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Submission + - FBI May Be Hiding Facial Recognition Databases From GAO

blottsie writes: A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released this week revealed that the FBI is using images culled from driver’s licenses, as well as passport and visa applications, in its criminal facial recognition database, something civil liberties advocates find highly problematic.

Perhaps more worrisome, however, is that the GAO report only reveals what the FBI told GAO investigators—meaning the bureau may have far more facial recognition databases that it's hiding.

So how many libraries does the FBI have? “Oh, who knows,” FBI CJIS privacy attorney Roxane Panarella said, followed by some laughter. “There might be hundreds, or thousands, but there will only be some that are valuable to the FBI and some that are going to be legally allowed to be searched by us.”

Submission + - Philadelphia Union Accused of Using Drones to Intimidate Enemies (heatst.com)

schwit1 writes: Hotel developer Mihir Wankawala clicked on the link a friend had sent him and watched in shock: Drone-shot video shows dozens of union protestors, the view rising to peer in the windows of the historic hotel property Wankawala was carefully refurbishing. The whole video, which the unions posted to YouTube, is ominously set to Rockwell’s “Somebody’s Watching Me.”

“I guess they were trying to show their power,” says Wankawala, who says he sought bids from union and non-union contractors and discovered that using solely organized labor would increase his costs by around 30 percent. “I’m the new kid on the block. This is my first project [in Philadelphia]. I think they were trying to send a message that you have to use union labor to get your project done.”

Such scare tactics are nothing new; for decades, Philadelphia’s construction unions have used violence, vandalism, harassment and intimidation to dominate the construction industry.

Submission + - Google Open Sources Nest 'Thread' IoT Networking Platform

Mickeycaskill writes: Google has made a play for smart home domination by open sourcing the 'Thread' software used by its Nest smart home division for the Internet of Things (IoT).

Thread is a networking protocol used for devices such as the Nest thermostat and is now available for anyone to build into their own smart home products. OpenThread, as the new software is called, is available to download from Github for free.

Any products will still need to be certified by the Thread Group and manufacturers will need to sign up as members to download the software.

“Thread makes it possible for devices to simply, securely, and reliably connect to each other and to the cloud,” said Greg Hu, head of Nest platform and Works with Nest.

"OpenThread will significantly accelerate the deployment of Thread in these devices, establishing Thread as one of the key networking technology standards for connected products in the home.”

Submission + - Hacktivist Dumps Controversial Data Belonging to America's Biggest Police Union (softpedia.com)

An anonymous reader writes: An unknown hacker breached the computer systems of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), the US' biggest police union, and dumped 2.5 GB of data online. The data was released via the Cthulhu website, and the site's owner, acting as an intermediary, says he still has around 18 TB of info he didn't release because it was too sensitive. FOP is one of America's biggest unions, with over 330,000 members.

Submission + - How the University of Hawaii's Aloha Cabled Observatory uses NetCrunch network m (adremsoft.com)

AdRem Software writes: The Aloha Cabled Observatory is a research project of the University of Hawaii School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) using a re-tasked undersea telecommunications cable (HAW-4) for undersea observational science. The array of hydrophones, cameras, and sensors for measuring pressure, temperature, salinity and currents are just the starting point, since this undersea observatory has the ability to host additional experimental science platforms providing both power and communications.

They use NetCrunch network monitoring to maintain their equipment both on land and at sea

Submission + - ISP To Court: BitTorrent Usage Doesn't Equal Piracy (torrentfreak.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The music industry has long argued that evidence of BitTorrent is evidence of piracy, and ISPs have generally gone along with them. But now, ISP Cox Communications is pushing back against that claim. They have been sued by publishers for failing to halt service for users alleged to have pirated music. Not only has Cox argued that the piracy evidence is invalid, they're also contesting the idea that BitTorrent is only used for piracy (PDF). "Instead of generalizing BitTorrent traffic as copyright infringement, the music companies should offer direct proof that Cox subscribers pirated their work. Any other allegations are inappropriate and misleading according to Cox." The company says, "the Court should preclude Plaintiffs from relying on mere innuendo that BitTorrent inherently allows individuals to infringe Plaintiffs’ copyrights."

Submission + - The best telescope of all is gravity

StartsWithABang writes: Want a recipe for seeing as far into the distant Universe as you can? Because of how distance and brightness are inversely related, you need to make the most of every photon, build as large a telescope as possible and observe for long periods of time in order to collect the most light. But there's an extra bit of magnification that Einstein's General Relativity gives to us for free: gravitational lensing, where any large mass magnifies the light from the objects directly behind it. Thanks to this technique, we've discovered the most distant galaxies ever.

Submission + - U.S. Restarts Hunt For Gravitional Waves With Advanced LIGO (ieee.org)

schwit1 writes: The hunt for gravitational waves began again for the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO)-the largest instrument of its kind. The restart follows a five-year-long, US $200-million project to overhaul the experiment's detectors.

