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Government

FBI Studied How Much Drones Impact Your Privacy -- Then Marked It Secret 23

Posted by timothy
from the awfully-suggestive dept.
v3rgEz writes When federal agencies adopt new technology, they're required by law to do Privacy Impact Assessments, which is exactly what the FBI did regarding its secretive drone program. The PIAs are created to help the public and federal government assess what they're risking through the adoption of new technology. That part is a little trickier, since the FBI is refusing to release any of the PIA on its drone project, stating it needs to be kept, er, private to protect national security.
Communications

The Truth About Solar Storms 24

Posted by timothy
from the deepen-the-basement dept.
StartsWithABang (3485481) writes On Wednesday, The Washington Post ran a story about a very large solar flare two years ago that missed Earth, but not by too much. From a scientific point of view, what is it that happens when a solar flare interacts with Earth, and what are the potential dangers to both humans and humanities infrastructure? A very good overview, complete with what you can do — as both an individual and a power company — to minimize the risk and the damage when the big one comes. Unlike asteroids, these events happen every few centuries, and in our age of electronics, would now create a legitimate disaster.
Cellphones

Compromise Struck On Cellphone Unlocking Bill 41

Posted by timothy
from the pit-carrier-against-carrier dept.
NotSanguine (1917456) writes The U.S. Senate has passed a bill (S.517) today, allowing users to unlock their phones when moving to another provider. From a recent article at thehill.com: "Consumers should be able to use their existing cell phones when they move their service to a new wireless provider," [Sen. Patrick] Leahy said in a statement. "Our laws should not prohibit consumers from carrying their cell phones to a new network, and we should promote and protect competition in the wireless marketplace," he said. [Sen. Chuck] Grassley called the bipartisan compromise "an important step forward in ensuring that there is competition in the industry and in safeguarding options for consumers as they look at new cell phone contracts." "Empowering people with the freedom to use the carrier of their choice after complying with their original terms of service is the right thing to do," he said. The House in February passed a companion bill sponsored on cellphone unlocking from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.)." Also at Ars Technica, as pointed out by reader jessepdx.

+ - The Amazon Fire Is the Dirtiest Smartphone

Submitted by Jason Koebler
Jason Koebler (3528235) writes "The biggest thing that sets the Amazon Fire Phone apart from its Android and Apple competitors probably isn't the clean interface or the unlimited photo storage—it's the dirty power behind it. When Fire users upload their photos and data to Amazon's cloud, they'll be creating a lot more pollution than iPhone owners, Greenpeace says.
Apple has made a commitment to running its iCloud on 100 percent clean energy. Amazon, meanwhile, operates the dirtiest servers of any major tech giant that operates its own servers—only 15 percent of its energy comes from clean sources, which is about the default national average."

+ - Congressman Mistakes U.S. Officials For Indian Ones->

Submitted by PolygamousRanchKid
PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) writes "Rep. Curt Clawson, a freshman Republican congressman from Florida, mistook two senior U.S. officials for representatives of the Indian government during a House hearing on Friday.

“I am familiar with your country, I love your country,” Clawson said to Nisha Biswal and Arun Kumar, addressing fellow U.S. citizens who hold high-ranking positions in the State Department and Commerce Department, respectively.

After a lingering silence, Clawson smiles slowly. Kumar appears to grin, while Biswal echoes Clawson’s sentiment, informing him it should probably be directed to the Indian government. It’s unclear whether Clawson realized his error."

Link to Original Source

+ - Mark Zuckerberg now richer than Google co-founders and Jeff Bezos->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Facebook's Chairman Mark Zuckerberg is now richer than Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin; not letting Amazon's CEO Jeff Bezos out of the picture.

The 30-year old Facebook founder is now worth $33 billion after he earns $1.6 billion on Thursday(today) after his company went up from $71 per share on Wednesday to $73 per share on Thursday. Facebook, on the other hand, is now valued at $205.57 billion"

Link to Original Source
Government

The NSA's New Partner In Spying: Saudi Arabia's Brutal State Police 55

Posted by Soulskill
from the with-friends-like-these dept.
Advocatus Diaboli sends this news from The Intercept: The National Security Agency last year significantly expanded its cooperative relationship with the Saudi Ministry of Interior, one of the world's most repressive and abusive government agencies. An April 2013 top secret memo provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden details the agency's plans "to provide direct analytic and technical support" to the Saudis on "internal security" matters. The Saudi Ministry of Interior—referred to in the document as MOI— has been condemned for years as one of the most brutal human rights violators in the world. In 2013, the U.S. State Department reported that "Ministry of Interior officials sometimes subjected prisoners and detainees to torture and other physical abuse," specifically mentioning a 2011 episode in which MOI agents allegedly "poured an antiseptic cleaning liquid down [the] throat" of one human rights activist. The report also notes the MOI's use of invasive surveillance targeted at political and religious dissidents.

+ - Compromise struck on cellphone unlocking bill->

Submitted by NotSanguine
NotSanguine (1917456) writes "The US Senate has passed a bill (S.517) today allowing users to unlock their phones when moving to another provider.

