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Submission + - Idaho Law Against Recording Abuses on Factory Farms Ruled Unconstitutional

onproton writes: An Idaho law that made it illegal to record and document animal abuse or dangerous hygienic practices in agricultural facilities, often referred to as an ‘ag-gag’ law, was ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge on Monday. The judge concluded that the law restricted constitutionally protected free speech, and contradicted “long-established defamation and whistleblowing statutes by punishing employees for publishing true and accurate recordings on matters of public concern.” Idaho is just one of several states to pass this type of law, which allow food production facilities to censor some unfavorable forms of speech at their convenience. Under the Idaho statute, an employee that witnessed and recorded an incident, even if it depicted true and life-threatening health or safety violations, could be faced with a year in jail and fines of up to “twice the economic loss the owner suffers.” In his ruling, the judge stated that this was “precisely the type of speech the First Amendment was designed to protect.” This decision has raised questions about the constitutionality of these types of laws in other states as well, and it’s likely that there will be more legal battles ahead.

Submission + - How Boing Boing Handled an FBI Subpoena Over Its Tor Exit Node (

An anonymous reader writes: Cory Doctorow has posted an account of what happened when tech culture blog Boing Boing got a federal subpoena over the Tor exit node the site had been running for years. They received the subpoena in June, and the FBI demanded all logs relating to the exit node: specifically, "subscriber records" and "user information" for everybody associated with the exit node's IP address. They were also asked to testify before a federal grand jury. While they were nervous at first, the story has a happy ending. Their lawyer sent a note back to the FBI agent in charge, explaining that the IP address in question was an exit node. The agent actually looked into Tor, realized no logs were available, and cancelled the request. Doctorow considers this encouraging for anyone who's thinking about opening a new exit node" "I'm not saying that everyone who gets a federal subpoena for running a Tor exit node will have this outcome, but the only Tor legal stories that rise to the public's attention are the horrific ones. Here's a counterexample: Fed asks us for our records, we say we don't have any, fed goes away."

Submission + - European Court: Websites Are Responsible For Users' Comments (

An anonymous reader writes: A new ruling from the European Court of Human Rights found it perfectly acceptable to hold websites responsible for comments left by users. Experts are worried the ruling will encourage websites to censor content posted by users out of concern that they're opening themselves up to legal liability. The judgment also seems to support the claim that "proactive monitoring" can be required of website owners. Peter Micek of digital rights group "Access" said, "This ruling is a serious blow to users’ rights online. Dissenting voices will have fewer outlets in which to seek and impart opinions anonymously. Instead, users at risk will be dragged down by a precedent that will keep them from accessing the open ocean of ideas and information."

Submission + - Sunday Times issues DMCA takedown notice to the Intercept over Snowden article (

An anonymous reader writes: On Sunday the newspaper the Sunday Times published an article citing anonymous UK government sources that Edward Snowden was in the hands of the Russians and Chinese. Shortly thereafter, Glenn Greenwald at the Intercept published a scathing criticism of the article. In this article, Glenn published a photograph of the paper's front page on which the story occurred. Yesterday, the Intercept received a DMCA take down notice from News Corp on account of the photograph.
The Intercept is refusing to comply with the take down notice.

Comment and yet real secuirty research is all but outlawed (Score 1) 59

I am finding it harder and harder to accept that the people in charge of these types of programs aren't aware of just how glaringly hypocritical they are. I can't help but be reminded of the quote:

We grow up in a controlled society, where we are told that when one person kills another person, that is murder, but when the government kills a hundred thousand, that is patriotism.
- Howard Zinn

Find a zero day and report it to someone who might fix it, that is criminal. Find a zero day and report it to the navy, you've done a service for your country. There is a unfortunate disconnect when the things the government does in the name of keeping us safe, end up making us all decidedly less safe in the end.

