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Submission + - Vancouver area teen sentenced to 16 months for swatting (

An anonymous reader writes: A 17-year-old from the Vancouver area in Canada has been sentenced to 16 months in youth custody and 8 months under supervision in the community after pleading guilty to 23 charges including criminal harassment, public mischief, extortion and uttering threats. The teenager was responsible for a number of swatting calls across the United States and Canada — mostly of female gamers.

Submission + - Apparent Technical Glitch Halts Trading on New York Stock Exchange (

edeefelt writes: Trading in all symbols was temporarily halted on the New York Stock Exchange floor Wednesday due to an apparent technical issue.

"NYSE/NYSE MKT has temporarily suspended trading in all symbols. Additional information will follow as soon as possible," the NYSE said in a statement on its status page.

A technical issue caused the trading halt, Reuters reported, citing a source. Trading stopped around 11:30 a.m. ET.

The Nasdaq reported no technical issues and said it continues to trade NYSE-listed stocks.

Submission + - Supreme Court rules, Obamacare stands (

Noah Haders writes: It's all over the news, SCOTUS decided the challenge to Obamacare and is letting the law stand. NYTimes says:

The question in the case, King v. Burwell, No. 14-114, was what to make of a phrase in the law that seems to say the subsidies are available only to people buying insurance on “an exchange established by the state.” Chief Justice Roberts wrote “Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them,” he added. “If at all possible, we must interpret the act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter.”

INB4 "but but but news for nerds!": yes this isn't for nerds but how come it will get hundreds of comments? must be relevant to /. duh.

Submission + - Supreme Court Upholds Key Obamacare Subsidies writes: Retuers repots that the US Supreme Court has ruled 6 — 3 in favor of the nationwide availability of tax subsidies that are crucial to the implementation of President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law, handing a major victory to the president. It marked the second time in three years that the high court ruled against a major challenge to the law brought by conservatives seeking to gut it. "Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them," wrote Chief Justice Roberts adding that nationwide availability of the credits is required to "avoid the type of calamitous result that Congress plainly meant to avoid." The ruling will come as a major relief to Obama as he seeks to ensure that his legacy legislative achievement is implemented effectively and survives political and legal attacks before he leaves office in early 2017.

Justice Antonin Scalia took the relatively rare step of reading a summary of his dissenting opinion from the bench. "We really should start calling the law SCOTUScare," said Scalia referencing the court’s earlier decision upholding the constitutionality of the law. SCOTUS is the acronym for the Supreme Court of the United States.

Feed Techdirt: New Hampshire Legislators Propose Law Banning Warrantless Use Of Tracking Devices (

New Hampshire is continuing to lead the way in privacy. After becoming the first state to ban the use of automatic license plate readers, its legislators are now attempting to rein in warrantless tracking of cellphone users. A couple of false starts (dating back to last year) resulted in no changes (and complaints from app makers that the wording might make some of their offerings illegal).

But it now appears to be moving forward again after the implementation of some changes. The heart of the bill is this paragraph:

No government entity shall place, locate, or install an electronic device on the person or property of another, or obtain location information from such an electronic device, without a warrant issued by a judge based on probable cause and on a case-by-case basis.
As points out, the spirit of the law is somewhat undermined by the letter of the law.

There are noteworthy exceptions, many of which appeared in previous iterations.

Tracking is permitted without a warrant with the informed consent of a device owner, unless the owner knowingly loaned it to a third party. You can track calls for 911 emergencies. A parent or legal guardian can provide informed consent to locate a missing child. The government can track its own property or employees in possession of that property. And alcohol ignition interlock control devices placed by court order would also be traceable without a warrant.
The other problem with the bill is a problem with all bills introduced by state legislators: it can't lock out federal intrusion, at least not in its present form. The bill states that it does not apply to "federal government agencies." So, if local law enforcement wants to engage in warrantless tracking of cellphones, all it has to do is partner up with a federal agency.

On top of that, there are the loopholes that have always been exploited. Stingray use -- one method of tracking location -- has routinely been hidden under more innocuous paperwork, like pen register orders. Obtaining cellphone records -- including location data -- is primarily done with subpoenas, considering most laws still treat these as third-party business records. While the law would force some of the latter requests to take the form of a search warrant, it doesn't make a clear distinction between real-time tracking and historical data.