From a recent article at thehill.com:

“Consumers should be able to use their existing cell phones when they move their service to a new wireless provider,” Leahy said in a statement. “Our laws should not prohibit consumers from carrying their cell phones to a new network, and we should promote and protect competition in the wireless marketplace,” he said. Grassley called the bipartisan compromise “an important step forward in ensuring that there is competition in the industry and in safeguarding options for consumers as they look at new cell phone contracts.” “Empowering people with the freedom to use the carrier of their choice after complying with their original terms of service is the right thing to do,” he said. The House in February passed a companion bill sponsored on cellphone unlocking from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.).

"

Link to Original Source
Encryption

Russia Posts $110,000 Bounty For Cracking Tor's Privacy 62

Posted by Soulskill
from the what-happens-in-siberia-stays-in-siberia dept.
hypnosec writes: The government of Russia has announced a ~$110,000 bounty to anyone who develops technology to identify users of Tor, an anonymising network capable of encrypting user data and hiding the identity of its users. The public description (in Russian) of the project has been removed now and it only reads "cipher 'TOR' (Navy)." The ministry said it is looking for experts and researchers to "study the possibility of obtaining technical information about users and users' equipment on the Tor anonymous network."
Medicine

Google Looking To Define a Healthy Human 98

Posted by Soulskill
from the bet-this-one's-going-to-get-Godwinned-quick dept.
rtoz writes: Google's moonshot research division, "Google X," has started "Baseline Study," a project designed to collect anonymous genetic and molecular information from 175 people (and later thousands more) to create a complete picture of what a healthy human being should be. The blueprint will help researchers detect health problems such as heart disease and cancer far earlier, focusing medicine on prevention rather than treatment. According to Google, the information from Baseline will be anonymous, and its use will be limited to medical and health purposes. Data won't be shared with insurance companies.

+ - Cable companies: We're afraid Netflix will demand payment from ISPs->

Submitted by Dega704
Dega704 (1454673) writes "While the network neutrality debate has focused primarily on whether ISPs should be able to charge companies like Netflix for faster access to consumers, cable companies are now arguing that it's really Netflix who holds the market power to charge them. This argument popped up in comments submitted to the FCC by Time Warner Cable and industry groups that represent cable companies. (National Journal writer Brendan Sasso pointed this out.) The National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA), which represents many companies including Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cablevision, Cox, and Charter wrote to the FCC:

"Even if broadband providers had an incentive to degrade their customers’ online experience in some circumstances, they have no practical ability to act on such an incentive. Today’s Internet ecosystem is dominated by a number of “hyper-giants” with growing power over key aspects of the Internet experience—including Google in search, Netflix and Google (YouTube) in online video, Amazon and eBay in e-commerce, and Facebook in social media. If a broadband provider were to approach one of these hyper-giants and threaten to block or degrade access to its site if it refused to pay a significant fee, such a strategy almost certainly would be self-defeating, in light of the immediately hostile reaction of consumers to such conduct. Indeed, it is more likely that these large edge providers would seek to extract payment from ISPs for delivery of video over last-mile networks.""

Link to Original Source

+ - Self-driving cars could spark "significant changes in motor insurance"- LLoyds->

Submitted by Hallie Siegel
Hallie Siegel (2948665) writes "Insurance underwriter Lloyd’s of London report that the age of self-driving cars could spark "significant changes in motor insurance", and will likely force insurers to create new methods for how they measure risk and charge premiums. See this analysis by RobotEnomics"
Link to Original Source

+ - Republicans Taking Charge of Bitcoin Campaign Donations->

Submitted by SonicSpike
SonicSpike (242293) writes "There are now more than 30 candidates, party organizations and PACs accepting bitcoin, according to a rough count that’s partly based on data compiled by Make Your Laws, a non-partisan political action committee focused on campaign finance reform.

It’s perhaps no surprise that New Hampshire politicians in particular have warmed to bitcoin since the Federal Election Commission approved a specific request by Make Your Laws in May. With its motto of “live free or die” and a reputation for libertarian values of the kind shared by many bitcoiners, there’s a natural fit.

There, the charge is being led by 32-year-old Republican Andrew Hemingway, the youngest gubernatorial candidate in the country. Thursday he joined a dozen candidates for the state’s Senate to incorporate onto their websites a platform from payment processor Paystand that provides an option to pay in credit card, e-check or bitcoin.

“I’m the first millennial candidate for governor anywhere in the country, so I come at this from a distinct generational perspective,” Mr. Hemingway said. “I’m also a tech entrepreneur. A lot of my friends and a lot of my regular network use bitcoins on a regular basis and have been active in the bitcoin community. So, it was a no-brainer to incorporate it into my campaign.”"

Link to Original Source

+ - Stanford Engineers Explain How They Created a Fictitious Compression For HBO's S->

Submitted by Tekla Perry
Tekla Perry (3034735) writes "Professor Tsachy Weissman and Ph.D student Vinith Misra came up with (almost) believable compression algorithms for HBO's Silicon Valley. Some constraints--they had to seem plausible, look good when illustrated on a whiteboard, and work with the punchline, "middle out". Next season the engineers may encourage producers to tackle the challenge of local decodability."
Link to Original Source

"There are things that are so serious that you can only joke about them" - Heisenberg

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