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Submission + - How stingray is zapping the fourth amendment

Presto Vivace writes: How Militarized Cops Use the Intrusive Technology Stingray, and Much More, to Intrude on Our Rights — Police nationwide are secretly exploiting intrusive technologies with the feds' complicity.

Thanks to this call-and-response process, the Stingray knows both what cell phones are in the area and where they are. In other words, it gathers information not only about a specific suspect, but any bystanders in the area as well. While the police may indeed use this technology to pinpoint a suspect’s location, by casting such a wide net there is also the potential for many kinds of constitutional abuses—for instance, sweeping up the identities of every person attending a demonstration or a political meeting. Some Stingrays are capable of collecting not only cell phone ID numbers but also numbers those phones have dialed and even phone conversations. In other words, the Stingray is a technology that potentially opens the door for law enforcement to sweep up information that not so long ago wouldn’t have been available to them.

This is why it matters who wins the mayor and city council races. Localities do not have to accept this technology.

Submission + - Sci-hub domain been shut down by Elsevier (torrentfreak.com)

Taco Cowboy writes: Several ‘backup’ domain names are still in play, including Sci-Hub.bz and Sci-Hub.cc

In addition to the alternative domain names users can access the site directly through the IP-address 31.184.194.81

Its TOR domain is also still working — http://scihub22266oqcxt.onion/

Authorized or not, there is definitely plenty of interest in Sci-Hub’s service. The site currently hosts more than 51 million academic papers and receives millions of visitors per month

Many visits come from countries where access to academic journals is limited, such as Iran, Russia or China. But even in countries where access is more common, many researchers visit the site, an analysis from Science magazine revealed last week

Submission + - The science behind the world's simplest, controllable, flying machine (robohub.org)

Kassandra Perlongo writes: Researchers at the Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control at ETH Zurich have created a flying machine that only has a single moving part, the rotating propeller, but can still fully control its position in space. Pretty neat!

Unfortunately there's no practical applications for the technology just yet other than it looks cool. Next up: refining the control strategy to allow the Monospinnner to recover from a larger range of initial conditions.

Submission + - http compression continues to put encrypted communications at risk (computerworld.com)

monkeyFuzz writes: According to the article:
Security researchers have expanded and improved a three-year-old attack that exploits the compression mechanism used to speed up browsing in order to recover sensitive information from encrypted Web traffic.

The attack, known as BREACH, takes advantage of the gzip/DEFLATE algorithm used by many Web servers to reduce latency when responding to HTTP requests. This compression mechanism leaks information about encrypted connections and allows man-in-the-middle attackers to recover authentication cookies and other sensitive information.

Submission + - Reddit removes warrant canary, probably served with a secret court order (arstechnica.com)

AmiMoJo writes: Reddit has removed the warrant canary posted on its website, suggesting that the company may have been served with some sort of secret court order or document for user information. At the bottom of its 2014 transparency report, the company wrote: "As of January 29, 2015, reddit has never received a National Security Letter, an order under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or any other classified request for user information. If we ever receive such a request, we would seek to let the public know it existed." That language was conspicuously missing from the 2015 transparency report that was published Thursday morning. CEO Steve Huffman wrote: "I've been advised not to say anything one way or the other."

Submission + - ESA is asking to mine data from Mars Express telemetry to prolong its life (esa.int)

Dario Izzo writes: The Mars Express spacecraft from ESA has been orbiting the Red Planet for 12 years. While its controllers know the spacecraft inside out, additional insights are hidden within the mounds of telemetry the mission generates – inspiring the first of ESA’s new data mining competitions: the Mars Express Power Challenge. The goal is to use machine learning techniques to predict Mars Express’s thermal power consumption during the martian year ahead, based on its past telemetry. ESA is targeting the international data mining and machine learning community – including students, research groups or companies”. The website Kelvins is hosting the competition.

