Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.
Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!
An anonymous reader writes "Tenure laws one of the most controversial aspects of education reform, and now the tide seems to be turning against them. A California judge has handed down a ruling that such laws are unconstitutional, depriving students of an education by sometimes securing positions held by bad teachers. The judge said, "Substantial evidence presented makes it clear to this court that the challenged statutes disproportionately affect poor and/or minority students. The evidence is compelling. Indeed, it shocks the conscience." The plaintiff's case was that "California's current laws make it impossible to get rid of the system's numerous low-performing and incompetent teachers; that seniority rules requiring the newest teachers to be laid off first were harmful; and that granting tenure to teachers after only two years on the job was farcical, offering far too little time for a fair assessment of their skills." This is a precedent-setting case, and there will likely be many similar cases around the country as tenure is challenged with this new ammunition."
mpicpp sends this report from Ars: A cinema chain announced Tuesday that it is now barring patrons from wearing Google Glass at its movie houses across the U.S. in a bid to clamp down on piracy. Alamo Drafthouse, which runs theaters in Colorado, Michigan, Missouri, Texas, Virginia, and soon in California, is among the first U.S. chains to ban Google's computerized eyewear. 'Google Glass is officially banned from @drafthouse auditoriums once lights dim for trailers,' the chain's chief executive, Tim League, tweeted. The decision comes as Google has made the eyewear readily available to the general public, and it follows a slew of incidents in which wearers of Google Glass have had brushes with the law.
Reader Bruce66423 (1678196) points out skeptical-sounding coverage at the Washington Post of the NSA's claim that it can't hold onto information it collects about users' online activity long enough for it to be useful as evidence in lawsuits about the very practice of that collection. From the article: 'The agency is facing a slew of lawsuits over its surveillance programs, many launched after former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked information on the agency's efforts last year. One suit that pre-dates the Snowden leaks, Jewel v. NSA, challenges the constitutionality of programs that the suit allege collect information about Americans' telephone and Internet activities. In a hearing Friday, U.S. District for the Northern District of California Judge Jeffrey S. White reversed an emergency order he had issued earlier the same week barring the government from destroying data that the Electronic Frontier Foundation had asked be preserved for that case. The data is collected under Section 702 of the Amendments Act to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. But the NSA argued that holding onto the data would be too burdensome. "A requirement to preserve all data acquired under section 702 presents significant operational problems, only one of which is that the NSA may have to shut down all systems and databases that contain Section 702 information," wrote NSA Deputy Director Richard Ledgett in a court filing submitted to the court. The complexity of the NSA systems meant preservation efforts might not work, he argued, but would have "an immediate, specific, and harmful impact on the national security of the United States.' Adds Bruce66423: "This of course implies that they have no backup system — or at least that the backup are not held for long."
wonkavader (605434) writes 'Lawrence Lessig's MAYDAY.US Super PAC to end all Super PACs (and more) is now on its second round of funding. The PAC has been reported on here before, but now the numbers are bigger. They hit their $1 million first goal easily, but now they aim to get another $5 million in the same time period. Lessig says that he's arranged for matching, again. It seems like the goals will be even higher in 2016: "For 2014, our goal is to raise $12 million and use it to make fundamental reform the key issue in five congressional races. And we'll apply what we learn then to 2016."'
schwit1 (797399) writes 'It wasn't touted onstage, but a new iOS 8 feature is set to cause havoc for location trackers, and score a major win for privacy.As spotted by Frederic Jacobs, the changes have to do with the MAC address used to identify devices within networks. When iOS 8 devices look for a connection, they randomize the MAC address, effectively disguising any trace of the real device until it decides to connect to a network.'
