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Oops: World Leaders' Personal Data Mistakenly Released By Autofill Error

Slashdot -

mpicpp writes in with this story about a mistake that saw personal details of world leaders accidentally disclosed by the Australian immigration department. "With a single key stroke, the personal information of President Obama and 30 other world leaders was mistakenly released by an official with Australia's immigration office. Passport numbers, dates of birth, and other personal information of the heads of state attending a G-20 summit in Brisbane, Australia, were inadvertently emailed to one of the organizers of January's Asian Cup football tournament, according to The Guardian. The U.K. newspaper obtained the information as a result of an Australia Freedom of Information request. Aside from President Obama, leaders whose data were released include Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Chinese President Xi Jinping and British Prime Minister David Cameron. The sender forgot to check the auto-fill function in the email 'To' field in Microsoft Outlook before hitting send, the BBC reports."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Why do web developers choose OS X instead of Linux?

LXer -

In today's open source roundup: What will it take to get web developers to choose Linux instead of OS X? Plus: DistroWatch reviews Tails 1.3, and the Linux Mint developers want to make the Cinnamon desktop load faster.

Bitcoin Consumer Fair to be Held in Atlanta

Bitcoin Magazine -


Bitcoin Consumer Fair to be Held in Atlanta
Atlanta, GA (March 19, 2015) – The Loudermilk Conference Center in Atlanta is slated to host the 2015 Bitcoin Consumer Fair on the 18th of April. The event is geared toward both consumers and merchants who are interested in expanding the use of Bitcoin in the Atlanta area, as well as those interested in working on the business and technology side of Bitcoin.

Bitcoin is a form of digital currency which employs encryption techniques to regulate generation of currency units and verify transfer of funds. Bitcoin is not associated with and operates independently from any central bank.

“You can put a bank in your pocket. That’s pretty amazing,” said Gavin Andresen, Chief Scientist of The Bitcoin Foundation.

The purpose of the fair is to bring together consumers, merchants and payment companies to interact and facilitate the use of Bitcoin as a payment mechanism.

“Our goal is to reach a new audience for bitcoin,” said event co-organizer Jason Cronk. “We want to teach as many people as possible about its benefits and answer questions for people who may have heard about Bitcoin but don’t know that much about it.”

The event is the first of its kind in Atlanta. A full list of times and activities are available at the event website: bitcoinconsumerfair.com.

April 17 will launch with a reception to welcome visitors, vendors and exhibitors to the fair. The main portion of the event will be held on the 18th where visitors will have the chance to interact with vendors and exhibitors and hear from a list of guest speakers on various topics related to current trends and future expansion of Bitcoin. Event exhibitors will run the gambit from those providing information on Bitcoin to those actually selling various consumer items for Bitcoin.

The day starts with a free hash-brown breakfast and a food truck attending Saturday at lunch will offer a variety of options for hungry attendees, for sale for Bitcoin, of course.

The event closes with a Disco Dance Party to say goodbye to, as the New York Superintendent of Financial Services Benjamin M. Lawsky once called it, “a disco-era payment system.”

Atlanta was chosen as the first location for the Bitcoin Consumer Fair because of its large diverse population and the numerous financial technology companies that are either headquartered or have a strong presence within the city, according to Cronk. “There is an under served market in the traditional banking system. We want to highlight the benefits of using Bitcoin for both consumers and merchants,” he said.


For All general inquiries: 828-475-2377
URL: http://www.bitcoinconsumerfair.com
Event Co-Coordinator, Jason Cronk: rjc@bitcoinconsumerfair.com

The post Bitcoin Consumer Fair to be Held in Atlanta appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

ShapeShift & Factom Partner for Release of Factoids

Bitcoin Magazine -

Starting tomorrow, potential users will be able to start buying Factoids, the currency that powers Factom, from Koinify. Factom is described as “a data layer for the blockchain” that will help businesses manage their data.

To gain access to that Factom network, though, requires Factoids, a digital token designed specifically for the Factom network. Starting tomorrow, these new coins will be available for sale. However, they will not be dispersed until May 15th.

This is where ShapeShift comes into play. ShapeShift allows for users to instantly convert from one cryptocurrency to the other. A user could trade their bitcoin instantly for litecoin or convert from dogecoin to Ripple. This ease of transferring from one currency to the other is the catalyst for this partnership.

