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Submission + - Berlin Spots a Spying Tent Atop the British Embassy ( 1

Daniel_Stuckey writes: According to an article published this morning, the NSA documents leaked by Edward Snowden reveal that the UK Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ)—along with the US and others—is in the habit of holding electronic “spy posts” in diplomatic buildings across the world. That information, in addition to aerial photos, has roused suspicion that GCHQ has one such post on the roof of the British embassy in Berlin, not far from Germany’s parliament building, the Reichstag. The rooftop spying post is thought to be similar to one that was run by CIA and NSA agents on the nearby US embassy rooftop, which is believed to have been shut down following tense discussions between Merkel and President Obama last week.

Submission + - Giant Mirrors Reflect Winter Sun into Norwegian Town (

jones_supa writes: Residents of the small Norwegian town of Rjukan have suffered forever of the problem of their town simply being darn dark, thanks to no sunlight reaching the area during winter. The plan to illuminate Rjukan was cooked up 100 years ago by the Norwegian industrialist Sam Eyde: let's place huge mirrors to reflect sunlight in. The renowned engineer never saw his plan become reality, but the old idea was revived in 2005 by Martin Andersen, an artist and resident of the town, who helped raise the sponsorship money (most of it has come from Norsk Hydro, the company founded by Sam Eyde). On Wednesday faint rays from the winter sun for the first time reached the town's market square, thanks to three giant mirrors placed on a mountain. Helicoptered in and installed 450m above the town square, the 5m kroner ($800k) computer-controlled mirrors, or heliostats, are more commonly used to create solar power in sun-drenched regions of the Middle East. Here, the solar energy the heliostats capture is used to power their tilting trajectory as they follow the sun's brief dash across the Norwegian winter sky.

Submission + - OpenBSD 5.4 Released

An anonymous reader writes: Te release of OpenBSD 5.4 has been announce. New and notable advancements include new or extended platforms like octeon and beagle, moving VAX to ELF format, improved hardware support including Kernel Mode Setting (KMS), overhauled inteldrm(4), experimental support for fuse(4), reworked checksum handling for network protocols, OpenSMTPD 5.3.3, OpenSSH 6.3, over 7,800 ports, and many other improvements and additions.

Submission + - Chinese appliances spying and injecting malware into Wifi (

bricko writes: Seems Russians find Chinese appliances have chips to get into Wi/Fi and inject malware......

Russian investigators claim to have found household appliances imported from China which contain hidden microchips that pump spam data and malware into wi-fi networks.

Authorities in St Petersburg allegedly discovered 20 to 30 kettles and irons with 'spy microchips that send some data to the foreign server', according to Russian media.

Submission + - Both Firefox and Chrome will EOL on XP shortly after April (

Billly Gates writes: While Windows XP is still going strong the sun is rapidly setting on this old platform fast. Firefox plans to end support for XP which means no security fixes or improvements. Chrome is being discontinued a little later as well for Windows XP. Windows XP has its die hard users refusing to upgrade as they prefer the operating system or feel there is no need to change. Many of them also have been on slashdot proudly proclaiming to still use it when not running MacOSX or Linux. The story would not be as big of a deal if it were not for the feared XPopacalypse with a major Virus/worm/trojan taking down millions of systems with no patches to ever fix them and software not being patched to protect them. Does this also mean webmasters will need to write seperate versions of CSS and javascript for older versions of Chrome and Firefox like they did with IE 6 if the user base refuses to leave Windows XP?

It is time to move on whether you are a fan of Windows XP still or not. As fellow geeks how is the best way to move these people off this old platform?

Submission + - New black hole firewalls argument, now without reliance on quantum entanglement.

ydrozd writes: Until recently, most physicists believed that an observer falling into a black hole would experience nothing unusual when crossing its event horizon. As has been previously mentioned on Slashdot, there is a strong argument, initially based on observing an entangled pair at the event horizon, that suggests that the unfortunate observer would instead be burned up by a high energy quanta (a.k.a "firewall") just before crossing black hole's event horizon. The new paper significantly improves the argument by removing reliance on quantum entanglement. The existence of black hole "firewalls" is a rare breakthrough in theoretical physics.

Submission + - Google: Our Robot Cars Are Better Drivers Than You (

An anonymous reader writes: At a robotics conference in Santa Clara, California, the head of Google's autonomous car project presented results of a study showing that the company's autonomous cars are already safer that human drivers — including trained professionals. 'We're spending less time in near-collision states,' he said. 'In addition to painting a rosy picture of his vehicles’ autonomous capabilities, Urmson showed a new dashboard display that his group has developed to help people understand what an autonomous car is doing and when they might want to take over.' This follows another (non-Google) study earlier this week that found the adoption of autonomous cars could save thousands of lives and billions of dollars each year. Urmson also pointed out that determining liability for an accident is much easier using the data collected by the autonomous cars. At one point, a test car was read-ended, and the data shows it smoothly braking to a stop before being struck. 'We don’t have to rely on eyewitnesses that can’t act be trusted as to what happened—we actually have the data. The guy around us wasn't paying enough attention. The data will set you free.'

Submission + - Cooperation with GCHQ well beyond what is legally required .. (

An anonymous reader writes: GCHQ lobbied furiously to keep secret the fact that telecoms firms had gone "well beyond" what they were legally required to do to help intelligence agencies' mass interception of communications, both in the UK and overseas.

