform a "hostile environment" for terrorists in a statement issued after attackers killed seven people in London and prompted Prime Minister Theresa May to demand action from internet firms.
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Three attackers rammed a rental van into pedestrians on London Bridge and stabbed others nearby on Saturday night in Britain's third major militant attack in recent months. May responded to the attack by calling for an overhaul of the strategy used to combat extremism, including a demand for greater international regulation of the internet, saying big internet companies were partly responsible for providing extreme ideology the space to develop.

Facebook on Sunday said it condemned the London attacks. "We want Facebook to be a hostile environment for terrorists," said Simon Milner, Director of Policy at Facebook in an emailed statement. "Using a combination of technology and human review, we work aggressively to remove terrorist content from our platform as soon as we become aware of it, and if we become aware of an emergency involving imminent harm to someone's safety, we notify law enforcement."

May has previously put pressure on internet firms to take more responsibility for content posted on their services. Last month she pledged, if she wins an upcoming election, to create the power to make firms pay towards the cost of policing the internet with an industry-wide levy.

Twitter also said it was working to tackle the spread of militant propaganda on its platform. "Terrorist content has no place on Twitter," Nick Pickles, UK head of public policy at Twitter, said in a statement, adding that in the second half of 2016 it had suspended nearly 400,000 accounts. "We continue to expand the use of technology as part of a systematic approach to removing this type of content.

https://www.voanews.com/a/britain-lo...m/3886531.html
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Chinese Firms Help Government Monitor Citizens with Big Data
June 06, 2017 — A Chinese city is using big data provided by a phone company to track the movement of its migrant worker population, expanding the many ways China is using big data to not just enhance performance but also track the daily lives of its citizens.
Quote:
"When you buy a mobile phone SIM card, you need to register your identity information," said an officer of China Mobile designated at the company's booth during the recent Big Data Expo in southwest China's Guiyang city. He was explaining how the mobile phone company is assisting Guiyang police about the movement of migrants in the city on a real-time basis. "So, we can obtain information about the people in a given area and details like whether they are men or women, their age, and where they come from," he said.

Very suddenly, big data is set to take up many of the responsibilities of the Communist Party's feedback mechanism. It is also expected to act as feedstock for the anti-corruption campaign, which has been using information about spending on wines and luxury buying for the purpose of investigations.

Social profiling

China has already introduced a system data-driven social credit rating system in 40 towns and cities, which will be expanded to the entire country by 2020. Information about a person buying expensive wine, foreign luxury goods or an air ticket would be fed into a giant system which will analyze blocks of data to keep the government informed about the situation on the ground. The tracking of people posting critical comments in social media is already going on and social media data will also be fed into the system, which goes far beyond financial credit ratings practiced in developed countries. Here, the system isn’t focused entirely on debts and earnings, but on economic and social behaviors with an intention to allocate rewards and punishments.

China's Internet-based companies are eagerly joining the government's grand experiment. Mobike, a bike hiring company is giving out award points for bicycle users to voluntarily inspect parked bikes and inform the company about the misbehavior of other bikers. A big data based information system might help improve the working of the police force in some respects. Officials in the government's education and health departments said big data is being introduced as a tool improve delivery systems.

Risks for many
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Old 06-08-2017, 09:43 PM
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Granny gets impatient when it takes a full second to load a webpage...

America has slower LTE wireless than Canada or Mexico
June 8, 2017 - A new report on wireless broadband is out, and it may not leave readers cheering “USA! USA!” According to OpenSignal’s study, Mexico, Canada, France, the United Kingdom and more than 50 other countries offer faster LTE cellular data speeds than the U.S.
Quote:
Still, the latest installment of this biannual survey by the London-based research firm isn’t all bad. OpenSignal’s findings, based on almost 20 million reports collected by its app from 558,260 users in the first quarter of the year, also show that the U.S. is making strong progress in expanding LTE availability to more users, even if it’s not always the fastest.