Submission + - Carl Sagan received anonymous note predicting Columbia disaster,20 years early (muckrock.com)

v3rgEz writes: You never know what you'll find in the FBI's old files. Case in point: A weird and weirdly prophetic letter in Carl Sagan's files that predicted the Columbia disaster — 20 years before it launched. Of course, the letter got a lot of details wrong: The explosion wasn't followed by World War III, let alone "ARMAGEDDON." At least not yet. But it gets weirder, because the person who supposedly sent the letter, at least as far as the FBI could tell, died 10 years before that. Read the full story, and read the letter, on MuckRock.

Submission + - FBI vs Apple: Was it Software or Hardware? (hackaday.com)

szczys writes: The deadlock between the FBI and Apple over access to encrypted user data was temporarily broken yesterday when the government announced it had achieved its goals without the help of Apple. The question that now matters, was the vulnerability a hardware or a software vector?

The iPhone encryption gatekeeper is the screen lock, which uses hardware to cripple the device if it detects a brute-force attack. Circumvention of this is not a huge threat to everyone who uses the same model of phone because an attacker would need access to the hardware — most likely for an extended period of time and in a destructive way. However, if the vulnerability was software-based it has far reaching implications because physical access to the device may not be necessary in that case. The government (and the Israel-based company that did the work for them) have a moral obligation to disclose such a vulnerability.

Submission + - Funds Flow to Companies that Figure Out Predictive Analytics

StewBeans writes: A recent article in Institutional Investor suggests that smart investors are keeping a close eye on companies that are making use of predictive analytics. The article notes that "companies that know how to increase engagement, recommendations and all the rest of the tactics predictive analytics unlocks will be better positioned to turn in strong profits." Gartner also predicts that advanced analytics, including predictive modeling, will be among the fastest-growing segments of the overall analytics market, likely to attract 40% of net new investment in BI and analytics by 2020. Businesses looking to stay ahead of this trend should "avoid shooting in the dark to isolate patterns from randomness," as VP of advanced analytics for Kaplan puts it. He provides insight into the three major considerations that will save organizations a lot of time and resources as they embark on their predictive analytics projects.

Submission + - Justice Department resumes program to steal property of citizens

schwit1 writes: The Obama Justice Department has resumed its partnership with state police departments to seize the property of citizens for profit.

Asset forfeiture is a contentious practice that lets police seize and keep cash and property from people who are never convicted of wrongdoing — and in many cases, never charged. Studies have found that use of the practice has exploded in recent years, prompting concern that, in some cases, police are motivated more by profit and less by justice.

The Justice Department's Equitable Sharing Program allowed state and local authorities to pursue asset forfeiture under federal, rather than state law, particularly in instances where local law enforcement officers have a relationship with federal authorities as part of a joint task force. Federal forfeiture policies are more permissive than many state policies, allowing police to keep up to 80 percent of assets they seize.

Participation by the Justice Department had been suspended in December, but not because the Obama administration didn't like the program, it turns out. Instead, the suspension allowed them to keep the money themselves that local police had seized under federal law. This however discouraged local police from pursuing more confiscations, so they have resumed the program.

The graph at the link is incredible. Do you know that citizens now lose more property to the government under this program than they do from ordinary burglaries?

Submission + - A possible impact on Jupiter?

schwit1 writes: On March 17 two different amateur astronomers have taken videos of a bright flash on Jupiter which suggests something had crashed into the gas giant.

March 17th's impact, if the evidence for it holds up, becomes the fourth such event in the past decade. The largest of these occurred July 19, 2009, and it left a distinctly dark "powder burn" in Jupiter's upper atmosphere first spotted by Australian astro-imager Anthony Wesley. That was followed by three lesser strikes on June 3, 2010 (recorded independently by Wesley and Christopher Go); on August 10, 2010 (independently seen by Masayuki Tachikawa and Kazuo Aoki); and on September 10, 2012 (seen visually by Dan Petersen and independently recorded by George Hall).

Counting the historic multiple-hit crash of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 in July 1994, that's a grand total of six impacts on Jupiter in the past 22 years.

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