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Crime

California Attack Has US Rethinking Strategy On Homegrown Terror (nytimes.com) 676

JoeyRox writes: The recent terror attack in California reflects "an evolution of the terrorist threat that Mr. Obama and federal officials have long dreaded: homegrown, self-radicalized individuals operating undetected before striking one of many soft targets that can never be fully protected in a country as sprawling as the United States." With this new type of terror risk, authorities may begin relying more heavily on citizens reporting suspicious behavior of others. The attack is also expected to renew the debate over privacy versus security for software encryption. President Obama will be addressing the nation tonight to discuss the attack.
NASA

Journalist: NASA Administrator Has Short Memory on Changing Space Policy (spacenews.com) 87

MarkWhittington writes: Recently, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden stated that NASA would be "doomed" if the next president were to deviate in any way from the current Journey to Mars program. Space journalist and founder of the America Space website Jim Hillhouse took exception to Bolden's assertion in a letter to the aerospace newspaper Space News. In the process, Hillhouse provides a good summary of how space policy has evolved during the past five years under the Obama administration.
Crime

Islamic State Claims Responsibility for Paris Attacks; Death Toll At 127 728

The L.A. Times reports that Islamic State, the group variously known as ISIL, ISIS, and Daesh, has claimed responsibility for the multi-pronged terror attack yesterday in Paris which left at least 128 people dead, most of them from among the audience of a rock concert at the Bataclan theater, in the heart of the city. Details of how Friday’s assaults were carried out remained hazy. It was still unclear, for example, whether the restaurants and concert theater were attacked by two separate teams of militants or one group that went from one place to another. ... Attackers opened fire on the crowd with automatic weapons, shouting “God is great!” or blaming France for airstrikes on Islamic State in Syria, according to some reports. Dozens of concert-goers were killed before French forces stormed the theater. Many Parisians posted appeals and photos on social media asking for news of friends or loved ones whom they had not heard from since the attacks. One man said on Twitter that a government hotline set up to inquire about missing persons was so overloaded that calls could not get through. In the wake of the attacks and with an overloaded public infrastructure, Facebook activated its post-disaster check-in tool for Parisians to notify loved ones that they are safe. According to Reuters, French President Francois Hollande has vowed to undertake a "mercliess" response to the attacks.
United States

US Spends $1bn Over a Decade Trying To Digitize Immigration Forms, Just 1 Is Online (washingtonpost.com) 305

Bruce66423 writes: A government project to digitize immigration forms succeeded in enabling exactly one application to be completed and submitted after 10 years of work because of the botched software and implementation. The Washington Post reports: "This project, run by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, was originally supposed to cost a half-billion dollars and be finished in 2013. Instead, it’s now projected to reach up to $3.1 billion and be done nearly four years from now, putting in jeopardy efforts to overhaul the nation’s immigration policies, handle immigrants already seeking citizenship and detect national security threats, according to documents and interviews with former and current federal officials."
Security

TSA Screeners Can't Detect Weapons (and They Never Could) (arstechnica.com) 349

JustAnotherOldGuy writes: TSA screeners' ability to detect weapons in luggage is "pitiful," according to classified reports on the security administration's ongoing story of failure and fear. "In looking at the number of times people got through with guns or bombs in these covert testing exercises it really was pathetic. When I say that I mean pitiful," said Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.), speaking Tuesday during a House Oversight hearing concerning classified reports (PDF) from federal watchdogs (PDF). "Just thinking about the breaches there, it's horrific," he added. A leaked classified report this summer found that as much as 95 percent of contraband, like weapons and explosives, got through during clandestine testings. Lynch's comments were in response to the classified report's findings.
Businesses

Full Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement Intellectual Property Chapter Analyzed (freezenet.ca) 109

Dangerous_Minds writes: Freezenet seems to be the first website to publish a full run-down of the final draft of the Intellectual Property chapter in the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The leak was published on Wikileaks earlier. The analysis seems to confirm what the EFF has said, saying that the chapter "confirms our worst fears about the agreement, and dashes the few hopes that we held out that its most onerous provisions wouldn't survive to the end of the negotiations." The analysis focuses mainly on copyright enforcement on the Internet and the impact the chapter would have on personal devices, VPN services, and ISPs. One noteworthy find by Freezenet is the inclusion of a "TPP Commission" which would decide when different countries are supposed to meet outside of the 10-year cycle, discussing "market circumstances" of "the development of new pharmaceutical products." What other roles the TPP Commission takes on is unclear given that it is not mentioned anywhere else in the chapter.
Government

NBC News Reports US Will Require Registration For Consumer Drones (nbcnews.com) 235

Gizmodo and Engadget are both reporting (and both pointing to a report at NBC News) that the Department of Transportation is expected to announce Monday a plan to regulate drone use in the U.S., based on fears of danger to aviation. From the relied-on report at NBC News: The federal government will announce a new plan requiring anyone buying a drone to register the device with the U.S. Department of Transportation, NBC news has learned. ... Under the plan, the government would work with the drone industry to set up a structure for registering the drones, and the regulations could be in place by Christmas. That sounds like an impossible task, if it's to take in all remote-controlled flying devices that might be described as drones. About this time last year, Chris Anderson (ex-Wired editor, and now head of 3D Robotics) estimated that about half a million drones had already been sold in the U.S., and that sounds like an undercount even for then, given the many cheap-and-cheerful options. From suppliers like Banggood, tiny quadcopters can now be had for less than $20, though it's hard to think of them as a danger to aviation.
DRM