“Factom will be listing ShapeShift as a recommended way for Factoid Software Sale participants that do not have bitcoin to get BTC for other digital tokens,” explained David Johnston, Chairman of the Factom Foundation. The second part of this agreement will introduce Factom onto the ShapeShift platform so that users could easily convert in and out of the currency. This part of the partnership, Johnston explained, wouldn’t happen until after May 15th when the software sale finished.

“Our team spent substantial time researching the technologies and protocols available to build scalable blockchain based applications and the conclusion we reached is that Factom had a solid approach and architecture for publishing and securing general data to the blockchain and so we decided to integrate their digital token into our platform,” said Erik Voorhees, ShapeShift CEO, in a written statement to Bitcoin Magazine.

This partnership means that any user that wants to exchange in and out of Factoids once they launch can utilize ShapeShift’s platform. This makes ShapeShift the first partner to integrate Factoid tokens. In addition, there are no fees associated with transferring between Factoid and any other currency beyond the typical exchange rate, which is based on the market rate of Factoids.

Blockchain scalability remains a topic that many in the bitcoin community debate. Even Gavin Andresen, the chief scientist at the Bitcoin Foundation, has talked extensively about the need for scalability on the blockchain. Originally, the size of one block was infinite, but due to denial-of-service attacks, Satoshi rolled the size back to one megabyte. (https://blog.bitcoinfoundation.org/a-scalability-roadmap/)

By taking any data, as Factom does,  and processing it on a layer above the blockchain to encoding it all down into one hash, the data can still be verified on the blockchain. In addition, this approach minimizes bloat on the blockchain as only data hashes are stored. This partnership will facilitate the ability for users to acquire Factoid and begin using the network.

This article has been updated to reflect the fact that ShapeShift is only the first partner to integrate the Factoid tokens and the partnership is not exclusive.

The post ShapeShift & Factom Partner for Release of Factoids appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Hand-Drawn and Inkjet Printed Circuits for the Masses (Video)

Slashdot -

We started looking at ways to make instant hand-drawn or inkjet-printed circuit boards because Timothy met an engaging young man named Yuki Nishida at SXSW. Yuki is a co-founder of AgIC, a company that makes conductive ink pens and supplies special paper you can use to write or draw circuits or, if you have the right model of Brother printer, to print them with special inkjet inks. The AgIC people are agressvively putting the 'A' in STEAM by marketing their products to artists and craftspeople. Indeed the second line on their website's home page says, 'AgIC offers handy tools to light up your own art works.' This is an excellent niche, and now that AgIC has developed a circuit eraser (due to ship this April), it may lead to all kinds of creative designs. And as is typical with this kind of company these days, AgIC has been (at least partly) crowdfunded. A little cursory Google searching will soon lead you to other companies selling into the home/prototype circuit board market, including Cartesian Co and their Argentum 3-D printer that does prototype and short-run PCBs and only costs $899 (on special at the time this was written) and Electroninks, which markets the Circuit Scribe pen and associated materials with an emphasis on education. There are others in this growing field, and a year from now there will probably be more of them, all working to replace the venerable breadboard the same way electronic calculators replaced slide rules.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Tidal offers high-def music streaming for $10 per month

Liliputing -

Tidal is an online music streaming service that launched last year in Sweden. But Jay Z acquired the company and he’s relaunching it with support of a large group of musicians today. At a launch event Tidal was described as the first artist-owned global music entertainment platform, and a group of musicians were introduced as […]

Tidal offers high-def music streaming for $10 per month is a post from: Liliputing

RT and Venezuela TeleSUR journalists unite to provide fresh perspective on news

RT -

Titled “Venezuela and Russia. At gunpoint” ("Venezuela y Rusia en la mira" in Spanish), the project will feature a series of programs about the two countries and other international news relating to them. Broadcast as a telebridge, the format of the show will enable discussions between the studios on the two continents.

Estos son los horarios del proyecto especial de RT y @teleSURtv que se estrena este lunes → http://t.co/o4Kjv1bbdL pic.twitter.com/LioliDTE5M

— RT en Español (@ActualidadRT) March 30, 2015

Hosts in both Moscow and Caracas studios will be joined live by experts from Latin America and Europe, to discuss news issues concerning both Russia and Venezuela. US sanctions and joint efforts at creating a multipolar world are expected to be some of the program’s hot topics.

