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Cyber-safety, or global censorship?

Posted on March 18th, 2009 at 21:01 by John Sinteur in category: News


ICANN has encouraged new constituencies to get involved in the GNSO. Now it has got what it asked for. This month, Cheryl Preston filed a petition with ICANN to form a new “Cyber-safety Constituency.”

It turns out that this constituency is nothing more than an extension of the CP80 Foundation. CP80 is devoted to systematic, global censorship of internet content in order to eradicate pornography. Backed by Mormon religious activists based on Utah, the group frames its attempt to regulate internet content with talk of “protecting children online.” But it’s not just children’s Internet access they are targeting; it’s all of us.

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Posted on March 18th, 2009 at 20:10 by John Sinteur in category: Cartoon

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Scenes from the recession

Posted on March 18th, 2009 at 20:01 by John Sinteur in category: Great Picture


The state of our global economy: foreclosures, evictions, bankruptcies, layoffs, abandoned projects, and the people and industries caught in the middle. It can be difficult to capture financial pressures in photographs, but here a few recent glimpses into some of the places and lives affected by what some are calling the “Great Recession”. (35 photos total)


As new home sales and housing starts hit record lows, empty lots, partially constructed homes and abandoned ones are seen in a subdivision on January 30, 2009 near Homestead, Florida. Prices in November of 2008 declined 8.7 percent from a year earlier, the biggest drop in records going back to 1991, the Federal Housing Finance Agency reported. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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Home Office clueless over its own anti-child porn measures

Posted on March 18th, 2009 at 18:44 by John Sinteur in category: ¿ʞɔnɟ ǝɥʇ ʇɐɥʍ


The Home Office has admitted that it has been trying to force ISPs to subscribe to the Internet Watch Foundation’s (IWF) blacklist, even though it doesn’t know what the organisation does.

Speaking exclusively to Computer Shopper, a Home Office spokesman thought the IWF deletes illegal websites and doesn’t look at the content they rate.

He also revealed that the government’s measures to ensure that the IWF is blocking illegal content only consist of “meeting with the IWF fairly regularly for updates on how they’re doing.”

The whole premise of the IWF is that looking at this stuff makes you into a child-molesting pervert. The offices of the IWF (according to their website) are in Cambridge. So Cambridge must be full of child-molesting perverts working for the IWF.

But anyway, this way the government has plausible deniability. If they don’t know what the IWF is actually doing, then when it goes wrong, they can say “it wasn’t us”.

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Minister admits thought crime is on the agenda

Posted on March 18th, 2009 at 17:18 by John Sinteur in category: ¿ʞɔnɟ ǝɥʇ ʇɐɥʍ, Privacy, Security


A short exchange in the Commons yesterday suggests that thought crime is now officially on the government’s agenda.

Labour MP George Howarth had something of a triumph at the committee stage of the Coroners and Justice Bill, when he famously observed, of a drawing scrawled on a piece of paper: “If somebody is in the process of arousing themselves sexually by that process, it must be part of something. In a lot of cases, it will be part of something that will lead on to something else.”

Yesterday, he was on his feet during questions to Bridget Prentice MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Ministry of Justice. He asked: “Does she agree that not only are images based on real children unacceptable, but so too are images that people use for these purposes that they have generated either from their own imagination or electronically?


“I do not for one minute think that taking action against these people in this way is over-egging the pudding. We need to protect our children.”


Mr Howarth’s slightly back-to-front comment would effectively criminalise imagination. He believes that what an individual imagines is not just a matter for their own conscience – but for the state as well.

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Minister confirms U-turn on data sharing

Posted on March 18th, 2009 at 17:16 by John Sinteur in category: Privacy


Justice minister Michael Wills confirmed to Parliament yesterday that clause 152 of the Coroners and Justice Bill to provide ministers with unlimited inter-department data sharing has been removed.

The clauses were tacked onto an unrelated bill dealing with making certain inquests secret – this has also been amended and reduced in scope.

Wills said the move was not a U-turn but the result of “proper process of parliamentary scrutiny”.

Let me translate “proper process of parliamentary scrutiny” for you. It means “they found out”.

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“Credit Card”

Posted on March 18th, 2009 at 12:46 by John Sinteur in category: ¿ʞɔnɟ ǝɥʇ ʇɐɥʍ

Be sure and cancel your credit cards before you die. This is so priceless, and so, so easy to see happening, customer service being what it is today.

