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Censorship

Submission + - Belgium May Not be Blocking The Pirate Bay (activepolitic.com)

bs0d3 writes: Recently many people from Belgium have been joining thepiratebay's and telecomix's irc channels and asking for help with the telecomix dns saying that it doesn't work to access www.thepiratebay.org. This is true. The court was very specific in their order, and it was to block the domains: www.thepiratebay.org, www.thepiratebay.net, www.thepiratebay.com, www.thepiratebay.nu, www.thepiratebay.se, www.piratebay.no, and www.ripthepiratebay.com, or else face a daily penalty of 1.000 EUR for every day when defendants do not implement such "DNS-blocking" in their DNS-servers'. So obviously in defiance of that, people testing their dns servers go to the domain www.thepiratebay.org, except, thepiratebay doesn't have the www domain turned on. At one point it redirected to the main page at the url thepiratebay.org, now it doesn't probably because of negligence from the admins. What's interesting is that the court only ordered the block of the www subdomains so if an isp wants to make a fuss they should be able to avoid the penalties until a later ruling.
Politics

Submission + - Discussing Drugs, a Federal Crime (huffingtonpost.com) 2

Memroid writes: The House Judiciary Committee passed a bill yesterday that would make it a federal crime for U.S. residents to discuss or plan activities on foreign soil that, if carried out in the U.S., would violate the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) — even if the planned activities are legal in the countries where they're carried out.
Privacy

Submission + - FBI to launch nationwide facial recognition servic (nextgov.com) 1

hessian writes: "The FBI by mid-January will activate a nationwide facial recognition service in select states that will allow local police to identify unknown subjects in photos, bureau officials told Nextgov.

The federal government is embarking on a multiyear, $1 billion dollar overhaul of the FBI's existing fingerprint database to more quickly and accurately identify suspects, partly through applying other biometric markers, such as iris scans and voice recordings."

Space

Submission + - ESA Selects First Two 'Cosmic Vision' Space Missio (gizmag.com)

Zothecula writes: The European Space Agency (ESA) this week announced the first two missions selected for its Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 Plan. The first, known as Solar Orbiter, will see a spacecraft operating closer to the Sun than any previous mission with a particular focus on examining the solar wind. The second, Euclid, is essentially a space telescope whose primary goal is to study the accelerating expansion of the universe in an attempt to provide an understanding of the exact nature of dark matter.

Submission + - Iran blocks VPN ports (stopfundamentalism.com)

Parham90 writes: "After the Iranian post-election events that led to massive riots and break-outs through the world, the Iranian government started blocking all social websites, including Facebook, Youtube, Orcut, MySpace and Twitter. The Iranians, however, started using VPN (virtual private network) connections to bypass censorship. Since Thursday, September 30, 2011, all VPN ports have however been blocked, in the first attempt to start what the Iranian government calls the "National Internet"."
Chrome

Submission + - Web Browser Grand Prix 7: Firefox 7, Chrome 14, Op (tomshardware.com) 1

An anonymous reader writes: Firefox 7 was released a couple days ago, and now the latest Web browser perfromance numbers are in. This article is the same series that ran benchmarks on Mac OS X Lion last month. This time around the new Mozilla release is going against Chrome 14 and Opera 11.51 in 40+ different tests on Windows 7. Testing comes from every category of Web browsing perfromance I can think of: startup time, page load time, JS, CSS, DOM, HTML5, Flash, hardware acceleration, WebGL, Java, Silverlight, reliable page loads, memory usage/management, and standards confromance. The article also has a little feature on the Futuremark Peacekeeper browser benchmark. An open beta of the next revision has just been made public. This new version adds HTML5, video codecs, and WebGL tests to the benchmark. It's also designed to run on any browser/OS/device combination — e.g. Windows desktop, iPad, Droid 2, MacBook, Linux flavors, etc. Another great read, a must for Web browser fanatics!
The Military

Submission + - Drone Kills Top Al Qaeda Figure (wsj.com) 9

wiredmikey writes: The Wall Street Journal reports that the U.S. began a new CIA-led counterterrorism program in Yemen on Friday, sending unmanned aircraft to kill an American-born cleric who occupied a top place on the U.S.'s anti-terrorist list.

The death of Anwar al-Awlaki eliminates a leading figure in Yemen's branch of al Qaeda and one of its most charismatic recruiters. A Web-savvy Islamic preacher with sparkling English, Mr. Awlaki was known for his ability to couch extremist views in ways that appealed to Western youth. He had been linked to suspects in the 2009 Fort Hood, Texas, shooting spree and the botched bombing of a Detroit-bound jet that Christmas.

More on the story from the Wall Street Journal...

Microsoft

Submission + - Battle for open standards in public education (janstedehouder.nl)

pjstevns writes: The heat is on! With the rising use of online systems for school administration the battle for open and accessible solutions is here, now. Parents are forced to buy 'proper' operating systems from your favorite Redmond based supplier — just to be able to access their childrens' grades, or participate in classes. A petition addressed at parliament for proper implementation of the open-standards guidelines put forward by the Dutch government itself is buzzing around the Netherlands. Comply or Explain!

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