Morning Security Brief: E-Verify, Payroll Tax Cut, Tracking Cell Phone Location Data, and More
E-Verify Self Check goes nationwide. Applicants for unemployment may soon be subject to drug tests. Hacker's could easily track cell phone location data. And more.
►U.S. Citizenship and Immigration services announced this month that the online E-Verify Self Check system is now available for use by job hunters across the United States. Originally, the E-Verify Self Check system was only available to users in certain states. Now data is available for people in all states and U.S. territories. The online process takes about five minutes if a person’s eligibility can be determined based on the information they provide online. That information includes address, Social Security number, birth date, and a series of questions to verify identity. This information is checked against government databases and credit information.
►A federal law that prevents states from screening and drug testing people will be overturned as part of the deal to extend the payroll tax cuts. States would be allowed to screen applicants for unemployment who are “seeking new jobs that generally require drug tests,” the Huffington Post reports. No deal has been finalized, but groups like the Drug Policy Alliance say the policy broadly expands and subsidizes drug testing and also targets people looking for lower-waged jobs.
►Hackers could track a person’s cell phone location without a user’s knowledge, researchers at the University of Minnesota reports in a new paper. The scientists found that, by using open source software, they could track a person’s phone within a 10-block radius. The implications of this research highlight possible personal safety issues, they say. “Agents from an oppressive regime may no longer require cooperation from reluctant service providers to determine if dissidents are at a protest location,” the researchers wrote in the paper “Location Leaks on the GSM Air Interface .” “Another example could be thieves testing if a user’s cell phone is absent from a specific area and therefore deduce the risk level associated with a physical break-in of the victim’s residence.”
►In other news, JROTC programs now focus on cyberwarfare too. ♦ U.S. Senator Bob Casey introduces a bill to make witness intimidation a federal crime.♦ And the U.S. may consider arming the Syrian opposition .