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Comment Re:It's heartbreaking that politicians don't do sh (Score 1) 482

The trick is that they're (probably) not actually violating the law in most of these cases. I'm under the impression that it's not the employer that normally hires the H1B replacement. Instead, they decide to "outsource" IT from their own employees to Wipro or Infosys or similar Indian company whose US subsidiaries are the ones bringing in all the H1B-visa employees.

Obviously a violation of the spirit of the law, but unless someone has some relatively damning evidence leaked from inside one of the outsourcing firms, there's nothing to stick a letter-of-the-law violation to.


NRA Complaint Takes Down 38,000 Websites (vice.com) 565

Sarah Jeong, reporting for Motherboard:38,000 websites hosted by the automated publishing service Surge went down today, after the National Rifle Association sent a legal notice over a parody website created by the Yes Men. A few days ago, the Yes Men released the parody video, "Share the Safety" -- announcing a supposed NRA program to deliver firearms into the hands of those too impoverished to afford guns. The opening frame of the video says "Paid for in part by the National Rifle Association of America with additional support from Smith & Wesson Holding Corporation." "Systemic poverty and dumb laws keep the urban poor unable to acquire life-saving firearms," says the video, which is available on YouTube. "That's why we at the NRA are teaming up with Smith & Wesson to share the safety.â The YouTube description includes a link to the "official" website, ShareTheSafety.org.

Spanish Authorities Raid Google Offices Over Tax (reuters.com) 135

An anonymous reader shares a Reuters report:Spanish officials raided Google's Madrid offices on Thursday in a probe related to its payment of taxes, a person familiar with the matter said, barely a month after the internet company had its headquarters in France searched on suspicion of tax evasion. A spokeswoman for Google said in a brief statement the company complied with fiscal legislation in Spain just as it did in all countries where it operated. The company was working with authorities to answer all questions, the spokeswoman added. Google is under pressure across Europe from politicians and the public upset at how multinationals exploit their presence around the world to minimize their tax bills.
The Courts

President Obama Should Pardon Edward Snowden Before Leaving Office (theverge.com) 383

An anonymous reader writes from a report via The Verge: Ever since Edward Snowden set in motion the most powerful public act of whistleblowing in U.S. history, he has been living in exile in Russia from the United States. An article in this week's New York Magazine looks at how Snowden may have a narrow window of opportunity where President Obama could pardon him before he leaves office. Presumably, once he leaves office, the chances of Snowden being pardoned by Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump are miniscule. Obama has said nothing in the past few years to suggest he's interested in pardoning Snowden. Not only would it contradict his national security policy, but it will severely alienate the intelligence community for many years to come. With that said, anyone who values a free and secure internet believes pardoning Snowden would be the right thing to do. The Verge reports: "[Snowden] faces charges under the Espionage Act, which makes no distinction between delivering classified files to journalists and delivering the same files to a foreign power. For the first 80 years of its life, it was used almost entirely to prosecute spies. The president has prosecuted more whistleblowers under the Espionage Act than all president before him combined. His Justice Department has vastly expanded the scope of the law, turning it from a weapon against the nation's enemies to one that's pointed against its own citizens. The result will be less scrutiny of the nation's most powerful agencies, and fewer forces to keep them in check. With Snowden's push for clemency, the president has a chance to complicate that legacy and begin to undo it. It's the last chance we'll have."

Russia Lawmakers Pass Spying Law That Requires Encryption Backdoors, Call Surveillance (dailydot.com) 109

A bill that was proposed recently in the Russian Duma to make cryptographic backdoors mandatory in all messaging apps, has passed. Patrick Howell O'Neill, reports for DailyDot:A massive surveillance bill is now on its way to becoming law in Russia. The "anti-terrorism" legislation includes a vast data-eavesdropping and -retention program so that telecom and internet companies have to record and store all customer communications for six months, potentially at a multitrillion-dollar cost. Additionally, all internet firms have to provide mandatory backdoor access into encrypted communications for the FSB, the Russian intelligence agency and successor to the KGB. The bill, with support from the ruling United Russia party, passed Friday in the Duma, Russia's lower legislative house, with 277 votes for, 148 against, and one abstaining. It now moves to Russia's Federal Council and the Kremlin, where it's expected to pass into law.

New York Criminalizes the Use Of Ticket-Buying Bots (engadget.com) 214

An anonymous reader writes: If you failed to get tickets for your favorite band, even though your finger was poised on the "buy" link the instant they went on sale, don't worry -- you never stood a chance. They were probably snapped up by bots that, in one case, bought 1,012 Madison Square Garden U2 tickets in less than a minute. The state of New York has declared that scalpers who use them could get fines and even jail time. "New Yorkers have been dealing with this frustrating ticket buying experience for too long," says state assembly member Marcos Crespie. Using such bots was illegal before, but only brought civil, not criminal sanctions. However, a three-year investigation by NY attorney general Eric. T. Schneiderman found that the practice was so widespread that the state had to take harsher measures. Ticketing outlets and credit card companies revealed that bots scoop up the best seats in seconds, which scalpers then resell at prices many times over face value. Scalpers who exploit such software could now face criminal, class A misdemeanor charges.

Microsoft is Working On Software For The Legal Marijuana Industry (theverge.com) 87

An anonymous reader writes from a report via The Verge: Microsoft has announced today that it will partner with Los Angeles-based startup Kind on a system for tracking the legal growing and sale of marijuana. Microsoft will work with the startup on software services for governments tracking legal weed, with Microsoft powering the software through its Azure cloud computing service. "The goal of this relationship is to leverage each company's resources to provide State, County, and Municipalities with purpose built solutions for track and trace ('seed to sale' in the cannabis industry) technology," Kind said in a statement. As reported in The New York Times, this is a pretty significant venture for a corporation publicly journeying into the controversial industry. Growing and selling marijuana is still illegal under the federal government.

