writes: Thomas Drake a decorated United States air force, navy veteran and whistleblower from a position as a senior executive at America's National Security Agency.
His views on the 4th amendment, the foreign intelligence surveillance act and the role of an extraordinarily broad dragnet of electronic surveillance in the US.
The interview talks about countries going along with US surveillance as they feel they will never be caught and the telco tech is in place.Link to Original Source
writes: Intelligence expert Professor Des Ball says the Australian Signals Directorate — formerly known as the Defence Signals Directorate — is sharing information with the National Security Agency (NSA).
The NSA is the agency at the heart of whistleblower Edward Snowden's leaks, and has recently been accused of tapping into millions of phone calls of ordinary citizens in France, Germany and Spain.
Mr Ball says Australia has been monitoring the Asia Pacific region for the US using local listening posts.
"You can't get into the information circuits and play information warfare successfully unless you're into the communications of the higher commands in [the] various countries in our neighbourhood," he told Lateline.
Mr Ball says Australia has four key facilities that are part of the XKeyscore program, the NSA's controversial computer system that searches and analyses vast amounts of internet data.
They include the jointly-run Pine Gap base near Alice Springs, a satellite station outside Geraldton in Western Australia, a facility at Shoal Bay, near Darwin, and a new centre in Canberra.Link to Original Source
An anonymous reader writes: On the whole, Battlefield 4 had a reasonable launch. The have clearly learned from their past experiences with Battlefield 3 and, more notably, SimCity. Still, some customers are unable to access the game (until presumably October 30th at 7PM EDT, 39 hours after launch) because they are incorrectly flagged by region-locking. Do regional release dates help diminish all the work EA has been putting into Origin with their refund policy and live technical support? Should they just take our money and deliver the service before we change our minds?
writes: The project, called Endurance, is referred to in DARPA's 2014 budget request as being tasked with the development of "technology for pod-mounted lasers to protect a variety of airborne platforms from emerging and legacy EO/IR guided surface-to-air missiles." The budget explains that it will be the first application of DARPA's much-discussed Excalibur laser defense system, which developed lasers powerful enough to use as weapons. With the new program, DARPA is focused on miniaturizing the technology, as well as "developing high-precision target tracking, identification, and lightweight agile beam control to support target engagement. The program will also focus on the phenomenology of laser-target interactions and associated threat vulnerabilities." In other words, DARPA hopes that drone-mounted lasers will soon be able to shoot missiles out of the sky.Link to Original Source
writes: Designed to make police high speed chases safer, the pursuing police car presses a button, a lid pops open and fires a GPS bullet which attaches to the car in front. After which the car can be tracked from a distance in real-time without the need for a high speed pursuit.
writes: During spring break the last five years, a University of Washington class has headed to the Nevada desert to launch rockets and learn more about the science and engineering involved. Sometimes, the launch would fail and a rocket smacked hard into the ground. This year, the session included launches from a balloon that were deliberately directed into a dry lakebed. Far from being failures, these were early tests of a concept that in the future could be used to collect and return samples from forbidding environments – an erupting volcano, a melting nuclear reactor or even an asteroid in space. “We’re trying to figure out what the maximum speed is that a rocket can survive a hard impact,” said Robert Winglee, a UW professor of Earth and space sciences, who heads that department and leads the annual trek to the desert. The idea for a project called “Sample Return Systems for Extreme Environments” is that the rocket will hit the surface and, as it burrows in a short distance, ports on either side of the nose will collect a sample and funnel it to an interior capsule. That capsule will be attached by tether to a balloon or a spacecraft, which would immediately reel in the capsule to recover the sample. “The novel thing about this is that it developed out of our student rocket class. It’s been a successful class, but there were a significant number of rockets that went ballistically into the ground. We learned a lot of physics from those crashes,” Winglee said. The technology, which recently received $500,000 over two years from NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts, could have a number of applications. It would allow scientists a relatively safe way of recovering samples in areas of high contamination, such as Japan’s Fukushima Daichi nuclear power plant, or from an erupting volcano, or even from an asteroid in space, in advance of a possible mining project.Link to Original Source
writes: A team of astrophysicists at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft und- Raumfahrt; DLR), together with German and European colleagues, has discovered the most extensive planetary system to date. Seven planets circle the star KOI-351 – more than in other known planetary systems. They are arranged in a similar fashion to the eight planets in the Solar System, with small rocky planets close to the parent star and gas giant planets at greater distances. Although the planetary system around KOI-351 is packed together more tightly, it provides an interesting comparison to our cosmic home.Link to Original Source
writes: Google have started rolling out their plan to force all non-passive YouTube users to join their GooglePlus service.
