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Submission + - Lawsuit alleges Facebook supports Hamas

Presto Vivace writes: Israeli government 'lawfare contractor' sues Facebook for $1b.

Shurat HaDin has admitted in the past to taking its marching orders from Israeli intelligence and government officials, lawsuit comes just days after senior minister said Mark Zuckerberg has blood on his hands.

In the suit, filed in U.S. Federal Court, Shurat HaDin alleges that by allowing Hamas to use its social networking and communications platforms, that Facebook provides material support to the Palestinian group in attacks on American citizens in Israel and the West Bank.

Comment Re:BitCoin's Central Bank lowers interest rate (Score 1) 164

Actually a decrease in the money supply would both cause an increase in secondary lending rates (because money is more scarce and therefore more burdensome to loan) and also in a fractional reserve system like the one you are complaining about could be caused by an increase in the federal funds rate as opposed to a decrease like you claimed. But don't let your complete lack of knowledge regarding monetary policy stop you from opining on something you know nothing about.

For those who actually care, if the central bank decreased interest rates as the parent post suggested, more people would borrow more money and therefore lead to more money creation, not less.

-AndrewBuck

Submission + - Are Face Recognition Systems Accurate?

Presto Vivace writes: Are Face Recognition Systems Accurate? Depends on Your Race.

In 2012, Jain and several colleagues used a set of mugshots from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office in Florida to examine the performance of several commercially available face recognition systems, including ones from vendors that supply law enforcement agencies. The algorithms were consistently less accurate on women, African-Americans, and younger people. Apparently they were trained on data that was not representative enough of those groups, says Jain.

Comment Re:Congratulations (Score 4, Interesting) 106

Actually I have been wondering for a long time why trains don't do exactly what these trucks are doing. Many (most?) trains now (at least around here in the US) are deisel-electric with a deisel engine running an on-board generator to make electricity for the wheels. If you had retractable electrical things on the top of the engine to connect to overhead wires you could use grid electricity for the steep grades and other fuel demanding portions of the trip (like the first couple miles out of major rail yards where you are still getting up to speed) and then spin up the diesel as you get into the long stretches of mainline where you only need to overcome air and rolling resistance which are both minimal for a train.

In addition to this you could do regenerative breaking on these same stretches of tracks to feed power back into the grid when slowing down. Many locomotives already use electrical generators in the wheels (basically just using the motors as generators) as this avoids wear on the wheels and brakes by avoiding the older mechanical brakes. However on long down grades they still have to use the mechanical brakes since they have no way to get rid of the excess energy; the electrical generator brakes just heat up an onboard tank of water which can only take so much heating before they have to fall back to the mechanical brakes.

So basically all of the things you need to do a hybrid system like this are already onboard a modern locomotive, the only thing missing is the wires above the tracks and the thing on top of the locomotive to connect to them. The thing on top would be a very small cost to add, the wires would be a lot more expensive per mile, however you can choose which sections of rail to electrify since you are going for a hybrid approach which lets you only electrify the most beneficial parts of the rail network.

Overall I think it is a very good idea and I am surprised I have not seen it implemented or at least discussed. Maybe I am missing something but it seems like it would work well. I guess the main issue would be the large power surge to the grid from regenerative braking and the huge temporary draw when getting up to speed but it seems like this would be addressable without too much difficulty.

Comment Re:Actually 3rd point was agreement with trial jud (Score 1) 23

Actually whoever the new guy is, I don't find the site to be "improved" at all; seems a little crummy. The story was butchered and incorrectly interpreted, and the all important software for interaction seems less interactive.

But what do I know?

As to my absence I've been a bit overwhelmed by work stuff, sorry about that, it's no excuse :)

Comment Actually 3rd point was agreement with trial judge (Score 4, Informative) 23

The story as published implies that the ruling overruled the lower court on the 3 issues. In fact, it was agreeing with the trial court on the third issue -- that the sporadic instances of Vimeo employees making light of copyright law did not amount to adopting a "policy of willful blindness".

Submission + - Appeals court slams record companies on DMCA in Vimeo case

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: In the long-simmering appeal in Capitol Records v. Vimeo, the US Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit upheld Vimeo's positions on many points regarding the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. In its 55 page decision (PDF) the Court ruled that (a) the Copyright Office was dead wrong in concluding that pre-1972 sound recordings aren't covered by the DMCA, (b) the judge was wrong to think that Vimeo employees' merely viewing infringing videos was sufficient evidence of "red flag knowledge", and (c) a few sporadic instances of employees being cavalier about copyright law did not amount to a "policy of willful blindness" on the part of the company. The Court seemed to take particular pleasure in eviscerating the Copyright Office's rationales. Amicus curiae briefs in support of Vimeo had been submitted by a host of companies and organizations including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Computer & Communications Industry Association, Public Knowledge, Google, Yahoo!, Facebook, Microsoft, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Twitter.

