A Crypto-Mystery: Is $140 Million Stuck or Missing?

Gerald Cotten launched Quadriga in December 2013. The exchange claimed to be one of the largest in Canada, allowing customers to trade a handful of cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin and ether.

On Jan. 15, the company announced on its website that Mr. Cotten had died on Dec. 9 from complications related to Crohn’s disease while building an orphanage in India. He was 30 years old. Two weeks later, the exchange filed for bankruptcy protection in a Nova Scotia court.

.. While those suspicious of Quadriga acknowledge the public transactions don’t provide certainty, some say there is a way to determine if the exchange’s money is indeed trapped. A crypto developer named Amaury Sechet suggested Quadriga should publish the addresses of the cold wallets. This would allow anyone to see how much cryptocurrency is in them, even if they couldn’t access it.

Poloniex said it identified accounts that could be related to Quadriga, and is working with appropriate authorities. Bitfinex did not immediately reply to a request for comment. ShapeShift declined to comment.

“Over time trust will build as the coins remains (sic) untouched,” he wrote on Twitter. “If they cannot do this, their story is not credible.”

India Wants Access to Encrypted WhatsApp Messages

Country makes a new attempt to constrain global tech giants

WhatsApp is facing pressure in India to let authorities trace and read the encrypted messages of its more than 200 million Indian users in a new attempt at constraining global tech giants.

India’s telecommunications regulator has asked for feedback on new rules that—in the name of national security—could force “over the top” services such as WhatsApp, which use mobile operators’ infrastructure, to allow the government access to users’ messages.

At the same time India’s Information Technology Ministry has proposed new intermediary guidelines that would force WhatsApp and others to trace messages and remove objectionable content within 24 hours.

WhatsApp—which has more users in India than in any other country—has “pushed back on government attempts to ban or weaken end-to-end encryption and will continue to do so,” said a person familiar with the company’s thinking.

.. Technology companies argue that they are obligated to protect their customers’ privacy and that demands from investigators would be impossible to satisfy. They say the protection of communication platforms is key for freedom of speech and has helped the global internet to flourish by enabling commerce and communications.

.. “It’s entirely aimed at WhatsApp,” Neha Dharia, director of strategy at London-based research and consulting firm DMMI, said of the government’s moves. “They are the largest messaging service in the country, and growing.”

WhatsApp, which Facebook acquired in 2014 for $22 billion, has been increasing its efforts to produce revenue. India is where the company introduced its first mobile-payments feature, which it hopes to roll out beyond the test phase.

Legions of Indians have flocked to WhatsApp’s service because it allows easy smartphone messaging without a complicated sign-up process. Its popularity has put it squarely in the sights of regulators and critics who say it is being used to spread rumors that can spark violence. More than 20 people were killed last year on the back of rumors spread through WhatsApp. In response, the company introduced restrictions on the number of groups to which messages can be forwarded.

.. The U.S. Congress has rejected a push by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. Department of Justice to require tech companies to create a back door, circumventing devices’ encryption. But Australia passed tough new encryption laws last month, giving police access to data.
In Vietnam, a new cybersecurity law which went into effect this year requires internet companies to quickly comply with government demands to remove content it doesn’t like.

Trump’s Wall, Trump’s Shutdown and Trump’s Side of the Story

WASHINGTON — At first, he vowed to “take the mantle” for closing part of the federal government. Then he blamed Democrats, saying they “now own the shutdown.” By Friday, President Trump was back to owning it again. “I’m very proud of doing what I’m doing,” he declared.

Two weeks into the showdown over a border wall, Mr. Trump is now crafting his own narrative of the confrontation that has come to consume his presidency. Rather than a failure of negotiation, the shutdown has become a test of political virility, one in which he insists he is receiving surreptitious support from unlikely quarters.

Not only are

  • national security hawks cheering him on to defend a porous southern border, but so too are
  • former presidents who he says have secretly confessed to him that they should have done what he is doing. Not only do
  • federal employees accept being furloughed or forced to work without wages,
    • they have assured him that they would give up paychecks so that he can stand strong.

Never mind how implausible such assertions might seem. The details do not matter to Mr. Trump as much as dominating the debate. After an oddly quiescent holiday season in which he complained via Twitter about being left at home alone — “poor me” — he has taken the public stage this week clearly intent on framing the conflict on his own terms.

People close to the president described him as emboldened since members of Congress returned to Washington after the break, giving him not only a clear target to swing at but helping him focus on a fight that he is convinced is a political winner. One aide said Mr. Trump believes he has gained the upper hand in the public battle.

