New submitter mwissel writes "The German Federal Police ('Bundespolizei') had sent out an helicopter in late August to fly over the U.S. consulate in Frankfurt and take photos from only 60 meters height — reportedly to search for spy antennae and other espionage related equipment on the building rooftops. A government spokesmen more or less confirmed the purpose of the flight, and it is said that Merkel's chief of staff, Ronald Pofalla, gave the order. This is remarkable, because Pofalla so far stood out with a very U.S.-friendly attitude in the debate around NSA surveillance programs. There was, of course, no word about any findings. It also remains unclear whether this was just plain provocation or a PR-stunt for the upcoming federal elections in Germany on September 22nd."
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Bismillah writes "Graduated response regimes that warn and then penalize users for infringing file sharing do not appear to work, new research from Monash University in Australia has found. The paper studied 'three strikes' laws (abstract, freely downloadable as a PDF from there) in France, New Zealand, South Korea, Taiwan and the UK, as well as other anti-filesharing regimes in the U.S. and Ireland, but found scant evidence that they're effective."
New submitter Archie Cobbs writes "Last May I encountered a relatively obscure performance bug present in both MySQL 5.5.x and MariaDB 5.5.x (not surprising since they share the same codebase). This turned out to be a great opportunity to see whether Oracle or the MariaDB project is more responsive to bug reports. On May 31 Oracle got their bug report; within 24 hours they had confirmed the bug — pretty impressive. But since then, it's been radio silence for 3 months and counting. On July 25, MariaDB got their own copy. Within a week, a MariaDB developer had analyzed the bug and committed a patch. The resulting fix will be included in the next release, MariaDB 5.5.33."
New submitter cagraham writes "The currently ad-free Instagram has announced a plan to monetize its services by selling premium placement to brands. 35 year old Emily White is in charge of making Instagram profitable, according to the Wall Street Journal. The move shows the new priorities of parent-company Facebook, who now has to worry about appeasing shareholders, as well as fending off rivals such as Twitter. Whether Instagram's young and growing user base will balk at the ads, or even notice them, remains to be seen."
msm1267 writes "Google, Yahoo and Facebook filed amended requests today with the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court reiterating their desire to publish numbers on requests for user data related to national security. Google, meanwhile, went a step further asking for an open, public hearing with the court so that the issue could be publicly debated." Statements from Yahoo's general counsel (filed motion [PDF]) and Facebook's general counsel (filed motion [PDF]). According to Facebook, "In recent weeks, it has become clear that the dialogue with the U.S. government that produced some additional transparency at the outset is at this point unlikely to result in more progress. As a result, today we are joining others in the industry in petitioning the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to require the government to permit companies to disclose more information about the volume and types of national security-related orders they receive."
Dave Knott writes "Sony today announced the PS Vita TV box. Measuring 6.5cm by 10.5cm, it can play Vita games on your television, stream content via HDMI or wirelessly, and play all the existing PlayStation Network content available on the standard Vita platform. This is seen by some analysts as an attempt by Sony to compete with such devices as the Ouya and Apple TV. The PS Vita TV is so far announced for a Japan-only release in early 2014 at a price of approximately $100 US. In related news, Sony also announced a lighter, slimmer, more colorful iteration of the standard Vita handheld console." The $100 model does not come with a controller; a $150 model was also announced that will include a Dualshock 3 and an 8G memory card.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Datacenters wanting to emulate Google by encrypting their data beyond the ability of the NSA to crack it may get some help from a new encryption technique that allows data to be stored, transported and even used by applications without giving away any secrets. In a paper to be presented at a major European security conference this week, researchers from Denmark and the U.K. collaborated on a practical way to implement a long-discussed encryption concept called Multi-Party Computation (MPC). The idea behind MPC is to allow two parties who have to collaborate on an analysis or computation to do so without revealing their own data to the other party. Though the concept was introduced in 1982, ways to accomplish it with more than two parties, or with standardized protocols and procedures, has not become practical in commercial environments. The Danish/British team revamped an MPC protocol nicknamed SPDZ (pronounced 'speeds'), which uses secret, securely generated keys to distribute a second set of keys that can be used for MPC encryptions. The big breakthrough, according to Smart, was to streamline SPDZ by reducing the number of times global MAC keys had to be calculated in order to create pairs of public and private keys for other uses. By cutting down on repetitive tasks, the whole process becomes much faster; because the new technique keeps global MAC keys secret, it should also make the faster process more secure."
