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Submission + - Google to Ban Ads for Legal Gun Accessories & "Dangerous" Knives: Threatens ( 1

Mark Sauter writes: This morning we received an email from Google with the following title: "Google AdWords Policy Update — Weapons policy restriction."

The email, from the "Google AdWords Team," announces a new policy starting in September for those who advertise on Google Adwords, a service used to attract traffic to Web sites. It bans Adwords advertising for products such as knives "that can be used to injure an opponent in sport, self-defense, or combat" plus "Any part or component that's necessary to the function of a gun or intended for attachment to a gun
Examples: Gun scopes, ammunition, ammunition clips or belts" [and even bb guns!]
We certainly have no problem with Google prohibiting ads involving weapons such as nail bombs and grenades, as it does. But we see a big difference in banning ads for legal products used by many millions of Americans. The ban specifically includes sport and recreational guns and their components.

And it's not just ads that are being threatened. The email (see excepts below) includes the following: "When we make this change, any ads or sites that are identified as violating our revised policy won't be able to run."

In other words, Google is not just threatening to shut down advertising accounts, but also to disable Web sites with content about legal products (or topics?) that it finds politically incorrect. The email did not provide additional detail on the issue of the Web sites. Presumably, Google would shut down sites running on Google's Blogger service, but one could certainly worry the company might use its dominant search engine to make offending sites "disappear" from search results.

Submission + - CIA rendition jet was waiting in Europe to kidnap Snowden 5

Frosty Piss writes: As Edward Snowden made his dramatic escape to Russia a year ago, a secret US government jet previously employed in CIA 'rendition' flights on which terror suspects disappeared into 'black' imprisonment flew into Europe in a bid to spirit him back to the United States. On the evening of 24 June 2013, an unmarked Gulfstream V business jet took off from a quiet commercial airport 30 miles from a Washington DC. regional airport discreetly offers its clients 'the personal accommodations and amenities you can't find at commercial airports'. On its best-known mission, the jet flew a U.S. marshals into the UK on to collect radical cleric Abu Hamza after the United States won an extradition order against him. Only Vladimir Putin's intransigence saved Snowden from a similar travel package. The jet's activities can be followed on many flight tracking websites such as FlightAware

Submission + - Ask for the resignation of Tom Wheeler (Head of the FCC) (

walterbyrd writes: It is now clear that Tom Wheeler is not a representative of the people, but corporations. Previously to taking his current position Wheeler was the former head of 2 different lobbying organizations, which represented companies like Verizon, Comcast, and At&t. His actions helped turn them into the monopolies that they are today.

Submission + - Does it make sense for the average user to revoke Certificate Authorities?

cpm99352 writes: Given the fallout from Heartbleed, does it make sense for the average user to significantly pare down their list of trusted Certificate Authorities? As someone recently posted, do I really trust Turkish CAs?

If so, what would such a pared-down list look like?

What do the readers think?

Submission + - Cringely on Big Data and AI

squideatingdough writes: Once again, Robert X. Cringely provides an insightful (and somewhat scary) vision of the future: He describes how today's Artificial Intelligence is so very different from the vision of those IT folks working in the field back in the 80's. And then he goes on to posit how algorithms are improving at a rate that exceeds Moore's Law for hardware. A very interesting read.

Submission + - Bill Gates Patents Detecting, Responding to "Glassholes" 1

theodp writes: As Google Glass goes on sale to the general public, GeekWire reports that Bill Gates has already snagged one patent for 'detecting and responding to an intruding camera' and has another in the works. The invention proposes to equip computer and device displays with technology for detecting and responding to any cameras in the vicinity by editing or blurring the content on the screen, or alerting the user to the presence of the camera. Gates and Nathan Myhrvold are among the 16 co-inventors of the so-called Unauthorized Viewer Detection System and Method, which the patent application notes is useful "while a user is taking public transportation, where intruding cameras are likely to be present." So, is Bill's patent muse none other than NYC subway rider Sergey Brin?

Submission + - Now you can get an Office 365 subscription for $6.99 a month 1

DroidJason1 writes: Microsoft has launched Office 365 Personal, a lower-priced subscription option for users who want to use Office on only one PC. You can even use it on the iPad or a tablet. Office 365 Personal is priced at $6.99 a month, or $69.99 for a year. Previously, the company offered a package that costed $10 a month or $100 a year for five PCs.

