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Submission + - Obama commutes the sentence of Chelsea Manning (nytimes.com)

mi writes: President Obama on Tuesday commuted all but four months of the remaining prison sentence of Chelsea Manning, a sexually-confused army intelligence analyst convicted of a 2010 leak that revealed American military and diplomatic activities across the world, disrupted his administration and brought global prominence to WikiLeaks, the recipient of those disclosures.

The original 35-year sentence was by far the longest punishment ever imposed in the United States for a leak conviction.

Submission + - NYC Spent $69M on Special Ed Software That Cost $75M in Labor Judgments (observer.com)

BradyDale writes: One in seven students in NYC schools are in special education, each of whom has lots of individualized service goals each year to help them achieve an appropriate education. That's tough to keep track of, so in 2008 NYC schools procured services to build software to help track it.
The poorly designed software has made matters worse. So far, it has earned $75M in labor arbitration settlements over time teacher's wasted wrestling with the system outside of school.
Now, the city's public advocate has sued to find out if students get the services the law entitles them to.

Submission + - Squirrel 'Threat' to Critical Infrastructure

randomErr writes: The real threat to global critical infrastructure is not enemy states or organisations but squirrels. Cris Thomas has been tracking power cuts caused by animals since 2013. His Cyber Squirrel 1 project was set up to counteract what he called the "ludicrousness of cyber-war claims by people at high levels in government and industry", he told the audience at the Shmoocon security conference in Washington. Squirrels topped the list with 879 "attacks", followed by birds with 434 attacks and then snakes at 83 attacks.

Submission + - Creepy genealogy site knows a lot about you. (washingtonpost.com)

schwit1 writes: There are many “people search” sites and data brokers out there, like Spokeo, or Intelius, that also know a lot about you. This is not news, at least for the Internet-literate. And the information on FamilyTreeNow comes largely from the public records and other legally accessible sources that those other data brokers use. What makes FamilyTreeNow stand out on the creepy scale, though, is how easy the site makes it for anyone to access that information all at once, and free.

Profiles on FamilyTreeNow include the age, birth month, family members, addresses and phone numbers for individuals in their system, if they have them. It also guesses at their “possible associates,” all on a publicly accessible, permalink-able page. It’s possible to opt out, but it’s not clear whether doing so actually removes you from their records or (more likely) simply hides your record so it’s no longer accessible to the public.

Submission + - Drone maker Lily faked video, sued for false advertising (theregister.co.uk)

Dotnaught writes: Lily Robotics says its decision on Thursday to shut down and return pre-order payments for a never-delivered drone, which came on the same day that San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón charged the company with false advertising and misleading business practices, was purely coincidental.

Submission + - Schneier: Obama Changes Rules, Allows NSA To Share Raw Data With 16 Agencies (schneier.com)

An anonymous reader writes: President Obama has changed the rules regarding raw intelligence, allowing the NSA to share raw data with the U.S.'s other 16 intelligence agencies. The new rules significantly relax longstanding limits on what the N.S.A. may do with the information gathered by its most powerful surveillance operations, which are largely unregulated by American wiretapping laws. These include collecting satellite transmissions, phone calls and emails that cross network switches abroad, and messages between people abroad that cross domestic network switches. The change means that far more officials will be searching through raw data. Essentially, the government is reducing the risk that the N.S.A. will fail to recognize that a piece of information would be valuable to another agency, but increasing the risk that officials will see private information about innocent people. Here are the new procedures. This rule change has been in the works for a while. Here are two blog posts from April discussing the then-proposed changes.

Submission + - SPAM: Lawmaker transparency

vile8 writes: It appears WRAL out of Raleigh has added a feature to their website (at least the @NCCapital section) that provides a link to show where their donations came from, their party, the number of votes they have attended, party affiliation and more. Its not the same as making them wear their sponsors on their suits... but it feels like a step in the right direction. It also reports to provide sponsored legislation by that representative. Why don't all the major sites do this?
Link to Original Source

Submission + - Scientists can now grow a beating human heart from stem cells (indy100.com)

schwit1 writes: A team of scientists from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School have used adult skin cells to regenerate functional human heart tissue.

The study, published in the journal Circulation Research , detailed that the team took adult skin cells, using a technique called messenger RNA to turn them into pluripotent stem cells, before inducing them to become two different types of cardiac cells.

Submission + - Hamas 'Honey Trap' Dupes Israeli Soldiers (securityweek.com)

wiredmikey writes: The smartphones of dozens of Israeli soldiers were hacked by Hamas militants pretending to be attractive young women online, an Israeli military official said Wednesday. Using fake profiles on Facebook with alluring photos, Hamas members contacted the soldiers via groups on the social network, luring them into long chats, the official told journalists on condition of anonymity.

Dozens of the predominantly lower-ranked soldiers were convinced enough by the honey trap to download fake applications which enabled Hamas to take control of their phones, according to the official.

Submission + - Latest Adobe Acrobat Reader Update Silently Installs Chrome Extension (bleepingcomputer.com) 1

An anonymous reader writes: The latest Adobe Acrobat Reader security update (v15.023.20053), besides delivering security updates, also secretly installs the Adobe Acrobat extension in the user's Chrome browser.

There is no mention of this "special package" on Acrobat's changelog, and surprise-surprise, the extension comes with anonymous data collection turned on by default.

Submission + - SPAM: IETF Stunning Announcement: Emergency Transition to IPv7 Is Necessary!

Lauren Weinstein writes: In answer to a question regarding the timing of this proposed transition, Seville noted that the IETF planned to follow the GOP’s healthcare leadership style. “We feel that IPv4 and IPv6 should be immediately repealed, and then we can come up with the IPv7 replacement later.” When asked if this might be disruptive to the communications of Internet users around the world, Mr. Seville chuckled “You’re catching on.”
Link to Original Source

Submission + - DHS tags election systems as critical

mikehusky writes: To the consternation of some state government officials, the Department of Homeland Security on Jan. 6 moved to make state election systems part of the critical infrastructure sectors under its protection.

The move comes in the wake of allegations of Russian hacking into political targets during the recent election period, and specific complaints of attempts to penetrate state election and voter data systems..Source

Submission + - Are Social Media's "Ads For Eyeballs" Valuations About To Be Eviscerated? (zerohedge.com)

alternative_right writes: There’s a peculiar tone emanating from the social media space. It’s a little hard to hear, but if you listen closely, it’s there none the less. That sound is the sudden gasp of realization that the most dominating reasoning and defense that encompassed the entire social media space may in fact being laid-to-waste right before their screens. That horror?

The eyeballs for ads model doesn’t work.

Submission + - VW's ID Buzz electric microbus concept looks like a 21st century Mystery Machine (ibtimes.co.uk)

drunkdrone writes: Given the emissions scandal that rocked Volkswagen in 2015, we reckon Scooby Doo and the gang would opt for something a little more environmentally-sound were they to be reinvented for the 21st Century. VW's new ID Buzz electric concept car, unveiled at the International Auto Show in Detroit on 8 January, is exactly the sort of thing we can imagine the overbearing talking dog and four meddlesome kids driving around in today.

Submission + - First working prototype for home heat battery (www.tno.nl)

dr.Flake writes: An European collaboration of scientist has developed a working prototype of a heat battery. Similar to photo-electric panels capturing electricity and storing this energy in batteries, this system captures solar heat and stores this energy via a chemical reaction in salt batteries based on hydration/dehydration of the patented mixture. This is different from molten salt batteries developed prior to this, where home owners logically were reluctant to install.

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