The Internet - The first Worldwide Tool of Unification ("The End of History")

" ... Now I give you something that few think about: What do you think the Internet is all about, historically? Citizens of all the countries on Earth can talk to one another without electronic borders. The young people of those nations can all see each other, talk to each other, and express opinions. No matter what the country does to suppress it, they're doing it anyway. They are putting together a network of consciousness, of oneness, a multicultural consciousness. It's here to stay. It's part of the new energy. The young people know it and are leading the way.... "

" ... I gave you a prophecy more than 10 years ago. I told you there would come a day when everyone could talk to everyone and, therefore, there could be no conspiracy. For conspiracy depends on separation and secrecy - something hiding in the dark that only a few know about. Seen the news lately? What is happening? Could it be that there is a new paradigm happening that seems to go against history?... " Read More …. "The End of History"- Nov 20, 2010 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll)

"Recalibration of Free Choice"– Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: (Old) Souls, Midpoint on 21-12-2012, Shift of Human Consciousness, Black & White vs. Color, 1 - Spirituality (Religions) shifting, Loose a Pope “soon”, 2 - Humans will change react to drama, 3 - Civilizations/Population on Earth, 4 - Alternate energy sources (Geothermal, Tidal (Paddle wheels), Wind), 5 – Financials Institutes/concepts will change (Integrity – Ethical) , 6 - News/Media/TV to change, 7 – Big Pharmaceutical company will collapse “soon”, (Keep people sick), (Integrity – Ethical) 8 – Wars will be over on Earth, Global Unity, … etc.) - (Text version)

“…5 - Integrity That May Surprise…

Have you seen innovation and invention in the past decade that required thinking out of the box of an old reality? Indeed, you have. I can't tell you what's coming, because you haven't thought of it yet! But the potentials of it are looming large. Let me give you an example, Let us say that 20 years ago, you predicted that there would be something called the Internet on a device you don't really have yet using technology that you can't imagine. You will have full libraries, buildings filled with books, in your hand - a worldwide encyclopedia of everything knowable, with the ability to look it up instantly! Not only that, but that look-up service isn't going to cost a penny! You can call friends and see them on a video screen, and it won't cost a penny! No matter how long you use this service and to what depth you use it, the service itself will be free.

Now, anyone listening to you back then would perhaps have said, "Even if we can believe the technological part, which we think is impossible, everything costs something. There has to be a charge for it! Otherwise, how would they stay in business?" The answer is this: With new invention comes new paradigms of business. You don't know what you don't know, so don't decide in advance what you think is coming based on an old energy world. ..."
(Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" Managed Business, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)

German anti-hate speech group counters Facebook trolls

German anti-hate speech group counters Facebook trolls
Logo No Hate Speech Movement

Bundestag passes law to fine social media companies for not deleting hate speech

Honouring computing’s 1843 visionary, Lady Ada Lovelace. (Design of doodle by Kevin Laughlin)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Internet privacy as important as human rights, says UN's Navi Pillay

Navi Pillay compares uproar over mass surveillance to response that helped defeat apartheid during Today programme, Haroon Siddique, Thursday 26 December 2013

Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Navi Pillay, during a press conference in Geneva
earlier this month. Photograph: Martial Trezzini/AP

The UN human rights chief, Navi Pillay, has compared the uproar in the international community caused by revelations of mass surveillance with the collective response that helped bring down the apartheid regime in South Africa.

Pillay, the first non-white person to serve as a high court judge in South Africa, made the comments in an interview with Sir Tim Berners-Lee on a special edition of BBC Radio 4's Today programme, which the World Wide Web inventor was guest editing.

Pillay has been asked by the UN to prepare a report on protection of the right to privacy, in the wake of classified documents being leaked by the former National Security Agency analyst Edward Snowden about UK and US spying and the collection of personal data.

The former international criminal court judge said that her encounters with serious human rights abuses, which included serving on the Rwanda tribunal, did not make her take internet privacy less seriously.

"I don't grade human rights," she said. "I feel I have to look after and promote the rights of all persons. I'm not put off by the lifetime experience of violations I have seen."

She said apartheid ended in South Africa principally because the international community co-operated to denounce it, adding: "So, I see how combined and collective action by everybody can end serious violations of human rights and really that experience inspires me to go on and address the issue of internet [privacy] which right now is extremely troubling because the revelations of surveillance have implications for human rights … People are really afraid that all their personal details are being used in violation of traditional national protections." She described it as a grave issue.