PvtVoid (1252388) writes "In the semiannual report to Congress by the NSF Office of Inspector General, the organization said it received reports of a researcher who was using NSF-funded supercomputers at two universities to mine Bitcoin. The computationally intensive mining took up about $150,000 worth of NSF-supported computer use at the two universities to generate bitcoins worth about $8,000 to $10,000, according to the report. It did not name the researcher or the universities."
mpicpp (3454017) writes with this excerpt from Ars: "The first man to be arrested in Chicago based on facial recognition analysis was sentenced last week to 22 years in prison for armed robbery. ... In February 2013, Pierre Martin robbed a man at gunpoint while on a Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) train. After taking the man's phone, Martin jumped off the train. However, his image was captured by CTA surveillance cameras and was then compared to the Chicago Police Department's database of 4.5 million criminal booking images. Martin, who already had priors, had a mugshot in the database. He was later positively identified by witnesses. At trial, Martin also admitted to committing a similar robbery also on the Pink Line in January 2013—his face was captured during both robberies."
redletterdave (2493036) writes "Elon Musk has said repeatedly he wants to 'do something controversial' with Tesla's collection of electric car patents, but he finally offered specifics at the UK launch of his Tesla Model S on Sunday. The Tesla Motors CEO said he would like to open up the designs for his Supercharger systems — the free fast-charging stations designed to quickly refuel Tesla's electric cars — to create a standard for other car makers to use. Musk previously said he didn't want Superchargers to become a 'walled garden.'"
jfruh (300774) writes "If you're a Verizon broadband customer and you've tried streaming Netflix over the past few days, you might've seen a message telling you that the "Verizon network is crowded" and that your stream is being modified as a result. Verizon isn't taking this lying down, saying that there's no proof Verizon is responsible for Netflix's issues, and is threatening to sue over the warnings."
An anonymous reader writes "Wireless security researcher Michael Ossmann asked himself: 'Could I make the gadgets that the agency uses to monitor and locate mobile phones, tap USB and Ethernet connections, maintain persistent malware on PCs, communicate with malware across air gaps, and more, by just using open source software and hardware?' In this podcast he shares his insights on what to use — and how — to duplicate hardware devices found in the ANT catalog."
An anonymous reader writes "Ex-KGB Major Boris Karpichko says that spies from Russia's SVR intelligence service, posing as diplomats in Hong Kong, convinced Snowden to fly to Moscow last June. 'It was a trick and he fell for it,' Karpichko, who reached the rank of Major as a member of the KGB's prestigious Second Directorate while specializing in counter-intelligence, told Nelson. 'Now the Russians are extracting all the intelligence he possesses.'"
heretic108 (454817) writes "Internet mega-entrepreneur, uber-gamer and now NZ political corruption-buster Kim DotCom has posted a bounty of $5 million to anyone who can dig up any dirt which saves him from extradition to the U.S.. This bounty would be payable not only to government employees, but also to anyone who can retrieve documents clearly proving corruption in the whole prosecution process. 'We are asking for information that proves unlawful or corrupt conduct by the US government, the New Zealand government, spy agencies, law enforcement and Hollywood', Dotcom told website Torrentfreak.com."
An anonymous reader writes in with the story of how MIT's fusion energy experiment is alive and well even though its federal funding was axed. "'In the end, it is about picking a winner and a parochial effort to direct money to MIT,' said Steve Ellis, vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, a Washington-based watchdog group. 'It's certainly a case of lawmakers bucking the president and putting their thumb on the scale for a particular project.' MIT enlisted the support of a wealthy Democratic donor from Concord and the help of an influential Washington think-tank co-founded by John Kerry. These efforts were backed by lobbyists, including a former congressman from Massachusetts, with connections to the right lawmakers on the right committees. The cast also included an alliance of universities, industry and national labs, all invested in the fusion dream. 'It's ground-breaking research that could lead an energy revolution,' [Senator Elizabeth] Warren said. 'This was not about politics. This was about good science.' The revival of MIT's project, whatever its merits, clearly demonstrated what the combination of old-fashioned Washington horse-trading and new-fangled power — both nuclear and political — can do."
JonZittrain (628028) writes "I'm curious whether there are good prospects for 'time capsule encryption,' one of several ways of storing information that renders it inaccessible to anyone until certain conditions — such as the passage of time — are met? Libraries and archives could offer such technology as part of accepting papers and manuscripts, especially in the wake of the 'Belfast Project' situation, where a library promised confidentiality for accounts of the Troubles in North Ireland, and then found itself amidst subpoenas from law enforcement looking to solve long-cold cases. But the principle could apply to any person or company thinking that there's a choice between leaving information exposed to leakage, or destroying it entirely. Some suggested solutions are very much out of the box."
