Sci-Tech


With Ice Growing at Both Poles, Global Warming Theories Implode

24th May 2017

In the Southern Hemisphere, sea-ice levels just smashed through the previous record highs across Antarctica, where there is now more ice than at any point since records began. In the Arctic, where global-warming theorists preferred to keep the public focused due to some decreases in ice levels over recent years, scientists said sea-ice melt in 2014 fell below the long-term mean. Global temperatures, meanwhile, have remained steady for some 18 years and counting, contrary to United Nations models predicting more warming as carbon dioxide levels increased.

Of course, all of that is great news for humanity — call off the carbon taxes and doomsday bunkers! However, as global-warming theories continue to implode on the world stage, the latest developments will pose a major challenge for the UN and its member governments. Later this month, climate “dignitaries” will be meeting in New York to forge an international agreement in the face of no global warming for nearly two decades, record ice levels, and growing public skepticism about the alleged “science” underpinning “climate change” alarmism.

As The New American reported last month, virtually every falsifiable prediction made by climate theorists — both the global-cooling mongers of a few decades ago and the warming alarmists more recently — has proven to be spectacularly wrong. In many cases, the opposite of what they forecasted took place. But perhaps nowhere have the failed global-warming doom and gloom predictions been more pronounced than in the Antarctic, where sea-ice levels have continued smashing through previous records. For each of the last three years, ice cover has hit a new record high.

The most recent data show that the Antarctic is currently surrounded by more sea ice than at any other point since records began. In all, there are right now about 20 million square kilometers of frozen sea area surrounding the Antarctic continent. That is 170,000 square kilometers more than last year’s previous all-time record, and more than 1.2 million square kilometers above the 1981-to-2010 mean, according to researchers.

“This is an area covered by sea ice which we’ve never seen from space before,” meteorologist and sea ice scientist Jan Lieser with the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) told Australia’s ABC. “Thirty-five years ago the first satellites went up which were reliably telling us what area, two dimensional area, of sea ice was covered and we’ve never seen that before, that much area. That is roughly double the size of the Antarctic continent and about three times the size of Australia.”

Despite having predicted less ice — not more — as a result of alleged man-made global warming, some alarmists have comically tried to blame the record ice on “global warming.” Indeed, in a bizarre attempt to explain away the latest findings, Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems CRC boss Tony Worby tried to blame “the depletion of ozone” and the “warming atmosphere” for the phenomenal growth in sea ice — contradicting previous forecasts by warming alarmists, who warned that ice would decrease as temperatures rose along with CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere.

The biggest problem with Worby’s claim, however, is the fact that the undisputed global temperature record shows there has been no warming for about 18 years and counting — contradicting every “climate model” cited by the UN to justify planetary alarmism, carbon taxes, energy rationing, massive wealth transfers, and more. Dozens of excuses have been concocted for what alarmists refer to as the “pause” in warming, as many as 50 by some estimates. The Obama administration’s preferred explanation, for which there is no observable evidence, is often ridiculed by critics as the “Theory of the Ocean Ate My Global Warming.”

However, scientists and experts not funded by governments to promote the alarmist narrative say the observable evidence simply shows the man-made CO2 theories and “climate models” pushed by the “climate” industry are incorrect. More than a few climate experts and scientists have even warned that a prolonged period of global cooling is approaching quickly. The consequences could potentially be devastating — especially if warming alarmists succeed in quashing energy and food production under the guise of stopping non-existent “warming.”

Also in response to the fast-expanding ice, some die-hard alarmists and warming propagandists styling themselves “journalists”have recently been hyping a relatively tiny part of the Antarctic ice sheet that may — centuries or even millennia from now — go into the sea. Numerous independent scientists and experts quickly debunked the fear-mongering, however, pointing out that it was almost certainly due to natural causes and was nothing to worry about.

In an ironic incident that sparked laughter around the world, a team of “climate scientists” who set out to show how Antarctic ice was supposedly melting ended up getting their ship trapped in record-setting ice — in the summer! Millions of taxpayer dollars and massive quantities of fossil fuels and CO2 emissions were required to rescue the stranded and embarrassed warming alarmists after their misguided adventure.

