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United States

NYPD Dismantling Occupy Wall Street Encampment 933

First time accepted submitter Red_Chaos1 was the first to write with news that, as of around 06:30 UTC, the NYPD appears to have begun removing the encampment of Occupy Wall Street. At 06:34 UTC the Mayor's office issued a tweet declaring: "Occupants of Zuccotti should temporarily leave and remove tents and tarps. Protesters can return after the park is cleared." Around 07:15 UTC the first of several large dumpsters were deposited and the police began throwing tents and other debris into it. Reports also indicate that a Long Range Acoustic Device is on the premises. The police are using helicopters and physical barriers to prevent news coverage, but the Occupiers are streaming the events (alternative stream; #occupywallstreet on is also rather active for those who don't fancy flash or twitter.) As of 09:15 or so, the situation according to those near NYC is that the park has more or less been cleared.

Nielsen Sends Wikipedia DMCA Takedown For Station Descriptions 278

RockMFR writes "A DMCA takedown notice sent by Nielsen Media Research to the Wikimedia Foundation has resulted in the deletion of over 300 pages on the English Wikipedia. The pages were 'templates' and categories that listed television stations within various geographical markets in the United States. Discussion of the deletions has focused on whether this type of information can actually be copyrighted, though the content of the takedown notice have not been made public."

In MN, Massive Police Raids On Suspected Protestors 961

X0563511 alerts us to events in Minneapolis and St. Paul in advance of the Republican convention (which has been put on hold because of Hurricane Gustav). Local police backed by the FBI raided a number of homes and public buildings and confiscated computers and other material. From "Last night, members of the St. Paul police department and the Ramsey County sheriff's department handcuffed, photographed and detained dozens of people meeting at a public venue to plan a demonstration, charging them with no crime other than 'fire code violations,' and early this morning, the Sheriff's department sent teams of officers into at least four Minneapolis area homes where suspected protesters were staying. Jane Hamsher and I were at two of those homes this morning — one which had just been raided and one which was in the process of being raided." Here is local reporting from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune: "Aided by informants planted in protest groups, authorities raided at least six buildings across St. Paul and Minneapolis to stop an 'anarchist' plan to disrupt this week's Republican National Convention. From Friday night through Saturday afternoon, officers surrounded houses, broke down doors, handcuffed scores of people and confiscated suspected tools of civil disobedience ... A St. Paul City Council member described it as excessive, while activists, many of whom were detained and then released without charges, called it intimidation designed to quash free speech."
Hardware Hacking

CC Companies Scotch Mythbusters Show On RFID Security 466

mathfeel passes along a video in which Mythbusters co-host Adam Savage recounts how credit card companies lawyered up to make sure the Discovery channel never, ever airs a segment on the flaws in RFID security. "Texas Instruments comes on [a scheduled conference call] along with chief legal counsel for American Express, Visa, Discover, and everybody else... They [Mythbusters producers] were way, way outgunned and they [lawyers] absolutely made it really clear to Discovery that they were not going to air this episode talking about how hackable this stuff was, and Discovery backed way down being a large corporation that depends upon the revenue of the advertisers. Now it's on Discovery's radar and they won't let us go near it."

Home Science Under Attack In Massachusetts 1334

An anonymous reader tips a guest posting up on the MAKE Magazine blog by the author of the Illustrated Guide to Home Chemistry Experiments. It seems that authorities in Massachusetts have raided a home chemistry lab, apparently without a warrant, and made off with all of its contents. Here's the local article from the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. "Victor Deeb, a retired chemist who lives in Marlboro, has finally been allowed to return to his Fremont Street home, after Massachusetts authorities spent three days ransacking his basement lab and making off with its contents. Deeb is not accused of making methamphetamine or other illegal drugs. He's not accused of aiding terrorists, synthesizing explosives, nor even of making illegal fireworks. Deeb fell afoul of the Massachusetts authorities for... doing experiments... Pamela Wilderman, the code enforcement officer for [the Massachusetts town of] Marlboro stated, 'I think Mr. Deeb has crossed a line somewhere. This is not what we would consider to be a customary home occupation.' Allow me to translate Ms. Wilderman's words into plain English: 'Mr. Deeb hasn't actually violated any law or regulation that I can find, but I don't like what he's doing because I'm ignorant and irrationally afraid of chemicals, so I'll abuse my power to steal his property and shut him down.'"

FBI Seizes Library Computers Without Warrant 483

An anonymous reader writes "Two FBI agents walked into a public library in Maryland, without a warrant, and walked out with two computers. The library director agreed to release the machines to these smooth-talking feds. According to the article, the director of Frederick County Public Libraries indicated that this was the third time in his 10 years there that the FBI had requested records, but the first time they had come without a court order. The director seemed to indicate no regrets, stating 'It was a decision I made on my experience and the information given to me.' He further justified his actions, noting that the agents indicated specific computers they needed (of the several dozen in the library) and further that they 'had an awful lot of information.'" The library director speculated whether the raid may have involved the Bruce Ivins / anthrax case, musing "Obviously it coincided with the events everyone is talking about," but he said the agents hadn't mentioned it.

