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Obama Calls For New Privacy Bill of Rights 217

CWmike writes "The Obama Administration is backing a new data privacy bill of rights aimed at protecting consumers against indiscriminate online tracking and data collection by advertisers. In recent times, high-profile examples of a need for improving privacy laws include Facebook's personal data collection practices and Google's problems over its Street View Wi-Fi snooping issue. In testimony prepared for the Senate Committee on Commerce Science and Transportation, the Commerce Department's assistant secretary, Lawrence Strickling, said that the White House wants Congress to enact legislation offering 'baseline consumer data privacy protections.' Strickling said the administration's call for new online privacy protections stems from recommendations made by the Commerce Department in a paper released in December. The administration's support for privacy protections is very significant, said Joel Reidenberg, a professor at Fordham Law School who specializes in privacy issues. 'This is the first time since 1974 that the U.S. government has supported mandatory general privacy rules,' Reidenberg said."

House Fails To Extend Patriot Act Spy Powers 284

schwit1 writes "The House failed to extend three key expiring provisions of the Patriot Act on Tuesday, elements granting the government broad and nearly unchecked surveillance power on its own public. The failure of the bill, sponsored by Rep. James F. Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis), for the time being is likely to give airtime to competing measures in the Senate that would place limited checks on the act's broad surveillance powers. The White House, meanwhile, said it wanted the expiring measures extended through 2013."

The Hobby of Energy Secretary Steven Chu 177

quanminoan writes "Nobel Laureate and US Secretary of Energy Steven Chu has continued to publish even while in federal office. While previous research topics include gravitational redshift, Chu has coauthored a paper entitled 'Subnanometre single-molecule localization registration and distance measurements' which discusses a way to optically image objects as small as 0.5 nm — a major step down from the previous limit of 10 nm. Chu does this in his free time, claiming 'I just consider it my equivalent of ... vegging out in front of the TV.'"

Deadline For Arrives, and Delivers 81

inKubus writes "According to a story carried by AP, as part of President Barack Obama's 'Open Government Directive,' the 24 major departments and agencies that make up the executive branch of the federal government had until Friday to release at least three 'high-value' data sets. Over 300 new data sets have been released on There's a lot of interesting stuff on there and more to come." One of the departments required to release data is the office of the US Trade Representative. Wouldn't it be nice if they posted the ACTA negotiating drafts?

US Offering $45M For Huge Wind Energy Test Bed 91

coondoggie writes "On a day when one of the largest wind farm plans bit the dust, the US Department of Energy is offering up a five-year, $45 million grant to design and build a large dynamometer facility for testing 5 to 15 MW rated wind turbines and equipment. The DOE says such a facility is needed as the US has fallen behind other countries in the race to build ever-larger wind turbines for energy production. According to the DOE, the average size of wind turbines installed in the United States in 2007 increased to roughly 1.65 MW. Additionally, turbines already developed range in the 2.5 MW to 3.5 MW capacity sizes; with plans being developed for even greater power ratings. The larger wind turbines have outpaced the availability of US-based testing facilities, the DOE stated."
The Military

US, Russia Reach Nuclear Arsenal Agreement 413

Peace Corps Library writes "The United States and Russia, seeking to move forward on one of the most significant arms control treaties since the end of the cold war, announced that they had reached a preliminary agreement on cutting each country's stockpiles of strategic nuclear weapons, effectively setting the stage for a successor to the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (Start), a cold war-era pact that expires in December. Under the framework, negotiators are to be instructed to craft a treaty that would cut strategic warheads for each side to between 1,500 and 1,675, down from the limit of 2,200 slated to take effect in 2012 under the Treaty of Moscow (PDF) signed by President George W. Bush. The limit on delivery vehicles would be cut to between 500 and 1,100 from the 1,600 currently allowed under Start. Perhaps more important than the specific limits would be a revised and extended verification system that otherwise would expire with Start in December. The United States currently has 1,198 land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-based missiles and bombers, which together are capable of delivering 5,576 warheads, according to its most recent Start report in January, while Russia reported that it has 816 delivery vehicles capable of delivering 3,909 warheads. 'We have a mutual interest in protecting both of our populations from the kinds of danger that weapons proliferation is presenting today,' said President Obama."

DHS To Kill Domestic Satellite Spying Program 150

mcgrew writes "The Bush administration had plans in place to use spy satellites to spy on American citizens. This morning the AP reports that new DHS head Janet Napolitano has axed those plans. 'The program was announced in 2007 and was to have the Homeland Security Department use overhead and mapping imagery from existing satellites for homeland security and law enforcement purposes. The program, called the National Applications Office, has been delayed because of privacy and civil liberty concerns. The program was included in the Obama administration's 2010 budget request, according to Rep. Jane Harman, a California Democrat and House homeland security committee member who was briefed on the department's classified intelligence budget.'"

Building translators is good clean fun. -- T. Cheatham