READ MORE: US sanctions against Russia is economic terrorism – Morales to RT

Within our cooperation with TeleSUR we’ve united our efforts towards fighting mainstream media and their way of lopsided coverage of events in our countries,” RT’s Spanish channel head Viktoriya Vorontsova said, adding that the project will “provide a ground for alternative views on US foreign policies.”

READ MORE: Want more RT? Tune in for French and German

The two channels have previously had a broadcasting partnership, with TeleSUR having shown some of RT's programs to its audiences.

READ MORE: RT launches nationwide broadcasting in Argentina

The two channels have also exchanged videos and other news content, including correspondents' broadcasts during breaking news coverage.

RT's Spanish channel has already been widely present on TV screens across Venezuela. It joined the country's state TV network TDA last year, and has also launched its broadcasting there as part of one of the world's largest satellite service providers DIRECTV.

Here’s How to Create the Perfect Ubuntu Origami Unicorn - Video

LXer -

After announcing last week the Ubuntu Origami Unicorn contest, which can bring an awesome new BQ Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition phone to a user that folds the best looking Unicorn, today Canonical decided that it’s finally time to show the world who to make the perfect origami unicorn.

Silk Road rogues: Federal agents arrested for theft, extortion, fraud

RT -

The Department of Justice indictment charges 46-year-old former Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) special agent Carl Mark Force IV, and 32-year-old former Secret Service agent Shaun W. Bridges, with wire fraud and money laundering. Force was also charged with theft of government property and conflict of interest. The federal criminal complaint was issued on March 25 in the Northern District of California, but was sealed until Monday.

Read More: Jury finds Ross Ulbricht guilty on all counts over Silk Road website

Force and Bridges were part of the Baltimore-based federal task force charged with investigating Silk Road, the underground marketplace for illicit goods and services shut down by the FBI in 2013. The website’s creator, Ross Ulbricht, denied federal accusations that he operated the site under the name “Dread Pirate Roberts.”

Ulbricht was convicted in February 2015 on seven criminal charges, including drug trafficking, money laundering, and computer hacking. Sentencing in the case was scheduled for May 15. Ulbricht’s lawyer has reportedly requested a retrial, however, following the revelations that two of the federal investigators had engaged in criminal activities of their own.

According to the DOJ indictment, agent Force “developed additional online personas and engaged in a broad range of illegal activities calculated to bring him personal financial gain.” The government claims he “engaged in complex Bitcoin transactions to steal from the government and the targets of the investigation,” diverting funds into his personal account. Moreover, Force allegedly created two fake personas, one to try and extort $250,000 from “Dread Pirate Roberts” (Ulbricht, according to the federal indictment) and another to sell him information on the government investigation for $100,000. The latter identity was identified in the DOJ report as “French Maid.”

The Onion is now obsolete pic.twitter.com/QCAv3nuF3K

— zerohedge (@zerohedge) March 30, 2015

Bridges is charged with diverting $820,000 in Bitcoin that he acquired during the investigation into a personal account at a Japanese exchange Mt. Gox. He allegedly wired the funds into a personal investment account in the US, “mere days before he sought a $2.1 million seizure warrant for Mt. Gox’s accounts,” the DOJ document says.

Force was arrested in Baltimore on March 27. Bridges surrendered on Monday, the DOJ said in a statement, adding “The charges contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The Feds are the real criminals: Two Federal Agents in Silk Road Case Face Fraud Charges http://t.co/D3UHUrIGF9 #hypocrisy#overlords#WTF

— Erik Voorhees (@ErikVoorhees) March 30, 2015

According to the DOJ documents, Force had worked as a DEA special agent for 15 years before resigning last spring. Bridges spent six years in the Secret Service.

Read More: Silk Road trial: FBI traced $13mn in bitcoin to Ulbricht

In October 2013, when federal investigators announced the charges against Ulbricht, they called Silk Road “the most sophisticated and extensive criminal marketplace on the Internet,” and claimed that several thousand vendors used the exchange to sell a variety of illicit goods to over 100,000 customers. The site reportedly generated over $213 million in revenue, and Ulbricht was charged with taking in millions of dollars in commissions.

Federal task forces in New York, Chicago and Baltimore examining the Silk Road. Investigation by the Baltimore team, of which agents Force and Bridges were a part, resulted in charges against Ulbricht for hiring contract killers. Those charges were not part of the main trial, however, and the case is still pending.