Senator Proposes to Monitor All P2P Traffic for Illegal Files 626

mytrip writes "Senator Joe Biden (D-Del) has proposed an ambitious plan, costing on the order of $1 billion, aimed at curtailing illegal activities via P2P networks. His plan involves utilizing new software to monitor peer-to-peer traffic on an ongoing basis. 'At an afternoon Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing about child exploitation on the Internet, Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) said he was under the impression it's "pretty easy to pick out the person engaged in either transmitting or downloading violent scenes of rape, molestation" simply by looking at file names. He urged use of those techniques by investigators to help nab the most egregious offenders."
United States

DHS to Begin Collecting DNA of Anyone Arrested 483

Foobar of Borg writes "The AP is reporting that the US will soon be collecting the DNA of anyone who is arrested by a federal law enforcement agency and any foreigner who is detained, whether or not charges are eventually brought. This begins to bring the US in line with the UK which, as discussed before on Slashdot, is trying to collect DNA of 'potential criminals' as young as five. DHS spokesman Russ Knocke stated that 'DNA is a proven law-enforcement tool.'"

Domains Blocked By US Treasury 'Blacklist' 525

yuna49 writes "Adam Liptak of the New York Times reports today about the plight of a Spanish tour operator whose domain names have been embargoed by his domain name registrar (eNom). They pulled his domains after they discovered the tour operator's name on a US Treasury blacklist. It turns out he packages tours to Cuba largely for European tourists who can legally travel there, unlike Americans. The article cites 'a press release issued in December 2004, almost three years before eNom acted. It said Mr. Marshall's company had helped Americans evade restrictions on travel to Cuba and was "a generator of resources that the Cuban regime uses to oppress its people." It added that American companies must not only stop doing business with the company but also freeze its assets, meaning that eNom did exactly what it was legally required to do.' The only part of the operator's business in the United States is his domain name registration; all other aspects of his business lie outside the United States."
United States

Copy That Floppy, Lose Your Computer 766

Over the weekend we posted a story about a new copyright bill that creates a new govt. agency in charge of copyright enforcement. Kevin Way writes "In particular, the bill grants this new agency the right to seize any computer or network hardware used to "facilitate" a copyright crime and auction it off. You would not need to be found guilty at trial to face this penalty. You may want to read a justification of it, and criticism presented by Declan McCullagh and Public Knowledge." Lots of good followup there on a really crazy development.
United States

Executive Order Overturns US Fifth Amendment 853

RalphTWaP writes "Tuesday, there wasn't even a fuss. Wednesday, the world was a little different. By executive order, the Secretary of the Treasury may now seize the property of any person who undermines efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq. The Secretary may make his determination in secret and after the fact." There hasn't been much media notice of this; the UK's Guardian has an article explaining how the new authority will only be used to go after terrorists.
United States

National Intelligence Director Seeks Expansion of Spy Powers 346

Erris writes "The Bush administration is seeking even less judicial oversight for their spying efforts both here and abroad. An AP story is discussing proposed changes to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act proposed by National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell. 'The changes McConnell is seeking mostly affect a cloak-and-dagger category of warrants used to investigate suspected spies, terrorists and other national security threats. The court-approved surveillance could include planting listening devices and hidden cameras, searching luggage and breaking into homes to make copies of computer hard drives.' One of their specific goals is prosecution immunity for communications companies who comply with the program, a sheild for groups that violate privacy laws in turning over information to the NSA. The article notes that 'Critics question whether the changes are needed and worry about what the Bush administration has in store, given a rash of allegations about domestic surveillance and abuse of power.'"

Canadian Bill C-416 to Require Wiretapping 228

Matthew Skala writes "Bill C-416, recently introduced in the Canadian Parliament, would if passed require Internet providers to provide wiretapping facilities to law enforcement — without a warrant, and with 'confidentiality' requirements reminiscent of the secret-spying cases we've seen recently in the States. This new Act is a reprise of last Parliament's C-74, which failed when the Government's term ended. Coming back as a Liberal "private member's Bill" in a minority government, it will have little chance of success without cross-party support; but with the Conservatives in charge, all bets are off if they can find a way to claim it's about terrorism or child pornography."

FBI Says Paper Trails Are Optional 244

WerewolfOfVulcan writes "According to this Washington Post article, the FBI says that it doesn't have to comply with even the unconstitutional provisions of the Patriot Act when asking for phone records. Apparently that whole due process thing doesn't include them. Funny thing is, they've apparently already been doing it for years." Quoting: "Under past procedures, agents sent 'exigent circumstances letters' to phone companies, seeking toll records by asserting there was an emergency. Then they were expected to issue a grand jury subpoena or a 'national security letter,' which legally authorized the collection after the fact. Agents often did not follow up with that paperwork, the inspector general's investigation found. The new instructions tell agents there is no need to follow up with national security letters or subpoenas. The agents are also told that... they may make requests orally, with no paperwork sent to phone companies. Such oral requests have been made over the years in terrorism and kidnapping cases, officials said."
The Courts

Government Seeks Dismissal of Spy Suit 135

The Wired blog 27B Stroke 6 is carrying the news that the US has filed a motion to drop the case the ACLU won in lower court against the government's warrantless wiretapping program. The government's appeal of that ruling will be heard on Wednesday, January 31 in front of the Sixth Circuit court of appeals. The feds argue that the case is now moot because they are now obtaining warrants from the FISA court, and furthermore President Bush did not renew the warrantless program. Turns out there's a Supreme Court precedent saying that if you were doing something illegal, get taken to court, and then stop the illegal activity, you're not off the hook. The feds argue in their petition that this precedent does not apply to them. Here is the government's filing (PDF).

"Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats." -- Howard Aiken