The UN general assembly unanimously voted last week to adopt a resolution, introducedby Germany and Brazil, stating that "the same rights that people have offline must also be protected online, including the right to privacy". Brazil's president, Dilma Rousseff, and the German chancellor, Angela Merkel , were among those spied on, according to the documents leaked by Snowden. The resolution called on the 193 UN member states "to review their procedures, practices and legislation regarding the surveillance of communications, their interception and collection of personal data, with a view to upholding the right to privacy of all their obligations under international human rights law". It also directed Pillay to publish a report on the protection and promotion of privacy "in the context of domestic and extraterritorial surveillance ... including on a mass scale". She told Berners-Lee that it was "very important that governments now want to discuss the matters of mass surveillance and right to privacy in a serious way".

Berners-Lee has warned that online surveillance undermines confidence in the internet and last week published an open letter, with more than 100 free speech groups and leading activists, to protest against the routine interception of data by governments around the world.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Britain pardons code-breaking hero Alan Turing over homosexuality conviction

Deutsche Welle, 24 December 2013

Britain has issued a pardon to the World War II code breaker Alan Turing over a conviction for homosexuality. Turing is regularly hailed as the father of modern computing and credited by many with shortening the war.

In a statement published on Tuesday, British Justice Minister Chris Grayling said the pardon from Queen Elizabeth would come into effect immediately.

He added that the pardon was a tribute to "an exceptional man with a brilliant mind." British Prime Minister David Cameron said Turing's work in breaking the German Enigma Code had saved "countless lives".

"Alan Turing was a remarkable man who played a key role in saving this country in World War II by cracking the German Enigma code," Cameron said. "He also left a remarkable national legacy through his substantial scientific achievements, often being referred to as the father of modern computing."

The Enigma code was used to encrypt German military communications, with Turing's work - famously carried out at Bletchley Park northwest of London - said to have given the Allies an edge against the Nazi regime. In particular, his code breaking is believed to have been instrumental in beating back the German offensive in North Africa and helping Allied shipping escape Nazi submarines in the Atlantic.

Conviction for 'indecency'

Before the war, Turing had already established ideas that would underpin modern computing, postulating ideas about artificial intelligence.

After 1945, he worked from the University of Manchester and helped program some of the world's first computers - notably developing one of the world's first electronic chess games.

Despite Turing's crucial part in the Allied war effort, the British government for decades refused to acknowledge his contribution on the grounds of secrecy. In 1952, he was convicted of "gross indecency" over a relationship with another man. He was subjected to intrusive surveillance and hormone treatment aimed at suppressing his sex drive.

Turing died in 1954, with a coroner ruling that he had committed suicide. However, that verdict has since been questioned.

The official pardon comes after more than 37,000 people signed an online petition requesting it.

Pardons are normally only granted in Britain when the person is innocent of an offence that was on the statute books at the time of conviction, and where the request is made by someone with a vested interest, such as a family member. The pardon for Turing comes despite neither of these conditions being met.

rc/se (AFP, Reuters, AP)
Related Article:

Snowden Declares 'Mission Accomplished'

Radio Free Europe, December 24, 2013

Edward Snowden in Moscow in October

Former U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) consultant Edward Snowden says his "mission's already accomplished" because he has forced a reassessment of U.S. spying policies.

In an exclusive interview posted online by "The Washington Post" on December 23, Snowden said that he leaked NSA secrets so that the American people would "have a say in how they are governed."

Snowden spoke to the daily in Moscow, where he was granted temporary asylum in August. Snowden said that he has been living as an "ascetic" in Moscow.

He said he lives off of noodles and chips and spends most of his time on the Internet. "I have no relationship with the Russian government," Snowden said. "I have not entered into any agreements with them."

Barack Obama will read the report over the holidays before
deciding which recommendations he will choose to accept. 
Photograph: Zhang Jun/Xinhua/Corbis

Monday, December 23, 2013

Apple, Microsoft plan to open Dutch data centres: media, Monday 23 December 2013

Technology giants Apple and Microsoft are considering developing multi-million euro data centres in the Netherlands, according to various media reports.

The Noord Hollands Dagblad says Apple is looking at developing a data centre in the port of Eemshaven. The paper bases its claims on local sources and the port authority's multi-year plan which includes mention of a new company setting up base in the area.

The port authority declined to comment on the reports. Google already has server farm in the town. Eemshaven is the end point for a major transatlantic fibre optic cable network.

According to the Telegraaf, Microsoft also has plans to develop a large data centre in the north of Noord Holland province with an investment of some €2bn.

The plant will be located in the middle of the province’s horticulture industry and will be powered by energy created in the greenhouses.

