Man Sentenced for Stealing Fed Chairman’s Identity (updated)
Cary O’Reilly reports:
An Illinois man was sentenced to more than 16 years in prison for helping to lead an identity theft ring that counted Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and his wife Anna among its victims.
Leonardo Darnell Zanders, 49, of Dolton, Illinois, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee [hi YA! Bob] in Alexandria, Virginia, to 200 months in prison over his role in the ring that caused about $1.5 million in losses from at least 10 financial institutions, the Justice Department said in a statement. He must also pay $1.4 million in restitution.
Read more on BusinessWeek.
How do you signal another country that you are serious (in diplomatic terms)? You get formal. If you are not serious, you are doing this for political reasons. What might they be?
State Dept. presses China ambassador on Google
by Declan McCullagh January 22, 2010 3:41 PM PST
The U.S. government is continuing confidential talks with China in response to the Google-hacking incident, with a State Department official meeting the Chinese ambassador in Washington, D.C. Thursday night, but it has not yet filed a formal protest.
This is more than a bad habit. Government “over classification” has been a concern for some time. If nothing else, it makes it difficult to share information with agencies or people who are not “cleared” for it.
Over Redaction in Audit of FBI’s Use of Illegal Exigent Letters
Kurt Opsahl of EFF comments:
Earlier this week, the DOJ’s Inspector General issued a heavily redacted report about the FBI’s Communications Analysis Unit (CAU), which found “shocking” violations, including embedded telecom employees providing customer phone records in response to post-it notes.
While the underlying violations are egregious enough, the report itself is problematic because it redacts huge swaths of information that is already publicly known.
As we discussed in our last blog post, the report cryptically refers to AT&T, Verizon and MCI as Company A, B and C. Yet, the source that identified the telecoms embedded with the CAU was none other than FBI General Counsel Valerie Caproni, in sworn testimony before Congress. Moreover, information in the IG report combined with letters to Congress from the telecoms themselves shows that Company A is AT&T.
The IG report also redacts the amount paid to the telecoms when we already know they were paid $1.8 million a year, and that, in 2008, the FBI asked Congress for $5.3 million for further “funding for the telecommunications industry participation in the Telecommunications Data Collection Center (TDCC).”
Read more on EFF.
I know some parents who are doing the college thing..
Upromise Toolbar Betrays Privacy
Larry Seltzer writes:
Privacy researcher and Harvard Business School Professor Ben Edelman has written a report on the practices of the Upromise Toolbar, called TurboSaver by the company.
Upromise is a membership system through which you can earn money for college savings by buying items from certain vendors through Upromise. The toolbar facilitates this in your browser and tracks user behavior.
Edelman found, by logging packets as he used the software, that the TurboSaver logs your behavior and data in excruciating detail, then transmits all that detail to a third party (Compete Inc.) for analysis. The Upromise license (click the nearby image for a full-size view of what users see) does not disclose accurately what the toolbar does.
Read more on PC Mag.
Less than 24 hours after Edelman posted his findings Upromise responded:
Upromise has announced that they moved immediately to address the privacy problems identified by Ben Edelman yesterday in their toolbar, TurboSaver.
They say they have disabled the functionality identified by Edelman and are working with Compete, the vendor who received and analyzed the data sent by the toolbar, to address the situation.
Gosh, he must be guilty of something! (Sort of the opposite of “If you're innocent, you have nothing to worry about.”)
Does asking for a lawyer create reasonable suspicion to search a car?
When police pulled over a young driver for driving without headlights, he immediately asked for a lawyer. Was asking for a lawyer under such circumstances enough to give the police officer reasonable suspicion to search the car? That’s the question making the rounds in the legal blogosphere this week after Crime Scene KC picked up on the story. Martha Neil reports on ABA Journal:
Pulled over in 2008 by a rookie police officer for failing to use headlights at night and running a stop light, Daniel Sanders, who was then 19, asked for an attorney almost immediately, according to court documents.
Finding this suspicious, the Columbia, Mo., officer, Jessica McNabb, searched his car. In the trunk she found a body, later identified as that of Sanders’ 53-year-old mother, next to a brand-new shovel with the price tag still on it, reports the Missourian.
Initially charged with felony evidence tampering in the Boone County Circuit Court case, Sanders was subsequently accused of second-degree murder.
Now, amidst a flurry of incoming pretrial motions, his lawyer is seeking to suppress evidence from the car search, contending that McNabb lacked both probable cause and a warrant. Attorney Christopher Slusher also contends that McNabb violated his client’s constitutional rights by continuing to question Sanders after he asked for counsel, the newspaper reports.
Criminal defense attorney Scott Greenfield notes how invoking right to counsel, which is usually sage advice, seems to have backfired here in that it created suspicion for the rookie police officer, but notes:
While the basic advice remains as accurate as before, there are a few secondary points that bear stating. First, if you’ve got your dead mother in the trunk, try to obey normal traffic rules. It tends to draw less attention. Second, don’t murder your mom. It’s just wrong.
Cases like this present a truly interesting conundrum for courts and observers. Clearly, nobody is going to feel all that terrible about Sanders’ situation, being that there is no doubt as to mom being in the trunk and all. On the other hand, there is no question but that his invocation of rights cannot serve to create probable cause to search, and precludes further questioning. While the law must ultimately prevail, nobody is losing sleep over Sanders’ situation. Except maybe his lawyer.
Wouldn't a lender be negligent not to?
Lenders using social networks to assess applicants?
I wonder if the replace the missiles with rubber bullets?
UK: CCTV in the sky: police plan to use military-style spy drones
Paul Lewis reports:
Police in the UK are planning to use unmanned spy drones, controversially deployed in Afghanistan, for the ”routine” monitoring of antisocial motorists, protesters, agricultural thieves and fly-tippers, [I didn't know what it meant either. Consulting my 'English as a second language' reference, I find it means “illegal dumping” Bob] in a significant expansion of covert state surveillance.
