Saturday, January 24, 2015

#SilkRoad Trial Dosed With Shaky Evidence

from Federal prosecutors are making their case against Ross Ulbricht, the alleged founder of online drug and weapon marketplace Silk Road. Authorities say they have identified Ulbricht as the pseudonymous Dread Pirate Roberts, who ran the site. "Wired" senior writer Andy Greenberg and CBS News legal analyst Rikki Klieman join "CBS This Morning: Saturday" to discuss the case.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

New Police Radars Can 'See' Inside Homes

from At least 50 U.S. law enforcement agencies have secretly equipped their officers with radar devices that allow them to effectively peer through the walls of houses to see whether anyone is inside, a practice raising new concerns about the extent of government surveillance.

Those agencies, including the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service, began deploying the radar systems more than two years ago with little notice to the courts and no public disclosure of when or how they would be used. The technology raises legal and privacy issues because the U.S. Supreme Court has said officers generally cannot use high-tech sensors to tell them about the inside of a person's house without first obtaining a search warrant.

The radars work like finely tuned motion detectors, using radio waves to zero in on movements as slight as human breathing from a distance of more than 50 feet. They can detect whether anyone is inside of a house, where they are and whether they are moving.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Drone Detection Systems Provide Peace of Mind

from The scenario is in a dystopian future, where small, nearly undetectable unmanned flying machines are spying on the citizenry. These flying surveillance units hover overhead, peek into windows and have been known to carry a chemical weapons payload and can attack and kill.

According to some pundits, that future has arrived. While drone attacks rage in Yemen, Pakistan and elsewhere, domestic use of drones in the United States and elsewhere is on the rise—sharply. The names of authorized drone users released by the Federal Aviation Administration reveals not only federal agencies such as Customs and Border Patrol and the FBI, but also features numerous local police agencies and colleges gracing the authorization list. At least one tribal entity is also included.

Apparently, no one is immune from drone surveillance. None other than the chairman of the intelligence oversight committee in the US Senate, Dianne Feinstein, recently reported seeing a little drone peering through her window.

In response to a spike in generalized and regrettably realistic paranoia, some US manufacturers are now offering personal drone protection systems. Gone are the days when hiring a bruiser with a bulge in his holster would be satisfactory insurance against unwanted intrusions. As electronic surveillance techniques continue to become more sophisticated—with drones now high on the list of potential threats—the spectre of drone surveillance has resulted in new technology to shield from these.

There are options, as you may have intuited. Domestic Drone Countermeasures will fight fire with fire, or more accurately, deploys electronic detection systems to pick up transmissions from incoming drones.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

NASA Finds More Earth-like Planets Outside Solar System

from More planets that are near twins to Earth have been found outside our solar system - tantalizing worlds that could host extraterrestrial life.

Astronomers announced Tuesday that, depending on definitions, they have confirmed three or four more planets that are about the same size as Earth and are in the not-too-hot, not-too-cold “Goldilocks zone” for liquid water to be present.

These planets are likely to be rocky like Earth, not gas giants or ice worlds. They get about the same heat from their star as we get from the sun, according to the latest results from NASA’s planet-hunting Kepler telescope.

But although they may be close to Earth in size and likely temperature, they aren’t quite close enough for comfort.

Consider two of the new planets, the nearest to Earth discovered to date. If they have atmospheres similar to Earth’s — a big if — one would be a toasty 60 degrees Celsius (140 Fahrenheit) and the other would hover around minus 20 C (zero F), said study lead author Guillermo Torres, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Life conceivably could evolve and adapt to those temperatures, he said.


Monday, January 5, 2015

Our System Is So Broken, Almost No Patented Discoveries Ever Get Used

from We all know the patent system is broken. 

But most people believe that the biggest problem with it is abusive litigants who extort so-called “license fees” from small businesses unable to pay the cost of standing up to them in court. Their activities, of course, have no more in common with real patent licensing than a mob protection racket has with the sale of genuine “liability insurance.”

The unspoken reality is that the U.S. patent system faces an even bigger problem: a market so constricted by high transaction costs and legal risks that it excludes the vast majority of small and mid-sized businesses and prevents literally 95 percent of all patented discoveries from ever being put to use to create new products and services, new jobs, and new economic growth.

Even the most dramatic estimates of the social cost of abusive patent litigation range in the low tens of billions of dollars. But according to a new study by the distinguished economists Robert Litan of the Brookings Institution and Hal Singer of the Progressive Policy Institute—a study I helped to fund—liberating patent licensing from its litigation-focused costs and risks would enable tens of thousands of currently-dormant inventions to be commercialized and conservatively add up to $200 billion a year in increased output to the U.S. economy. That’s at least ten times bigger than the litigation problem, and directly impacts job creation.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

‘The Interview’ premiere canceled in wake of Sony hacker ‘9/11-style’ terror threats

from The premiere of ‘The Interview’, the comedy ridiculing the North Korean leadership, has been canceled in New York, allegedly due to a 9/11-style terror threat. But US security officials say “there is no credible intelligence” of an attack at this time.

The Sunshine Cinema in Lower East Side has made the decision to cancel the Thursday showing. 

Alarm over a possible attack was sparked by threats from the group responsible for the infamous Sony Pictures hacks. They started with releasing celebrity and executive emails and financial details, but have graduated to a 9/11-style terror threat in the event the premiere takes place. 

'The Interview' has already been blamed for its political effects when the embarrassing Sony hacks began – an angry letter from the North Korean leadership to the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called it “an act of war.”
It was first thought the data leaks were all the work of North Korea, as the timing appeared suspicious. And North Korea earlier threatened “merciless retaliation” if the film were ever released. Although North Korea praised the hack, it denied involvement. The FBI confirmed this. 

RELATED: Sony hackers leak new data as FBI says no North Korea trace 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Pirate Bay Shutdown Has Had Virtually No Effect on Digital Piracy Levels

from The Pirate Bay was deep-sixed this week in its home port of Stockholm, Sweden, after cops raided a data center hosting the world’s most famous piracy organization. But its absence appears to have put hardly a dent in global piracy activity over the last four days.

On Monday, Dec. 8, a total of 101.5 million Internet worldwide were engaged in torrent downloads of relevant titles tracked by anti-piracy firm Excipio (including movies, TV shows, music, videogames, software and other digital media). On Dec. 9, Swedish law-enforcement authorities — acting on a complaint from an anti-piracy group based in the country — descended on a Web-hosting facility used by Pirate Bay and confiscated its servers and other equipment.

The result: The total number of IP addresses engaged in peer-to-peer downloads of content tracked by Excipio dropped slightly from 99.0 million on Dec. 9 to 95.0 million and 95.6 million the following two days, before bouncing back to 100.2 million on Friday, Dec. 12. That’s roughly in line with the daily average of 99.9 million since Nov. 1, according to Excipio.