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Privacy

Submission + - US Justice Dept Defends Right To Record Police (wired.com)

Fluffeh writes: "In recent times, it seems that many Police Departments believe that recording them doing their work is an act of war with police officers destroying the tapes, phones or cameras while arresting the folks doing it, but in a surprising twist, the US Justice Department has sent letter (PDF) to attorneys for the Baltimore Police Department — who have been quite heavy handed in enforcing their "Don't record me bro!" mantra. The letter contains an awful lot of lawyer babble and lists many court cases and the like, although some sections are surprisingly clear "Policies should prohibit officers from destroying recording devices or cameras and deleting recordings or photographs under any circumstances. In addition to violating the First Amendment, police officers violate the core requirements of the Fourteenth Amendment procedural due process clause when they irrevocably deprived individuals of their recordings without first providing notice and an opportunity to object." There is a lot more and it certainly seems like a firm foothold in the right direction."
Image

Survey Shows That Fox News Makes You Less Informed Screenshot-sm 1352

A survey of American voters by World Public Opinion shows that Fox News viewers are significantly more misinformed than consumers of news from other sources. One of the most interesting questions was about President Obama's birthplace. 63 percent of Fox viewers believe Obama was not born in the US (or that it is unclear). In 2003 a similar study about the Iraq war showed that Fox viewers were once again less knowledgeable on the subject than average. Let the flame war begin!

Submission + - A Nude Awakening — TSA and privacy (oudaily.com)

DIplomatic writes: The Oklahoma Daily has a terrific, well-written editorial about the current state of airport security. Though the subject has overly-commented on, this article is well worth the read.

          The risk of a terrorist attack is so infinitesimal and its impact so relatively insignificant that it doesn’t make rational sense to accept the suspension of liberty for the sake of avoiding a statistical anomaly.
          There's no purpose in security if it debases the very life it intends to protect, yet the forced choice one has to make between privacy and travel does just that. If you want to travel, you have a choice between low-tech fondling or high-tech pornography; the choice, therefore, to relegate your fundamental rights in exchange for a plane ticket. Not only does this paradigm presume that one'(TM)s right to privacy is variable contingent on the government's discretion and only respected in places that the government doesn't care to look — but it also ignores that the fundamental right to travel has consistently been upheld by the Supreme Court.
          If we have both the right to privacy and the right to travel, then TSA's newest procedures cannot conceivably be considered legal. The TSAâ½Â's regulations blatantly compromise the former at the expense of the latter, and as time goes on we will soon forget what it meant to have those rights.

Politics

Submission + - Wikileaks Reveals US Climate Accord Manipulation (guardian.co.uk)

ScientiaPotentiaEst writes: Embassy dispatches show America used spying, threats and promises of aid to get support for Copenhagen accord. The US mounted a secret global diplomatic offensive to overwhelm opposition to the unofficial document that emerged from the ruins of the Copenhagen climate change summit in 2009.
Security

Next Step For US Body Scanners Could Be Trains, Metro Systems 890

Hugh Pickens writes "The Hill reports that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says terrorists will continue to look for US vulnerabilities, making tighter security standards necessary. '[Terrorists] are going to continue to probe the system and try to find a way through,' Napolitano said in an interview with Charlie Rose. 'I think the tighter we get on aviation, we have to also be thinking now about going on to mass transit or to trains or maritime.' Napolitano added she hoped the US could get to a place in the future where Americans would not have to be as guarded against terrorist attacks as they are and that she was actively promoting research into the psychology of how a terrorist becomes radicalized. 'The long-term [question] is, how do we get out of this having to have an ever-increasing security apparatus because of terrorists and a terrorist attack?' says Napolitano. 'I think having a better understanding of what causes someone to become a terrorist will be helpful.'"
Security

Submission + - Next Step for Body Scanners Could be Trains, Metro (thehill.com)

Hugh Pickens writes: "The Hill reports that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says terrorists will continue to look for U.S. vulnerabilities, making tighter security standards necessary. “[Terrorists] are going to continue to probe the system and try to find a way through,” Napolitano said in an interview with Charlie Rose. “I think the tighter we get on aviation, we have to also be thinking now about going on to mass transit or to trains or maritime." Napolitano added she hoped the US could get to a place in the future where Americans would not have to be as guarded against terrorist attacks as they are and that she was actively promoting research into the psychology of how a terrorist becomes radicalized. "The long-term [question] is, how do we get out of this having to have an ever-increasing security apparatus because of terrorists and a terrorist attack?" says Napolitano. "I think having a better understanding of what causes someone to become a terrorist will be helpful.""
Privacy

Submission + - Stop the Internet Blacklist (huffingtonpost.com) 1

newviewmedia.com writes: As banned books week gets underway, and President Obama admonishes oppressive regimes for their censorship of the Internet, a group of powerful Senators — Republicans and Democrats alike — have signed onto a bill that would vastly expand the government's power to censor the Internet.

The Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA) was introduced just one week ago, but it's greased and ready to move, with a hearing in front of the Judiciary Committee this Thursday. If people don't speak out, US citizens could soon find themselves joining Iranians and Chinese in being blocked from accessing broad chunks of the public Internet.

Australia

Stallman Crashes Talk, Fights 'War On Sharing' 309

schliz writes "Free software activist Richard Stallman has called for the end of the 'war on sharing' at the World Computer Congress in Brisbane, Australia. He criticized surveillance, censorship, restrictive data formats, and software-as-a-service in a keynote presentation, and asserted that digital society had to be 'free' in order to be a benefit, and not an attack. Earlier in the conference, Stallman had briefly interrupted a European Patent Office presentation with a placard that said: 'Don't get caught in software patent thickets.' He told journalists that the Patent Office was 'here to campaign in favor of software patents in Australia,' arguing that 'there's no problem that requires a solution with anything like software patents.'"
Censorship

Submission + - MPAA Asks If ACTA Can Be Used To Block Wikileaks (techdirt.com)

An anonymous reader writes: With the entertainment industry already getting laws to block certain sites, it appears they're interested in expanding that even further. The latest is that at a meeting with ACTA negotiators in Mexico, an MPAA representative apparently asked if ACTA rules could be used to force ISPs to block "dangerous sites" like Wikileaks. It makes you wonder why the MPAA wants to censor Wikileaks (and why it wants to use ACTA to do so). But, the guess is that if it can use Wikileaks as a proxy for including rules to block websites, how long will it be until other "dangerous" sites, such as Torrent search engines are included...
Censorship

Rackspace Shuts Down Quran-Burning Church's Sites 1695

theodp writes "In response to a complaint, Rackspace has shut down the websites of the Dove World Outreach Center, a small 50-member church which has received national and international criticism for a planned book burning of the Quran on the anniversary of the 9-11 attacks. The center 'violated the hate-speech provision of our acceptable-use policy,' explained Rackspace spokesman Dan Goodgame. 'This is not a constitutional issue. This is a contract issue,' said Goodgame, who added he did not know how long it had hosted the church's sites. Not quite the same thing, but would Kurt Westergaard's cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad also violate Rackspace's AUP? How about Christopher Hitchens' Slate articles? Could articles from one-time Rackspace poster child The Onion pass muster?"
Patents

Submission + - Paul Allen the Ultimate Patent Troll (cnbc.com)

pavera writes: Paul Allen's company Interval Licensing LLC has filed a massive patent lawsuit against most of the tech heavyweights and many large e-commerce retailers. The suit alleges that Apple, Google, AOL, Office Depot, Netflix and many others infringe on 3 patents granted since 2001. These patents describe the "invention" of putting things in the peripheral vision of a user and presumably cover putting anything of an "advertising" nature outside of the main "content" area of a page. Patents in question: 6,757,682, 6,788,314, 6,034,652.
Open Source

Submission + - Free software: A matter of life and death (computerworlduk.com)

ChiefMonkeyGrinder writes: Software on medical implants is not open to scrutiny by regulatory bodies. Glyn Moody writes: Software with the ability to harm as well as help us in the physical world needs to be open to scrutiny to minimise safety issues. Medical devices may be the most extreme manifestation of this, but with the move of embedded software into planes, cars and other large and not-so-large devices with potentially lethal side-effects, the need to inspect software there too becomes increasingly urgent." A new report 'Killed by Code: Software Transparency in Implantable Medical Devices' from the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) points out that, as patients grow more reliant on computerized devices, the dependability of software is a life-or-death issue. "The need to address software vulnerability is especially pressing for Implantable Medical Devices (IMDs), which are commonly used by millions of patients to treat chronic heart conditions, epilepsy, diabetes, obesity, and even depression." Will making the source code free to scrutiny address the issue of faulty devices?
Earth

BP Caught Photoshopping Disaster Response Photos 560

An anonymous reader tipped a post up on Americablog revealing that BP Photoshopped a fake photo of their crisis command center and posted it on their main site. The blogger commented, "I guess if you're doing fake crisis response, you might as well fake a photo of the crisis response center." While this story was just being picked up by the Washington Post, an Americablog reader spotted another doctored BP photo on their website, this time of a "top kill" working group. How many others?

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