An anonymous reader writes "The Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI) on Thursday announced it has absolved Apple of wrongdoing in a trademark lawsuit surrounding the iPhone's infringement of a local telecommunications company marketing the phonetically identical 'iFone' brand. The logic behind the ruling was based on the difference in the two companies' markets. While iFone sells telecommunications services, Apple sells smartphones (but not actual telecommunications service). Because cellular carriers offer telecommunications services, the IMPI ruled that carriers have to remove the word 'iPhone' from all marketing materials within the next 15 days."
MarkWhittington (1084047) writes "It turns out that the recent FAA environmental impact statement that seemed to give a stamp of approval for the proposed SpaceX space port in south Texas is not the end of the regulatory process, but the end of the beginning. A story in the Brownsville Herald reminds us that the report has kicked off a 30 day review period after which the FAA can allow SpaceX to apply for a launch license to start work on the Brownsville area launch facility. And that in turn kicks off a 180 day process during which the FAA makes the decision whether or not to grant the required licensing and permits.
But even that is not the end of the regulatory hurdles that SpaceX must face before the first Falcon rocket roars into the skies over the Gulf of Mexico. The Longview News-Journal reports that a number of state and federal agencies must give their approval for various aspects of the space port before it becomes operational. For instance, the Texas Department of Transportation must give approval for the movement of utility lines. Environment Texas still opposes the space port since it is close to a wild life reserve and a state park. SpaceX has already agreed to enact measures to minimize the impact the space port would have on the environment, 'such as containing waste materials from the construction and enforcing a speed limit in the control center area.' Environment Texas is not impressed, however. Whether it is disposed to make trouble in the courts is an open question."
mpicpp sends this news from Ars: 'A local New Hampshire police department agreed Thursday to pay a woman who was arrested and charged with wiretapping $57,000 to settle her civil rights lawsuit. The deal comes a week after a federal appeals court ruled that the public has a "First Amendment" right to film cops. The plaintiff in the case, Carla Gericke, was arrested on wiretapping allegations in 2010 for filming her friend being pulled over by the Weare Police Department during a late-night traffic stop. Although Gericke was never brought to trial, she sued, alleging that her arrest constituted retaliatory prosecution in breach of her constitutional rights. The department, without admitting wrongdoing, settled Thursday in a move that the woman's attorney speculated would deter future police "retaliation." ... The First US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled (PDF) in Gericke's case last week that she was "exercising a clearly established First Amendment right when she attempted to film the traffic stop in the absence of a police order to stop filming or leave the area."
wired_parrot (768394) writes 'After a leading protester of the recent military coup in Thailand made several critical posts in Facebook criticizing the military takeover, Thailand's Technology Crime Suppression Division tracked his location through his IP address and promptly arrested him.. The arrested was meant to send a message to Thailand's online community. Said the police: "I want to tell any offenders on social media that police will come get you."'
An anonymous reader writes 'Talk about regulatory capture! As radio station WTOP reports, "The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles says that ride services Lyft and Uber are violating state law and must stop operating immediately. The DMV sent cease and desist orders to both companies Thursday." Who benefits most? It's not the people who are voting with their dollars and feet — seems more like the current stable of taxi drivers and others blessed by the state of Virginia. Good thing there's no call for or benefit from greater per-car occupancy, or experimentation more generally with disruptive disintermediation. Given enough bribe money down the road, I'm sure a deal can be struck, though.'
theodp writes 'Politico reports that parents have mobilized into an unexpected political force to fight the data mining of their children, catapulting student privacy to prominence in statehouses. Having already torpedoed the $100 million, Bill Gates-funded inBloom database project, which could have made it easier for schools to share confidential student records with private companies, the amateur activists are now rallying against another perceived threat: huge state databases being built to track children for more than two decades, from as early as infancy through the start of their careers. "The Education Department," writes Stephanie Simon, "lists hundreds of questions that it urges states to answer about each child in the public school system: Did she make friends easily as a toddler? Was he disciplined for fighting as a teen? Did he take geometry? Does she suffer from mental illness? Did he go to college? Did he graduate? How much does he earn?" Leonie Haimson, a NY mother who is organizing a national Parent Coalition for Student Privacy says, "Every parent I've talked to has been horrified. We just don't want our kids tracked from cradle to grave." For their part, ed tech entrepreneurs and school reformers are both bewildered by and anxious about the backlash — and struggling to craft a response, having assumed parents would support their vision: to mine vast quantities of data for insights into what's working, and what's not, for individual students and for the education system as a whole. "People took for granted that parents would understand [the benefits], that it was self-evident," said Michael Horn, a co-founder an education think tank."
