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Privacy

+ - Obama's Dissident Database - Secret and Permanent->

Submitted by
C-Diddy
C-Diddy writes "The Obama administration seeks to know who is spreading "disinformation" in the health care debate, and encourages citizens to e-mail the Whitehouse with the details.

From the linked story:

"So the White House, whether by design or accident, has requested information from the public that will become 'records' under the Presidential Records Act, yet would be impermissible for any government to otherwise collect under the Privacy Act," writes one Judiciary Committee source. "Where were the lawyers in all of this? What is their legal basis for authorizing the collection of these records?"

"

Link to Original Source
Privacy

Ubuntu's New Firefox Is Watching You 330

Posted by kdawson
from the don't-be-sneaky dept.
sukotto writes "Ubuntu recently released an unannounced and experimental 'multisearch' extension to Firefox alpha 3, apparently in an effort to improve the default behavior of new tabs and of search. In a response to one of the initial bug reports the maintainers mentioned that the extension's other purposes were 'collecting the usage data' and 'generating revenue.' Since this extension installs by itself and offers no warning about potential privacy violations, quite a few people (myself included) feel pretty unhappy. The only way to opt out is to disable the extension manually via Tools > Add-ons." Most posters to this Ubuntu forum thread are not happy about multisearch.
Biotech

Prehistoric Gene Reawakened To Battle HIV 360

Posted by kdawson
from the learning-from-our-distant-cousins dept.
Linuss points out research published in PLoS Biology that demonstrates the reawakening of latent human cells' ability to manufacture an HIV defense. A group of scientists led by Nitya Venkataraman began with the knowledge that Old World monkeys have a built-in immunity to HIV: a protein that can prevent HIV from entering cell walls and starting an infection. They examined the human genome for any evidence of a latent gene that could manufacture such a protein, and found the capability in a stretch of what has been dismissively termed "junk DNA." "In this work, we reveal that, upon correction of the premature termination codon in theta-defensin pseudogenes, human myeloid cells produce cyclic, antiviral peptides (which we have termed 'retrocyclins'), indicating that the cells retain the intact machinery to make cyclic peptides. Furthermore, we exploited the ability of aminoglycoside antibiotics to read-through the premature termination codon within retrocyclin transcripts to produce functional peptides that are active against HIV-1. Given that the endogenous production of retrocyclins could also be restored in human cervicovaginal tissues, we propose that aminoglycoside-based topical microbicides might be useful in preventing sexual transmission of HIV-1."

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