Submission + - Your StarCraft II Potential Peaked at Age 24 (

An anonymous reader writes: StarCraft II is popular among competitive gamers for having the depth necessary to reward differences in skill. A new study has found that your ability keep up with the game's frantic pace starts to decline at age 24. This is relevant to more than just StarCraft II players: 'While many high-performance athletes start to show age-related declines at a young age, those are often attributed to physical as opposed to brain aging. ... While previous lab tests have shown faster reaction times for simple individual tasks, it was never clear how much relevance those had to complex, real-world tasks such as driving. Thompson noted that Starcraft is complex and quite similar to real-life tasks such as managing 911 calls at an emergency dispatch centre, so the findings may be directly relevant. However, game performance was much easier to analyze than many real-life situations because the game generates detailed logs of every move. In a way, Thompson said, the study is a good demonstration of what kinds of insights can be gleaned from the "cool data sets" generated by our digital lives.'

Submission + - Study Finds U.S. is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

An anonymous reader writes: Researchers from Princeton University and Northwestern University have concluded, after extensive analysis of 1,779 policy issues, that the U.S. is in fact an oligarchy and not a democracy. What this means is that, although 'Americans do enjoy many features central to democratic governance', 'majorities of the American public actually have little influence over the policies our government adopts.' Their study (PDF), to be published in Perspectives on Politics, found that 'When the preferences of economic elites and the stands of organized interest groups are controlled for, the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.'
User Journal

Journal Journal: Xerox - My Final Rant 5

OK, it's not my rant, someone else has done much better that I ever could. It's the US-centric view.

I don't care so much any more since my former colleagues are now finding new and better jobs elsewhere, but I really do think that people should know how workers are being treated and how investors' money is being used.

Submission + - High School Student Expelled For Tweeting Profanity; Principal Admits School Tra (

amiller2571 writes: "Tinker v. Des Moines is considered a key lawsuit in defining the free speech rights of students. While there have been a few cases that limited the ruling, it's still seen as the key case in establishing that students have First Amendment rights and that schools can't just arbitrarily shut them down."

Submission + - Congress Capitulates to TSA; refuses to let Bruce Schneier testify (

McGruber writes: Following up on the earlier Slashdot story "Congress Wants Your TSA Stories" (, earlier today, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure held a hearing titled 'TSA Oversight Part III: Effective Security or Security Theater?' that was streamed line by CSPAN (

In a blog update (, Bruce Schneider says that "at the request of the TSA" he was removed from the witness list.

Bruce also said "it's pretty clear that the TSA is afraid of public testimony on the topic, and especially of being challenged in front of Congress. They want to control the story, and it's easier for them to do that if I'm not sitting next to them pointing out all the holes in their position. Unfortunately, the committee went along with them."


Submission + - 33 Developers Leave (

dkd903 writes: We all knew that it would come to this and it has finally happened — 33 developers have left to join The Documents Foundation, with more expected to leave in the next few days.

After Oracle acquired Sun Microsystems, fell into the hands of Oracle, as did a lot of other products. So, last month a few very prominent members of the community decided to form The Documents Foundation and fork as LibreOffice, possibly fearing that it could go the OpenSolaris way.


Submission + - Google Sues The US For Only Considering Microsoft (

An anonymous reader writes: Late last week, Google sued the US government for putting out a Request For Quotation for the messaging needs of the Department of the Interior that specified only Microsoft solutions would be considered. Google apparently had spent plenty of time talking to DOI officials to understand their needs and make sure they had a solution ready to go — and were promised that there wasn't a deal already in place with Microsoft... and then the RFQ came out. Google protested, but the protest was dismissed, with the claim that Google was "not an interested party."
Wireless Networking

Submission + - Is it legal to use Firesheep at Starbucks? (

CWmike writes: People using the Firefox add-on Firesheep to hack online accounts via Wi-Fi may be breaking federal wiretapping laws, legal experts said on Monday. Or maybe not. 'I honestly don't know the answer,' said Phil Malone, a clinical professor of law at Harvard Law School who also served for more than 20 years as a federal prosecutor with the U.S. Department of Justice. But while the tool itself is not illegal, using it may be a violation of federal wiretapping laws and an invasion of privacy, experts said.

The trouble with doing something right the first time is that nobody appreciates how difficult it was.