Many physicists believe the revamped experiment, dubbed Advanced LIGO, will be the first to find direct evidence of gravitational waves: ripples in the fabric of space-time that can be created by, among other things, a pair of neutron stars or black holes orbiting each other. Gravitational waves were first theorized in 1916 by Albert Einstein as a consequence of his general theory of relativity, which celebrates its centennial this year.

Submission + - Dealing with an old Gameport/PS2 flight joystick on Windows 7

blogologue writes: A while ago I found an F15E Falon joystick (here: https://instagram.com/p/5j5xwJ... ) at a flea market, which uses a Gameport and PS2 interface to send over events to the machine. I got a Gameport->USB adapter going and the motherboard has PS/2, but after quite a bit of googling, no easy way of getting it going in Battlefield (to fly the jet like here https://www.youtube.com/watch?... ). Long term it would be nice to hack a Raspberry Pi that can be plugged into the PC via USB, but for now an easy-going software solution would be OK. Any suggestions?
Electronic Frontier Foundation

Submission + - DMCA exemption ends on Jan 26th. Unlocking a cellphone becomes illegal (mashable.com)

Acapulco writes: Apparently an exemption to the DMCA, determined by the Librarian of Congress will expire this Saturday, January 26th, which will make unlocking phones illegal (although not jailbreaking).

From the article:

"The new rule against unlocking phones won't be a problem for everybody, though. For example, Verizon's iPhone 5 comes out of the box already unlocked, and AT&T will unlock a phone once it is out of contract."

And:

"Advocacy group the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) questions whether the DMCA has the right to determine who can unlock a phone. In an email to TechNewsDaily, EFF attorney Mitch Stoltz said, "Arguably, locking phone users into one carrier is not at all what the DMCA was meant to do. It's up to the courts to decide." "

Also:

"Christopher S. Reed from the U.S. Copyright Office noted in an email to TechNewsDaily that "only a consumer, who is also the owner of the copy of software on the handset under the law, may unlock the handset." "

Security

Submission + - 35% Of Americans Would Wear "Electric Shock Bracelet" in Order to Fly (infowars.com) 1

dryriver writes: Infowars.com reports: 'A survey commissioned by Infowars and conducted by Harris Interactive has found that 35% of American adults would be willing to wear an electric shock bracelet in order to fly, another startling example of how many Americans are willing to give up their rights in the name of safety. The idea of mandating travelers to wear an electric shock bracelet sounds like something out of a dystopian sci-fi movie, but the proposal was seriously considered and very nearly implemented by the Department of Homeland Security back in 2008. As the linked Youtube video highlights, not only would the bracelets have been used to deliver incapacitating electric shocks to suspected terrorists, they would also have contained tracking technology to spy on the wearer.
Android

Submission + - Why You Can't Build Your Own Smarthphone: Patents (itworld.com)

jfruh writes: "In the mid-00s, more and more people started learning about Android, a Linux-based smartphone OS. Open source advocates in particular thought they could be seeing the mobile equivalent of Linux — something you could download, tinker with, and sell. Today, though, the Android market is dominated by Google and the usual suspects in the handset business. The reason nobody's been able to launch an Android empire from the garage is fairly straightforward: the average smartphone is covered by over 250,000 patents."
Science

Submission + - Scientists Study "Frictional Ageing" - Standing Objects Becoming Harder to Move (bbc.com) 1

dryriver writes: The BBC reports: 'Have you ever had the impression that heavy items of furniture start to take root – that after years standing in the same place, they’re harder to slide to a new position? Do your best wine glasses, after standing many months unused in the cabinet, seem slightly stuck to the shelf? Has the fine sand in the kids’ play tray set into a lump?

If so, you’re not just imagining it. The friction between two surfaces in contact with each other does slowly increase over time. But why? A paper by two materials scientists at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, USA, suggests that the surfaces could actually be slowly chemically bonding together.

There are already several other explanations for this so-called “frictional ageing” effect. One is simply that two surfaces get squashed closer together. But a curious thing about friction is that the frictional force opposing sliding doesn’t depend on the area of the contacting surfaces. You’d expect the opposite to be the case: more contact should create more friction. But in fact two surfaces in apparent contact are mostly not touching at all, because little bumps and irregularities, called asperities, prop them apart. That’s true even for apparently smooth surfaces like glass, which are still rough at the microscopic scale. It’s only the contacts between these asperities that cause friction.'

Submission + - Best system for Core Infrastructure Documentation

reboot-qld writes: Ive been tasked with the job of coming up with a solution that would allow us to document Core Infrastructure systems. We are a company with over 300 Servers spread in 8 locations running Nix/Windows.
This would need to include Hardware / Software as well as any dependencies they have on other systems.
Having it do it automatically is not a must as we will need to do a full manual audit as well as there are systems turned off or fire walled off.
What would the Community recommend. Any help / Ideas would be most welcome.

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