CowboyRobot writes: 'In ACM's Queue, Thomas Wadlow argues that "Whom you trust, what you trust them with, and how much you trust them are at the center of the Internet today." He gives a checklist of what to look for when evaluating any system for trustworthiness, chock full of fascinating historical examples. These include NASA opting for a simpler, but more reliable chip; the Terry Childs case; and even an 18th century "semaphore telegraph" that was a very early example of steganographic cryptography. From the article: "Detecting an anomaly is one thing, but following up on what you've detected is at least as important. In the early days of the Internet, Cliff Stoll, then a graduate student at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratories in California, noticed a 75-cent accounting error on some computer systems he was managing. Many would have ignored it, but it bothered him enough to track it down. That investigation led, step by step, to the discovery of an attacker named Markus Hess, who was arrested, tried, and convicted of espionage and selling information to the Soviet KGB."'
An anonymous reader writes 'Thirteen people have died because of faulty ignition switches in General Motors vehicles. The company has recalled 2.6 million cars, paid a $35 million fine, and set up a fund to compensate the victims. Now, an internal investigation into the incident has shown that the company was aware of the problem since 2002. 15 employees have been fired over what CEO Mary Barra calls "misconduct and incompetence." The report singles out Ray DeGiorgio, an engineer who allegedly approved a part that did not meet specifications and misled coworkers who were investigating complaints. "He actually changed the ignition switch to solve the problem in later model years of the Cobalt, but failed to document it, told no one, and claimed to remember nothing about the change."
"There's no evidence anyone else knew the switch was out-of-spec at the time, the report says; neither did DeGiorgio tell anyone when issues with the part were brought to his attention multiple times. When one engineer specifically asked DeGiorgio in 2004 whether the switch met torque specifications, DeGiorgio didn't respond. Evidence the investigators gathered showed that he started two e-mails but never sent them. ... Instead, DeGiorgio was consumed by a problem in which cars with the switch were failing to start in cold weather, something the report says was "a personal embarrassment to DeGiorgio.'"'
Charliemopps writes "According to Vodafone, multiple governments have installed equipment that collects data on its customers without a warrant. This includes metadata, location data, and voice. They say, "In a small number of countries, agencies and authorities have direct access to communications data stored within an operator’s network. In those countries, Vodafone will not receive any form of demand for communications data access as the relevant agencies and authorities already have permanent access to customer communications via their own direct link." It's a rather long, and very interesting report. Vodafone also criticized the transparency process: "In our view, it is governments – not communications operators – who hold the primary duty to provide greater transparency on the number of agency and authority demands issued to operators. We believe this for two reasons."'
An anonymous reader writes 'Mass global surveillance "isn't just an American problem, this is a global problem," Edward Snowden told the Personal Democracy Forum (PDF) conference in New York on Thursday. Appearing via video call from Moscow, Snowden spoke with John Perry Barlow, cofounder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, in front of a crowd of hundreds gathered in downtown Manhattan. Barlow announced the launch of the Courage Foundation, an organization dedicated to financially supporting Snowden's considerable legal battles. "I'm afraid we've descended to this point," Barlow said, "But why do animals lick their genitals? Because they can. Why do governments do this? Because they can't lick their own." "They're licking ours," Snowden quipped, "and taking pictures."'
StartsWithABang (3485481) writes 'Earlier this week, attempts to cut NASA's budget were defeated, and it looks like the largest space agency in the world will actually be getting nearly a 2% budget increase overall. While common news outlets are touting this as a great budget victory, the reality is that this is shaping up to be just another year of pathetic funding levels, putting our greatest dreams of exploring and understanding the Universe on hold. A sobering read for anyone who hasn't realized what we could be doing.'
Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes 'A year after leaked files exposed the National Security Agency's efforts to spy on citizens and companies in Brazil, previously unpublished chat logs obtained by Motherboard reveal that while under the FBI's supervision, Hector Xavier Monsegur, widely known by his online persona, "Sabu," facilitated attacks that affected Brazilian websites.The operation raises questions about how the FBI uses global Internet vulnerabilities during cybercrime investigations, how it works with informants, and how it shares information with other police and intelligence agencies.
After his arrest in mid-2011, Monsegur continued to organize cyber attacks while working for the FBI. According to documents and interviews, Monsegur passed targets and exploits to hackers to disrupt government and corporate servers in Brazil and several other countries. Details about his work as a federal informant have been kept mostly secret, aired only in closed-door hearings and in redacted documents that include chat logs between Monsegur and other hackers. The chat logs remain under seal due to a protective order upheld in court, but in April, they and other court documents were obtained by journalists at Motherboard and the Daily Dot.'
chicksdaddy (814965) writes 'As the U.S. Senate considers draft legislation governing the commercial use of location data, The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is asking Congress to make it — not the Department of Justice — the chief rule maker and enforcer of policies for the collection and sharing of geolocation information, the Security Ledger reports.
Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection, told the Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee for Privacy, Technology that the Commission would like to see changes to the wording of the Location Privacy Protection Act of 2014 (LPPA) . The LPPA is draft legislation introduced by Sen. Al Franken that carves out new consumer protections for location data sent and received by mobile phones, tablets and other portable computing devices. Rich said that the FTC, as the U.S. Government's leading privacy enforcement agency, should be given rule making and enforcement authority for the civil provisions of the LPPA. The current draft of the law instead gives that authority to the Department of Justice.
The LPPA updates the Electronic Communications Privacy Act to take into account the widespread and availability and commercial use of geolocation information provided. LPPA requires that companies get individuals' permission before collecting location data off of smartphones, tablets, or in-car navigation devices, and before sharing it with others.
It would prevent what Franken refers to as "GPS stalking," preventing companies from collecting location data in secret. LPPA also requires companies to reveal the kinds of data they collect and how they share and use it, bans the development, operation, and sale of GPS stalking apps and requires the federal government to collect data on GPS stalking and facilitate reporting of GPS stalking by the public.'
An anonymous reader writes 'A routine request in Florida for public records regarding the use of a surveillance tool known as stingray took an extraordinary turn recently when federal authorities seized the documents before police could release them. "This is consistent with what we've seen around the country with federal agencies trying to meddle with public requests for stingray information," Wessler said, noting that federal authorities have in other cases invoked the Homeland Security Act to prevent the release of such records. "The feds are working very hard to block any release of this information to the public." ... "We've seen our fair share of federal government attempts to keep records about stingrays secret, but we've never seen an actual physical raid on state records in order to conceal them from public view," the ACLU wrote in a blog post today.'
mpicpp (3454017) writes with this news from Ars Technica: 'Europeans may browse the Internet without fear of infringing copyrights, as the EU Court of Justice ruled Thursday in a decision that ends a four-year legal battle threatening the open Internet. It was the European top court's second wide-ranging cyber ruling in less than a month. The court ruled May 13 that Europeans had a so-called "right to be forgotten" requiring Google to delete "inadequate" and "irrelevant" data upon requests from the public. That decision is spurring thousands of removal requests. In this week's case, the court slapped down the Newspaper Licensing Agency's (NLA) claim that the technological underpinnings of Web surfing amounted to infringement. The court ruled that "on-screen copies and the cached copies made by an end-user in the course of viewing a website satisfy the conditions" of infringement exemptions spelled out in the EU Copyright Directive. The NLA's opponent in the case was the Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA). The PR group hailed the decision.'
hype7 (239530) writes 'The Harvard Business Review is running a fascinating article on how finance is increasingly abstracting itself — and the gains it makes — away from the creation of value in the real world, and how High Frequency Trading is the most extreme version of this phenomenon yet. From the article: "High frequency trading is a different phenomenon from the increasing focus on short term returns by human investors. But they're borne from a similar mindset: one in which financial returns are the priority, independent of whether they're associated with something innovative or useful in the real world. What Lewis's book demonstrated to me isn't just how "bad" HFTs are per se, but rather, what happens when finance keeps walking down the path it seems to be set on — a path that involves abstracting itself from the creation of real-world value. The final destination? It will enter a world entirely of its own — a world in which it is fighting to capture value that is completely independent of whether any is created in the first place."'
reifman (786887) writes 'Last week, AT&T shut down my data service after I turned roaming on in Canada for one minute to check Google maps. I wasn't able to connect successfully but they reported my phone burned through 50 MB and that I owed more than $750. Google maps generally require 1.3 MB per cell. They adamantly refused to reactivate my U.S. data service unless I 'agreed' to purchase an international data roaming package to cover the usage. They eventually reversed the charges but it seems that the company's billing system had bundled my U.S. data usage prior to the border crossing with the one minute of international data roaming.'