A lady died this past January, and Citibank billed her for February and March for their annual service charges on her credit card, and added late fees and interest on the monthly charge. The balance had been $0.00 when she died, but now somewhere around $60.00. A family member placed a call to Citibank.

Here is the exchange

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Posted on March 18th, 2009 at 12:40 by John Sinteur in category: Robber Barons


I work for a sister company closely tied with AIG. Workers at AIG, where I have friends who hold positions there, say that things are looking very grim. Everyday the company posts a standard email updating every corporate employee on the finical standings and current outlook in specific sectors the company is involved in. The emails literally only speak of the good things that can come in those sectors and pass by the awful financial news. The emails are basically there to try and “fool” a company employee in believing that things arn’t really that bad compared to what is coming out of the news networks. On the contrary things are much worse than the corp. news stations are getting their hands on. Since I work for a sister company of AIG we are closely tied into many of the financial /bail out dealings that AIG has sucked up from the Govt. so we too fall under those very closely watched guidelines. I work in a re-insurance firm (i honestly don’t feel safe in naming it) where i would say that 60 – 70 % of our clients we received are through AIG. But ever since AIG has been getting even more bad reviews by the taxpayers (more than when AIG received the first bailout) out intake has dropped dramatically over 40% December. Yes, the first bailout was suppose to keep the company afloat but everyone knew that with such an enormous company being unable to support its self; a good thing (a huge money maker) would come to a end. Like i said earlier now with people like me and you becoming even more irate with this new scandal of 74 bonuses, my friends who work directly with AIG have been furiously taking their corporate stock shares and moving them elsewhere, have been updating their resumes, using any type of social out puts to get new leads at a different companies, and have been using up all of their available vacation and sick time. One of my close buddies actually has been on vacation since the end of January where he has been in Japan looking to land a new lucrative position. Sorry ive been jumping around so much but i too am worried that I also might be out of a job soon enough when AIG does go belly up. And everyone at AIG KNOWS that it WILL file for Bankruptcy in the next 2-3 months after they sell off their subsidiaries. Just last week i had a meeting with a client in the AIG NYC office where people were acting like it was just another normal day. Even though i noticed little things that were different; tvs weren’t tuned to CNN of CNBC rather turned to ESPN watching the upcoming NCAA tournament. Employees are told to act like normal, walk around with big smiles and never show any stress of the real world and media. Its just so sad to see so many hard working people who are just like you and me (other than the SVP and higher ups) just sitting around in their cubicals and offices knowing that soon enough they will be desperately looking for another job just to support their families. I feel like im rambling here so ill take a break and surf reddit for a while then come back and post more….

Edit: Im back after my cornbeef dinner hopefully i can stop darting around onto various ideas. I was going to mention ever since AIG started getting its “bad look” in the press about how badly it was tanking the public started looking very cautiously at whom it does business with. I could certainly tell just by working at a related re-insurance firm that both our corporate and private clients were worried about what would happen to their money they were paying towards their fees and premiums. Especially the public started pulling away from investing in AIG not just only in its publicly traded stock but also buy giving their personal insurance be it home, car, family, life, health etc to a company that was slowly fading into a dark death. People do not like doing a business no matter how big or old that company has been around. People see that their hard earned tax dollars are going to a company who literally takes in millions on top of millions of dollars every year….. who shouldn’t be in any need of ANY govt. money due to its ridiculous gambling. Ever since the first bad headline popped up on CNN AIG has been swallowing in it own grave. I hate thinking like this after just spending my last 3 years at this sister company but its something I realized that I have to come to terms with. I also wanted to touch upon the point that AIG has been getting a ton of angry emailers, callers and death threats. This is infact a very true story. I would say that the lower end employees who do most of the grunt work arent in the eyesight of the gun. Nether the less the higher ups are under a constant threat. Literally today i was on the phone with a SVP and after taking a 30 min lunch he got back to his pc only to find 54 emails which 90% were irate customers asking him what part he had in with the bonuses and how could he even think of taking even MORE tax payers money. He left at the end of the day for good after spending 25 years at AIG. This has become common seeing people just leaving after not being able to take the constant stress. AIG is demanding to cut employees and then they expect for those remaining workers not only to maintain those clients they have now but to also bring in more revenue. The higher ups then realize that under this scenario its nearly impossible to maintain those clients that they have now and getting new business is out of the question. So you’ll see at least 1 to 4 people a day pack up their belongings into a cardboard box…. saying good bye to a couple of people then just walking out without giving anyone else notice. Employees (me including) always have the idea that bankruptcy is just a step away…… so pretty much it really cant get any more grim that it is now.

