Submission + - Trump Justice Department Demands 1.3M IP Addresses Related to Anti-Trump Site (thehill.com)

PopeRatzo writes: The Department of Justice has requested information on visitors to a website used to organize protests against President Trump, the Los Angeles-based Dreamhost said in a blog post published on Monday.

Dreamhost, a web hosting provider, said that it has been working with the Department of Justice for several months on the request, which believes goes too far under the Constitution.

DreamHost claimed that the complying with the request from the Justice Department would amount to handing over roughly 1.3 million visitor IP addresses to the government, in addition to contact information, email content and photos of thousands of visitors to the website, which was involved in organizing protests against Trump on Inauguration Day.

Submission + - Popular Pesticides Keep Bumblebees From Laying Eggs (npr.org)

An anonymous reader writes: Wild bees, such as bumblebees, don't get as much love as honeybees, but they should. They play just as crucial a role in pollinating many fruits, vegetables and wildflowers, and compared to managed colonies of honeybees, they're in much greater jeopardy. A group of scientists in the United Kingdom decided to look at how bumblebee queens are affected by some widely used and highly controversial pesticides known as neonicotinoids. What they found isn't pretty. Neonics, as they're often called, are applied as a coating on the seeds of some of the most widely grown crops in the country, including corn, soybeans and canola. These pesticides are "systemic" — they move throughout the growing plants. Traces of them end up in pollen, which bees consume. Neonicotinoid residues also have been found in the pollen of wildflowers growing near fields and in nearby streams. The scientists, based at Royal Holloway University of London, set up a laboratory experiment with bumblebee queens. They fed those queens a syrup containing traces of a neonicotinoid pesticide called thiamethoxam, and the amount of the pesticide, they say, was similar to what bees living near fields of neonic-treated canola might be exposed to. Bumblebee queens exposed to the pesticide were 26 percent less likely to lay eggs, compared to queens that weren't exposed to the pesticide. The team published their findings in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution.

Submission + - Trump Can Block People On Twitter If He Wants, Administration Says (arstechnica.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The administration of President Donald Trump is scoffing at a lawsuit by Twitter users who claim in a federal lawsuit that their constitutional rights are being violated because the president has blocked them from his @realDonaldTrump Twitter handle. "It would send the First Amendment deep into uncharted waters to hold that a president's choices about whom to follow, and whom to block, on Twitter—a privately run website that, as a central feature of its social-media platform, enables all users to block particular individuals from viewing posts—violate the Constitution." That's part of what Michael Baer, a Justice Department attorney, wrote to the New York federal judge overseeing the lawsuit Friday. In addition, the Justice Department said the courts are powerless to tell Trump how he can manage his private Twitter handle, which has 35.8 million followers.

"To the extent that the President's management of his Twitter account constitutes state action, it is unquestionably action that lies within his discretion as Chief Executive; it is therefore outside the scope of judicial enforcement," Baer wrote. (PDF) Baer added that an order telling Trump how to manage his Twitter feed "would raise profound separation-of-powers concerns by intruding directly into the president's chosen means of communicating to millions of Americans."

Submission + - Dreamhost fighting order to identify 1.3 million visitor IP addresses (dreamhost.com)

davecb writes: The US DOJ has served a partially sealed warrent on the ISP of a political protest site, disruptj20.org "for 1.3 million visitor IP addresses — in addition to contact information, email content, and photos of thousands of people — in an effort to determine who simply visited the website."

Submission + - US Army walks back DJI decision (slightly) (suasnews.com)

garymortimer writes: News has reached me that another DJI memo was passed around on Friday the 11th of August. An exception to policy with recommendations from the asymmetric warfare group that will permit the use of DJI kit once some conditions have been met.

The Android Tactical Assault Kit will become the ground control station (GCS) of choice when a DJI plugin has passed OPSEC (Operational Security) scrutiny.

Submission + - From Google to Yahoo, Tech Grapples With White Male Discontent (bloomberg.com)

joshtops writes: Google isn’t the only Silicon Valley employer being accused of hostility to white men. Yahoo! Inc. and Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. were already fighting discrimination lawsuits brought by white men before Google engineer James Damore ignited a firestorm — and got himself fired — with an internal memo criticizing the company’s diversity efforts and claiming women are biologically less suited than men to be engineers. The Yahoo case began last year when two men sued, claiming they’d been unfairly fired after managers allegedly manipulated performance evaluations to favor women. They claim Marissa Mayer approved the review process and was involved in their terminations, and last month a judge ordered the former chief executive be deposed. TCS, meanwhile, is fighting three men who claim the Mumbai-based firm discriminates against non-Indians at its U.S. offices. A growing backlash against diversity advocates has gained momentum with the election of Donald Trump and his embrace of right-wing media figures including Steve Bannon, who ran Breitbart News until joining Trump’s presidential campaign. Trump has ordered a review of affirmative action policies in higher education, proposed banning transgender people in the military and advocated curbing immigration of non-English speakers to the delight of conservatives who say they’ve been muzzled by liberals.

Submission + - DMCA Used to Remove Ad Server URL From Easylist Ad Blocklist (torrentfreak.com) 2

Joe_Dragon writes: Easylist, the popular adblock filter list used by millions of subscribers, appears to be under attack. Github, where the project is maintained, has recently received a DMCA notice requiring a domain URL to be removed from the list. That domain appears to be owned by US-based anti-adblocking company Admiral.

