Tag Archives: Crime

Second Amendment group claims Connecticut ‘does not have the balls’ to enforce gun law

Second Amendment group claims Connecticut ‘does not have the balls’ to enforce gun law Second Amendment group claims Connecticut ‘does not have the balls’ to enforce gun law

In Connecticut, tens of thousands of gun owners are believed to be committing felonies by not registering their weapons in compliance with a new state law. Second Amendment advocates, however, say authorities “don’t have the balls” to enforce it.
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Legislation enacted after the December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT requires that gun owners registered military-style rifles and high-capacity magazines with state officials by the end of last year. But only a few weeks after that deadline came and went, journalist Dan Haar of The Hartford Courant newspaper wrote that as many as 350,000 assault weapons remained unregistered and that “Connecticut has very likely created tens of thousands of newly minted criminals.”

Connecticut Carry, a non-profit organization devoted to protecting the United States Constitution’s right to bear arms, is now daring law enforcement officials to act. The group has previously tried to spread their pro-gun message by selling yard signs with slogans such as “Repeal the 2013 Gun Ban” and through a campaign that resolved around the mantra of “No Guns = No Money.” This week, the organization published a statement denouncing the new-fangled registration rules, while at the same time encouraging authorities to “shit or get off the pot.”

“The anti-gun legislators and officials are scared to implement their tyranny because they know that they did not have any sort of‘consent of the governed,’” reads part of the release.

“Now, State officials look down the barrel of the laws that they created, and it is very probably that they now tremble as they rethink the extremity of their folly. Connecticut Carry calls on every State official, every Senator, and every Representative, to make the singular decision: Either enforce the laws as they are written and let us fight it out in court, or else repeal the 2013 Gun Ban in its entirety.”

infant with gun Second Amendment group claims Connecticut ‘does not have the balls’ to enforce gun law

When Harr wrote about the upwards of hundreds of thousands of newly-created criminals for the Courant last month, he reached out to State Sen. Tony Guglielmo (R-Stafford), who acknowledged at the time that, “If you pass laws that people have no respect for and they don’t follow them, then you have a real problem.”

If Connecticut Carry’s dare can carry any clout, state officials are indeed in for a challenge. Prosecuting upwards of even a few thousand residents who may have been fully law-abiding up until last year is likely to take time and effort, and the maximum sentence of five years that could be imposed against anyone found in violation of the new registration rule would without a doubt leave no room for other criminals inside state prisons should every guilty party end up behind bars.

But more than a year after a lone gunman opened fire at Sandy Hook and killed over two dozen people, not everyone across the state seems to favor a return to more lax firearm laws. Just last week, a local gun dealer in Woodbridge, CT made headlines after the shop’s Facebook page posted an image of an infant child with her hands on a rifle double her own size. After the image began to go viral, the social media administrator for Woodbridge Firearms Trading Post removed the image.

“The fact is, the state does not have the balls to enforce these laws. The laws would not survive the public outcry and resistance that would occur,” Connecticut Carry Director Ed Peruta said in a statement this week.

Should the state chose to act, however, then the gun rights group says they’ve got no more than a few weeks. Connecticut Carry’s statement includes an ultimatum of source demanding that the state legislature “completely repeal these immoral edicts and let the residents of Connecticut return to their rightfully owned property and former exercise of constitutional rights and practices without any threat of State violence” by May 7.

If the laws are enforced, the statement ended, “Connecticut Carry stands ready to do whatever it takes and whatever it can do to represent and defend anyone impacted by the State’s violence.”

“As citizens of Connecticut, we have a right to bear arms. With that right comes responsibility,” added Rich Burgess, the president of the group. “The responsibility to stand in defense of ourselves and our fellow citizens is paramount.”

Source: RT

Mexico’s most wanted drug lord Guzman captured

Mexico most wanted drug lord Joaquin Guzman captured Mexicos most wanted drug lord Guzman captured

Mexico’s most wanted drug kingpin, Joaquin “Shorty” Guzman, has been captured, President Enrique Pena Nieto announced on Saturday. The arrest comes as a major victory for the government in its bloody war with drug cartels.
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Guzman is the head of the infamous Sinaloa Cartel and is known as one of the world’s most powerful organized crime bosses.

The Sinaloa Cartel has smuggled billions of dollars worth of cocaine, marijuana, and methamphetamine into the United States, and fought brutal wars with other Mexican gangs over turf and drug trafficking routes, Reuters reports.