Comment Re:No suprise (Score 2) 231

You don't need the presidency. It'd certainly be nice, but I don't think it's where reforms would make the most difference. It's kind of obscene the way people are led by media coverage to believe that the presidential race is the only important one.

I honestly suspect Sanders always knew his presidential campaign was a longshot. I think the only reason he's campaigning so hard is to preserve and build influence over the party platform and to keep similarly-inclined voters engaged.

Now comes the endorsing of politically-similar senator and representative candidates, fundraising, and campaigning for the more-important (but much less promoted) races for the legislature, and influencing the party platform (and maybe an influential position on one or more congressional committees). He'd be a lot less able to accomplish anything in those areas is he had been "the guy who saw he couldn't possibly win so he quit" rather than "the guy who fought hard all the way to the end, kept visibility on the issues that he'll be fighting for in the party platform, and made the establishment candidate work for the nomination in spite of the party establishment support."

If I'm right about that, there's no way he'll "Nader" the presidential election, that'd be counter-productive to what I'm assuming his real political goals are.


Amazon To Launch Streaming Music Service In Late Summer Or Early Fall: Report (reuters.com) 22

If Spotify, Pandora, Google Play Music, YouTube, and Apple Music aren't enough to meet your music demands, you will be delighted to know that Amazon is also working on a streaming music service that it intends to launch in late summer or early fall. According to Reuters, Amazon's upcoming subscription-based service will be offered at $9.99 per month, in line with major rivals. From the report: Although it will be a late entrant to the crowded streaming space, Amazon believes a comprehensive music service is important to its bid to be a one-stop shop for content and goods, the sources said. The new music offering also is intended to increase the appeal of the Amazon Echo, its home speaker, which searches the Internet and orders products from the retailer with voice commands.
The Internet

The Web's Creator Thinks We Need a New One That Governments Can't Control (thenextweb.com) 240

The web has created millions of jobs, impacted nearly every industry, connected people, and arguably made the world a better place. But the person who started it all isn't exactly pleased with the way things have turned out to be. Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who invented the World Wide Web, believes that the way it works in the present day "completely undermines the spirit of helping people create." The Next Web reports: "Edward Snowden showed we've inadvertently built the world's largest surveillance network with the web," said Brewster Kahle, who heads up Internet Archive. And he's not wrong: governments across the globe keep an eye on what their citizens are accessing online and some censor content on the Web in an effort to control what they think. To that end, Berners-Lee, Kahle and other pioneers of the modern Web are brainstorming ideas for a new kind of information network that can't be controlled by governments or powered by megacorporations like Amazon and Google.The New York Times originally reported on this and has more details. (But it is also paywalled.)

Microsoft Wants To Power Self-Driving Cars With Software, Not Build One (theverge.com) 220

An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft's Peggy Johnson said at the Converge conference (Warning: WSJ source paywalled) in Hong Kong this week that the company is not interested in manufacturing its own self-driving cars, but instead is interested in building software for cars. "We won't be building our own autonomous vehicle but we would like to enable autonomous vehicles and assisted driving as well," said Johnson, head of business development at Microsoft. "We in different ways enabled a variety of different partners and you'll see us continuing to do that." Microsoft is open to partners requesting an operating system for cars. The company has partnered with Harman to integrate Microsoft Office 365 into its infotainment systems, bringing Word, Excel, and PowerPoint to cars for the first time. "You're sitting in the car for many, many minutes a day. Can that be part of your new office, can it be your new desk, a place where you actually get work done?" asked Johnson. "We believe it can." Two years ago, Microsoft unveiled their "Windows in the car" initiative to compete against Apple's CarPlay.
The Almighty Buck

Olympic Athletes To Sport Visa's New Payment Ring In Rio (engadget.com) 129

An anonymous reader writes from a report via Engadget: Visa is introducing a new ring at the Olympic Games in Rio that will let people pay for things by waving their hand -- no phone, wallet, or battery is needed. The ring, which has yet to be named, features a secure microchip from Gemalto, and an embedded antenna. It is crafted of black or white ceramic, as metal would interfere with the antenna. There will be 20 sizes available during its trial run where it will be available exclusively for employees and partners, as well as the 45 athletes sponsored by Visa. The athletes inspired the creation of the ring, as wallets and typical wearables can be an annoyance to them when they're constantly changing uniforms. The ring is even fit for Olympic swimmers, as it is water resistant up to 50 meters. It never needs to be charged since it draws a tiny amount of power from the payment terminal and transmits far less data than Apple Pay or Android Pay. As for security, the ring can be deactivated from a smartphone, and thanks to tokenization, sensitive data is replaced by a digital identifier that can be used to process payments, so thieves won't be able to use it. There has been some controversy surrounding the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Some doctors have warned that the games could spark a "full-blow public health disaster" with the spread of the Zika virus.

Windows Zero-Day Affecting All OS Versions On Sale For $90,000 (softpedia.com) 187

An anonymous reader writes: "A hacker going by the handle BuggiCorp is selling a zero-day vulnerability affecting all Windows OS versions that can allow an attacker to elevate privileges for software processes to the highest level available in Windows, known as SYSTEM," writes Softpedia. The zero-day is up for sale on a Russian underground hacking forum, and is currently available for $90,000 -- after it was initially up for $95,000. The hacker is saying he'll sell the zero-day to one person only, who'll receive its source code and a working demo. Two videos are available, one showing the hacker exploit Windows 10 with the May 2016 security patch, and another one bypassing all EMET features. While security experts think the zero-day may be overpriced, they think the hacker will find a buyer regardless.

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