The default business model on the Internet is “free” for consumers. Users largely expect websites to load without paying a dime but of course, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. To this end, millions of websites are funded by advertising revenue.

Sensible sites ensure that any advertising displayed is unobtrusive to the visitor but lots seem to think that bombarding users with endless ads, popups, and other hindrances is the best way to do business. As a result, ad blockers are now deployed by millions of people online.

In order to function, ad-blocking tools – such as uBlock Origin or Adblock – utilize lists of advertising domains compiled by third parties. One of the most popular is Easylist, which is distributed by authors fanboy, MonztA, Famlam, and Khrinunder, under dual Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike and GNU General Public Licenses.

With the freedom afforded by those licenses, copyright tends not to figure high on the agenda for Easylist. However, a legal problem that has just raised its head is causing serious concern among those in the ad-blocking community.

Two days ago a somewhat unusual commit appeared in the Easylist repo on Github. As shown in the image below, a domain URL previously added to Easylist had been removed following a DMCA takedown notice filed with Github.

Domain text taken down by DMCA?

The DMCA notice in question has not yet been published but it’s clear that it targets the domain ‘functionalclam.com’. A user called ‘ameshkov’ helpfully points out a post by a new Github user called ‘DMCAHelper’ which coincided with the start of the takedown process more than three weeks ago.

A domain in a list circumvents copyright controls?

Aside from the curious claims of a URL “circumventing copyright access controls” (domains themselves cannot be copyrighted), the big questions are (i) who filed the complaint and (ii) who operates Functionalclam.com? The domain WHOIS is hidden but according to a helpful sleuth on Github, it’s operated by anti ad-blocking company Admiral.

Ad-blocking means money down the drain.

If that is indeed the case, we have the intriguing prospect of a startup attempting to protect its business model by using a novel interpretation of copyright law to have a domain name removed from a list. How this will pan out is unclear but a notice recently published on Functionalclam.com suggests the route the company wishes to take.

“This domain is used by digital publishers to control access to copyrighted content in accordance with the Digital Millenium Copyright Act and understand how visitors are accessing their copyrighted content,” the notice begins.

Combined with the comments by DMCAHelper on Github, this statement suggests that the complainants believe that interference with the ad display process (ads themselves could be the “copyrighted content” in question) represents a breach of section 1201 of the DMCA.

If it does, that could have huge consequences for online advertising but we will need to see the original DMCA notice to have a clearer idea of what this is all about. Thus far, Github hasn’t published it but already interest is growing. A representative from the EFF has already contacted the Easylist team, so this battle could heat up pretty quickly.

Submission + - Startup Races Google With Internet-Beaming Balloons

jeffengel writes: The solution to connecting the 4 billion people worldwide who lack Internet access could come from floating or flying broadband-beaming equipment in the sky. Google and Facebook are among the companies working on this, and their efforts---known as Project Loon and Aquila, respectively---are slowly making progress. Now comes Altaeros Energies, which announced a $7.5 million investment from SoftBank Group last week. The MIT spinout wants to help deliver broadband access to rural areas via tethered blimps, known as “aerostats,” that it will equip with wireless communications technologies. There are still plenty of issues, technical and otherwise, to work out before these various Internet-beaming aircraft get widely deployed. But if successful, they could help a lot of people in remote areas join the global economy.

Submission + - As if nuclear proliferation wasn't enough to worry about...

wisebabo writes: Now we have the spread of technologies that can DELIVER these weapons of mass destruction: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/0...

This article brought up something I (and doubtless most people) hadn't really thought about; that the crisis in the Ukraine may have driven this manufacturer of rocket engines (previously used for Soviet nuclear tipped ICBMs) into the arms of the North Koreans. It seeks to explain the sudden recent jump in the range and reliability of the North Korean missiles. (It also doesn't hurt that the "Dear Leader" had a picture taken in front of the engines which match the Ukrainian designs).

I thought that the program the U.S. had in place to hire scientists who were working in the (now) defunct Soviet nuclear weapons program was a good way to keep them gainfully employed so that they wouldn't be tempted to assist some bad actors. Unfortunately, I guess, this missile engine factory slipped through the cracks of that program with the result that North Korea can now lob a missile towards the U.S.

Let's just hope that whoever designed nuclear warhead re-entry vehicles for the Soviets isn't looking for work! :(

Submission + - GoDaddy expels neo-Nazi site over article on Charlottesville victim (bbc.co.uk)

Big Hairy Ian writes: Web hosting company GoDaddy has given a US neo-Nazi site 24 hours to find another provider after it disparaged a woman who died in protests in Virginia.
The Daily Stormer published a piece denigrating Heather Heyer, who was killed on Saturday after a car rammed into a crowd protesting at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville.
GoDaddy had faced calls to remove the white supremacist site as a result.
The web host said the Daily Stormer had violated its terms of service.
"We informed the Daily Stormer that they have 24 hours to move the domain to another provider, as they have violated our terms of service," GoDaddy said in a statement on Twitter.
Previously, some web users had called on GoDaddy to remove the site — including women's rights campaigner Amy Siskind.
Violence broke out in Charlottesville, Virginia, after white supremacists organised a controversial far-right march called "Unite the Right".

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