Mexico most wanted drug lord Joaquin Guzman captured 1 Mexicos most wanted drug lord Guzman captured

 

The country’s most wanted man was arrested on Saturday following a month-long operation with help from US agencies, the government said. President Pena Nieto confirmed the capture via Twitter and congratulated security forces on their success.

A Mexican security source told Reuters that Guzman was detained in Mazatlan, a seaside resort in his northwestern home state of Sinaloa.

Mexico most wanted drug lord Joaquin Guzman captured 2 Mexicos most wanted drug lord Guzman captured

 

 

Source: RT

NSA official charged in brutal death of adopted son

NSA official charged in brutal death of adopted son NSA official charged in brutal death of adopted son

An intelligence official at the National Security Agency has been charged with first-degree murder and child abuse after his three-year-old adopted son died of multiple blunt force injuries.
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Brian Patrick O’Callaghan, chief of the NSA’s Korea division, was arrested at work on Feb. 16, according to WUSA. O’Callaghan, 36, of Damascus, Maryland, is being held without bail for the death of Hyunsu O’Callaghan, who died on February 3.

According to court documents, O’Callaghan brought an unresponsive Hyunsu to a Germantown, Maryland emergency room on Feb. 1. Hyunsu was transported to the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC, where medical doctors told police that the boy’s injuries included hemorrhaging of the brain. In all, the injuries indicated that Hyunsu had been recently beaten, medical personnel believed.

An autopsy found that the cause of death was multiple blunt impact injuries. Hyunsu’s skull was fractured, according to court documents. Doctors also reported many contusions all over the boy’s body and evidence of trauma on his scrotum.

Brian was the sole caretaker of the boy from Jan. 31 to Feb. 1, as his wife Jennifer was out of town. The couple adopted Hyunsu from South Korea, and he had been in the US since October 2013. Brian told police that the boy bonded with his mother, but that he had yet to develop much of a relationship with him. The couple has a seven-year-old biological son, Aiden.

Brian O’Callaghan could not explain the injuries at the time, according to WUSA. But upon investigation, Brian told police that on Jan. 31, Hyunsu slipped in the shower, falling and hitting his shoulder in the bathtub. Brian said he comforted Hyunsu and put him to bed.

The next day, Feb. 1, Brian said he took Hyunsu and Aiden to the park and to a fast food restaurant for lunch. He told police he put Hyunsu down for a nap around 2 p.m. EST. When he went to check on him two hours later, Brian found a pink-colored fluid or stain on the bed and mucus oozing from his nose. Brian told police he changed the sheets and wiped Hyunsu’s nose, though the boy did not wake up.

Then around 5 p.m., Brian again checked on the boy only to find much more mucus coming from his nose. When he picked up Hyunsu, the child began to vomit, Brian told police.

Charging papers say Brian told police that he took off Hyunsu’s clothes and washed him before contacting his wife, who told Brian to take the boy to the hospital, which he did.

In Montgomery District Court on Tuesday, during the first hearing in the case, Assistant State’s Attorney Donna Fenton listed the boy’s many injuries for Judge William Simmons.

“An absolutely horrific crime on an absolutely innocent young victim,” said Fenton, according to The Washington Post. “Basically this child was beaten to death from head to toe.”

Brian’s attorney, Steven McCool, described the death as “a tragedy, not a crime,” according to the Post.

“[O'Callaghan] has the unwavering support of his family, they know he is incapable of committing the crimes alleged,” McCool said Tuesday.

Brian’s wife, his parents, and his in-laws came to the hearing.

“I find it impossible to believe that he’s been indicted for murder because he’s worked so hard to get this baby,” William Rose, Brian’s grandfather, told the Post. “He was so loving with him. He’s been so wonderful with his other child. I’ve never seen him do anything that would make me believe he is capable of that.”

Brian was a decorated US Marine, serving in the Marine Reserves from 1997 to 2004 as an artillery cannoneer. He saw deployments to Kosovo and El Salvador, and was involved in operations during the invasion of Iraq in 2003 – specifically in Al-Wasit Province, Al Nasiriyah, and Al Kut, according to D.C. Crime Stories.

Source: RT

Nuclear site whistleblower fired after complaining about safety conditions

Nuclear site whistleblower fired after complaining about safety conditions Nuclear site whistleblower fired after complaining about safety conditions

The termination of a safety manager from a Washington state nuclear facility this week marks the second time in four months that a whistleblower was fired from there after speaking out.
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Donna Busche, 50, was fired Tuesday morning by URS Corp, a federal subcontractor hired by the United States government to build a $12.3 billion plant that will make glass from the waste being held at the old Department of Energy-owned Hanford Nuclear Reservation in the southeastern part of the state. Construction of the plant is currently on hold because of safety concerns, and the facility has been previously referred to as the most-polluted nuclear weapons production site in the US.