A need for speed in any language

According to OpenSignal’s data the average LTE download speed in the U.S. was 14.99 megabits per second (Mbps) in the first quarter of 2017. That’s not exactly bad — it’s an improvement from the 13.95 Mbps average it the survey reported six months earlier. But a wide variety of other countries offered much faster speeds. A speedier wireless connection means you can download apps faster and share photos quicker, as well as stream Ultra High Definition video and transfer the sort of files that would ordinarily require a wired connection.


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto during November’s APEC Summit in Peru

Singapore led OpenSignal’s list with an average of 45.62 Mbps, followed by South Korea with 43.46 Mbps and Hungary with 42.61 Mbps. The next dozen countries all saw average download speeds above 30 Mbps. You can fairly object that most are in one part of Europe or another and therefore don’t require local wireless carriers to cover large expanses like the American West, but Australia still manages 33.76 Mbps while Canada tops out at 30.58 Mbps.

The U.S., meanwhile, lingers in the bottom 20 with 14.99 Mbps. That’s below the worldwide average of 16.4 Mbps and behind Russia (16.64 Mbps), Hong Kong (16.01 Mbps) and Jordan (15.09 Mbps). Sixteen countries trail the States, with India (5.14 Mbps, barely faster than 3G) coming closest in terms of population and area. OpenSignal didn’t post data for China.

Another bandwidth-analysis service, Ookla’s Speedtest.net, posted somewhat consistent numbers in its last round of country-specific figures. It found that LTE-capable phones that could connect to a network in the U.S. averaged 19.61 Mbps over the first six months of 2016. In Canada, LTE phones yielded 25.21 Mbps downloads on average, while in Mexico they managed speeds of 16.19 Mbps.

The other part of the equation: availability
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Old 06-09-2017, 06:06 AM
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Granny uses a flip-phone dat can't do dat...

Seven in ten smartphone apps share your data with third-party services, research says
Friday 9th June, 2017 - Our mobile phones can reveal a lot about ourselves: where we live and work; who our family, friends and acquaintances are; how (and even what) we communicate with them; and our personal habits. With all the information stored on them, it isn’t surprising that mobile device users take steps to protect their privacy, like using PINs or passcodes to unlock their phones.
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The research that we and our colleagues are doing identifies and explores a significant threat that most people miss: More than 70 percent of smartphone apps are reporting personal data to third-party tracking companies like Google Analytics, the Facebook Graph API or Crashlytics. When people install a new Android or iOS app, it asks the user’s permission before accessing personal information. Generally speaking, this is positive.


Social media network concept on phone.

And some of the information these apps are collecting are necessary for them to work properly: A map app wouldn’t be nearly as useful if it couldn’t use GPS data to get a location. But once an app has permission to collect that information, it can share your data with anyone the app’s developer wants to – letting third-party companies track where you are, how fast you’re moving and what you’re doing.

The help, and hazard, of code libraries

An app doesn’t just collect data to use on the phone itself. Mapping apps, for example, send your location to a server run by the app’s developer to calculate directions from where you are to a desired destination. The app can send data elsewhere, too. As with websites, many mobile apps are written by combining various functions, precoded by other developers and companies, in what are called third-party libraries. These libraries help developers track user engagement, connect with social media and earn money by displaying ads and other features, without having to write them from scratch.

However, in addition to their valuable help, most libraries also collect sensitive data and send it to their online servers – or to another company altogether. Successful library authors may be able to develop detailed digital profiles of users. For example, a person might give one app permission to know their location, and another app access to their contacts. These are initially separate permissions, one to each app. But if both apps used the same third-party library and shared different pieces of information, the library’s developer could link the pieces together. Users would never know, because apps aren’t required to tell users what software libraries they use. And only very few apps make public their policies on user privacy; if they do, it’s usually in long legal documents a regular person won’t read, much less understand.

Developing Lumen
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Old 06-12-2017, 03:32 AM
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possum workin' on a way to see through Russian invisibility cloak...

