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Education

Airline Delays Flight Over Passenger's Suspicious Math Equations (usnews.com) 512

Earthquake Retrofit shares this article from the Associated Press: "An Ivy League professor said his flight was delayed because a fellow passenger thought the math equations he was writing might be a sign he was a terrorist... He said the woman sitting next to him passed a note to a flight attendant and the plane headed back to the gate. Guido Menzio, who is Italian and has curly, dark hair, said the pilot then asked for a word and he was questioned by an official... "They tell me that the woman was concerned that I was a terrorist because I was writing strange things on a pad of paper..." He was treated respectfully throughout, he added. But, he said, he was concerned about a delay that a brief conversation or an Internet search could have resolved. "Not seeking additional information after reports of 'suspicious activity'... is going to create a lot of problems, especially as xenophobic attitudes may be emerging."
Security

Popular Firefox Add-Ons Open Millions To New Attack (slashgear.com) 54

An anonymous reader writes: Security researchers claim that NoScript and other popular Firefox add-on extensions are exposing millions of end users to a new type of vulnerability which, if exploited, can allow an attacker to execute malicious code and steal sensitive data. The vulnerability resides in the way Firefox extensions interact with each other. From a report on SlashGear, "The problem is that these extensions do not run sandboxed and are able to actually access data or functions from other extensions that are also enabled. This could mean, for example, that a malware masquerading as an add-on can access the functionality of one add-on to get access to system files or the ability of another add-on to redirect users to a certain web page, usually a phishing scam page. In the eyes of Mozilla's automated security checks, the devious add-on is blameless as it does nothing out of the ordinary." Firefox's VP of Product acknowledged the existence of the aforementioned vulnerability. "Because risks such as this one exist, we are evolving both our core product and our extensions platform to build in greater security. The new set of browser extension APIs that make up WebExtensions, which are available in Firefox today, are inherently more secure than traditional add-ons, and are not vulnerable to the particular attack outlined in the presentation at Black Hat Asia. As part of our electrolysis initiative -- our project to introduce multi-process architecture to Firefox later this year -- we will start to sandbox Firefox extensions so that they cannot share code."
Crime

San Francisco Bay Area In Superbowl Surveillance Mode (wired.com) 95

An anonymous reader links to Wired's description of a surveillance society in miniature assembling right now in San Francisco: Super Bowl 50 will be big in every way. A hundred million people will watch the game on TV. Over the next ten days, 1 million people are expected to descend on the San Francisco Bay Area for the festivities. And, according to the FBI, 60 federal, state, and local agencies are working together to coordinate surveillance and security at what is the biggest national security event of the year.
Previous year's Superbowl security measures have included WMD sensors, database-backed facial recognition, and gamma-ray vehicle scanners. Given the fears and cautions in the air about this year's contest, it's easy to guess that the scanning and sensing will be even more prevalent this time.
Facebook

German Police Warn Parents To Stop Posting Photos of Kids On Facebook (thestack.com) 143

An anonymous reader writes: A post on Facebook by German police advising parents not to post pictures of their children on the social media site has been shared more than 100,000 times and viewed by over seven million people. The Hagen Police left its warnings about paedophile interest with the suggestion that kids might not appreciate the early publicity after they have grown up a little.
Government

Man Arrested At Oakland Airport For Ornate Watch 519

First time accepted submitter mbeckman writes "A man was arrested at Oakland airport for having bomb-making materials. The materials? An ornate watch and extra insoles in his boots. Despite the bomb squad determining that there was no bomb, The Alameda county sheriffs department claimed that he was carrying 'potentially dangerous materials and appeared to have made alterations to his boots, which were Unusually large and stuffed with layers of insoles.' The man told Transportation Security Administration officers that he's an artist and the watch is art."
Censorship

72% of US Adults Support Violent-Game Ban For Minors 478

SpuriousLogic writes with an excerpt from GameSpot: "The US Supreme Court won't start hearing arguments over California's law banning game sales to minors until November 2. However, the ruling in the court of popular opinion is already in, according to a new poll. This week, parent watchdog group Common Sense Media released the results of a survey it commissioned on children's access to violent games. Conducted by polling firm Zogby International, the survey asked 2,100 adults whether they would support a law that 'prohibits minors from purchasing ultra-violent or sexually violent video games without parental consent.' Of those surveyed, some 72 percent said they would approve such a law. Common Sense Media CEO and founder James Steyer, whose nonprofit organization is lobbying for game-restriction legislation in many states, hailed the poll's findings. 'We hope the [state] attorneys general will take a look at these poll results and that they'll side with families over protecting the profits of the video game industry.'"
Security

The Men Who Stare At Airline Passengers, Coming To the UK 468

An anonymous reader writes, "The Economist's Gulliver reports on a story in Nature that questions the current airport security regimen," excerpting: "Over the past four years, some 3,000 officers in America's Transportation Security Administration (TSA) have been specially trained to spot potential terrorists at airports. The programme, known as SPOT, for Screening Passengers by Observation Technique, is intended to allow airport security officers to use tiny facial cues to identify people who are acting suspiciously. The British government is currently launching a new screening regime modelled on the Americans' SPOT. There's just one problem with all this: there's no evidence that SPOT is actually effective. The whole thing is mostly based on pseudoscience, Sharon Weinberger reports in Nature." Happily, Nature's original article is available in full, rather than paywalled.
Google

Australian Police Ask Facebook For Police Alarm Button 237

littlekorea writes "The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has requested social networking site Facebook install a law enforcement representative in Australia and introduce some sort of button in which users can immediately report online crime to the police in a single click. It is National Cyber-Security Awareness Week in Australia, so the AFP is on an all-out offensive — announcing it is also investigating whether Google committed offences under Australia's Telecommunications Interception Act when it harvested Wi-Fi data." Something like this has been in the works for a while.
Image

iPhone App Tracks Sex Offenders Screenshot-sm 358

The Narrative Fallacy writes "All 50 states in the US require the 50,000 people convicted of sexual offenses to sign a register so that their whereabouts can be tracked and monitored. The Telegraph reports that now users of the iPhone Offender Locator application can search for sex offenders living nearby a friend or colleague whose address is stored in their Apple iPhone address book, or they can type in a street address to generate a list of convicted sex offenders in the local area. 'Offender Locator gives everyone the ability to find out if registered sex offenders live in their area,' says the application developer, ThinAir Wireless, on its iTunes page. 'Knowledge equals safety. They know where you and your family are...now it's time to turn the tables so that you know where they live and can make better decisions about where to allow your kids to play.' Offender Locator uses the iPhone's built-in GPS to pinpoint the user's location, and then provide a map listing sex offenders in the local area. Tapping on one of the 'pins' dropped on to the map brings up a photograph of the offender, as well as their address, date of birth and list of convictions."
Television

Aqua Teen Hunger Force Brings Boston to a Halt 804

An anonymous reader writes "An ad campaign for Aqua Teen Hunger Force featuring the Mooninites Ignignot and Err caused major security concerns in Boston, MA when magnetic light displays were mistaken for possible bombs. The displays included one of Ignignot flipping the bird (as hard as he could), but Gov. Deval Patrick was not amused."

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