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+ - Google Tips Off Police To Child Porn Transmitted Using Gmail->

Submitted by SonicSpike
SonicSpike (242293) writes "A Houston man has been arrested after Google sent a tip to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children saying the man had explicit images of a child in his email, according to Houston police.

The man was a registered sex offender, convicted of sexually assaulting a child in 1994, reports Tim Wetzel at KHOU Channel 11 News in Houston.

"He was keeping it inside of his email. I can't see that information, I can't see that photo, but Google can," Detective David Nettles of the Houston Metro Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforce told Channel 11.

After Google reportedly tipped off the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the center alerted police, who used the information to get a warrant.

A search of the man's other devices revealed more suspicious images and text messages. Police arrested him and he's being held on a $200,000 bond.

On one hand, most people would certainly applaud the use of technology to scan email in a case like this.

On the other, debate rages about how much privacy users can expect when using Google's services like email. In a word: none.

A year ago, in a court brief, Google said as much. Then, in April, after a class-action case against Google for email scanning fell apart, Google updated its terms of service to warn people that it was automatically analyzing emails .

Considering Google has been working to fight online child sexual abuse since 2006, it stands to reason the company would scan emails looking for those sorts of images. Google has never come right out and said so, but hinted strongly at it about a year ago when Jacquelline Fuller, director of Google Giving, specifically mentioned the National Center's "CyberTipline" in a blog post . The CyberTipline receives leads and tips regarding suspected crimes."

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+ - State governments consider regulating digital currency-> 1

Submitted by SonicSpike
SonicSpike (242293) writes "Now that consumers can use digital currencies like bitcoin to buy rugs from Overstock.com, pay for Peruvian pork sandwiches from a food truck in Washington, D.C. and even make donations to political action committees, states are beginning to explore how to regulate the emerging industry.

Digital currencies — also known as virtual currencies or cash for the Internet —allow people to transfer value over the Internet, but are not legal tender. Because they don’t require third-party intermediaries such as credit card companies or PayPal, merchants and consumers can avoid the fees typically associated with traditional payment systems.

Advocates of virtual currencies also say that because personal information is not tied to transactions, digital currencies are less prone to identity theft.

With about $7.8 billion in circulation, bitcoin is the most widely used digital currency; others include Litecoin and Peercoin. All are examples of cryptocurrencies, a subset of digital currencies that rely on cryptography to function.

“As far as we know, most state laws are completely silent on this topic,” said David J. Cotney, chairman of the Conference of State Bank Supervisors’ Emerging Payments Task Force, which in March began exploring virtual currency.

Among the questions the task force will consider, Cotney said, is whether bitcoins should be classified as currencies, investment securities or commodities, which could determine which regulators should apply.

New York became the first state to propose regulations for the digital currency industry when it unveiled earlier this month a broad-ranging proposal that aims to address consumer protection, money laundering and cybersecurity.

Until recently, California prohibited the use of alternative currencies. Last month, Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation to allow the use of alternative currencies, including digital currencies.

The Texas Department of Banking said in April Texas will not treat bitcoin and other digital currencies as money. “What it means, from our perspective, is just simply that it’s not money for the purposes of money transmission or currency exchange,” said Daniel Wood, an assistant general counsel in the department. “A bitcoin is basically property.” However, most bitcoin exchanges would be considered money transmitters and exchanging digital currency for sovereign currency would in most cases be considered money transmission.

Last month, the Kansas Office of the State Bank Commissioner issued a guidance that, like Texas, concluded that digital currencies are not considered money under the Kansas Money Transmitter Act."

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+ - Rand Paul revolution in Silicon Valley->

Submitted by SonicSpike
SonicSpike (242293) writes "Free thinkers could find a home in the Republican Party

Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, recently spoke at the “Rebooting Congress, Causes and Campaigns 2014” conference in Silicon Valley. The goal of Lincoln Labs, which put on the event, is to “create a bridge between technology and efforts to advance liberty.” The conference sought to “bring together technical talent and policy advocates to turn ideas into deliverables for liberty.”

Mr. Paul has also met in recent weeks with tech luminaries, including Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel.

