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+ - 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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+ - Anti-surveillance mask lets you pass as someone else->

Submitted by SonicSpike
SonicSpike (242293) writes "If the world starts looking like a scene from "Matrix 3" where everyone has Agent Smith's face, you can thank Leo Selvaggio.

His rubber mask aimed at foiling surveillance cameras features his visage, and if he has his way, plenty of people will be sporting the Personal Surveillance Identity Prosthetic in public. It's one of three products made by the Chicago-based artist's URME Surveillance, a venture dedicated to "protecting the public from surveillance and creating a safe space to explore our digital identities."

"Our world is becoming increasingly surveilled. For example, Chicago has over 25,000 cameras networked to a single facial recognition hub," reads the URME (pronounced U R Me) site. "We don't believe you should be tracked just because you want to walk outside and you shouldn't have to hide either. Instead, use one of our products to present an alternative identity when in public."

The 3D-printed resin mask, made from a 3D scan of Selvaggio's face and manufactured by, renders his features and skin tone with surprising realism, though the eyes peeping out from the eye holes do lend a certain creepiness to the look.

Creepiness is, of course, part of the point here, as the interdisciplinary artist takes a his-face-in-everyone's-face approach to exploring the impact of an increasingly networked world on personal identity.

"When you wear these devices the cameras will track me instead of you and your actions in public space will be attributed as mine because it will be me the cameras see," the artist, who's working toward his MFA at Chicago's Columbia College, says on a recently launched Indiegogo page for the products. "All URME devices have been tested for facial recognition and each properly identifies the wearer of me on Facebook, which has some of the most sophisticated facial recognition software around."

It turns out some states have anti-mask laws. And Selvaggio — whose earlier project You Are Me let others use his social-media profiles — says he's considered the possibility that anyone wearing his face in public could engage in illegal activity.

"I would of course like to believe that others will use these devices responsibly and I can't be clearer that I do not condone criminal activity," he told Crave. "However it is possible, and I have weighed out the possibility that a crime may become associated with me. That being said, I have come to the conclusion that it is worth the risk if it creates public discourse around surveillance practices and how it affects us all."

URME's Indiegogo campaign has so far raised a little over $500 of its $1,000 goal, with 36 days left. Products include a $1 paper mask for those unable to afford the $200 prosthetic, as well as community development hacktivist kits of 12-24 paper masks meant to be worn by groups, presumably of protesters (or anyone into clone armies).

Open-source facial-encryption software that replaces faces in video with Selvaggio's is currently in the prototype stage and will most likely go through several iterations, Selvaggio says, before eventually becoming available as a free download from the URME website.

URME insists all products will be sold at cost, with no profit made and all proceeds going to sustain URME's efforts to keep surveillance in the public discourse.

"To be clear, I am not anti-surveillance," the artist told Crave. "What I am pushing for is increasing the amount of public discourse about surveillance and how it affects our behavior in public space. When we are watched we are fundamentally changed. We perform rather than be.""

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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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+ - UPDATE: Senator Rand Paul Rejects White House Drone Memo Offer->

Submitted by SonicSpike
SonicSpike (242293) writes "An update to an earlier story that was posted:

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (R) on Tuesday rejected a White House offer to let senators read a federal court nominee's memo authorizing a drone strike on a U.S. citizen, calling anything short of a full public release "inadequate."

Paul is threatening to block the federal appeals court nomination of David Barron, who wrote a Justice Department memo justifying a drone strike against alleged al Qaeda commander Anwar al-Awlaki, until that memo is released. Last month the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the government to release the document.

"A federal court has ordered the public release of a redacted legal memo authored by Barron and I believe that anything short of that is inadequate," Paul said in a statement released Tuesday. "I will continue to oppose this nomination until the document is released."

Barron's nomination has been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee. It's not clear whether Paul will be able to stop Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) from bringing Barron's nomination to a full Senate floor vote.

Barron served as the acting head of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel from 2009 to 2010. The office's legal memos, underlying the targeted killing program, have been the subject of several contentious legal battles over whether they will be publicly released.

You can read the letter itself at this link"

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+ - Department of Defense to study Bitcoin as possible terrorist threat->

Submitted by SonicSpike
SonicSpike (242293) writes "The Combatting Terrorism Technical Support Office is spearheading a program that will help the military understand how modern technologies could pose threats to national security, including bitcoin and other virtual currencies, the International Business Times reported.

A memo detailing some of the CTTSO projects states, “The introduction of virtual currency will likely shape threat finance by increasing the opaqueness, transactional velocity, and overall efficiencies of terrorist attacks,” as reported by Bitcoin Magazine, according to IBTimes."

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+ - Rand Paul Starts New Drone War In Congress->

Submitted by SonicSpike
SonicSpike (242293) writes "Rand Paul has warned Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) that he will place a hold on one of President Obama’s appellate court nominees because of his role in crafting the legal basis for Obama’s drone policy.

Paul, the junior Republican senator from Kentucky, has informed Reid he will object to David Barron’s nomination to the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals unless the Justice Department makes public the memos he authored justifying the killing of an American citizen in Yemen.

The American Civil Liberties Union supports Paul’s objection, giving some Democratic lawmakers extra incentive to support a delay to Barron’s nomination, which could come to the floor in the next two weeks.

Barron, formerly a lawyer in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, penned at least one secret legal memo approving the Sept. 2011 drone strike that killed Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical Muslim cleric whom intelligence officials accused of planning terrorist attacks against the United States.

The attack also killed another American citizen, Samir Khan, the creator of an online magazine catering to jihadists.

