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Privacy

FBI and States Vastly Expand DNA Collection, Databases 203 203

Mike writes "Starting this month, the Federal Bureau of Investigation will join 15 states that collect DNA samples from those awaiting trial, and will also collect DNA from detained immigrants. For example, this year, California began taking DNA upon arrest, and expects to nearly double the growth rate of its database (PDF), to 390,000 profiles a year, up from 200,000. Until now, the federal government genetically tracked only convicts, however law enforcement officials are expanding their collection of DNA to include millions of people who have only been arrested or detained, but not yet convicted. The move, intended to 'help solve more crimes,' is raising concerns about the privacy of petty offenders and people who are presumed innocent."
Privacy

Submission + - F.B.I. and States Vastly Expand DNA Databases->

Mike writes: "Starting this month, the Federal Bureau of Investigation will join 15 states that collect DNA samples from those awaiting trial and will also collect DNA from detained immigrants. For example, This year, California began taking DNA upon arrest and expects to nearly double the growth rate of its database, to 390,000 profiles a year, up from 200,000. Until now, the federal government genetically tracked only convicts, however law enforcement officials are expanding their collection of DNA to include millions of people who have only been arrested or detained, but not yet convicted. The move, intended to "help solve more crimes", is raising concerns about the privacy of petty offenders and people who are presumed innocent. How can this be viewed as anything but an overt move to "tag everyone" and tighten government control of citizens?"
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Operating Systems

Submission + - Recommending a secure OS to the Dalai Lama

Jamyang (Greg Walton) writes: "I am editor of the Infowar Monitor and co-author of the recent report, Tracking Ghostnet. I have been asked by the Office of His Holiness, the Dalai Lama (OHHDL) and the Tibetan Government in Exile (TGIE) to offer some policy recommendations in light of the ongoing targeted malware attacks directed at the Tibetan community worldwide. Some of the recommendations are relatively straightforward. For example, I will suggest that OHHDL convene an international Board of Advisers, bringing together some of the brightest minds in computer and international security to advise the Tibetans, and that the new Tibetan university stands up a Certified Ethical Hacking course. However, one of the more controversial moves being actively debated by Tibetans on the Dharamsala IT Group [DITG] list, is a mass migration of the exile community (including the government) to Linux, particularly since all of the samples of targeted malware collected exploit vulnerabilities in Windows. I would be very interested to hear Slashdot readers opinions on this debated here. Allow me to play devil's advocate for a moment here: in the short term, moving to a platform that is perhaps less familiar to the attacker provides considerable relief, but it is essentially less difficult to write exploits for Mac OS/Linux than it is for Windows, given the many anti-exploitation mechanisms Microsoft has embedded in the last years, so in the long run, if the attackers want your data, the entire move is moot. People should choose a platform based on their productivity requirements instead of purely security. Furthermore, most of the web servers broken into during these attacks (to be used as command and control servers) were not Windows, but Linux. What do you think? (While I have the floor I'd also like to take this opportunity to plug two initiatives where Slashdot readers can directly help the Tibetan tech community, either through sharing your expertise or your cash! Firstly, one of the obstacles to migrating to Linux for a Tibetan speaker is the lack of decent Tibetan font — can you help? Secondly, Avaaz is raising funds for projects that will help End The Blackout in Tibet, including a proposal to support the deployment of Psiphon's circumvention network. Thanks, or in Tibetan, thuk.je.che!"
Robotics

Submission + - Scientist makes Flying Bot without Internal Power-> 1 1

neural.disruption writes: Singularity Hub reports that a Canadian scientist has created a minuscule robot that does not needs an internal power source. It uses Magnetic Levitation to fly and has little grippers that open when heated by laser and then close slowly as the heat is lost. Even thought its controlled by magnetic fields it is claimed that it can be positioned with an accuracy of 13 microns.
Future applications for this kind of technology include microsurgery and working in hazardous environments as the robot can be controlled at a distance by magnetic fields and lasers.

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The Courts

Submission + - Hollywood's Victory Over TPB May Be Short Lived

Adrian Lopez writes: According to PC World: "Hollywood may have won a battle, but the war against piracy is far from over. Unauthorized file sharing will continue (and likely intensify), if not through The Pirate Bay, then through dozens of other near identical swashbuckling Web sites. ... What Hollywood needs to remember is sites like The Pirate Bay are like weeds. When you try to kill one, they grow back even stronger. In this case, The Pirate Bay already moved most of its servers to the Netherlands, a move that could keep the site running even if The Pirate Bay loses its appeal."
Earth

Submission + - Antarctic ice is growing, not melting away 2 2

schwit1 writes: A report from The Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research says that Antarctic ice is growing, not melting away.