EFF: the Final Leaked TPP Text Is All That We Feared (eff.org) 399

An anonymous reader writes: Wikileaks has released the finalized Intellectual Property text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which international negotiators agreed upon a few days ago. Unfortunately, it contains many of the consumer-hostile provisions that so many organizations spoke out against beforehand. This includes the extension of the copyright term to life plus 70 years, and a ban on the circumvention of DRM. The EFF says, "If you dig deeper, you'll notice that all of the provisions that recognize the rights of the public are non-binding, whereas almost everything that benefits rightsholders is binding. That paragraph on the public domain, for example, used to be much stronger in the first leaked draft, with specific obligations to identify, preserve and promote access to public domain material. All of that has now been lost in favor of a feeble, feel-good platitude that imposes no concrete obligations on the TPP parties whatsoever." The EFF walks us through all the other awful provisions as well — it's quite a lengthy analysis.
United States

US Bombs Hit Doctors Without Borders Hospital 410

Prune writes: According to multiple news sources, U.S. airstrikes partially destroyed a Doctors Without Borders (MSF) hospital in Afghanistan, killing at least nine staff members and at least 50 overall, including patients, and this after giving its coordinates to U.S. forces multiple times. I'm especially saddened to report this given I had become one of the supporters of this charity after recommendations from Slashdot members in a discussion about choosing charities to donate to a while back.
China

SF86 Data Captured In OPM Hack 173

Etherwalk writes: The security clearance process in the United States includes filling out the 127-page SF86 form, which includes things like the citizenships of all your relatives and housemates, foreign contacts and financial interests, foreign travel, psychological and emotional health, illegal drug use, and many other matters. The recent breach by the Chinese Government apparently included that information for all executive employees up to cabinet level. It's pretty much a gold mine for intelligence work and social engineering of any kind.
United States

Why Whistleblowers Can't Get a Fair Trial 441

phantomfive writes "'Seven whistleblowers have been prosecuted under the Obama administration,' writes Jesselyn Radack, a lawyer who advised two of them. She explains why they can't get a fair trial. In the Thomas Drake case, the administration retroactively marked documents as classified, saying, 'he knew they should have been classified.' In the Bradley Manning case, the jury wasn't allowed to see what information was leaked. The defendants, all who have been charged with espionage, have limited access to court documents. Most of these problems happen because the law was written to deal with traitorous spies, not whistleblowers."
Cellphones

DOJ: We Don't Need a Warrant To Track You 259

GovTechGuy writes "The Department of Justice maintains it does not need a warrant to track an individual using location data captured from their cellphone. 'Cellphone location records are currently lumped under Title 1 and Title 2 of the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act (PL 99-508), which cover stored communications and call details. Accessing those types of information typically requires only a court order, rather than a warrant, as is required for the contents of a phone call or digital message under Title 3.' That has prompted Maine and Montana to pass laws banning warrantless cellphone tracking; unfortunately, Congress doesn't appear close to doing the same."
United States

America's Second-largest Employer Is a Temp Agency 541

cold fjord writes "From the Examiner: '...the second-largest employer in America is Kelly Services, a temporary work provider. ... part-time jobs are at an all-time high, with 28 million Americans now working part-time. ... There are now a record number of Americans with temporary jobs. Approximately 2.7 million, in fact. And the trend has been growing. ... Temp jobs made up about 10 percent of the jobs lost during the Great Recession, but now make up a tenth of the jobs in the United States. In fact, nearly one-fifth of all jobs gained since the recession ended have been temporary.' The NYT has a chart detailing the problem."
United States

Proposed Rule Would Drastically Restrict Chimp Research 134

New rules for labs that use chimpanzees as test subjects may be on the horizon. From the New York Times blog: "The Fish and Wildlife Service proposal came in response to a petition filed in 2010 by the Jane Goodall Institute, the Humane Society of the United States, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and other groups. It would require permits for interstate commerce involving any chimpanzees, or for what the law calls 'taking,' which could be anything from harassment to major harm to something as simple as obtaining a blood sample. And those permits, Mr. Ashe said, would be granted only if the action could be shown to benefit the survival of the species. If the new rule is enacted, it will be a major success for animal welfare groups, a grave disappointment for some scientists and another sign of the profound changes over the last half-century in the way animals are used and imagined in science and popular culture." The L.A. Times lauds the proposed rule change in an editorial.
Facebook

Facebook and Microsoft Disclose Government Requests For User Data 140

wiredmikey writes "Facebook and Microsoft say they received thousands of requests for information from U.S. authorities last year but are prohibited from listing a separate tally for security-related requests or secret court orders related to terror probes. The two companies have come under heightened scrutiny since reports leaked of a vast secret Internet surveillance program U.S. authorities insist targets only foreign terror suspects and is needed to prevent attacks. Facebook said Friday it had received between 9,000 and 10,000 requests for user data affecting 18,000 to 19,000 accounts during the second half of last year and Microsoft said it had received 6,000 to 7,000 requests affecting 31,000 to 32,000 accounts during the same period." Meanwhile, an article at the Guardian is suggesting the government may have better targets to pursue than Edward Snowden. "[U.S. director of national intelligence James Clapper] has come out vocally to condemn Snowden as a traitor to the public interest and the country, yet a review of Booz Allen's own history suggests that the government should be investigating his former employer, rather than the whistleblower."

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