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Submission + - DEA Hands MuckRock A $1.4 Million Estimate For Responsive Documents

An anonymous reader writes: The EFF recently kicked off a contest for the 'most outrageous response to a Freedom of Information Act request' and we already have a frontrunner for the first inaugural 'Foilie.' MuckRock's loose confederation of FOIA rabblerousers has been hit with a $1.4 million price tag for John Dyer's request for documents related to the 'localization and capture' of Mexican drug lord 'El Chapo.'
Earth

The IPCC's Shifting Position On Nuclear Energy 309

Lasrick writes Suzanne Waldman writes about the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and its stand on nuclear power over the course of its five well-known climate change assessment reports. The IPCC was formed in 1988 as an expert panel to guide the drafting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, ratified in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. The treaty's objective is to stabilize greenhouse gases in the atmosphere at a safe level. Waldman writes: 'Over time, the organization has subtly adjusted its position on the role of nuclear power as a contributor to de-carbonization goals," and she provides a timeline of those adjustments.

Submission + - The hacker who killed crowdsourcing (medium.com)

Steven Levy writes: In the 2011 DARPA Challenge, $50K would go to the first team to piece together a bunch of shredded documents. One of the favorites was the team led by guy who'd headed the victory of a previous challenge, Manuel Cebrian. Like the last time, he was using a crowdsource approach, which he figured would give him a huge advantage. But when his system was attacked by sabotage by people posing as participants, it never recovered. Years later, he recruited an expert to help him piece it together Today, Mark Harris not only got the inside story from the Cebrian, his team and the expert, but found the hacker. He concludes that crowdsourcing will almost always lose in such cases.

Submission + - Netflix launches in Cuba

An anonymous reader writes: Only 5% of the population has internet access and it may cost a third of the average monthly wage, but Netflix has come to Cuba. “We are delighted to finally be able to offer Netflix to the people of Cuba, connecting them with stories they will love from all over the world,” said Netflix co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings. “Cuba has great filmmakers and a robust arts culture and one day we hope to be able to bring their work to our global audience of over 57 million members.”
Google

The Prickly Partnership Between Uber and Google 77

HughPickens.com writes Google, with billions of dollars in the bank and house-by-house maps of most of the planet, seemed like the perfect partner for Uber, the hugely popular ride-hailing service. But Mike Isaac writes in the NYT that just two years after Google's venture capital arm poured more than $250 million into Uber there are signs that the companies are more likely to be ferocious competitors than allies. Uber recently announced plans to develop self-driving cars, a longtime pet project at Google. Travis Kalanick, Uber's CEO, has publicly discussed what he sees as the inevitability of autonomous taxis, saying they could offer cheaper rides and a true alternative to vehicle ownership. "The Uber experience is expensive because it's not just the car but the other dude in the car," Kalanick said at a technology conference in 2014, referring to the expense of paying human drivers. "When there's no other dude in the car, the cost [of taking an Uber] gets cheaper than owning a vehicle." Uber is also adding engineers who are experts on mapping technology. And the company, based in San Francisco, has been in talks with Google's advertising archrival, Facebook, to find ways to work together.

Not to be outdone, Google has been experimenting with a ride-sharing app similar to Uber's and both companies have long toyed with the idea of offering same-day delivery of items like groceries and other staples. Last month Google announced it would start presenting data from third party applications inside Google Now, a service that displays useful information prominently on the screen of Android smartphones. Google said it had struck deals to draw data from such apps as Pandora, AirBnb, Zillow, and the ride-sharing service Lyft. The company most obviously missing from that list? Google's old and possibly former friend, Uber. According to Isaac, for young companies, even one as well funded as Uber, dancing with giants is a part of doing business — even if there is always a risk of getting squashed. "There are some hard lessons about the dangers of cooperation that are strongly in the memories of these companies," says John Morgan. "Something that makes partnering harder, even when it might make economic sense to do so."

Submission + - EU Parliament Blocks Outlook Apps For Members Over Privacy Concerns (itworld.com)

jfruh writes: Microsoft last week released Outlook apps for iOS and Android, but one group that won't be getting to use them is members of the European Parliament. They've been advised by their tech staff that the apps are insecure and that they shouldn't download them — and if they have, they should change their Outlook passwords.
Windows

Windows Server 2003 Reaches End of Life In July 156

Several readers sent word that we're now less than six months away from the end of support for Windows Server 2003. Though the operating system's usage peaked in 2009, it still runs on millions of machines, and many IT departments are just now starting to look at replacements. Although Microsoft publishes support deadlines long in advance -- and has been beating the drum to dump Server 2003 for months -- it's not unusual for customers to hang on too long. Last year, as Windows XP neared its final days of support, there were still huge numbers of systems running the aged OS. Companies lined up to pay Microsoft for extended support contracts and PC sales stabilized in part because enterprises bought new replacement machines. Problems replacing Windows Server 2003 may appear similar at first glance, but they're not: Servers are critical to a business because of the applications that run on them, which may have to be rewritten or replaced.

