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+ - Was the Internet Originally Created for Covert Domestic Surveillance?

Submitted by Jeremiah Cornelius
Jeremiah Cornelius (137) writes "From its creation by DoD contracts and grants to research institutions, there have been aspersions cast by those easily dismissed as "fringe" commentators, on the nefarious, or at least covert, motivation to create the Internet. Conspiracy theory may have been met by reality in recent months with now commonplace reporting, first by Wikileaks and later, in the more extensive Edward Snowden revelations. It is still almost canon, that NSA mass-surveillance and warrantless information analysis occurred through coopting the burgeoning Internet, and diverting traffic in a way that is counter to the ideals of its creators and promoters. But what if the social, commercial Internet were always intended as a sort of giant honeypot? The idea would still seem farfetched, if it weren't recently disclosed by William Binney that the NSA is recording 80% of all US phone conversations — not simply metadata. Closer examination of the record shows that ARPAnet was being used to clandestinely gather information on the legitimate activities of US citizens — and transmit the information to the US Army Intelligence Command NSA — as far back as 1968! According to articles published in 1975 by MIT in "The Tech":


"via the ARPANET, a computer network connecting more than 50 government agencies and universities throughout the country. The network is funded by the Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA)... The information, according to intelligence sources, was transferred and stored at the headquarters of the National Security Agency (NSA), at Fort Meade, Maryland. The Army files were transmitted on the ARPANET in about January 1972, sources say, more than two years after the material — and the data banks maintained at the [Army's] Fort Holabird facility — were ordered destroyed."


MIT officials were worried 40 years ago, about this abuse of interconnected TCP communications and the complicity of their own research scientists. These concerns arose at the height of the Watergate fallout and downfall of President Nixon for illegal wiretapping and information theft allegations. The danger of Government "record keeping" was outlined by Senator Sam Ervin, in an address to MIT that was also profiled in the same publication. Clearly, this did not begin in the last decade, and clearly pre-dates the 2001 "Global War on Terror" pretext. It is important to remember, the NSA was an almost unknown agency at this time, and was chartered to strictly forbid intel on US citizens and those dwelling within US borders."

+ - Researchers fully 'delete' HIV from human cells for the first time

Submitted by mrspoonsi
mrspoonsi (2955715) writes "So far, HIV has eluded a cure because it installs its genome into human DNA so insidiously that it's impossible for our immune system to clear it out. While current treatments are effective, a lifetime of toxic drugs are required to prevent its recurrence. But researchers from Temple University may have figured out a way to permanently excise it using a highly-engineered HIV "editor." Here's how it works: the team analyzed a part of our immune system that fights infection and built a "guide RNA" strand consisting of 20 nucleotides (RNA building blocks). Those strands were then injected into cells typically infected with HIV, like T-cells. There, they targeted the end parts of the virus's gene and snipped out all 9,709 nucleotides that made up its genome. Since the guide RNA strand contained no human DNA sequences, it left the host cell intact — but free from HIV."

+ - Introducing Verto. A new open-source HTML5 based WebRTC project from FreeSWITCH->

Submitted by Anthony Minessale
Anthony Minessale (3662225) writes "Connect any HTML5 application to FreeSWITCH and make calls, exchange events and leverage the power of stereo VoIP to create 3d positional conferences or any other voice-driven applications.

Learn more about the goals of the project from this open forum at PHONEWORD.org http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

We will also be demonstrating and giving presentations on Verto at ClueCon in just under 2 weeks. http://www.cluecon.com/"

Link to Original Source

Comment: Whew! No worries. Dilbert is still slightly ahead. (Score 2) 272

For a moment I was worried that Dilbert cartoon craziness was falling behind real-world craziness. I'm relieved that Dilbert is still ahead:
Most of us are only pretending to work while secretly hoping the project gets canceled after you get fired by the board.

Dilbert is not accurate, I think, about Microsoft. For Microsoft, the 6th panel,
"I expect the decline in morale to lead to violence"
should be
"I expect the decline in morale to lead to more decline in morale."

Comment: Opinion: Satya Nadella is not a competent CEO. (Score 1) 272

It seems to me that anyone who says this, I synthesized our strategic direction..., is utterly incompetent at coordinating a large group. That is unthinking corporate-speak. It communicates non-verbally that he has no understanding of what is needed.

More:

"... realign our workforce..."

"... work toward synergies and strategic alignment..."

"... drive greater accountability..."

"... become more agile and move faster."

"... fewer layers of management, both top down and sideways, ..."

"... flattening organizations..."

"... increasing the span of control of people managers."

"... our business processes and support models will be more lean and efficient with greater trust between teams."
Comment: Corporate-speak does not build trust, it destroys trust.

