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Encryption

Non-US Encryption Is 'Theoretical', Claims CIA Chief In Backdoor Debate (theregister.co.uk) 312

Iain Thomson, writing for The Register: CIA director John Brennan told U.S. senators they shouldn't worry about mandatory encryption backdoors hurting American businesses. And that's because, according to Brennan, there's no one else for people to turn to: if they don't want to use U.S.-based technology because it's been forced to use weakened cryptography, they'll be out of luck because non-American solutions are simply "theoretical." Thus, the choice is American-built-and-backdoored or nothing, apparently. The spymaster made the remarks at a congressional hearing on Thursday after Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) questioned the CIA's support for weakening cryptography to allow g-men to peek at people's private communications and data. Brennan said this was needed to counter the ability of terrorists to coordinate their actions using encrypted communications. The director denied that forcing American companies to backdoor their security systems would cause any commercial problems.
Windows

Windows 10 To Be Installed On 4 Million US Department of Defense Computers (betanews.com) 235

Mark Wilson writes: Microsoft keeps shouting about the millions of users that have switched to Windows 10, and soon the company will have another 4 million to bray about. The U.S. Department of Defense is the latest big name to give Windows 10 the seal of approval apparently unconcerned with the privacy and telemetry issues that have put off others. 4 million enterprise upgrades for Windows 10 is a real feather in the cap for Microsoft, and the aim is to get each system running the latest version of the operating system inside a year. The DoD has also announced that it is granting certification to Surface 3, Surface Pro 3, Surface Pro 4, and Surface Book devices, meaning that they now appear on its Approved Products List.
Encryption

French Conservatives Push Law To Ban Strong Encryption (dailydot.com) 246

Patrick O'Neill writes: The French parliament this week will examine a bill that would require tech manufacturers of computers, phones, and tablets to build backdoors into any encryption on the device. The anti-encryption bill is being presented by 18 conservative members of the National Assembly as part of a large "Digital Republic" bill. According to the article, The new French bill briefly praises encryption’s role in protecting user data but immediately pivots to criticizing the effects of strong encryption on state security forces. "France must take the initiative and force device manufacturers to take into consideration the imperative of access for law enforcement officers, under the control of a judge and only in the case of an investigation, to those devices," the legislation reads, according to a translation by Khalil Sehnaoui, a Middle-East security specialist and founder of Krypton Security. "The goal is to avoid that individual encryption systems delay the advancement of an investigation."
Transportation

Simple Geometry = More Seats In an Airline 394

New submitter innerpeace writes: New airline seat arrangement looks to increase passenger capacity. A patent application by Zodiac Seats France calls for a design that puts every other passenger in a row facing backward. That means that in a row of three fliers, the seat by the window and the seat by the aisle face toward the front of the plane while the middle seat faces toward the back. The design idea could fit up to 80 more passengers in a plane, depending on the current seat layout. Whatever downsides it has, if such a design is adopted, I hope it leads to a stronger adoption of a convention that those with window seats board first.
Businesses

Put Your Enterprise Financial Data In the Cloud? Sure, Why Not 91

jfruh writes: For many, the idea of storing sensitive financial and other data in the cloud seems insane, especially considering the regulatory aspects that mandate how that data is protected. But more and more organizations are doing so as cloud providers start presenting offerings that fulfill regulatory needs — and people realize that information is more likely to be accidentally emailed out to the wrong address than hacked.
Education

San Francisco Public Schools To Require Computer Science For Preschoolers 179

theodp writes: Never underestimate the ability of tech and its leaders to create a crisis. The S.F. Chronicle's Jill Tucker reports that the San Francisco School Board unanimously voted Tuesday to ensure every student in the district gets a computer science education, with coursework offered in every grade from preschool through high school, a first for a public school district. Tech companies, including Salesforce.com, as well as foundations and community groups, are expected to pitch in funding and other technical support to create the new coursework, equip schools and train staff to teach it. From Resolution No. 155-26A2 (PDF), In Support of Expanding Computer Science and Digital Learning to All Students at All Schools from Pre-K to 12th Grade: 1. "All students are capable of making sense of computer science in ways that are creative, interactive, and relevant." 2. "All students, from pre-K to 12, deserve access to rigorous and culturally meaningful computer science education and should be held to high expectations for interacting with the curriculum." 3. "Students' access to and achievement in computer science must not be predictable on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, language, religion, sexual orientation, cultural affiliation, or special needs." MissionLocal has a two-page SFUSD flyer on the project, which aims to illustrate the "importance of computer science" with the same Code.org jobs infographic that Microsoft used to help achieve its stated goal of creating a national K-12 CS crisis, and demonstrate "disparities in accessing CS education" for SFUSD's 57,000 students with a small-sample-size-be-damned bar chart of the racial demographics of the school district's 209 AP Computer Science participants (181 Asian, 0 African American, 6 Latino, 1 Native American, 14 White, 7 Other).
Government