Related Article:

Amazon taps into China's cloud computing market

Want China Times, Yeh Wen-yi and Staff Reporter 2013-12-22

Amazon logos are displayed on laptop computers in Washington DC,
Oct. 23. (Photo/CFP)

US retail giant Amazon will set up a data center to pilot its cloud computing services in collaboration with enterprises in China in early 2014.

Since 2006, Amazon had been using its experience in e-commerce sales to launch its cloud computing services, namely Amazon Web Services, and has now become the largest service supplier in the sector.

Hundreds of thousands of companies in 190 countries around the world use Amazon's platform at present. China is the tenth country globally and the fourth in Asia in which an Amazon data center will be built.

In the meantime, Amazon has signed a letter of intent with Beijing and Ningxia to deliver the cities' public services.

In addition to its partnership with Beijing and Ningxia, Amazon has also formed an alliance with Sinnet and China Net Center. The two Chinese companies will provide the necessary internet data center services (IDC) and an internet service provider (ISP) for Amazon's public cloud computing services.

The collaboration is a result of regulations formulated by the Chinese government.

Amazon stated that there were several thousand Chinese firms adopting Amazon's public cloud computing platform, including Xiaomi and Qihoo 360.

Chinese firms have also announced plans for their cloud computing platforms in response to Amazon's move.

According to the Shanghai-based China Business News, following Amazon's announcement of its intentions to use its public cloud computing platform in China, IBM and Alibaba also released their plans for cloud computing projects in the country.

Alibaba Cloud Computing or AliCoud even proposed to offer a 20%-50% discount for its services, including for its cloud servers and internet data center.

In addition, IBM and Lenovo announced their partnership with other firms in the cloud computing arena.

Lenovo will use Microsoft's services, such as Windows Server and Windows Azure, while IBM said that it will work with 21Vianet Group, a China-based carrier-neutral internet data center operator.

Tencent's cloud storage services will also offer considerable discounts for its services.

Related Articles:

Apple seals iPhone deal with China Mobile

Deutsche Welle, 23 December 2013

Technological giant Apple has announced an agreement with China Mobile, the world's biggest cellphone network. The deal opens up a further significant chunk of the Chinese smartphone market.

Apple announced on Sunday that it would make its latest iPhone models available to China Mobile's more than 700 million subscribers from January 17.

The agreement, which follows years of negotiations, would see the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c available across mainland China. A major sticking point in discussions between the companies has been Apple's demand for sales volume guarantees.

"China is an extremely important market for Apple and our partnership with China Mobile presents us the opportunity to bring iPhone to the customers of the world's largest network," said Apple CEO Tim Cook.

Advantages on both sides

While demand for iPhone was once great in China, sales have slumped because of competition from South Korea's Samsung and cheaper Chinese competitors.

Analysts speculate that Apple could sell between 10 million and 40 million more iPhones. For China Mobile, the deal could attract more customers.

"We know there are many China Mobile customers and potential new customers," said China Mobile chairman Xi Guohua.

Apple already has agreements with China Telecom Ltd. And China Unicom Ltd., which together have some 455 million mobile accounts.

rc/lw (AFP, AP)

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Hon Hai's new Indonesian factory to produce Blackberry

Want China Times, Staff Reporter 2013-12-21

Hon Hai's new factory in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. (Internet photo)

Hon Hai Precision Industry (Foxconn) will design and manufacture new Blackberry phones for the next five years, our sister paper Commercial Times reported on Dec. 21, two days after the company's chairman Terry Gou announced the company would open a new factory in Yogyakarta, Indonesia after the Lunar New Year.

The Southeast Asian nation is one of the markets that Blackberry aims to target.

Company spokesman Simon Hsing said Hon Hai's new factory in Yogyakarta and another plant in Mexico will be the major manufacturing bases for Blackberry phones, as they are both close to the major markets for the smartphone.

Commercial Times said approximately 50 million cell phones or smartphones were imported to Indonesia in 2012, generating total revenue of more than US$4.5 billion.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Strip NSA of power to collect phone data records, Obama review panel says

• Review proposes greater authority for spying on foreign leaders
• Government 'should be banned from undermining encryption'
• Forty-six recommendations in 300-page report released early

theguardian.comDan Roberts in Washington and Spencer Ackerman in New York,18 December 2013

Barack Obama will read the report over the holidays before deciding which
recommendations he will choose to accept. Photograph: Zhang Jun/Xinhua/Corbis

The National Security Agency should be banned from attempting to undermine the security of the internet and stripped of its power to collect telephone records in bulk, a White House review panel recommended on Wednesday.

In a 300-page report prepared for President Obama, the panel made 46 recommendations, including that the authority for spying on foreign leaders should be granted at a higher level than at present.