Russian scientists develop invisibility cloak for soldiers to hide from enemy radars
10 June 2017 - Scientists from the Saratov State University in Russia have developed a custom-made invisibility cloak for soldiers that will help the camouflage with their background without being detected by radars and radio devices.
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The cloak is not like the one seen in fictional content like Harry Potter movies but can be a crucial defence technique of the future as enemy troops will not be able to detect soldiers in hiding. By using radio-absorbing properties it will allow soldiers in ordinary uniforms to be invisible to the enemy's radar devices. "It will allow to impart radio-absorbing properties of any fabric practically without changing its mass and other parameters, in other words — it allows to make fighters dressed in ordinary uniform invisible to radar reconnaissance devices," said a statement from the scientists accessed by Sputnik.


Russian army vehicle

The cloak consists of a sophisticated membrane that uses nano-processing technology. Tiny light-sensitive cells embedded can detect surrounding colours and electrical signals then trigger the top layer to imitate those colours by using heat-sensitive dyes. Using this technology, military gear can be developed to suit a wide range of temperatures and loads.

The technology was first developed by the University of Illinois and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) which other military research tanks have advanced. The US and the UK military has already tested a range of these cloaks since 2015 but continue to develop advanced technology to master the art of camouflaging.

https://uk.news.yahoo.com/russian-sc...071649342.html
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Old 06-14-2017, 12:23 AM
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Mebbe Anonymous needs some better hackers (hint, hint)...

U.S. Cyberweapons, Used Against Iran and North Korea, Are a Disappointment Against ISIS
JUNE 12, 2017 | WASHINGTON — America’s fast-growing ranks of secret cyberwarriors have in recent years blown up nuclear centrifuges in Iran and turned to computer code and electronic warfare to sabotage North Korea’s missile launches, with mixed results.
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But since they began training their arsenal of cyberweapons on a more elusive target, internet use by the Islamic State, the results have been a consistent disappointment, American officials say. The effectiveness of the nation’s arsenal of cyberweapons hit its limits, they have discovered, against an enemy that exploits the internet largely to recruit, spread propaganda and use encrypted communications, all of which can be quickly reconstituted after American “mission teams” freeze their computers or manipulate their data. It has been more than a year since the Pentagon announced that it was opening a new line of combat against the Islamic State, directing Cyber Command, then six years old, to mount computer-network attacks. The mission was clear: Disrupt the ability of the Islamic State to spread its message, attract new adherents, pay fighters and circulate orders from commanders.


National Security Agency headquarters in Fort Meade, Md. Operation Glowing Symphony, launched against the Islamic State, was initially deemed a success because battlefield videos disappeared, but the results were temporary.

But in the aftermath of the recent attacks in Britain and Iran claimed by the Islamic State, it has become clear that recruitment efforts and communications hubs reappear almost as quickly as they are torn down. This is prompting officials to rethink how cyberwarfare techniques, first designed for fixed targets like nuclear facilities, must be refashioned to fight terrorist groups that are becoming more adept at turning the web into a weapon. “In general, there was some sense of disappointment in the overall ability for cyberoperations to land a major blow against ISIS,” or the Islamic State, said Joshua Geltzer, who was the senior director for counterterrorism at the National Security Council until March. “This is just much harder in practice than people think. It’s almost never as cool as getting into a system and thinking you’ll see things disappear for good.”


Adm. Michael S. Rogers, right, at a Senate hearing in January. The Obama administration’s frustration with the lack of success against the Islamic State was one factor in its effort to oust him as director of the N.S.A., several former administration officials said.

Even one of the rare successes against the Islamic State belongs at least in part to Israel, which was America’s partner in the attacks against Iran’s nuclear facilities. Top Israeli cyberoperators penetrated a small cell of extremist bombmakers in Syria months ago, the officials said. That was how the United States learned that the terrorist group was working to make explosives that fooled airport X-ray machines and other screening by looking exactly like batteries for laptop computers. The intelligence was so exquisite that it enabled the United States to understand how the weapons could be detonated, according to two American officials familiar with the operation. The information helped prompt a ban in March on large electronic devices in carry-on luggage on flights from 10 airports in eight Muslim-majority countries to the United States and Britain.


