Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Doesn’t this count as yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater?

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And given that exception, shut down the site and fine the owners substantial sums.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 October 2014 at 4:54 pm

Cop vindicated of sexual harassment claim because of his body camera

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Very interesting story. Video of newscast, which includes some of the body-cam footage (do we still call it “footage”?). From the story:

After failing the sobriety test, Griego was taken into the station for DWI. A breathalyzer detected a .13 blood alcohol level. [Legal limit in NM for people 21 and older is .08%. - LG]

Griego then asked the officer if she could use the restroom.

Officer Frazier then heard Griego speaking with someone while in the bathroom, asking, “How can I get this officer in trouble?”

Frazier then remembered Griego had slipped her cell phone into her bra at the beginning of the traffic stop, according to the report.

When Frazier ordered Griego to step out of the restroom, she began accusing him of sexual misconduct.

“[You were] inappropriately touching me while I was waiting in the car,” Griego can be heard saying in the video.

Frazier informed Griego that the entire stop had been recorded. Officers with the sex crimes division of the department later conducted a full investigation and cleared Frazier of any wrongdoing.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 October 2014 at 11:10 am

Cool timepiece you can easily read by touching

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Take a look. From the link (which has lots of photos and a few videos):

Wouldn’t it be great if you could check the time in a dark movie theater without having to illuminate your smartphone? What about not having to look down at your watch to check the time during a drawn-out client lunch?

The Bradley is a tactile timepiece that allows you to not only see what time it is, but to feel what time it is.

Written by LeisureGuy

21 October 2014 at 1:45 pm

Posted in Technology

Google launches support for Security Key,

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Interesting idea. I’m sure NSA will working produce keys that include additional microprogramming to install spyware in computers that use it and try to get those in circulation…

Written by LeisureGuy

21 October 2014 at 12:31 pm

Posted in NSA, Technology

Comcast, Net Neutrality, and a supine Congress

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Years ago (1964) a book was written about Congress titled Congress: The Sapless Branch, and that title rings true today. We have reached the point now where Congressional action contrary to the interests of large corporations seems increasingly difficult. T. C. Sottek writes in the Verge:

Here’s what’s happening right now on net neutrality:

The FCC’s comment period is over and 3.7 million people weighed in — that means even more people are concerned about net neutrality than Super Bowl XXXVIII: Wardrobe Malfunctiongate. And, yes, America, it’s totally reasonable and appropriate to be mad at the FCC. It has screwed up on net neutrality for years from cowardice and simply by using the wrong words. But Americans who want to protect net neutrality should also start being mad at Congress.

It’s Congress that has largely turned net neutrality regulation into a partisan charade that occasionally results in threats to the FCC’s budget and authority via Congress’ telecommunications benefactors. The FCC’s dithering on net neutrality has been enabled for years by this nonsense and it’s now reflected even by the agency’s bench, which seats some commissioners who have advocated stripping themselves of power to avoid going against corporate interests. Even the FCC’s chairman is intimately familiar with those corporate interests; Tom Wheeler is a former telecom lobbyist and was appointed by a president who promised that lobbyists wouldn’t run his administration in a distant magical time called “Before He Was Elected.”

If you want a clear example of Congress’ ineptitude on net neutrality, look no further than a letter sent to Comcast today by . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

20 October 2014 at 4:02 pm

Laura Poitras and Edward Snowden

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I just found a couple of excellent long reads about the Snowden affair and Laura Poitras’s role in it.

First is an interview of Poitras by Tom Englehardt; second is an article by Alex Pasternack in Motherboard. I strongly encourage you to read both.

Englehardt begins:

Here’s a Ripley’s Believe It or Not! stat from our new age of national security. How many Americans have security clearances? The answer: 5.1 million, a figure that reflects the explosive growth of the national security state in the post-9/11 era. Imagine the kind of system needed just to vet that many people for access to our secret world (to the tune of billions of dollars). We’re talking here about the total population of Norway and significantly more people than you can find in Costa Rica, Ireland, or New Zealand. And yet it’s only about 1.6% of the American population, while on ever more matters, the unvetted 98.4% of us are meant to be left in the dark.

For our own safety, of course. That goes without saying.

All of this offers a new definition of democracy in which we, the people, are to know only what the national security state cares to tell us.  Under this system, ignorance is the necessary, legally enforced prerequisite for feeling protected.  In this sense, it is telling that the only crime for which those inside the national security state can be held accountable in post-9/11 Washington is not potential perjury before Congress, or the destruction of evidence of a crime, or torture, or kidnapping, or assassination, or the deaths of prisoners in an extralegal prison system, but whistleblowing; that is, telling the American people something about what their government is actually doing.  And that crime, and only that crime, has been prosecuted to the full extent of the law (and beyond) with a vigor unmatched in American history.  To offer a single example, the only American to go to jail for the CIA’s Bush-era torture program was John Kiriakou, a CIA whistleblower who revealed the name of an agent involved in the program to a reporter.