Busche’s termination this week comes nearly five years after she first started working at the plant. Most recently she was employed there as a manager of environmental and nuclear safety at the facility’s construction site, and directed a staff of 140 engineers, scientists and technicians, according to the Los Angeles Times, often raising concerns about safety issues at Hanford during her half-decade tenure. Now she says her willingness to speak honestly about her work there is what got her into trouble.

URS says they had cause to terminate Busche, and told her it was due to “unprofessional conduct.” She is already speaking out about the matter, though, and says she lost her job because her employer wanted to retaliate in response to comments she made publically about the plant in the past.

Busche has been vocal for years about conditions at Hanford. In October 2010 she testified before the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, an independent federal agency, and made remarks about Hanford contrary to those offered by her superiors at the Department of Energy. She later said she was “openly admonished by former DOE Assistant Secretary Inés Triay for her testimony,” and the following year filed a complaint of discrimination with the Department of Labor alleging her employer retaliated against her for reporting problems at Hanford. The Labor Department is currently considering that complaint, while the Department of Energy has been tasked with investigating the safety claims made by Busche before her termination.

Walter Tamosaitis, a colleague of Busche’s who also raised safety concerns about the plant, was fired last October from URS after 44 years of employment. On Tuesday, Busche told the Associated Pressthat she has expected for a month now that she would be the next to go.

We raised technical issues and have received harassment, retaliation. The fact that he was terminated, it sent a resounding message to me, right? And heightened my sense of awareness that I was probably next,” she told CBS News last year after her co-worker was removed from the job.

Right now I will take a deep breath, file for unemployment and start another lawsuit for wrongful termination,” she added this week to the AP.

According to URS, however, they were in the right to fire Busche this week. “We do not agree with her assertions that she suffered retaliation or was otherwise treated unfairly,” the company said in a statement to the AP, adding Busche was terminated for reasons unrelated to the safety concerns. “Ms. Busche’s allegations will not withstand scrutiny,” the company said.

URS gave me no reason for my termination other than ‘unprofessional conduct.’ They gave me no documentation. They gave me no explanation,” Busche told CBS News.

Now she says the contractor’s actions are causing a chilling effect among other URS workers who are worried about speaking up.

One of my previous subordinates says that they’re actually afraid of getting fired for doing their job,” Busche told CBS.

Nuclear site whistleblower fired after complaining about safety conditions 2 Nuclear site whistleblower fired after complaining about safety conditions

 

When CBS covered a waste leak at Hanford last year, they reported that the federal government spends around $2 billion annually on cleaning up the nuclear site — or about one-third of what the country spends on its entire nuclear cleanup operations.

Source: RT

Father trying to stop family fight beaten to death by Oklahoma cops

father beaten by cop after trying to breakup family fight Father trying to stop family fight beaten to death by Oklahoma cops

A Valentine’s Day outing turned tragic for one Oklahoma family who claims five police officers beat their father to death during a confrontation outside a local movie theater.
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The death is currently under investigation, and three police officers have been placed on administrative leave as the probe unfolds.

The incident occurred February 14 in Moore, Oklahoma, when an argument erupted between Nair Rodriguez and her daughter Lunahi. Nair slapped her daughter during the dispute and ended up leaving the theater. When Luis Rodriguez chased after his wife in a bid to stop her, law enforcement officials intervened and asked for his identification.

According to NewsOK, police claim that Luis Rodriguez attempted to fight with police and that led to a physical altercation. Nair and Lunahi, however, told local media outlet News9 that allegation is false, and that Luis simply tried to bypass officers to keep his wife from driving off in anger.

As the confrontation escalated, five police officers allegedly beat Luis Rodriguez beyond recognition, a situation captured on a video by Nair’s cell phone.

“They jumped on him like he was some kind of killer or drug dealer and beat him up,” Lunahi Rodriguez said to NewsOK. “He never fought the officers, they beat him on the head and that’s how he lost his breath.”

“When they flipped him over you could see all the blood on his face, it was, he was disfigured, you couldn’t recognize him,” she added to News9.

Although paramedics were already at the scene responding to a separate incident, Luis Rodriguez could not be revived. According to Nair Rodriguez, it was clear her husband had died as soon as the beating was over.

