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United States

Department of Justice Harvests Cell Phone Data Using Planes 202

Posted by samzenpus
from the we-can-hear-you-now dept.
Tyketto writes The US Department of Justice has been using fake communications towers installed in airplanes to acquire cellular phone data for tracking down criminals, reports The Wall Street Journal. Using fix-wing Cessnas outfitted with DRT boxes produced by Boeing, the devices mimic cellular towers, fooling cellphones into reporting "unique registration information" to track down "individuals under investigation." The program, used by the U.S. Marshals Service, has been in use since 2007 and deployed around at least five major metropolitan areas, with a flying range that can cover most of the US population. As cellphones are designed to connect to the strongest cell tower signal available, the devices identify themselves as the strongest signal, allowing for the gathering of information on thousands of phones during a single flight. Not even having encryption on one's phone, like found in Apple's iPhone 6, prevents this interception. While the Justice Department would not confirm or deny the existence of such a program, Verizon denies any involvement in this program, and DRT (a subsidiary of Boeing), AT&T, and Sprint have all declined to comment.
The Almighty Buck

Mayday PAC Goes 2 For 8 224

Posted by Soulskill
from the above-the-mendoza-line dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Lawrence Lessig's Mayday.us project had a bold goal: create a super PAC to end all super PACs. It generated significant support and raised over $10 million, which it spent endorsing a group of candidates for the recent mid-term elections and the primaries beforehand. The results weren't kind. Only two of the eight candidates backed by Mayday won their elections, and both of those candidates were quite likely to win anyway. Lessig was understandably displeased with the results. In a post on the Mayday site, he said, "What 2014 shows most clearly is the power of partisanship in our elections. Whatever else voters wanted, they wanted first their team to win."

Kenneth Vogel, author of Big Money, a recent book on the rise of super PACs, was critical of of Mayday's efforts, saying, "While voters do express high levels of disgust about the state of campaign finance and the level of corruption in Washington, they tend to actually cast votes more on bread-and-butter economic issues." Still, Lessig is hopeful for the future: "We moved voters on the basis of that message. Not enough. Not cheaply enough. But they moved."
The Media

Ferguson No-Fly Zone Revealed As Anti-Media Tactic 265

Posted by timothy
from the pretty-damning-stuff dept.
The AP (here, carried by the San Francisco Chronicle) reports that recorded conversations reveal flight restrictions requested in August by the police force of Ferguson, MO, and agreed to by Federal aviation safety officials, were specifically intended to limit the access of journalists to the area, rather than purely in response to safety concerns. One FAA manager in Kansas City was recorded saying police "did not care if you ran commercial traffic through this TFR (temporary flight restriction) all day long. They didn't want media in there." "There is really ... no option for a [Temporary Flight Restriction] that says, you know, 'OK, everybody but the media is OK,'" he said. The managers then worked out wording they felt would keep news helicopters out of the controlled zone but not impede other air traffic. The conversations contradict claims by the St. Louis County Police Department, which responded to demonstrations following the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, that the restriction was solely for safety and had nothing to do with preventing media from witnessing the violence or the police response. Police said at the time, and again as recently as late Friday to the AP, that they requested the flight restriction in response to shots fired at a police helicopter. But police officials confirmed there was no damage to their helicopter and were unable to provide an incident report on the shooting. On the tapes, an FAA manager described the helicopter shooting as unconfirmed "rumors."

Comment: Re:For 3rd party batteries, I've had good luck wit (Score 2) 131

by Trashman (#47733517) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Where Can I Find Good Replacement Batteries?

I bought Anker batteries for my (now Ancient) Thinkpad T42p and Macbook Pro 4,1. Prior to the purchases, I bought some cheep ones for the thinkpad and dropped (a lot of) money on the OEM replacement for the macbook and the Anker battery is actually better than Apple's.

This was over a year ago and half ago, and They're still in use.

Electronic Frontier Foundation

EFF: US Gov't Bid To Alter Court Record in Jewel v. NSA 78

Posted by timothy
from the they'll-get-you-next-time dept.
The EFF is only today able to release details of an attempt by the government to alter the historical record in the case brought by the EFF against the NSA in Jewel v. NSA. "On June 6, the court held a long hearing in Jewel in a crowded, open courtroom, widely covered by the press. We were even on the local TV news on two stations. At the end, the Judge ordered both sides to request a transcript since he ordered us to do additional briefing. But when it was over, the government secretly, and surprisingly sought permission to "remove" classified information from the transcript, and even indicated that it wanted to do so secretly, so the public could never even know that they had done so." As you'd expect of the EFF, they fought back with vigorous objections, and in the end the government did not get its way, instead deciding that it hadn't given away any classified information after all. "The transcript of a court proceeding is the historical record of that event, what will exist and inform the public long after the persons involved are gone. The government's attempt to change this history was unprecedented. We could find no example of where a court had granted such a remedy or even where such a request had been made. This was another example of the government's attempt to shroud in secrecy both its own actions, as well as the challenges to those actions. We are pleased that the record of this attempt is now public. But should the situation recur, we will fight it as hard as we did this time."

Comment: Re:Not heroes (Score 1) 389

Lets imagine there was actually huge amount of them - 90% of passengers. Just to make very obvious to see.

That means that company has 90% less revenue to operate with and operate costs.

They could cancel enough lines to stay in positive numbers. Now the cost for everyone is that service is way worse.

They could raise up fare. Paying 10 times the fare is quire a cost raise for paying people.

Or they could lobby local government for tax subsidies. That would come in greater taxes or tax money missing elsewhere. Raised costs for everyone, even people not using public transport.

Of course, company could just shut down. Id say that is quite a cost.

Comment: Re:Not heroes (Score 1) 389

Once fixed cost line has enough passengers to cover its costs, it does not mean that it has to be pure profit.

Usually, public transport company mandate is to provide transport first. Any extra gains would to to establishing new lines (to provide better connections, new connections or to just shift loads) or increasing amount of vehicles on line for less overcrowding.

Each freeloader may add little cost to operating line he is riding on, but fare he pays could also go to improving service for others.

This is why public transport can be pricey - you pay for late night buses, buses to less populated neighborhoods, more buses during rush hour...

Comment: Re:Wut? (Score 1) 253

by zwei2stein (#46343701) Attached to: Blizzard To Sell Level 90 <em>WoW</em> Characters For $60

If you play game to "accomplish" something, you might want to reevaluate reasons why you pay to play the game to fake-accomplish stuff.

If you are instant L90 you have ... freedom.

Want to go to sightsee zone X? You can.

Want to try dungeon Y? You can.

Want to do quest Z? Sure, go ahead.

Want to...

There is so much you can do besides watching stupid pointless number to go up. Maybe you can try that sometimes.

Steve Jobs said two years ago that X is brain-damaged and it will be gone in two years. He was half right. -- Dennis Ritchie

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