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The Argument For a Hypersonic Missile Testing Ban

Slashdot -

Lasrick writes Mark Gubrud has a fascinating piece arguing for the U.S. to lead the way in calling for a ban on the testing of hypersonic missiles, a technology that the U.S. has been developing for decades. China has also started testing these weapons, which proponents optimistically claim would not be used to deliver nuclear weapons. Russia, India, and a few other countries are also joining in the fray, so a ban on testing would stop an arms race in its tracks. The article discusses the two types of hypersonic technology, and whether that technology has civilian applications.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Arizona forces statuary rape victim to pay child support

RT -

The Arizona Republic reported this week that the man, Nick Olivas, is legally a victim of rape since he was younger than 15 when he engaged in a sexual relationship a decade ago with a women who was 20 at the time.

According to the paper, Olivas only learned two years ago that his daughter existed when he was served with legal papers demanding he pay child support for the six years he wasn’t around for a daughter he never heard of.

"It was a shock," he told the paper. "I was living my life and enjoying being young. To find out you have a 6-year-old? It's unexplainable. It freaked me out."

The Republic reported that Olivas ignored the paperwork when he was first asked to pay up two years ago, and failed to take a paternity test to confirm his relationship with the daughter. The Arizona Department of Economic Security division of Child Support Services has since tracked him down, however, and now tells the paper he’s been compelled to pay around $15,000 in back child support, as well as the hospital bills for his daughter’s birth, with 10 percent interest added on top. To collect the funds, the state is now taking $380 each month from his paycheck.

Olivas told the Republic for an article published on Tuesday this week that he has no issue with making payments to help with his daughter moving forward, but doesn’t think he should be held accountable for the six years in which he was never told he was a father.

"Anything I do as an adult, I should be responsible for," he said. "But as a teenager? I don't think so."

Not only was Olivas a teen, though, but a victim of statutory rape, according to Arizona law. State legislation provides that no child under the age of 15 can consent to sex with an adult under any circumstances, and a local Fox News affiliate reported that Olivas could have pressed charges against the mother of his child, but didn’t know he could, let alone consider doing as much.

“The law is complicated, not always fair and not easily fixable -- except this time. A statutory rape victim shouldnotbe made to pay child support,” the Republic’s EJ Montini opined in an editorial published this week. “It shouldn't happen. State policy requires authorities to investigate cases where financial support is sought for a child. If a parent is found shirking responsibility the state goes after him, or her.”

Indeed, Alia Beard Rau wrote for the Republic this week that around 153,000 child support cases are currently on the books in Arizona and that, according to the state’s Department of Economic Security, parents failed to make payments in 49 percent of those during the month of May alone.

"They have to comply with us," Scott Lekan, a child support operations administrator for the department, told Rau. "We're trying to keep them off the cash assistance, and we're trying to get back some of the cash assistance money. It benefits everybody at the end of the day."

"Our biggest source of income is from income-withholding orders to employers," Lekan added.

Samsung Gear S smartwatch is kinda the first Tizen smartphone

Liliputing -

Samsung unveiled the Gear S smartwatch last week and began showing off the watch with a 2 inch screen and support for cellular networks at the IFA shows in Berlin this week. Like most of the company’s other smart wearable devices, the Gear S runs an operating system based on Tizen Linux. Samsung also plans […]

Samsung Gear S smartwatch is kinda the first Tizen smartphone is a post from: Liliputing

The Quiet Revolution of Formula E Electric Car Racing

Slashdot -

pbahra writes One of the greatest emotional triggers at any auto-racing event is the noise. In Nascar, it is the earthshaking growl of V8 American muscle. In Formula One, it is the chest-rattling wail of 15,000 rpm. To some the sound is repellent. To others it is like an opera. But what if there is no sound at all? Welcome to the quiet world of Formula E, a global racing series for electric cars, which debuts this month in Beijing.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Newly Revealed NSA Program ICREACH Extends the NSA's Reach Even Further

EFF's Deeplinks -

­Turns out, the DEA and FBI may know what medical conditions you have, whether you are having an affair, where you were last night, and more—all without any knowing that you have ever broken a law.

