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Censorship

Saudi Arabia Set To Ban WhatsApp, Skype 122

Reuters reports that Saudi Arabia's government, after banning Viber within the kingdom, is poised to prohibit at least two other such communication apps: Skype and WhatsApp. Says the article: "Conventional international calls and texts are a lucrative earner for telecom operators in Saudi Arabia, which hosts around nine million expatriates. These foreign workers are increasingly using Internet-based applications such as Viber to communicate with relatives in other countries, analysts say." With fewer legal options, a wide-scale Internet censorship regime would be easier to implement, too.
United Kingdom

ISPs To Censor Porn By Default In the UK By 2014 310

An anonymous reader writes "Parental filters for pornographic content will come as a default setting for all homes in the UK by the end of 2013, says David Cameron's special advisor on preventing the sexualization and commercialization of childhood, Claire Perry MP. Internet service providers will be expected to provide filtering technology to new and existing customers with an emphasis on opting out, rather than opting in."
The Courts

Ortiz-Heymann: the Prior Generation 57

theodp writes "Two decades before the White House was petitioned to remove U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz and her Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Heymann from their jobs for the allegedly overzealous prosecution of Aaron Swartz, the Boston Globe reported on allegations of 'sometimes heavy-handed tactics and inaccuracies' of an NFL investigation into sexual harassment charges made by a sportswriter against the New England Patriots that was led by Watergate prosecutor Philip Heymann (Stephen's father) and included Ortiz. 'From the day Philip Heymann and his colleagues walked into Foxboro Stadium to investigate Lisa Olson's charges of sexual harassment,' the Globe reported, 'the New England Patriots were on the defensive, and apparently, they stayed there to the end. One day after conducting a preliminary six-hour interview with Olson, Heymann introduced each investigator to the Patriots and outlined their backgrounds at a meeting he later called benign. Yet he also said two weeks ago, "They were frightened from the beginning by the way I introduced people. I said that Jerry O'Sullivan had been US Attorney. I said Jim Ring had been FBI special agent in charge of organized crime."'

Regarding Ortiz, the Globe reported, 'Heymann investigator Carmen Ortiz wrote in a memo of her Oct. 18, 1990, interview with [Lisa Olson] that she took no notes and did not tape-record the conversation. Yet she used direct quotes when writing up her 15-page report on the session. When asked to explain, she referred the Globe to Heymann.' Aside from transcripts of two interviews (the tapes of which were destroyed), the Globe reported the NFL kept no notes on its interviews with 89 other people. '"It was contemplated that there would be a motion such as this [a lawsuit by Olson] and we did not want to create that type of document," an NFL attorney explained. According to the Globe, an attorney representing the Patriots said that 'one reason the tapes were destroyed may be that the NFL did not want anyone to hear raised voices or pounding of tables. He said some of those interviewed were not allowed to leave the room and had their livelihoods threatened if they did not cooperate.' Curiously, the elder Heymann featured prominently in a recently-upheld DOJ motion to keep the names of key people involved in the Aaron Swartz case secret — a postcard threat received by Philip Heymann was cited by Ortiz's office as evidence of why such secrecy was necessary."
Lord of the Rings

Dotcom Alleges Megaupload Raid Was Part of Deal To Film The Hobbit 112

c0lo writes "Kim Dotcom alleges, in an 20 min interview with the Australian public television, that Megaupload was offered up by the New Zealand's PM 'on a silver platter' as part of negotiations with Warner Brothers executives for shooting The Hobbit in New Zealand. He promises that he'll substantiate the claims in court. He also says that the extradition case the U.S. government is weak and the reason behind the latest delay in extradition hearing (postponed from August this year to March next year) is an attempt to bleed Dotcom dry of his money. Also interesting, Dotcom says that the latest debacle of the massive scale online online surveillance by U.S. spy agencies has triggered an 'explosion' of interest in mega.co.nz, the 'cloud storage' site with user generated encryption."
Privacy

Keeping Your Data Private From the NSA (And Everyone Else) 622

Nerval's Lobster writes "If those newspaper reports are accurate, the NSA's surveillance programs are enormous and sophisticated, and rely on the latest in analytics software. In the face of that, is there any way to keep your communications truly private? Or should you resign yourself to saying or typing, 'Hi, NSA!' every time you make a phone call or send an email? Fortunately there are ways to gain a measure of security: HTTPS, Tor, SCP, SFTP, and the vendors who build software on top of those protocols. But those host-proof solutions offer security in exchange for some measure of inconvenience. If you lose your access credentials, you're likely toast: few highly secure services include a 'Forgot Your Password?' link, which can be easily engineered to reset a password and username without the account owner's knowledge. And while 'big' providers like Google provide some degree of encryption, they may give up user data in response to a court order. Also, all the privacy software in the world also can't prevent the NSA (or other entities) from capturing metadata and other information. What do you think is the best way to keep your data locked down? Or do you think it's all a lost cause?"

Comment Re:No updates in 6 years? (Score 5, Informative) 197

It consists of an inherently lossy encoding in the frequency domain (like MP3) plus an encoding of the difference between the lossily encoded audio and the original.