“I saw him. His [motionless] body when people carry it to the stretcher. I knew that he was dead,” she said.

Afterwards, police asked Nair what happened and she said her husband was just trying to break up a fight between her and her daughter.

According to a spokesman for the Moore Police Department, police confiscated Nair Rodriguez’s phone as evidence, though it’s unclear whether or not they’ve watched the video yet.

The Rodriguez family said it plans to hire an attorney and take legal action.

Source: RT

Surveillance companies want Utah to stop enforcing privacy-protection law

Surveillance companies want Utah to stop enforcing privacy protection law Surveillance companies want Utah to stop enforcing privacy protection law
 
A privacy law passed in Utah last year limits the use of license plate readers and aims to keep the data collected by them from being abused; now two surveillance companies that sell those scanners are suing the state for alleged free-speech infringement.
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The two companies — California’s Vigilant Solutions and Digital Recognition Network (DRN) of Texas — filed the lawsuit in Utah federal court on Thursday and asked a judge there for a permanent injunction against last year’s law.

When the legislation was signed by Governor Gary Herbert last April, it imposed restrictions on how the high-tech surveillance tools can be used across the state, essentially abolishing the sale and use of license plate readers by private companies while also putting limits on how long government entities can store the data collected by those devices.

License plate readers, or LPRs, can photograph upwards of 60 cars-per-second and then match that data with details stored in a list that contains the tags registered to criminals or ones ordered for repossession. A handful of states have passed laws putting limits on these devices, though, often by claiming that collecting this information for extended amounts of time allows anyone with ownership of it to pry into the personal lives of others.

“A person who knows all of another’s travels can deduce whether he is a weekly church goer, a heavy drinker, a regular at the gym, an unfaithful husband, an outpatient receiving medical treatment, an associate of particular individuals or political groups — and not just one such fact about a person, but all such facts,” the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit ruled in 2010.

When State Sen. Todd Weiler (R-Woods Cross) proposed the privacy bill, S.B. 196, last February, he asked that the state stop private companies from collecting this information and that the government be forced to give up the data after 90 days.

“I don’t want to stop catching criminals,” he said before committee at the time. “I do want to put a tighter lid on the data being harvested.”

But just one year later, that state law has been brought into the crosshairs of two private surveillance companies that say their right to free speech should cancel out the limits imposed by Weiler’s act.

The suit — filed against both Gov. Gary Herbert and Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes — says a court must intervene and place an injunction against Weiler’s law because the First Amendment of the US Constitution allows for photography in public space — and that, they say, is essentially what the LPRs do.

“Taking and distributing a photograph is an act that is fully protected by the First Amendment,” Michael Carvin, an outside counsel for Vigilant, said in a statement this week. “The state of Utah cannot claim that photographing a license plate violates privacy.”

“License plates are public by nature and contain no sensitive or private information,” Carvin continued.“Any citizen of Utah can walk outside and photograph anything they please, including a license plate.”

Sen. Weiler told the Associated Press this week that his idea of photography doesn’t quite match up with that of the attorneys who are asking for an injunction.

“It’s one thing to take a photo,” he told the AP. “It’s another to take photos every 80th of a millisecond, and then store that data you can later be identified by.”

“I’m befuddled with that being speech,” Weiler told reporters at Ars Technica when they approached him for comment this week. “As you know, this technology… can cut through fog, it can see in the dark, it’s very invasive — it doesn’t matter if you’re going 80 mph. It’s not just a photograph, it’s the direction of travel, time and GPS location. If it was just pictures, nobody would buy it. I think it’s an invasion of privacy. This technology is very intrusive, and I don’t think you can argue with a straight face that this is the same thing as taking a picture of a car.”

When Weiler first proposed his bill last April, the state office of the American Civil Liberties Union lauded his effort while at the same time saying, ideally, they’d want retention periods trimmed down from 90 days to 12 hours. Five months later in July, the ACLU published a 37-page report advocating other lawmakers to propose limits on LPRs.

“The implementation of automatic license plate readers poses serious privacy and other civil liberties threats,” the report read. “More and more cameras, longer retention periods and widespread sharing allow law enforcement agents to assemble the individual puzzle pieces of where we have been over time into a single, high-resolution image of our lives. The knowledge that one is subject to constant monitoring can chill the exercise of our cherished rights to free speech and association.”

Ironically, journalist Paul Nelson of Utah’s KSL news network, reported on Friday that DRN founder Todd Hodnett plans to cite past arguments made by the ACLU in pushing for the court to acknowledge the alleged free-speech infringement brought on by Weiler’s law.