That’s because the DEA and FBI, as part of over 1000 analysts at 23 U.S. intelligence agencies, have the ability to peer over the NSA’s shoulder and see much of the NSA’s metadata with ICREACH. Metadata is transactional data about communications, such as numbers dialed, email addresses sent to, and duration of phone calls, and it can be incredibly revealing. ICREACH, exposed by a release of Snowden documents in The Intercept, is a system that enables sharing of metadata by “provid[ing] analysts with the ability to perform a one-stop search of information from a wide variety of separate databases.” It’s the latest in a string of documents that demonstrate how little the intelligence community distinguishes between counter-terrorism and ordinary crime—and just how close to home surveillance may really be.

The documents describe ICREACH as a “one-stop shopping tool for consolidated communications metadata analytic needs.” ICREACH brings together various databases with a single search query, allowing analysts to search literally billions of records. The tool allows sharing of “more than 30 different kinds of metadata on emails, phone calls, faxes, internet chats, and text messages, as well as location information collected from cellphones.” It is intended to include data from Five Eyes partners as well. While the program shares data obtained under Executive Order 12333, it includes data from U.S. persons.

ICREACH grew out of CRISSCROSS and PROTON, older tools that allowed the CIA, DEA, FBI, DIA, and NSA to share metadata. Metadata sharing in CRISSCROSS started with only date, time, duration, calling number, and called number. PROTON, which expanded CRISSCROSS, allowed sharing of far more information, including latitude and longitude coordinates, email headers, and travel records like flight numbers. The system had compatibility issues, and NSA never added the additional information PROTON could handle. PROTON also appears to have the capacity for sophisticated data analysis: “PROTON tools find other entities that behave in a similar manner to a specific target.”

While data sharing may seem innocuous, and perhaps even necessary, the melding of domestic law enforcement and national security agencies deserves far more attention. The blending of the war on drugs and the war on terror, and domestic and international law enforcement, and the move from targeted to mass, suspicionless surveillance, is leading to a place where everyone is a suspect and can be targeted at any time.

As The Intercept article pointed out, one serious concern is that data obtained through ICREACH could be used for parallel construction— the practice through which the DEA obscures the source of tips it receives from the NSA and then passes on to other law enforcement agencies. The DEA will “recreate” investigative trails,  and hide the source of the information from defense lawyers, judges, and prosecutors. With parallel construction, NSA data can be used in ordinary criminal investigations, without any way to challenge the collection of that data in court. This runs blatantly counter to notions of due process and the right to a fair trial, to question and confront witnesses, and have competent counsel.

The ICREACH system makes it even easier for law enforcement to use communications data collected by NSA without revealing the source. While domestic law enforcement agencies can already get some of the kinds of data in ICREACH without a warrant, they at least have to serve a subpoena or national security letter on a telecommunications provider. A subpoena requires court approval, and either type of process can be challenged in court. Instead, with ICREACH, any approved analyst at a partner agency can access the data in secret with just a few keystrokes, and with little possibility of judicial review.

That data could then be used in a variety of ways, without revealing the NSA as the original source of the information. With a traffic stop or anonymous informant as pretext, domestic law enforcement could initiate an investigation, conduct physical searches, visit targets, and more.

Even more disturbing: the cops on your block may be getting ICREACH data passed on to them. The information sharing movement goes beyond just big federal agencies. There are myriad channels through which state and local law enforcement agencies can get the information agencies like the FBI and DHS have. The FBI works directly with local law enforcement through Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTFs). Through JTTF memoranda of understanding, officers from police departments across the country work directly under the FBI’s command and agree not to talk about the work they do. Similarly, local agencies and federal agencies share intelligence information through fusion centers, where local law enforcement can access DHS and FBI databases, among others.   

The Constitution was intended to constrain the government’s investigative authority. The national security state has created a gaping hole in those protections. Although the government has argued that it has bent the rules around surveillance only in the name of national security, the lines of what is appropriate information to share between various agencies continue to get blurrier. Without some safeguards, the same surveillance architecture that targets “terrorists” can be used to target everyday lawbreakers.

The rallying cry from law enforcement is always the need to catch criminals. But constitutional constraints like no unreasonable searches and seizures and the right to the assistance of counsel exist specifically because of the societal agreement that the need to curb government abuse is worth occasionally letting a guilty person go.

