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+ - Woman charged with wiretapping for filming cops wins $57,000 payout->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "A local New Hampshire police department agreed Thursday to pay a woman who was arrested and charged with wiretapping $57,000 to settle her civil rights lawsuit. The deal comes a week after a federal appeals court ruled that the public has a "First Amendment" right to film cops.

The plaintiff in the case, Carla Gericke, was arrested on wiretapping allegations in 2010 for filming her friend being pulled over by the Weare Police Department during a late-night traffic stop. Although Gericke was never brought to trial, she sued, alleging that her arrest constituted retaliatory prosecution in breach of her constitutional rights. The department, without admitting wrongdoing, settled Thursday in a move that the woman's attorney speculated would deter future police "retaliation."

The First US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled (PDF) in Gericke's case last week that she was "exercising a clearly established First Amendment right when she attempted to film the traffic stop in the absence of a police order to stop filming or leave the area.""

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+ - H R Giger dead: Alien artist and designer died aged 74-> 2

Submitted by M3.14
M3.14 (1616191) writes "H. R. Giger, the Swiss artist and designer of Ridley Scott's Alien, has died, aged 74. Hans Rudolf 'Ruedi' Giger sustained injuries caused by a fall, Swiss newspaper Neue Zuercher Zeitung has reported (German link. English summary here). The terrifying creature and sets he created for Ridley Scott’s film earned him an Oscar for special effects in 1980. In the art world, Giger is appreciated for his wide body of work in the fantastic realism and surrealistic genres. Film work was just one of his talents. Giger is also known for his sculptures, paintings and furniture. The H.R. Giger Museum, inaugurated in the summer of 1998 in the Château St. Germain, is a four-level building complex in the historic, medieval walled city of Gruyères. It is the permanent home to many of the artist’s most prominent works."
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+ - Price for Nevada dad to see state's school files on his kids: $10G->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "Nevada dad John Eppolito got a bad case of sticker shock when he asked state education officials to see the permanent records of his four children.

He was told it would cost $10,194. Eppolito was concerned about Nevada's recent decision to join a multi-state consortium that shares students’ data. He wanted to know exactly what information had been compiled on his school-age kids. But state officials told him he would have to pay fees and the cost of programming and running a custom report.

“The problem is that I can’t stop them from collecting the data,” Eppolito said. “I just wanted to know what it [collected data] was. It almost seems impossible. Certainly $10,000 is enough reason to prevent a parent from getting the data.”

“This data is for everyone except the parents," Eppolito said. "It’s wrong.”

According to the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), parents have the right to review their kids' records. Small fees are allowed to be issued for records unless they in any way prevent them from obtaining them.

The Nevada Department of Education attempted to justify the hefty price tag for viewing copies of student records in a response to Eppolito.“Because the SAIN system is not designed to create reports that display individual student data in a readable format, the parent was initially told that the requested reports do not exist and cannot be produced,”"

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+ - Columbus ship "Santa Maria" has been found near Haiti after 500 Years

Submitted by rtoz
rtoz (2530056) writes "The British Newspaper The Independent has reported that a team led by underwater archaeological explorer Barry Clifford found the wreck of the Christopher Columbus' flagship, the Santa Maria which sank in 1492.

"All the geographical, underwater topography and archaeological evidence strongly suggests that this wreck is Columbus’ famous flagship, the Santa Maria," said Barry Clifford.

Santa María was the largest of the three ships used by Christopher Columbus in his first voyage.

The Santa Maria was built at some stage in the second half of the 15 century in northern Spain’s Basque Country. In 1492, Columbus hired the ship and sailed in it from southern Spain’s Atlantic. After 37 days, Columbus reached the Bahamas. But after few weeks Santa Maria drifted at night onto a reef off the northern coast of Haiti and had to be abandoned."

+ - The NSA's Corporate Collaborators: Willing Accomplices->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Emails published recently by Al Jazeera America show American hi-tech executives and senior intelligence officials interacting on a casual first-name basis. These e-mails contradict the narrative that the big bad NSA somehow coerced hi-tech companies into collaboration.

Indeed, since Ed Snowden’s documents have trickled out into public view companies like Google have tried to distance themselves from the NSA, to put on public displays of anger, to create the impression that they were somehow strong-armed into helping government spies and that they’ve been working to bolster their security against the NSA’s prying eyes. Above all hi-tech companies want to look like they’re siding with their users.

As anti-forensics researcher Bill Blunden explains, these gestures are likely theater, being performed by executives on behalf of quarterly earnings. Such is the beauty of PR. Hi-tech companies don’t really need to fend off government spies but merely provide users with the perception of resistance.

Rev. Bill observes that: "Those who resist government pressure like Nicholas Merrill, who was running an Internet service provider in New York called Calyx, and Ladar Levison, the former owner of Lavabit, are rare exceptions to the rule. For the big multinationals too much money is at stake to let something like civil liberties get in the way.""

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+ - Brain Injury Turns Man Into Math Genius->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "In 2002, two men savagely attacked Jason Padgett outside a karaoke bar, leaving him with a severe concussion and post-traumatic stress disorder. But the incident also turned Padgett into a mathematical genius who sees the world through the lens of geometry.

