Rick Zeman writes "After Google ran fiber in Kansas City, the Kansas legislature has introduced a bill to "encourage the development and widespread use of technological advances in providing video, telecommunications and broadband services at competitive rates...."
The only problem with that is that no networks can be added where one already exists."
Rick Zeman writes "Wired reports on the the most amazing paper airplane ever made, a 1:60 scale replica of a Boeing 777 jumbo made entirely out of manila folders, and the odd dab of glue. While Boeing can build a real 777 in 50 days, this model took 5 years to build, along with detailing that took months."
Rick Zeman writes "Alan Turing has been belatedly pardoned by the Queen of England 60+ years after his suicide after being chemically castrated for his homosexuality.
The British prime minister, David Cameron, said in a statement: “He...left a remarkable national legacy through his substantial scientific achievements, often being referred to as the ‘father of modern computing.’ ”"
Rick Zeman writes "Those of us of, uh, a certain age, recall The Oregon Trail with fondness as that pioneering educational game had the audacity to make learning fun! In the Mental Floss' history they look at the history behind the game, even going back to its initial text-based offering, showing how some programming magic pulled a generation of kids together."
Rick Zeman writes "Hot on the heels of an attorney suing Apple for a dollar because he couldn't be bothered to know if his device was High Definition-capable or not, comes the amusing tale of another attorney suing Apple because they didn't protect him from his porn addiction. The semi-literate 50 page complaint alleges that Apple is culpable "...for making devices that can display porn" and, containing one of the most amazing sentences to ever appear on the Internet claims that Apple is guilty of:
"UNFAIR COMPETITION AND INTERFERENCE OF THE MARITAL CONTRACT:
The Plaintiff became totally out of synch in his romantic relationship with his wife, which was a consequence of his use of his Apple product. The Plaintiff began desiring, younger more beautiful girls featured in porn videos than his wife, who was no longer 21. His failed marriage caused the Plaintiff to experience emotional distress to the point of hospitalization. The Plaintiff could no longer tell the difference between internet pornography and tangible intercourse due to the content he accessed through the Apple products, which failed to provide him with warnings of the dangers of online pornography whatsoever."
Rick Zeman writes "While the NSA's privacy violations are in the news, the New York Times reports on a lower tech version of the same concept performed by the US Postal Service. From the article: "Mr. Pickering was targeted by a longtime surveillance system called mail covers, but that is only a forerunner of a vastly more expansive effort, the Mail Isolation Control and Tracking program, in which Postal Service computers photograph the exterior of every piece of paper mail that is processed in the United States — about 160 billion pieces last year. It is not known how long the government saves the images." and "For mail cover requests, law enforcement agencies simply submit a letter to the Postal Service, which can grant or deny a request without judicial review. Law enforcement officials say the Postal Service rarely denies a request. In other government surveillance program, such as wiretaps, a federal judge must sign off on the requests." In other words, the USPS is capturing the metadata off of every piece of mail mailed in the US...but with even less oversight than the FISA courts provide over the NSA."
Rick Zeman writes ""Confidentiality is critical to national security." So wrote the Justice Department in concealing the NSA's role in two wiretap cases. However, now that the NSA is under the gun, it's apparently not, according to New York attorney Joshua Dratel: “National security is about keeping illegal conduct concealed from the American public until you’re forced to justify it because someone ratted you out" as the first he heard of the NSA's role in his client's case was "....when [FBI deputy director Sean] Joyce disclosed it on CSPAN to argue for the effectiveness of the NSA’s spying.
Dratel challenged the legality of the spying in 2011, and asked a federal judge to order the government to produce the wiretap application the FBI gave the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to justify the surveillance.
“Disclosure of the FISA applications to defense counsel – who possess the requisite security clearance – is also necessary to an accurate determination of the legality of the FISA surveillance, as otherwise the defense will be completely in the dark with respect to the basis for the FISA surveillance,” wrote Dratel.
The government fought the request in a remarkable 60-page reply, some of it redacted as classified in the public docket. The Justice Department argued that the defendants had no right to see any of the filings from the secret court, and instead the judge could review the filings alone in chambers. “Confidentiality is critical to national security,” the government wrote."
Rick Zeman writes "Showing once again that once a privacy door is opened every law enforcement agency will run through it, The Washington Post details how state drivers license photo databases are being mined by various LEOs in their states--and out. From the article: "[L]aw enforcement use of such facial searches is blurring the traditional boundaries between criminal and non-criminal databases, putting images of people never arrested in what amount to perpetual digital lineups. The most advanced systems allow police to run searches from laptop computers in their patrol cars and offer access to the FBI and other federal authorities.
Such open access has caused a backlash in some of the few states where there has been a public debate. As the databases grow larger and increasingly connected across jurisdictional boundaries, critics warn that authorities are developing what amounts to a national identification system — based on the distinct geography of each human face.""
Rick Zeman writes "Edward Snowden, a Booz Allen contractor to the NSA, has outed himself toT he Guardian as the the source of the Verizon/NSA data dump. Says he: "I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong," It is speculated that he will become as (in) famous as Bradley Manning and Daniel Ellsberg."
Rick Zeman writes "Hot on the heels of Verizon's massive data dump to NSA comes news of "PRISM" where The National Security Agency and the FBI are tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading U.S. Internet companies, extracting audio, video, photographs, e-mails, documents and connection logs that enable analysts to track a person’s movements and contacts over time."
This program, established in 2007, includes major companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook...and more."
Rick Zeman writes "According to Wired, an order by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court "...requires Verizon to give the NSA metadata on all calls within the U.S. and between the U.S. and foreign countries on an “ongoing, daily basis” for three months. Unlike orders in years past, there's not even the pretense that one of the parties needed to be in a foreign country. It is unknown (but likely) that other carriers are under the same order."
Rick Zeman writes "The Washington Post writes about how vendor fragmentation leads to security vulnerabilities and other exploits. This situation is "...making the world’s most popular mobile operating system more vulnerable than its rivals to hackers, scam artists and a growing universe of malicious software" unlike Apple's iOS which they note has widely available updates several times a year. In light of many companies' Bring Your Own Device initiatives “You have potentially millions of Androids making their way into the work space, accessing confidential documents,” said Christopher Soghoian, a former Federal Trade Commission technology expert who now works for the American Civil Liberties Union. “It’s like a really dry forest, and it’s just waiting for a match.”"
Rick Zeman writes "According to a headline article in the New York Times, they admit to being hacked by the Chinese, and covers the efforts of Mandiant to investigate, and then to eradicate their custom Advanced Persistent Threats (APT). This was alleged to be in reaction to an article which details the sleazy business dealings of the family of Wen Jiabao, China's newest Prime Minister.
China’s Ministry of National Defense said in denial, “Chinese laws prohibit any action including hacking that damages Internet security.” Do note that it says they don't prohibit hacking, and also note that a business being hacked doesn't "damage[s] Internet security.""
Rick Zeman writes "They've had the best of times, and now they're living through the worst of times. The Washington Post talks about the dissolution of both Kodak's and Polaroid's business models, what Kodak can learn from Polaroid's earlier mistakes, and the resurrection of some classic Polaroid tech by private entrepreneurs."
Rick Zeman writes "As mentioned on CNN, back in the 1950's the United States had plans to nuke the moon in an attempt to bring Mutually Assured Destruction to its next level. The Air Force team behind that aborted plan even included a young astronomer named Carl Sagan."