This might seem like just the usual meet-and-greet in advance of a possible presidential run. The libertarian-leaning Mr. Paul’s efforts, though, could presage a radical realignment of the Republican Party and a revolution in American politics.

The GOP is in a demographic death spiral as its traditional voter base — for example, white evangelicals — shrinks. To survive, it must bring into its fold minorities, young people, and, especially, the new modernist achievers. These latter are the innovators who led the communications and information revolution and who are pioneering new technologies and services in areas such as medicine, robotics, energy, transportation, space and education."

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+ - Republicans Taking Charge of Bitcoin Campaign Donations->

Submitted by SonicSpike
SonicSpike (242293) writes "There are now more than 30 candidates, party organizations and PACs accepting bitcoin, according to a rough count that’s partly based on data compiled by Make Your Laws, a non-partisan political action committee focused on campaign finance reform.

It’s perhaps no surprise that New Hampshire politicians in particular have warmed to bitcoin since the Federal Election Commission approved a specific request by Make Your Laws in May. With its motto of “live free or die” and a reputation for libertarian values of the kind shared by many bitcoiners, there’s a natural fit.

There, the charge is being led by 32-year-old Republican Andrew Hemingway, the youngest gubernatorial candidate in the country. Thursday he joined a dozen candidates for the state’s Senate to incorporate onto their websites a platform from payment processor Paystand that provides an option to pay in credit card, e-check or bitcoin.

“I’m the first millennial candidate for governor anywhere in the country, so I come at this from a distinct generational perspective,” Mr. Hemingway said. “I’m also a tech entrepreneur. A lot of my friends and a lot of my regular network use bitcoins on a regular basis and have been active in the bitcoin community. So, it was a no-brainer to incorporate it into my campaign.”"

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+ - Rand Paul eyes tech-oriented donors, geeks in Bay Area->

Submitted by SonicSpike
SonicSpike (242293) writes "Rand Paul goes hunting in San Francisco starting Thursday for two things Democrats usually expect to have locked up in the Golden State: rich technology donors and computer geeks game to leave their jobs to work on a White House campaign.

Focusing on a libertarian sliver of the Bay Area’s tech crowd, the Kentucky Republican hopes the three-day trip can tap into a powerful resource that could boost his fundraising skills, message delivery and voter turnout — potent technology tools that were a crucial component in President Barack Obama’s two general election victories.

But Paul also has a more lofty agenda — using his strongly held views on National Security Agency surveillance, Internet privacy and free markets to broaden the traditional GOP coalition — and perhaps even persuade California voters to turn their state red for the first time since George H.W. Bush in 1988.

“I think it has to be someone with the right message, but I think there’s room for us out there,” Paul said in an interview where he called on Republicans to “run a 50-state strategy.”"

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+ - Is Rand Paul's Silicon Valley Charm Offensive Working?->

Submitted by SonicSpike
SonicSpike (242293) writes "Rand Paul appears to be making a full-court press for the affections of Silicon Valley, and there are some signs that his efforts are paying off.

At last week's Sun Valley conference, Paul had one-on-one meetings with Thiel and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The former isn't surprising. (Thiel basically bankrolled the elder Paul's 2012 presidential campaign.) But Zuckerberg is an unlikely Paul ally. He's clearly not a down-the-line Democrat — he held a fund-raiser for Chris Christie, and his meandering political organization, FWD.us, has backed conservative politicians — and, when asked about his affiliation, he has refused to identify with either major party, saying only, "I'm pro-knowledge economy." But he hasn't come out as a tea-party conservative, or anything like one.

It's friends like Zuckerberg who explain why Paul now routinely receives what Fortune called a "hero's welcome" when he comes to Silicon Valley. Next weekend, Paul will get to make his case yet again as the keynote speaker at Reboot, a San Francisco conference put on by a group called Lincoln Labs, which self-defines as "techies and politicos who believe in promoting liberty with technology." He'll likely say a version of what he's said before: that Silicon Valley's innovative potential can be best unlocked in an environment with minimal government intrusion in the forms of surveillance, corporate taxes, and regulation. “I see almost unlimited potential for us in Silicon Valley,” Paul has said, with "us" meaning libertarians."