[In many cases, legacy applications are the sole reason for the continued use of Server 2003.] Those applications may themselves be unsupported at this point, the company that built them may be out of business or the in-house development team may have been disbanded. Any of those scenarios would make it difficult or even impossible to update the applications' code to run on a newer version of Windows Server. Complicating any move is the fact that many of those applications are 32-bit -- and have been kept on Windows Server 2003 for that reason -- and while Windows Server 2012 R2 offers a compatibility mode to run such applications, it's not foolproof.
Power

Paris Terror Spurs Plan For Military Zones Around Nuclear Plants 148

mdsolar sends this report from Bloomberg: Lawmakers in France want to create military zones around its 58 atomic reactors to boost security after this month's Paris terror attacks and almost two dozen mystery drone flights over nuclear plants that have baffled authorities.

"There's a legal void that needs to be plugged," said Claude de Ganay, the opposition member of the National Assembly spearheading legislation to be considered by parliament on Feb. 5. The proposals would classify atomic energy sites as "highly sensitive military zones" under the control of the Ministry of Defense, according to an outline provided by de Ganay.

Submission + - HealthCare.gov Sends Personal Data to Dozens of Tracking Websites (eff.org)

An anonymous reader writes: From the AP: that healthcare.gov–the flagship site of the Affordable Care Act, is quietly sending personal health information to a number of third party websites. The information being sent includes one's zip code, income level, smoking status, pregnancy status and more.

Submission + - European Union Effectively Bans Anonymous Online Purchases

An anonymous reader writes: When the European Union changed it's VAT rules on the first to require tax be gathered in Country of Customer rather than Country of Business, they may have effectively banned the anonymous sale of online goods and services by requiring that evidence of the buyer's location, such as physical and IP addresses, for up to 10 years.

Submission + - UK considers new Internet surveillance powers (ispreview.co.uk)

Ellie K writes: UK Prime Minister David Cameron is trying, again, to introduce legislation to expand data retention requirements. Specifically, that would mean compelling ISPs to log more online activity, e.g. Skype usage and Facebook chat logs, regardless of whether or not a crime was committed. Cameron also suggested banning encryption for secure communications.

Submission + - UBER TO OFFER CITIES TRANSIT DATA (civsourceonline.com)

mpicpp writes: Uber is set to begin providing cities with its transit data, according to a blog post from the company released earlier today. Boston will be the first city to get Uber’s data, which is anonymized trip-level data by ZIP Code Tabulation Area (ZCTA) – the U.S. Census’ geographical representation of zip codes.

This isn’t the first time Uber has shared its data, but it is the first time it is doing so as part of a broader effort to work with municipal governments where it operates. Notably, despite the flowery and positive language surrounding the program in the company’s blog post, Uber is currently in a fight with New York City over sharing the exact same data. In fact, New York suspended nearly all of Uber’s bases last week and is demanding data be turned over. Uber is also the only car service in New York that opposes proposed measure to require this kind of transit data from car services.

No details were provided in the blog post on the specifics of the deal between Uber and Boston, which could explain its opposition in NYC, if the company plans to make money from data sharing. We have reached out to the city to find out what, if anything the deal will cost local taxpayers.

Boston recently voted to recognize Uber’s services, but the company has had a contentious relationship with most local regulators where it operates. That relationship is poised to get worse before it gets better, with a handful of municipalities currently considering regulatory reactions to the service. Popular outrage over Uber’s practice of price gouging consumers with its so-called “surge pricing” have also made it a target for regulatory scrutiny.

Uber has recently hired several new faces to focus on issues ranging from user privacy, to improving the public image of the company. The data sharing initiative is just the latest in these efforts.

Newly elected Mayor Marty Walsh had this to say in a statement – “We are using data to change the way we deliver services and we welcome the opportunity to add to our resources. This will help us reach our transportation goals, improve the quality of our neighborhoods and allow us to think smarter, finding more innovative and creative solutions to some of our most pressing challenges.”

Submission + - Bernie Sanders offers amendment declaring human caused global warming to be real (examiner.com)

MarkWhittington writes: As deliberations for the Keystone XL pipeline continue in the Senate, the new Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has allowed any amendments any senator might offer to be considered and voted on. Taking full advantage of that indulgence, the independent senator from Vermont Bernie Sanders has proposed one of the strangest amendments ever to make its way to the United States Senate. The amendment will state that it is the opinion of the Senate that human-caused global warming is real, according to a Tuesday story in the Hill.

Submission + - Is 'SimCity' Homelessness a Bug or a Feature? (vice.com)

sarahnaomi writes: SimCity players have discussed a variety of creative strategies for their virtual homelessness problem. They’ve suggested waiting for natural disasters like tornadoes to blow the vagrants away, bulldozing parks where they congregate, or creating such a woefully insufficient city infrastructure that the homeless would leave on their own.

You can read all of these proposed final solutions in Matteo Bittanti's How to Get Rid of Homelessness, "a 600-page epic split in two volumes documenting the so-called 'homeless scandal' that affected 2013's SimCity." Bittanti collected, selected, and transcribed thousands of these messages exchanged by players on publisher Electronic Arts' official forums, Reddit, and the largest online SimCity community Simtropolis, who experienced and then tried to "eradicate" the phenomenon of homelessness that "plagued" SimCity.

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