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Submission Summary: 1 pending, 65 declined, 12 accepted (78 total, 15.38% accepted)

+ - Police CAN obtain cell-phone location records without warrant->

Submitted by mi
mi writes: Investigators do not need a search warrant to obtain cellphone tower location records in criminal prosecutions. In its 9-2 decision, the 11th Circuit ruled, there is no expectation of one's location remaining private, when using a cellular phone. The decision validated an earlier conviction of a robber, where 67 days worth of the location data linking the accused to locations of armed robberies.

One of the judges wrote: "We find no reason to conclude that cellphone users lack facts about the functions of cell towers or about telephone providers' recording cell tower usage".

In the particular case police used a court order, which has lower requirements, than a search warrant, to obtain the records used for conviction.

Link to Original Source

+ - Fired for hating her job-> 1

Submitted by mi
mi writes: A Texas woman, newly hired by a day care center, wrote on Facebook: "I absolutely hate working at a day care. I just really hate being around a lot of kids." When the would-be employer learned about it, she was fired before her first day at work.
Link to Original Source

+ - "Patriot Act" to be revised-> 1

Submitted by mi
mi writes: Under the bipartisan bills in the House and Senate, the Patriot Act would be changed to prohibit bulk collection, and sweeps that had operated under the guise of so-called National Security Letters issued by the F.B.I. would end. The data would instead be stored by the phone companies themselves, and could be accessed by intelligence agencies only after approval of the secret "Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court.
Link to Original Source

+ - Al Franken urges FBI to prosecute "revenge porn"-> 1

Submitted by mi
mi writes: National Journal writes:

Sen. Al Franken is urging the FBI to more quickly and aggressively pursue and respond to reports of revenge porn, marking a rare burst of attention on a controversial topic about which Congress has typically been quiet.

In a letter to FBI Director James Comey, the Minnesota Democrat asked for more information about the agency's authority to police against revenge porn, or the act of posting explicit sexual content online without the subject's consent, often for purposes of humiliation and extortion. Its popularity has ballooned in recent years, and victims are disproportionately women.

Extortion is illegal, but humiliating somebody is not. I am not sure, how it can be made illegal without violating the First Amendment.
Link to Original Source

+ - Google caught altering search-results for profit->

Submitted by mi
mi writes: We've always suspected, this may happen some day — and, according to FTC's investigation inadvertently shared with the Wall Street Journal, it did.

In a lengthy investigation, staffers in the FTC’s bureau of competition found evidence that Google boosted its own services for shopping, travel and local businesses by altering its ranking criteria and “scraping” content from other sites. It also deliberately demoted rivals.

For example, the FTC staff noted that Google presented results from its flight-search tool ahead of other travel sites, even though Google offered fewer flight options. Google’s shopping results were ranked above rival comparison-shopping engines, even though users didn’t click on them at the same rate, the staff found. Many of the ways Google boosted its own results have not been previously disclosed.

Link to Original Source

+ - Ukraine launches "Information Army"-> 1

Submitted by mi
mi writes: When America invaded Iraq in 2003, the world exploded in what Time magazine would later call biggest coordinated protest in history. As New York Times remarked back then, it showed, that the "public opinion" is the second super-power — rivaling the United States.

But, when Russia invaded Ukraine in 2014, the world's reaction was much more muted — and what few protests there were, the organizers were Ukrainian expatriates, not sympathetic locals. The subsequent annexation of a jewel of a province after a "referendum" barely registered too.

President Putin's little undeclared war against its neighbor was given media cover by both Left and Right. While some accused Ukraine's new leaders of being anti-Semitic "Nazis", others — catering to a different audience — dismissed them all as "Jews". Somehow or other, all these people never argued with each other, and their opinions — even when directly opposite — all supported Russia's actions.

Explaining the differences in the world's attitudes by Russia's cunning and precisely-targeted propaganda campaigns (starting in advance of any actual invasions), Ukraine is launching its own "Information Army"...

Link to Original Source

+ - New York firefighter robbed of bitcoin(s)->

Submitted by mi
mi writes: Bitcoin, the technology that’s meant to revolutionize the way we think of money, is simultaneously revolutionizing the way we get mugged. A New York City firefighter named was recently held up, stabbed and robbed by thieves who were after his bitcoin. Mr. Dwayne Richards — who is a firefighter in lower Manhattan — was mugged and left bleeding after meeting the robbers under the pretense of exchanging bitcoin for cash in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. He’s alive, well, and refusing comment.

Apparently, robbing someone of his bitcoin in person can be an astonishingly effective way to make off with vast sums of capital quickly and untraceably. And Mr. Richards is far from the first to fall victim to bitcoin-related brutality.