‘45 people killed, 65 injured’: Yemen refugee camp hit by airstrike

RT -

The bombardment took place in the vicinity of the Mazraq refugee camp, Joel Millman, IMO spokesman told Reuters, citing the organization’s staff on the ground.

It was not immediately clear how many of the casualties were civilians and how many were armed personnel, he added.

Earlier, a humanitarian official told the agency that the airstrike had targeted a military installation not far from the camp.

صور الضحايا العدوان السعودي على مخيم المزرق (قانا اليمنية) pic.twitter.com/punIIcLEq2

— صادق البهكلي (@elbahkali) March 30, 2015

Yemen’s Defense Ministry, which is controlled by the Houthis, said on its website that 40 people, including women and children, were killed and another 250 people received injuries.

“Saudi warplanes targeted one of four refugee camps in the Harad district, which led to the death and injury of several of its residents,” the ministry said. “The airstrike targeted camp 1 in the Mazraq region, which houses around 4,000 refugees, leaving over 40 people dead – including women and children – and over 250 others injured.”

Yemen's exiled foreign minister, Riyadh Yaseen, has blamed the Houthis for the deaths of people at the Mazraq refugee camp.

The blast was not caused by the coalition, but by “artillery strikes,” which the rebels are responsible for, Yaseen told journalists in Saudi capital, Riyadh.

The Mazraq region, near the Saudi border, hosts a cluster of camps, in which thousands of displaced Yemenis and East African migrants reside. Around 750 families have been forced to flee to the camps from the Houthi heartland region of Saada in northern Yemen since the Saudi-led operation began.

A girl fetches household water at the al-Mazraq camp for displaced persons in northern #Yemen@UNICEF_Yemen#waterispic.twitter.com/1kQaaRN2cR

— UNICEF (@UNICEF) March 24, 2015

The air strikes also have targeted the Houthi forces advancing on the port city of Aden, the last bastion of the Saudi-backed president, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

Witnesses told Daily Sabah paper that the coalition bombarded rebel-controlled military sites near Mount Nuqum in eastern part of capital Sanaa, with the Houthis replied with anti-aircraft fire.

Meanwhile, the spokesman for the Saudi-led operation, Ahmed Asiri, said that the coalition naval forces have besieged Yemen’s ports, AP reported.

Naval forces are blocking the movement of ships to prevent weapons and fighters from entering or leaving the country, Asiri explained.

Monday saw the fifth day of Yemen being subjected to airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition, aiming to weaken the Shia Houthi militia, which took control of the country after the resignation of president Hadi in January.

READ MORE: Arab League agrees to create joint Arab military force - Egypt’s president

The rebels in Yemen are supported by Iran, but the Houthis have denied that they are receiving weapons from Tehran.

Meanwhile, Pakistan is set to join the Saudi-led coalition of several Gulf States, Sudan, Egypt and Morocco in their fight against the Yemen rebels, a senior Pakistani government official said.

“We have already pledged full support to Saudi Arabia in its operation against rebels and will join the coalition,” the official said, as cited by Reuters.

The situation in Yemen was previously very fraught, but the Saudi-led airstrikes have contributed to turning the country into “something of a humanitarian catastrophe,” Joe Stork, deputy director for Human Rights Watch's Middle East and North Africa Division, told RT.

“It’s really hard to see what good can possibly come out of this campaign. I think, frankly, this is a political question, not a human rights question, but it’s really difficult to see how the government of Hadi could possibly be restored under this circumstances,” he said.

Stork believes that there’s “little indication that there’s a Plan B” which has been developed by the coalition, and it still seems unclear what the endgame might be for the Yemen campaign.

In August 2014, Houthi rebels swept down from their stronghold in the mountains, demanding economic and political reforms.

In the following months, they seized key state installations in capital Sanaa and forced both the president and PM to resign.

After announcing their grasp of power in Yemen, the Houthis continued advancing to the south of the country, seizing cities one after the other.

Anonymous hacker group threatens Israel with ‘cyber-holocaust’

RT -

There is now just one week left until the attack, dubbed OpIsrael, that Anonymous declared in its video “message to Israel” back on March 4.

On the recording, a masked figure in a suit and tie reads a prepared statement promising to erase Israel from cyberspace for “crimes in the Palestinian territories.”

The group specifically addresses the Israeli government, saying that it has not “stopped...endless human right violations” and “illegal settlements”.

“You killed thousands of people, as in the last war against Gaza in 2014. You have shown that you do NOT respect international law,” the electronic voiceover says.