A Predator drone at an air base in the Persian Gulf last year. The base is used to launch drone strikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

It was also part of the classified intelligence that President Trump is accused of revealing when he met in the Oval Office last month with the Russian foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, and the ambassador to the United States, Sergey I. Kislyak. His disclosure infuriated Israeli officials. The Islamic State’s agenda and tactics make it a particularly tough foe for cyberwarfare. The jihadists use computers and social media not to develop or launch weapons systems but to recruit, raise money and coordinate future attacks. Such activity is not tied to a single place, as Iran’s centrifuges were, and the militants can take advantage of remarkably advanced, low-cost encryption technologies. The Islamic State, officials said, has made tremendous use of Telegram, an encrypted messaging system developed largely in Germany.

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Old 06-22-2017, 11:59 PM
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Girl Scouts to take on cybercrime...

New Girl Scout Badges Focus on Cybercrime, Not Cookie Sales
June 21, 2017 - Cookie sales may take a back seat to fighting identity theft and other computer crime now that Girl Scouts as young as 5 are to be offered the chance to earn their first-ever cyber security badges.
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Armed with a needle and thread, U.S. Girl Scouts who master the required skills can attach to their uniform's sash the first of 18 cyber security badges that will be rolled out in September 2018, Girl Scouts of the USA said in a press release. The education program, which aims to reach as many as 1.8 million Girl Scouts in kindergarten through sixth grade, is being developed in a partnership between the Girl Scouts and Palo Alto Networks (PANW.N), a security company.

The goal is to prevent cyberattacks and restore trust in digital operations by training "tomorrow's diverse and innovative team of problem solvers equipped to counter emerging cyber threats," Mark McLaughlin, chief executive officer of Palo Alto Networks, said in the release. The move to instill "a valuable 21st century skill set" in girls best known for cookie sales is also aimed at eliminating barriers to cyber security employment, such as gender and geography, said Sylvia Acevedo, the CEO of the Girl Scouts of the USA.

Women remain vastly underrepresented in the cyber security industry, holding just 11 percent of jobs globally, according to a recent study by (ISC)2, an international nonprofit focused on cyber security. "In our increasingly tech-driven world, future generations must possess the skills to navigate the complexities and inherent challenges of the cyber realm," Acevedo said in the release. "From arming older girls with the tools to address this reality to helping younger girls protect their identities via internet safety, the launch of our national cyber security badge initiative represents our advocacy of cyber preparedness," she said.

https://www.voanews.com/a/new-girl-s...s/3910992.html
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Old 06-26-2017, 08:53 PM
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Mexico tells a whopper...

Spyware to Tap Into Smartphones Puts Users’ Rights at Risk
June 24, 2017 — Governments around the world are using surveillance software that taps into individual smartphones, taking screenshots, reading email and tracking users’ movements, according to security experts and civil liberties groups.
Quote:
The rise of so-called spyware comes as electronic communications have become more encrypted, frustrating law enforcement and governments’ surveillance efforts. Over the past several years, private companies have begun selling advanced software that first appears as a text message with a link. When a person clicks on the link, the phone becomes infected. A third party can then read emails, take data and listen to audio, as well as track users’ movements.


Mexican journalist Carmen Aristegui checks her phone during a press conference in Mexico City, June 19, 2017. An internet watchdog has found that Mexican journalists, lawyers and activists were targeted by Israeli-produced spyware that is sold exclusively to governments.

The companies that sell this spyware exclusively to government agencies insist that the software must be used only in a legal manner, to fight crime and terrorism. However, security researchers and civil liberties groups contend that some governments use the programs to track human rights activists, journalists and others. A recent story in The New York Times focused on activists and journalists in Mexico who have received text messages and emails with links that, if clicked on, would infect their devices with spyware. In some cases, the messages appeared to come from legitimate sources, such as the U.S. Embassy. The Mexican government says it does not target activists, journalists and others with spyware unless it has “prior judicial authorization.”