Although surveys at first showed more Americans blaming him for the shutdown than Democrats, later polling showed the fault more evenly split. And the voters he cares most about, his core conservative supporters, are more enthusiastic than the public at large. He has told people that “my people” love the fight, and that he believes he is winning.

In the past three days, Mr. Trump has appeared in public three times to get his version of the story out while Democrats celebrated their takeover of the House. At a lengthy cabinet meeting on Wednesday, an appearance with border patrol union leaders on Thursday and a news conference with Republican congressional leaders in the Rose Garden on Friday, he engaged in quintessentially Trumpian stream of conscious discussions that ranged widely and unpredictably.

At one point, he argued that the Soviet Union was right to invade Afghanistan in 1979 to stop terrorists, a revisionist version that provoked a strong reaction in Kabul and earned a sharp rebuke from the often supportive editorial page of The Wall Street Journal, which said, “We cannot recall a more absurd misstatement of history by an American President.”

Mr. Trump’s version of events differed even from the other people in the room at Friday’s meeting at the White House. When Democratic congressional leaders emerged after two hours, they described a “contentious” session with no meaningful progress as the president threatened to keep the government closed for “months or even years.” When Mr. Trump emerged shortly afterward, he described a “very, very productive meeting” and predicted the standoff could be “fixed very quickly.”

Two people briefed on the meeting said that White House officials viewed the conversation as the first civil discussion that had taken place between the two sides, and it left some of Mr. Trump’s aides hopeful. Indeed, Mr. Trump made a point of publicly saying nothing but relatively positive things about the Democrats on Friday.

Optimistic that a deal really is within reach, the president said he would have Vice President Mike Pence; Kirstjen Nielsen, the homeland security secretary; and Jared Kushner, his son-in-law and senior adviser, meet with Democrats over the weekend.

But there were questions about his own side of the aisle. Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, unlike other congressional Republican leaders, was not present for the Rose Garden news conference. “He’s running the Senate,” Mr. Trump explained, even though the Senate had adjourned hours earlier and Mr. McConnell’s spokesman said the senator did not know about the news conference.

The president nonetheless was feeling energized by support he said he had received for the fight — including the very federal employees who are not being paid as a result of the partial shutdown.

By all public accounts, Mr. Trump had not spoken with his living predecessors since his inauguration until former President George Bush died last month. Mr. Trump called Mr. Bush’s son, former President George W. Bush, to offer condolences, but the subject of the wall did not come up, according to Mr. Bush’s office. A few days later, at the elder Mr. Bush’s funeral, Mr. Trump encountered his predecessors for the first time since taking office, but he sat quietly without talking with them during the service.

The younger Mr. Bush built miles of wall and fencing along the Mexico line while he was president, but said it could not cover the entire border and insisted that enforcement should be coupled with an overhaul of immigration law to permit many people in the country illegally to stay. Former President Barack Obama has repeatedly criticized Mr. Trump’s proposed wall, and former President Jimmy Carter has said technological improvements would be more effective at protecting the border.

The White House did not say afterward which presidents Mr. Trump was referring to, but a senior administration official said he was probably referring to public comments his predecessors have made about the need for border security, not necessarily for a wall specifically.

As he careened this week from subject to subject and assertion to assertion, an energized Mr. Trump seemed to be enjoying himself. He went on for more than an hour and a half on Wednesday and another hour on Friday.

“Should we keep this going or not, folks?” he asked reporters at one point before noticing that it was a cold January day in the Rose Garden.

“Should we keep this going a little bit longer?” he asked again. “Let me know when you get tired.”

One thing Mr. Trump was not was tired.

 

 

 

 

 

Sanjay Ghemawat

Sanjay Ghemawat (born 1966) is an Indian American[1] computer scientist and software engineer. He is currently a Senior Fellow at Google in the Systems Infrastructure Group.[2][3] Ghemawat’s work at Google, much of it in close collaboration with Jeff Dean,[4] has included big data processing model MapReduce, the Google File System, and databases Bigtable and SpannerWired have described him as one of the “most important software engineers of the internet age”.[4]

 

Ghemawat studied at Cornell University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).[2] He obtained a PhD from MIT in 1995, with a dissertation titled, The Modified Object Buffer: A Storage Management Technique for Object-Oriented Databases. His advisorswere Barbara Liskov and Frans Kaashoek.[5]

Before joining Google, Ghemawat worked at the DEC Systems Research Center. There he began his longtime collaboration with Jeff Dean, who worked at another DEC research lab nearby. Their work at DEC included a Java compiler and a system profiling tool.[4]