Posts Tagged ‘congress’
Of the nine major tech companies at the heart of Eric Snowden’s revelations about an NSA spying program called PRISM, over the past week, Facebook, Microsoft , and most recently Apple have all opted to publish the total number of data requests they’ve received from the government. Today, they’re being joined by Yahoo , which announced that over the past six months it’s received between 12,000 and 13,000 such requests. Because of the Obama administration’s requirement to obfuscate the data, that number includes ordinary law enforcement requests and secret FISA orders, without a further breakdown.
Following continued demands for more transparency, the Obama administration is said to be considering declassifying a secret court order that would shed light upon recent leaks. According to NPR , the administration may release an order that permits the NSA to gather phone call records on millions of American citizens. The order would apparently expand upon the leaked Verizon court order by explaining specific constraints on the surveillance program, as well as the safeguards in place to protect US citizens’ rights and privacy.
Traktor DJ for iPhone and iPad showed that Native Instruments could bring a strong DJ experience to iOS, but the apps were inherently limited by the complete lack of physical controls. To try and answer that concern, the company is launching the Traktor Kontrol Z1 — it’s a small, physical, two-channel mixer that works with the Traktor DJ app and lets you free up the screen of your iOS device to focus specifically on manipulating the “waveform.” (Traktor DJ’s visual for the songs you have cued up; it replaces the more traditional virtual turntable similar apps use.) Once you’ve set up your iOS device with the Kontrol Z1, you can use it to manipulate faders, filters, effects, and the EQ without having to change the interface on your… Continue reading…
Steve Mann. “People always ask me if this is the dawn of the augmented reality industry,” relates celebrated sci-fi author Bruce Sterling. “No, this is not the dawn,” he says with relish, “this is 10:45AM on what’s turning out to be a hot and turbulent summer day.” His meaning is plain: augmented reality is here to stay. Bruce Sterling. At the Augmented World Expo in Santa Clara, California, you’d expect no less from a keynote speaker, and yet this week’s conference made a compelling case
Moving to minimize damage from the NSA PRISM leaks, a senior administration official has revealed to The New York Times that select members of Congress were privy to 13 briefings since 2009 on the government’s ability to widely collect digital information. While the disclosure is meant to assuage concerns of loose congressional oversight, those briefed were reportedly told only vague and broad details about the government’s capabilities. A variety of government officials led the briefing, sometimes including Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, the director of the NSA, and the head of US Cyber Command. Clapper’s office is also trying to elaborate upon congressional oversight today
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Congress received 13 briefings in past four years on digital surveillance
“What we have right here is the absolute latest in technological innovation! More power than you can handle! More speed than you’ll ever need! This is the high-octane, 21st-century future, and it can all be yours — for just $5,999!”
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PRISM, Obama, Xbox One, and iRadio: 90 Seconds on The Verge
Among the many gripes in the US tech industry over the past 10 years, you’d be hard-pressed to find one so universal as “patent trolls.” These are the companies that acquire patents but don’t make any real products or services. Instead, they use patents primarily to sue other companies, effectively extorting, or “trolling” them. The problem — as many prominent tech executives , venture capitalists , developers and journalists have repeatedly pointed out — is that such rampant, often frivolous lawsuits may discourage actual innovation, ultimately harming competition and consumers. Continue reading…
Over four years into his tenure, President Barack Obama says he is reining in drone strikes. In a speech on the future of counterterrorism , Obama announced that he had signed a presidential guidance statement on drone warfare, codifying the cases in which it is justifiable. Targets, he says, must pose a “continuing, imminent threat” to US persons, and it must be nearly certain that the target is present in an area and non-combatants will not be injured or killed. Continue reading…
Video game publisher Electronic Arts had already suggested that its upcoming Star Wars games might not be coming to the Nintendo Wii U , but it looks like the situation is more dire than that. EA tells Kotaku that the company is not currently making any games for the Wii U, period. “We have no games in development for the Wii U currently,” spokesman Jeff Brown told the publication.