Today, as the EFF notes, marks one year from Edward Snowden's first document leaks, and the group is using that as a good spur to install free software intended to make it harder for anyone (the NSA is certainly not the first, and arguably far from the worst) to spy on your electronic communications. Nowadays, that means nearly everything besides face-to-face communication, or paper shipped through the world's postal systems. Reader gnujoshua (540710) highlights one of the options: 'The FSF has published a (rather beautiful) infographic and guide to encrypting your email using GnuPG. In their blog post announcing the guide they write: "One year ago today, an NSA contractor named Edward Snowden went public with his history-changing revelations about the NSA's massive system of indiscriminate surveillance. Today the FSF is releasing Email Self-Defense, a guide to personal email encryption to help everyone, including beginners, make the NSA's job a little harder.'" Serendipitous timing: a year and a day ago, we mentioned a UN report that made explicit the seemingly obvious truth that undue government surveillance, besides being an affront in itself, chills free speech. (Edward Snowden agrees.)
jfruh (300774) writes "Imagine you've spent years making credit card purchases in your home state of California, and suddenly a bunch of charges appear the card in Russia. Your bank might move to shut the card down for suspected fraud, which would be great if your account number had been stolen by hackers — but really irritating if you were on vacation in Moscow. AT&T is proposing a service that would allow customers to let their bank track their movements via their cell phone, to confirm that you (or at least your phone) and your credit card are in the same place."
Bismillah (993337) writes 'The British government wants life in prison for hackers who cause disruption to computer networks, resulting in loss of life or threat to the country's national security. From the article: "The UK government will seek to amend the 1990 Computer Misuse Act "to ensure sentences for attacks on computer systems fully reflect the damage they cause. Currently, the law provides for a maximum sentence of ten years' imprisonment for those who commit the offence of impairing a computer. A new, aggravated offence of unauthorised access to a computer will be introduced into the Computer Misuse Act by the government, carrying far longer sentences."'
hazeii (5702) writes in with news about a secret trial set to take place in England. 'A major terrorism trial is set to be held entirely in secret for the first time in British legal history in an unprecedented departure from the principles of open justice, the court of appeal has heard. The identities of the two defendants charged with serious terror offences are being withheld from the public, and the media are banned from being present in court to report the forthcoming trial against the two men, known only as AB and CD.'
itwbennett (1594911) writes 'In the three weeks since a key ruling by the European Court of Justice about the so-called right to be forgotten, Google has already received around 41,000 requests to delete links to personal information from its search results (within 24 hours of putting the form online, Google had reportedly received 12,000 deletion requests). It should be noted, though, that there is no absolute right to have information deleted, and Google will have to weigh a number of criteria in responding to the requests to delete links, including relevance of the information, and the time passed since the facts related.'
An anonymous reader writes in with this latest bit of EFF vs NSA news. 'We followed the back and forth situation earlier this year, in which there were some legal questions over whether or not the NSA needed to hang onto surveillance data at issue in various lawsuits, or destroy it as per the laws concerning retention of data. Unfortunately, in the process, it became clear that the DOJ misled FISA court Judge Reggie Walton, withholding key information. In response, the DOJ apologized, insisting that it didn't think the data was relevant — but also very strongly hinting that it used that opportunity to destroy a ton of evidence. However, this appeared to be just the latest in a long history of the NSA/DOJ willfully destroying evidence that was under a preservation order.