Another key tactic of the warmists to deflect attention from the expanding polar ice in the Southern Hemisphere has been to hype changes occurring in the Arctic instead. Unfortunately for the alarmists, however — critics often ridicule the movement as a “cult” for desperately clinging to its beliefs despite the evidence, not to mention the “Climategate” scandal — that will now be much harder to do with a straight face.

“After the very high melt rates of the 2007-2012 period, the trend reversed in 2013 and especially in 2014 when the melt fell below the long-term average,” explained German professor and environment expert Fritz Vahrenholt, adding that the heat content of the North Atlantic was also plummeting. “In other words: The 21st century climate catastrophe is not taking place.”

Decades ago, of course, Newsweek reported that Arctic ice was growing so quickly due to man-made “global cooling” that “scientists” were proposing to melt the polar ice cap using black soot. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed. More recently, “climate” guru Al Gore had been regularly predicting that the entire polar ice cap would be gone by now. Instead, it is now far more extensive than when he made his now-discredited predictions.

Of course, UN bureaucrats, many of whom depend on sustainable alarmism for their livelihood, still have their heads in the sand about the implosion of their theory. On a call with reporters last week, for example, UN “climate team director” Selwin Hart, who serves under Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, claimed an upcoming global-warming summit in New York “will be a major turning point in the way the world is approaching climate change.” He may be right, though probably not in the way he intended. The conference, which will be skipped by key world leaders, is meant to put climate alarmism “back on top of the international agenda,” Hart added.

In the United States, meanwhile, as the evidence continues to contradict the alarmist predictions, polls consistently show that a solid majority of Americans reject the UN’s man-made global-warming theories. Like the UN, however, Obama continues to act as if the discredited theories were gospel, promising to save humanity from their carbon sins by lawlessly bypassing the U.S. Senate and the Constitution to foist a planetary “climate” regime on the American people. Lawmakers have vowed to prevent any such schemes, but it remains unclear how far the White House is willing to push the issue. After failing even with a Democrat-controlled Congress, the EPA is already working to impose Obama’s anti-CO2 schemes on America by executive decree.

With the evidence discrediting UN global-warming theories literally piling up on both ends of the Earth and everywhere in between, alarmists face an increasingly Herculean task in their bid to shackle humanity to a “climate” regime at next year’s UN summit in Paris. However, to protect the public — and especially the poor — from the devastation such a planetary scheme would entail, Americans must continue to expose the baseless alarmism underpinning what countless scientists now refer to as the “climate scam.”

 Photo of typical Antarctic landscape

Alex Newman is a correspondent for The New American, covering economics, education, politics, and more. He can be reached at anewman@thenewamerican.com. Follow him on Twitter @ALEXNEWMAN_JOU.

Related articles:

Embarrassing Predictions Haunt the Global-Warming Industry

Obama Plotting to Bypass Congress on UN Climate Regime

Media Ridiculed for Hyping “Antarctic Collapse” Amid Record Ice

Global Warming Alarmists Stuck In Antarctic Sea Ice

Record Antarctic Sea Ice Chills Climate-change Projections

Desperate Dash of Global Warming

UN Carbon Regime Would Devastate Humanity

Climate Alarmists Push Chinese Communism, Population Control

In Historic Blow to Climate Hysteria, Australia Kills Carbon Tax

Carbon Scam by UN and World Bank Behind “Genocidal” Land Grabs

Desperate Dash of Global Warming

 

source:http://principia-scientific.org/ice-growing-poles-global-warming-theories-implode/

Barack Obama Talked Directly with Mark Zuckerberg About Facebook Concerns

21st May 2017

Former president Barack Obama spoke directly with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg during the latter’s drafting of a 5,700-word manifesto outlining the company’s future goals.

Obama was one of the instigators of the “fake news” panic that has put Facebook in the establishment’s CROSSHAIRS following the election of Donald Trump. Obama has repeatedly addressed the issue and even discussed it privately with European leaders prior to leaving office.