A decision from Pakistan’s highest court in Peshawar has ruled that US drone strikes on tribal lands have taken place illegally and in violation of human rights. The court found that the strikes constitute war crimes, and occur without the consent of the Pakistani government, leaving a secret deal forged by the CIA and Pakistani military as the only possible hint of cooperation between the two nations. The decision cites recent estimates that the strikes have caused “at least 400″ civilian casualties since 2004, a number supported by previous reporting from public interest groups such as the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and the New America Foundation . The case was originally filed by a charity representing the families of 17..
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US drone strikes condemned as illegal by Pakistan’s highest court
Kyre sez, “The Free Culture Foundation has posted a thorough response to the most common and misinformed defenses of the W3C’s Extended Media Extensions (EME) proposal to inject DRM into HTML5. They join the EFF and FSF in a call to send a strong message to the W3C that DRM in HTML5 undermines the W3C’s
Debunking the HTML5 DRM myths
Photo: Shutterstock We’ve been CISPA’d again. For a second year the US House has passed the embarrassingly vague Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, a bill that could scatter your personal information like a tornado hitting a trailer park. Echoing last year, the Obama administration has threatened to veto CISPA if it fails to incorporate
The US Senate today turned away a bipartisan proposal to expand background checks for the sale of guns, signaling a huge defeat for President Obama’s administration and Congressional Democrats. The 54-46 vote fell short of the 60 votes needed to pass the measure, due to a GOP-led filibuster. But the amendment was hurt even more by the president’s own party; several Democratic senators, who could have carried the bill to passage, rejected the background check amendment: including Mark Begich (D, AK), Max Baucus (D, MT), Heidi Heitkamp (D, ND), and Mark Pryor (D, AR). Republicans in favor of the background check amendment included Pat Toomey (R, PA), Susan Collins (R, MA), Mark Kirk (R, IL), and John McCain (R, AZ). As The Washington Post..
Lobbying group representing Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft sends letter to Congress in support of CISPA
Amid warnings from the White House and civil liberties groups, a trade association representing Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Oracle, and other tech companies has come out in support of the controversial Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), which passed a House committee vote this week. The Hill reports that the lobbying group, TechNet, sent a letter to the leaders of the House Intelligence panel on Wednesday praising lawmakers for their work on the bill, with TechNet CEO Rey Ramsey writing that “this bill recognizes the need for effective cybersecurity legislation.” TechNet’s executive council includes Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith, Cisco CEO John… Continue reading…
The United States and China will form working groups that focus in on two of today’s most pressing issues: cybersecurity and climate change. That’s according to US Secretary of State John Kerry, who outlined the plans during a visit to Beijing. The collaboration on cybersecurity is particularly notable; both countries have traded barbs and accusations of cyber espionage in recent months. It’s unclear what (if anything) will come as a result of the joint effort, but the working group’s formation suggests both sides are eager to quell months of rising tension and public squabbling.
“We’re trying to build tools that empower creators to do the next wave of storytelling,” says Ben Wolstenholme. Last year, his Madefire publishing platform was released to a select group of people from the comics industry (like Watchmen artist Dave Gibbons) with the idea of pushing the grammar of comic books forward. With new devices like Apple’s iPad, Madefire wanted to move digital comics from flat pages to something more dynamic, called Motion Books (video below), full of slick transitions, animation, and audio. Now, the company is teaming up with DeviantArt — the web’s biggest community for science fiction, fantasy, and comic book artists — and the pair are wagering that by putting the Madefire publishing tool in the hands..
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DeviantArt brings comic book publishing to the community with Madefire partnership
Should Congress be allowed to telecommute? Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM) thinks so, and he introduced a resolution last week to try to make it happen. If he has his way, lawmakers would be able to use videoconferencing and other technologies to attend hearings, debate, and vote on legislation from their district offices, without having to constantly fly back and forth to and from DC.