Submission + - Towards A Global Network Of Neighbourhoods And Cities Rejecting Surveillance

Presto Vivace writes: Connect with other rebel cities and collectives

To free ourselves from surveillance and other repressive and authoritarian forms of power that this opens up, we must immediately activate the mechanisms of law that allow us to oversee the functions of mass surveillance systems in our cities. And do this collectively, in coordination with other cities affected by the problem. Just as there are Smart Cities networks we should form our own Rebel Cities networks where surveillance is rejected and participatory democracy is affirmed, a democracy framed in respect for human rights and diversity, focused on collective solutions, which is the true path to safer cities. Not cameras.

We can then simultaneously activate collaborative mechanisms to prevent their expansion. Make freedom of information requests for public information detailing their costs. Demand studies on their results. Take serious legal action in face of possible illegal uses of surveillance for discriminatory policies. Demand from authorities protection of personal data where it exists, and where it does not, demand that human rights authorities undertake feasibility studies, weighing the impact on individual guarantees before installing systems. Democracy begins and ends there. In its exercise.

This is why it matters who gets elected to city council.

Submission + - FBI: Clinton approved CIA drone assassinations though unsecured personal server (salon.com)

gluesniffer writes: An explosive new report reveals just what it is that the FBI is looking to: emails in which then-Secretary of State Clinton approved CIA drone assassinations in Pakistan with her cellphone. From 2011 on, the State Department had a secret arrangement with the CIA, giving it a degree of say over whether or not a drone killing would take place. Under Sec. Clinton, State Department officials approved almost every single proposed CIA drone assassination. The emails that are at the heart of the FBI’s criminal investigation are 2011 and 2012 messages between U.S. diplomats in Pakistan and their State Department superiors in D.C., in which the officials approved drone strikes. Clinton’s aides forwarded some of these emails to her personal email account, on a private server in her home in suburban New York.

Submission + - Air Force has lost 100,000 inspector general records (thehill.com)

schwit1 writes: The Air Force announced on Friday that it has lost thousands of records belonging to the service's inspector general due to a database crash.

"We estimate we've lost information for 100,000 cases dating back to 2004," Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek told The Hill in an email.

The database, called the Automated Case Tracking System (ACTS), holds all records related to IG complaints, investigations, appeals and Freedom of Information Act requests.

No mention of backups.

Submission + - Congress moves to limit civil forfeiture (dailysignal.com)

schwit1 writes: A bill now moving through both houses of Congress will place some limits on the ability of state and federal governments to confiscate private property.

The bills most important provision will be to shift the burden of proof to the government, not the citizen. However,

Unfortunately, while the DUE PROCESS Act contains many of the procedural reforms that The Heritage Foundation and a broad coalition of organizations have called for in our recent Meese Center report, “Arresting Your Property,” it does not tackle two of the most perverse aspects of forfeiture law: the financial incentives that underlie modern civil forfeiture practices and the profit-sharing programs known as “equitable sharing.”

Under federal law, 100 percent of the proceeds of successful forfeitures are retained by the federal law enforcement organization that executed the seizure. This money is available to be spent by these agencies without congressional oversight, meaning they can—and do—self-finance. This profiteering incentive is extended to state and local agencies through programs administered by the Justice and Treasury departments known as “equitable sharing,” which allow property seized at the state and local level to be transferred to federal authorities for forfeiture under federal law. The feds then return up to 80 percent of the resulting revenues to the originating agency.

Thus, federal law provides every law enforcement agency in the country with a direct financial incentive to seize cash and property—sometimes at the expense of investigating, arresting, and prosecuting actual criminals—and simultaneously encourages state and local agencies to circumvent state laws that are more protective of property rights or restrictive as to how forfeiture proceeds may be spent than the federal standard.

The simple fact is that civil forfeiture is already blatantly illegal, as per the plain words in the fifth amendment to the Constitution:

No person . . .[shall] be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

It is a horrible tragedy that so few people today respect these plain words.

Submission + - Google Announces Support of The Controversial TPP (recode.net)

An anonymous reader writes: Google has announced in a blog post Friday their support for the controversial Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership (TPP). Recode reports: "The trade agreement includes key provisions about the global passage of digital data, intellectual property and copyright — measures that have drawn criticism from both the political right and left, including several outspoken tech groups. Google's endorsement isn't axactly full-throated, but its stake clearly demonstrates another key area of support with the Obama administration, to which Google is close." Google's SVP and general counsel Kent Walker wrote: "The TPP is not perfect, and the trade negotiation process would certainly benefit from greater transparency. We will continue to advocate for process reforms, including the opportunity for all stakeholders to have a meaningful opportunity for input into trade negotiations." The company has already shown support of the TPP behind the Internet Association, which endorsed the trade agreement in March. Google joins a list of other tech titans, like Apple and Microsoft, who have shown their support as well. The Electronic Frontier Foundation calls the TPP a "secretive, multinational trade agreement" that will restrict IP laws and enforce digital policies that "benefit big corporations at the expense of the public." The TPP is still awaiting congressional approval after being signed in February.

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