“We are coming back to punish you again,” Anonymous video vows.

The video message, delivered in English with Arabic subtitles, displays images from the Gaza conflict, including those showing the air strikes on the territory during the Israel Defence Forces Operation Protective Edge last summer.

“As we did many times, we'll take down your servers, government websites, Israeli military websites, banks, and public institutions. We’ll erase you from cyber-space as we have every year, 7 April 2015, will be an electronic holocaust,” it adds.

Anonymous addressed the youth of Palestine, urging for it to “never give up”. “We are with you, and will continue to defend you,” the group vowed.

It then continued with a “message to the foolish Benjamin Netanyahu, and all leaders in the Zionist entities” warning that cyber-attacks on Israeli devices, websites and personal data will continue “until the people of Palestine are free.”

“We always say expect us but you always fail. We are unexpected; we’ll show on 7 April 2015 what the electronic holocaust mean…” the voice says.

Anonymous slated its attack just a little over a week before Holocaust Remembrance Day, known in Israel as Yom HaShoah, which is marked on April 16.

Speaking to Newsweek magazine, Benjamin T. Decker, a senior intelligence analyst at Tel Aviv-based risk consultancy The Levantine Group, said that the Israeli government does not take Anonymous seriously. He has called the whole electronic holocaust threat “posturing” saying that over the four years that the group has carried out OpIsrael, hacking techniques have become more sophisticated, but there has been less damage caused.

“As the years have progressed we have seen that, despite their increasing sophistication in hacking techniques, we have seen less damage against Israeli cyber-infrastructures, largely due to Israel's pioneering of most cyber-warfare tactics, both offensive and defensive,” Decker told the magazine.

READ MORE: Hack Attack! Anonymous strikes at Israeli govt over Gaza

In April 2013 the hacktivist group claimed that a similar OpIsrael attack caused $3billion worth of damage to Israel, when it targeted over 100,000 websites, 40,000 Facebook pages, 5,000 Twitter accounts and 30,000 Israeli bank accounts.

The government, however, said that there were no major disruptions.

The past summer alone, Anonymous targeted Israel several times protesting Israel’s military incursion in Gaza.

In a wave of attacks against Israeli government websites it took down “hundreds” of websites portals, including those of Mossad and the IDF. Most of the attacks were repelled within a few hours.

Anonymous generally uses DDOS (distributed denial of service attacks) that overload a website with fake requests, making it unavailable for legitimate users.

READ MORE: Anonymous 'knocks out' Mossad website over Israel’s Gaza offensive

Israel has been severely criticized for its political decisions amid the 2014 war in Gaza, which claimed the lives of more than 2,140 Palestinians – most of them civilians – and over 70 Israelis, many of whom were soldiers. The conflict ended with a truce between Israel and Hamas on August 26.

Anonymous launched its first OpIsrael cyber-attacks in November 2012 during Operation Pillar of Defense, an eight day Israeli Defense Force (IDF) incursion into the Gaza strip.

Back then some 700 Israeli website suffered repeated DDOS attacks, which targeted high-profile government systems such as the Foreign Ministry, the Bank of Jerusalem, the Israeli Defense Ministry, the IDF blog, and the Israeli President’s official website.

The Israeli Finance Ministry reported an estimated 44 million unique attacks on government websites over a four day period.

Following OpIsrael, Anonymous posted the online personal data of 5,000 Israeli officials, including names, ID numbers and personal emails.

Amazon testing delivery drones in Canada after US stalls - report

RT -

Amazon has gotten permission from the Canadian government to work on its Prime Air delivery UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), which can reportedly take off from the ground and land vertically as well as fly horizontally, the Guardian reported in an exclusive look at the testing facility.

Amazon’s supposedly secret spot 2,000 feet from the US border is stocked with a “formidable team of roboticists, software engineers, aeronautics experts and pioneers in remote sensing – including a former Nasa astronaut and the designer of the wingtip of the Boeing 787,” the Guardian added.

The team has been assembled to work on various delivery drone capabilities for Amazon, including: “sensors that can detect and avoid obstacles in a drone’s path; link-loss procedures that control the aircraft should its connection with base be broken; stability in wind and turbulence; and environmental impact.” As each of these new features is achieved, a new Prime Air prototype will be developed.

