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Boo! The House Majority PAC Is Watching You

timothy posted 2 hours ago | from the public-records-are-public dept.

Privacy 86

An anonymous reader writes I received some interesting mail this week from the House Majority PAC. First, a "voter report card" postcard telling me my voting record was "excellent" (I'm a good citizen!), but also letting me know that they "plan to update this report card after the election to see whether you voted". OK, so one of the Democratic Party's super PACs want me to vote, but it seems to be something of an attempt at intimidation. Today, I received a letter in which they really put the pressure on. Here are some excerpts: "Who you vote for is secret. But whether or not you vote is public record. Our organization monitors turnout in your neighborhood, and we are disappointed that many of your neighbors do not always exercise their right to vote." So why contact me instead of them? Voting is a civic duty, but it isn't illegal to abstain. That's my neighbors' business, not mine. It's one way of expressing dissatisfaction, isn't it? And if there are no candidates you wish to vote for, then why should you vote for someone you don't want? But Big Brother PAC has other ideas: "We will be reviewing the Camden County [NJ] official voting records after the upcoming election to determine whether you joined your neighbors who voted in 2014. If you do not vote this year, we will be interested to hear why not." The letter is signed "Joe Fox Election day Coordinator". So what happens if I don't vote? Well, at least I got a scare this Halloween. Are PACs using similar tactics in other states?

Hungary's Plans For Internet Tax On Hold After Protests

Soulskill posted 12 hours ago | from the gigabit-off-more-than-they-could-chew dept.

The Internet 48

An anonymous reader writes: When news broke last week that the Hungarian government was planning to tax internet traffic at a rate of about 62 cents per gigabyte, people on the internet were outraged. But it went beyond that: there were protests in the streets in Hungary, and the European Union warned against the plan. Now, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has put the plans on hold, saying, "This tax in its current form cannot be introduced." It's not completely dead — Orban has planned consultations over the next year to look for other ways to tax revenue generated over the internet.

Labor Department To Destroy H-1B Records

samzenpus posted 2 days ago | from the removed-from-the-game dept.

Government 184

Presto Vivace writes H-1B records that are critical to research and take up a small amount of storage are set for deletion. "In a notice posted last week, the U.S. Department of Labor said that records used for labor certification, whether in paper or electronic, 'are temporary records and subject to destruction' after five years, under a new policy. There was no explanation for the change, and it is perplexing to researchers. The records under threat are called Labor Condition Applications (LCA), which identify the H-1B employer, worksite, the prevailing wage, and the wage paid to the worker. The cost of storage can't be an issue for the government's $80 billion IT budget: A full year's worth of LCA data is less than 1GB."

Ex-CBS Reporter Claims Government Agency Bugged Her Computer

samzenpus posted 4 days ago | from the watching-you dept.

Government 233

RoccamOccam writes A former CBS News reporter who quit the network over claims it kills stories that put President Obama in a bad light says she was spied on by a "government-related entity" that planted classified documents on her computer. In her new memoir, Sharyl Attkisson says a source who arranged to have her laptop checked for spyware in 2013 was "shocked" and "flabbergasted" at what the analysis revealed. "This is outrageous. Worse than anything Nixon ever did. I wouldn't have believed something like this could happen in the United States of America," Attkisson quotes the source saying.

Study: New Jersey e-Vote Experiment After Sandy a Disaster

samzenpus posted 5 days ago | from the vote-and-vote-often dept.

Government 77

TMB writes Al Jazeera reports on a Rutgers study about e-voting in New Jersey after Superstorm Sandy, and it is damning. It concludes that the middle of a natural disaster is the last time to try switching to a new voting method, especially one rife with such problems as e-voting. The table of contents includes such section headings as "Internet voting is not safe, should not be made legal, and should never be incorporated into emergency measures."

Days After Shooting, Canada Proposes New Restrictions On and Offline

timothy posted about a week ago | from the absolute-security dept.

Canada 307

New submitter o_ferguson writes As Slashdot reported earlier this week, a lone shooter attacked the war memorial and parliament buildings in Ottawa, Canada on Wednesday. As many comments predicted, the national government has seized this as an opportunity to roll out considerable new regressive legislation, including measures designed to* increase data access for domestic intelligence services, institute a new form of extra-judicial detention, and, perhaps most troubling, criminalize some forms of religious and political speech online. As an example of the type of speech that could, in future, be grounds for prosecution, the article mentions that the killer's website featured "a black ISIS flag and rejoiced that 'disbelievers' will be consigned to the fires of Hell for eternity." A government MP offers the scant assurance that this legislation is not "trauma tainted," as it was drafted well prior to this week's instigating incidents. Needless to say, some internet observes remain, as always, highly skeptical of the manner in which events are being portrayed. (Please note that some articles may be partially paywalled unless opened in a private/incognito browser window.)

Sale of IBM's Chip-Making Business To GlobalFoundries To Get US Security Review

timothy posted about a week ago | from the asking-permission-is-the-new-liberty dept.

