By Soulskill from Slashdot's knowing-which-way-the-wind-is-blowing department
In a speech today, U.S. President Barack Obama announced changes for the operations of the country's intelligence agencies
. He says the current program will end "as it currently exists,"
though most of the data collection schemes will remain intact. However, the data collected in these sweeps will not be stored by the U.S. government, instead residing with either the communications providers or another third party. (He pointed out that storing private data within a commercial entity can have its own oversight issues, so the attorney general and intelligence officials will have to figure out the best compromise.) In order for the NSA to query the database, they will need specific approval from a national security court
. Obama also announced "new oversight" to spying on foreign leaders, and an end to spying on leaders of friendly and allied countries. Further, decisions from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court will be annually reviewed for declassification
. A panel advocating for citizen privacy will have input into the FISC. There will be chances to national security letters: they will no longer have an indefinite secrecy period
. Companies will be able to disclose some amount of information about the NSLs they receive, something they've been asking for
. Another change is a reduction in the number of steps from suspected terrorists that phone data can be gathered. Instead of grabbing all the data from people three steps away, it's now limited to two.Read Replies (0)
By Soulskill from Slashdot's no-one-could-accuse-them-of-evolving department
An anonymous reader writes "Slate reports on new anti-science education coming out of Texas. The state has a charter school system called Responsive Education Solutions, which is publicly funded. Unfortunately, 'it has been connected from its inception to the creationist movement and to far-right fundamentalists who seek to undermine the separation of church and state.' The biology workbook used in these schools actually reads, "In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth." It also brings up social Darwinism as if it's an aspect of evolutionary theory and introduces doubt that the Earth is billions of years old. The article continues, 'To get around court rulings, Responsive Ed and other creationists resort to rhetoric about teaching "all sides" of "competing theories" and claiming that this approach promotes "critical thinking." In response to a question about whether Responsive Ed teaches creationism, its vice president of academic affairs, Rosalinda Gonzalez, told me that the curriculum "teaches evolution, noting, but not exploring, the existence of competing theories."' Other so-called education texts being used by the Responsive Ed program teach Western superiority and how feminism forced women to 'turn to the state as a surrogate husband.'"Read Replies (0)
By samzenpus from Slashdot's fight-the-power department
Nerval's Lobster writes "A California software developer dubbed an explorer by Google and a scofflaw by the California Highway Patrol appeared in court to fight over the purpose and usage of wearable electronics. Cecilia Abadie denies she was doing 80 mph in a 65 mph zone when she was pulled over by the CHP Oct. 29 of last year, but proudly admits wearing her early edition of Google's Google Glass augmented-reality goggles. She just doesn't agree with the CHP's contention that Google Glass is a television. Abadie, who works at virtual-reality sports software developer Full Swing Golf and was one of the first 'explorers' chosen by Google as early testers of Google Glass before they were released, wears the goggles for as long as 12 hours per day, using them both as a way to pull email, driving directions and other information into her view and to push pictures, Tweets, updates and other information out to professional and social networks in a process she describes as 'living in transparency.' The California Highway Patrol, unfortunately for Abadie, considered wearing Google Glass to be the same as watching television while driving. One of the two citations Abadie was given was for speeding; the other was for 'driving with a monitor visible in violation of California Vehicle Code 27602.' Fighting that perception in court is 'a big responsibility for me and also for the judge who is going to interpret a very old law compared with how fast technology is changing,' Abadie told the Associated Press for a Jan. 16 story."
A court commissioner in San Diego dismissed the Google Glass ticket
, saying he could find no evidence that the device was in use while Abadie was driving.Read Replies (0)
By samzenpus from Slashdot's pay-us-as-you-go department
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Jay Frank writes that that the big four major music distributors and their sister publishers (Sony, Warner, UNI and EMI) make 15% more per year, on average, from paying customers of streaming services like Spotify or Rdio than it does from the average customer who buys downloads, CDs or both. Each label makes 'blanket license' deals with Streaming services with advances in the undisclosed millions, which is virtually the same as selling music in bulk; they receive these healthy licensing fees to cover all activity in a given period rather than allowing Streaming services to 'pay as they go.' 'Artists are up in arms, many are opting out of streaming services,' writes Frank. 'Lost in that noise is a voice that is seldom heard: that of the record companies. There's good reason for that: they're making more money from streaming and the future looks extremely bright for them.' The average 'premium' subscription customer in the US was worth about $16 a year to a major record company, while the average buyer of digital downloads or physical music was worth about $14 so year over year, the premium subscriber was worth nearly 15% more than the person who bought music either digitally or physically."Read Replies (0)