According to a major New York Times Magazine feature on the future of Facebook, he is also holding private discussions with Mark Zuckerberg.

Earlier that day, Zuckerberg’s staff had sent me a draft of a 5,700­ word manifesto that, I was told, he spent weeks writing. The document, “Building Global Community,” argued that until now, Facebook’s corporate goal had merely been to connect people. But that was just Step 1. According to the manifesto, Facebook’s “next focus will be developing the social infrastructure for community — for supporting us, for keeping us safe, for informing us, for civic engagement, and for inclusion of all.” If it was a nebulous crusade, it was also vast in its ambition.

According to the piece, Zuckerberg — after a “pause” — admitted that he had been in talks with former president Obama during the drafting of the manifesto.

When I asked if he had chatted with Obama about the former president’s critique of Facebook, Zuckerberg paused for several seconds, nearly to the point of awkwardness, before answering that he had.

Facebook’s spokespeople then called the New York Times Magazine reporter to clarify the CEO’s comments, which the reporter interpreted as an attempt to counter the perception that the new manifesto was “partisan” and “anti-Trump.”

Facebook’s spokespeople later called to stress that Obama was only one of many people to whom he had spoken. In other words: Don’t read this as a partisan anti-­Trump manifesto. But if the company pursues the admittedly airy aims outlined in “Building Global Community,” the changes will echo across media and politics, and some are bound to be considered partisan. The risks are especially clear for changes aimed at adding layers of journalistic ethics across News Feed, which could transform the public’s perception of Facebook, not to mention shake the foundations of its business.

 

 

source: http://www.breitbart.com/tech/2017/05/19/revealed-barack-obama-talked-directly-mark-zuckerberg-facebook-concerns/

Ancestry.com takes DNA ownership rights from customers and their relatives

\21st May 2017

Don’t use the AncestryDNA testing service without actually reading the Ancestry.com Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. According to these legal contracts, you still own your DNA, but so does Ancestry.com.

The family history website Ancestry.com is selling a new DNA testing service called AncestryDNA. But the DNA and genetic data that Ancestry.com collects may be used against “you or a genetic relative.” According to its privacy policies, Ancestry.com takes ownership of your DNA forever. Your ownership of your DNA, on the other hand, is limited in years.

It seems obvious that customers agree to this arrangement, since all of them must “click here to agree” to these terms. But, how many people really read those contacts before clicking to agree? And how many relatives of Ancestry.com customers are also reading?

There are three significant provisions in the AncestryDNA Privacy Policy and Terms of Service to consider on behalf of yourself and your genetic relatives: (1) the perpetual, royalty-free, world-wide license to use your DNA; (2) the warning that DNA information may be used against “you or a genetic relative”; (3) your waiver of legal rights.

1. Perpetual, royalty-free, worldwide license to use your DNA

AncestryDNA, a service of Ancestry.com, owns the “World’s Largest Consumer DNA Database” that contains the DNA of more than 3 million people. The AncestryDNA service promises to, “uncover your ethnic mix, discover distant relatives, and find new details about your unique family history with a simple DNA test.”

For the price of $99 dollars and a small saliva sample, AncestryDNA customers get an analysis of their genetic ethnicity and a list of potential relatives identified by genetic matching. Ancestry.com, on the other hand, gets free ownership of your genetic information forever. Technically, Ancestry.com will own your DNA even after you’re dead.

Specifically, by submitting DNA to AncestryDNA, you agree to “grant AncestryDNA and the Ancestry Group Companies a perpetual, royalty-free, world-wide, transferable license to use your DNA, and any DNA you submit for any person from whom you obtained legal authorization as described in this Agreement, and to use, host, sublicense and distribute the resulting analysis to the extent and in the form or context we deem appropriate on or through any media or medium and with any technology or devices now known or hereafter developed or discovered.”

Basically, Ancestry.com gets to use or distribute your DNA for any research or commercial purpose it decides and doesn’t have to pay you, or your heirs, a dime. Furthermore, Ancestry.com takes this royalty-free license in perpetuity (for all time) and can distribute the results of your DNA tests anywhere in the world and with any technology that exists, or will ever be invented. With this single contractual provision, customers are granting Ancestry.com the broadest possible rights to own and exploit their genetic information.

