This week, The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention deemed Julian Assange’s detention in the London Ecuadorian embassy unlawful, and urged the UK and Swedish authorities to let him leave the embassy—the UK and Swedish authorities declined. A corrupt Silk Road investigator was arrested while, it looks like, trying to flee the country. A West Virginia carpenter released a video of a working semi-automatic firearm that was mostly 3-D printed. Award-winning filmmaker and journalist Laura Poitras has turned the lens onto herself with a multi-media solo exhibit that reveals her life as a target of government surveillance. Dutch cops are teaching eagles to hunt drones. And we took a look at surveillance near the Super Bowl.

But that’s not all. Each Saturday we round up the news stories that we didn’t break or cover in depth at WIRED, but which deserve your attention nonetheless. As always, click on the headlines to read the full story in each link posted. And stay safe out there!

White House Bars Its Own Security Researcher, Possibly Due to his Reporting on Snowden

Immensely talented security researcher and Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Ashkan Soltani was on loan to the White House from the Federal Trade Commission, where he was working on privacy and data ethics at the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Unfortunately, though Soltani passed his drug test and the FBI was still in the process of completing a background check, the White House declined his security clearance. Soltani previously worked at the Washington Post, where he helped analyze NSA documents leaked by Edward Snowden, which could be the reason why his clearance was denied. In addition to his work at the Post, he has al so worked with the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the University of California at Berkeley, and as a private security researcher. Soltani told the Guardian that he plans to head back to the west coast, and said he wished he’d spent his money on bike parts rather than business suits.On Twitter, he asked if anyone knew whether Mr. Robot or Homeland needed subject matter experts.

Don’t Panic, Berkman Study Says, Government is Not In Danger of “Going Dark

Despite intelligence agencies claiming that encrypted communications mean they’re “going dark,” and unable to track criminals, a report from the Berkman Center’s Berklett Cybersecurity Project offers an alternate perspective. A group of security and policy experts (including those from the intelligence community) concluded that not only is end-to-end encryption unlikely to be ubiquitously adopted by companies, many factors provide increased opportunities for government to track suspects and access location information, communications, and other surveillance data. Fragmented software ecosystems, metadata (which is likely to remain largely unencrypted), and the increasingly invasive “Internet of Things” create ample opportunities for tapping into data. Information that’s held by vendors of networked devices, many of which rely on the ability to access user data to improve product functionality and to make money, can be subpoenaed, or even compelled to intercept ambient communications.

Swatters Swat US Representative Who Introduced Anti-Swatting Bill

Swatting is when someone maliciously makes a false police report intended to spur a large police response, often a heavily armed SWAT team, to the home of the victim. U.S. congresswoman Katherine Clark recently introduced legislation to increase penalties for swatting and make it a federal crime. Shortly thereafter she was swatted herself. The Melrose, Massachusetts, police received an anonymous emergency phone call about “shots fired and an active shooter” at Clark’s home. The call, which had a computer-generated voice, led multiple police officers—some armed with long guns—to block both ends of Clark’s street and ascend on Clark’s front lawn before determining the call was a hoax. This isn’t the first time swatters helped showcase the need for the very legislation they oppose. New Jersey state assemblyman Paul Moriarty, who also pushed anti-swatting legislation, has been similarly targeted.

Judge Allows PETA To Amend Monkey Copyright Complaint

Last month we reported that a federal judge ruled that Naruto, a six-year-old Sulawesi crested macaque monkey, doesn’t own IP rights to his own photos. Although the judge dismissed PETA’s lawsuit on behalf of Naruto, his written opinion allows PETA to amend its complaint and attempt to gain damages from nature photographer David Slater and his self-publishing company once again. PETA has not yet decided whether it will file an amended complaint.

DOJ Claims Attorney’s Office Prosecuting Aaron Swartz Has No Documents Related to the Case

In 2013, journalist Jason Leopold filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the US Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts, where Aaron Swartz’s case was filed, asking for documents related to the case. Three years later, the very office that was in the process of prosecuting Swartz when he took his own life has now claimed it has no responsive documents on the case. Um, yeah. We call bullshit. Leopold told WIRED he intends to sue for the responsive documents he’s sure are being withheld.

NSA Merges Offensive and Defensive Organizations, Despite Recommendations

The National Security Agency will bemerging its offensive and defensive organizations, in direct conflict with recommendations made by the President’s Review Group. In 2013, the review group recommended the Information Assurance Directorate, the NSA’s defensive function, be removed from NSA completely, and exist as organizationally separate within the Department of Defense, reporting to the Office of the Secretary of Defense’s cyber policy element. This separation would remove any potential conflicts of interest, among other benefits. Experts—Snowden Snowden among them—are concerned with the NSA’s defensive function being simply an afterthought.

Berkeley Professors Protest University of California’s New Data Tracking Software

After hackers hit UCLA’s medical center over the summer potentially putting 4.5 million patients’ private information at risk, University of California president Janet Napolitano worked to improve the university’s security by installing monitoring software with little notice or consultation. The data-tracking program, run by Fidelis Cybersecurity, is called the “Coordinated Monitoring and Threat Response Initiative.” Professors at the college’s Berkeley campus have been speaking out publicly about the privacy concerns raised, as well as the lack of transparency and shared governance. The professors asked for the program to be halted in a December meeting with the university’s CIO, but Napolitano’s staff declined to do so in a reply letter. While it’s unclear which data is being collected and stored, people are concerned that network traffic logs may be part of it. This would make the logs subject to subpoena or congressional investigations, potentially constraining academic freedom to research controversial topics.

This Judge Has No Idea What Tor Is

Despite listening to testimony from ACLU principal technologist Christopher Soghoian, a very confused federal judge in the state of Washington determined that Tor users do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy when using the very software designed for user privacy. Public school administration employee Jay Michaud, who the FBI caught accessing child pornography on a hidden website called Play Pen by distributing malware over the site, filed a motion to suppress the evidence since it violated a rule against authorizing searches and seizures outside of the district—the government server was located in Virginia while Michaud was in Washington. For whatever reason, the judge believed the government could have gotten the IP address another way—but doesn’t explain how that could have happened.

Parody Account Mocking Twitter For Not Suspending Harassers Gets Suspended

Apparently Twitter doesn’t understand satire. @TrustySupport, a parody account mocking Twitter’s poor track record on harassment, was itself suspended for at least an hour on Tuesday. Due to Twitter’s lack of transparency, it’s unclear why it was suspended (and then quickly unsuspended), but here we are.

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Security News This Week: The White House Bans Its Own Security Researcher