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+ - New Zealand Spied On Its Citizens Before Making It Legal, Says Snowden->

Submitted by Daniel_Stuckey
Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes "A little over a year ago, the New Zealand government passed legislation that legally authorized its version of the NSA, the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), to spy on its own citizens. Narrowly, the law passed after a heated debate between lawmakers, rights groups, and local internet tycoon Kim Dotcom. At the time, Prime Minister John Key commented the new law “is not, and never will be, about wholesale spying on New Zealanders.”

But a set of secret documents provided by Edward Snowden indicates that New Zealand officials had already begun to design mass surveillance programs before such a law had ever gone to parliament. According to the new documents, published by Glenn Greenwald Monday, the GCSB had already begun cooperating with the US National Security Agency as early as 2012. Even as it sought legal authorization before full implementation, as part of a spying program code-named “Speargun,” the bureau was planning to grant NSA access to its major undersea cable network that connects New Zealand to the rest of the world sometime in "mid-2013.""

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+ - SPAM: E-Cigs Could Be a Gateway to Cocaine Addiction, Says Study That Misses the Point

Submitted by Daniel_Stuckey
Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes "If and when the Food and Drug Administration drops some sort of heavy regulations on e-cigarettes, a study released today is the one it, and politicians who hail the decision, will inevitably turn to: A pair of scientists at Columbia University have slapped the dreaded "gateway drug" term on nicotine, and, with it, e-cigarettes. The study, published today in the New England Journal of Medicine , has all of the makings of a bombshell report (for prohibitionists, at least). It's coming out in a major journal, one of the two authors has a Nobel Prize, and it's decidedly anti-e-cigarette. The study's authors, Eric and Denise Kandel, say that they've found the "molecular basis" for nicotine's role as a gateway drug. Adult mice who are given cocaine show more addictive behavior and stronger effects from the cocaine if they've been "primed" with seven days of nicotine use beforehand, according to the study. In other words, cocaine is more addictive to mice if they're already addicted to nicotine."
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+ - Hackers Will Leak Syrian Stock Exchange Database Unless Assad Tackles ISIS->

Submitted by Daniel_Stuckey
Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes "A group of hackers took down the website of Syria's only stock exchange this afternoon and are threatening to leak the exchange's database unless president Bashar al-Assad takes military action against the Islamic State.

The group, called Project Viridium, says that over the last several weeks, they've infected several Islamic State operatives' computers and have provided the Assad government with information about their whereabouts."

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+ - Canada's Hitchhiking Robot Completed Its Trip Without Getting Murdered->

Submitted by Daniel_Stuckey
Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes "On July 27, a brave robot named hitchBOT bid goodbye to its creators on the shoulder of a highway in Halifax, Nova Scotia. With limbs made from pool noodles, a beer-cooler body, and legs clad in Wellington rain boots, this adorable hodgepodge of a robot was ready to embark on the adventure of a lifetime. It raised its best hitchhiker’s thumb, and waited to be picked up by its first benefactor in its 6,000-kilometer road trip across Canada.

When hitchBot set off, we at Motherboard worried that the trooper might meet a tragic end (and we weren't the only ones). But fortunately, our fears were groundless. Over the weekend, hitchBOT arrived at its final destination in Victoria, BC, intact and thriving after meeting dozens of new friends across the country."

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+ - DARPA Uses Preteen Gamers to Beta Test Tomorrow's Military Software->

Submitted by Daniel_Stuckey
Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes "But it's here, tucked away on the third floor, that you'll find precisely that: the Center for Game Science, a research lab that makes educational video games for children, and that received the bulk of its funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the wing of the US Department of Defense that supports research into experimental military technology. Why is DARPA the original primary funder of the CGS? According to written and recorded statements from current and former DARPA program managers, as well as other government documents, the DARPA-funded educational video games developed at the CGS have a purpose beyond the pretense of teaching elementary school children STEM skills."
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+ - This Phony 'Anonymous' Site Was Set Up to Trap Ferguson Hacktivists->

Submitted by Daniel_Stuckey
Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes "As military police forces gather around Ferguson, trying to quell an angry, frustrated, and betrayed population, some people are taking their fight online. 'OpFerguson', being spear-headed by members of the hacktivism collective Anonymous, launched a couple of days ago. One site popped up that gave those wishing to voice their discontent a helping hand. Opferguson.com allows a user to select a target, including the Ferguson police force and the FBI, and participate in a DDoS attack: a technique that attempts to overwhelm a server by flooding it with traffic. Opferguson.com, however, is not what it seems. Instead of directing a user's traffic to the intended target, it instead collects the IP addresses of whoever logs on. This information, according to the creator, a self-avowed Anonymous opponent, is then open for law enforcement to act upon."
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+ - Techno-Archaeologists Used an Abandoned McDonald's to Hijack a Satellite->

Submitted by Daniel_Stuckey
Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes "From an abandoned McDonald's in the backyard of NASA's Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California, a dozen or so volunteer scientists and engineers have taken control of a decommissioned, still running, 70s-era space satellite, currently some 20,000 kilometers away, by using discarded vintage space computers and a few sweet eBay finds. The so-named "McMoon's" Control Center is some sort of bizarre testament to human ingenuity and what a bunch of very smart people with virtually no budget or proper authorization can pull off. A bit of context: The International Sun-Earth Explorer (ISEE-3) satellite was launched on August 12, 1978, and was originally meant to study the Earth’s magnetosphere from the L1 Lagrangian point between the Sun and the Earth, where the gravity of both bodies cancel each other out."
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+ - UK Police Won't Admit They're Tracking People's Phone Calls->

Submitted by Daniel_Stuckey
Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes "You've maybe heard a bit about Stingray. Over the past couple of years, it has emerged that police forces in the US have been using the powerful surveillance tool, which tricks phones into connecting to a dragnet, to track mobile devices, and intercept calls and text messages.

