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Submission + - Response to Protests in Ferguson Raises Concerns About Police Militarization (firstlook.org) 6

onproton writes: The Intercept Reports: "The harrowing events of the last week in Ferguson, Missouri – the fatal police shooting of an unarmed African-American teenager, Mike Brown, and the blatantly excessive and thuggish response to ensuing community protests from a police force that resembles an occupying army – have shocked the U.S. media class and millions of Americans. If anything positive can come from the Ferguson travesties, it is that the completely out-of-control orgy of domestic police militarization receives long-overdue attention and reining in."

Submission + - Tesla Model S Falters On The Nürburgring

cartechboy writes: Most normal road cars aren't designed to handle track conditions, though, newer performance cars have become surprisingly good at going around a track. It seems the same can't be said for the Tesla Model S which faltered during a hot lap around the legendary Nürburgring. Racing driver Robb Holland piloted the electric car around the 14-mile track, but after just one third of the loop the Model S went into reduced-power mode to help preserve the battery. Before this happened Holland described the car as too heavy, too short of mechanical grip, and devoid of steering feel. He did praise the electric sedan saying it's probably capable of a 9-minute lap if it doesn't overheat, and for a brand new car company that didn't exist a decade ago, it's an impressive vehicle. So it seems the Tesla Model S isn't perfect at everything, yet.

Submission + - Months before their first words, babies' brains rehearse speech mechanics (washington.edu)

vinces99 writes: "Infants can tell the difference between sounds of all languages until about 8 months of age, when their brains start to focus only on sounds they hear around them. It’s been unclear how this transition occurs, but social interactions and caregivers’ use of exaggerated “parentese” style of speech seem to help.

New University of Washington research in 7- and 11-month-old infants shows that speech sounds stimulate areas of the brain that coordinate and plan motor movements for speech. The study, published July 14 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests that baby brains start laying down the groundwork of how to form words long before they actually begin to speak, and this may affect the developmental transition.

“Most babies babble by 7 months, but don’t utter their first words until after their first birthdays,” said lead author Patricia Kuhl, who is the co-director of the UW’s Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences. “Finding activation in motor areas of the brain when infants are simply listening is significant, because it means the baby brain is engaged in trying to talk back right from the start and suggests that 7-month-olds’ brains are already trying to figure out how to make the right movements that will produce words.”

Kuhl and her research team believe this practice at motor planning contributes to the transition when infants become more sensitive to their native language."

Submission + - Goldman Sachs demands Google unsend one of its e-mails (arstechnica.com)

rudy_wayne writes: A Goldman Sachs contractor was testing internal changes made to Goldman Sachs' system and prepared a report with sensitive client information, including details on brokerage accounts. The report was accidentally e-mailed to a 'gmail.com' address rather than the correct 'gs.com' address. Google told Goldman Sachs on June 26 that it couldn't just reach into Gmail and delete the e-mail without a court order. Goldman Sachs filed with the New York Supreme Court, requesting "emergency relief" to avoid a privacy violation and "avoid the risk of unnecessary reputational damage to Goldman Sachs."

Submission + - America 'Has Become A War Zone' (businessinsider.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Eight different law enforcement agencies in Indiana have purchased massive Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles (MRAPS) that were formerly used in Iraq and Afghanistan, Mark Alesia reports for the Indy Star.

Pulaski County, home to 13,124 people, is one of the counties that have purchased an 55,000 pound, six-wheeled patrol vehicles, from military surplus. When asked to justify the purchase of a former military vehicle, Pulaski County Sheriff Michael Gayer told the Indy Star:

"The United States of America has become a war zone.

Submission + - Echelon Everywhere: Local police increasingly rely on secret surveillance (beaconreader.com)

v3rgEz writes: The Wall Street Journal reports on how local law enforcement is increasingly requesting (and receiving) sealed wiretap requests and surveillance that doesn't require a warrant (subscription required) for cellular data, a move that is making some courts uneasy — but not uneasy enough to stop the practice. One group has set up a crowdfunding campaign to research how far the practice has spread, hoping to raise money to file and follow up on public records requests across the country for policies, invoices, and other "surveillance metadata."

Submission + - "Secret" 3G Intel Chip Gives Snoops Backdoor PC Access (infowars.com)

An anonymous reader writes: vPro processors allow remote access even when computer is turned off

Paul Joseph Watson | Infowars.com | September 26, 2013


Intel Core vPro processors contain a "secret" 3G chip that allows remote disabling and backdoor access to any computer even when it is turned off.

Although the technology has actually been around for a while, the attendant privacy concerns are only just being aired. The "secret" 3G chip that Intel added to its processors in 2011 caused little consternation until the NSA spying issue exploded earlier this year as a result of Edward Snowden's revelations.