What it does appear to outlaw is the warrantless, real-time tracking of GPS location, meaning tracking devices can only be deployed after obtaining a warrant. This is certainly a step forward, one perhaps partially prompted by the Supreme Court's US v. Jones decision. However, this would go against precedent in the First Circuit Court (which covers New Hampshire), which has found that warrantless GPS tracking devices may constitute a "search," but not to the extent that a lack of a warrant should automatically result in suppression of evidence. (Also somewhat aligned with the Supreme Court's reluctance to declare all GPS tracking worthy of a warrant.)

The court then held that it was reasonable for the agents to use the GPS device in Sparks case based upon reliance on clear precedent.

However, the court noted that they did not decide the issue of whether any exceptions to the warrant requirement exist for future installation use of the GPS device to monitor suspects movements. Therefore, future use of such GPS monitoring is governed under the United States v. Jones.

As such, the court of appeals affirmed the denial of the motion to suppress.
Although this case appeared before the judges after the Supreme Court's US v. Jones decision, the events of the case proceeded that finding. This may change rulings in the future, but for now, the First Circuit has not made it expressly clear that tracking devices require warrants.

As the proposed law pertains to physical tracking devices, it's much more closely aligned with the Supreme Court's decision. Left unclear is its application to Stingray devices and obtaining historical cell site location information from telcos -- both forms of "tracking" that don't involve attaching a monitoring device to a "person or property."

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Submission + - Using lasers to trigger a mouse's happy memory gives it the will to struggle on (

the_newsbeagle writes: With optogenetics, scientists can tag neurons with light-responsive proteins, and then trigger those neurons to "turn on" with the pulse of a light. In the latest application, MIT researchers used light to turn on certain neurons in male mice's hippocampi that were associated with a happy memory (coming into contact with female mice!), and then tested whether that artificially activated memory changed the mice's reactions to a stressful situation (being hung by their tails). Mice who got jolted with the happy memory struggled to get free for longer than the control mice. This tail-suspension test was developed to screen potential antidepressant drugs: If a rodent struggles longer before giving up, it's considered less depressed.

Submission + - Nichelle Nichols, Uhura from Star Trek, Hospitalized with Stroke (

fightinfilipino writes:

“Last night while at her home in L.A., Nichelle Nichols suffered from a mild stroke,” McGinnis wrote. “She is currently undergoing testing to determine how severe the stroke was. Please keep her in your thoughts.” Nichols, 82, appeared in the original “Star Trek” TV series, which ran from 1966-1969, as well as the “Star Trek” movies. She also played the role of Nana Dawson in the ABC show “Heroes,” and voiced characters in the TV series “Futurama,” “Gargoyles” and “Spider-Man.”

Submission + - US Gov Investigating Highly Sophisticated Russian Hack Of White House (

An anonymous reader writes: The FBI, US Secret Service, and US intelligence agencies are investigating a highly sophisticated hack of White House systems that support the executive office of the President. The attack leveraged the existing compromise of the US State Department network which may still be unresolved, and raises further questions about Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server for her official responsibilities. The attack on the White House is thought to have begun with a phishing email attack. The attack was routed through computers around the world, but signs point to hackers working for the Russian government. Although the systems compromised were not classified they contained data considered to be highly sensitive, including detailed information on President Obama's schedule. US officials have been surprised by the aggressiveness of Russian hackers in recent months. Two months ago Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told a Senate committee that the "Russian cyberthreat is more severe than we have previously assessed." This comes at a time when Russia is increasing flexing its military muscle by supporting separatists in Ukraine, more aggressive probes by Russian bombers and fighter jets along the borders of Baltic nations, the UK, and US, and President Putin's recent revelation that he was willing to order Russia's nuclear combat forces to alert to ensure the success of Russia's covert invasion and annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region.