The arms manufacturer BAE Systems, which produces a range of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for war zones, is adapting the military-style planes for a consortium of government agencies led by Kent police.
Documents from the South Coast Partnership, a Home Office-backed project in which Kent police and others are developing a national drone plan with BAE, have been obtained by the Guardian under the Freedom of Information Act.
Read more in the Guardian.
(Related) Not for surveillance, but for creation of an increasingly heavily armed police.
Electromagnetic Pulse Gun To Help In Police Chases
Posted by timothy on Friday January 22, @07:16PM from the hand-your-keys-to-big-brother dept.
"In an attempt to put an end to dangerous, high-speed police chases, scientists at Eureka Aerospace have developed an electromagnetic pulse gun called the High Power Electromagnetic System, or HPEMS. It develops a high-intensity directed pulse of electricity designed to disable a car's microprocessor system, shutting down all of its systems. Right now the prototype seen in a video fills an entire lab, but they have plans to shrink its size to hand-held proportions. Some form of this is already featured in OnStar-equipped vehicles though the electromagnetic signal used to disable the vehicle is beamed via satellite, and doesn't cripple the in-car computer, but rather puts it into a mode that allows police to easily catch and then stop the fleeing criminal."
Computing is a commodity! QED!
Why cloud exchanges won't work
by Gordon Haff January 22, 2010 11:26 AM PST
As cloud computing in its various forms increasingly happens rather than just being talked about, I'm starting to hear the idea of a cloud-computing exchange floated. There are certainly things to like about the concept but I don't see it playing out in pure form anytime soon for reasons that I'll get into.
Let's start by defining what I'm talking about when I say "exchange" here. The idea is that different hosted infrastructure providers would put their unused capacity onto a spot market and buyers would bid for it. Different pricing and auction mechanisms are possible but that's not important for this discussion. The key points are: multiple suppliers, interchangeable product, and some sort of market for the capacity.
Next time I see an article mentioning that “a few backup tapes are missing” I'll think of this... (See why the e-Discovery consultants are making big bucks?)
IBM Sets Areal Density Record for Magnetic Tape
Posted by ScuttleMonkey on Friday January 22, @03:37PM from the just-push-really-hard-to-cram-more-in dept.
digitalPhant0m writes to tell us that IBM researchers have set a new world record for areal data density on linear magnetic tape, weighing in at around 29.5 billion bits per square inch. This achievement is roughly 39 times the density of current industry standard magnetic tape.
"To achieve this feat, IBM Research has developed several new critical technologies, and for the past three years worked closely with FUJIFILM to optimize its next-generation dual-coat magnetic tape based on barium ferrite (BaFe) particles. [...] These new technologies are estimated to enable cartridge capacities that could hold up to 35 trillion bytes (terabytes) of uncompressed data. This is about 44 times the capacity of today's IBM LTO Generation 4 cartridge. A capacity of 35 terabytes of data is sufficient to store the text of 35 million books, which would require 248 miles (399 km) of bookshelves."
A stinging blow to the RIAA? I don't think so.
Judge Lowers Jammie Thomas' Damages to $54,000
Posted by ScuttleMonkey on Friday January 22, @04:21PM from the no-resolution-in-sight dept.
An anonymous reader writes
"Judge Michael Davis has slashed the amount Jammie Thomas-Rassett is said to owe Big Music from almost $2,000,000 to $54,000. 'The need for deterrence cannot justify a $2 million verdict for stealing and illegally distributing 24 songs for the sole purpose of obtaining free music. Moreover, although Plaintiffs were not required to prove their actual damages, statutory damages must still bear some relation to actual damages.' [It's good to be reminded occasionally that (for the most part) judges are sane. Bob] The full decision (PDF) is also available."
(Related) Some judges just “get it!” You gotta love a verdict in 140 characters.
Judge tosses Twitter libel suit
In 140 characters, the story can be told: A judge has tossed the libel suit against an Uptown tenant for her Twitter post on apartment mold.
Cook County Circuit Court Judge Diane Larsen this week threw out Horizon Realty Group’s libel suit against Amanda Bonnen, who had sent out a tweet complaining about mold in a Horizon apartment.
The judge wrote in her brief decision: “the court finds the tweet nonactionable as a matter of law.”
Read more on WBBM.
I caught a broadside from a Global Warming zealot the other day. He once was employed analyzing CO2 levels, so he is convinced we are doomed. I'm just glad to be getting out of the current Ice Age.
January 22, 2010
NOAA: December Global Ocean Temperature Second-Warmest on Record
News release: "The global ocean surface temperature was the second warmest on record for December, according to scientists at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. Based on records going back to 1880, the monthly NCDC analysis is part of the suite of climate services NOAA provides. Scientists also reported the combined global land and ocean surface temperature was the eighth warmest on record for December. For 2009, global temperatures tied with 2006 as the fifth-warmest on record. Also, the earth’s land surface for 2009 was seventh-warmest (tied with 2003) and the ocean surface was fourth-warmest (tied with 2002 and 2004.)"
Related postings on climate change
[From older but anecdotal evidence:
“The Romans wrote about growing wine grapes in Britain in the first century,” says Avery, “and then it got too cold during the Dark Ages. Ancient tax records show the Britons grew their own wine grapes in the 11th century, during the Medieval Warming, and then it got too cold during the Little Ice Age
I think of it as keeping up with the Joneses. Are my lectures on Computer Security as informative as the ones you would get at MIT? (If not, what should I steal from them?)
6 Really Good Sites with FREE Video Lectures from Top US Colleges
By Justin Pot on Jan. 22nd, 2010