In a promotional video for the technology, Intel brags that the chips actually offer enhanced security because they don't require computers to be "powered on" and allow problems to be fixed remotely. The promo also highlights the ability for an administrator to shut down PCs remotely "even if the PC is not connected to the network," as well as the ability to bypass hard drive encryption.

"Intel actually embedded the 3G radio chip in order to enable its Anti Theft 3.0 technology. And since that technology is found on every Core i3/i5/i7 CPU after Sandy Bridge, that means a lot of CPUs, not just new vPro, might have a secret 3G connection nobody knew about until now,"reports Softpedia.

Jeff Marek, director of business client engineering for Intel, acknowledged that the company's Sandy Bridge" microprocessor, which was released in 2011, had "the ability to remotely kill and restore a lost or stolen PC via 3G."

"Core vPro processors contain a second physical processor embedded within the main processor which has it's own operating system embedded on the chip itself," writes Jim Stone. "As long as the power supply is available and and in working condition, it can be woken up by the Core vPro processor, which runs on the system's phantom power and is able to quietly turn individual hardware components on and access anything on them."

Although the technology is being promoted as a convenient way for IT experts to troubleshoot PC issues remotely, it also allows hackers or NSA snoops to view the entire contents of somebody's hard drive, even when the power is off and the computer is not connected to a wi-fi network.

It also allows third parties to remotely disable any computer via the "secret" 3G chip that is built into Intel's Sandy Bridge processors. Webcams could also be remotely accessed.

"This combination of hardware from Intel enables vPro access ports which operate independently of normal user operations," reports TG Daily. "These include out-of-band communications (communications that exist outside of the scope of anything the machine might be doing through an OS or hypervisor), monitoring and altering of incoming and outgoing network traffic. In short, it operates covertly and snoops and potentially manipulates data."

Not only does this represent a privacy nightmare, it also dramatically increases the risk of industrial espionage.

The ability for third parties to have remote 3G access to PCs would also allow unwanted content to be placed on somebody's hard drive, making it easier for intelligence agencies and corrupt law enforcement bodies to frame people.

"The bottom line? The Core vPro processor is the end of any pretend privacy," writes Stone. "If you think encryption, Norton, or anything else is going to ensure your privacy, including never hooking up to the web at all, think again. There is now more than just a ghost in the machine."

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Submission + - The NSA's Corporate Collaborators: Willing Accomplices (counterpunch.org)

An anonymous reader writes: Emails published recently by Al Jazeera America show American hi-tech executives and senior intelligence officials interacting on a casual first-name basis. These e-mails contradict the narrative that the big bad NSA somehow coerced hi-tech companies into collaboration.

Indeed, since Ed Snowden’s documents have trickled out into public view companies like Google have tried to distance themselves from the NSA, to put on public displays of anger, to create the impression that they were somehow strong-armed into helping government spies and that they’ve been working to bolster their security against the NSA’s prying eyes. Above all hi-tech companies want to look like they’re siding with their users.

As anti-forensics researcher Bill Blunden explains, these gestures are likely theater, being performed by executives on behalf of quarterly earnings. Such is the beauty of PR. Hi-tech companies don’t really need to fend off government spies but merely provide users with the perception of resistance.

Rev. Bill observes that: "Those who resist government pressure like Nicholas Merrill, who was running an Internet service provider in New York called Calyx, and Ladar Levison, the former owner of Lavabit, are rare exceptions to the rule. For the big multinationals too much money is at stake to let something like civil liberties get in the way."

Submission + - The Unintended Consequences of DRM

An anonymous reader writes: The security and privacy concerns obfuscated by DRM aren't always apparent. Simon St. Laurent talks DRM, Privacy, and DRM creeping into the physical world: "Terrified by the sudden collapse in the cost of duplication and distribution, locking everyone’s shelves down seems like the only way to maintain their balance (sheets). Worse, products from beyond publishing are appearing with the new key-management practices built in, including cars, coffee, and of course printer cartridges."

Submission + - A Check-in App That Could Help Prevent Assaults

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: Natalie Matthews writes that a year ago, a friend of hers left her two roommates at a bar to walk the three blocks home to their apartment in a yuppie Boston neighborhood. "She wanted decent sleep before a Saturday morning exercise class; her friends wanted late night food. Instead, she was jumped by a stranger on the curb of her apartment building, brutally raped, and beaten in her living room while her roommates ate burritos, none the wiser," writes Matthews. " If she'd done something, anything, differently, would it have changed the outcome of her night? It's an unproductive exercise, both she and I know. And yet when I heard about Kitestring, she was the first thought that flashed in my mind, because maybe Kitestring would have helped her, had it existed then."