"... more productive, impactful teams..."

"Each organization is starting at different points and moving at different paces."
Comment: That is utterly obvious.

"We will realize the synergies..."

"... align to Microsoft's strategic direction."

"... we will focus on breakthrough innovation that expresses and enlivens..."

"... builds on our success in the affordable smartphone space..."

"... aligns with our focus..."

I'm very interested in the sociology of this. My understanding is that the Microsoft board of directors is utterly incompetent, has little understanding of technology, and merely chose the person to be CEO who was consistently most pleasant and ingratiating.

A competent CEO would not announce a huge advancement until it was already accomplished.

The sweeping changes Satya Nadella is announcing require huge amounts of research and understanding. It is simply not possible to accomplish successfully a re-organization of a huge company as though it were one action.

A competent top coordinator would announce a little at a time and provide meaningful and detailed explanation about why each change was necessary, and how decisions were made.

A competent top coordinator would make it clear that much of the wisdom of ideas about changes came from other people inside the company.

My opinions.

+ - Edward Snowden Says NSA Workers Pass Around Your Nude Photos

Submitted by mrspoonsi
mrspoonsi (2955715) writes "If you thought that nude photo you took of yourself was just for you and your significant other, you may be wrong. According to whistleblower Edward Snowden, young NSA employees occasionally get a hold of nude photos while searching through personal data and, if the person is attractive, the photos get passed around the office. Snowden explained how this happens to The Guardian during a 7-hour interview. Here's the relevant bit: You’ve got young enlisted guys, 18 to 22 years old, they’ve suddenly been thrust into a position of extraordinary responsibility where they now have access to all of your private records. Now in the course of their daily work, they stumble across something that is completely unrelated to their work in any sense. For example, an intimate nude photo of someone in a sexually compromising situation, but they’re extremely attractive. So what do they do? They turn around and they show their coworker. And their coworker says ‘Oh hey, that’s great. Show it to Bill down the way.’ And then Bill sends it to George, George sends it to Tom, and sooner or later this person’s whole life has been seen by all of these other people."

+ - How Hard Is It to Shoot Down a Plane?->

Submitted by astroengine
astroengine (1577233) writes "Ukrainian government officials say Russian-backed rebel forces shot down a Malaysian Airlines flight with 295 passengers and crew over the embattled border region on its way from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. The commercial flight was cruising at 33,000 feet, making it too high for a shoulder-launched missile and more likely that it was targeted by a radar-guided missile defense system, according to military experts. “It does seem depressingly likely,” said Mark Galeotti, a professor of global affairs at New York University currently studying Russian security issues in Moscow. “We know the rebels have the Buk missile system. We know they have shot down planes in the past. They may have believed it was a legitimate target.” Although the Buk system is designed to shoot down fast-moving military aircraft, a high-flying jetliner would have been an easy target. And although it would have been carrying a civilian transponder, if the anti-aircraft missile was being operated by a novice controller, mistakes were most likely made."
Link to Original Source

+ - 97% of U.S. Banks Allow Clickjacking Fraud. 44% Don't Even Use SSL. 2

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "According to a financial industry software vendor, over 97% of U.S. Banks and Credit Unions Allow Clickjacking Fraud, and 44% Don't Even Use SSL. The report continues to break down the SSL usage and suggests that only 33.1% of institutions actually implement SSL correctly given a portion of the websites that do utilize HTTPS also allow a unsecured HTTP response."

+ - Disconnection of subscription through Comcast Customer Service

Submitted by Z00L00K
Z00L00K (682162) writes "A customer wanted to end his subscription by Comcast and recorded the call. It did take some interesting steps to even be allowed to end the subscription.

Please note: this conversation starts about 10 minutes in — by this point my wife and I are both completely flustered by the oppressiveness of the rep. So! Last week my wife called to disconnect our service with Comcast after we switched to another provider (Astound). We were transferred to cancellations (aka "customer retention"). The representative (name redacted) continued aggressively repeating his questions, despite the answers given, to the point where my wife became so visibly upset she handed me the phone. Overhearing the conversation, I knew this would not be very fun. ...

The conversation can be heard at Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/ryan-bl..."

+ - @Congressedits tweets anonymous Wikipedia edits from Capitol Hill->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "Ed Summers, an open source Web developer, recently saw a friend tweet about Parliament WikiEdits, a UK Twitter “bot” that watched for anonymous Wikipedia edits coming from within the British Parliament’s internal networks. Summers was immediately inspired to do the same thing for the US Congress.

“The simplicity of combining Wikipedia and Twitter in this way immediately struck me as a potentially useful transparency tool,” Summers wrote in his personal blog. “So using my experience on a previous side project [Wikistream, a Web application that watches Wikipedia editing activity], I quickly put together a short program that listens to all major language Wikipedias for anonymous edits from Congressional IP address ranges and tweets them.”