upontheturtlesback writes "As part of developing the next open source science tricorder model, Dr. Peter Jansen of the Tricorder project has released the source to an inexpensive 3D printable visible spectrometer prototype intended for the next science tricorder, but also suitable for Arduino or other embedded electronics projects for science education. With access to a Makerbot-class 3D printer, the spectrometer can be build for about $20 in materials. The source files including hardware schematics, board layouts, Arduino/Processing sketches and example data are available on Thingiverse, and potential contributors are encouraged to help improve the spectrometer design."
schliz writes "A team of scientists from Japan and New Zealand have helped baker's yeast live 50% longer than usual by artificially stabilizing a genetic sequence called ribosomal DNA. The study's authors say that rDNA is a 'hot spot for production of the aging signal.' Because rDNA genes are very similar in yeast and humans, they say their experiment is a first step towards anti-aging drugs."
hackingbear writes "Harvard sociologist Gary King has just completed two studies that peer into the Chinese censorship machine — including a field experiment within China that was conducted with extraordinary secrecy. Together, the studies refute popular intuitions about what Chinese censors are after. He found that the censors actually permit 'vitriolic criticism' of China's leaders and governmental policies but the censors crack down heavily on any move to get people physically mobilized to act on such criticism. In a related development, China's top court issued a ruling on Monday to threaten a 3-year sentence for people posting online rumors viewed by 5,000 internet users or reposted more than 500 times. Though, in the same ruling, the court also clarified that a person reposting false rumor should not be punished if he or she does not clearly know the information is false, even if real harm is done. "
Zothecula writes "After a 70-year absence, it appears that a new rigid frame airship will soon be taking to the skies over California. Aeros Corporation, a company based near San Diego, has received experimental airworthiness certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to begin flight testing the Aeroscraft airship, and it appears that the company has wasted no time getting started."
An anonymous reader writes "The first round of the Mars One Astronaut Selection Program has now closed for applications. In the 5 month application period, Mars One received interest from 202,586 people from around the world, wanting to be amongst the first human settlers on Mars."
cold fjord writes "ZDNet reports, 'Seagate on Monday took the wraps off a hard drive designed for tablets that brings 7x the storage capacity of a 64GB device with the same performance as a Flash drive. The drive, the Seagate Ultra Mobile HDD, uses software to boost performance. The idea is that Android tablet manufacturers will use the Seagate drive, along with the company's mobile enablement kit and caching software, to up the storage. The 2.5-inch drive is 5 mm thin and weighs 3.3 ounces. As for capacity, the drive has 500GB---enough for 100,000 photos and 125,000 songs.' More at The Wall Street Journal."
benrothke writes "It has been about 8 years since my friend Richard Bejtlich's (note, that was a full disclosure 'my friend') last book Extrusion Detection: Security Monitoring for Internal Intrusions came out. That and his other 2 books were heavy on technical analysis and real-word solutions. Some titles only start to cover ground after about 80 pages of introduction. With this highly informative and actionable book, you are already reviewing tcpdump output at page 16. In The Practice of Network Security Monitoring: Understanding Incident Detection and Response, Bejtlich takes the approach that your network will be attacked and breached. He observes that a critical part of your security posture must be that of network security monitoring (NSM), which is the collection and analysis of data to help you detect and respond to intrusions." Read below for the rest of Ben's review.
Daniel_Stuckey writes "The iPhone 5S line has already begun, despite Apple not even having made its announcement yet. From the looks of the invite to the unveiling in San Francisco on Sept. 10 (and another event the following day in Beijing, where iPhones are all the rage), the company will not only be announcing a next generation iPhone, the 5S, but also the lower-priced 5C model, in a variety of cheaper-looking colors."
Bennett Haselton writes: "The ongoing case of New York Times reporter James Risen -- whom the U.S. Department of Justice wants to force to testify against one of his sources for leaking classified CIA information -- brings up a more general question about the Fifth Amendment: Why are criminal defendants allowed to remain silent, but not third-party witnesses like Risen?" You'll find the rest of Bennett's story below.
Lasrick writes "This is an excellent analysis of exactly what the problems are at Fukushima, and what risks are posed to the public. From the article: 'The operator of Fukushima Daiichi, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco), has worked hard and has indeed contained most of the significant contamination carried by water used to cool the plant’s damaged reactor cores. Still, a series of events—including significant leakage from tanks built to hold radioactive water—has eroded public confidence. To address the water challenges, an improved water management plan should be created to deal with all levels of contamination, from slightly contaminated groundwater to highly radioactive cooling water flowing out of the damaged cores. This plan needs to build on the many good Tepco efforts of the past two years, but it should also incorporate new technologies that improve water cleanup performance and increase processing capacities. Importantly, this plan needs to include a new level of transparency for and outreach to the Japanese public, so citizens can understand and have confidence in the ultimate solution to the Fukushima water problem, which will almost certainly require the release of water—treated so it conforms to Japanese and international radioactivity standards—into the sea.'"
fergus07 writes "There's been much talk about self-driving cars in recent times and the latest glimpse into this autonomous future comes from Carnegie Mellon University where researchers have loaded a Cadillac SRX with an array of sensors that allow it to manage highway traffic, congested roadways, and even merging on and off ramps."
