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Homeland Security To Scan Citizens Exiting US 676

An anonymous reader writes "The US Department of Homeland Security is set to kickstart a controversial new pilot to scan the fingerprints of travellers departing the United States. From June, US Customs and Border Patrol will take a fingerprint scan of travellers exiting the United States from Detroit, while the US Transport Security Administration will take fingerprint scans of international travellers exiting the United States from Atlanta. The controversial plan to scan outgoing passengers — including US citizens — was allegedly hatched under the Bush Administration. An official has said it will be used in part to crack down on the US population of illegal immigrants."
United States

The End of Tax-Free Internet Shopping? 784

Mordok-DestroyerOfWo writes "If a little-known but influential alliance of state politicians, large retailers, and tax collectors have their way, the days of tax-free Internet shopping may be nearly over. A bill expected to be introduced in the US Congress as early as Monday would rewrite the ground rules for mail order and Internet sales by eliminating what its supporters view as a 'loophole' that, in many cases, allows Americans to shop over the Internet without paying sales taxes."

Subverting PIN Encryption For Bank Cards 182

An anonymous reader sends in a story at Wired about the increasingly popular methods criminals are using to bypass PIN encryption and rack up millions of dollars in fraudulent withdrawals. Quoting: "According to the payment-card industry ... standards for credit card transaction security, [PINs] are supposed to be encrypted in transit, which should theoretically protect them if someone intercepts the data. The problem, however, is that a PIN must pass through multiple HSMs across multiple bank networks en route to the customer's bank. These HSMs are configured and managed differently, some by contractors not directly related to the bank. At every switching point, the PIN must be decrypted, then re-encrypted with the proper key for the next leg in its journey, which is itself encrypted under a master key that is generally stored in the module or in the module's application programming interface, or API. 'Essentially, the thief tricks the HSM into providing the encryption key,' says Sartin. 'This is possible due to poor configuration of the HSM or vulnerabilities created from having bloated functions on the device.'"

Overzealous AirTran Boots 9 Passengers Off 1002

An anonymous readerwrites "On Friday the wonderfully customer centric AirTran decided to remove a family of 9 US born Muslims after a comment between two family members regarding how close to the Jet engine they had been seated. The wonderful part is that after the FBI cleared the family 2 hours later, AirTran refused to fly the family, and refused to rebook them on their way from Washington to Orlando, Florida. The family purchased additional tickets on US Airways later that day, after AirTran requested that the irate father be escorted from their booking podiums by security. This whole story highlights the pathetic customer service we are getting from the Airlines these days — they actually treat us like criminals first and ask questions later. Just don't get me started on Delta." It's nice to see that stupidity still knows no bounds.

CAN-SPAM Act Turns 5 Today — What Went Wrong? 301

alphadogg writes "Five years ago, the US tech industry, politicians, and Internet users were wringing their hands over the escalating problem of spam. This prompted Congress to pass a landmark anti-spam bill known as the CAN-SPAM Act in December 2003. Fast forward five years. The number of spam messages sent over the Internet every day has grown more than 10-fold, topping 164 billion worldwide in August 2008. Almost 97% of all e-mails are spam, costing US ISPs and corporations an estimated $42 billion a year. What went wrong here?"
The Military

America's Army As a High School Education Platform? 133

GamePolitics reports on a recent press release from the US Army which says they will be partnering with various military, education, and non-profit organizations to bring an education curriculum to high school students via America's Army. Quoting the press release: "The partnership ... will incorporate Army technology, gaming and simulation resources to enhance student achievement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The platform for the new curriculum is the America's Army PC game, a free online game that provides civilians with a virtual role in the US Army by introducing them to Army technologies, Rules of Engagement, training and missions. Used as a communications tool, the game has also been adapted for use within the military to produce effective and engaging virtual environments that enhance Soldier training in a number of areas including force protection, convoy survivability and nuclear, chemical and biological detection."

National Car Tracking System Proposed For US 563

bl968 writes "The Newspaper is reporting that the leading private traffic enforcement camera vendors are seeking to establish a national vehicle tracking system in the United States using existing red-light and speed enforcement cameras. The system would utilize Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) to track vehicles passing surveillance cameras operated by these companies. If there are cameras positioned correctly the company will enable images and video to be taken of the driver and passengers. The nice thing in their view is that absolutely no warrants are needed. To gain public acceptance, the surveillance program is being initially sold as an aid for police looking to solve Amber Alert cases and locate stolen cars."