The stream for the bot, @congressedits, went live a day later, and it now provides real-time tweets when anonymous edits of Wikipedia pages are made. Summers also posted the code to GitHub so that others interested in creating similar Twitter bots can riff on his work.

So far, @congressedits hasn’t caught anything scandalous; most of the edits caught have been stylistic changes rather than factual ones. The most interesting edit found so far was to the Wikipedia article on horse head masks—adding a reference to President Obama shaking hands with a man in such a mask on a recent trip to Denver."

Link to Original Source

+ - NSA Admits Retaining Snowden Emails, no FOIA for US press->

Submitted by AHuxley
AHuxley (892839) writes "The http://thedesk.matthewkeys.net... reports on a FOIA request covering "... all e-mails sent by Edward Snowden"
Remember how Snowden should have raised his concerns with his superiors within the NSA?
Remember how no such communication could be found?
Remember how one such communication was released but did not seem to be raising direct concerns?
Well some record of e-mail communications seems to exist but they are exempt from public disclosure under the federal Freedom of Information Act."

Link to Original Source

+ - Sand-Based Anode Triples Lithium-Ion Battery Performance->

Submitted by Zothecula
Zothecula (1870348) writes "Conventional lithium-ion batteries rely on anodes made of graphite, but it is widely believed that the performance of this material has reached its zenith, prompting researchers to look at possible replacements. Much of the focus has been on nanoscale silicon, but it remains difficult to produce in large quantities and usually degrades quickly. Researchers at the University of California, Riverside have overcome these problems by developing a lithium-ion battery anode using sand."
Link to Original Source

+ - In New Zealand The Right To Silence And Presumption Of Innocence Are In Danger->

Submitted by cold fjord
cold fjord (826450) writes "The New Zealand Herald reports, "Fundamental pillars of the criminal justice system may be eroded whichever party wins the election this year, as both National's and Labour's proposals would look into changing the right to silence or the presumption of innocence in rape cases. Both major parties claim the current system is not upholding justice for victims, and are looking at changes that would effectively make it easier for prosecutors to obtain convictions. National wants to explore allowing a judge or jury to see an accused's refusal to give evidence in a negative light, while Labour wants to shift the burden of proof of consent from the alleged victim to the accused.""
Link to Original Source

+ - Magnetic Field of Earth Weakening a Sign Poles Are Flipping->

Submitted by Trachman
Trachman (3499895) writes "The magnetic field of Earth is weakening more rapidly than many scientists thought it would, a sign that Earth’s magnetic poles might flip within a few hundred years as opposed to thousands of years. Data collected from Swarm, the collective name for three European Space Agency (ESA) satellites, confirms that Earth’s magnetic field is weakening, something which has led to many past switches in Earth’s magnetic poles.Deep ocean core studies have confirmed, according to NASA, that the Earth’s magnetic poles reverse on a relatively frequent basis. They usually switch anywhere from 200,000 to 300,000 years. As it has been 700,000 years or so since a flip has taken place, Earth is overdue for one. The weakening magnetic field might be a sign that the switch will occur sooner, rather than later. Scientists, according to a report by LiveScience, had thought that Earth’s magnetic field was weakening by about five percent every hundred years. At that rate, they calculated that a flip in the Earth’s magnetic fields would not happen for around another 2,000 years. However, the new data from Swarm indicates that Earth’s magnetic field is actually currently weakening at a rate of five percent every decade instead of century. That rate is 10 times faster than the scientists had allowed for in their calculations about when the next flip would happen. That being said, we know that the Earth's magnetic field is primary protecting shield from cosmic particles and, consequently, is a primary factor to the Earth's temperature.

My Scoop is following: At the risk of being not popular here at Slashdot I dare to ask: can magnetic field changes and climate changes be connected and analyzed in concert?"

Link to Original Source

+ - The ultimate goal of the NSA is total population control

Submitted by stephendavion
stephendavion (2872091) writes "William Binney is one of the highest-level whistleblowers to ever emerge from the NSA. He was a leading code-breaker against the Soviet Union during the Cold War but resigned soon after September 11, disgusted by Washington’s move towards mass surveillance.

On 5 July he spoke at a conference in London organised by the Centre for Investigative Journalism and revealed the extent of the surveillance programs unleashed by the Bush and Obama administrations.

“At least 80% of fibre-optic cables globally go via the US”, Binney said. “This is no accident and allows the US to view all communication coming in. At least 80% of all audio calls, not just metadata, are recorded and stored in the US. The NSA lies about what it stores.”"

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