Morning Security Brief: Gag Order Lifted on Tech Companies; Bitcoin CEO Arrested In Connection to Silk Road; Super Bowl Security

By Holly Gilbert

► The U.S. government has partially lifted a gag order on tech companies that would allow them to disclose how many requests the NSA made for users’ information as national security demands. In the fall of 2012, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, and Yahoo filed motions with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for permission to release the information. Advocacy groups have been speaking out about the scope of NSA’s spying programs, which were disclosed in the top-secret document dump by former government contractor Edward Snowden. “Companies must be allowed to report basic information about what they’re giving the government so that Americans can decide for themselves whether the NSA's spying has gone too far," said American Civil Liberties Union attorney Alex Abdo in a statement. 

►The CEO of a popular Bitcoin exchange site was arrested yesterday on charges of money laundering for customers of the online black market the Silk Road. CNN reports that Charlie Shrem, 24, was arrested on charges of “conspiring to commit money laundering and operating an unlicensed money transmitting business.” Also arrested was Robert Faiella, a 52-year-old man from Florida who was running an underground Bitcoin exchange under alias BTCKing. He faces the same charges as Shrem. The Silk Road, which was shut down by the FBI last October, was one of the world’s largest virtual drug bazaars, where customers could buy and sell narcotics using the digital currency. “To gather evidence against Shrem and Faiella, federal agents posed as Silk Road users and bought bitcoins from Faiella. According to the court documents, agents then traced the money they paid, which led them to Faiella and eventually Shrem,” according to the article. 

► NBC is reporting on the security procedures surrounding the 2014 Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, this Sunday. The football game, which is expected to attract upwards of 80,000 fans, will include “more than 3,000 security guards, 700 cops, and hundreds of high-tech gadgets,” according to the article. The technological and human security measures add up to being the most expensive security operation in the 48 years of the annual football championship. MetLife stadium boasts a 2.5 mile chain-link perimeter fence, as well as cameras pointed on every section. There are currently no overt terrorist threats that have been directed at the Super Bowl. Officials are concerned, however, about the affect of a mass exit of fans on public transit. Law enforcement also cited concerns about the possibility of hackers using social media to spread false rumors and confusion regarding security threats.


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