Submission + - SPAM: Hackers encrypt Massachusetts Police Database and get Bitcoins to decrypt it

abhishekmdb writes: Police data base in Massachusetts hacked and encrypted by hackers with Cryptowall ransomware, get $500 in ransom money to decrypt it

This is happening again and again in United States with more and more attacks claiming police data base. In February, a police department database in Midlothian, Illinois was hacked and encrypted by hackers with Cryptowall ransomware. The hackers were subsequently paid the ransom money of $500 in Bitcoins to decrypt the database.

The same thing was repeated with Tewksbury, Massachusetts Police department database. The hackers used modus operandi similar to the Midlothian PD hack and encrypted all the police database with Cryptowall ransomware.

The infiltration left the files, including backup copies, locked up and useless.

“It basically rendered us in-operational, with respect to the software we use to run the police department,” Tewksbury Police Chief Timothy Sheehan told the Tewksbury Town Crier. “It made you feel that you lost control of everything.”

Tewksbury spent several days working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Homeland Security, Massachusetts State Police, and two digital forensics and security firms to regain access to their data without paying the ransom.

After failing to restore the files to their original form, officials decided to pay the ransom, while also beefing up their cybersecurity to thwart future hacking attempts.

Here also the police paid $500 in Bitcoins to unknown hackers decrypt the database.

The hacking and encrypting with ransomware of Police departments has been a regular feature in United States. The hackers generally use social engineering and spear phishing methods to enter into the police database and unleash the ransomware. The ransom demanded is always in Bitcoins.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Smartphone-Enabled Replicators Are 3-5 Years Away, Caltech Professor Says

merbs writes: In just a few years, we could see the mass proliferation of DIY, smartphone-enabled replicators. At least, Caltech electrical engineering professor Ali Hajimiri and his team of researchers thinks so. They’ve developed a very tiny, very powerful 3D imager that can easily fit in a mobile device, successfully tested its prowess, and published the high-res results in the journal Optics.

Submission + - Focusing on tech alone, you miss how autonomous driving will change society (

Hallie Siegel writes: The way that consumers interact with and operate cars will transform most functions in commuting, travel, communications, car ownership, and many other as-yet unknown ways. Dieter Zetsche, chairman of Daimler and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, said at this year’s CES in Las Vegas: “Anyone who focuses solely on the technology has not yet grasped how autonomous driving will change our society.” Robotics watcher Frank Tobe writes about how imagination is overtaking the ethics debate around autonomous cars.

Submission + - Verizon Subscribers Can Now Opt Out Of 'Supercookies' (

itwbennett writes: Verizon said in January that it would allow subscribers to opt out of having a unique identifier placed on their phones that critics have labelled a ‘supercookie’ because it’s almost impossible to remove, but it didn’t say when. On Tuesday, Verizon said the identifier won’t be inserted for customers who opt out of its mobile advertising program: 'Verizon Wireless has updated its systems so that we will stop inserting the UIDH after a customer opts out of the relevant mobile advertising program or activates a line that is ineligible for the advertising program,” such as as a government or business line,' Verizon said in a change to its policies Tuesday.

Submission + - UK forces Microsoft to adopt Open document standards (

Barsteward writes: Microsoft has confirmed it will start supporting the Open Documents Format (ODF) in the next update to Office 365, following a lengthy battle against the UK government. In 2014, Microsoft went against the government’s request to support ODF, claiming its own XML format was more heavily adopted. The UK government refutes the claim, stating that ODF allows users to not be boxed into one ecosystem.

Submission + - As Big As Net Neutrality? FCC Kills State-Imposed Internet Monopolies (

tedlistens writes: On Thursday, before it voted in favor of "net neutrality," the Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 to override state laws in Tennessee and North Carolina that have barred local governments and public utilities from offering broadband outside the areas where they have traditionally sold electricity. Christopher Mitchell of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance said the move was as important for internet competition as net neutrality: "Preventing big Internet Service Providers from unfairly discriminating against content online is a victory, but allowing communities to be the owners and stewards of their own broadband networks is a watershed moment that will serve as a check against the worst abuses of the cable monopoly for decades to come." The laws, like those in over a dozen other states, are often created under pressure from large private Internet providers like Comcast and Verizon, who consequently control monopolies or duopolies over high-speed internet in these places.

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