‘Lawful intercept’

In recent years, there’s been a rise in software sales in what is known as the “lawful intercept” market, said Mike Murray, vice president of security intelligence at Lookout, a mobile security company based in San Francisco, California. Countries that can’t make their own surveillance software can now buy sophisticated surveillance tools, Murray said. “What’s new is the enthusiasm [from] nation-states. ... It’s a capability they always wished they had. Now they have it,” he added. Lookout, which makes security software and services, receives monthly information from more than 100 million phones in 150 countries. It has seen spyware “in every kind of contentious place around the world,” Murray said.

Nation-state use

The use of nation-state spyware used to be limited to a handful of governments, said Eva Galperin, director of cybersecurity at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit digital rights group. But now that the price of the spyware has come down, countries can spend a few hundred thousand dollars to get the same capability. Galperin spent three weeks in Mexico last year training activists. One tip she gives: Users who are not certain that a link in email or a text message is safe should forward it to a separate account, such as Google’s Gmail or Google Docs, to prevent infection. “We should be very concerned,” Galperin said. “Surveillance malware is incredibly powerful. You have full control of the machine. You can see everything the user can see, and do everything the user can do.”

https://www.voanews.com/a/spyware-sm...k/3914181.html
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Activists, Journalists in Mexico Complain of Government Spying
June 19, 2017 — Activists, human-rights lawyers and journalists in Mexico filed a criminal complaint on Monday following a report that their smartphones had been infected with spying software sold to the government to fight criminals and terrorists.
Quote:
The complaint to the attorney general's office by nine people followed a report by the New York Times that some of them had been spied on with software known as Pegasus, which Israeli company NSO Group sold to Mexico's government. Citing a report by a research group that investigated the alleged spying, the complaint says the attorney general's office and the defense ministry were among government organizations that purchased the software. Those claiming to be targeted by the software included Carmen Aristegui, a journalist who in 2014 helped reveal that President Enrique Pena Nieto's wife had acquired a house from a major government contractor, as well as Carlos Loret de Mola, a journalist at leading television network Televisa.

Others included in the complaint were anti-corruption activists and lawyers representing the families of 43 trainee teachers whose disappearance and apparent massacre in 2014 created a huge public relations headache for Pena Nieto. Daniel Millan, a spokesman for Pena Nieto's office, issued a statement saying that there was no proof the Mexican government was responsible for the spying described in the New York Times story. "We condemn any attempt to violate the right to privacy of any person," the statement said.

A Reuters report in 2015 showed government surveillance requests were gathering speed in Mexico, raising concerns about a lack of oversight in a country plagued by corruption and collusion between security forces and criminal gangs. Mexico's government purchased about $80 million worth of spyware from NSO Group on condition it would only be used to investigate criminals and terrorists, the Times said.

https://www.voanews.com/a/activists-...-/3907568.html
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Kidnapped Journalist Found Dead in Mexico
June 26, 2017 - The charred remains of a missing reporter have been found in the western Mexican state of Michoacan, bringing to seven the number of journalists murdered in that country this year.
Quote:
Salvador Adame, director of the local television station 6TV, was abducted May 18 in the city of Nueva Italia, 400 kilometers west of Mexico City. State officials said Monday that Adame's burned remains were found in mid-June and were identified with DNA testing. Adame's abduction came after prominent journalist Javier Valdez was pulled out of his car and killed in broad daylight in Culiacan, in Mexico's Sinaloa state.


Frida Ortiz, wife of reporter Salvador Adame, speaks to the media during a protest against the May 18 disappearance of Adame, outside the offices of the Attorney General of the Republic in Mexico City

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists says 40 journalists have been killed in Mexico since 1992 for reasons confirmed as related to their work. An additional 50 were slain during the same period under circumstances that have not been clarified.

At least four of the reporters killed this year were murdered in direct retaliation for their work, according to the CPJ, making Mexico the most dangerous country in the Western Hemisphere for media workers. On Monday, federal prosecutors in Mexico said they would ask for help from the FBI and other international groups in investigating reports of high-tech spying against journalists and human rights defenders in Mexico.

https://www.voanews.com/a/kidnapped-...o/3917194.html
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Last edited by waltky; 06-26-2017 at 09:04 PM..
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