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Tunisian Gov't Spies On Facebook; Does the US? 221

jfruhlinger writes "Tunisians logging into Facebook encountered extra JavaScript, probably a sign of their repressive government's attempt to spy on them. The question is: does the US government do the same thing, just more subtly? We're not talking about agents friending you on Facebook to get more information about you; we're talking monitoring your supposedly private information behind the scenes."

The Wrong Way To Weaponize Social Media 90

BorgiaPope writes "NYU's Clay Shirky, in the new issue of Foreign Affairs, calls the US government's approach to social media 'dangerous' and 'almost certainly wrong,' as in its favoring Haystack over Freegate. The Political Power of Social Media claims that the freedom of online assembly — via texting, photo sharing, Facebook, Twitter, humble email — is more important even than access to information via an uncensored Internet. Countering Malcolm Gladwell in the New Yorker, Shirky looks at recent uprisings in the Philippines, Moldova, and Spain to make his point that, instead of emphasizing anti-censorship tools, the US should be fighting Egypt's recent mandatory licensing of group-oriented text-messaging services." Only part of Shirky's piece is available for non-subscribers, but Gladwell's New Yorker piece is all online.

CIA Launches WTF To Investigate Wikileaks 402

krou writes "In an effort to investigate the impact of the leaked diplomatic cables, the CIA have launched the Wikileaks Task Force, commonly referred to at CIA headquarters as 'WTF.' 'The Washington Post said the panel was being led by the CIA's counter-intelligence centre, although it has drawn in two dozen members from departments across the agency.' Although the agency has not seen much of its own information leaked in the cables, some revelations (such as spying at the UN) originated from direct requests by the CIA. The Guardian notes that, 'WTF is more commonly associated with the Facebook and Twitter profiles of teenagers than secret agency committees. Given that its expanded version is usually an expression of extreme disbelief, perhaps the term is apt for the CIA's investigation.'"

America's Cubicles Are Shrinking 484

Hugh Pickens writes "In the 1970s, American corporations typically thought they needed 500 to 700 square feet per employee to build an effective office, but the LA Times reports that today's average is a little more than 200 square feet per person, and the space allocation could hit a mere 50 square feet by 2015. 'We're at a very interesting inflection point in real estate history,' says Peter Miscovich, who studies workplace trends. 'The next 10 years will be very different than the last 30.' Although cubicles have shrunk from an average of 64 feet to 49 feet in recent years, companies are looking for more ways to compress their real estate footprint with offices that squeeze together workstations while setting aside a few rooms where employees can conduct meetings or have private phone conversations. 'Younger workers' lives are all integrated, not segregated,' says Larry Rivard. 'They have learned to work anywhere — at a kitchen table or wherever.'"

Porn Site Gave Federal Agents Free Rein 319

Frosty Piss writes "The operators of a notorious porn site granted federal agents administrative access to the site, giving investigators the ability to monitor traffic and public and private chats in an effort to identify users trading 'a significant amount of child pornography.' Though some bloggers have speculated about whether law enforcement officials have secretly been given administrative access to sites where users have been known to post child pornography (like 4chan), the arrangement is apparently the first such compact to be disclosed by investigators."

USDA Services Moving To the Microsoft Cloud 146

JoltinJoe77 writes "Not to be outdone by Google, who recently announced an e-mail deal with the GSA, Microsoft is pressing forward with a migration of its own. 'The US Department of Agriculture is ready to go live with Microsoft's cloud services. In the next four weeks, the agency will move 120,000 users to Microsoft Online services, including e-mail, Web conferencing, document collaboration, and instant messaging.'"

President Obama On Mythbusters Tonight 416

elrous0 writes "As was previously reported, President Obama mentioned back in October that he would be appearing on an upcoming episode of the popular Discovery Channel series Mythbusters. Well, the episode is finally airing tonight. In the episode, the President helps Jamie and Adam test the 'Archimedes Death Ray' myth for a 3rd time (the myth having been 'busted' the first time, and that bust surviving a challenge from MIT students the second time out). Though the President only appears in a couple of brief scripted segments, the actual test (using 500 schoolkids doubling as mirror-bearing soldiers) is purportedly pretty interesting."

Graduate Students Being Warned Away From Leaked Cables 685

IamTheRealMike writes "The US State Department has started to warn potential recruits from universities not to read leaked cables, lest it jeopardize their chances of getting a job. They're also showing warnings to troops who access news websites and the Library of Congress and Department of Education have blocked WikiLeaks on their own networks. Quite what happens when these employees go home is an open question." Update: 12/04 17:48 GMT by T : The friendly warning to students specifically cautioned them not to comment online or otherwise indicate that they'd read any of the leaked information; reading them quietly wasn't specifically named as a deal-breaker.

