Sunday, December 22, 2013

Ignore the man in the White House. (We do.) Forget what every journalist is saying. When it comes to the law, our pill is best taken with our Kool-Aid.
A press release from EFF:
San Francisco – U.S. government intelligence officials late last night released some previously secret declarations submitted to the court in Jewel v. NSA – EFF’s long-running case challenging the NSA’s domestic surveillance program – plus a companion case, Shubert v. Obama. The documents were released pursuant to the court’s order.
Surprisingly, in these documents and in the brief filed with them, the government continues to claim that plaintiffs cannot prove they were surveilled without state secrets and that therefore, a court cannot rule on the legality or constitutionality of the surveillance. For example, despite the fact that these activities are discussed every day in news outlets around the world and even in the president’s recent press conference, the government states broadly that information that may relate to Plaintiffs’ claims that the “NSA indiscriminately intercepts the content of communications, and their claims regarding the NSA’s bulk collection of … metadata” is still a state secret.
… The newly released declarations are the first time the government has declassified a description of the origins and history of the NSA’s illegal and unconstitutional surveillance programs. However, these declarations – and the reissued state secrets claims – represent only a very slight shift in the government’s tactics in this case.
… Earlier this week, a Washington D.C. federal court judge ruled that NSA telephone records collection was “probably unconstitutional” in DC federal court. In July, based on documents filed before the Snowden revelations, the judge in the Jewel v. NSA ruled against the government’s state secrets claims. Now we look forward to the California federal court finally ruling on the legality of the “upstream” interception of internet content and the telephone records program.
For this release:

Even a brief reading leaves me with many questions, but again it could just be poor writing. If one file could have multiple links (a technique to avoid duplication) a request to delete an “infringing” link should not automatically delete the file and all legitimate links, yet that seems to be what the FBI (MPAA?) expects. (and that's only page 3!)
Fury over US release of Dotcom 'evidence'
Kim Dotcom's legal team have been left furious after the United States skirted local court suppressions to release what they say is a "cherry-picked" summary of their case against the piracy-accused.
A detailed summary of the evidence against the Megaupload founder was made public in the US yesterday for the first time since the case began almost two years ago.
The evidence is suppressed in New Zealand by way of a ruling from Judge David Harvey made in the early stages of the court process against Dotcom.
The Sunday Star-Times understands Dotcom's legal team wanted it to remain secret until trial to give their client a fair chance, as they have not been given access to the documents the summary is based on, and believe the US account is one-sided and could create prejudice.
However, the FBI sought leave from a court in Virginia to release what it says is a "new" summary of the evidence to allow alleged victims to come forward and make claims against the estimated $80 million seized from the company.
A US judge ruled the documents could be "unsealed" on Friday, despite the ongoing New Zealand suppression.
… So far, Dotcom has had several victories against prosecutors, including rulings that searches at his home breached the law, and that he was spied on illegally by the Government Communications Security Bureau.
His lawyers have repeatedly accused the US of a heavy-handed approach against him, backed by movie moguls and politicians rather than legitimate legal grounds.
… "The DOJ release today is made up of ‘recycled allegations' that don't point to criminal copyright infringement," he said. Rothken had filed an application fighting the summary's release, but he was not heard in court.

Have I mentioned this one before? Sounds familiar..
is a free text-to-speech plugin for Microsoft Word that creates audio files from any document written in Word. It can speak the text of the document and highlight as it goes, enabling visually impaired users to read documents online. It also offers a number of programmable keyboard shortcuts, helping many types of users (for example, students who have trouble holding a mouse) to have an adapted, useful device. It is also great for students with reading difficulties, who may benefit from both reading and hearing the text they’re working with.

I don't assign a lot of papers in my Math classes, but I'll save this for my next Computer Security students.
The Impact of Digital Tools on Student Writing and How Writing is Taught in Schools
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on December 22, 2013
The Impact of Digital Tools on Student Writing and How Writing is Taught in Schools - Kristen Purcell, Director of Research, Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project; Judy Buchanan Deputy Director, National Writing Project; Linda Friedrich Director of Research and Evaluation, National Writing Project. july 16, 2013.
“In a survey of Advanced Placement and National Writing Project teachers, a majority say digital tools encourage students to be more invested in their writing by encouraging personal expression and providing a wider audience for their work. Most also say digital tools make teaching writing easier, despite an increasingly ambiguous line between formal and informal writing and students’ poor understanding of issues such as plagiarism and fair use.” [We have an App for that. Bob]

Humor? Dilbert's pointy hair manager demonstrates another downside of drones.

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