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jayfish

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Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 7,052

Journal Archives

Snowden: NSA employees routinely pass around intercepted nude photos

Source: Ars Technica

Edward Snowden has revealed that he witnessed “numerous instances” of National Security Agency (NSA) employees passing around nude photos that were intercepted “in the course of their daily work.”
In a 17-minute interview with The Guardian filmed at a Moscow hotel and published on Thursday, the NSA whistleblower addressed numerous points, noting that he could “live with” being sent to the US prison facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He also again dismissed any notion that he was a Russian spy or agent—calling those allegations “bullshit.”

If Snowden’s allegations of sexual photo distribution are true, they would be consistent with what the NSA has already reported. In September 2013, in a letter from the NSA’s Inspector General Dr. George Ellard to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the agency outlined a handful of instances during which NSA agents admitted that they had spied on their former love interests. This even spawned a nickname within the agency, LOVEINT—a riff on HUMINT (human intelligence) or SIGINT (signals intelligence).

“You've got young enlisted guys, 18 to 22 years old,” Snowden said. “They've suddenly been thrust into a position of extraordinary responsibility where they now have access to all of your private records. In the course of their daily work they stumble across something that is completely unrelated to their work in any sort of necessary sense. For example, an intimate nude photo of someone in a sexually compromising position. But they're extremely attractive.

Read more: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2014/07/snowden-nsa-employees-routinely-pass-around-intercepted-nude-photos/



This is precisely the kind of activity that can prompt the masses to abandon their "meh" attitude.

Who wants competition? Big cable tries outlawing municipal broadband in Kansas

Source: Ars Technica

The telco-written bill starts out pleasantly enough, saying its goal is to "Ensure that video, telecommunications, and broadband services are provided through fair competition consistent with the federal telecommunications act of 1996" to "encourage the development and widespread use of technological advances in providing video, telecommunications and broadband services at competitive rates; and ensure that video, telecommunications and broadband services are each provided within a consistent, comprehensive, and nondiscriminatory federal, state, and local government framework."

But instead of promoting development in broadband networks, the bill actually limits the possibility of them being built. Here's the key passage:

Except with regard to unserved areas, a municipality may not, directly or indirectly:
(1) Offer or provide to one or more subscribers, video, telecommunications, or broadband service; or
(2) purchase, lease, construct, maintain, or operate any facility for the purpose of enabling a private business or entity to offer, provide, carry, or deliver video, telecommunications, or broadband service to one or more subscribers.
A municipality would not be able to offer broadband "through a partnership, joint venture, or other entity in which the municipality participates," the bill says. The city or town also would not be able to use its powers of eminent domain to condemn any facility "for the purpose of enabling a private business or entity to offer, provide, carry, or deliver video, telecommunications, or broadband service to one or more subscribers."

While the bill lets cities and towns offer service in "unserved areas," it defines such areas as those where at least 90 percent of households lack access to any broadband service, whether it be "fixed or mobile, or satellite broadband service" at the minimum broadband speed defined by the Federal Communications Commission, which is 4Mbps down and 1Mbps up.

Since satellite can be used pretty much anywhere at broadband speeds (but with annoying latency), it would be hard to identify any "unserved areas" as defined by this legislation. The bill does allow networks "for internal government purposes," but not for any users outside the government.

Read more: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2014/01/who-wants-competition-big-cable-tries-outlawing-municipal-broadband-in-kansas/



Billion-dollar climate denial network exposed

Source: Ars Technica

An extensive study into the financial networks that support groups denying the science behind climate change and opposing political action has found a vast, secretive web of think tanks and industry associations, bankrolled by conservative billionaires.

"I call it the climate-change counter movement," study author Robert Brulle, who published his results in the journal Climatic Change, told the Guardian. "It is not just a couple of rogue individuals doing this. This is a large-scale political effort."

His work, which is focused on the United States, shows how a network of 91 think tanks and industry groups are primarily responsible for conservative opposition to climate policy. Almost 80 percent of these groups are registered as charitable organizations for tax purposes, and collectively received more than seven billion dollars between 2003 and 2010.

Among those named as key nodes of the network were the American Enterprise Institute, which claims to have no institutional position on climate change, and the Heritage Foundation, which campaigns on a number of issues.

