United States

TPP Fast Track Passes Key Vote In the Senate, Moves On To the House 38

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-can-trust-us dept.
onproton writes: The Senate voted yesterday to reauthorize the controversial Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which expedites, or 'Fast Tracks,' the passage of trade agreements through Congress. If also approved by the House, it will grant the authority to decide and negotiate the terms of agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to the executive branch, significantly limiting congressional involvement and leaving little room for debate. Proponents of the bill, namely the USTR, claim that Fast Tracking the TPP is critical to successfully negotiating its terms internationally, and will "ensure that Congress, stakeholders and the public are closely involved before, during and after the conclusion of trade agreement negotiations." Though in reality, it does not introduce significant changes in the transparency or reporting requirements that are currently in place, which have allowed the negotiations of this deal to be held in secret since 2009. With concerns being raised about the deal's impacts on everything from intellectual property rights to government sovereignty, it is surprising to many that Congress would abdicate their role in determining the specifics of agreements that may have far reaching implications for their constituents.
Google

NSA Planned To Hijack Google App Store To Hack Smartphones 87

Posted by samzenpus
from the all-the-better-to-see-you-with dept.
Advocatus Diaboli writes: A newly released top secret document reveals that the NSA planned to hijack Google and Samsung app stores to plant spying software on smartphones. The report on the surveillance project, dubbed "IRRITANT HORN," shows the U.S. and its "Five Eyes" alliance: Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia, were looking at ways to hack smartphones and spy on users. According to The Intercept: "The top-secret document, obtained from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, was published Wednesday by CBC News in collaboration with The Intercept. The document outlines a series of tactics that the NSA and its counterparts in the Five Eyes were working on during workshops held in Australia and Canada between November 2011 and February 2012."
Canada

Canadian Piracy Rates Plummet As Industry Points To New Copyright Notice System 219

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-downloading-for-you dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Canada's copyright notice-and-notice system took effect earlier this year, leading to thousands of notifications being forwarded by Internet providers to their subscribers. Since its launch, there have been serious concerns about the use of notices to demand settlements and to shift the costs of enforcement to consumers and Internet providers. Yet reports indicate that piracy rates in Canada have plummeted, with some ISPs seeing a 70% decrease in online infringement.
China

US Levels Espionage Charges Against 6 Chinese Nationals 100

Posted by Soulskill
from the coveting-our-baconnaise-technology dept.
Taco Cowboy writes: The U.S. government has indicted five Chinese citizens and arrested a Chinese professor on charges of economic espionage. The government alleges that they took jobs at two small, American chipmakers — Avago Technologies and Skyworks Solutions — in order to steal microelectronics designs. "All of them worked, the indictment contends, to steal trade secrets for a type of chip popularly known as a “filter” that is used for acoustics in mobile telephones, among other purposes. They took the technology back to Tianjin University, created a joint venture company with the university to produce the chips, and soon were selling them to both the Chinese military and to commercial customers."

It's interesting to note that the Reuters article keeps mentioning how this technology — used commonly as an acoustic filter — has "military applications." It's also interesting to look at another recent case involving Shirrey Chen, a hydrologist who was mysteriously arrested on suspicion of espionage, but then abruptly cleared five months later. One can't help but wonder what's driving the U.S.'s new strategy for tackling economic espionage.
Education

Microsoft To Teachers: Using Pens and Paper Not Fair To Students 386

Posted by samzenpus
from the are-books-still-allowed? dept.
Freshly Exhumed writes: Pens and paper have no place in the modern classroom, according to Lia De Cicco Remu, director of Partners in Learning at Microsoft Canada. "When was the last time you used a piece of chalk to express yourself?" De Cicco Remu, a former teacher, asked the Georgia Straight by phone from Toronto. "Kids don't express themselves with chalk or in cursive. Kids text." Given the Microsoft Study Finds Technology Hurting Attention Spans story posted to Slashdot in the last few days it would seem that Redmond's Marketing and R&D people are at cross-purposes.
Canada

Canadian Prime Minister To Music Lobby: Here's Your Copyright Term Extension 121

Posted by timothy
from the plenty-more-where-that-came-from dept.
An anonymous reader writes: The Canadian government's decision to extend the term of copyright for sound recordings in the budget may have taken most copyright observers by surprise, but not the music industry. The extension will reduce competition, increase costs for consumers, and harm access to Canadian Heritage, but apparently all it took was a letter from the music industry lobby to the Prime Minister of Canada. Michael Geist reports on a letter sent by Prime Minister Stephen Harper to the music lobby on the day the change was announced confirming that industry lobbying convinced him to extend the term of copyright without any public consultation or discussion.
Piracy

Film Consortium Urges ISPs To Dump Ineffective "Six Strikes" Policy For Pirates 185