Kitestring is a new service that aims to make sure people get from point A to point B safely, notifying their emergency contacts if they don't. You tell Kitestring that you're in a dangerous place or situation, and give it a time frame of when to check in on you. If you don't reply back when it checks your status, it'll alert your emergency contacts with a custom message you set up. "Perfect for blind or online meet-up dates, walking home at night, or feeling safe in any dangerous situation, Kitestring is like the virtual mom I've always needed," writes Mary Rockcastle, "especially if your mom is like mine and is never awake past 8:30pm."

Submission + - Japanese And Swiss Watchmakers Scoff At Smartwatches (itworld.com)

jfruh writes: With rumors swirling about Apple entering the wearable space with an iWatch, you'd think that the Japanese and Swiss companies that have dominated high-end watchmaking for more than a century would be scrambling to catch up. But there were virtually no smartwatches on display at the Baselworld trade fair, and the watchmaking giants had no plans to produce any. Company representatives seemed sure that people in practice would be uninterested in constantly recharging their watches and downloading software updates just to tell time.

Submission + - Privacy-Conscious Google Glass App Identifies Surveillance Cameras 1

rjmarvin writes: Dutch developer Sander Veenhof, creator of a third-party augmented reality add-on for Google Glass, believes the most effective solution to combat privacy concerns is to turn Glass into a privacy radar http://sdt.bz/70073. Watch Your Privacy http://sndrv.com/watchyourpriv..., a browser add-on that works as part of the Layar https://www.layar.com/layers/p... augmented reality app for Google Glass, alerts the wearer to privacy threats by projecting green “safe” zones and red “unsafe” zones based on OpenStreetMap data of surveillance cameras and tracking technology in the vicinity.The app also registers real-time location data to identify any "Glassholes" watching you.

Submission + - IRS Can Now Seize Your Tax Refund To Pay A Relative's Debt

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: Just in time for the April 15 IRS filing deadline comes news from the Washington Post that hundreds of thousands of taxpayers who are expecting refunds are instead getting letters informing them that because of a debt they never knew about — often a debt incurred by their parents — the government has confiscated their check — sometimes on debts 20 or 30 years old. For example, when Mary Grice was 4, back in 1960, her father died, leaving her mother with five children to raise. Until the kids turned 18, Sadie Grice got survivor benefits from Social Security to help feed and clothe them. Now, Social Security claims it overpaid someone in the Grice family — it’s not sure who — in 1977. After 37 years of silence, four years after Sadie Grice died, the government is coming after her daughter. “It was a shock,” says Grice, 58. “What incenses me is the way they went about this. They gave me no notice, they can’t prove that I received any overpayment, and they use intimidation tactics, threatening to report this to the credit bureaus.”

The Treasury Department has intercepted $1.9 billion in tax refunds already this year — $75 million of that on debts delinquent for more than 10 years, says Jeffrey Schramek, assistant commissioner of the department’s debt management service. The aggressive effort to collect old debts started three years ago — the result of a single sentence tucked into the farm bill lifting the 10-year statute of limitations on old debts to Uncle Sam. The Federal Trade Commission, on its Web site, advises Americans that “family members typically are not obligated to pay the debts of a deceased relative from their own assets.” But Social Security officials say that if children indirectly received assistance from public dollars paid to a parent, the children’s money can be taken, no matter how long ago any overpayment occurred. Many of the taxpayers whose refunds have been taken say they’ve been unable to contest the confiscations because of the cost, because Social Security cannot provide records detailing the original overpayment, and because the citizens, following advice from the IRS to keep financial documents for just three years, had long since trashed their own records. More than 1,200 appeals have been filed on the old cases but only about 10 percent of taxpayers have won those appeals. "The government took the money first and then they sent us the letter," says Brenda Samonds.." We could never get one sentence from them explaining why the money was taken.”

Submission + - Study Shows American Policy Exclusively Reflects Desires of the Rich (princeton.edu)

CamelTrader writes: A forthcoming paper by Princeton's Martin Gilens and Northwestern's Benjamin Page analyzes policy over the past 20+ years and conclude that policy makers respond exclusively to the needs of people in the 90th wealth percentile. A summary at the Washington Post by Larry Bartels: http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

Submission + - Wanna Know What Tesla Drivers Look At Online?

cartechboy writes: Yes, the Tesla Model S does indeed have unrestricted Internet access on that massive 17-inch touch screen, but what are those wealthy electric-car drivers actually looking at on their in-car browsers? Thanks to Quantcast, we now know that those people are looking at Drudge Report, local news, and finance along with stock-data sites. Interestingly, but not shocking, two-thirds of Tesla browsing activity came from California with Georgia and Texas being the next most popular states. Texas is an interesting one as the state bans Tesla's direct-sales model altogether. Quantcast notes the fact that Teslas not only provide ubiquitous fast Internet access, but also lets marketers track those browsing patters which is something most Tesla owners probably haven't thought about, yet. This all begs the question of whether in-car infotainment systems will be the next big thing for marketers as we move towards more connected, and autonomous vehicles.

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