READ MORE: Commercial drone regulations to be proposed by US senator

“We are going to end up with unique shapes, unique vehicles. The most important part is to develop strong confidence that our system is safe and that we can demonstrate that to customers,” said Gur Kimchi, the architect and leader of the Prime Air project.

“You can build a very different world. It can be faster, and safer, and more economic and more environmentally friendly – all of those things, all at the same time.”

Amazon said Prime Air would carry packages weighing up to 5 lbs (2.25 kg) over distances greater than 10 miles (16 km) at 50 mph in a "slice of virgin airspace,” the Guardian wrote, “above 200ft, where most buildings end, and below 500ft, where general aviation begins."

The pace of US regulators

Amazon’s moves in Canada come as US federal agencies -- especially the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) -- are currently compiling rules and protocol to safely integrate unmanned aircraft systems into American skies with the goal of proposing a structure this year.

Pursuant to the 2012 Federal Aviation Administration Modernization and Reform Act, the FAA is obliged to finally incorporate drones -- with supposed privacy protections -- into US air traffic by September 30, 2015, though it is highly unlikely that the deadline will be met. Even once proposed, the definitive version of commercial drone regulation will likely take years.

READ MORE: Drone near-misses with piloted aircraft surge in US airspace – watchdog

“Different laws and regulatory structures in other nations may allow them to act more quickly to approve certain UAS [drone] operations,” an FAA spokesman told the Guardian.

“Everything we do is safety-oriented, and we base our approvals for unmanned aircraft operations on an assessment of the risks to other aircraft and to people and property on the ground. We have been working diligently with Amazon to get the information we need.”

Last week, Amazon criticized federal regulators for the slow approval process. Days prior, the FAA said it would allow Amazon to test drone flights under certain conditions, but Amazon said that certain prototype was already out of date.

"We don't test it anymore. We've moved on to more advanced designs that we already are testing abroad," Paul Misener, Amazon.com's vice president for global public policy, said in testimony before the Senate Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety and Security.

"Nowhere outside of the United States have we been required to wait more than one or two months to begin testing,” Misener added, omitting the fact that Amazon was testing its drones just outside of America’s borders.

US drone rules

Existing FAA regulations allow Americans to fly small drones for recreational use at least 8 km (5 miles) away from any airport and at an altitude no more than 120 meters (400 feet).

Drone use is prohibited at night, and a drone operator must always keep the UAV in sight.

The FAA might soon propose a “risk-based” blanket exemption from regulations for small drones weighing less than 2.25kg (5 lbs). Neighboring Canada has already approved such an exemption for small UAVs.

Unauthorized use of private UAVs near airports and at high altitudes among manned aircraft currently remains the principal headache for civil aviation. From June to November 2014, there were at least 25 episodes when drones came close or nearly collided with manned aircraft, the Washington Post reported in late November.

READ MORE: Draft FAA drone regulations ban ‘out of sight’ use of civilian UAVs

The FAA has said about 7,500 commercial drones will be in the US skies within five years once regulations go into effect. Numerous US companies like Amazon want to begin testing out drones for commercial purposes. Already, more than 750 companies have requested exemptions from the FAA so they can circumvent the ban on UAVs, but the agency has only fulfilled 50 of them.

The agency has allowed some commercial drones to fly in American skies. In June, the FAAgranted the first commercial drone license to oil giant BP. In September, six Hollywood production companies were granted licenses to use drones while filming television shows and movies.

Meanwhile, the FAA has largely told other users, such as photographers and videographers, to cease their drone flights or face fines. Raphael Pirker was fined $10,000 by the FAA for flying his Ritewing Zephyr drone he was using to shoot a video on the University of Virginia campus in 2011. He appealed the fine, but the National Transportation Safety Board later agreed with the FAA in November 2014, stating that current federal regulations defining aircraft as “any device … used for flight in the air” applies to "any aircraft, manned or unmanned, large or small."

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 20 US states have laws that guide unmanned aerial systems (UAS) usage. Various laws address what a UAS, UAV, or drone is; how government agencies or law enforcement can use them; how the public can use them; how they can be used for hunting; and for use at official FAA test sites around the US.

Last week, it was reported that US Sen. Cory Booker is set to unveil a drone bill -- the 'Commercial UAV Modernization Act’ -- that would allow companies to operate small, unmanned drones for several reasons, including mapping crop sites and surveying construction sites. The bill, with lower standards than the FAA is currently considering, would only serve as a temporary guideline until the federal agency has more solid rules ready to go.


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