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Government

The US Gov't Could Become the Biggest Customer for Smart Guns (computerworld.com) 555

Lucas123 writes: Smart gun developers have faced pushback from opponents who fear adoption will lead to mandates. But this week, President Obama embraced the technology, creating the biggest customer of them all for smart guns: the federal government. He instructed several departments to "review the availability of smart gun technology on a regular basis, and to explore potential ways to further its use and development to more broadly improve gun safety." Joel Moshbacher, national co-chair of a gun safety advocacy group, said the move this week is "a game changer." Smart gun developers he's spoken with need only a few million to move their prototypes to market, so $20 million would be a windfall for several developers. Donald Sebastian, senior vice president for research and development at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), said federal dollars are the only way to advance the technology because of pushback by opposition groups. For example, when Armatix, a German startup, tried to introduce a smart handgun in the U.S. two years ago, it was met with vehement protests, including threats to burn down a Maryland store that was going to sell it. A second store in California that was carrying it also pulled it from its shelves citing pressure from those opposed to the tech.
Government

Tech Credited With Reducing Nigerian Election Death Toll 58

jfruh writes: Dozens died in the runup to Nigeria's most recent election — a shocking statistic to many Westerners, but a relief in comparison to the much more serious violence that plagued earlier elections. Observers are crediting technology with making the election safer: the use of biometric IDs gave voters more confidence in the results, and social media gave people a chance to blow of anger that might've otherwise results in street brawls.
Crime

Wikipedia Entries On NYPD Violence Get Some Edits From Headquarters 135

First reported by Capital, and picked up by Reason, it seems that "Computers operating on the New York Police Department’s computer network at its 1 Police Plaza headquarters have been used to alter Wikipedia pages containing details of alleged police brutality." Computer users identified by Capital as working on the NYPD headquarters' network have edited and attempted to delete Wikipedia entries for several well-known victims of police altercations, including entries for Eric Garner, Sean Bell, and Amadou Diallo. Capital identified 85 NYPD addresses that have edited Wikipedia, although it is unclear how many users were involved, as computers on the NYPD network can operate on the department’s range of IP addresses. Besides edits to entries about specific instances of misconduct, edits from the same NYPD IP blocks were discovered in Wikipedia entries about the city's stop-and-frisk program and about NYPD misconduct more generally.
Biotech

Scientists Seek Biomarkers For Violence 294

An anonymous reader writes "A Newtown couple, both scientists, who lost their daughter in the school shooting, are wondering whether there were clues in the shooter's physiological makeup — his DNA, his blood, his brain chemistry. They are now involved in a search for biomarkers, similar to those that may indicate disease, for violence. They are raising money to help fund this research, but the effort is running into obstacles, in part, over ethical concerns. 'I'm not opposed to research on violence and biomarkers, but I'm concerned about making too big of a leap between biomarkers and violence,' said Troy Duster, a researcher at the University of California at Berkeley. There is concern that science may find biomarkers long before society can deal with its implications."
Communications

How Mobile Operators Are Caught In the Middle In the Middle East and Africa 57

First time accepted submitter singinho writes "In times of political turmoil, operators are caught in the middle, between the wishes of the regime and the communications needs of the public. Orange exec Marc Rennard explains how he is forced to risk the lives of his employees." Companies operating with the blessing of any particular regime end up in some interesting predicaments; trying to keep communications open in a place like Mali (one of the places Rennard oversees) must make for some exciting work days for the guys in the field.
Crime

Connecticut Group Wants Your Violent Videogames — To Destroy Them 449

DavidGilbert99 writes with this excerpt from IB Times: "The Sandy Hook shooting once again raised the debate about how much power violent videogames wield over teenagers. Following proclamations from the National Rifle Association and the establishment of a study by the National Academy of Sciences to investigate the psychological effects of violent games on children, a group in Connecticut is now having its say Southington, a town 30 miles from where the shooting took place, is offering gift tokens in exchange for violent videogames, as well as other violent media such as DVDs or videos. The group, called SouthingtonSOS, said in a statement: 'There is ample evidence that violent video games, along with violent media of all kinds, including TV and movies portraying story after story showing a continuous stream of violence and killing, has contributed to increasing aggressiveness, fear, anxiety and is desensitizing our children to acts of violence including bullying.'" And Yes, they plan to destroy the traded-in games. (Note: Beware the obnoxious auto-playing video ad with sound; adjust volume accordingly.)
Security

NYPD To Identify 'Deranged' Gunmen Through Internet Chatter 292

Hugh Pickens writes "Michael Wilson writes in the NY Times that top intelligence officials in the New York Police Department are looking for ways to target 'apolitical or deranged killers before they become active shooters' using techniques similar to those being used to spot terrorists' chatter online. The techniques would include 'cyber-searches of language that mass-casualty shooters have used in e-mails and Internet postings,' says Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly. 'The goal would be to identify the shooter in cyberspace, engage him there and intervene, possibly using an undercover to get close, and take him into custody or otherwise disrupt his plans.' There are also plans to send officers to Newtown and to scenes of other mass shootings to collect information says the department's chief spokesman Paul. J. Browne adding that potential tactics include creating an algorithm that would search online 'for terms used by active shooters in the past that may be an indicator of future intentions.' The NYPD's counter-terrorism division released a report last year, 'Active Shooter (PDF),' after studying 202 mass shooting incidents. 'So, we think this is another logical step,' says Kelly."
Communications