The AncestryDNA terms also requires customers to confirm that, “You understand that by providing any DNA to us, you acquire no rights in any research or commercial products that may be developed by AncestryDNA that may relate to or otherwise embody your DNA.” Essentially, you still own your DNA, but so does Ancestry.com. And, you can commercialize your own DNA for money, but Ancestry.com is also allowed to monetize your DNA for millions of dollars and doesn’t have to compensate you.

Although AncestryDNA customers provide voluntary consent to have their DNA used in commercial research projects, customers are free to withdraw consent, with a few exceptions. First, “data cannot be withdrawn from research already in progress or completed, or from published results and findings.” In those cases, Ancestry.com has access to data about you indefinitely.

Secondly, if a customer withdraws their consent, Ancestry.com will take 30 days to cease using their data for research. Finally, withdrawing consent, “will not result in destruction of your DNA Sample or deletion of your Data from AncestryDNA products and services, unless you direct us otherwise.” Customers must jump through additional hoops if they want their DNA sample destroyed or their data deleted from AncestryDNA products and services. The Ancestry.com policy does not specify what “additional steps” are required. U.S. customers must contact Ancestry.com customer service at 1–800–958–9124 to find out. (Customers outside the United States must call separate customer service numbers.)

2. Warning that DNA information may be used against “you or a genetic relative”

The Ancestry.com DNA testing service promises to analyze approximately 700,000 genetic markers. According to Ancestry.com, the service, “combines advanced DNA science with the world’s largest online family history resource to predict your genetic ethnicity and help you find new family connections.” The results of an AncestryDNA analysis include information about “ethnicity across 26 regions/ethnicities and identifies potential relatives through DNA matching to others who have taken the AncestryDNA test.”

AncestryDNA claims to use the “latest autosomal testing technology” to produce genetic identity reports and can combine the test results with “the world’s largest online family history resource to predict your genetic ethnicity and help you find new family connections.” In addition, AncestryDNA offers a genetic code profiling and matching service, advertising that “AncestryDNA can also help identify relationships with unknown relatives through a dynamic list of DNA matches.”

This raises a thorny issue that Ancestry.com has not resolved: your exact DNA profile is unique to you, but a substantial portion of your DNA is identical to your relatives. Thus, Ancestry.com is able to take DNA from its customers and also their relatives. Even if you’ve never used Ancestry.com, but one of your genetic relatives has, the company may already own identifiable portions of your DNA.

The personal “Genetic Data” collected by Ancestry.com includes “information derived from processing your DNA Sample through genomic, molecular, and computational analyses using various technologies, such as genotyping and whole or partial genome sequencing. Genetic Data is broader than just the results delivered to you when you use the AncestryDNA test and includes a range of DNA markers such as those associated with your health or other conditions.” In short, Ancestry.com holds genetic data that reveals your health and other conditions.

Genetic diseases are disorders caused by abnormalities in a person’s DNA and are divided into three categories: single-gene disorders, such as cystic fibrosis, sickle cell disease, and Huntington’s disease, result from the mutation of the protein of a single gene; chromosome abnormalities, such as Down Syndrome, are caused by disorders of the whole chromosome; and multifactorial disorders, including breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, develop from mutations in multiple genes, often coupled with environmental causes. Genomics play a role in nine out of the top ten leading causes of death in the U.S., including cancer, heart disease, stroke, chronic lower respiratory diseases, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, influenza and pneumonia, septicemia, and kidney disease.

Buried in the Terms of Service, Ancestry.com warns customers, “it is possible that information about you or a genetic relative could be revealed, such as that you or a relative are carriers of a particular disease. That information could be used by insurers to deny you insurance coverage, by law enforcement agencies to identify you or your relatives, and in some places, the data could be used by employers to deny employment.”

This is a massive red flag. The data “you or a genetic relative” give to AncestryDNA could be used against “you or a genetic relative” by employers, insurers, and law enforcement.