Though far less sweeping than campaigners have urged, and yet to be ratified by Obama, the report by his Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technology comes as the White House faces growing pressure over its so-called “bulk collection” programs from US courts and business interests.

Earlier this week, a federal judge ruled that the bulk collection program was likely to be in violation of the US constitution, describing it as “almost Orwellian” in scope.

The White House was stung into releasing the report weeks earlier than expected after meeting America’s largest internet companies on Tuesday. The firms warned that failure to rebuild public trust in communications privacy could damage the US economy.

In its report, the review panel, led by former security officials and academics including the husband of one of Obama's top advisers, said the NSA should be removed of its power to collect the metadata of Americans' phone calls. Instead, it suggested that private companies such as phone carriers retain their customer records in a format that the NSA can access on demand.

This is likely to anger the intelligence community, which argues for direct access, but also fall foul of telephone companies, who have privately warned those drafting more ambitious reforms in Congress that such a scheme would be impractical and dangerous.

“In our view, the current storage by the government of bulk metadata creates potential risks to public trust, personal privacy, and civil liberty,” says the report. “The government should not be permitted to collect and store mass, undigested, non-public personal information about US persons for the purpose of enabling future queries and data-mining for foreign intelligence purposes.”

It also proposes continued NSA spying on foreigners, merely requiring higher clearance to “identify both the uses and the limits of surveillance on foreign leaders and in foreign nations.”

On the security of the internet, the report says the US government should not "undermine efforts to create encryption standards" and not "subvert, undermine, weaken or make vulnerable" commercial security software.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, one of the privacy advocates suing the Obama administration over the bulk surveillance, expressed disappointment with the review group report. “The review board floats a number of interesting reform proposals, and we're especially happy to see them condemn the NSA's attacks on encryption and other security systems people rely upon,” attorney Kurt Opsahl said.

“But we’re disappointed that the recommendations suggest a path to continue untargeted spying. Mass surveillance is still heinous, even if private company servers are holding the data instead of government data centers.”

After meeting the report’s authors on Wednesday, the White House said Obama would be taking a copy with him to read over Christmas and would decide which recommendations to accept before delivering his state of the union address on January 28.

“It's an extremely dense and substantive exercise, which is why, in response to a 300-plus page report with 46 recommendations, we are not going to come out with an assessment five minutes later,” said spokesman Jay Carney.

Carney acknowledged there was “no question” that the Snowden disclosures had helped lead to the review process and “heightened focus here at the White House and more broadly in the administration, around the United States and the globe.”

For months, the NSA, the phone companies and reform-minded legislators have doubted the viability of having the phone companies store call data on the NSA's behalf.

The NSA has pointed to cumbersome and varied file formats that prevent analysts from quickly searching through the companies' data troves, particularly those proprietary to the telecos. They have also fretted that the companies only keep customer data for 18 months, while they argue they need a historical database of every domestic call going back as few as three years and as many as five.

The companies themselves fear expensive legal and technical morasses that mass data storage on behalf of the NSA may portend.

Meanwhile, civil libertarians and reform-minded legislators believe the databases themselves are problematic. Having the phone companies store them, to provide access to the NSA, is insufficient, they believe.

“Bulk collection of personal data should simply end,” said Alan Butler, an attorney for the Electronic Privacy Information Center.

It remains to be seen whether the legislators behind the USA Freedom Act, the major legislative vehicle before the House and Senate to end NSA domestic bulk call data collection, will be satisfied with the proposal. But at least one member of the House intelligence committee who has sided with the reformers, California Democrat Adam Schiff, called it a “very positive step” and urged Obama to get out in front of the coming swell of legislation.

“With the strong likelihood of congressional action, as well as a recent adverse decision by a federal district court judge, I believe the president would be well served to take the advice of the board and restructure the program as soon as possible. It would be better to have this undertaken in an orderly and expeditious fashion, than to wait for it to be compelled by the Congress or the courts,” Schiff said on Wednesday.

The White House has said Obama will not decide on which of the panel’s reforms to implement until the new year. But last week, the administration decided against one of its recommendations, that would split the NSA from the US military’s Cyber Command.

The decision was reached, White House officials said, because Cyber Command’s task of protecting US military networks from hostile attack and launching wartime online counter-attacks is too ambitious for Cyber Command, which only became operational in 2010.

Accordingly, the NSA director will remain a military general or admiral, contradicting the review group’s recommendation that a civilian should take the helm of the world’s largest spy agency.

Civil libertarian groups have been skeptical of the report for months, fearing that the White House established the insider panel to give Obama and the NSA cover to implement merely cosmetic changes. Advisers to the panel have told the Guardian since September that the panel was stopping well short of meaningful privacy reforms.