“They assert that when in public spaces, where you are lawfully present, you have the right to photograph anything that’s in plain view. That includes a picture of a federal building, a transportation facility and police,” he told the network.

Hodnett also insisted to KSL that the Utah law “has already had a significant monetary impact on our corporation and our shareholders.” Their lawsuit acknowledges that tow truck owners and repossession businesses in the state can no longer acquires DNR’s services under Weiler law. Prior to its passage, he said, DRN sold a total of 10 LPR camera kits to five private businesses there.

According to his lawsuit, Weiler’s legislation serves little purpose.

“The State does not have a substantial interest in preventing persons from viewing or photographing license plates—or from disseminating the information collected when doing so—because license plates contain no private information whatsoever,” it reads in part. “Moreover, the photographic recording of government-mandated public license plates does not infringe any ‘privacy’ interest that concededly is not infringed when the photographer views the plate. Thus, the State cannot carry its heavy burden to demonstrate that it has a substantial interest that is served by the Act.”

“The law restricts the collection and use of data with an ‘Automatic license plate reader system,’” Fred Cate, a law professor at Indiana University, added to Ars Technica’s report. “The restriction on collecting data might conceivably pass First Amendment scrutiny, but not the ban on using the data. I think it is very likely that a court will strike that down.”

“Whether such laws are ultimately upheld or ruled unconstitutional will have a huge impact on whether more comprehensive privacy regulations are enacted and what they will look like,” Penn State University law professor Clark Asay opined to Ars.

According to their report, Sen. Weiler is currently engaged with the ACLU on a plan that would revise the current law and “may negate” this week’s lawsuit if approved.

Only five states in the US had laws limit LPR use at the time of last year’s ACLU report, but 14 are currently considering similar proposals.

Source: RT

Innocent man beaten and tasered by California police for signaling he is deaf

cop tasered and beaten deaf man Innocent man beaten and tasered by California police for signaling he is deaf

A California man was allegedly beaten and tasered multiple times by four police officers while attempting to signal that he was deaf. Now, he’s suing local law enforcement.
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The suit was filed on behalf of Jonathan Meister by the Greater Los Angeles Agency on Deafness, and claims police used excessive force and violated Meister’s civil rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The incident took place on February 13, when Meister visited a friend to pick up snowboarding equipment that was stored in his home. Suspecting a burglary, a neighbor called out to the man, who didn’t respond because he cannot hear.

When two officers arrived at the scene shortly after, Meister reportedly put his boxes down and tried to use hand gestures to tell them he was deaf. As he approached police, though, the officers supposedly grabbed his hands, turned him around, and attempted to handcuff him.

“Because he is deaf, Mr. Meister depends on using his hands while facing a person to communicate,” the lawsuit states, according to a local publication called the Daily Breeze. “The officers’ sudden aggression, which both caused pain and interfered with his ability to communicate, caused Mr. Meister reflexively to pull his hands away, hop back over the fence and step toward the gate … to create some space so that he could communicate.”

Police then became more physical with Meister, taking him to the ground with a stun gun. Two other officers had arrived at the scene by this time, and helped the other officials by striking Meister with their fist and feet. The Courthouse News Service reported that in the lawsuit, Meister said police then subjected him to multiple “punishing shocks” with tasers and were purposely “burning his flesh.”

Meister was eventually knocked unconscious and taken to a hospital, where he was charged with assault. Police described him as “aggressive and violent” in their report, but ultimately ended up dropping the charges and releasing him.

According to Courthouse News, Meister’s lawsuit claims the entire confrontation could have been avoided if Hawthorne police were trained to properly communicate with deaf individuals.

“We’re really concerned about the problem of law enforcement and people who are deaf,” said Meister’s attorney, Paula Pearlman, to the Daily Breeze. “He wasn’t doing anything other than trying to get away from people who were hurting him.”

The Hawthorne Police Department declined to comment on the situation.

Source: RT

White House unveils cybersecurity standards for private businesses

us introduces cybersecurity standards for private companies White House unveils cybersecurity standards for private businesses
The White House on Wednesday released the final version of the voluntary cybersecurity standards that President Barack Obama called for the creation of exactly one year ago in an effort to reduce risks to the United States’ critical infrastructure.
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But after 12 whole months of development, tech experts aren’t sure if the latest effort to strengthen cybersecurity among the players involved in the nation’s power sector, telecommunications sphere and other at-risk realms meets what they think is warranted.