Government 95

dcblogs writes IBM is an officially sanctioned trusted supplier to the U.S. Defense Dept., and the transfer of its semiconductor manufacturing to GlobalFoundries, a U.S.-based firm owned by investors in Abu Dhabi, will get U.S. scrutiny. Retired U.S. Army Brig. Gen. John Adams, who authored a report last year for an industry group about U.S. supply chain vulnerabilities and national security, said regulators will have to look closely. "I don't want cast aspersions unnecessarily on Abu Dubai — but they're not Canada," said Adams "I think that the news that we may be selling part of our supply chain for semiconductors to a foreign investor is actually bad news."

Proposed Penalty For UK Hackers Who "Damage National Security": Life

timothy posted about a week ago | from the draconian-by-example dept.

Crime 164

An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from The Guardian: Government plans that mean computer users deemed to have damaged national security, the economy or the environment will face a life sentence have been criticised by experts who warn that the new law could be used to target legitimate whistleblowers. The proposed legislation would mean that any British person deemed to have carried out an unauthorised act on a computer that resulted in damage to human welfare, the environment, the economy or national security in any country would face a possible life sentence. Last week the Joint Committee on Human Rights raised concerns about the proposals and the scope of such legislation.

Michigan Latest State To Ban Direct Tesla Sales

samzenpus posted about two weeks ago | from the not-in-my-town dept.

Government 256

An anonymous reader writes As many expected, Michigan Governor Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed a bill that bans Tesla Motors from selling cars directly to buyers online in the state. When asked what Tesla's next step will be, Diarmuid O'Connell, vice president of business development, said it was unclear if the company would file a lawsuit. "We do take at their word the representations from the governor that he supports a robust debate in the upcoming session," O'Connell said. "We've entered an era where you can buy products and services with much greater value than a car by going online."

India Successfully Launches Region-Specific Navigation Satellite

timothy posted about two weeks ago | from the gps-for-certain-values-of-g dept.

The Military 86

vasanth writes India has successfully launched IRNSS-1C, the third satellite in the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), early on October 16. This is the 27th consecutively successful mission of the PSLV(Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle). The entire constellation of seven satellites is planned to be completed by 2015. The satellite is designed to provide accurate position information service to users in the country as well as in the region extending up to 1,500 km from its boundary, which is its primary service area. In the Kargil war in 1999, the Indian military sought GPS data for the region from the U.S. The space-based navigation system maintained by the U.S. government would have provided vital information, but the U.S. denied it to India. A need for an indigenous satellite navigation system was felt earlier, but the Kargil experience made India realise its inevitability in building its own navigation system. "Geopolitical needs teach you that some countries can deny you the service in times of conflict. It's also a way of arm twisting and a country should protect itself against that," said S Ramakrishnan, director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Thiruvananthapuram.

Michigan About To Ban Tesla Sales

samzenpus posted about two weeks ago | from the not-in-my-neighborhood dept.

Transportation 294

cartechboy writes It's a story we've come to see quite often: a state trying to ban Tesla's direct sales model. It seems something sneaky just happened in Michigan where Tesla sales are about to be banned. Bill HB 5606 originally intended to offer added protection to franchised dealers and consumers from price gouging by carmakers, and was passed by the Michigan House in September without any anti-Tesla language. However, once it hit the Senate wording was changed that might imply the legality of a manufacturer-owned dealership was removed. The modified bill was passed unanimously by the Senate on October 2, and then sent back to the House that day where it passed with only a single dissenting vote. The bill was modified without any opportunity for public comment. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has less than a week to sign the bill into law. Of course, Tesla's already fighting this legislation.

Journalists Route Around White House Press Office

samzenpus posted about two weeks ago | from the indirect-route dept.

Government 111

Tailhook writes Pool reports written by White House correspondents are distributed to news organizations via the White House Press Office. Reporters have alleged that the Obama White House exploits its role as distributor to "demand changes in pool reports" and has used this power to "steer coverage in a more favorable direction." Now a group of 90 print journalists has begun privately distributing their work through Google Groups, independent of the Press Office. Their intent is to "create an independent pool-reporting system for print and online recipients."

Will New European Commission Leaders Welcome Open Source and Open Standards?

timothy posted about two weeks ago | from the who-are-you-people dept.

EU 21

First time accepted submitter jenwike writes As Neelie Kroes leaves the office of the European Commission's VP of the Digital Agenda, we need to take a look the new, incoming leadership and ask where they stand on open source software and open standards. The Public Policy Director for Red Hat, Paul Brownell, gives thoughts on the two politicians that President-Elect Junker has named to lead on ICT for the new Commission: former Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip has been named as Vice President for Digital Single Market; and incumbent European Commissioner for Energy Gunther Oettinger (a German politician and lawyer) has been named as Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society.

Pro-Democracy Websites In Hong Kong Targeted With and Serving Malware

timothy posted about three weeks ago | from the you'd-like-things-like-this-to-be-shocking dept.

China 44

An anonymous reader writes A threat campaign tracking report released by Volexity shows that a number of high profile websites related to the Hong Kong democracy movement have been infected with malware. This malware targets both the web servers themselves as well as website visitors. The sophistication and scope of the malware likely points to government involvement as has been the case in previous campaigns targeting Asian charities and government reform organizations.