As late as Sunday, White House officials told reporters that the report would not be released until January. But in the days since, the NSA and the Obama administration have been buffeted by criticism, from a widely ridiculed 60 Minutes documentary on the NSA, to Judge Richard Leon’s scathing ruling, to the tech giants’ impatience with the surveillance agency.

The report’s authors were Richard Clarke, a former US cybersecurity adviser; Michael Morell, a former deputy CIA director; Geoffrey Stone, a University of Chicago law professor; Peter Swire, who served earlier on Obama's national economic council; and Cass Sunstein, a Harvard law school professor who is married to UN ambassador Samantha Power.

Just before the White House released the review's report, a different group advising Obama, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, which has held public hearings into the NSA for months, announced it will release two studies of its own, one into bulk collection of domestic phone data and the other into bulk foreign communications collection.

The reviews, due around late January and early February 2014, will also assess the operations of the secret Fisa court overseeing surveillance and provide "recommendations for legislative and program changes," the board announced on Wednesday afternoon.

Related Article:

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Telecoms start work on cloud computing park in Guizhou

Want China Times, Xinhua 2013-12-18

A service representative sits in front of the China
Mobile's company logo. (File photo/Xinhua)

China Mobile and China Unicom announced on Monday the beginning of construction on two cloud computing parks with investment totaling 7 billion yuan (US$1.15 billion) in southwest China's Guizhou province.

The two cloud computing parks will be located in the Gui'an New Area of Guizhou, where China Telecom already began construction of a similar park in October.

China Unicom, one of China's main telecom operators, plans to invest 5 billion yuan (US$823.5 million) in the park, which will cover around 33 hectares of land.

China Mobile, China's largest telecom operator, plans to build a cloud computing park covering an area of 18 hectares with 2 billion yuan (US$329.4 million) in investment.

The Gui'an new area includes land in Guiyang, the provincial capital, and the neighboring city of Anshun. It is one of five key new areas marked off in the country's 12th five-year plan for 2011-2015 to promote development in western regions.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

NOS best news app of 2013, Tuesday 17 December 2013

The NOS app on an iPhone. (NOS)
Dutch broadcasting company NOS provided the best news app in 2013, electronics company Apple said on Tuesday.

The NOS came second on Apple's list of the best apps of 2013, sandwiched between language-teaching app Duolingo and Toca Hair Salon 2, a virtual hairdressing business.

NSA phone surveillance program likely unconstitutional, federal judge rules

• Dragnet 'likely' in breach of fourth amendment
• Judge describes scope of program as 'Orwellian'
• Ruling relates to collection of Americans' metadata
• Read the full ruling here, Spencer Ackerman and Dan Roberts in Washington, Monday 16 December 2013

NSA: legal setback. Photograph: Julian Stratenschulte/EPA

The National Security Agency received its most significant legal setback since the disclosures prompted by a former contractor, Edward Snowden, when a federal judge ruled on Monday that its bulk collection of Americans’ telephone records is likely to violate the US constitution.

Judge Richard Leon declared that the mass collection of so-called metadata probably violates the fourth amendment, relating to unreasonable searches and seizures, and is "almost Orwellian" in its scope.

He also expressed doubt about the central rationale for the program cited by the NSA: that it is necessary for preventing terrorist attacks. “The government does not cite a single case in which analysis of the NSA’s bulk metadata collection actually stopped an imminent terrorist attack,” wrote Leon, a US district judge in the District of Columbia.

“Given the limited record before me at this point in the litigation – most notably, the utter lack of evidence that a terrorist attack has ever been prevented because searching the NSA database was faster than other investigative tactics – I have serious doubts about the efficacy of the metadata collection program as a means of conducting time-sensitive investigations in cases involving imminent threats of terrorism.”

Leon, an appointee of George W Bush, granted a preliminary injunction sought by plaintiffs Larry Klayman and Charles Strange, concluding that their constitutional challenge was likely to be successful. In what was the only comfort to the NSA in a stinging judgment, he put the ruling on hold, pending an appeal by the government.

But Leon’s opinion contained stern and repeated warnings that he was inclined to rule that the metadata collection performed by the NSA – and defended vigorously by the NSA director Keith Alexander on CBS on Sunday night – was unconstitutional.

“Plaintiffs have a substantial likelihood of showing that their privacy interests outweigh the government’s interest in collecting and analysing bulk telephony metadata, and therefore the NSA’s bulk collection program is indeed an unreasonable search under the fourth amendment,” he wrote.