During his 2013 State of the Union address, Pres. Obama acknowledged that earlier that day he signed an executive order intended to strengthen the country’s cyber defenses “by increasing information sharing and developing standards to protect our national security, our jobs and our privacy.” That executive order compelled the director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, or NIST, to develop a framework intended to help entities reduce cyber risks faced by the nation’s most crucial assets. Government officials announced one year to the day that they were ready to begin rolling-out those standards to interested industry partners during a White House press conference on Wednesday.

“Threats are becoming more sophisticated,” White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough said during the event that afternoon, and “…the only way to address these threats effectively is through a true partnership between the government and the private sector.” Soon, however, participation in the program is expected to be mandated among government contractors.

When the president signed the order last February, he warned that the threat from cyberattacks has worsened in recent years and cited money-hungry hackers and malicious foreign nation-states as being among the biggest culprits behind attacks on America’s computer systems. One year later that threat has arguably only intensified — especially in light of the recent security breaches suffered at the hands of Target, Neiman Marcus and others — and the Obama administration hopes that companies that consider adopting the new framework will find themselves less likely to be brought down by highly-skilled hackers.

The framework, its authors write, “uses a common language to address and manage cybersecurity risk in a cost-effective way based on business needs without placing additional regulatory requirements on businesses.” According to its executive summary it “enables organizations – regardless of size, degree of cybersecurity risk or cybersecurity sophistication – to apply the principles and best practices of risk management to improving the security and resilience of critical infrastructure” by providing “organization and structure to today’s multiple approaches to cybersecurity by assembling standards, guidelines and practices that are working effectively in industry today.”

Over the course of 47 pages, the document outlines a framework composed of five core functions — identify, protect, deter, respond and recover — intended to provide participating entities with a strategic view of how they match up against varying levels of attack. Elsewhere it shows participants how to align with best practices crucial to protecting the systems of critical infrastructure components, and how those groups can manage themselves to assess all sorts of potential risks.

Critical infrastructure, as defined in that report, is composed of “systems and assets, whether physical or virtual, so vital to the United States that the incapacity or destruction of such systems and assets would have a debilitating impact on security, national economic security, national public health or safety or any combination of those matters,” and includes private sector businesses ranging from telecommunication providers to utility companies.

Cybersecurity Framework 021214 Final

The framework announced this week doesn’t require any companies or corporations to sign on, however, and absent monetary incentives it could make little difference in coercing cooperation from the private sector.

Originally, the US government considered actions that would have awarded companies that follow the framework by providing assistance in acquiring the upgrades required to wrestle against cyberattacks. That offer has been erased from the finalized framework, however, much to the chagrin of some who saw those measures as a way to attract otherwise unwilling participants that aren’t interested in adopting purely voluntary standards.

“Six months ago the message we were hearing is that incentives were coming,” Robert Dix, vice president of government affairs for California’s Juniper Networks told Bloomberg BusinessWeek in a recent telephone interview“Virtually nothing has been done to move the needle on any incentives that are going to be economic motivators for investments.”

“If the framework isn’t cost effective and isn’t supported by incentives, it’s hard to see how it can work on a sustainable basis,” added Larry Clinton, the president of the Internet Security Alliance, which represents General Electric, among others.

Indeed, Dix and Clinton’s trade group are not alone. On Tuesday this week, the Information Technology Industry Council — which includes Apple, Google, IBM, Intel and Symantec — released a statement which in part objected to the lack of incentives being offered a year after they were all but assured.

“Given limited fiscal resources and the complexity of incentives, including the necessary involvement of multiple stakeholders including Congress, it is highly unlikely any will be available at, or immediately following, the February 2014 launch” of the framework, that group said.

Others have applauded the framework, albeit while still expressing some reservations about the final report.

“The voluntary cybersecurity framework provides a number of useful guideposts for companies who want to better secure their data,” Greg Nojeim of the DC-based Center for Democracy and Technology wrotein a statement released Wednesday afternoon. “The framework will be useful to companies and their privacy officers, because it will remind them that processes should be put in place to deal with the privacy issues that arise in the cybersecurity context.”

“However, we are concerned that the privacy provisions in the framework were watered down from the original draft,” added Nojeim. “We would have preferred a framework that requires more measurable privacy protections as opposed to the privacy processes that were recommended. As the framework is implemented, we are hopeful that such privacy protections are further developed and become standardized.”