Paul says Justice must show Baron’s memo before he will consider lifting the hold."

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+ - Silicon Valley and Rand Paul: A Love Story->

Submitted by SonicSpike
SonicSpike (242293) writes "Wooing the Patagonia-wearing, Blue Bottle coffee-sipping denizens of Silicon Valley, and especially San Francisco, may seem like a fool's errand for much of the GOP, but not for Paul, who recently made his second swing through the Bay Area in as many years. Indeed, his libertarian leanings, which can rankle Republican Party pooh-bahs, resonate in the Valley, where folks are messianic about private enterprise's potential to solve all the world's challenges. Among the technorati, Paul's willingness to engage ideas outside the mainstream isn't a liability — it's his strongest virtue.

It's all part of Paul's high-stakes gambit to expand the GOP's appeal in precincts generally hostile to conservatives. "I see almost unlimited potential for us in Silicon Valley," Paul tells Fortune in an April interview in his Capitol Hill office after his trip. "Many more of them are libertarian-leaning Republicans than they are Democrats, and they may not know it yet.""

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+ - Senator Rand Paul Suggests Backing Bitcoin With Stocks->

Submitted by SonicSpike
SonicSpike (242293) writes "While he likes it in principle, Paul said there's one thing he would change about it to align it more with those values: have it backed by something of value, in this case, he proposes, stocks.

Here's the full quote:

I was looking more at it until that recent thing [sic]. And actually my theory, if I were setting it up, I'd make it exchangeable for stock. And then it'd have real value. And I'd have it pegged, and I'd have a basket of 10 big retailers I think it would work, but I think, because I'm sort of a believer in currency having value, if you're going to create a currency, have it backed up by — you know, Hayek used to talk about a basket of commodities? You could have a basket of stocks, and have some exchangeability, because it's hard for people like me who are a bit tangible. But you could have an average of stocks, I'm wondering if that's the next permutation.""

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+ - Congressman Massie Recognized for Social Media Accountability and Transparency ->

Submitted by SonicSpike
SonicSpike (242293) writes "Congressman Massie received one of the first-ever Gold Mouse Awards for Social Media by the Congressional Management Foundation (CMF), a nonpartisan nonprofit working to improve communications between citizens and Congress and enhance operations in Capitol Hill offices. Congressman Massie received the award for exemplary accountability and transparency.

“I believe it is my responsibility to be accessible and accountable to constituents, whether I am in Kentucky or in Washington, D.C.,” said Rep. Massie. “I pledge to continue this transparent dialogue with my constituents while also discovering new and innovative ways to connect with them.”

The CMF Best Practices Report describes Rep. Massie’s Social Media use: “It is clear from his Facebook and Twitter posts that Rep. Massie takes his representational duties seriously. Their tone and content throughout his tenure have demonstrated his sense of accountability to constituents. In addition to expressing his views on both national issues and issues important to him, personally—as many Members do on social media—he also provides occasional rationales for key votes to help explain his actions to his constituents. When working in the district, he posts the towns he’ll be visiting, along with photos and summaries of his meetings to help constituents understand the work he does when the House is in recess. Rep. Massie also engages constituents in his work by inviting them to send questions during his media appearances and even when he is participating in committee hearings. Many posts also ask questions to invite opinions and feedback, and these generate significant comments and discussion in which he often participates. In these and other ways, Rep. Massie uses social media to demonstrate accountability and transparency.”

Rep. Massie is one of only 17 out of 535 Senators and Representatives to receive the first Gold Mouse Award for social media. CMF’s awards for social media emphasize specific practices, which include the following: demonstrating an effort to be transparent and accountable; focusing on constituents and constituent service; and attempting to keep constituents informed and engaged in the work of Congress."

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+ - SpaceX Sues to Shoot for the Stars->

Submitted by SonicSpike
SonicSpike (242293) writes "CEO Elon Musk is opening a new case against the federal government, which he claims is unfairly excluding SpaceX from competition to launch Air Force and military satellites. Currently, the next round of 36 rocket core purchases are earmarked specifically for United Launch Alliance (ULA), a joint venture by Boeing and Lockheed Martin.

The bottleneck that SpaceX is facing is a matter of certification. Currently, SpaceX is not eligible to compete for contracts, because the company’s inspection and evaluation by the Air Force is still in process. Musk is requesting that the certification process he refers to as just “a paperwork exercise” be sped up. If the bureaucracy is impossible to rush, he’d settle for it slowing down, and waiting to award the long-term contract until SpaceX is eligible to compete."

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+ - Congressman Introduces A Bill Declaring Bitcoin A Currency, Not Property->

Submitted by SonicSpike
SonicSpike (242293) writes "Congressman Steve Stockman of the 36th District of Texas is embracing digital currency. He made himself known in the Bitcoin space at the end of last year when he began accepting Bitcoin donations for a Senate campaign.

Last night at the New York City Bitcoin Center, Representative Stockman brought a copy of a bill he’s planning to introduce to the 113th Congress (second session) on the topic of virtual currencies.

Entitled “To change the tax status of virtual currencies from property to currency”, the bill (formally called the Virtual Currency Tax Reform Act) seeks to change how the Internal Revenue Service and other authoritative agencies in the United States views virtual currencies.

As you may recall, the IRS released guidance not long ago indicating that Bitcoin and other virtual currency users classify their holdings as property as opposed to currency. For users, this has become rather problematic primarily because by the rules, users would have to keep track of all of their transactions and calculate gains/losses at the end of the year..."

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