While a few other lossless formats do this (mostly for backward-compatibility), FLAC does not convert the audio into the frequency domain. It either uses a polynomial or linear function: http://xiph.org/flac/documentation_format_overview.html

Politics

The Free State Project, One Decade Later 701

Okian Warrior writes "About a decade ago Slashdot ran an article about the Free State Project: an attempt to get 20,000 liberty-minded activists to move to one state (they chose NH) and change the political landscape. Eleven years on, the project is still growing and having an effect on statewide politics. NPR recently ran a program discussing the movement, its list of successes, and plans for the future. The FSP has a noticeable effect on politics right now — still 6,000 short of their 20,000 goal, and long before the members are scheduled to move to NH."
Earth

Scientists Explain Why Chairman of House Committee On Science Is Wrong 476

Lasrick writes "Michael Oppenheimer and Kevin Trenberth take apart Rep. Lamar Smith's (R-Tex.) Washington Post op/ed on climate science saying: 'Contrary to Smith's assertions, there is conclusive evidence that climate change worsened the damage caused by Superstorm Sandy. Sea levels in New York City harbors have risen by more than a foot since the beginning of the 20th century. Had the storm surge not been riding on higher seas, there would have been less flooding and less damage. Warmer air also allows storms such as Sandy to hold more moisture and dump more rainfall, exacerbating flooding.'"
Government

In Praise of the King: 1.7M Social Media Comments In Thailand 104

An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from Prachatai.com: "Thailand's Rangers Task Force 45, in response to Army policy, has put its troops to the task of promoting and protecting the monarchy in cyber space, claiming to have posted 1.69 million comments on webboards and social media during a 4-month period of last year ... According to the video clip, the Army Chief has approved the establishment of an army internet network to promote and protect the monarchy by monitoring websites and webboards which have content alluding to the monarchy and countering them by posting comments which worship the institution. ...The unit's military operations personnel provide the troops with information, or what to post, and set them targets for the number of posts they must complete."
Government

What Charles G. Koch Can Teach Us About Campaign Finance Data 238

Lasrick writes "Lee Drutman is a political scientist with the Sunlight Foundation who does terrific work. In this article, he attempts to trace campaign donations made by one of the Koch Brothers and discovers just how difficult it is to do: 'The case of Charles G. Koch is a nice lesson in just how hard it is to determine who is breaking and who is abiding by campaign finance limits. It's hard to make accurate tallies of individual aggregate campaign contributions when the Federal Elections Commission doesn't require donors to have a unique ID, and when campaigns don't always reliably report donor names. Given this, it is unclear how the FEC would even enforce its own aggregate limit rules. The FEC's spokesperson told me that while the FEC welcomes complaints, it does not typically take enforcement initiative."'
Portables

Dell's New X18: 5 Pounds, 18 Inches 138

MojoKid writes "Dell recently combined two trending PC design styles into a single system and called it the XPS 18 Portable All-In-One Desktop. The machine has all the power of an AIO desktop system and some of the portability of a tablet. To be clear, Dell isn't suggesting you'll want to tote this thing across town in ways that you might use an iPad. It's portable in that you can snatch up the 18.4-inch Full HD display from your home office and take it to the living room to switch gears from Google Docs to gaming with the kids, or take it upstairs for some late night surfing before bed. ... The main attraction, however, is that the PC itself is a portable display featuring an 18.4-inch IPS panel with a 1920x1080 resolution and full touch support. Performance-wise the XPS 18 holds its own versus mainstream all-in-one touch PCs, but with added ability to pick the 5 pound system up go virtually anywhere with it on a moment's notice."
Businesses

The Amish Are Getting Fracked 367

An anonymous reader writes "Old school meets business school. From the New Republic: 'The Amish interpretation of the Christian bible prohibits the use of the courts: Except in rare circumstances, the Amish do not sue. This has created a unique problem in the region. Home to the largest Amish community in the world, Eastern Ohio sits squarely on top of the Utica and Marcellus Shale formations, which contain billions in oil and gas recoverable through advances in hydraulic fracturing technology, or fracking ... When it comes to the oil and gas industry, this means that any agreement an Amish farmer makes with a company is, for the farmer, practically unenforceable. A rare case in which the plaintiffs were Amish suggests that Ohio's oil and gas companies know this and have been willing to take advantage.'"
Windows

A Serious Proposal To Fix Windows 8 578

GMGruman writes "Windows 8 is simply not selling, and everyone but Microsoft knows it's a mess of an OS. And the Windows 8.1 'Blue' that Microsoft revealed some details of late last week doesn't address the fundamental flaws. So a team at InfoWorld worked up a serious proposal to rework Windows 8 for both PCs and tablets that fixes those flaws and lets Microsoft's true innovations break free of today's Windows 8, complete with mockups of the proposed Windows 'Red.'"
Android

New Asus Device Runs Both Windows and Android 126

taz346 writes "Asus has unveiled a new 11.6-inch tablet/laptop that runs both Windows 8 and Android Jelly Bean side by side, the BBC reports. The firm said 'users would be able to synchronise data between the platforms in order to enjoy a "smooth transition" between each mode.' Hmmm, I'm guessing one could also create another partition and install a full Linux distro as well, though there's no telling how UEFI might come into play."
Censorship

Turkish PM: "To Me, Social Media Is the Worst Menace To Society." 418

PolygamousRanchKid writes "Turkey's prime minister on Sunday rejected claims that he is a 'dictator,' dismissing protesters as an extremist fringe even as thousands returned to the landmark Istanbul square that has become the site of the fiercest anti-government outburst in years. With Turkish media otherwise giving scant reports about the protests, many turned to social media outlets for information on the unrest. 'There is now a menace which is called Twitter,' Erdogan said. 'The best examples of lies can be found there. To me, social media is the worst menace to society.' 'The people are finally standing up, speaking up and fighting for their rights,' said Hakan Tas, a deputy for the Left Party in Berlin's local assembly, who took part in the protest."

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