For example, a young woman named Theresa Morelli applied for individual disability insurance, consented to release of her medical records through the Medical Information Bureau (a credit reporting agency for medical history), and was approved for coverage. One month later, Ms. Morelli’s coverage was cancelled and premiums refunded when the insurer learned her father had Huntington’s disease, a genetic illness.

Startlingly, the Medical Information Bureau (MIB) used Morelli’s broad consent to query her father’s physician, a doctor with whom she had no prior patient relationship. More importantly, the applicant herself wasn’t diagnosed with Huntington’s carrier status, but she suffered exclusion on the basis of a genetic predisposition in her family.

Under a 1995 consent agreement with the Federal Trade Commission, the MIB and its members are required to comply with consumer protections of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Much like financial credit reports, all consumers are entitled to a free annual copy of their “medical report” file from the Medical Information Bureau (MIB). If the consumer discovers an error in her MIB medical credit report file, she must mail a letter to the MIB to begin the dispute process.

Federal laws, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) and the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act of 2008 (GINA), contain protections that prohibit health insurers from requiring, using, and analyzing genetic information in health care coverage decisions. However, both laws contain glaring exceptions that allow for genetic discrimination in certain industries. Notably, no Federal laws regulate the use of genetic information, genetic testing, and genetic discrimination for life insurance companies, long-term care insurers, and employers.

An Ancestry.com DNA test is the impetus of a federal civil rights lawsuit filed by Sergeant Cleon Brown, a white police officer in Hastings, Michigan against his employer, the Hastings Police Department, and several city employees. Curious about his own family history, Sergeant Brown purchased an AncestryDNA genetic test and analysis report.

The results surprised him — Ancestry.com said his DNA was 18% sub-Saharan African. Sergeant Brown, “proudly told his colleagues at the police department” about his African ancestry.

But not long after that, “his elation turned into misery.” According to Sergeant Brown’s complaint, his colleagues at the police department, “started whispering ‘Black Lives Matter’ while pumping their fists as they walked” past Sergeant Brown.

The complaint also alleges that the former mayor of Hastings participated in the racist teasing, by telling Sergeant Brown a joke containing racist slurs. “I just never thought it would be in Hastings, saying, like, racist comments to me,” Sergeant Brown said to the New York Times. In his lawsuit, Sergeant Brown, a military veteran who has worked in law enforcement for 20 years, is seeking $500,000 in damages.

The Ancestry.com Terms of Service also warns that genetic information in its possession can be used by state or federal law enforcement agencies “to identify you or your relatives.” With the rise of forensic evidence in criminal investigations, DNA is often considered incontrovertible evidence. To propel the use of DNA evidence in criminal investigations and prosecutions, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) operates the national Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) database.

The CODIS DNA database, created and maintained by the FBI, consists of the following three levels of information: local DNA Index Systems (LDIS) where DNA profiles originate; state DNA Index Systems (SDIS) which allows for laboratories within states to share information; and the National DNA Index System (NDIS) which allows states to compare DNA information with one another. According to reports, the FBI’s CODIS software connects disparate databases including, arrestees, missing persons, convicted offenders, and forensic samples collected from crime scenes.

All 50 states, the District of Columbia, federal law enforcement, the Army Laboratory, and Puerto Rico participate in national sharing of DNA profiles through the CODIS system. However, the FBI DNA database is not infallible. In 2015, the FBI said it discovered flawed data after it commissioned a study to retest DNA samples. In a bulletin sent to crime labs across the United States, the FBI surmised that DNA data errors were probably due to, “clerical mistakes in transcriptions of the genotypes and to limitations of the old technology and software.” The FBI suspects that errors in DNA may go back as far as 1999.

3. Waiver of Legal Rights

Are “you or a genetic relative” a customer of AncestryDNA? If so, Ancestry.com now has control over the DNA of “you or a genetic relative.” Should the warnings from Ancestry.com come to pass, and DNA information about “you or a genetic relative” is used against “you or a genetic relative” by any employer, insurer, or law enforcement, then “you or a genetic relative” have very limited legal rights.

