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Submission + - NSA doesn't know what Snowden took. (nbcnews.com) 8

WOOFYGOOFY writes: Part of the assurances the NSA has given Congress and the public that the databases of internet activity can't be abused is that each database access is carefully audited and recorded. The NSA claims such audit trails are both deterrents to abuse and sure methods of catching abuse post hoc.

However, as reported by NBC News, " two separate sources briefed on the matter told NBC News that the NSA has been unable to determine the full extent of the data he removed." NBC goes on to report that "NSA had poor data compartmentalization", permitting sys admins "to roam freely across wide areas.".

The article characterizes the NSA as " “overwhelmed" trying to account for what Snowden took" . While another source said the "NSA has a poor audit capability, which is frustrating efforts to complete a damage assessment."

How unattractive a picture is going to be painted before this is over ? Poor audit trails is a wide open door to abuse, and further directly contradicts — yet again- the assurances public officials have made to Congress.

For those of us who consider that the NSA performs a desperately needed function in fighting people who want to destroy the basis of civil society itself, I want to ask the question- have you lost faith in the integrity of the intelligence gathering process and what could the NSA and the administration do to restore and maintain your faith?

Submission + - Another one bites the dust (sun-sentinel.com)

WOOFYGOOFY writes: Online auction house realauction.com was driven into bankruptcy by a competitor Grant Street Group of Pittsburgh wielding this patent :

http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=6,161,099.PN.&OS=PN/6,161,099&RS=PN/6,161,099.

part of which reads:

In an electronic auction system including an issuer's computer having a display and at least one bidder's computer having an input device and a display, said bidder's computer being located remotely from said issuer's computer, said computers being coupled to at least one electronic network for communicating data messages between said computers, an electronic auctioning process for auctioning fixed income financial instruments comprising:

inputting data associated with at least one bid for at least one fixed income financial instrument into said bidder's computer via said input device;



and so on and so forth.

With this kind of patent junk orbiting the ideosphere, have you or your company scrapped or otherwise altered your plans to launch or even begin development of a product ? Are you hesitant to sell it in the US and other software-patent friendly jurisdictions ?

Is it possible , legally and tactically, to simply avoid the US and similar markets and still be successful?

Submission + - Plame and Wilson characterize NSA as "completely out of control" (guardian.co.uk)

WOOFYGOOFY writes: Writing in The Guardian, C.I.A agent Valerie Plame, whose covert identity was blown by the Bush administration in the run up to Iraq, and her husband and former U.S. ambassador Joe Wilson whose mission to Niger helped to establish that there was no WMD in Iraq characterize the "intelligence-industrial complex" as ""metastasised " and "ripe for abuse".

From the article-

"Prism and other NSA data-mining programs might indeed be very effective in hunting and capturing actual terrorists, but we don't have enough information as a society to make that decision.... (and the ) intelligence community and their friends on the Hill do not have a right to interpret our rights absent such a discussion. "

"... This position must be turned on its head and opened up to a genuine discussion about the necessary, dynamic tension between security and privacy. As it now stands, these programs are ripe for abuse unless we establish ground rules and barriers between authentic national security interests and potential political chicanery".

Submission + - It's Find JImmy Hoffa time again for the NSA

An anonymous reader writes: On May 6 2006, USAToday was covering the scandal that was enveloping the Bush White House the NSA was keeping a gigantic database of American's phone calls :
http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/washington/2006-05-10-nsa_x.htm

people wanted to know what was going on:
http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/washington/2006-05-10-nsa-qna_x.htm

the aclu was heading to court
http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/washington/2006-06-12-aclu-spying_x.htm

and the NSA was claiming that the program helped stop terrorism:
http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/washington/2006-05-22-nsa-template_x.htm

Press coverage was intense and sustained and the nation's interest focused.

Then, suddenly, the FBI announced that they thought they had found Jimmy Hoffa's body and for a week, televisions were taken off the Bush White House and retrained on the spectacle of the FBI digging up a farm and using cadaver dogs to try to find Hoff's remains.

After which time, the immediate energy of the American people dissipated and the sustained national conversation that was threatening to happen never did.

Today, we see this:

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57589620/feds-digging-in-mich-field-for-jimmy-hoffas-remains/

Bread and circuses? Big coincidence? Or what?

Submission + - Is it still safe to donate clothes after SCOTUS DNA decision? (techdirt.com)

An anonymous reader writes: I am looking for a scientifically informed opinion as to whether it's still safe to donate clothes to Goodwill after the recent SCOTUS ruling regarding DNA searches. My fear is that my DNA will show up at a crime scene because some local perp bought my cast offs and I am arrested for Some Bad Crime. Even if I am later exonerated, the arrest record alone is enough to ruin the rest of my life. I understand my DNA is here, there, everywhere (the gym! money!) but clothes and couches and sheets seem to hold special promise for creative DAs with unsolved crimes on their books, a cooperative crime lab and an "expert witness" laying around. Is this possible? Has it happened? If I assume a worst case scenario, how safe would I have to play it WRT to my DNA?

Submission + - The multi-billion dollar patent troll (readwrite.com)

WOOFYGOOFY writes: 1-800-CONTACTS, which is owned by Wellpoint the largest for-profit healthcare provider in the Blue Cross Blue Shield network is suing a 15 person company over a 3D patent which permits users to see what glasses look like on their own faces prior to purchasing. Wellpoint is the owner of Glasses.com which in turn owns 1-800 CONTACTS The behemoth is suing DITTO, http://www.ditto.com/, a small 15 person company for patent infringement involving software which permits customers to upload a picture of themselves and then virtually try on glasses prior to purchasing.