In these years, as power drained from Congress, an increasingly imperial White House has launched various wars (redefined by its lawyers as anything but), as well as a global assassination campaign in which the White House has its own “kill list” and the president himself decides on global hits.  Then, without regard for national sovereignty or the fact that someone is an American citizen (and upon the secret invocation of legal mumbo-jumbo), the drones are sent off to do the necessary killing.

And yet that doesn’t mean that we, the people, know nothing . . .

Continue reading.

And Pasternack begins:

I get my face photographed and printed on a temporary ID card that I deposit into a slot and I get on an elevator and am led down a hallway. On a desk, I spot a signed letter with the Vice President’s seal. I’m brought into a windowless room, and there is the filmmaker Laura Poitras. On a coffee table is a MacBook Pro with a sticker that says “National Security Agency—Monitored Device.” Behind her, there’s a framed Ricky Gervais poster. We are at the offices of HBO, which began discussions to acquire the TV rights to her new film, “Citizenfour,” even before it was finished, not long before it premiered at the New York Film Festival to a standing ovation. We shake hands and I display my recorder. “Mind if I record?” I ask.

She laughs briefly and agrees. “That’s very respectful, given the context,” she says.

The context is quite serious. It was a 12-minute video made by Poitras that in June 2013 attached a name and a face to disclosures of a massive secret and legally dubious global surveillance system. A year earlier, Poitras became the first journalist to communicate with the NSA contractor Edward J. Snowden, then anonymously. Though she shared bylines on stories in the Guardian and the Times and Der Spiegel, much of the reporting was done by Glenn Greenwald and others, most recently at The Intercept, the upstart outlet where Poitras is also now also a founding editor. She has been in more of a hide-out mode, working on her much-anticipated documentary on multiple computers out of a bunker-like editing studio in Berlin. She moved there from New York in 2012, after years of getting stopped at the airport every time she tried to fly; starting in 2006, her air tickets were marked “SSSS” for Secondary Security Screening Selection, subjecting her to extra scrutiny at the borders.

She is no longer stopped, but wagers that she is still watched by her own government. She uses her cell phone sparingly and has become an expert in encrypted communications. “I really do feel that there are some really angry powerful people, mad at the reporting that we’re doing. I should expect they’re paying attention to my communications and who I spend time with.”

I asked her if she thought that by speaking with her, I too would end up on such a list.  . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

20 October 2014 at 3:22 pm

32 Cities Want to Challenge Big Telecom, Build Their Own Gigabit Networks

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This is interesting. Big Telecom does not want to build a gigabit network in major cities and—very much like the dog in the manger—also does not want anyone else to do it. Big Telecom, when you get down to it, wants us simply to send them money every month and otherwise leave them alone. They have been quite happy to help the government spy on us.  Jason Koebler writes at Motherboard:

More than two dozen cities in 19 states announced today that they’re sick of big telecom skipping them over for internet infrastructure upgrades and would like to build gigabit fiber networks themselves and help other cities follow their lead.

The Next Centuries Cities coalition, which includes a couple cities that already have gigabit fiber internet for their residents, was devised to help communities who want to build their own broadband networks navigate logistical and legal challenges to doing so.

Over the last several months, there’s been a Federal Communications Commission-backed push for cities to build their own broadband networks because big telecom companies like Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon either don’t or won’t offer competitive broadband speeds in certain parts of the country.

“Across the country, city leaders are hungry to deploy high-speed Internet to transform their communities and connect residents to better jobs, better health care, and better education for their children,” Deb Socia, the group’s executive director, said in a statement. “These mayors are rolling up their sleeves and getting the job done.”

That’s turned out to be a tricky proposition in a legal environment where more than 20 states have passed legislation (lobbied for by telecom companies and ALEC, acontroversial, big business-backed “charity” that writes legislation for states) making it illegal or legally difficult for cities to build their own networks. [Sort of gives the game away, doesn't it? The idea is to keep people from getting the benefits of the internet unless they also pay Big Telecom. - LG]
Of the cities involved in the coalition, 12 are located in states where there are legal barriers to building community networks. Those cities include Austin and San Antonio, Texas; Chattanooga, Morristown, Jackson, and Clarksville, Tenn.; Kansas City, Mo.; Lafayette, Louisiana; Montrose, Colo.; Mount Vernon, Wash.; Raleigh and Wilson, N.C.; and Winthrop, Minn. To be fair, some of these cities, such as Wilson, Chattanooga, and Austin already have gigabit service (Wilson and Chattanooga built it before a law was passed, Austin has Google Fiber).

“Towns and communities struggle with limited budgets, laws that restrict their opportunity to build/support a network that fits their needs, and even market pressures,” the group of cities said in a recent blog post. . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

20 October 2014 at 2:01 pm

Posted in Business, Technology

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