Padgett, a furniture salesman from Tacoma, Wash., who had very little interest in academics, developed the ability to visualize complex mathematical objects and physics concepts intuitively. The injury, while devastating, seems to have unlocked part of his brain that makes everything in his world appear to have a mathematical structure.

Sometimes, math can be hard ... but can it also be beautiful?

"I see shapes and angles everywhere in real life" — from the geometry of a rainbow, to the fractals in water spiraling down a drain, Padgett told Live Science. "It's just really beautiful.""

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+ - Police Departments Using Car Tracking Database Sworn to Secrecy->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Vigilant Solutions, maintains what they claim is the nation’s largest database of license-plate tracking data, "LEARN" (Law Enforcement Archival and Reporting Network). But when a law enforcement agency signs up to use the database, they are sworn to keep it secret. The reason? They are quite clear about that: "to prohibit users from cooperating with any media outlet to bring attention to LEARN or LEARN-NVLS."

So, they're tracking you (they're tracking everybody)... but they don't want you to know.

The agreement, uncovered by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, states: You shall not create, publish, distribute, or permit any written, electronically transmitted or other form of publicity material that makes reference to LEARN or this Agreement without first submitting the material to LEARN-NVLS and receiving written consent from LEARN-NVLS. This prohibition is specifically intended to prohibit users from cooperating with any media outlet to bring attention to LEARN or LEARN-NVLS. Breach this provision may result in LEARN-NVLS immediately termination of this Agreement upon notice to you."

...Immediately after WIRED published the story, though, the agreement mysteriously changed. The secrecy provision is still there, but the statement that it's "specifically intended" to prevent the media attention has vanished."

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+ - Computer Game Reveals 'Space-Time' Neurons in the Eye->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "You open the overstuffed kitchen cabinet and a drinking glass tumbles out. With a ninjalike reflex, you snatch it before it shatters on the floor, as if the movement of the object were being tracked before the information even reached your brain. According to one idea of how the circuitry of the eye processes visual data, that is literally what happens. Now, a deep anatomical study of a mouse retina—carried out by 120,000 members of the public—is bringing scientists a step closer to confirming the hypothesis."
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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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+ - DoJ closing porn stars bank accounts.

Submitted by MouseTheLuckyDog
MouseTheLuckyDog (2752443) writes "In a recent story on reason.com it was reported that the DoJ is closing down the bank accounts of porn stars.
Not knowing the site I googled around and found another site, the Guardian.

The story does not end there. It turns out that this is part of a larger scheme ( ironically ) called Operation Choke Point. Also reported in a Washington Post article that downplays the practice.

According to Cryptocoin news. There are thirty industries the DoJ is now targeteting:
        *Ammunition Sales *Cable Box De-scramblers *Coin Dealers *Credit Card Schemes
        *Credit Repair Services *Dating Services *Debt Consolidation Scams *Drug Paraphernalia
        *Escort Services *Firearms Sales *Fireworks Sales *Get Rich Products *Government Grants
        *Home-Based Charities *Life-Time Guarantees *Life-Time Memberships *Lottery Sales
        *Mailing Lists/Personal Info *Money Transfer Networks *On-line Gambling *PayDay Loans
        *Pharmaceutical Sales *Ponzi Schemes *Pornography *Pyramid-Type Sales *Racist Materials
        *Surveillance Equipment *Telemarketing *Tobacco Sales *Travel Clubs

But more can be added. ( I notice alcohol sales is not on the list)."

+ - LA Sherriff: The public wouldn't like it so we kept it a secret->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "As we've noted several times before, law enforcement and investigative agencies tend to roll out expanded surveillance systems without bothering to run it by the citizens they're planning to surveil. The systems and programs are deployed, FOIA battles are waged and, finally, at some point, the information makes its way to the public. It is only then that most agencies start considering the privacy implications of their surveillance systems, and these are usually addressed by begrudging, minimal protections being belatedly applied.

Now, it's obvious why these agencies don't inform the public of their plans. They may uses terms like "security" and "officer safety" and theorize that making any details public would just allow criminals to find ways to avoid the persistent gaze of multiple surveillance options, but underneath it all, they know the public isn't going to just sit there and allow them to deploy intrusive surveillance programs.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is using a new surveillance program utilizing the technology of a private contractor doing business under the not-scary-at-all name of "Persistent Surveillance Systems." This gives the LASD a literal eye in the sky that provides coverage it can't achieve with systems already in place. But it does more than just give the LASD yet another camera. It provides the agency with some impressive tools to manipulate the recordings."

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+ - Intuit, maker of Turbotax, lobbies against simplied tax filings-> 1

Submitted by McGruber
McGruber (1417641) writes "Return-free filing might allow tens of millions of Americans to file their taxes for free and in minutes. Or that, under proposals authored by several federal lawmakers, it would be voluntary, using information the government already receives from banks and employers and that taxpayers could adjust. Or that the concept has been endorsed by Presidents Obama and Reagan and is already a reality in some parts of Europe.

Sounds great, except to Intuit, maker of Turbotax: last year, Intuit spent more than $2.6 million on lobbying, some of it to lobby on four bills related to the issue, federal lobbying records show."

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"Religion is something left over from the infancy of our intelligence, it will fade away as we adopt reason and science as our guidelines." -- Bertrand Russell

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