Even Michael Chertoff, the former secretary of the Department of Homeland Security under President George W. Bush, told POLITICO last week that he thinks the framework lacks the necessary support from other aspects of the US government. Without that, he said, it might not be enough to protect critical infrastructure components.

“Either Congress will have to really put some muscle behind it, or the regulators … will have to pick up the baton,” said Chertoff. “I wouldn’t say we’re at the end of the journey.”

Even those unwilling to adopt the voluntary standards will have other options to protect their computers, though. Current DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson announced during Wednesday’s conference that his office has established the Critical Infrastructure Cyber Community Voluntary Program, or C-Cubed, to give companies that provide critical services like cell phone, email, banking and energy free and direct access to cyber security experts within the DHS who have knowledge about specific threats facing the country, as well as ways to counter those threats and recover.

“The C-Cubed Voluntary Program will serve as a point of contact and customer relationship manager to assist organizations with framework use, and guide interested organizations and sectors to DHS and other public and private sector resources to support use of the Cybersecurity Framework,” Johnson’s department said in a statement published on Wednesday.

Source: RT

DARPA developing ultimate web search engine to police the internet

darpa internet search engine DARPA developing ultimate web search engine to police the internet

​The Pentagon’s research arm that fosters futuristic technology for the military will soon begin working to surpass current abilities of commercial web search engines. Yet, once it masters the “deep Web,” the agency doesn’t say much about what comes next.

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The Defense Advanced Research (DARPA) said its “Memex” project will be able to search the far corners of internet content that is unattainable by modern, mainstream search engines, offering DARPA“technological superiority in the area of content indexing and Web search on the Internet.”

DARPA said earlier this month in its solicitation announcement for Memex proposals that the system will initially be used to counter human trafficking, which often thrives in web forums, chat rooms, job postings, hidden services and other websites.

To root out trafficking operations within the invisible corners of the web, commonly referred to as the“deep web,” Memex (a melding of “memory” and “index”“will address the inherent shortcomings of centralized search by developing technology for domain-specific indexing of Web content and domain-specific search capabilities.”

With Memex, DARPA hopes to achieve the ability for decentralized, automated, topic-precise searches that can leverage image recognition and natural language technology.

DARPA has asked researchers to develop advanced web-crawler software to reach sites and resources that have sophisticated crawler defenses. Memex operators would then be able to access the indexed domain-relevant content with much greater precision and ease than is currently possible.

Memex, DARPA says, will be first employed against human trafficking, which, “especially for the commercial sex trade, is a line of business with significant Web presence to attract customers and is relevant to many types of military, law enforcement, and intelligence investigations.”

DARPA says that dark places online where trafficking occurs enables “a growing industry of modern slavery” that can be stopped with Memex capabilities.

“An index curated for the counter trafficking domain, including labor and sex trafficking, along with configurable interfaces for search and analysis will enable a new opportunity for military, law enforcement, legal, and intelligence actions to be taken against trafficking enterprises,” DARPA’s solicitation announcement reads.

Yet while DARPA mentions the usefulness of such technology for law enforcement and investigative purposes regarding human trafficking – basically, crimes few are opposed to stopping – it does not address the myriad other uses Memex would offer the US military, government intelligence operations, or police actions.

Amid the recent disclosures of government spying via the National Security Agency’s operations, the topic of complete surveillance over the entirety of the web is a sore subject. Thus, DARPA says it is“specifically not interested in proposals for the following: attributing anonymous services deanonymizing or attributing identity to servers or IP addresses, or gaining access to information which is not intended to be publicly available.”

How DARPA would catch traffickers without “deanonymizing” someone, though, the agency does not explain. Nor does it address just how far it wants to out anyone hiding in the deep web for legitimate reasons, whether they are journalists, whistleblowers, activists, and the like.

The Memex project takes its name from a 1945 article in The Atlantic titled “As We May Think,” by Dr. Vannevar Bush, head of the White House Office of Scientific Research and Development. Bush envisioned a “device” that could be used for finding and categorizing the world’s information, acting as a supplement for the human brain.

“In a nutshell, Bush wanted to mimic how the human brain thinks, learns, and remembers information,”writes Motherboard. “Which is exactly what artificial intelligence researchers at the DoD and in Silicon Valley are trying to do now, to glean better insights from the unruly army of big data being collected by web giants and the military alike.”

The Memex project is expected to run over the next three years, with proposals due in April.