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Falling short: Colorado recreational pot revenues not as high as expected

RT -

Adults in Colorado have since January 1 been able to legally purchase weed for recreational purposes, and the state initially protected that it would pull in at least $33 million in taxes during the first six months. The release of new figures this week shows that the state fell short, however, earning only a comparably meager $12 million between the first of the year and the end of June.

The latest news contrasts heavily with reports from early January when sales in Colorado far exceeded expectations and netted over $1 million on the first of the year, and around $5 million during the first week. That high demand apparently didn't last long, however, and sales have since slumped to well below what was expected.

State Rep. Dan Pabon (D-District 4) told CNN Money that “it’s too early to be worried” about the financial shortcoming just yet, but meanwhile some experts say they’ve already put their finger on why figures are only a fraction of what they had hoped for: Colorado’s legal weed rules indeed allow retailers to sell marijuana in licensed establishments, but high taxes are keeping many customers away from pot shops in lieu of the street dealers that peddle without a permit.

Only 60 percent of potential pot buyers in Colorado will go through legal channels in 2014, according to an estimate from the Marijuana Policy Group, and a Denver, CO Fox News affiliate says high taxes will likely continue to keep those customers out of retail shops, where the state collects an additional 27 cents on every dollar.

Although state-approved shops provide buyers with a legal, sanitary and safe alternative to the black market, Colorado laws allow for adults to grow up to six plants apiece for personal user — which may end up being sold on the street, albeit illegally — and marijuana sold for medicinal purposes is taxed only 2.9 percent. According to the Marijuana Policy Group, around 23 percent of marijuana users in the Rocky Mountain State carry prescription cards that allow them to make those comparable cheaper purchased.

Others, on the other hand, say the relatively lax laws in place for growers are still managing to limit how much weed can be produced, and a limited supply lends to surge in selling prices: the likes of which is also believed to be an impetus in the poor retail store sales.

“Right now we are pretty significantly under what should be produced,” Ron Kammerzell, the deputy senior director of enforcement for the state Department of Revenue, told the Post Independent over the weekend.

“What that does is raises the prices and if the price is too high, then we can’t compete with the black market, and that was our ultimate goal with Amendment 64 — we wanted to eliminate the black market,” added Kammerzell, referring to the bill that brought Colorado the first legal recreational dispensaries for non-medicinal purposes in the United States.

Earlier this year, the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division predicted that residents and visitors will use a total of 130.3 metric tons of pot during 2014, but only 77 metric tons — or around 59 percent — will come from legit sellers.

Although Colorado has the most lax weed laws in the country, selling pot without state approval remains a felony there. Washington became the second state in the US to allow recreational sales earlier this year, and the governor said in February that the state hopes to receive $107 million in revenue through marijuana taxes during the first 12 months the legislation is on the books.

Reno Selected For Tesla Motors Battery Factory

Slashdot -

First time accepted submitter Mikenan writes Tesla has finally decided that it will build its battery "gigafactory" in Nevada, sources say. "That's a go, but they are still negotiating the specifics of the contract," a source within the Nevada's governor's office told CNBC Wednesday afternoon. The source noted that it could be a week before the deal is official. Nevada is planning a press conference Thursday in Carson City.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Obama & State Dept. contradict each other on ‘Russian troops in Ukraine’ - Putin’s spokesman

RT -

A statement from the Russian president’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov came in response to Barack Obama’s address to the Baltic States’ leader. Speaking ahead of NATO summit, President Obama said that the US has no doubt that Russian troops are involved in the fighting in eastern Ukraine.

"The Russian forces that have now moved into Ukraine aren't on a 'humanitarian' or 'peacekeeping mission.' They are Russian combat forces with Russian weapons in Russian tanks. There are Russian warheads with Russian weapons and Russian tanks. Now, these are the facts. They are provable. They're not subject to dispute," Obama said at a press-conference in Tallinn.

However, this information comes into conflict with the recent statement of the US State Department, Peskov said.

“We have repeatedly said there are no Russian troops on the territory of Ukraine. While Obama says there can be no doubts about that, US Department of State officials say simultaneously with their president that the United States has no proof of Russian military presence in Ukraine. This situation underscores their reluctance to use facts,” the Russian president’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the Russian News Service radio station.