Leon said that the mass collection of phone metadata, revealed by the Guardian in June, was "indiscriminatory" and "arbitrary" in its scope. "The almost-Orwellian technology that enables the government to store and analyze the phone metadata of every telephone user in the United States is unlike anything that could have been conceived in 1979," he wrote in his 68-page ruling.

In a ruling likely to influence other federal courts hearing similar arguments from the American Civil Liberties Union, Leon wrote that the Guardian’s disclosure of the NSA’s bulk telephone records collection means that citizens now have standing to challenge it in court, since they can demonstrate for the first time that the government is collecting their phone data.

“The government asks me to find that plaintiffs lack standing based on the theoretical possibility that NSA has collected a universe of metadata so incomplete that the program could not possibly serve its putative function,” Leon wrote. “Candor of this type defies common sense and does not exactly inspire confidence!”

In a statement, Snowden said the ruling justified his disclosures. “I acted on my belief that the NSA's mass surveillance programs would not withstand a constitutional challenge, and that the American public deserved a chance to see these issues determined by open courts," he said in comments released through Glenn Greenwald, the former Guardian journalist who received leaked documents from Snowden. "Today, a secret program authorised by a secret court was, when exposed to the light of day, found to violate Americans’ rights. It is the first of many.”

Senator Mark Udall, a leading critic of the dragnet collection, welcomed the judgment. "The ruling underscores what I have argued for years: [that] the bulk collection of Americans' phone records conflicts with Americans' privacy rights under the US constitution and has failed to make us safer," said Udall, a Democrat.

Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director of the ACLU, praised what he called Leon's "thoughtful" ruling:“This is a strongly worded and carefully reasoned decision that ultimately concludes, absolutely correctly, that the NSA’s call-tracking program can’t be squared with the Constitution.

At the White House, spokesman Jay Carney said he had no comment on the on the case, saying he had not heard of the decision when the press briefing started and referred reporters to the Justice Department for reaction.

“We’ve seen the opinion and are studying it. We believe the program is constitutional as previous judges have found. We have no further comment at this time," said Justice Department spokesman Andrew Ames.

Leon also struck a blow for judicial review of government surveillance practices even when Congress explicitly restricts the ability of citizens to sue for relief. “While Congress has great latitude to create statutory schemes like Fisa,” he wrote, referring to the seminal 1978 surveillance law, “it may not hang a cloak of secrecy over the constitution.”

News of the ruling came as the White House revealed that its review into NSA activities has made more than 40 separate recommendations in a report received by Barack Obama on Friday.

Carney said the president would be reviewing the group's conclusions before making their findings public.

“Over the next several weeks we will be reviewing the review group's report and its more than 40 recommendations as we consider the path forward, including sorting through which recommendations we will implement and which might require further study and which will choose not to pursue,” said Carney.

“We expect the overall internal review to be completed in January. After that, the president will deliver remarks to outline the outcome of our work and at that time we will make public the review group's full report and other conclusions of our work.”

The White House also poured cold water on suggestions by an NSA official that whistleblower Edward Snowden could be offered an amnesty by the US in exchange for returning documents.

“Our position has not changed on that matter – at all,” said Carney. “Mr Snowden has been accused of leaking classified information and he faces felony charges in the US. He should be returned to the United States as soon as possible, where he will be accorded full due process.”

Asked about the NSA official's suggestion, the White House added: “He was expressing his personal opinion; these decisions are made by the Department of Justice. There has been no change in our position.”

In his ruling, Leon also expressly denied the government’s claim that a 1979 supreme court case, Smith v Maryland, which the NSA and the Obama administration often cite to argue that there is no reasonable expectation of privacy over metadata, applies in the NSA’s bulk-metadata collection.

“I am convinced that the surveillance program now before me is so different than a simple pen register that Smith is of little value in assessing whether the bulk telephony metadata program constitutes a fourth amendment search,” he wrote, since the Smith case concerned a “one-time, targeted request for data regarding an individual subject in a criminal investigation.”

Monday, December 16, 2013

Delft develops 20 gramme flying robot which does not bump into walls, Monday 16 December 2013

The DelFly Explorer (Nos/TU Delft)
Researchers at Delft University of Technology have developed a tiny flying robot which is self-steering and weights just 20 grammes.

The DelFly Explorer, which resembles a dragonfly, is battery-powered and carries two tiny cameras and a computer. This not only allows the robot to avoid objects but allows users to monitor what it ‘sees’.

The university says the robot is unique because it is so light and because it is not controlled by an external computer.