As of last night I noticed that I can no longer access the comments on my videos via their dedicated comments page and attempts to respond to comments posted by others simply by clicking on the "to reply, click here" link in the advisory email fail to show the comment concerned. This forces me to go to the actual video page each time and manually locate the comment within the hundreds that may be there.
For weeks, Google has been in nag-mode, constantly trying to coerce YouTube account holders link their channels to a G+ identity and now that this strategy has failed, they're basically saying that unless you do as they say, no more easy access to the comments on your videos. In fact they say this quite literally in a big red banner at the top of the screen when you log on which proclaims " Connect to Google+ to maintain access to new comments".
As an early adopter of YouTube and many other Google services I now find myself with a real mess on my hands. Most of my Google service accounts have different email addresses, therefore are different identities. To comply with Google's diktat, I will have to create several G+ accounts, meaning more logins, more passwords, more complexity!
I am not alone in this — users all over the Net (and on YouTube) are really annoyed that the "do no evil" company is forcing them to sign up to services they do not want and breaking stuff in the process.
The reason for YouTube's success is that it's relatively simple to use and focused. YouTube makes it easy to post videos and comment on them — full stop! If they start messing with that formula by adding the complexity and "features" of G+ then I fear they will pay a price.
In the past, one of the biggest benfits of Google was that it wasn't Facebook. It seems that is no longer the case (especially in light of their recent "we'll use your face and comments to promote products" initiative).
It would appear that Google is about to turn a silk purse into a sow's ear.
writes: The reservoir of molten rock underneath Yellowstone National Park in the United States is at least two and a half times larger than previously thought. Despite this, the scientists who came up with this latest estimate say that the highest risk in the iconic park is not a volcanic eruption but a huge earthquake.
Jamie Farrell, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Utah, mapped the underlying magma reservoir by analyzing data from more than 4,500 earthquakes. Seismic waves travel more slowly through molten rock than through solid rock, and seismometers can detect those changes.
The images show that the reservoir resembles a 4,000-cubic-kilometre underground sponge, with 6–8% of it filled with molten rock. It underlies most of the Yellowstone caldera and extends a little beyond it to the northeast.Link to Original Source
writes: On Thursday, a jury verdict found Toyota's ECU firmware defective, holding it responsible for a crash in which a passenger was killed and the driver injured. What's significant about this is that this is the first time a jury heard about software defects uncovered by plaintiff's expert witnesses. An interesting summary of the defects discussed at trial is interesting reading, as well the transcript of court testimony. Wonder what the impact will be on self-driving cars?Link to Original Source
writes: Until yesterday, Nvidia's 'Geforce Experience' app was a way to keep your video drivers up-to-date and to optimize graphics settings in your game. Nvidia has always said this was just the beginning and yesterday's update added the ability to stream games to the Nvidia Shield handheld gaming system, and the first beta version of Shadowplay, a way to record gameplay by using the H.264 encoders on your GeForce GTX 650 (or higher) desktop video card. ITworld's Peter Smith gave this feature a quick test and while it has a lot of potential there are a few limitations.Link to Original Source
writes: Of all the weapons the Pentagon relies on to defend the United States, one of the strangest and most secretive is Andrew Marshall, a 92-year-old man who's spent the last 40 years staring into the future trying to predict the next big threat to America. Known fondly as "Yoda" to his many fans in Washington, Marshall heads up the Office of Net Assessment—the Defense Department’s think tank tasked with taking a long view, out-of-the-box approach to defense strategy. In his role as the Pentagon’s visionary sage, Marshall is credited with predicting the fall of the Soviet Union, the rise of China's global prominence, the role of autonomous weapons and robots in warfare, and even helping end the Cold War. Now, facing budget cuts, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is considering reorganizing or possibly even shuttering the futurist think tank, Defense News recently reported.Link to Original Source
An anonymous reader writes: Mozilla today officially launched Firefox 25 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. Additions include Web Audio API support, as well as guest browsing and mixed content blocking on Android. Firefox 25 can be downloaded from Firefox.com and all existing users should be able to upgrade to it automatically. As always, the Android version is trickling out slowly on Google Play. The release notes are here: desktop, mobile.
