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+ - Editor of "Reason" talks about Federal subpoena->

mi writes: Is there anything more likely to make you shit your pants out of a mix of fear and anger than getting a federal subpoena out of the blue?

Well, yes, there is: getting a gag order that prohibits you from speaking publicly about that subpoena and even the gag order itself. Talk about feeling isolated and cast adrift in the home of the free. You can’t even respond honestly when someone asks, “Are you under a court order not to speak?”

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+ - Doctors punished for mocking sedated patient->

mi writes: Unbeknown to the doctors performing a colonoscopy, the patient's phone recorded their entire conversation — complete with mocking and insulting the patient, plans to lie to him after he wakes up, and instructions to the assistant to report haemorrhoids, which the man did not have. The jury awarded victim $500K, which was, reportedly, a compromise between one juror thinking, he deserves nothing at all, and another thinking, the reward should be much higher. The consensus was, the doctors had to be fined "so it does not happen again".
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+ - KFC suing Chinese marketeers over false rumors->

mi writes: KFC — China's largest restaurant operator — filed a lawsuit in Shanghai Xuhui District People's Court against three companies in China, whose social media accounts spread false claims about its food, including that its chickens are "genetically modified" to have six wings and eight legs. KFC is demanding 1.5 million yuan ($242,000) and an apology from each of three companies that operated accounts on the popular mobile phone app WeChat. It is also seeking an immediate stop to their infringements.

In the past Internet marketers have been convicted of trying to manipulate online sentiment on behalf of clients by posting false information about competitors or deleting critical posts.

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+ - Obama asks Congress to renew "Patriot Act"->

mi writes: President Barack Obama called on the Senate Tuesday to extend key Patriot Act provisions before they expire four days from now, including the government's ability to search Americans' phone records: "This needs to get done," he told reporters in the Oval Office. "It's necessary to keep the American people safe and secure."

The call came despite it being revealed recently, that the FBI are unable to name a single terror-case, where the eavesdropping provisions were of much help.

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+ - FBI can not name a single big case helped by Patriot Act's snooping provisions-> 3 3

mi writes: “The agents we interviewed did not identify any major case developments that resulted from use of the records obtained in response to Section 215 orders,” the inspector general concluded — though he said agents did view the material they gathered as “valuable” in developing other leads or corroborating information.
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+ - Verizon was trusting X-Forwarded-For allowing full control of accounts->

mi writes: Verizon was identifying their Internet Service customers by IP-address, allowing people connecting from their homes full control of their accounts. However, as it turns out, they were trusting the arriving X-Forward-For headers, which are trivial to inject even with browser add-ons. To get full control of somebody else's Verizon account, all you needed — until very recently — was to have such a plugin and know the target's current IP-address.
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+ - Police CAN obtain cell-phone location records without warrant->

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.

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

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

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

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.

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+ - Ukraine launches "Information Army"-> 1 1

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"...

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

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.

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

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.

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The early bird who catches the worm works for someone who comes in late and owns the worm farm. -- Travis McGee