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  1. I’m so disgusted by the robber barons, I wrote a song about it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHXe7EluAdk

Australian Government adds Wikileaks to banned website list

Posted on March 18th, 2009 at 12:19 by John Sinteur in category: ¿ʞɔnɟ ǝɥʇ ʇɐɥʍ, Privacy, Security


The Australian communications regulator has issued a stark warning that websites who link out to ‘banned’ hyperlinks are liable to fine of up to Aus $11,000 a day.

The news comes after web forum Whirlpool was threatened with the fine for posting a hyperlink to a blacklisted anti-abortion website.

One of the newest additions to Australia’s ‘blacklisted hyperlinks’ list is Wikileaks; the website that publishes anonymous submissions of sensitive info on everything from corporations, religion and governments.

It’s the perfect law -they’re not telling you everything on the list, so they can target whoever they like, and simply say “you’ve been linking to a site on the list that you didn’t know about, you’ve done so for a month, hand over everything you own”

And the original “purpose” of the list was, of course, kiddie porn, to “Save the Children!!!”

Mission creep is predictable in these instances. It also stops nobody, since there’s plenty of sites outside Australia that link to wikileaks and other places..

And as the list in Denmark shows, even innocent transport companies can be listed. Now imagine you’re listing to your employer on your personal web site, and that listing costs you $10k per day….

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Citi, Morgan Stanley look to sidestep bonus caps

Posted on March 18th, 2009 at 9:55 by John Sinteur in category: Robber Barons


Anticipating restrictions on bonuses, officials at Citigroup Inc and Morgan Stanley are exploring ways to sidestep tough new federal caps on compensation, the Wall Street Journal said.

Executives at these banks and other financial institutions that received government aid are discussing increasing base salaries for some executives and other top-producing employees, the paper said, citing people familiar with the situation.

The discussions are at an early stage, partly because the government has not yet issued specific rules on the bonus payments that will be allowed at companies that received aid under the government’s Troubled Asset Relief Program, the paper said.

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AIG Retention Bonuses Paid to FORMER Employees

Posted on March 18th, 2009 at 9:53 by John Sinteur in category: Robber Barons


Seventy-three employees were paid more than $1 million in the newly minted bonuses at the insurance giant, American International Group, according to the New York attorney general Andrew M. Cuomo.

The attorney general provided some new details on Tuesday about some of the $160 million in bonuses that the insurance giant paid out last week in a letter sent to Representative Barney Frank, the chairman of the House Committee on Financial Services.

Mr. Cuomo did not name the recipients of bonuses, but said one employee received more than $6.4 million. The top seven received more than $4 million each, and the top 10 received a combined $42 million. Eleven of those who received “retention” bonuses of $1 million or more are no longer working at A.I.G., including one who received $4.6 million, he said.

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Atheist Bus Campaign in… Seattle!

Posted on March 18th, 2009 at 9:49 by John Sinteur in category: Pastafarian News


Seattle Atheists is preparing to launch a bus ad campaign of its own


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  1. This quote sums up perfectly what I’m going through right now. Few words, an universe of truth.

The Amazing Rusting Aluminum

Posted on March 18th, 2009 at 9:47 by John Sinteur in category: News


Unless you are a representative of a national meteorological bureau licensed to carry a barometer (and odds are you’re not), bringing mercury onboard an airplane is strictly forbidden. Why? If it got loose, it could rust the plane to pieces before it had a chance to land. You see, airplanes are made of aluminum, and aluminum is highly unstable.

