Russian Court Bans Encrypted Messaging Service, Backpage CEO Pleads Guilty To Facilitating Prostitution, FTC Expands

Russian Court Bans Encrypted Messaging Service, Backpage CEO Pleads Guilty To Facilitating Prostitution, FTC Expands Oversight of Uber, And More
  • ​Encrypted messaging service Telegram was banned in Russia after a court ordered the service blocked in a ruling issued earlier today. “The decision came a week after state communication watchdog, Roskomnadzor, filed a lawsuit to limit access to Telegram following the company’s repeated refusal to give Russian state security services access to its users’ secret messages,” Reuters reports.​

  • CEO Carl Ferrer pleaded guilty to charges of money laundering and facilitating prostitution, and has agreed to testify against the people who created the website with him. “I conspired with other Backpage principals…to find ways to knowingly facilitate the state-law prostitution crimes being committed by Backpage’s customers,” Ferrer wrote in a plea agreement obtained by The Washington Post. 

  • Sometimes Android phone vendors do not make patches for their devices available—and keep this information from their users. Researchers Karsten Nohl and Jakob Lell plan to present the finding at a conference today to demonstrate how some vendors tell users their Android device is up to date, when in reality it’s missed a patch. “In many cases, certain vendors’ phones would tell users that they had all of Android’s security patches up to a certain date, while in reality missing as many as a dozen patches from that period—leaving phones vulnerable to a broad collection of known hacking techniques,” according to WIRED.

  • The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is expanding its oversight of Uber after the company withheld a 2016 security breach that exposed data on more than 25 million users. “After misleading consumers about its privacy and security practices, Uber compounded its misconduct by failing to inform the commission that it suffered another data breach in 2016 while the commission was investigating the company’s strikingly similar 2014 breach,” said acting FTC Commissioner Maureen K. Ohlhausen in a statement obtained by Ars Technica. “The strengthened provisions of the expanded settlement are designed to ensure that Uber does not engage in similar misconduct in the future.”

  • Director of UNAids Michel Sidibé is facing increasing pressure​ to resign after some say he mishandled a sexual assault investigation. South African civil society groups and others have expressed concern about Sidibé’s “apparent interference during a recent inquiry into allegations against his deputy executive director, Luiz Loures, and at disparaging comments he has made about women who have spoken out publicly,” The Guardian reports.

  • In other news, U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis urges greater caution on Syria, former FBI Director James Comey’s new book comes out next week but is already a best seller, Internet infrastructure company Cloudflare adds an Internet of Things security service, The New York Times takes a look at an art theft that investigators are close to solving, and a new Pew Research Center survey finds that almost two-thirds of tweeted links are posted by automated bots.