Submission + - TPP Fast Track Passes (Key Vote) in the Senate, Moves on to the House 2

onproton writes: The Senate voted yesterday to reauthorize the controversial Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which expidites, or ‘Fast Tracks,’ the passage of trade agreements through Congress. If also approved by the House, it will grant the authority to decide and negotiate the terms of agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to the executive branch, significantly limiting congressional involvement and leaving little room for debate. Proponents of the bill, namely the USTR, claim that Fast Tracking the TPP is critical to successfully negotiating its terms internationally, and will "ensure that Congress, stakeholders and the public are closely involved before, during and after the conclusion of trade agreement negotiations.” Though in reality, it does not introduce significant changes in the transparency or reporting requirements that are currently in place, which have allowed the negotiations of this deal to be held in secret since 2009. With concerns being raised about the deal's impacts on everything from intellectual property rights to government sovereignty, it is surprising to many that Congress would abdicate their role in determining the specifics of agreements that may have far reaching implications for their constituents.

Submission + - Notorious "Patent Troll" to be the Commencement Speaker at UCLA

onproton writes: This week Nathan Myhrvold, widely criticized for his industry role as a “patent troll,” was announced as the commencement speaker at UCLA’s graduation ceremony. The UCLA student newspaper quickly responded with a piece protesting the selection, describing Myhrvold’s company, Intellectual Ventures, as “the most hated company in tech.” Intellectual Ventures has purchased more than 70,000 patents, many of which are either sold to other identified patent trolls, or used by its shell corporations in litigation to extort companies actually involved in product development. These kinds of predatory organizations have resulted in a major decline in venture capital investment in startups, and as the “Daily Bruin” points out, make a mockery out of the legal processes involving intellectual property.

Comment Re:file transfer (Score 5, Informative) 466

Regarding this idea: a couple of years back I bought this universal hard drive adaptor, since then it has gotten me out of quite a number of jams. After removing the drive, you can attach it to one of the adapter's IDE/PATA/SATA ports and directly access the files via a USB connection from the adapter - I'd say this is probably the least frustrating way to handle this situation.

Comment Knowledge Networks (Score 1) 210

How close are we to being able to have the kind of system you discuss in your TED talk on computing a theory of all knowledge, and how do you think we could use this kind of approach in practice to improve the reliability of information that people are reading on the web? How would you suggest it might be integrated within the current framework to provide possible utility outside of the Wolfram Alpha site itself, if at all?

Submission + - In Breakthrough, US and Cuba to Resume Diplomatic Relations writes: Peter Baker reports at the NYT that in a deal negotiated during 18 months of secret talks hosted largely by Canada and encouraged by Pope Francis, the United States will restore full diplomatic relations with Cuba and open an embassy in Havana for the first time in more than a half-century. In addition, the United States will ease restrictions on remittances, travel and banking relations, and Cuba will release 53 Cuban prisoners identified as political prisoners by the United States government. Although the decades-old American embargo on Cuba will remain in place for now, the administration signaled that it would welcome a move by Congress to ease or lift it should lawmakers choose to. “We cannot keep doing the same thing and expect a different result. It does not serve America’s interests, or the Cuban people, to try to push Cuba toward collapse. We know from hard-learned experience that it is better to encourage and support reform than to impose policies that will render a country a failed state,” said the White House in a written statement. "The United States is taking historic steps to chart a new course in our relations with Cuba and to further engage and empower the Cuban people."

Submission + - Is Public Debate of Trade Agreements Against the Public Interest? 1

onproton writes: The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), currently being negotiated in secret, has been subject to numerous draft leaks that indicate these talks are potentially harmful to everything from public health to internet freedom. So why isn’t the public involved, and why are the terms of the agreement being debated bend closed doors? According to New Zealand's current Trade Minister, Tim Groser, full disclosure of what is being discussed would likely lead to “public debate on an ill-informed basis before the deal has been done.” Leaving one to question how revealing the full context and scope of the agreement talks would lead to an increase in misinformation rather than clarity.

In 1750 Issac Newton became discouraged when he fell up a flight of stairs.