Bitcoin-related companies thriving in China

Want China Times, Staff Reporter 2013-12-16

A bitcoin symbol. (Photo/CFP)

Businesses dealing with the virtual currency bitcoin have sprouted across China, the most popular being the currency's trading platforms. Some have secured major investments, according to the Beijing-based Economic Observer.

China now has close to 10 bitcoin trading platforms, the more influential of which are BTC China, BTC Trade, Huobi and OKcoin.

BTC China secured a loan in the middle of this year for US$5 million from Lightspeed Venture Partners; OKcoin has secured funds from angel investors including Mai Gang, founder of Ventures Lab; and Huobi in November secured an investment from an unspecified investor in the internet business.

Li Lin, founder of Huobi, said his trading platform now has more than 200,000 registered users trading bitcoins through the site. His company will specialise in such transactions for the time being, which will remain free of charge, Li said.

His company is planning to launch a membership system and will look to create other sources of revenues by charging for services other than basic transactions, such as expedited processing.

OKcoin, on the other hand, is considering other business models beyond basic transactions, such as a payment system using bitcoins. Payment using bitcoins is not allowed under the current regulations in China.

In response, Xu Mingxing, founder of OKcoin, pointed out that his company is considering experimenting with the plan through a company registered overseas.

Xu said his company is also considering an electronic wallet for bitcoins, banks that handle bitcoin deposits and going public on bitcoin exchanges.

In China, bitcoin-related businesses are spreading like a virus as Chinese businesspeople seek to profit from speculation in the digital currency, according to Ron Cao, managing director of Lightspeed Venture Partners.

However, in the United States, where the bitcoin's popularity is lower among the general public than in China, there is greater variety in the types of businesses being created around bitcoins, Cao said.

For instance, US-based Coinbase — which offers a trading platform for bitcoins and an electronic wallet service — recently secured investments from companies including US research and venture capital organization International Data Group in the middle of the year.

Another US company, bitcoin payment processor BitPay, has announced receiving an unspecified investment following receipt of an earlier US$2 million sum in the middle of the year.

Hong Kong-based investment and venture capital firm Horizons Ventures, owned by Hong Kong business magnate Li Ka-shing, has reportedly also made an investment in BitPay.

Payment using bitcoins has become relatively more mature in the United States, with BitPay and Coinbase now boasting 100,000 commercial users, according to Cao.

Related Articles:

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Toxic 'e-waste' dumped in poor nations, says United Nations

Millions of tonnes of old electronic goods illegally exported to developing countries, as people dump luxury items

The Guardian, The Observer, John Vidal, Saturday 14 December 2013

Tablets and other electronic goods bought this Christmas are destined to
create a flood of 'e-waste'. Photograph: Anthony Upton/Rex Features

Millions of mobile phones, laptops, tablets, toys, digital cameras and other electronic devices bought this Christmas are destined to create a flood of dangerous "e-waste" that is being dumped illegally in developing countries, the UN has warned.

The global volume of electronic waste is expected to grow by 33% in the next four years, when it will weigh the equivalent of eight of the great Egyptian pyramids, according to the UN's Step initiative, which was set up to tackle the world's growing e-waste crisis. Last year nearly 50m tonnes of e-waste was generated worldwide – or about 7kg for every person on the planet. These are electronic goods made up of hundreds of different materials and containing toxic substances such as lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic and flame retardants. An old-style CRT computer screen can contain up to 3kg of lead, for example.

Once in landfill, these toxic materials seep out into the environment, contaminating land, water and the air. In addition, devices are often dismantled in primitive conditions. Those who work at these sites suffer frequent bouts of illness.

An indication of the level of e-waste being shipped to the developing world was revealed by Interpol last week. It said almost one in three containers leaving the EU that were checked by its agents contained illegal e-waste. Criminal investigations were launched against 40 companies. "Christmas will see a surge in sales and waste around the world," says Ruediger Kuehr, executive secretary of Step. "The explosion is happening because there's so much technical innovation. TVs, mobile phones and computers are all being replaced more and more quickly. The lifetime of products is also shortening."

According to the Step report, e-waste – which extends from old fridges to toys and even motorised toothbrushes – is now the world's fastest growing waste stream. China generated 11.1m tonnes last year, followed by the US with 10m tonnes, though there was significant difference per capita. For example, on average each American generated 29.5kg, compared to less than 5kg per person in China.

By 2017, Kuehr expects the volume of end-of-life TVs, phones, computers, monitors, e-toys and other products to be enough to fill a 15,000-mile line of 40-tonne lorries. In Europe, Germany discards the most e-waste in total, but Norway and Liechtenstein throw away more per person. Britain is now the world's seventh most prolific producer, discarding 1.37m tonnes, or about 21kg per person. No figures are available from government or industry on how much is exported.