An anonymous reader writes "Last night's episode of Breaking Bad was one of the most intense in series history, but for those who haven't seen it yet, don't worry, I won't be putting out any spoilers. You see, today's Breaking Bad news has nothing to do with Walter White's slow transformation into Scarface, but rather with a legal suit filed against Apple by a Breaking Bad fan. In a lawsuit that many saw coming, an Ohio man named Noam Lazebnik recently filed a class action suit against Apple upon finding out that the $22.99 he forked over for a 'Season Pass' of Breaking Bad was only good for the first 8 episodes of the show's final season."
beaverdownunder writes "Silicon Valley technology conference organizers TechCrunch have been forced to apologize after two Australian men pitched a smartphone app called "Titstare" in front of a nine-year-old girl. The Sydney duo's presentation had the mainly male audience laughing, but angered Twitter users and reignited a debate about sexism in the technology sector. The two entrepreneurs — Jethro Batts, 28, and David Boulton, 24 — pitched their 'tongue in cheek' idea at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco on Sunday after winning expenses for the trip to the US in a similar competition, AngelHack Sydney. In their pitch, Boulton explained to an audience of hundreds (plus thousands online) that it would allow users to 'take photos of yourself, looking at tits'. 'It's science my good friend, science,' Boulton said. TechCrunch also apologized for another pitch for a product called Circle Shake, in which a man simulated masturbation."
coolnumbr12 writes "In a new leak published by the Guardian, New York Times and ProPublica, Edward Snowden revealed new secret programs by the NSA and GCHQ to decrypt programs designed to keep information private online. In response to NSA's Bullrun and GCHQ's Edgehill, Google said it has accelerated efforts to build new encryption software that is impenetrable to the government agencies. Google has not provided details on its new encryption efforts, but did say it would be 'end-to-end,' meaning that all servers and fiber-optic lines involved in delivering information will be encrypted."
Sparrowvsrevolution writes "It should come as no surprise to Bitcoin users that despite the pseudonymity the cryptocurrency offers, its transactions can be tracked. But University of California at San Diego researcher Sarah Meiklejohn proved that privacy problem more clearly than ever by showing a reporter that she could detect a specific point in Bitcoin's blockchain record of transactions where he had spent Bitcoins in exchange for marijuana on the Silk Road, the most popular online Bitcoin-based black market for drugs. To simulate a law enforcement subpoena, the reporter for Forbes began by giving Meiklejohn a Bitcoin address associated with Forbes' account. But with just that information, Meiklejohn was able to draw on a "clustering" analysis she had performed to identify Silk Road addresses and match them with the one used in the .3 BTC drug buy. She admits that a user who took more efforts to obscure his or her Bitcoin address through a laundering service or other unidentified Bitcoin wallets would be harder to track."
Dave Girard has written a lengthy description of how to design the best possible operating system for creative pursuits (video editing, photo manipulation, and sound editing, in particular) — at least the the best possible one he can imagine by selecting from the best tools and behaviors that he finds in Mac OS X, Windows, and (mostly Ubuntu) Linux. He makes a compelling case for the OS (or at least a GUI on top of it) having baked-in support for a wide range of image formats and codecs, and makes some pointed jabs along the way at what each of these three big players do wrong.
bricko writes "There has been a 60 per cent increase in the amount of ocean covered with ice compared to this time last year, the equivalent of almost a million square miles. In a rebound from 2012's record low an unbroken ice sheet more than half the size of Europe already stretches from the Canadian islands to Russia's northern shores, days before the annual re-freeze is even set to begin. The Northwest Passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific has remained blocked by pack-ice all year, forcing some ships to change their routes. A leaked report to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) seen by the Mail on Sunday, has led some scientists to claim that the world is heading for a period of cooling that will not end until the middle of this century." "Some scientsts" in this case do not include Dana Nuccitelli, who blogs cogently in reaction at The Guardian that the 60 percent increase observed in Arctic ice is "technically true, [but] also largely irrelevant." He has no kind words for the analysis in the Daily Mail (and similar report in The Telegraph), and writes "In short, this year's higher sea ice extent is merely due to the fact that last year's minimum extent was record-shattering, and the weather was not as optimal for sea ice loss this summer. However, the long-term trend is one of rapid Arctic sea ice decline, and research has shown this is mostly due to human-caused global warming." If you want to keep track of the ice yourself, Arctic Sea Ice News & Analysis offers frequent updates.