Source: RT

Alaska to vote on pot legislation this August

marijuana 1 Alaska to vote on pot legislation this August
Marijuana advocates in Alaska have obtained more than enough signatures to ensure voters there will have the opportunity this year to weigh-in on a measure that could legalize recreational marijuana, state officials admitted this week.
Continue reading «Alaska to vote on pot legislation this August»

As of Tuesday, a petition that would let residents of the forty-ninth state vote to make pot legal for adults surpassed a 30,169 signature threshold, all but clearing the way for the issue to appear in ballot booths during elections there on August 19.

“The initiative has met the state requirement for signatures,” Gail Fenumiai, the director of the Alaska’s Division of Elections, told Reuters. “It’s a matter now of officially getting the certification documents signed by the lieutenant governor.”

If that measure succeeds, then Alaska will join Colorado and Washington to become the third state in America that has outright bypassed a long-standing federal pot prohibition.

Nationwide, United States law currently considers marijuana a Schedule I narcotic on par with heroin and ecstasy. Voters in the states of Washington and Colorado elected in 2012 to ignore federal legislation, however, and instead work towards ways to implement legal, recreational weed for adults over the age of 21.

The latest effort out of Alaska involves advocating for a bill modeled after the Colorado law currently in place, and if approved would let residents possess up to an ounce (28 grams) of marijuana and grow up to six plants, as well as pave the way for creation of a system to tax and regulate sales of the drug.

Recreational marijuana sales in Colorado surpassed $1 million in just one day when weed became legal there on January 1 of this year, and state officials expect to reap upwards of 70-times that in tax revenue alone by the end of December. If the effort in Alaska succeeds, then the state will impose a $50-per-ounce tax on legally sold marijuana and mandate that officials begin striving to implement rules for regulating the sale of marijuana in licensed stores within nine months of enactment.

Alaska is currently one of 20 states in the US that has rules in place for medicinal marijuana, but a win for pot proponents in August would mean yet another victory for a growing, nationwide movement to legalize and decriminalize marijuana for all adults, and not just those with a doctor’s note.

“It appears voters will have the opportunity in August to replace the failed policies of marijuana prohibition with a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed like alcohol in Alaska,” Taylor Bickford, a spokesperson for a campaign favoring the state weed bill, told the Alaska Dispatch this week.

Currently, state law allows for officials to jail anyone found in possession of marijuana outside of the privacy of their own home for up to 90 days, as well as subject them to a $2,000 fine. The bill currently being discussed there would not make it legal for residents to roam the streets consuming cannabis, but residents with modest amounts of marijuana on their person wouldn’t be forced to pay heavy fines or worry about incarceration.

Kevin Sabet, a co-founder of the anti-legalization Project Smart Approaches to Marijuana, told Reuters this week that his group has yet officially come out swinging against the pro-pot campaign.

“There is no formal opposition in Alaska just yet, but SAM has been approached by Alaskan activists who don’t want to see the safety problems and burdensome government regulation that would come with legalization,” Sabet said.

In the meantime, though, even the administration of US President Barack Obama has openly admittedrecently that weed is not as dangerous as government officials once insisted.

“I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol,” Pres. Obama told reporters at the New Yorker for an interview published last month. “[W]e should not be locking up kids or individual users for long stretches of jail time when some of the folks who are writing those laws have probably done the same thing,” he said.

Then on the floor of Congress just this week, Obama’s deputy drug czar, Michael Botticelli, told the House of Representatives Oversight Committee that he couldn’t dispute the fact that alcohol abuse isn’t comparable with any similar issues involving marijuana.

“Voters are quickly coming to realize that marijuana is not remotely as harmful as they were once led to believe,” Mason Tvert, communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project, added to USA Today this week. “If voters take an objective look at the evidence, they will likely arrive at the conclusion that marijuana prohibition has been just as wasteful and problematic as alcohol prohibition.”

A decade ago, a poll among Alaskans conducted by Ivan Moore Research found that only 38 percent of residents across the state favored decriminalization. That number jumped to 43 percent in 2010, the Anchorage Daily News reported this week, and a survey conducted last year by Public Policy Polling in conjunction with the Marijuana Policy Project determined that a majority of Alaskans — 54 percent — would favor a change in state law.

“There has been phenomenal change,” Ivan Moore, a pollster and political consultant from the forty-ninth state, told the paper this week.

Back in the lower 48, the city council of Washington, DC moved forward as well this week with an effort to decriminalize marijuana in the nation’s capital. Lawmakers voted 11-1 on a bill that, if approved, would eliminate jail time for Washingtonians caught with small amounts of weed.

Source: RT