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Privacy Group to Ask Supreme Court to Stop N.S.A.’s Phone Spying Program

Posted on July 8th, 2013 at 23:24 by John Sinteur in category: News


A privacy rights group plans to file an emergency petition with the Supreme Court on Monday asking it to stop the National Security Agency’s domestic surveillance program that collects the telephone records of millions of Americans.


Marc Rotenberg, the executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, said his group’s lawsuit would be the first to directly challenge the legal authority of the FISA court to approve the phone records’ collection under the Patriot Act.

Alan Butler, a lawyer for the group, said the judge “lacked the authority to require production of all domestic call detail records.” He noted that the Patriot Act provision cited by the FISA court required that the business records produced be “relevant” to an authorized national security investigation. “It is simply implausible that all call detail records are relevant,” Mr. Butler said.

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Edward Snowden reveals Australia’s Links To Secret US Spy Program

Posted on July 8th, 2013 at 16:02 by John Sinteur in category: News


United States intelligence leaker Edward Snowden has provided his first disclosure of Australian involvement in US global surveillance, identifying four facilities in the country that contribute to a key American intelligence collection program.

Classified US National Security Agency maps leaked by Mr Snowden and published by US journalist Glenn Greenwald in the Brazilian O Globo newspaper reveal the locations of dozens of US and allied signals intelligence collection sites that contribute to interception of telecommunications and internet traffic worldwide.

The US Australian Joint Defence Facility at Pine Gap near Alice Springs and three Australian Signals Directorate facilities: the Shoal Bay Receiving Station near Darwin, the Australian Defence Satellite Communications Facility at Geraldton and the naval communications station HMAS Harman outside Canberra are among contributors to the NSA’s collection program codenamed X-Keyscore.

The best way for Aussie citizens to talk to their representative is here

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France mulls smartphone and tablet tax to fund culture

Posted on July 8th, 2013 at 14:07 by Desiato in category: News


"Today we have extremely sophisticated technological equipment that is extremely expensive to buy, but which contributes nothing to the financing of the works that circulate on that same equipment," Culture Minister Aurelie Filipetti said following the release of the report."Companies that make these tablets must, in a minor way, be made to contribute part of the revenue from their sales to help creators."She added that the cultural exception remained "a battle for France".

In the coverage I read in le Figaro, the same minister was asked whether consumers don’t end up paying for this, and she responded no, it’ll come out of the technology companies’ fat margins. Fat chance.

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  1. “…contributes nothing to the financing…” Perhaps. But these equipment enable most of the user-created content that people consume. This sounds like a tax grab to replace ordinary taxes that currently finance “special” cultural stuff (usually things that rich people like).

  2. Let us tax radios whether in automobiles or not. I don’t know if France has a TV tax like the UK but since we are talking about taxing the device then TVs should have an extra tax too. Oh, and how about computers and routers and such? Ah heck, let’s just put an extra tax on anything that uses electricity!

  3. @Gene: Or just tax electricity and other energy sources, et voilà! A carbon tax!

  4. @Gene: many European countries do in fact have a TV tax. France certainly does, it is included in the taxe d’habitation which is a tax on the size of your residence, even if you’re just renting it. I believe the Netherlands and the UK also have TV taxes.

In rural Tennessee, a new way to help hungry children: A bus turned bread truck

Posted on July 8th, 2013 at 11:54 by John Sinteur in category: News


Here, in the rural hills of Tennessee, is the latest fallout of a recession that officially ended in 2009 but remains without end for so many. More than 1 in 4 children now depend on government food assistance, a record level of need that has increased the federal budget and changed the nature of childhood for the nation’s poor.

First, schools became the country’s biggest soup kitchens, as free and reduced-price lunch programs expanded to include free breakfast, then free snacks and then free backpacks of canned goods sent home for weekends. Now those programs are extending into summer, even though classes stop, in order for children to have a dependable source of food. Some elementary school buildings stay open year-round so cafeterias can serve low-income students. High schools begin summer programs earlier to offer free breakfast.

And late last month came the newest iteration: a school bus retrofitted into a bread truck bouncing along a potholed road near the Blue Ridge Mountains. It parked in a valley of 30 single-wide trailers — some rotting in the sun, others swallowed by weeds and mosquitoes alongside the Nolichucky River. The driver opened his window and listened to the utter silence. “It feels like a ghost town,” he said.

A 5-year-old girl saw the dust trail of the bus and pedaled toward it on a red tricycle. Three teenage boys came barefoot in swimsuits. A young mother walked over from her trailer with an infant daughter in one arm and a lit cigarette in the other. “Any chance there will be leftover food for adults?” she asked.

It was almost 1 p.m. For some, this would be the first meal of the day. For others, the last.

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  1. In this context, I guess, pizza is a vegetable.

Daniel Ellsberg: NSA leaker Snowden made the right call

Posted on July 8th, 2013 at 9:20 by John Sinteur in category: News


Many people compare Edward Snowden to me unfavorably for leaving the country and seeking asylum, rather than facing trial as I did. I don’t agree. The country I stayed in was a different America, a long time ago.

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Lac-Megantic train blast: PM Harper visits ‘war zone’

Posted on July 8th, 2013 at 0:40 by Sueyourdeveloper in category: News


Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper says the part of Lac-Megantic impacted by Saturday’s crude oil explosion looks like a “war zone”.

At least five people died when runaway train cars packed with crude oil derailed and blew up early on Saturday.

Some 30 buildings had been completely incinerated by fires which engulfed the historic centre, said Mr Harper.

Police are trying to find 40 missing people: a nearby bar was said to have been crowded at the time of the blast.

Now for all you people who are against oil pipelines, how is moving oil by train or ship better, again?

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