Although it is legal to export discarded goods to poor countries if they can be reused or refurbished, much is being sent to Africa or Asia under false pretences, says Interpol. "Much is falsely classified as 'used goods' although in reality it is non-functional. It is often diverted to the black market and disguised as used goods to avoid the costs associated with legitimate recycling," said a spokesman. "A substantial proportion of e-waste exports go to countries outside Europe, including west African countries. Treatment in these countries usually occurs in the informal sector, causing significant environmental pollution and health risks for local populations," he said.

Few countries understand the scale of the problem, because no track is kept of all e-waste, says the European Environment Agency, which estimates between 250,000 tonnes and 1.3m tonnes of used electrical products are shipped out of the EU every year, mostly to west Africa and Asia. "These goods may subsequently be processed in dangerous and inefficient conditions, harming the health of local people and damaging the environment," said a spokesman.

A new study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology suggests that the US discarded 258.2m computers, monitors, TVs and mobile phones in 2010, of which only 66% was recycled. Nearly 120m mobile phones were collected, most of which were shipped to Hong Kong, Latin America and the Caribbean. The shelf life of a mobile phone is now less than two years, but the EU, US and Japanese governments say many hundreds of millions are thrown away each year or are left in drawers. In the US, only 12m mobile phones were collected for recycling in 2011 even though 120m were bought. Meanwhile, newer phone models are racing on to the market leaving old ones likely to end up in landfills. Most phones contain precious metals. The circuit board can contain copper, gold, zinc, beryllium, and tantalum, the coatings are typically made of lead and phone makers are now increasingly using lithium batteries. Yet fewer than 10% of mobile phones are dismantled and reused. Part of the problem is that computers, phones and other devices are becoming increasingly complex and made of smaller and smaller components.

The failure to recycle is also leading to shortages of rare-earth minerals to make future generations of electronic equipment.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Number of smartphones in the Netherlands outstrips pcs, Friday 13 December 2013

Twitter users post less messages
Some 67% of the Dutch now have a smartphone, outstripping the number with a personal computer for the first time, according to market research group GfK.

Some 65% of the Dutch population of nearly 17 million have a pc while 53% own a tablet computer.

One in five smartphone users said they never use the device to make phone calls; instead they take advantage of free messaging services like Whatsapp, and use email.

Social media

Facebook remains the most popular social network channel for Dutch users - over seven out of 10 people have a Facebook account. On average people make 24 visits a week to their Facebook page, up from 20 in 2012.

Some 27% have a Twitter account but use of the microblogging service has plunged from 22 visits a week a year ago to just 13.

The GfK survey also showed one third of people now use at least one video-on-demand service.

Older users

Other research published on Friday by the national statistics office CBS showed that 55% of Dutch people in the 65 to 75 age category use internet daily.

This is one of the highest rates in Europe.

In addition, 20% of the over-75s say they use internet on a daily basis.

Related Article:

"Recalibration of Free Choice"–  Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: (Old) SoulsMidpoint on 21-12-2012, Shift of Human Consciousness, Black & White vs. Color, 1 - Spirituality (Religions) shifting, Loose a Pope “soon”, 2 - Humans will change react to drama, 3 - Civilizations/Population on Earth,  4 - Alternate energy sources (Geothermal, Tidal (Paddle wheels), Wind), 5 – Financials Institutes/concepts will change (Integrity – Ethical) , 6 - News/Media/TV to change, 7 – Big Pharmaceutical company will collapse “soon”, (Keep people sick), (Integrity – Ethical)  8 – Wars will be over on Earth, Global Unity, … etc.) (Text version)

“…5 - Integrity That May Surprise…

Have you seen innovation and invention in the past decade that required thinking out of the box of an old reality? Indeed, you have. I can't tell you what's coming, because you haven't thought of it yet! But the potentials of it are looming large. Let me give you an example, Let us say that 20 years ago, you predicted that there would be something called the Internet on a device you don't really have yet using technology that you can't imagine. You will have full libraries, buildings filled with books, in your hand - a worldwide encyclopedia of everything knowable, with the ability to look it up instantly! Not only that, but that look-up service isn't going to cost a penny! You can call friends and see them on a video screen, and it won't cost a penny! No matter how long you use this service and to what depth you use it, the service itself will be free.

Now, anyone listening to you back then would perhaps have said, "Even if we can believe the technological part, which we think is impossible, everything costs something. There has to be a charge for it! Otherwise, how would they stay in business?" The answer is this: With new invention comes new paradigms of business. You don't know what you don't know, so don't decide in advance what you think is coming based on an old energy world. ..."