Monthly Archives: March 2014

Swiss to host olympic games for cyborgs and avatars

The first Cybathlon, an Olympics for bionic athletes, will take place in Switzerland in October 2016. http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-26766095 The event will include a race where competitors control an avatar via a brain interface. There will also be races for competitors wearing prosthetic limbs and exo-skeletons. Hosted by the Swiss National Competence Center of Research, it is […]

ACLU investigates police use of phone tracking devices

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is probing Florida police about its use of mobile phone tracking devices, after it emerged the state spent $3m (£1.8m) on Stingrays. http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-26730798 Stingrays act as fake phone towers and allow the police to track suspects via their mobile signals. The Florida state police said that it was not […]

Transportation Security Administration to arm personnel

The Transportation Security Administration is recommending that armed personnel be present at airport checkpoints during peak hours of passenger traffic, though airports would be able to tailor the security to their specific needs, according to a report released on Wednesday. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/27/business/tsa-calls-for-armed-guards-at-airport-checkpoints.html?ref=us The T.S.A.’s report also suggests that security be increased at ticket counters and other […]

Carter floats idea of presidential pardon for Snowden

Former President Jimmy Carter, on a swing through the nation’s capital to promote a new book, said Wednesday that he would consider a pardon for Edward J. Snowden, the former contractor who leaked classified information about the National Security Agency. But Mr. Carter said that he was not certain he would grant one. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/27/us/politics/carter-says-he-would-consider-pardon-for-snowden.html?ref=us Mr. […]

UN HRC calls on US to prosecute CIA killers and torturers

A U.N. human rights watchdog called on the Obama administration on Thursday to review its use of drones to kill suspected al-Qaeda and Taliban militants abroad and reveal how it chose its targets. http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2014/03/27/world/27reuters-usa-rights-un.html?ref=world In its first report on Washington’s rights record since 2006, it also called for the prosecution of anyone who ordered or […]

Drunk US Secret Service agent passes out in hotel hallway

On Sunday, the day before Mr. Obama arrived in the Netherlands, three agents were sent home by the Secret Service in connection with excessive drinking. One of the agents was found passed out in a hotel hallway after he could not figure out how to get into his room. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/27/us/new-behavior-problems-at-secret-service-amid-tougher-rules-and-scrutiny.html?hp The agents, who were part […]

IMF controlling Ukraine through $18 billion in loans

After three weeks of urgent negotiations with the interim government in Kiev and in an atmosphere of great power competition, the International Monetary Fund announced on Thursday an agreement to provide Ukraine up to $18 billion in loans over two years to prevent the country’s default. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/28/world/europe/ukraine-bailout.html?hp The agreement, announced in Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, […]

Security firms tap into Twitter to get into mindset of crowds

As Minnesota Vikings fans were getting ready for the final game at the Metrodome last December, officials at Whelan Security noticed social media chatter suggesting some of the faithful might rush the field and try to steal a piece of history. http://bigstory.ap.org/article/security-firms-watch-social-media-feisty-fans So the firm that provides security for the Vikings boosted the number of […]

Google Glass and Luxottica look to make spying stylish

Google is teaming up with the designer firm behind Ray-Ban and Oakley in an attempt to make its wearable technology desirable beyond the “geek” community. http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-26730791 The tie-up with Italian eyewear designer Luxottica will create “avant-garde” design according to the fashion firm. Google hopes it will put Glass at the forefront of the “smart eyewear […]

World Health Organization: Air pollution kills seven million a year

Seven million people died as a result of air pollution in 2012, the World Health Organization estimates. http://www.bbc.com/news/health-26730178 Its findings suggest a link between air pollution and heart disease, respiratory problems and cancer. One in eight global deaths were linked with air pollution, making it “the world’s largest single environmental health risk”, the WHO said. […]

Facebook’s Deepface facial recognition reaches 97% accuracy

If you’re paging through a big set of photos, you probably don’t have much trouble spotting if the same person pops up multiple times. In fact most humans can match two faces 97.55% of the time. Now Facebook’s DeepFace technology has almost matched this, correctly recognizing the same features 97.25%—within spitting distance of human performance. http://www.popphoto.com/news/2014/03/facebooks-deepface-facial-matching-system-almost-perfect?src=SOC&dom=tw Keep […]

High-tech police state is born at 2014 Border Security Expo

Among the federal officials who gathered here this week for a conclave on border security, there was little talk of building a fence along the 2,000-mile Mexican border. Instead, the chatter was all about technology: Border Patrol agents equipped with late-model surveillance tools and using aerial drones. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/22/us/border-securitys-turn-toward-the-high-tech.html?ref=us&_r=0 The plan is to cover 900 miles, […]

Law allows police detectives to have sex with prostitutes

Police officials in the US state of Hawaii have asked the state’s legislature to keep a measure in the law allowing undercover investigators to have sex with prostitutes. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-26687065 The authorities say it enables them to catch criminals in the act. Critics say it could hurt women who are already victims of sex trafficking. Local […]

Prosecutor clears FBI agent who executed Ibragim Todashev

A Florida prosecutor has cleared an FBI agent in the May shooting death of a Chechen immigrant linked to one of the men accused of carrying out the Boston Marathon bombing, US media report.  http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-26687067 State Attorney Jeff Ashton will not charge the agent in the death of Ibragim Todashev. The FBI has said Todashev, […]

US wages campaign of economic warfare against Russia

President Obama expanded sanctions against Russia on Thursday, blacklisting a bank and several wealthy businessmen with close ties to President Vladimir V. Putin, as the United States struggled to forestall further Russian incursions into Ukraine. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/21/us/politics/us-expanding-sanctions-against-russia-over-ukraine.html?_r=0 Among those targeted were Sergei B. Ivanov, the president’s chief of staff; Gennady N. Timchenko, a billionaire investor with […]

US Justice Department refuses to investigate CIA illegality

Both the Central Intelligence Agency and the Senate Intelligence Committee believe that laws may have been broken in their bitter dispute over top secret documents relating to the C.I.A.’s detention program and who has the right to read them. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/20/us/justice-dept-is-cautious-on-joining-cia-fight.html?ref=us&_r=0 The Justice Department could settle the matter. But, according to department officials, it has little […]

US Senator Rand Paul spreading the libertarian message

Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, said Wednesday that President Obama should be particularly wary of domestic spying, given the government’s history of eavesdropping on civil rights leaders like the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., injecting the issue of race into the contentious debate over surveillance. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/20/us/politics/rand-paul-speaks-at-berkeley.html?hp&_r=0 “I find it ironic that the first […]

SWAT team called to confront man with gun tattoo

Police armed with assault rifles descended on a Maine man’s home after members of a tree removal crew he’d told to clear off his property reported that he had a gun. Turns out the “gun” the tree crew had seen on Michael Smith of Norridgewock was just a life-sized tattoo of a handgun on his […]

Snowden Files: NSA Mystic records every single call in a month

The US government has reportedly built a system that can record every phone call made over a month in an undisclosed foreign country. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-26640228 The National Security Agency (NSA) programme was created in 2009, the Washington Post reported. Fugitive intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, who leaked details of the system, promised more revelations. Civil liberties groups […]

Snowden appears at TED and is hailed by Sir Tim Berners-Lee

Whistleblower Edward Snowden has appeared as a surprise guest at the Ted (Technology, Entertainment and Design) conference in Vancouver. http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-25953413 Speaking via a robotic screen from an undisclosed location in Russia, the fugitive promised that there are more revelations to come. He urged tech firms to protect users by encrypting all web pages. Web inventor […]