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Republican lawmaker wants to let Congress telecommute
An American software engineer has created ‘Soylent,’ a drink that he believes provides all the nutrition a human needs to survive. Using easily-obtainable ingredients, Rob Rhinehart makes the beverage almost every day, replacing his regular meals with the all-in-one solution. Rhinehart breaks down the ingredient list in a blog post , but doesn’t list the exact instructions to make his brew as he’s not “fully convinced of the diet’s safety for a physiology different than mine.” You can read a full interview with Rhinehart over at Vice , or follow his Mostly Harmless blog for regular updates on his experiment. Continue reading…
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Soylent isn’t people, it’s a full-nutrition drink
Privacy advocates in Congress have introduced another bi-partisan bill attempting to amend decades-old legislation that has allowed police and government to search private data without a warrant. The bill, called the Online Communications and Geolocation Privacy Act , looks to fix the severely outdated Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 so that email and location data stored by third parties like Google or AT&T receive the same warrant protections as data stored on a personal computer. “Fourth Amendment protections don’t stop at the Internet. Americans expect Constitutional protections to extend to their online communications and location data,” Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), one of the bill’s co-sponsors, said in an email..
Facebook is investigating unofficial memorial pages for Sandy Hook shooting victims after members of Congress expressed concerns that they were becoming “vehicles for harassment and potentially fraud.” This morning, Democratic Connecticut Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy (D-CT), as well as Democratic Representative Elizabeth Esty, asked Facebook to remove a large number of tribute pages that sprung up after the December shooting. These unofficial pages aren’t created by families or community members, and their creators have been accused of appropriating a tragedy for their own gain. Continue reading…
Google’s Play Store and Google Wallet are the latest targets for US legislators worried about consumer privacy. On Thursday, Congressman Hank Johnson (D-GA) posted an open letter on his website that he sent to Google CEO Larry Page, demanding Page or someone at Google respond to four requests he has about Google’s online store and digital payments system by February 28th. Johnson specifically said he was concerned about Google sharing user account billing information with third-party software developers, citing recent complaints of an Australian app developer who claimed Google was sending him customers’ account names, email addresses, and locations without letting them know. Continue reading…
The shuttle program is dead and the Cold War is over, but according to President Obama, we’re on the cusp of another Space Race. That’s the message the president sent this week, during his State of the Union address . Speaking before members of Congress just weeks after being inaugurated for a second term, the president cautioned lawmakers against cutting funding for federally-backed R&D initiatives, while urging them to bring American R&D back to levels “not seen since the height of the Space Race.” For Obama, it was a return to a well-worn analogy. The president made a virtually identical, if more pointed appeal in 2009, when he called for domestic R&D spending to surpass the levels of the 1960s
“I am not burned. I’m a hamburger. I once had lettuce, tomatoes, and the love of a beautiful sesame seed bun. Now I only have two things: ketchup, and…
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90 Seconds on The Verge: ‘Grand Theft Auto V,’ ‘Warcraft’ the movie, and Google Glass
Intel showed us it could create a competent mid-range smartphone with decent processing power and battery life to spare , and then the company decided to create a somewhat slower SOC for poorer countries like Africa . Next month at the Mobile World Congress expo in Barcelona, however, the chipmaker’s pulling out the big guns: We’ll see a bunch of Android devices with the Atom Z2580, a much faster piece of silicon. Intel actually announced the chip a year ago , but it should be a major step up. Where last year’s Z2460 had a single-core processor with the aging single-core PowerVR SGX 540 graphics and only HSPA+ radio support, the new Z2580 has two CPU cores (with two threads each), two far faster PowerVR SGX 544 GPU cores , and a speedy LTE..
It sounds like the Galaxy Note family is ready to grow, again — though with a new tablet, not a new phone. According to SamMobile , Samsung is planning to introduce a mid-range 8-inch Galaxy Note tablet at Mobile World Congress next month. If true, it’ll mark the second tablet in the Galaxy Note range, following the 10.1-inch Galaxy Note that was announced last year at MWC. While we’ve heard rumblings that the Galaxy Note phone family will be getting an even-larger option in 2013, this is the first we’ve heard of a new tablet. Rumored specs include a 1280 x 800 display, 5-megapixel back camera, 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera, 2GB of RAM, and either 32GB or 64GB of storage.