Wellpoint bought the patent, which was submitted in 2001, http://www.google.com/patents/US7016824?pg=PA9&dq=7,016,824&hl=en&sa=X&ei=BOtuUbPEDcTviQKWzoGIBg&sqi=2&pjf=1&ved=0CDQQ6AEwAA from a now defunct company.

This is what software patents are- monopolies on broad ideas wielded by those who can afford the lawyering against those who can't. This case is very similar to the case of flightprep vs Runway Finder from 2010. http://www.aviationbull.com/2010/dec/18/flightprep-vs-runway-finder-alls-fair-or-money-rules . There, a company who had been rejected 7 times by the patent office finally was granted a patent on what amounted to drawing a line on a map and proceeded to pursue and finally extinguish a small one-man website with a popular flight mapper.

These cases and all the innumerable cases just like them that never get any ink from the press perfectly illustrate that patent trolls are NOT small companies wielding the awesome power of their inventions against large companies. Just the opposite. The pursuit, acquisition and wielding of software patents is a rich man's game and defacto excludes anyone who is not rich while damaging forward progress for everyone else. As such it constitutes a kind of feudal system whereby the "laws" amount to nothing more than the legal reinforcement of financial position of the elites.

Submission + - NRC Report Links Climate Change to National Security (nytimes.com)

WOOFYGOOFY writes: The NY Times and Voice Of America amongst others are reporting on a study by the U.S. National Research Council which was released Friday linking global climate change to national security.

http://www.voanews.com/content/climate-change-security/1543127.html

http://chronicle.com/article/US-Urged-to-Step-Up-Research /135724/

The report which was developed at the request of the C.I.A. characterizes the threats posed by climate change
as "similar to and in many cases greater than those posed by terrorist attacks."

http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=14682&page=1

If the effect of unaddressed climate change is the functional equivalent of terrorist attacks on the nation, does the Executive Branch, as a matter of national security, have a duty and a right to begin to act unilaterally against climate change irrespective of what Congress currently believes?

Submission + - Yet another call for abolishing patents, this one from the Fed (theatlantic.com) 1

WOOFYGOOFY writes: The most recent call for curtailing patents comes not just from an unexpected source, the St. Louis Fed, but also in its most basic form- total abolition of ALL patents.

Via the Atlantic Monthly,

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/09/the-case-for-abolishing-patents-yes-all-of-them/262913/

a new working paper from two members of the St. Louis Federal Reserve, Michele Boldrin and David Levine:

http://research.stlouisfed.org/wp/2012/2012-035.pdf

in which they argue that while a weak patent system may mildly increase innovation with limited side-effects, such a system can never be contained and will inevitably lead a stifling patent system such as that presently found in the U.S.

They argue: "...strong patent systems retard innovation with many negative side-effects. and ..political demand for stronger patent protection comes from old and stagnant industries and firms, not from new and innovative ones. Hence the best solution is to abolish patents entirely through strong constitutional measures and to find other legislative instruments, less open to lobbying and rent-seeking".

They acknowledge that some industries could suffer under a such a system, they single out pharma, and suggest that other legislative measures be found to foster innovation whenever there is clear evidence that laissez-faire under-supplies it.

Submission + - Climate Change Kills 400,000 a Year and costs 1.2 trillion (thedailybeast.com)

WOOFYGOOFY writes: Climate change is currently killing 400,000 people a year and world-wide costing the global economy 1.2 trillion dollars . Are the organizations and individuals responsible which deny climate change and block action guilty of crimes against humanity? Will they be held personally accountable by the millennial generation who will bear the cost of their actions? The question is being asked:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/cif-green/2010/nov/01/climate-science-disinformation-crime

Patents

Submission + - Israel to accept software patents (wordpress.com)

WOOFYGOOFY writes: Israel is going to start accepting software patents, in contrast to their previous position.

Since it about five million US to protect your company against a single software patent lawsuit:

ahref=http://www.managingip.com/Article/2089405/Cost-rel=url2html-1759http://www.managingip.com/Article/2089405/Cost- and-duration-of-patent-litigation.html>

and acquiring them, at 15K and up per, is also beyond the means of most software developers: ahref=http://www.managingip.com/Article/2089405/Cost-and-duration-of-patent-litigation.htmlrel=url2html-1759http://www.managingip.com/Article/2089405/Cost-and-duration-of-patent-litigation.html > and because doing so is no guarantee of of being able to participate in a M.A.D. standoff with a larger corporation, the question presents itself: are software developers merely share croppers for the 1% who can afford to engage in patent warfare?

If you can't afford to participate in the economic ecosystem except as paid labor, or if you're forced to supplicate yourself to the super wealthy in order to sell your own goods and services, in what sense are software developers "free" in any jurisdiction where software patents are permitted?

Is this a clear example of the top 1% creating laws which favor themselves while excluding the bottom 99% from economic participation.. of pulling the ladder up behind them?

Should start-ups simply withdraw their products from jurisdictions where software patents are recognized?

Submission + - Bloomberg learning to code (bbc.co.uk)

WOOFYGOOFY writes: "Apparently it's "Code Year" — an attempt to encourage people to learn to code- and N.Y.C. Major Bloomberg is taking part . "My New Year's resolution is to learn to code with Codeacademy in 2012!" he wrote on Twitter.

Have any suggestions for Mayor Bloomberg's new career move?

Are we cool now?"

Submission + - The real face of SOPA (techdirt.com)

WOOFYGOOFY writes: Govt. seizes private, law abiding domain, partially on word from RIAA exec., stonewalls and lies to the owner's lawyers for a full year, breaks all laws surrounding seizure and forfeiture, seals all court proceedings... then returns domain to owner with no explanation, no charges.

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