Read more: http://arstechnica.com/science/2013/12/billion-dollar-climate-denial-network-exposed/

E-cigarette row could block new EU tobacco rules -diplomats

Source: Reuters

Disagreement over how to regulate the booming market for electronic cigarettes is holding up a deal on strict new rules governing tobacco products in the European Union, diplomats said on Monday.

In talks aimed at finalising the legislative proposals by the end of the year, the European Parliament has pushed for a light touch approach to e-cigarettes, which it regards as a less harmful alternative to smoking.

But with a lack of clear evidence on the long-term health impact of e-cigarettes, EU governments have sought more restrictive rules, saying the amounted of nicotine contained in the cigarettes should be limited.

That could threaten the continued growth of a fast-growing market that some analysts say could eclipse the $700 billion a year regular cigarette market within 10 years.

Unless negotiators can reach a compromise in two final rounds of talks this week, the row could delay by up to two years the adoption of a wider package of tough new anti-tobacco controls.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/12/16/eu-tobacco-law-idUSL6N0JV3JB20131216

Surprise opposition derails Emanuel’s e-cigarette ban

Source: Chicago Sun Times

Aldermen from across the city questioned whether the vapors from e-cigarettes are any more dangerous to bystanders than a humidifier, a cup of tea or a pot full of boiling water used to cook pasta.

They further argued that the ban would discourage smokers from using e-cigarettes to kick the habit.

“We’re punishing a group of people for trying not to smoke. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t on one day say, ‘We’re going to tax the heck out of cigarettes,’ then the next day , ‘For those of you who can’t afford it and decide you want to smoke vapor, we’re going to decide you can’t do that, either,’” said Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th).

She added, “There is no proof that water vapor in the air does anything. If that is the case, humidifiers are gone. And boiling water is gone in restaurants.”

Downtown Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) took a puff of an e-cigarette during Monday’s meeting, then acknowledged that he recently purchased e-cigarettes to try to kick the smoking habit.

“Where this kind of crosses the line for me is where we start talking about including the device as if it is a tobacco product. Many smokers are actually using these devices or devices like them as part of their cessation program,” he said.

Read more: http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/24278866-418/emanuel-e-cigarette-regulations-getting-watered-down.html



This is a big blow (PI) to the rabbid ANTZ community. Well done Chi Town!

SWAT team throws flashbangs, raids wrong home due to open WiFi network

Source: Ars Technica

The cops brought along TV cameras, inviting a local reporter to film the glorious operation. In the resulting video, you can watch the SWAT team, decked out in black bulletproof vests and helmets and carrying window and door smashers, creep slowly up to the house. At some point, they apparently "knock" and announce their presence—though not with the goal of getting anyone to come to the door. As the local police chief admitted later to the Evansville Courier & Press, the process is really just “designed to distract." (SWAT does not need to wait for a response.)

Officers break the screen door and a window, tossing a flashbang into the house—which you can see explode in the video. A second flashbang gets tossed in for good measure a moment later. SWAT enters the house.

On the news that night, the reporter ends his piece by talking about how this is "an investigation that hits home for many of these brave officers."

But the family in the home was released without any charges as police realized their mistake. Turns out the home had an open WiFi router, and the threats had been made by someone outside the house. Whoops.

Read more: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/06/swat-team-throws-flashbangs-raids-wrong-home-due-to-open-



Our police state at work.

FBI using Carrier IQ info for "law enforcement purposes," refuses to release records

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2011/12/fbi-using-carrier-iq-info-for-law-enforcement-purposes-refuses-to-release-records.ars

An enterprising advocate for openness in government has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the FBI for all information the agency uses related to Carrier IQ, the company under fire for monitoring user activity on smartphones—and his request was flatly denied. The FBI claims data gathered by Carrier IQ software is exempt from disclosure laws because it is located in an investigative file that was "compiled for law enforcement purposes" and "could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings."

Michael Morisy, a journalist who founded an organization called MuckRock to ease the process of filing FOIA requests, wrote the FBI on Dec. 1 asking for "any manuals, documents or other written guidance used to access or analyze data gathered by programs developed or deployed by Carrier IQ.... In addition, I ask for expedited processing as this is a matter of immediate news interest: The existence of Carrier IQ's software was recently disclosed and has immediate ramifications on constitutionally protected privacy rights."



I loved all the tech "journalists" who called this innocuous and made excuses for the carriers and Carrier IQ last week. I can't wait to hear the excuses now.
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