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+ - Huntsville schools say call from NSA led to monitoring students online

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "An alleged phone call from the NSA prompted public school officials in an Alabama school district to launch a surveillance program to monitor students’ online activities, administrators of the Huntsville City School District now admit.

The NSA allegedly took an interest in the Lee High School student body after Auseel Yousefi, a straight-A student, posted a series of questionable tweets about getting into fights and hitting a teacher. Yousefi claims the tweets were intended in jest, but school security officials searched the student’s car and found a weapon, which he says is a “jeweled dagger from a Renaissance fair.”

That was all the evidence school authorities needed to expel Yousefi for the semester and launch a district-wide information-gathering program aimed at discovering security threats and identifying gang members. The subsequent investigation led to a series of expulsions of students who were found posing on social media holding guns or throwing gang signs.

School administrators say the wider surveillance program was conducted at the behest of the NSA, but the security agency now denies it ever called the school."

+ - Calling Mr Orwell, rejigged executive order makes collecting data not collecting->

Submitted by sandbagger
sandbagger (654585) writes "'...it is often the case that one can be led astray by relying on the generic or commonly understood definition of a particular word.' Specifically words offering constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure. TechDirt looks at the redefinition of the term collection as redefined by Executive Order 12333 to allow basically every information dragnet, provided no-one looks at it. "Collection" is now defined as "collection plus action." According to this document, ot still isn't collected, even if its been gathered, packaged and sent to a "supervisory authority." No collection happens until examination. It's Schroedinger's data, neither collected nor uncollected until the "box" has been opened. This leads to the question of aging off collected data/communications: if certain (non) collections haven't been examined at the end of the 5-year storage limit, are they allowed to be retained simply because they haven't officially been collected yet? Does the timer start when the "box" is opened or when the "box" is filled?"
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+ - California Gov Brown Vetoes Bill Requiring Warrants for Drone Surveillance->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "Brown, a Democrat facing re-election in November, sided with law enforcement and said the legislation simply granted Californians privacy rights that went too far beyond existing guarantees. Sunday's veto comes as the small drones are becoming increasingly popular with business, hobbyists, and law enforcement.

"This bill prohibits law enforcement from using a drone without obtaining a search warrant, except in limited circumstances," the governor said in his veto message(PDF). "There are undoubtedly circumstances where a warrant is appropriate. The bill's exceptions, however, appear to be too narrow and could impose requirements beyond what is required by either the 4th Amendment or the privacy provisions in the California Constitution."

At least 10 other states require the police to get a court warrant to surveil with a drone. Those states include Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Montana, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, and Wisconsin.

California's drone bill is not draconian. It includes exceptions for emergency situations, search-and-rescue efforts, traffic first responders, and inspection of wildfires. It allows other public agencies to use drones for other purposes—just not law enforcement."

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+ - Sierra Nevada protests NASA manned spacecraft contact award

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "Sierra Nevada has formally protested NASA’s decision to award Boeing and SpaceX manned spacecraft contracts.

The company said late Friday that its bid in the NASA Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCTCap) was $900 million less than the bid submitted by Boeing, which won a contract worth as much as $4.2 billion to complete development, test fly and operate its CST-100 crew capsule. At the same time, SNC said, its proposal was “near equivalent [in] technical and past performance” source-selection scoring.

“[T]he official NASA solicitation for the CCtCap contract prioritized price as the primary evaluation criteria for the proposals, setting it equal to the combined value of the other two primary evaluation criteria: mission suitability and past performance,” the company stated. “SNC’s Dream Chaser proposal was the second lowest priced proposal in the CCtCap competition.”

In other words, they are challenging NASA’s decision to pick Boeing over them, as their proposal was far cheaper.

We all know that Boeing got the contract as much for its political clout as for its technical expertise. NASA wanted to make sure that members of Congress who promote the Boeing jobs in their districts would have nothing to complain about. Whether Sierra Nevada can get the government to look past that political clout is very doubtful."

+ - Google to Require as Many as 20 of Its Apps to be Preinstalled on Android Device->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "Google is looking to exert more pressure on device OEMs that wish to continue using the Android mobile operating system. Earlier this year, Google laid its vision to reduce fragmentation by forcing OEMs to ship new devices with more recent version of Android. Those OEMs that choose not to comply lose access to Google Mobile Services (GMS) apps like Gmail, Google Play, and YouTube."
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+ - State of Iowa tells Tesla to cancel its Scheduled Test Drives->

Submitted by puddingebola
puddingebola (2036796) writes "Conflict between state governments and Tesla continue. From the article, "Iowa joined a growing list of states tussling with Tesla Motors' business model when it told the company to cut short three days of test drives earlier this month in West Des Moines. The Iowa Department of Transportation said the test drives were illegal for two reasons: Tesla isn't licensed as an auto dealer in Iowa and state law prohibits carmakers from selling directly to the public." While the article touches on the legal restrictions on selling cars in Iowa, it seems that Tesla was only providing test drives."
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+ - Carbon Dioxide - Not So Bad After All?-> 1

Submitted by gmfeier
gmfeier (1474997) writes "The Washington Post is reporting on a new study published in Climate Dynamics which predicts that doubling atmospheric carbon dioxide from pre-industrial levels will raise the average temperature by 1.3C, less than previous estimates. This in line with several previous studies which were not so widely reported by the media."
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+ - Your medical record is worth more to hackers than your credit card

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "There's a Reuters article on new types of fraud using stolen medical records.