The key case where this evidence was destroyed was the EFF's long running Jewel v. NSA case, and the EFF has now told the court about the destruction of evidence, and asked the court to thus assume that the evidence proves, in fact, that EFF's clients were victims of unlawful surveillance. The DOJ/NSA have insisted that they thought that the EFF's lawsuit only covered programs issued under executive authority, rather than programs approved by the FISA Court, but the record in the case shows that the DOJ seems to be making this claim up.'
coondoggie writes: "The FBI today said it was making national a pilot program it tried out in 12 locations earlier this year that offers up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest of anyone who intentionally aims a laser at an aircraft. According to the FBI, the pilot locations have seen a 19% decrease in the number of reported laser-to-aircraft incidents. Those locations included: Albuquerque, Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, and Philadelphia."
beschra (1424727) writes "From the article: 'The U.S. Secret Service is seeking software that can identify top influencers and trending sets of social media data, allowing the agency to monitor these streams in real-time — and sift through the sarcasm. "We are not currently aware of any automated technology that could do that (detect sarcasm). No one is considered a leader in that,'" Jamie Martin, a data acquisition engineer at Sioux Falls, SD based Bright Planet, told CBS News.'
Why not just force Twitter to change TOS to require sarcasm tag?"
jfruh (300774) writes "Ben Wellington is a New Yorker and city planner with an interest in NYC Open Data, the city's online open government initiative. One thing he noticed in this vast dataset was that just two fire hydrants in the city generated tens of thousands of dollars a year in tickets. The sleuthing by which he figured out why is a great example of how open government data can help citizens in concrete ways."
MrBingoBoingo writes with news that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has settled federal civil charges with Erik Voorhees, a man who sold shares of two businesses in exchange for Bitcoins without registering them. Voorhees must make restitution for the $15,000 in profit he made, plus interest, and a $35,000 fine. Here's the SEC's filing (PDF). "The agreement reflects an expanded effort by U.S. regulators to cast a wider net over the burgeoning bitcoin economy. It comes as investor enthusiasm grows for direct offerings of shares by new bitcoin-focused ventures over bitcoin's global computer network. Maidsafe, a system for sharing computer memory, raised $7 million last month in such a deal."
An anonymous reader writes "In a recent segment of his new HBO show, Last Week Tonight, comedian John Oliver delivered a commentary (video) on the current net neutrality debate. He ended the segment by calling on all internet comment trolls to take advantage of the FCC's open comments section on the topic. 'We need you to get out there and for once in your lives focus your indiscriminate rage in a useful direction,' he said. 'Seize your moment, my lovely trolls, turn on caps lock, and fly my pretties! Fly! Fly! Fly!' While the true impact of John Oliver's editorial cannot be confirmed, the FCC nevertheless tweeted shortly after it aired that its website was experiencing technical difficulties due to heavy traffic. They accept comments via email as well at firstname.lastname@example.org."
Jason Koebler writes: 'Brainwave-tracking is becoming increasingly common in the consumer market, with the gaming industry at the forefront of the trend. "Neurogames" use brain-computer interfaces and electroencephalographic (EEG) gadgets like the Emotiv headset to read brain signals and map them to in-game actions. EEG data is "high-dimensional," meaning a single signal can reveal a lot of information about you: if you have a mental illness, are prone to addiction, your emotions, mood, and taste. If that data from gaming was collected and mined, it could theoretically be matched with other datasets culled from online data mining to create a complete profile of an individual that goes far beyond what they divulge through social media posts and emails alone. That's led some to develop privacy systems that protect your thoughts from hackers.'
v3rgEz writes: 'The Wall Street Journal reports on how local law enforcement is increasingly requesting (and receiving) sealed wiretap requests and surveillance that doesn't require a warrant for cellular data, a move that is making some courts uneasy — but not uneasy enough to stop the practice. "Across the U.S., thousands of similar law-enforcement requests for electronic monitoring are likewise locked away from public view, even after the investigations that spawned them have ended. In most cases, they stay sealed indefinitely—unlike nearly all other aspects of American judicial proceedings. Courts long have presumed that search warrants, for example, eventually should be made public." One group has set up a crowdfunding campaign to research how far the practice has spread, hoping to raise money to file and follow up on public records requests across the country for policies, invoices, and other "surveillance metadata."'