Meanwhile, the London Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) continue to remain tight lipped about their use of the technology, leaving citizens in the dark on what privacy protections, if any, are in place for those who may get swept up by the broad surveillance techniques."

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+ - The NSA Is Being Sued for Keeping Keith Alexander's Financial History Secret->

Submitted by Daniel_Stuckey
Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes "Now the NSA has yet another dilemma on its hands: Investigative journalist Jason Leopold is suing the agency for denying him the release of financial disclosure statements attributable to its former director. According to a report by Bloomberg , prospective clients of Alexander's, namely large banks, will be billed $1 million a month for his cyber-consulting services. Recode.net quipped that for an extra million, Alexander would show them the back door (state-installed spyware mechanisms) that the NSA put in consumer routers."
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+ - Israel Is Outgunning Hamas On Social Media, Too ->

Submitted by Daniel_Stuckey
Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes "While IDF planes drop bombs on Gaza and Hamas fires rockets from inside its borders, both groups are also tweeting, sharing, and promoting the war every step of the way.

The Gaza conflict has offered up its own brand of Twitter war between the Israeli Defense Forces and Hamas, who are squaring off in an online social media battle to match the on-the-ground campaign. And just as in the physical world, in the cyber version playing out in social media, the weaponry the Israelis deploy far outclasses Hamas capabilities.

The IDF has been disseminating a mixture of images, tweets, and YouTube videos designed to both justify their operations and perform the classic strategy of any military PSYOP—defining your enemy in no uncertain terms."

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+ - A Drone Saved an Elderly Man Who Had Been Missing for Three Days->

Submitted by Daniel_Stuckey
Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes "A drone was just used to save a life: Earlier this week, an elderly man who was missing for three days was found with the help of a drone in Wisconsin.

82-year-old Guillermo DeVenecia had been missing for three days. Search dogs, a helicopter, and hundreds of volunteers had spent days looking for him. David Lesh, a Colorado-based skier (catch him doing a double front flip here, because, why not) decided to look for him using his drone—and found him within 20 minutes.

"We weren't really sure what we would find or what kind of shape he would be in if we did find him . I don't think any of us expected to find him," Lesh told the Madison NBC affiliate, WMTV. "We noticed a man out in the field sort of stumbling, a little disoriented.""

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+ - Crowdsourced Video Games Are a Terrible Idea ->

Submitted by Daniel_Stuckey
Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes "You can choose from characters like a Mudkip, a tank, a core from Portal and Nic Cage. For weapons you've got your pick of a pistol, a turtle and what looks like a shake-weight. Every text on the option menu is written in Doge-tongue, with Doge's ghostly, wandering face fading in when you hover the cursor around.

The game I’m talking about, please be nice :(, is a messy club sandwich of a production, too drenched from memes to avoid collapsing all over your fries. But game developer Aran Koning knew this would happen, or he wouldn’t have ended the title in a frowny face.

Aran knew he needed this virtual-roundtable force to channel into a game. 133 additions later to please be nice :(, and Koning’s team has only ever rejected the suggestion of ‘twerking.’"

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+ - Is Your Phone On? Yes, There Is an App for That->

Submitted by Daniel_Stuckey
Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes "I caught wind of a new app called ON?. It forefronts the simplest and most frequently asked question of all: "Is my phone on?" If you're old enough to own a land line, then a dial tone should be relief enough. But cell phones don't have dial tones. So what's the next best thing?

Of course, the glow of a lover's late-night text doth tell us the phone still has life. But when a lover is away or if you haven't paid your bill, there's no simple, frictionless way to make sure that a phone is really, in fact, working.

Unfortunately, ON? has yet to be accepted by the guardians of Apple's app store. It remains unreleased, banned, censored. This despite its helpful support page and an experienced, eager bunch of capitalistic founders."

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+ - 'Hidden From Google' Remembers the Sites Google Is Forced to Forget->

Submitted by Daniel_Stuckey
Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes "Hidden From Google, the brainchild of a web programmer in New Jersey, archives each website that Google is required to take down from European Union search listings thanks to the recent court decision that allows people to request that certain pages be scrubbed from Google's search results if they're outdated or irrelevant. That decision has resulted in takedown requests from convicted sex offenders and huge banking companies, among thousands of others."
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+ - Dubai's Climate-Controlled Dome City Is a Dystopia Waiting to Happen->

Submitted by Daniel_Stuckey
Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes "Dubai is building "the world's first climate-controlled city"—it's a 4.3 mile pedestrian mall that will be covered with a retractable dome to provide its shoppers with air conditioning in the summer heat. The Mall of the World, as it's called, will become the sort of spectacular, over-the-top attraction Dubai is known for. Shortly after, it will probably become an equally spectacular real-world dystopia.

By sectioning off a 3-million-square-foot portion of the city with an air conditioned dome, Dubai is dropping one of the most tangible partitions between the haves and the have nots of the modern era—the 100 hotels and apartment complexes inside the attraction will be cool, comfortable, and nestled into a entertainment-filled, if macabre, consumer paradise."

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