Last month, the FBI warned healthcare providers to guard against cyber attacks after one of the largest U.S. hospital operators, Community Health Systems Inc, said Chinese hackers had broken into its computer network and stolen the personal information of 4.5 million patients."

+ - Government employees and politicians gets special status from TSA->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "Government employees and politicians get preferential treatment from the Transportation Security Administration simply for being government employees and politicians.

Meanwhile, everyone else is stuck in an “aviation security caste system” based on dozens of watchlists compiled by the TSA, FBI and other law enforcement agencies, along with a secret formula the TSA believes can sort passengers based on hypothetical analyses and conjecture.

That’s the conclusion drawn by Hugh Handeyside, a staff attorney for the ACLU, who reviewed a recent audit of the TSA, every traveler’s favorite government pseudo-police force.

The TSA doesn’t really have a handle on how many people end up boarding airplanes despite being on the so-called “no fly list.” The TSA uses literally dozens of different lists provided by federal law enforcement agencies to determine which travelers should be singled out for extra screening or should not be allowed to fly, no matter how much screening they receive.

But the keen legal minds at the ACLU caught another serious problem — keeping all those separate lists — and “blacklisting” some people while “whitelisting” others — is probably unconstitutional and is “stretching the concept of watchlisting to the breaking point.”

“Not only has the Transportation Security Administration expanded its use of blacklists for security screening to identify passengers who may be “unknown threats,” but it also has compiled vast whitelists of individuals — including members of Congress, federal judges, and millions of Department of Defense personnel — who are automatically eligible for expedited screening at airports,” Handeyside wrote. “These changes have made a broken watchlisting system even more arbitrary, unfair, and discriminatory.”"

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+ - Why India's Mars probe was so cheap 1

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "Alan Boyle has some interesting thoughts on why it cost India so little, less than the budget of the movie Gravity, to build and send its probe Mangalyaan to Mars.

The $74 million Mars Orbiter Mission, also known by the acronym MOM or the Hindi word Mangalyaan (“Mars-Craft”), didn’t just cost less than the $100 million Hollywood blockbuster starring Sandra Bullock. The price tag is a mere one-ninth of the cost of NASA’s $671 million Maven mission, which also put its spacecraft into Mars orbit this week. The differential definitely hints at a new paradigm for space exploration — one that’s taking hold not only in Bangalore, but around the world. At the same time, it hints at the dramatically different objectives for MOM and Maven, and the dramatically different environments in which those missions took shape.

Read it all. It gives us a hint at the future of space exploration."

+ - Forest Service clamps down on free speech

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "The U.S. Forest Service has instituted rules requiring journalists to get a permit before they can take pictures or videos on federal land. The Bill of Rights is such an inconvenient thing.

Under rules being finalized in November, a reporter who met a biologist, wildlife advocate or whistleblower alleging neglect in any of the nation’s 100 million acres of wilderness would first need special approval to shoot photos or videos even on an iPhone. Permits cost up to $1,500, says Forest Service spokesman Larry Chambers, and reporters who don’t get a permit could face fines up to $1,000.

First Amendment advocates say the rules ignore press freedoms and are so vague they’d allow the Forest Service to grant permits only to favored reporters shooting videos for positive stories.

The fascist nature of these new rules is revealed by this quote near the end of the article:

[T]he Forest Service is giving its supervisors discretion to decide whether a news outlet’s planned video or photo shoots would meet the Wilderness Act’s goals. “If you were engaged on reporting that was in support of wilderness characteristics, that would be permitted,” [said Liz Close, the Forest Service's acting wilderness director].

But if you are reporting on something the Forest Service disagrees with they obviously believe they have the right to deny you a permit to film or videotape."

+ - US Transportation Dept. considering license plate readers for "traffic safety"->

Submitted by McGruber
McGruber (1417641) writes "The John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, a unique federal agency that is part of the US Department of Transportation (http://www.volpe.dot.gov/), is conducting market research on using automated license plate readers (ALPRs) as a potential countermeasure to improve traffic safety.

According to USDOT Solicitation Notice DTRT5714SS00007 that is posted on FedBizOpps (https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=2df765acc2f0788ae1bc40ff0d70fe30&tab=core&_cview=0)

The Notice says "While ALPRs are deployed for a variety of purposes (i.e., homeland security, locating and recovering stolen vehicles, etc.), the purpose of this study is to focus on the use of ALPRs for traffic safety purposes. Within traffic safety, the emphasis will be on license offenses, including revoked, suspended, or restricted licenses; however, the study should reveal whether ALPRs are being used for any other type of traffic safety function (e.g., speed enforcement).""

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Comment: Re:Corporate taxes (Score 1) 405

regression is easily fixable.

Determine what the average sales tax a person at the poverty line would pay in a month and have the government send a check every month to every citizen for that amount - 5%. The minus 5% is because everyone should pay some taxes.

Warren Buffet gets a check for the same amount as the poorest person in Detroit.

"In matters of principle, stand like a rock; in matters of taste, swim with the current." -- Thomas Jefferson

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