US Justice Department Urges Supreme Court Not To Take Up Google v. Oracle 223

New submitter Areyoukiddingme writes: The Solicitor General of the Justice Department has filed a response to the US Supreme Court's solicitation of advice regarding the Google vs. Oracle ruling and subsequent overturning by the Federal Circuit. The response recommends that the Federal Circuit ruling stand, allowing Oracle to retain copyright to the Java API.
Science

A Plan On How To Stop Sexism In Science 613

StartsWithABang writes: If there's nothing else that science has to offer, it's this elegant notion: that anyone, anywhere, at anytime, can investigate and uncover the mysteries and workings of the Universe simply by asking it the right questions in the right ways, listening to its answers, and putting the pieces together for themselves. Anyone can do it. Only, for various and sundry reasons, not everyone gets to do it. Some people don't have the economic ability, some don't have the sustained drive or interest, and some simply can't cut the mustard. But some people — some really, really good people — are driven from their passions for a sad, simple and completely unnecessary fact: that they were treated in unacceptable ways that they refused to just accept. And in a great many cases, that unacceptable treatment came simply because of their gender. Sexism sometimes looks like what you expect, and sometimes not. Here's one opinion on what we can all do about it to create the world we really want: where science really is for everyone.
Medicine

California Senate Approves School Vaccine Bill 545

mpicpp writes: California state senators have passed a controversial bill designed to increase school immunization rates. SB277 would prohibit parents from seeking vaccine exemptions for their children because of religious or personal beliefs. California would join West Virginia and Mississippi as the only states with such requirements if the bill becomes law. "SB 277 is about increasing immunization rates so no one will have to suffer from vaccine-preventable diseases," said Sen. Ben Allen (D- Santa Monica) who coauthored the bill with Sen. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento).
Education

Washington May Count CS As Foreign Language For College Admission 259

theodp writes On Wednesday, Washington State held a public hearing on House Bill 1445, which proposes a study "to allow two years of computer sciences to count as two years of world languages for the purposes of admission into a four-year institution of higher education." Among the questions posed by the House Higher Education Committee to a UW rep at the hearing was the following: "What's the case for...not just world language is good, world language is well-rounded, but world language is so super-duper-duper good that you should spend two years of your life doing them and specifically better than something else like coding?" The promise of programming jobs, promoted by Microsoft execs and other MS folks like ex-Program Manager Audrey Sniezek (ironically laid off last summer), has prompted Kentucky to ponder a similar measure.
United States

US Slaps Sanctions On North Korea After Sony Cyberattack 231

wiredmikey writes: The United States imposed financial sanctions Friday on North Korea and several senior government officials in retaliation for a cyber attack on Sony Pictures. President Obama said he ordered the sanctions because of "the provocative, destabilizing, and repressive actions and policies (PDF) of the Government of North Korea, including its destructive, coercive cyber-related actions during November and December 2014." The activities "constitute a continuing threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States," he added, in a letter to inform congressional leaders of his executive order. The new measures allow the Treasury Department "to apply sanctions against officials of the Government of North Korea and the Workers' Party of Korea, and persons determined to be owned or controlled by, or acting for or on behalf of" these bodies.
EU

The EU Has a Plan To Break Up Google 334

An anonymous reader points out a report at the Financial Times (paywalled) which says the European Parliament is preparing to call for the break-up of Google. According to the draft seen by the FT, a potential solution to ongoing anti-trust concerns with Google is "unbundling search engines from other services." The article notes, "The European parliament has no formal power to split up companies, but has increasing influence on the commission, which initiates all EU legislation. The commission has been investigating concerns over Google’s dominance of online search for five years, with critics arguing that the company’s rankings favour its own services, hitting its rivals’ profits. Unbundling cannot be excluded, said Andreas Schwab, a German MEP who is one of the motion’s backers."
United Kingdom

Piracy Police Chief Calls For State Interference To Stop Internet "Anarchy" 302

An anonymous reader writes The City of London Police's Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) is determined to continue its anti-piracy efforts in the years to come. However, the unit's head, Andy Fyfe, also believes that the government may have to tighten the rules on the Internet to stop people from breaking the law. PIPCU's chief believes the public has to be protected from criminals, including pirate site operators who take advantage of their trust. If that doesn't happen, then the Internet may descend into anarchy, he says, suggesting that the government may have to intervene to prevent this. The Police chief believes tighter rules may be needed to prevent people from breaking the law in the future. This could mean not everyone is allowed to launch a website, but that a license would be required, for example.
The Internet

Grand Ayatollah Says High Speed Internet Is "Against Moral Standards" 542

An anonymous reader writes A Grand Ayatollah in Iran has determined that access to high-speed and 3G Internet is "against Sharia" and "against moral standards." However, Iran's President, Hassan Rouhani, plans to renew licenses and expand the country’s 3G cellular phone network. A radical MP associated with the conservative Resistance Front, warned: “If the minister continues to go ahead with increasing bandwidth and Internet speed, then we will push for his impeachment and removal from the cabinet.” “We will vigorously prevent all attempts by the [communication] minister to expand 3G technology, and if our warnings are not heeded, then the necessary course of action will be taken,” he added.

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