Lucas123 (935744) writes "Cody Wilson, the 26-year-old former law school student who published plans for printing 3D guns online, disputed claims by universities and government agencies that his thermoplastic gun design is unsafe. Wilson claims the agencies that tested the guns did not build them to spec. In a Q&A with Computerworld, he also addressed why he's continuing to press regulatory agencies to allow him to offer the plans again for upload after being ordered to take them down, saying it's less about the Second Amendment and more about the implications of open source and the digital age. "If you want to talk about rights, what does it mean to respect a civil liberty or civil right? Well, it means you understand there are social costs in having that right; that's why it deserves protection in the first place," he said. Wilson is also planning to release other gun-related project, though not necessarily a CAD design."
Nicola Hahn (1482985) writes "Though the Review Board at DEF CON squelched Bill Blunden's presentation on Chinese cyber-espionage, and the U.S. government has considered imposing visa restrictions to keep out Chinese nationals, Bill has decided to post both the presentation's slide deck and its transcript online. The talk focuses on Mike Rogers, in all his glory, a former FBI agent who delivers a veritable litany of hyperbolic misstatements (likely to be repeated endlessly on AM radio). Rather than allow the DEFCON Review Board to pass judgement as supposed .gov 'experts,' why not allow people to peruse the material and decide for themselves who is credible and who is not?" "Squelched" seems a little harsh (only so many talks can fit, and there's no accounting for taste), but it's certainly good to see any non-accepted DEF CON presentations made public.
Presto Vivace (882157) writes GovExec Magazine reporting on the aftermath of Snowden's disclosures: '...At the Intelligence Community's Office of the Inspector General, [Dan Meyer, executive director for intelligence community whistleblowing and source protection] told Government Executive that a communitywide policy directive signed in March by the director of the Office of National Intelligence "is an affirmative statement that you have to blow the whistle" upon encountering wrongdoing, noting that in the past it was seen as an option. The new directive, he added, "shows firm support for the IC IG Whistleblowing program that actively promotes federal whistleblowing through lawful disclosures, which ultimately strengthens our nation's security." The key to the campaign of openness to whistleblowers, as distinct from criminal leakers and publicity seekers, Meyer stresses, is that it "must aid the agency mission. It is developmental and helps all stakeholders understand that we have rules in effect," he added. Meyer is expecting a bow wave of whistleblower retaliation cases (which can involve punishments ranging from demotion to pay cuts to required psychiatric evaluation) to come through his office directly or through a hotline in the coming months.'
Given the realities of the insider threat program and war on whistleblowers I can't say that I am optimistic about the new directive."
tsu doh nimh (609154) writes "The U.S. Justice Department announced today an international law enforcement operation to seize control over the Gameover ZeuS botnet, a sprawling network of hacked Microsoft Windows computers that currently infects an estimated 500,000 to 1 million compromised systems globally. Experts say PCs infected with Gameover are being harvested for sensitive financial and personal data, and that the botnet is responsible for more than $100 million in losses from online banking account takeovers. The government alleges that Gameover also was rented out to an elite cadre of hackers for use in online extortion attacks, spam and other illicit moneymaking schemes. In a complaint unsealed today, the DOJ further alleges that ZeuS and Gameover are the brainchild of a Russian man named Evgeniy Mikhailovich Bogachev, a.k.a. 'Slavik.'"
samzenpus (5) writes "Recently you had a chance to ask Jennifer Granick, the Director of Civil Liberties for the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School, about surveillance, data protection, copyright, and number of other internet privacy issues. Below you'll find her answers to those questions."
We mentioned last year that FindTheBest CEO Kevin O'Connor had taken an unusual step, when confronted with a demand by patent troll company Lumen View that the startup pay $50,000 for what struck O'Connor as a frivolous patent: He not only refused, but pledged to spend a million bucks, if necessary, to fight Lumen View in court. Now, as Ars Technica reports, O'Connor has succeeded on a grand scale. Before trouncing Lumen View in court, Ars reports, "FindTheBest had spent about $200,000 on its legal fight—not to mention the productivity lost in hundreds of work hours spent by top executives on the lawsuit, and three all-company meetings. Now the judge overseeing the case has ruled (PDF) that it's Lumen View, not FindTheBest, that should have to pay those expenses. In a first-of-its-kind implementation of new fee-shifting rules mandated by the Supreme Court, US District Judge Denise Cote found that the Lumen View lawsuit was a 'prototypical exceptional case.'"