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Electronic Frontier Foundation

EFF Uncovers Widespread FBI Intelligence Violations 268

An anonymous reader writes "EFF has uncovered widespread violations stemming from FBI intelligence investigations from 2001 — 2008. In a report released today, EFF documents alarming trends in the Bureau's intelligence investigation practices, suggesting that FBI intelligence investigations have compromised the civil liberties of American citizens far more frequently, and to a greater extent, than was previously assumed. Using documents obtained through EFF's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) litigation, the report finds: Evidence of delays of 2.5 years, on average, between the occurrence of a violation and its eventual reporting to the Intelligence Oversight Board; reports of serious misconduct by FBI agents including lying in declarations to courts, using improper evidence to obtain grand jury subpoenas, and accessing password-protected files without a warrant; and indications that the FBI may have committed upwards of 40,000 possible intelligence violations in the 9 years since 9/11."
Medicine

Engineer Designs His Own Heart Valve Implant 151

nametaken writes "In 2000, Tal Golesworthy, a British engineer, was told that he suffers from Marfan syndrome, a disorder of the connective tissue that often causes rupturing of the aorta. The only solution then available was the pairing of a mechanical valve and a highly risky blood thinner. To an engineer like Golesworthy, that just wasn't good enough. So he constructed his own implant that does the job better than the existing solution--and became the first patient to try it."
Advertising

Your Face Will Soon Be In Facebook Ads 344

jfruhlinger writes "If you're planning on checking into Starbucks using Facebook Places, your friends may soon see your profile picture in a Facebook ad for Starbucks — and, it goes without saying, you won't be paid a dime. You can't opt out, unless, as Dan Tynan puts it, "studiously avoid clicking "Like" or checking into any place that has a six- or seven-figure ad budget." The ad will also include whatever text you use in your checkin, so Tynan suggests some judicious pranksterism ("Just checked into the Starbucks around the corner and this doppio mocha latte tastes like goat urine")."

Comment Total FUD (Score 4, Interesting) 429

For decades the Mac has had a viable shareware scene where you download apps and, if desired, pay a modest fee to upgrade to a full or non-crippled version. I don't see how anyone could possibly argue that a Mac App Store will be the end of the world unless they're a clueless analyst who thinks the only programs people run on Macs are Photoshop and Office.
Security

Next Step For US Body Scanners Could Be Trains, Metro Systems 890

Hugh Pickens writes "The Hill reports that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says terrorists will continue to look for US vulnerabilities, making tighter security standards necessary. '[Terrorists] are going to continue to probe the system and try to find a way through,' Napolitano said in an interview with Charlie Rose. 'I think the tighter we get on aviation, we have to also be thinking now about going on to mass transit or to trains or maritime.' Napolitano added she hoped the US could get to a place in the future where Americans would not have to be as guarded against terrorist attacks as they are and that she was actively promoting research into the psychology of how a terrorist becomes radicalized. 'The long-term [question] is, how do we get out of this having to have an ever-increasing security apparatus because of terrorists and a terrorist attack?' says Napolitano. 'I think having a better understanding of what causes someone to become a terrorist will be helpful.'"
Security

Making Airport Scanners Less Objectionable 681

Hugh Pickens writes "The Washington Post reports that one of the researchers who helped develop the software for the scanners says there is a simple fix that would make scanning less objectionable. The fix would distort the images captured on full-body scanners so they look like reflections in a fun-house mirror, but any potentially dangerous objects would be clearly revealed, says Willard 'Bill' Wattenburg, a former nuclear weapons designer at the Livermore lab. 'Why not just distort the image into something grotesque so that there isn't anything titillating or exciting about it?' asks Wattenburg, adding that the modification is so simple that 'a 6-year-old could do the same thing with Photoshop... It's probably a few weeks' modification of the program.' Wattenburg said he was rebuffed when he offered the concept to Department of Homeland Security officials four years ago. A TSA official said the agency is working on development of scanner technology that would reduce the image to a 'generic icon, a generic stick figure' that would still reveal potentially dangerous items." Reader FleaPlus points out an unintended consequence: some transportation economists believe that the TSA's new invasive techniques may lead to more deaths as more people use road transportation to avoid flying — much more dangerous by the mile than air travel.
Botnet

Massive DDoS Cuts Myanmar Off From Net 149

Trailrunner7 writes "The nation of Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, found its access to the Internet severed by a massive denial of service attack, according to a report by Arbor Networks. The source or motivation of the attack isn't known, but it is believed that the distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks have targeted the country's Ministry of Post and Telecommunication (or PTT), the main conduit for Internet traffic in and out of the authoritarian nation."
Transportation

Digital Dashboard Device Detects Driver Drowsiness 117

Pickens writes "Science Daily Headlines reports that researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology have developed a self-contained, dashboard-mounted assistant system that tracks a driver's eye movements and issues a warning before the driver has an opportunity to nod off to sleep. 'What we have developed is a small modular system with its own hardware and programs on board, so that the line of vision is computed directly within the camera itself,' says Professor Husar. 'Since the Eyetracker is fitted with at least two cameras that record images stereoscopically — meaning in three dimensions — the system can easily identify the spatial position of the pupil and the line of vision.' The cameras, which can be installed in any model of car, evaluate up to 200 images per second to identify the line of vision. If the camera modules detect that the eye is closed for longer than a user-defined interval, it sounds an alarm. The Eyetracker also has applications in computer games where players could look around themselves without requiring a joystick to change their viewing direction, and in marketing and advertising, where researchers could determine which parts of a poster or advertising spot receive longer attention from their viewers."
Networking

Turning Your Home Wiring Into a Giant Antenna 135

An anonymous reader writes with this IBT snippet: "Imagine if you could run a wireless sensor device for years without ever having to replace the battery. Turns out, the idea of a battery-less wireless device might not be too far off. Researchers at the University of Washington and the Georgia Institute of Technology developed a small node sized device that uses the residential wiring from a building or home and transmits information to and from almost anywhere else from within. The device is called Sensor Nodes Utilizing Powerline Infrastructure, or SNUPI. It uses basic copper wiring as a giant antenna to receive wireless signals at a set frequency. When the device is within 10 to 15 feet of electrical wiring, it uses the antenna to send data to a single base station." (For "node-sized," think "size of a breakfast cereal prize.")
Robotics

Robots Taught to Deceive 239

An anonymous reader found a story that starts "'We have developed algorithms that allow a robot to determine whether it should deceive a human or other intelligent machine and we have designed techniques that help the robot select the best deceptive strategy to reduce its chance of being discovered,' said Ronald Arkin, a Regents professor in the Georgia Tech School of Interactive Computing."

Comment Re:arms race (Score 5, Insightful) 242

uh, it's not like they're just examining the X-Priority: OMG CRITICAL header field or anything here. TFA says it's based in part on the people who you email the most, and the emails which you choose to reply to. I imagine it'll work about as well as Gmail's spam filtering (i.e., pretty damn good in my experience).

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