In its sales contract, Ancestry.com takes no responsibility. By consenting to the AncestryDNA Terms and Conditions, “you or a genetic relative” agree to hold the company harmless for any damages that AncestryDNA may cause unintentionally or purposefully. If “you or a genetic relative” are “dissatisfied with any portion of the Websites or the Services, or with any clause of these terms, as your sole and exclusive remedy you may discontinue using the Websites and the Services.” The only option for unhappy customers is to stop using AncestryDNA.

In the event you or your genetic information causes harm, you agree to “defend, indemnify and hold harmless AncestryDNA, its affiliates, officers, directors, employees and agents from and against any and all claims, damages, obligations, losses, liabilities, costs or expenses (including but not limited to attorney’s fees).” And customers beware, “you may be liable to others as well as to us if your account is used in violation of the terms and conditions of this Agreement.” That means you could end up owing money to Ancestry.com, its attorneys, and others.

The final indignity for Ancestry.com customers is that they must waive fundamental legal rights by agreeing to mandatory binding arbitration. With the exception of intellectual property rights disputes and certain small claims, Ancestry.com customers must pursue their disputes through arbitration, rather than court. In arbitration, the established legal rules of discovery, evidence, and trial by jury do not exist.

Finally, if many AncestryDNA customers want to join together to file a lawsuit against Ancestry.com, they are prohibited. But in fairness, Ancestry.com similarly prohibits itself from joining with a bunch of others to file a class action lawsuit against you. By agreeing to the Terms and Conditions, “you and AncestryDNA agree that each may bring claims against the other only in your or its individual capacity, and not as a plaintiff or class member in any purported class, consolidated, or representative action.”

And, these arbitration provisions survive even if you cancel your AncestryDNA account. However, for good measure, Ancestry.com notes that, “this arbitration agreement does not preclude you from bringing issues to the attention of federal, state, or local agencies. Such agencies can, if the law allows, seek relief against us on your behalf.”

4. Conclusion

To use the AncestryDNA service, customers must consent to the Ancestry.com Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. These are binding legal contracts between the customer and Ancestry.com. The most egregious of these terms gives Ancestry.com a free license to exploit your DNA for the rest of time.

Customers must understand that turning over their DNA means a loss of complete ownership and control. Ancestry.com customers should also know they’re giving up the genetic privacy of themselves and their relatives.

Before purchasing, individuals are advised to fully read and consider the Ancestry.com Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. If you become a customer, Ancestry.com owns your DNA for life and longer.

 

 

 

source:https://medium.com/@MedicalReport/ancestry-com-takes-dna-ownership-rights-from-customers-and-their-relatives-dbafeed02b9e

New computers could delete thoughts without your knowledge, experts warn

2nd May 2017

New human rights laws are required to protect sensitive information in a person’s mind from ‘unauthorised collection, storage, use or even deletion’

 

“Thou canst not touch the freedom of my mind,” wrote the playwright John Milton in 1634.

But, nearly 400 years later, technological advances in machines that can read our thoughts mean the privacy of our brain is under threat.

Now two biomedical ethicists are calling for the creation of new human rights laws to ensure people are protected, including “the right to cognitive liberty” and “the right to mental integrity”.

Scientists have already developed devices capable of telling whether people are politically right-wing or left-wing. In one experiment, researchers were able to read people’s minds to tell with 70 per cent accuracy whether they planned to add or subtract two numbers.

Facebook also recently revealed it had been secretly working on technology to read people’s minds so they could type by just thinking.

And medical researchers have managed to connect part of a paralysed man’s brain to a computer to allow him to stimulate muscles in his arm so he could move it and feed himself.

The ethicists, writing in a paper in the journal Life Sciences, Society and Policy, stressed the “unprecedented opportunities” that would result from the “ubiquitous distribution of cheaper, scalable and easy-to-use neuro-applications” that would make neurotechnology “intricately embedded in our everyday life”.

However, such devices are open to abuse on a frightening degree, as the academics made clear.

They warned that “malicious brain-hacking” and “hazardous uses of medical neurotechnology” could require a redefinition of the idea of mental integrity.