Posted by samzenpus
from the pluggin-the-sieve dept.
An anonymous reader writes: The Internet Security Task Force, a group of businesses working to protect content creators and consumers from the negative effects of piracy, has called for an end to the Copyright Alert System, saying the anti-piracy initiative is not only ineffective but actually makes things worse. The group suggest that it be replaced with a new system based on Canada's Copyright Modernization Act. Mark Gill, ISTF chairman and President of member company Millennium films, says "We've always known the Copyright Alert System was ineffective, as it allows people to steal six movies from us before they get an educational leaflet. But now we have the data to prove that it's a sham." The Copyright Alert System (CAS) is set to expire early July.
Cloud

Dropbox Moves Accounts Outside North America To Ireland 135

Posted by timothy
from the which-is-technically-outside-of-north-america dept.
monkeyzoo writes: Similar to a previous announcement by Twitter, Dropbox has changed its Terms of Service for users outside of North America (USA/Canada/Mexico) such that services will now be provided out of Ireland. Will other companies follow this trend and leave the USA (and the jurisdiction of the NSA)? Note, the announcement states that North American users are not able to opt into the Irish Terms of Service.
Transportation

25 Percent of Cars Cause 90 Percent of Air Pollution 395

Posted by samzenpus
from the who's-to-blame dept.
HughPickens.com writes: Sara Novak reports that according to a recent study, "badly tuned" cars and trucks make up one quarter of the vehicles on the road, but cause 95 percent of black carbon, also known as soot, 93 percent of carbon monoxide, and 76 percent of volatile organic chemicals like benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes. "The most surprising thing we found was how broad the range of emissions was," says Greg Evans. "As we looked at the exhaust coming out of individual vehicles, we saw so many variations. How you drive, hard acceleration, age of the vehicle, how the car is maintained – these are things we can influence that can all have an effect on pollution." Researchers at the University of Toronto looked at 100,000 cars as they drove past air sampling probes on one of Toronto's major roads. An automated identification and integration method was applied to high time resolution air pollutant measurements of in-use vehicle emissions performed under real-world conditions at a near-road monitoring station in Toronto, Canada during four seasons, through month-long campaigns in 2013–2014. Based on carbon dioxide measurements, over 100 000 vehicle-related plumes were automatically identified and fuel-based emission factors for nitrogen oxides; carbon monoxide; particle number, black carbon; benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes (BTEX); and methanol were determined for each plume. Evans and his team found that policy changes need to better target cars that are causing the majority of the air pollution. "The ultrafine particles are particularly troubling," says Evans. "Because they are over 1,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair, they have a greater ability to penetrate deeper within the lung and travel in the body."
Social Networks

Export Ban Drives Cuba To Non-US Analytics Software To Boost Tourism 84

Posted by timothy
from the keepin'-it-hostile dept.
dkatana writes with some crucial lines from an article at InformationWeek: Currently Cuba receives around 2.8 million visitors every year, half of them from Canada. Mintur, the Cuban Tourist Ministry, estimates that if Americans were free to travel to Cuba today, the number of visitors would increase by two million the first year. Last year the Cuban government was interested in getting its hands on analytics software to process the data generated by visitors on social networks. ... Because of the existing ban on American companies supplying technology to Cuba, Havana had to look somewhere else and found SocialVane, a small Spanish company on the island of Menorca, which has been working with the local tourist sector to analyze issues, trends, and potentials of the tourism industry.
Canada

Canadian Town Outlaws Online Insults To Police and Officials 152

Posted by Soulskill
from the because-canadians-are-so-rude dept.
Pig Hogger writes: The Canadian town of Granby, Québec, just strengthened its municipal bylaw that prohibits insulting police officers and town officials by extending its "jurisdiction" to online postings. Fines range from $100 to $1,000. The town's mayor said, "In my opinion, if I threaten you via my keyboard, it's as though I am making that threat right in front of you. For me, it's the same thing." Critics worry about the implications for freedom of speech, and wonder why police and officials should get protection an average citizen does not.
Transportation

Tesla Adds Used Models To Its Inventory, For Online Purchase 65

Posted by timothy
from the driven-by-a-little-old-lady-on-sundays dept.
Jalopnik reports that Tesla Motors Inc. has very quietly started to sell used cars online, following in the footsteps of larger car companies. Its new certified vehicle program brings down the staggering costs of one of their electric cars while still ensuring manufacturer maintenance and repairs. Most of the cars that are on Tesla’s website were previously owned by people who have since traded up to the AWD Model S. Soon, this stockpile will also include leased Teslas. Engadget adds You're limited to shopping in a handful of cities in the U.S. and Canada, but the cars come with a 4-year, 50,000-mile warranty to assuage fears that you've bought a lemon. No, the move doesn't make the company's luxury EVs much more attainable -- the best offer we've seen so far is for a $59,000 'entry' model.
Canada