WikiLeaks Under Denial of Service Attack 870

wiredmikey writes "WikiLeaks has reported that its Web site is currently under a mass distributed denial of service attack. The attack comes around the time of an expected release of classified State Department documents, which the Obama administration says will put 'countless' lives at risk, threaten global counterterrorism operations and jeopardize US relations with its allies."
The Courts

USCG Sues Copyright Defense Lawyer 360

ESRB writes "The US Copyright Group has sued Graham Syfert, an attorney who created a packet of self-representation paperwork for individuals sued for P2P sharing of certain movies and moved to have sanctions placed against the defense attorney. Syfert sells these packets for $20, and the USCG claims the 19 individuals who have used it have cost them over $5000."

FCC Commissioner Blasts Verizon On Net Neutrality 157

destinyland writes "FCC chairman Julius Genachowski says that net neutrality rules 'will happen,' promising the FCC 'will make sure that we get the rules right... to make sure that what we do maximizes innovation and investment across the ecosystem.' But the same week, FCC Commissioner Michael Copps announced that the public should not stand for deals 'that exchange Internet freedom for bloated profits,' mocking the tiered-data plans of the 'Verizon-Google gaggle' and accusing them of wanting 'gated communities for the affluent.' Speaking at a New Mexico hearing, the commissioner warned the audience against proposals that would 'vastly diminish' the Internet's importance, blasting 'special interests and gatekeepers and toll-booth collectors who will short-circuit what this great new technology can do for our country.' (The text of his speech is available as a PDF file at He concludes by acknowledging that 'you can't blame companies for seeking to protect their own interests. But you can blame policy-makers if we let them get away with it!'"

How the 'Tech Worker Visa' Is Remaking IT In America 436

theodp writes "Back in 2008, the Department of Homeland Security enacted a controversial 'emergency' rule to allow foreign students earning tech-related degrees in the US to work for American employers for 29 months after graduation without a work visa. The program would allow US companies to recruit and retain the 'best' science and tech students educated at the top US universities, explained Microsoft. But two-and-a-half years later, it turns out the top US universities are getting schooled by less-renowned institutions. Computerworld reports the DHS program is dominated by little-known, for-profit Stratford University, whose 727 approved requests for post-graduate Optional Practical Training (OPT) STEM extensions tops all schools and is more than twice the combined total of the entire Ivy League — Brown (26), Columbia (105), Cornell (90), Dartmouth (18), Harvard (27), Princeton (16), Penn (50), and Yale (9). In second place, with 533 approved requests, is the University of Bridgeport. In another twist, the program's employers include IT outsourcing and offshoring 'body shops' like Kelly Services, whose entities snagged about 50 approvals, more than twice the combined total of tech stalwarts Google (15), (2), Yahoo (2), and Facebook (3)."

Oregon Senator Stops Internet Censorship Bill 315

comforteagle writes "Senator Wyden of Oregon has objected to a bill in committee that if passed would have given the government the ability to censor the Internet. His objection effectively stop its current passing, forcing it to be introduced again if the bill is to continue — which it may not. Oregonians, please send this man pats on the back."

Whitehat Hacker Moxie Marlinspike's Laptop, Cellphones Seized 484

Orome1 writes "The well-known whitehat hacker and security researcher who goes by the handle Moxie Marlinspike has recently experienced firsthand the electronic device search that travelers are sometimes submitted to by border agents when entering the country. He was returning from the Dominican Republic by plane, and when he landed at JFK airport, he was greeted by two US Customs officials and taken to a detention room where they kept him for almost five hours, took his laptop and two cell phones and asked for the passwords needed to access the encrypted material on them."

FBI Watching Oracle-SAP Trial 66

angry tapir writes "An FBI agent has been in the courtroom each day this week watching the Oracle-SAP trial, suggesting US law enforcement continues to take an interest in the case. SAP said in 2007, when Oracle filed its civil lawsuit against the company, that the Department of Justice had requested documents related to the matter from SAP and its TomorrowNow subsidiary. SAP said at the time that it would 'fully cooperate.' In a court filing in August, SAP said there was an 'ongoing investigation' by the DOJ and the Federal Bureau of Investigation into 'some facts and circumstances that are involved in this matter.'"

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