“It’s an obsession with attributing a negative role in the development of the Ukrainian crisis to Russia, and we strongly object to this,” Kremlin’s spokesman added.

On Tuesday the US State Department spokeswoman told reporters that the US does not have “anything new to confirm” that Russian military moved into Ukraine.

The only information the US has on the movement of Russian troops across the Ukrainian border was “confirmed” last week, Jen Psaki said, referring to NATO’s satellite images released as a “proof” of Russia’s military involvement in Ukraine.

Remember Iraq? Former US intel officers warn Merkel against NATO images of Ukraine

The images were ridiculed by Russia’s Defense Ministry, while an alliance of seven former US intelligence officers - the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) – said the evidence produced by NATO from the Ukrainian-Russian border was on a par with the “same dubious, politically ‘fixed’ kind used 12 years ago to ‘justify’ the US-led attack on Iraq.”

‘Many of our comrades can’t look quietly’

On Wednesday, Russian veterans have called to end speculations around those Russian men who voluntarily joined east-Ukrainian rebels in the fight against Kiev.

“These are not adventurers, not criminals, not mercenaries, these are Russian people, who have it already laid down in their genes: to help our friendly nations in a difficult situation. We understand that this internal conflict or civil war in Ukraine is not Russia’s business. But this way Russia [through volunteers] has a right to help,” said Colonel-General Valery Vostrotin, the chairman of the Council of the Moscow Department “Battle Brotherhood”.

Several veterans’ organizations have issued a statement in which they explained what makes them, retired military servicemen, take arms again.

“Many of our comrades can’t look quietly [at what is happening in Ukraine] and take part in this conflict,” Igor Shevchuk, a veteran of Alpha special forces, said.

A retired Russian officer Vladimir Melnik is one of those men. He is now undergoing treatment in Moscow after being injured in leg in Ukraine.

He does not call himself a hero. For him, born and raised in the Donetsk region, when it still was part of the USSR, supporting rebels in his native land is a duty. His relatives and friends still leave there. Melnik says he could not leave them in trouble.

“If somebody intrudes into you house, starts killing your brothers, your sisters, raping your women, killing your children and rob elders how would you react to this? I understand that this is, primarily, a spiritual struggle; looking at what is happening in the world today, I would not like to stand and watch as our Orthodox people are being killed in their own home,” he says.

Melkin says there are many volunteers - former military personnel like him - fighting along with self-defense forces in the south-east of Ukraine.

“There are many of us and more people were ready to come. For now, Thank God, we are coping [with the situation] with the tools we have,” Melnik says.

When asked if he was paid or offered anything for coming to Ukraine, he says: “If I came to my father and said: Dad, I’m here to protect you from fascists for money, he would not understand me, neither would others. I wouldn’t have any respect to myself as well.”

Melnik says it was tough for eastern Ukrainian men “to leave their mines” and take arms, but now, thanks to the experience which people with military background shared, they “understand more.”

Asked about military equipment, Melnik confesses that everything rebels have is old, “from the Soviet time”, but this is enough to hold the fort.

“It is not difficult to find arms in Ukraine,” he says. “There are many ammunition depots left after the Soviet Union. It is old, from Soviet times. Yes, guys had to repair some of it or replace some of the details, but it works.”

Host a Screening and Discussion About The Internet’s Own Boy

EFF's Deeplinks -

If you’ve haven’t had a chance to see the incredible documentary The Internet’s Own Boy, then go do that as soon as possible. It’s wonderful. And if you have seen it, encourage your friends to watch it too.  

One of the best things you can do after seeing the film is organize a screening for your community. To help, we made some tips on how to host a successful viewing party and put together some questions to help guide a thoughtful discussion after the film.

You can download and print the discussion questions below to take with you to the screening. We also have a template email sign-up sheet to help you jumpstart a local mailing list of people in your community who want to engage deeper in the movement to defend our digital rights.

Organize a Successful Screening

Organizing a viewing party for The Internet’s Own Boy boils down to finding a date and a space with the proper projection equipment and doing outreach.