  GCHQ feared a legal challenge under the right to privacy in the Human Rights Act if evidence of its surveillance methods became admissable in court.

  GCHQ assisted the Home Office in lining up sympathetic people to help with "press handling", including the Liberal Democrat peer and former intelligence services commissioner Lord Carlile, who this week criticised the Guardian for its coverage of mass surveillance by GCHQ and the US National Security Agency.

Submission + - NSA Monitored Calls of 35 World Leaders 1

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: The Guardian reports that the NSA monitored the phone conversations of 35 world leaders after being given the numbers by an official in another US government department and according to a classified document provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden the NSA encourages senior officials in its "customer" departments, such the White House, State and the Pentagon, to share their "Rolodexes" so the agency can add the phone numbers of leading foreign politicians to their surveillance systems. The NSA memo dated October 2006 that was obtained by the Guardian suggests that such surveillance was not isolated, as the agency routinely monitors the phone numbers of world leaders – and even asks for the assistance of other US officials to do so. However the memo acknowledges that eavesdropping on the numbers had produced "little reportable intelligence". At the daily briefing on Thursday, White House press secretary Jay Carney again refused to answer repeated questions about whether the US had spied on German Chancellor Angela Merkel's calls in the past although he previously issued a statement that said the US "is not monitoring and will not monitor" the German chancellor's communications. But that failed to quell the row, as officials in Berlin quickly pointed out that the US did not deny monitoring the phone in the past. "The [NSA] revelations have clearly caused tension in our relationships with some countries," said Carney, "and we are dealing with that through diplomatic channels."

Submission + - Germany: We Think NSA May Have Tapped Chancellor Merkel's Cell Phone ( 1

cold fjord writes: The Miami Herald reports, "The German government says Chancellor Angela Merkel has called President Barack Obama after receiving information that U.S. intelligence may have targeted her mobile phone. Merkel spokesman Steffen Seibert said Merkel made clear in Wednesday's call that "she views such practices, if the indications are confirmed ... as completely unacceptable" and called for U.S. authorities to clarify the extent of surveillance in Germany." — (Info on Germany's "PRISM" project) — Reuters reports, "President Barack Obama on Wednesday sought to assure German Chancellor Angela Merkel that the United States is not monitoring her communications after Merkel raised the issue with Obama." — This revelation follows allegations of US surveillance of the Presidents of Mexico, and France. Yesterday the LA Times noted, "French authorities are shocked — shocked — to learn that the American government is spying on French citizens. The Foreign Ministry summoned the U.S. ambassador to the Quai D'Orsay to inform him that what's going on is "unacceptable," and President Francois Hollande claimed to have issued a stern rebuke to President Obama in a phone conversation. ... it was revealed in 2010 that France conducts its own espionage activities here on U.S. soil. ... France's intelligence agencies have established an electronic surveillance system of their own that monitors their citizens' phone conversations, emails, texts and ... Twitter posts. This is the way things work in the shadowy world we've been learning about from Snowden's leaks ... "

Submission + - If you piss off the TSA, they will give your personal info to debt collectors (

Jah-Wren Ryel writes: Not one single person detained by the TSA has ever been convicted on terrorism charges. So, in what appears to be a twisted attempt to stay relevant, they are getting into the debt collection business. According to this article at the NY Times, if you are even "accused of violating security regulations" they will hand over your personal information to debt collection agencies.

Submission + - Court Rules Probable-Cause Warrant Required for GPS Trackers (

schwit1 writes: An appellate court has finally supplied an answer to an open question left dangling by the Supreme Court in 2012: Do law enforcement agencies need a probable-cause warrant to affix a GPS tracker to a target’s vehicle? The justices said the government’s statement “wags the dog rather vigorously,” noting that the primary reason for a search cannot be to generate evidence for law enforcement purposes. They also noted that “Generally speaking, a warrantless search is not rendered reasonable merely because probable cause existed that would have justified the issuance of a warrant.” The justices also rejected the government’s argument that obtaining a warrant would impede the ability of law enforcement to investigate crimes.

Submission + - Teachers Get 1 Week to Test Tech Giants' Hour of Code

theodp writes: In a move straight out of's playbook, teachers won't get to preview the final lessons they're being asked to roll out to 10 million U.S. students until a week before the Dec. 9th launch of the Hour of Code nation-wide learn-to-code initiative, according to a video explaining the project, which is backed by the nation's tech giants, including Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Google, and Amazon. The Hour of Code tutorial page showcased to the press sports Lorem Ipsum pseudo-Latin text instead of real content, promised tutorial software is still being developed by Microsoft and Google, and celebrity tutorials by Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg are still a work-in-progress. With their vast resources and deep pockets, the companies involved can still probably pull something off, but why risk disaster for such a high-stakes effort with a last-minute rush? One possible explanation is that CS Education Week, a heretofore little-recognized event, is coming up soon. Then again, tech immigration reform is back on the front burner, an initiative that's also near-and-dear to many of same players behind Hour of Code, including Microsoft Chief Counsel Brad Smith who, during the Hour of Code kickoff press conference, boasted that Microsoft's more-high-tech-visas-for-US-kids-computer-science-education deal (video) found its way into the Senate Immigration Bill, but minutes later joined his fellow panelists to dismiss a questioner's suggestion that Hour of Code might somehow be part of a larger self-serving tech industry interest.

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