In MN, Massive Police Raids On Suspected Protestors 961

X0563511 alerts us to events in Minneapolis and St. Paul in advance of the Republican convention (which has been put on hold because of Hurricane Gustav). Local police backed by the FBI raided a number of homes and public buildings and confiscated computers and other material. From "Last night, members of the St. Paul police department and the Ramsey County sheriff's department handcuffed, photographed and detained dozens of people meeting at a public venue to plan a demonstration, charging them with no crime other than 'fire code violations,' and early this morning, the Sheriff's department sent teams of officers into at least four Minneapolis area homes where suspected protesters were staying. Jane Hamsher and I were at two of those homes this morning — one which had just been raided and one which was in the process of being raided." Here is local reporting from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune: "Aided by informants planted in protest groups, authorities raided at least six buildings across St. Paul and Minneapolis to stop an 'anarchist' plan to disrupt this week's Republican National Convention. From Friday night through Saturday afternoon, officers surrounded houses, broke down doors, handcuffed scores of people and confiscated suspected tools of civil disobedience ... A St. Paul City Council member described it as excessive, while activists, many of whom were detained and then released without charges, called it intimidation designed to quash free speech."
United States

US No Longer the World's Internet Hub 433

museumpeace brings us a New York Times story about how internet traffic is increasingly flowing around the US as web-based industries catch up in other parts of the world. Other issues, such as the Patriot Act, have made foreign companies wary about having their data on US servers. From the NYTimes: "Internet industry executives and government officials have acknowledged that Internet traffic passing through the switching equipment of companies based in the United States has proved a distinct advantage for American intelligence agencies. In December 2005, The New York Times reported that the National Security Agency had established a program with the cooperation of American telecommunications firms that included the interception of foreign Internet communications. Some Internet technologists and privacy advocates say those actions and other government policies may be hastening the shift in Canadian and European traffic away from the United States."

The Power Grid Can't Handle Wind Farms 681

DesScorp writes "The Times reports on the problems of adding wind farms to the power grid. Because of the grid's old design, it can't handle the various spikes that wind farms sometimes have, and there's no efficient way to currently move massive amounts of that power from one section of the country to the other. Further complicating things is the fact that under current laws, power grid regulation is a state matter, and the Federal government has comparatively little authority over it right now. Critics are calling for federal authority over the grid, and massive new construction of 'superhighways' to share the wind power wealth nationally. Quoting the article, 'The dirty secret of clean energy is that while generating it is getting easier, moving it to market is not.'"
The Internet

East Coast Broadband Fastest In USA 363

Death Metal Maniac writes "The study, which was conducted by affordable-broadband advocacy group Speed Matters, found that the nine states with the fastest median download connections are all located on the East Coast. Rhode Island (6.8Mbps) and Delaware (6.7Mbps) have the fastest, and nearly triple the national median download speed of 2.3Mbps. Rounding out the Top 5 states are New Jersey (5.8Mbps), Virginia (5Mbps) and Massachusetts (4.6Mbps)."
The Almighty Buck

What Tech Workers Need To Know About Overtime 418

onehitwonder writes "The class-action lawsuit that current and former Apple employees have filed against the company raises questions about what kinds of workers are covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) — and thus, what kinds of workers are eligible for overtime pay. Some tech workers are covered under it; some are not though perhaps they should be. The lawyer who got IBM workers a $65M settlement from Big Blue for violating labor laws explains why employers often deny tech workers overtime pay and the circumstances under which certain tech workers may or may not be covered under the FLSA. From the article: 'It's not uncommon for employers to err on the side of classifying employees as exempt [from the FLSA], says Sagafi... In fact, the dirty little secret among employers and HR departments is that classifying employees as exempt — even if it means breaking the law — is in their best interest[,] provided... that they don't get caught... "In a sense, they may see it as economically viable for them to skirt the law and wait to see if they get sued because the exposure is not that huge [if they don't get sued]," Sagafi says. "If they can settle [a complaint] for less than 100 percent of what they owe people [for overtime], they've gotten away with a good deal."'"

FBI's New Eye Scan Database Raising Eyebrows 229

mattnyc99 writes "The FBI has confirmed to Popular Mechanics that it's not only adding palm prints to its criminal records, but preparing to balloon its repository of photos, which an agency official says 'could be the basis for our facial recognition.' It's all part of a new biometric software system that could store millions of iris scans within 10 years and has privacy advocates crying foul. Quoting: 'The FBI's Next Generation Identification (NGI) system, which could cost as much as $1 billion over its 10-year life cycle, will create an unprecedented database of biometric markers, such as facial images and iris scans. For criminal investigators, NGI could be as useful as DNA some day — a distinctive scar or a lopsided jaw line could mean the difference between a cold case and closed one. And for privacy watchdogs, it's a dual threat — seen as a step toward a police state, and a gold mine of personal data waiting to be plundered by cybercriminals.'"
United States

35 Articles of Impeachment Introduced Against Bush 1657

vsync64 writes "Last night, Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) spent 4 hours reading into the Congressional Record 35 articles of impeachment against George W. Bush. Interestingly, those articles (63-page PDF via Coral CDN) include not just complaints about signing statements and the war in Iraq, but also charges that the President "Sp[ied] on American Citizens, Without a Court-Ordered Warrant, in Violation of the Law and the Fourth Amendment,' 'Direct[ed] Telecommunications Companies to Create an Illegal and Unconstitutional Database of the Private Telephone Numbers and Emails of American Citizens,' and 'Tamper[ed] with Free and Fair Elections.' These are issues near and dear to the hearts of many here, so it's worth discussing. What little mainstream media coverage there is tends to be brief (USA Today, CBS News, UPI, AP, Reuters)." The (Democratic) House leadership has said that the idea of impeachment is "off the table." The Judiciary Committee has not acted on articles of impeachment against Vice President Cheney introduced by Kucinich a year ago.

It is your destiny. - Darth Vader