Ice core drilling in the fast ice off Australia's Davis Station in East Antarctica by the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Co-Operative Research Centre shows that last year, the ice had a maximum thickness of 1.89m, its densest in 10 years. The average thickness of the ice at Davis since the 1950s is 1.67m.

A paper to be published soon by the British Antarctic Survey in the journal Geophysical Research Letters is expected to confirm that over the past 30 years, the area of sea ice around the continent has expanded.
The Internet

Submission + - Center for Responsive Politics data archive online->

Presto Vivace writes: "Today the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics is putting 200 million data records from the watchdog group's archive directly into the hands of citizens, activists, journalists and anyone else interested in following the money in U.S. politics.

With today's announcement, skilled data-divers can explore the information that's already aggregated on OpenSecrets.org to its full depth. Web developers and database experts can grab federal money-in-politics data that CRP's researchers have standardized and coded, and mash it up with other data sets. Timelines, charts, maps, other graphics and mobile applications are just some of the projects that could result--all powered by CRP's unparalleled data.

"

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The Internet

Submission + - The Depressing Truth About YouTube Stardom->

Al writes: "The arXiv physics blog reports that researchers from HP Palo Alto studied videos uploaded to YouTube and found that popularity has little to do with quality or persistence. Researchers Fang Wu and Bernardo Huberman studied the hit rates of 10 million videos uploaded by 600,000 users up to 30 April 2008 and they classified a success as a video that was among the top 1 per cent of those viewed. "The more frequently an individual uploads content the less likely it is that it will reach a success threshold," they conclude, adding that this may be because "when a producer submits several videos over time, their novelty and hence their appeal to a wide audience tends to decrease". Interesting, the researchers speculate that unsuccessful users carry on uploading because (like gammblers) "they overestimate the odds of success"."
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Displays

Submission + - The 10000 Year Clock - Science Meets Art->

KindMind writes: "CNet has pictures of a planned 10000 year clock to be built in eastern Nevada by the Long Now Foundation. From the article: Running under its own power, the clock is an experiment in art, science, and engineering. The six dials on the face of this machine will represent the year, century, horizons, sun position, lunar phase, and the stars of the night sky over a 10,000-year period. Likely to span multiple generations and evolutions in culture, the thinking and design put into the monument makes it a moving sculpture as beautiful as it is complex. This was reviewed on Slashdot in 2005. Really cool pictures, including one of a mechanical "binary computer" that converts the pendulum into positions on the dial."
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The Internet

Submission + - Google Losing up to $1.65M a Day on YouTube 1 1

An anonymous reader writes: The average visitor to YouTube is costing Google between one and two dollars, according to new research that shows Google losing up to $1.65 million per day on the video site. More than two years after Google acquired YouTube, income from premium offers and other revenue generators don't offset YouTube's expenses of content acquisition, bandwidth, and storage. YouTube is expected to serve 75 billion video streams to 375 million unique visitors in 2009, costing Google up to $2,064,054 a day, or $753 million annualized. Revenue projections for YouTube fall between $90 million and $240 million. Is it time for Google to rid itself of the YouTube burden?
Input Devices

Submission + - Some of the Weirder Ideas from CHI 2009

An anonymous reader writes: Technology Review has a roundup of some of the weirder ideas on show at last week's Computer-Human Interaction conference in Boston. They include a trackball that heats up as you roll over different parts of an image, a pair of goggles that track eye movements using electrooculography and a miniature robot with a cellphone for its head.
The Courts

Submission + - SPAM: Blogger Fights Goldman Sachs Over Domain Names

narramissic writes: "After receiving a letter accusing him of violating Goldman's intellectual property rights by using its trademark, blogger Mike Morgan has filed a lawsuit against Goldman Sachs in hopes of protecting his anti-Goldman Web sites, including [spam URL stripped] and [spam URL stripped]. 'David didn't beat Goliath by waiting till Goliath threw the first punch,' Morgan wrote on his blog. Goldman Sachs has won court cases against similarly-named Web sites in the past. The company took down Netherlands-based Goldmansex.com after filing suit three years ago."
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