writes: A team of astronomers has launched a crowdfunding campaign to digitize 100 year old astronomical photographic plates . “With modern data analysis techniques applied to precisely digitized images of the night sky going back to the late 19th century, we expect new discoveries of celestial events that go flash in the night, like novae.” Says Dr. Michael Castelaz, Science Director at the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute where this new research effort called The Astronomy Legacy Project is being developed. The project, which was recently launched on Kickstarter, has three weeks left to go.Link to Original Source
writes: StreetInsider.com reports: Dell, Inc. completed its go-private tranaction by Michael Dell, Dell’s Founder, Chairman and CEO, and Silver Lake Partners, a leading global technology investment firm. Stockholders will receive $13.75 in cash for each share of Dell common stock they hold, plus payment of a special cash dividend of $0.13 per share to stockholders of record as of the close of business on Oct. 28, 2013, for total consideration of $13.88 per share in cash. The total transaction is valued at approximately $24.9 billion.
writes: Adobe's investigation into the massive data breach they were hit with this past August has revealed http://sdt.bz/65281 that over 38 million active users, not to mention inactive accounts, had their user IDs and passwords pilfered by hackers. An Adobe spokesperson confirmed the number http://krebsonsecurity.com/2013/10/adobe-breach-impacted-at-least-38-million-users/ , along with the theft of Adobe Photoshop source code. The initial report earlier this month http://sdt.bz/64189 put the extent of the breach at only 3 million credit card accounts, plus stolen Adobe Acrobat, Reader and ColdFusion source code.
writes: The Inquirer.net has a list of 21 sites that the RIAA is looking to get shutdown by ISPs this week. The list includes sites filestube, Bomb-Mp3, Mp3skull, Bitsnoop, Extratorrent, Torrenthound, Torrentreactor and Monova, and at least one ISP — Virgin Media in the UK — has confirmed the number of targetted sites.
Before it was thought that only six sites were lined up for a chop.Link to Original Source
writes: A glitch in iOS7 has cost "a significant number" of Apple users their Wi-Fi access, according to ZDNet. But they also report that Apple is now censoring posts in their "Apple Support Communities" forums where users suggest possible responses to their loss of WiFi capabilities (including exercising their product warranty en masse). "We understand the desire to share experiences in your topic, 'Re: wifi greyed out after update to ios7,'" read one warning sent to Lawrence Lessig, "but because these posts are not allowed on our forums, we have removed it." Lessig — who co-founded Creative Commons (and was a board member of the Free Software Foundation) has been documenting the ongoing "comments slaughter" on his Twitter feed, drawing attention to what he says is the Borg-like behavior of Apple as a corporation. Lessig "is now part of an angry mob in Apple's forums who upgraded to iOS 7 and lost Wi-Fi connectivity," ZDNet notes, adding that as of this morning their reporter has been unable to obtain an official response from Apple.Link to Original Source
writes: Most day-to-day programmers have only a general idea of how compilers transform human-readable code into the machine language that actually powers computers. In an attempt to streamline applications, many compilers actually remove code that it perceives to be undefined or unstable — and, as a research group at MIT has found, in doing so can make applications less secure.Link to Original Source
writes: Using data pulled from online genealogy sites, a renowned ‘genome hacker’ has constructed what is likely the biggest family trees ever assembled. The researcher and his team now plan to use the data — including a single uber-pedigree comprising 13 million individuals, which stretches back to the 15th century — to analyse the inheritance of complex genetic traits, such as longevity and facial features.
In addition to providing the invitation list to what would be the world’s largest family reunion, the work presented by computational biologist Yaniv Erlich at the American Society of Human Genetics annual meeting in Boston could provide a new tool for understanding the extent to which genes contribute to certain traits. The pedigrees have been made available to other researchers, but Erlich and his team at the Whitehead Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts, have stripped the names from the data to protect privacy.Link to Original Source
writes: Almost a third of Samsung's Galaxy Gear Smartwatches sold are being returned, a leaked document has revealed, which shows that over 30 percent are being returned after sale at Best Buy locations in the US.
The higher than expected return rate could be due to that realisation, with customers impulse buying and then realising that the smartwatch isn't everything it's cracked up to be.Link to Original Source
writes: Researchers have demonstrated how controller area networks in cars can make vehicles appear to drive slower than their actual speed, manipulate brakes, wind back odometers and set off all kinds of alarms and lights from random fuzzing.
The network weaknesses stem from a lack of authentication which they say is absent to improve performance. The researchers have also built a $25 open-source fuzzing tool to help others enter the field.Link to Original Source
writes: Motorola has announced “Project Ara“, afree and open hardware platform for smartphones.
The purpose of Project Ara is to create a modular smartphone that would allow users to swap hardware components according their own wish.
The design for Project Ara consists of an endoskeleton (endo) and modules. The endo is the structural frame that holds all the modules in place. A module can be anything, from a new application processor to a new display or keyboard, an extra battery, a pulse oximeter–or something not yet thought of!