Pakistan To Cut Phone Services To Prevent Muharram Attacks 119

SternisheFan writes with this news from the Indian Express: "Pakistan's interior minister Friday said the government will suspend cell phone services in most parts of the country over the next two days to prevent attacks against Shia Muslims during a key religious commemoration. Militants often detonate bombs using cell phones and this is the first time the government has implemented such a wide-scale suspension. Saturday and Sunday are the most important days of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar, especially important to Shias. Pakistani Shias Sunday observe Ashoura, commemorating the 7th century death of Imam Hussein, the Prophet Muhammad's grandson. Different parts of the Muslim world mark Ashoura on different days —neighbouring Afghanistan, for example, observes it on Saturday. 'The suspension of cell phone services will begin at 6 am Saturday and run through the next day,' Interior Minister Rehman Malik told reporters in Pakistan's capital, Islamabad. He said 90 per cent of the bombs set off by militants in Pakistan have been detonated using cell phones. Some criticized the government for suspending services, saying it was a huge inconvenience."
Biotech

Trying to Untangle Anarchist Attacks On Scientists 333

bricko writes with an analysis at New Scientist of recent violence by self-described anarchists against scientists or scientific establishments, including the non-fatal shooting in Genoa in May of the head of a nuclear energy company. That attack "was the latest in a series of alleged anarchist attacks on scientists and engineers, including the attempted bombing of nanotechnology labs in Switzerland and Mexico. This wave of politically motivated violence has raised the question: why do anarchists hate science? Beyond the unsubtle threat of brute force, there are deeper issues that merit attention." The "hate science" line is just a line; the author is under no illusion that there is a single conspiracy, or that all who claim the "anarchist" mantle have identical (or even similar) views of science. "Despite the recent attacks and propaganda, anarchists actually have a complex relationship with science and technology. Some leading figures from anarchist history were scientists, notably Russian biologist Peter Kropotkin. Many hacktivists are anarchists who embrace technology; fiction authors sometimes look toward a future 'technotopia' based on anarchist ideals."
Democrats

Oklahoma Politician Wants To Tax Violent Video Games 312

dotarray writes "According to an Oklahoma politician, video games help cause many problems affecting the youth of today, but they can also help solve those same problems. Representative William Fourkiller, a Democrat, has proposed a 1% tax on every video game sold which has a Teen, Mature or Adults Only rating. He explains that half of the money would go towards helping to get kids playing outside, while the other half would be placed into a bullying prevention fund."
Games

The Most Violent Video Games of All Time 287

adeelarshad82 writes "Switzerland and Australia already feel that violent video games are an issue, and in June the US Supreme Court will also take matters in its own hands. Revisiting some of the most violent video games made over the last couple of decades shows exactly why this is such a huge concern." Warning: this slideshow contains imaginary violence.
Censorship

72% of US Adults Support Violent-Game Ban For Minors 478

SpuriousLogic writes with an excerpt from GameSpot: "The US Supreme Court won't start hearing arguments over California's law banning game sales to minors until November 2. However, the ruling in the court of popular opinion is already in, according to a new poll. This week, parent watchdog group Common Sense Media released the results of a survey it commissioned on children's access to violent games. Conducted by polling firm Zogby International, the survey asked 2,100 adults whether they would support a law that 'prohibits minors from purchasing ultra-violent or sexually violent video games without parental consent.' Of those surveyed, some 72 percent said they would approve such a law. Common Sense Media CEO and founder James Steyer, whose nonprofit organization is lobbying for game-restriction legislation in many states, hailed the poll's findings. 'We hope the [state] attorneys general will take a look at these poll results and that they'll side with families over protecting the profits of the video game industry.'"
Wii

Accidental Wii Suicide 1343

Paul Taylor noted a story that I would have thought to be an April Fool's Day joke a few weeks from now, which makes it only seem more tragic. A 3-year-old shot herself with a gun after mistaking it for a Wii controller.
Games

Graphic Novelist Calls For Better Game Violence 465

eldavojohn writes "Landry Walker (alternative comics creator of X-Ray Studios) has a brief opinion piece at Elder Geek asserting that all he wants for Christmas is more realistic game violence. While he acknowledges the world probably isn't ready for it, he wishes that getting shot in a video game was a bit more like getting shot in real life. From his piece: '... that's my problem with video game violence. Bullets are something we shrug off. Point blank fire with a machine gun is something that a tiny bit of flexible body armor and 20 seconds sitting on a magic invisibility inducing gargoyle can cure. Time and time again, I've heard people claim that they want to see a greater degree of realism in video games. But that's a lie. We don't want realism. We want fantasy. We want unlimited ammo and we want rapid respawns. We want to jump out of second story windows without a scratch. We want to dodge bullets and shake off mortal wounds without pause.' What say you, reader? Would this bring a new level of impossibility to video games or would there be a way to balance this out?"

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