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+ - Rand Paul Meets With Zuckerberg And Peter Thiel->

Submitted by SonicSpike
SonicSpike (242293) writes "Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) reportedly had meetings with two top Silicon Valley billionaires at Allen & Company's Sun Valley conference in Idaho.

In his Playbook newsletter Sunday, Politico's Mike Allen reported Paul, who is considering a presidential bid in 2016, "had private sit-downs with the investor Peter Thiel and Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg" while at the conference.

A spokesperson for Paul has not responded to a request from Business Insider about what he discussed with Thiel and Zuckerberg. However, it is natural that Paul, who has emerged as a leader of the libertarian wing of the Republican Party, might seek to curry favor and position himself for potential donations from Silicon Valley.

Paul has been attempting to court support among the tech set by focusing on his opposition to the National Security Agency's surveillance program. Last year, he traveled to California to give a lecture at the Google campus in Mountain View.

Thiel is perhaps the best known avatar of Silicon Valley libertarianism. He gave $2.6 million to a PAC that supported the presidential campaign of Paul's father, former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) in 2012."

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Comment: Re:For Starters... (Score 1) 88

Except that the person in the corner office incurred risk, something people outside of the corner office did not do. People who incur risk are often handsomely rewarded for it by the market, as they should be. If the people who don't work in the corner office, as you have described, want to work for themselves, they too are free to incur risk although most choose not to.

+ - US Supreme Court Says Cellphones Can't Be Searched Without a Warrant->

Submitted by SonicSpike
SonicSpike (242293) writes "In a major statement on privacy rights in the digital age, the Supreme Court on Wednesday unanimously ruled that the police need warrants to search the cellphones of people they arrest.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., writing for the court, said the vast amount of data contained on modern cellphones must be protected from routine inspection.

The court heard arguments in April in two cases on the issue, but issued a single decision.

The courts have long allowed warrantless searches in connection with arrests, saying they are justified by the need to protect police officers and to prevent the destruction of evidence. The Justice Department, in its Supreme Court briefs, said the old rule should apply to the new devices.

Others say there must be a different standard because of the sheer amount of data on and available through cellphones.

“Today, many Americans store their most personal ‘papers’ and ‘effects’ in electronic format on a cellphone, carried on the person,” Judge Norman H. Stahl wrote for a divided three-judge panel in Mr. Wurie’s case, quoting the words of the Fourth Amendment."

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+ - Concert industry fights FCC's auction of RF spectrum->

Submitted by SonicSpike
SonicSpike (242293) writes "Ever since last year, when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced plans to auction off the 608 to 698 MHz UHF spectrum — the UHF TV channels 36 through 51 — the pro audio community has been justifiably worried. After all, many pro users have far-too-vivid memories of the last reallocation of TV channels 52 to 69 (the so-called “700 MHz band” from 698 to 806 MHz) in 2008, which were made illegal for pro wireless applications after June 12, 2010.

This time around, nearly the entire 600 MHz band could possibly be up for grabs to the highest bidder at an auction slated for the summer of 2015. With major deep-pocket players in the telecom industry anxious and ready to bid as much as $20 billion, it is unlikely that pro audio users could possibly compete on a cash basis against these corporate giants, such as AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and others.

However, leading manufacturers of pro wireless have been very active in working with the FCC to make the commission aware of the needs of our industry, and there may be a ray of hope on the horizon.

The first good news came from an announcement late last year by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler that the Broadcast Television Spectrum Incentive Auction — originally scheduled for 2014 — was rescheduled to next year, which would give the FCC more time to examine the issue.

Another breakthrough came in February of this year, when a contingent of audio wireless manufacturers (Audio-Technica, Lectrosonics, Sennheiser and Shure), along with production professionals and broadcast industry representatives, arranged a meeting with some FCC Commissioners and the Incentive Auction Task Force — essentially those working on FCC guidelines regarding the proposed 600 MHz band sale.

The results of that were a positive sign and the open dialog laid down by these meetings began to increase the FCC’s awareness of the needs of the pro wireless community to hopefully reach a resolution — or at least compromise — well before any frequency reallocations reach the auctioneer’s final hammer."