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A Mom Lets Her Son Walk to Soccer…And The Police Come Calling

Posted on March 18th, 2009 at 9:30 by John Sinteur in category: ¿ʞɔnɟ ǝɥʇ ʇɐɥʍ


My 10-year-old son wanted the chance to walk from our house to soccer practice behind an elementary school about 1/3 mile from our house. He had walked in our neighborhood a number of times with the family and we have driven the route to practice who knows how many times. It was broad daylight – 5:00 pm. I had to be at the field myself 15 minutes after practice started, so I gave him my cell phone and told him I would be there to check that he made it and sent him off. He got 3 blocks and a police car intercepted him. The police came to my house — after I had left — and spoke with my younger children (who were home with Grandma). They then found me at the soccer field and proceeded to tell me how I could be charged with child endangerment. They said they had gotten “hundreds” of calls to 911 about him walking

I guess bipedalism is pretty rare in kids these days…

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  1. The world has become so crazy these days that the Apocalypse must be at hand! I can think of no other rational reason for this cruft. Anyone have a better idea?

Teens capture images of space with £56 camera and balloon

Posted on March 18th, 2009 at 9:27 by John Sinteur in category: Great Picture



Proving that you don’t need Google’s billions or the BBC weather centre’s resources, the four Spanish students managed to send a camera-operated weather balloon into the stratosphere.

Taking atmospheric readings and photographs 20 miles above the ground, the Meteotek team of IES La Bisbal school in Catalonia completed their incredible experiment at the end of February this year.

Make Article. More pictures.

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Historical Archives Lead to Arrest of Police Officers in Guatemalan Disappearance

Posted on March 18th, 2009 at 9:25 by John Sinteur in category: News


Following a stunning breakthrough in a 25-year-old case of political terror in Guatemala, the National Security Archive today is posting declassified U.S. documents about the disappearance of Edgar Fernando García, a student leader and trade union activist captured by Guatemalan security forces in 1984.The documents show that García’s capture was an organized political abduction orchestrated at the highest levels of the Guatemalan government.

Guatemalan authorities made the first arrest ever in the long-dormant kidnapping case when they detained Héctor Roderico Ramírez Ríos, a senior police officer in Quezaltenango, on March 5th and retired policeman Abraham Lancerio Gómez on March 6th as a result of an investigation into García’s abduction by Guatemala’s Human Rights Prosecutor (Procurador de Derechos Humanos—PDH). Arrest warrants have been issued for two more suspects, Hugo Rolando Gómez Osorio and Alfonso Guillermo de León Marroquín. The two are former officers with the notorious Special Operations Brigade (BROE) of the National Police, a unit linked to death squad activities during the 1980s by human rights groups.

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Posted on March 18th, 2009 at 9:09 by John Sinteur in category: Apple, Cartoon


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Science Minister won’t confirm belief in evolution

Posted on March 18th, 2009 at 8:39 by John Sinteur in category: Pastafarian News


Canada’s science minister, the man at the centre of the controversy over federal funding cuts to researchers, won’t say if he believes in evolution.

“I’m not going to answer that question. I am a Christian, and I don’t think anybody asking a question about my religion is appropriate,” Gary Goodyear, the federal Minister of State for Science and Technology, said in an interview with The Globe and Mail.


“It is the same as asking the gentleman, ‘Do you believe the world is flat?’ and he doesn’t answer on religious grounds,” said Dr. Alters. “Or gravity, or plate tectonics, or that the Earth goes around the sun.”

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Diebold Admits Systemic Audit Log Failure; State Vows Inquiry

Posted on March 18th, 2009 at 8:36 by John Sinteur in category: News


Premier Election Solutions (formerly Diebold Election Systems) admitted in a state hearing Tuesday that the audit logs produced by its tabulation software miss significant events, including the act of someone deleting votes on election day.

The company acknowledged that the problem exists with every version of its tabulation software.

The revelation confirmed that a problem uncovered by Threat Level in January, and reiterated in a report released two weeks ago by the California secretary of state’s office, has widespread implications for election jurisdictions around the country that use any version of the company’s Global Election Management System (GEMS) software to tabulate votes.

“Today’s hearing confirmed one of my worst fears,” said Kim Alexander, founder and president of the non-profit California Voter Foundation. “The audit logs have been the top selling point for vendors hawking paperless voting systems. They and the jurisdictions that have used paperless voting machines have repeatedly pointed to the audit logs as the primary security mechanism and ‘fail-safe’ for any glitch that might occur on machines. To discover that the fail-safe itself is unreliable eliminates one of the key selling points for electronic voting security.”

In other words, a chimp could hack the machines and get away with it…

Aren’t you happy these guys don’t make something that can steal your money?

Oh, wait…

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  1. Reminds me of a song I once wrote, Georgia on my Mind.