Decide if you’d like to have an open discussion afterwards with everyone, or a more organized event, such as a panel discussion featuring local activists and experts that can delve deeper into the issues discussed in the film. Some ideas for speakers include local professors, librarians, or digital rights activists in your community. Feel free to email april@eff.org if you’d like help finding good speakers in your area.

For whatever you decide, here’s a short checklist of everything you’ll want to make sure to have squared away before promoting the event:

  • Venue: Is it the proper size for the expected crowd?
  • Screening equipment:  Is there a projector, the proper cables and a sound system? If needed, are there microphones?
  • Seating: Be sure that there are enough chairs or places for people to lounge.
  • Timing: Find a date and time that will be most likely to accommodate the most people.

Next you’ll want to think about promotion. If it’s a larger, public event, consider submitting a listing to your local weekly paper and getting on their calendar. You may also want to get on the calendar for your community or college radio station. Make flyers, post them around town, and be sure to promote heavily on social media. Event pages on social media sites are often very useful.

There might also be some local mailing lists or community leaders who can share the event with their crew.

Materials for Your Screening

You’ll most likely want a number of promotional materials, like images and graphics to share online. Printing some physical flyers and posters might also be helpful. The Internet Archive has thumbnail images from the film that you can use to create flyers.

Also, don’t forget to have an email sign-up sheet. After the screening, you can use it to start a mailing list to share news and organize future digital rights events and actions.

Many may wish for some informational resources to get a better grasp of the issues discussed in the film. Here’s a list to links of one-pagers you can have on-hand and printed.

  • The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (PDF)
  • Demand Open Access to Research (PDF)
  • End the NSA’s Illegal Spying (PDF)
  • Coders’ Rights Project (PDF)

Discussion Questions

The Internet’s Own Boy raises many important questions on topics that may be new to some viewers. Whether you’re watching this in a classroom or in a community setting, these questions can help to guide a discussion after the film. We recommend reading our explanation of some of the issues raised in the film before leading a discussion.

Creative Commons:

  • Has anyone in the room used or reused a creative work without knowing the copyright?
  • What would an Internet without homemade music videos and memes made from screenshots be like? What if everyone always had to ask for permission first?
  • Does fair use of creative works really make it impossible for the creators of those works to make a living? Who actually makes money off of copyright?

Open Access and Open Government:

  • Does anyone have a story to share about trying to access resources that are supposed to be a matter of public record, like court documents?
  • How are some communities disproportionally affected by policies that close access to information?

Stopping SOPA:

  • Anyone remember the Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA) or what it was like to see a website blacked out? What lessons did the Stop SOPA campaign teach us?
  • What is the relationship between copyright and censorship?

The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA):

  • According to the government, it is illegal under the CFAA to violate a website’s terms of service. Does knowing this mean that any of us will start to read the terms of service?
  • Does knowing that there are such outdated and misused laws on the books have a chilling effect on your likelihood to share information?

Next steps

  • Does your university have an open access policy? Are you an artist who is going to start using Creative Commons?
  • What are your concerns about the future of the Internet? Are you ready to get involved in a digital campaign or contact your elected officials about your concerns?
  • If you want to get involved, but have reservations as to what to do next, what are those? What can we do to continue to raise awareness about these issues?
  • How will you keep learning about fair use and copyright, unjust computer crime laws, open access, and other digital rights issues?

Follow up!

Be sure to collect email addresses of everyone who came to the event and follow up by inviting them to join a mailing list. Check back frequently on EFF.org/fight to learn about our many campaigns and ways to get involved in the fight to protect our digital rights.





Related Issues: SOPA/PIPA: Internet Blacklist LegislationOpen AccessComputer Fraud And Abuse Act ReformStudent and Community Organizing
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Facebook down briefly worldwide

RT -

The temporary interruption of service lasted for no longer than 20 minutes on Wednesday afternoon, and the Menlo Park, California company did not immediately offer an explanation.

Facebook’s brief snafu came on the same afternoon that another major website, eBay, suffered from issues that prevented users from logging onto their personal accounts on the auction site. Previously, eBay administrators said they planned to undergo routine maintenance this week, according to the BBC.

TechCrunch reported on Wednesday this week’s outage marked the third time since May that Facebook has gone offline, and second since early August, in each instance preventing the site’s 1.23 billion monthly active users from logging on and interacting.


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