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+ - Facebook Wants To Listen In On What You're Doing-> 2

Submitted by SonicSpike
SonicSpike (242293) writes "Facebook is rolling out a new feature for its smartphone app that can turn on users’ microphones and listen to what’s happening around them to identify songs playing or television being watched. The pay-off for users in allowing Facebook to eavesdrop is that the social giant will be able to add a little tag to their status update that says they’re watching an episode of Games of Thrones as they sound off on their happiness (or despair) about the rise in background sex on TV these days.

The feature is an optional one, something the company emphasizes in its announcement. The tech giant does seem well-aware that in these days of Snowden surveillance revelations, people might not be too keen for Facebook to take control of their smartphone’s mic and start listening in on them by default. It’s only rolling out the feature in the U.S. and a product PR person emphasized repeatedly that no recording is being stored, only “code.” “We’re not recording audio or sound and sending it to Facebook or its servers,” says Facebook spokesperson Momo Zhou. “We turn the audio it hears into a code — code that is not reversible into audio — and then we match it against a database of code.”"

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+ - This Twitter-Loving Trekkie Congressman Is the NSA's Worst Enemy->

Submitted by SonicSpike
SonicSpike (242293) writes "Republican Congressman Justin Amash uses Twitter and Facebook to call out other Republican lawmakers by name and accuse them of sacrificing core GOP beliefs for political gain.

The fight stems from Amash's uncompromising belief that the federal government has grown far too large and far too powerful, especially when it comes to national security. He has reserved particular fury for the National Security Agency (NSA), which he sees as an out-of-control spy agency that has run roughshod over the Constitution and the privacy rights of ordinary Americans. Amash wants to sharply rein in the NSA's powers, and — to the surprise and consternation of many in his own party — the young lawmaker may help determine the makeup of the historic NSA reform bill cobbled together by powerful lawmakers from both parties.

  At the moment, Congress is closer than ever to passing far-reaching legislation that would end the spy agency's bulk collection of Americans' personal data. The USA Freedom Act, sponsored by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), is backed by the White House and senior lawmakers in both parties. It was forged as a compromise between hawkish defenders of the NSA and prominent civil libertarians. But as it moves closer to a floor vote this month, both Republican and Democratic leaders are watching with anxiety as Amash contemplates whether to wage a scorched-earth revolt against the less-than-pure bill or to try to add modest amendments to the current legislation. Last year, Amash surprised observers by reaching across the aisle and winning more than 200 Republican and Democratic votes for an NSA reform provision that went much further than his own party's leadership was willing to go. He lost that fight, but gained credibility as a coalition-builder in the process. Amash has yet to telegraph his plans for the current bill, but he insists he won't accept cosmetic changes to the NSA's spying powers.

"If it looks like they want to move some of their pseudo-reforms through, then certainly we're going to stand up and fight against that," Amash said during an interview in his Washington office.

The long-delayed legislative effort to rein in the NSA overcame two significant hurdles last week with the passage of the USA Freedom Act in the House Judiciary Committee and the House Intelligence Committee. Civil libertarians had long supported the bill because of its outright ban on the NSA's bulk data collection of Americans' phone records and its overhaul of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FISA) Court, the court that oversees NSA surveillance activities.

Amash, an original co-sponsor of the bill, was one of a handful of lawmakers involved in drafting the legislation. But the bill has changed significantly on its way to the House floor, making it vulnerable to an insurrection by him and other hard-line civil libertarians. If he pushes back too hard, however, Amash will be written off by House leadership and lose any chance to work on the bill from the inside so it includes piecemeal reforms he cares about. The fundamental question he confronts is whether to allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good.

In the summer of 2013, following Edward Snowden's disclosures of the NSA's broad domestic spying operations, Amash made it a priority to defang the spy agency any way he could. He joined forces with Rep. John Conyers, a progressive Michigan Democrat, on an amendment to limit NSA data collection only to individuals under investigation for potential terrorism links. He then set out to build a critical mass of libertarian Republicans and progressive Democrats in support of the amendment, drawing up spreadsheets of potential swing voters and canvassing their offices.