Core Secrets: NSA Saboteurs In China and Germany

timothy posted about three weeks ago | from the state-vs-man dept.

China 228

Advocatus Diaboli writes with this snippet from The Intercept: The National Security Agency has had agents in China, Germany, and South Korea working on programs that use "physical subversion" to infiltrate and compromise networks and devices, according to documents obtained by The Intercept. The documents, leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, also indicate that the agency has used under cover operatives to gain access to sensitive data and systems in the global communications industry, and that these secret agents may have even dealt with American firms. The documents describe a range of clandestine field activities that are among the agency's "core secrets" when it comes to computer network attacks, details of which are apparently shared with only a small number of officials outside the NSA.

NSA To Scientists: We Won't Tell You What We've Told You; That's Classified

timothy posted about three weeks ago | from the can't-fight-in-here-this-is-the-war-room dept.

Government 106

MojoKid writes One of the downsides to the news cycle is that no matter how big or hot a story is, something else inevitably comes along. The advent of ISIS and Ebola, combined with the passing of time, have pushed national security concerns out of the limelight — until, that is, someone at the NSA helps out by reminding us that yes, the agency still exists and yes, it still has some insane policies and restrictions. Earlier this year, the Federation of American Scientists filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the NSA. The group was seeking information it thought would be relatively low-key — what authorized information had been leaked to the media over the past 12 months? The NSA's response reads as follows: "The document responsive to your request has been reviewed by this Agency as required by the FOIA and has been found to be currently and properly classified in accordance with Executive Order 13526. The document is classified because its disclosure could reasonably be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security." The NSA is insisting that it has the right to keep its lawful compliance and public disclosures secret not because the NSA is made of evil people but because the NSA has a knee-jerk preference and demand for secrecy. In a spy organization, that's understandable and admirable but it's precisely the opposite of what's needed to rebuild American's faith in the institution and its judgment.

Eric Schmidt: Anxiety Over US Spying Will "Break the Internet"

samzenpus posted about three weeks ago | from the this-is-why-we-can't-have-nice-things dept.

The Internet 179

jfruh writes Oregon Senator Ron Wyden gathered a group of tech luminaries to discuss the implications of U.S. surveillance programs, and Google Chairman Eric Schmidt didn't mince words. He said that worries over U.S. surveillance would result in servers with different sets of data for users from different countries multiplying across the world. "The simplest outcome is that we're going to end up breaking the Internet."

Darth Vader, Yoda, Chewbacca Aim To Invade Ukraine's Govt. In Upcoming Elections

samzenpus posted about a month ago | from the may-the-political-force-be-with-you dept.

Star Wars Prequels 63

An anonymous reader writes The BBC and RT report that 16 men named after the Star Wars character "Darth Vader" are running for parliamentary elections in Ukraine later this month. In addition, a Chewbacca, Palpatin, Padme Amidala and Grand Jedi Master Yoda will stand in the snap October 26 polls. All of them have been nominated for parliament by the Internet Party of Ukraine. "This is not the first time Darth Vader has stood for election in Ukraine. In April, a man going by that name tried running for presidency, but his application was rejected by the Central Electoral Commission. One official suggested that his campaign could be an attempt to make a mockery of elections in Ukraine - possibly by Russia."

How President Nixon Saved/Wrecked the American Space Program

Soulskill posted about a month ago | from the only-nixon-could-go-to-luna dept.

NASA 125

MarkWhittington writes John Callahan posted an accountof a talk given by space historian John Logsdon on the Planetary Society blog in which he described how President Richard Nixon changed space policy. The talk covered the subject of an upcoming book, After Apollo: Richard Nixon and the American Space Program. Logsdon argued that Nixon had a far more lasting effect on NASA and the American space program than did President Kennedy, most famous for starting the Apollo project that landed men on the moon.

Nixon came to office just in time to preside over the Apollo 11 lunar mission. At that time, the space program was a national priority due to the Kennedy goal of landing a man on the moon by the end of the 1960s. However by the time Neil Armstrong made that first footstep, public support for large-scale space projects had diminished. Nixon, therefore, made a number of policy decisions that redound to this very day.

JP Morgan Chase Breach: Shades of a Cyber Cold War?

Soulskill posted about a month ago | from the can't-we-all-just-get-cyberalong? dept.

Security 96

TheRealHocusLocus writes: The New York Times is quoting "people briefed on the matter" who allege that the JP Morgan data thieves "are thought to be operating from Russia and appear to have at least loose connections with officials of the Russian government." The article suggests it could be retaliation for sanctions. Personally, I'm skeptical — I've seen the former Soviet Union evolve into an amazingly diverse culture that is well represented on the Internet. This culture has grown alongside our own and runs the gamut of characters: tirelessly brilliant open source software developers, lots of regular folk, and yes — even groups affiliated with organized crime syndicates. This is no surprise, and these exist in the U.S. too. Are we ready to go full-political on this computer security issue, worrying more about who did it than how to protect against it in the future? How do you Slashdotters feel about these growing "tensions," and what can we do to help bring some reason to the table? The article also notes that the same group responsible for the breach at JP Morgan Chase was responsible for attacks on 9 other financial institutions.

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