Link to Original Source

+ - A mattrass adjusts ambiance, starts coffeemaker, when you wake-up-> 1

Submitted by mi
mi writes: A smart mattress-cover will turn off lights when you go to sleep, get coffee ready when you’re waking up. Luna’s new device fits around the mattress like a cover, and monitors whether those sleeping on it are asleep. When it senses that they are, it can power down lights or change heating settings. And when it detects that they’re waking back up, it can start brewing coffee or turn the lights back on.

And while you’re asleep, it will track the room temperature and how much sleep you get, creating the perfect conditions. The bed has “dual zone temperature”, which means that it can monitor differnet sides of the bed separately.

The only disturbing piece about it comes at the very end of the article:

Data is stored on the smart mattress cover itself, and then sent to Luna for storage and analysis.


Link to Original Source

+ - Russian oil tycoons behind US "greens"?->

Submitted by mi
mi writes: A shadowy Bermudan company that has funneled tens of millions of dollars to anti-fracking environmentalist groups in the United States is run by executives with deep ties to Russian oil interests and offshore money laundering schemes involving members of President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle.

With oil prices plunging as a result of a fracking-induced oil glut in the United States, experts say the links between Russian oil interests, secretive foreign political donors, and high-profile American environmentalists suggest Russia may be backing anti-fracking efforts in the United States.

Link to Original Source

+ - The "mammoth snow storm" falls flat->

Submitted by mi
mi writes: You heard the scare-mongering, you heard the governors and mayors closing public transit and declaring driving on public road a crime . But it turned out to have been a mistake. Boston may have been hit somewhat, but further South — NYC and Philadelphia — the snowfall was rather underwhelming. Promised "2-3 feet" snow, NYC got only a few inches.

Is this an example of "better safe than sorry", or is government's overreach justified by questionable weather models exceeding the threshold of honest mistake?

Link to Original Source

+ - Ecuador President uses DMCA to shut down critics online->

Submitted by mi
mi writes: A vocal adversary of Washington, Ecuador's leftist president has also made a name for sheltering WikiLeaks' Julian Assange in his country's London Embassy, and briefly offering asylum to U.S. intelligence leaker Edward Snowden.

So, it might come as a surprise to learn that Ecuadoreans who dare to post content critical of Correa and his government on Twitter, YouTube and Facebook say they are finding their images and videos systematically targeted and taken down.

The posters are accused of copyright violations — which causes the sites to automatically remove them in compliance with DMCA. Although appeals are possible, they take days and weeks, by which time many postings lose all relevance.

Human Rights Watch says, this would be the latest move in Ecuador's "deplorable free speech record."

Link to Original Source

+ - Police nation-wide use wall-penetrating radars to peer into homes->

Submitted by mi
mi writes: At least 50 U.S. law enforcement agencies have secretly equipped their officers with radar devices that allow them to effectively peer through the walls of houses to see whether anyone is inside.

The device the Marshals Service and others are using, known as the Range-R, looks like a sophisticated stud-finder. Its display shows whether it has detected movement on the other side of a wall and, if so, how far away it is — but it does not show a picture of what's happening inside. The Range-R's maker, L-3 Communications, estimates it has sold about 200 devices to 50 law enforcement agencies at a cost of about $6,000 each.

Other radar devices have far more advanced capabilities, including three-dimensional displays of where people are located inside a building, according to marketing materials from their manufacturers. One is capable of being mounted on a drone. And the Justice Department has funded research to develop systems that can map the interiors of buildings and locate the people within them.

Link to Original Source

+ - Congress passes 'Unlimited Access to Communications of Every American'

Submitted by mi
mi writes: A provision of "Intelligence Authorization Act for FY 2015" passing through Congress would create an Executive government's right to collect all communications of Americans. The Executive is already doing it claiming "executive authority", but they will no longer need to. In "exchange" the bill mandates deleting all such records within five years, which is the current practice anyway. Congressman Justin Amash (R-Michigan) is raising awareness.

+ - US Navy authorizes use of laser in combat->

Submitted by mi
mi writes: The U.S. Navy is has declared an experimental laser weapon on its Afloat Forward Staging Base (AFSB) in the Persian Gulf an operational asset and U.S. Central Command has given permission for the commander of the ship to defend itself with the weapon.

The 30 kilowatt Laser Weapon System (LaWS) was installed aboard USS Ponce this summer as part of a $40 million research and development effort from ONR and Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) to test the viability of directed energy weapons in an operational environment.

No word yet on a smaller, shark-mounted version.

Link to Original Source

+ - Supersonic passenger jets are coming->

Submitted by mi
mi writes: It's been more than ten years since Concorde made its final transatlantic flight. But there's a new generation of supersonic passenger aircraft beginning to emerge, boasting speeds at least twice as fast as current commercial planes.

Available — like most things — for the rich initially, the plans call for supersonic travel to become available to the poorly washed masses in early 2020-ies.

Link to Original Source

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