Although fiercely opposed by House Speaker John Boehner, Amash managed to win support from more than 200 lawmakers for the amendment, forcing Boehner to allow a floor vote. Although the reworked provision ultimately lost by an excruciatingly close 12 votes, 205-217, the effort put Amash on the map as a major player in the surveillance debate and showed leadership the significant appetite for reform in both parties.

"People wouldn't even be talking about these reforms now if it wasn't for Amash's leadership on removing the NSA's bulk collection authorities last year," Rep. Jared Polis, a liberal Colorado Democrat, said in an interview.

"He rallied members of the Republican Party and people on our side of the aisle who shared his view," added Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.). "It was a left-right coalition, and it came close to succeeding.""

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+ - MasterCard lobbying Congress against Bitcoin->

Submitted by SonicSpike
SonicSpike (242293) writes "MasterCard is paying lobbyists to focus on the growing digital currency bitcoin, according to federal lobbying disclosure records.

In a quarterly report filed this month, lobbying firm Peck Madigan Jones said that five of its lobbyists were concentrating on “Bitcoin and mobile payments,” among more than a dozen other issues, on behalf of MasterCard.

The payment giant is the first company to officially lobby on the virtual currency, according to federal disclosure records.
In a statement sent to The Hill, MasterCard said that it was “gathering information in connection with recent congressional hearings to better understand the policy issues around virtual and anonymous currencies.”

The bitcoin company Xapo is working with banks on a bitcoin debit card that uses MasterCard and Visa networks, but MasterCard said on Tuesday said that it had no relationship with the company.

Bitcoins have been controversial on Capitol Hill, where some lawmakers have viewed them skeptically and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) even called for an outright ban. Still, others have been quicker to embrace them.

Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) bought $10 worth of bitcoins at a press event earlier this month, and committees in both chambers have held a slew of hearings on the potentials and perils of the currency.

Bitcoins only exist online and can be used relatively anonymously, which has invited drug dealers, money launders and other would-be criminals to see the money as a favorable way to hide their profits.

Defenders counter that the currency is no more risky than cash, but say it has the potential to revolutionize the way people pay for things. Backers say that bitcoins are safe and transactions are much cheaper for businesses than credit cards, which charge fees.

So far, Congress has been interested in learning about the money but has resisted passing legislation on its use or treatment. MasterCard’s lobbying could be a sign of new activity on Capitol Hill.

Other agencies, however, have begun to flex their oversight muscles on the issue.

The Federal Election Commission is currently eyeing whether to allow campaigns to accept bitcoin contributions, and the IRS recently declared that bitcoins should be treated like a property, not currency, when people pay their taxes."

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+ - U.S. passenger jet nearly collided with drone in March: FAA->

Submitted by SonicSpike
SonicSpike (242293) writes "An American Airlines Group Inc aircraft almost collided with a drone above Florida earlier this year, a near-accident that highlights the growing risk from rising use of unmanned aircraft, the U.S. air safety regulator said.

The pilot reported seeing a small, remote-control aircraft very close to his plane while preparing to land at Tallahassee Regional Airport, said Jim Williams, manager of the Federal Aviation Administration's Unmanned Aircraft System Integration Office.

"The airplane pilot said that the UAS was so close to his jet that he was sure he had collided with it," Williams said at an industry conference on Thursday, referring to an unmanned aircraft system.

The aircraft, operated by an American subsidiary, did not appear to be damaged when it was inspected after the March 22 incident, Williams said.

But the incident served to highlight the risk of remote-control aircraft, he said.

"The risk for a small UAS to be ingested into a passenger airline engine is very real," Williams said. "The results could be catastrophic."

The FAA currently bans the commercial use of drones in the United States and is under growing pressure to set rules that would permit their broader use. Hobby and many law-enforcement uses are permitted.

Last year, the agency began establishing test sites where businesses can try out commercial uses. [ID:nL2N0K90QW] Two of the centers have started working ahead of schedule.

"The FAA is working aggressively to ensure the safe integration of unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace," the agency said in a statement.

The March incident was reported to the Tallahassee control tower by the pilot for Bluestreak Airlines, a US Airways commuter carrier. US Airways is part of American Airlines."

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