The Power of Backroom Lobbying: How the Music Industry Got a Copyright Extension 109

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-wouldn't-download-a-lobbyist dept.
An anonymous reader writes: The Canadian government's unexpected budget decision to extend the term of copyright for sound recordings came as a surprise to most copyright watchers, but not the music industry lobby, which was ready with a press release within minutes. How did the industry seemingly know this was coming? Michael Geist reports that records show the extension is the result of backroom lobbying with monthly meetings between senior government officials and music industry lobbyists paving the way for copyright term extension without public consultation or debate.
Music

Music Industry Argues Works Entering Public Domain Are Not In Public Interest 302

Posted by samzenpus
from the watching-out-for-you dept.
An anonymous reader writes: With news that Canada intends to extend the term of copyright for sound recordings and performers, the recording industry is now pushing the change by arguing that works entering the public domain is not in the public interest. It is hard to see how anyone can credibly claim that works are "lost" to the public domain and that the public interest in not served by increased public access, but if anyone would make the claim, it would be the recording industry.
Canada

The Great Canadian Copyright Giveaway: Copyright Extension For Sound Recordings 309

Posted by Soulskill
from the naturally-snuck-through-during-the-hockey-playoffs dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Despite no study, no public demands, and the potential cost to the public of millions of dollars, the Canadian government announced yesterday that it will extend the term of copyright for sound recordings and performances from 50 to 70 years. The music industry did not raise term extension as a key concern during either the 2012 copyright reform bill or the 2014 Canadian Heritage committee study on the industry. For Canadians, the extension could cost millions of dollars as works that were scheduled to come into the public domain will now remain locked down for decades.
Businesses

Seattle CEO Cuts $1 Million Salary To $70K, Raises Employee Salaries 482

Posted by timothy
from the motivations-vary dept.
First time accepted submitter fluffernutter writes Dan Price started his company, Gravity Payments, out of university when he was 19. Now he is cutting his $1 million salary to $70,000 and promising to raise all his employees' salaries. Dan is quoted as saying he made the move because "I think this is just what everyone deserves."Good business practice? Silly boosterism? Enlightened self-interest?
Businesses

Amazon Gets Approval To Test New Delivery Drones 74

Posted by Soulskill
from the probably-equipped-with-defense-lasers-and-defense-grenades dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Amazon has been vocal in its complaints about how slow the FAA is in approving drones for test flights. In March they were finally given permission to test a drone they had developed six months prior, and they said the drone was already obsolete. Their complaints appear to have worked — yesterday, the FAA gave permission to test a new, updated delivery drone. According to the FAA's letter (PDF), the drone must stay at an altitude of less than 400 feet and at speeds of less than 100 mph.
Businesses

LG Will Lend You a Free Phone If You Talk About It On Social Media 22

Posted by samzenpus
from the phones-for-flattery dept.
jfruh writes LG will let people in a host of countries use its G4 free for 30 days — with the hope that this will result in positive buzz on social media sites. From the article: "By offering 4,000 people a G4 for 30 days, the company hopes to create some buzz around its new device as flagship devices from its rivals Samsung Electronics and HTC go on sale. The Consumer Experience Campaign kicks off in South Korea on Wednesday, and will then expand to Turkey, Indonesia, Singapore, U.S., China, India, Brazil, Canada, U.K., France, Germany, Mexico, Japan and Hong Kong, LG said."
Canada

Privacy Commissioner of Canada Rules Bell's Targeted Ad Program Violates the Law 39

Posted by Soulskill
from the blames-the-maple-leafs'-management dept.
An anonymous reader writes: The Privacy Commissioner of Canada has released the long-awaited decision on Bell's targeted ads program. The Commissioner's press release soft-pedals the outcome — "Bell advertising program raises privacy concerns" — but the decision is clear: Bell's so-called relevant ads program violates Canadian privacy law. As Michael Geist explains, the key issue in the case focused on whether Bell should be permitted to use an opt-out consent mechanism in which its millions of customers are all included in targeted advertising unless they take pro-active steps to opt-out, or if an opt-in consent model is more appropriate. The Commissioner ruled that opt-in consent is needed, but Bell is refusing to comply with the ruling.
Earth

The World Lost an Oklahoma-Sized Area of Forest In 2013, Satellite Data Show 143

Posted by samzenpus
from the how-many-oklahomas-are-left? dept.
merbs writes Oklahoma spans an area in the American South that stretches across almost 70,000 square miles. That's almost exactly the same area of global forest cover that was lost in a single year. High resolution maps from Global Forest Watch, tapping new data from a partnership between the University of Maryland and Google, show that 18 million hectares (69,500 square miles) of tree cover were lost from wildfires, deforestation, and development the year before last. The maps were created by synthesizing 400,000 satellite images collected by NASA's Landsat mission.