“We suggest that in response to emerging neurotechnology possibilities, the right to mental integrity should not exclusively guarantee protection from mental illness or traumatic injury but also from unauthorised intrusions into a person’s mental wellbeing performed through the use of neurotechnology, especially if such intrusions result in physical or mental harm to the neurotechnology user,” the ethicists wrote.

“The right to mental privacy is a neuro-specific privacy right which protects private or sensitive information in a person’s mind from unauthorised collection, storage, use, or even deletion in digital form or otherwise.”

And they warned that the techniques were so sophisticated that people’s minds might be being read or interfered with without their knowledge.

“Illicit intrusions into a person’s mental privacy may not necessarily involve coercion, as they could be performed under the threshold of a persons’ conscious experience,” they wrote in the paper.

“The same goes for actions involving harm to a person’s mental life or unauthorised modifications of a person’s psychological continuity, which are also facilitated by the ability of emerging neurotechnologies to intervene into a person’s neural processing in absence of the person’s awareness.”

They proposed four new human rights laws: the right to cognitive liberty, the right to mental privacy, the right to mental integrity and the right to psychological continuity.

Professor Roberto Andorno, an academic at Zurich University’s law school and a co-author of the paper, said: “Brain imaging technology has already reached a point where there is discussion over its legitimacy in criminal court, for example as a tool for assessing criminal responsibility or even the risk of re-offending.

“Consumer companies are using brain imaging for ‘neuromarketing’ to understand consumer behaviour and elicit desired responses from customers.

“There are also tools such as ‘brain decoders’ which can turn brain imaging data into images, text or sound.

“All of these could pose a threat to personal freedom which we sought to address with the development of four new human rights laws.”

And his colleague Marcello Ienca, of the Institute for Biomedical Ethics at Basel University, said: “The mind is considered to be the last refuge of personal freedom and self-determination, but advances in neural engineering, brain imaging and neurotechnology put the freedom of the mind at risk.

“Our proposed laws would give people the right to refuse coercive and invasive neurotechnology, protect the privacy of data collected by neurotechnology, and protect the physical and psychological aspects of the mind from damage by the misuse of neurotechnology.”

He admitted such advances might sound like something out of the world of science fiction.

But he added: “Neurotechnology featured in famous stories has in some cases already become a reality, while others are inching ever closer, or exist as military and commercial prototypes.

“We need to be prepared to deal with the impact these technologies will have on our personal freedom.”

 

source:http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/delete-thoughts-read-your-mind-without-your-knowledge-neurotechnology-new-human-rights-laws-a7701661.html

Police illegally obtained journalist’s phone records under new metadata retention regime

28th April 2017

Police illegally obtained journalist’s phone records under

The Australian Federal Police illegally obtained a journalist’s phone records under the Turnbull government’s new metadata retention regime, the agency announced on Friday.

The breach took place as part of an investigation into a leak of confidential police material – and the incident will now be investigated by the Commonwealth Ombudsman.

AFP commissioner Andrew Colvin said the police officers investigating the leak did not realise they were required to obtain a warrant to access the journalist’s metadata.

“This was human error. It should not have occurred. The AFP takes it very seriously and we take full responsibility for breaching the Act,” Mr Colvin said

 

 

“There was no ill will or malice or bad intent by the officers involved who breached the Act. But simply it was a mistake.”

The journalist in question had not been informed their data had been accessed, Mr Colvin said, due to sensitivities around the ongoing investigation into the leak.

The breach occurred “earlier this year” and was reported to the Ombudsman on Wednesday.

Under the revised data retention regime, police are required to obtain a warrant from a judge to seek metadata from a journalist.

“The vulnerability is the investigator needs to understand that that’s their requirement,” Mr Colvin said on Friday. “On this occasion, the investigator didn’t.”

The phone records in question were relevant to the investigation, Mr Colvin said, but “what was improper was that the right steps weren’t taken to gain access to it”.

The breach is the first such incident that has come to light under the government’s new metadata retention regime, which requires service providers to store their customers’ data for two years.

Acknowledging the policy was “controversial”, Mr Colvin said Australians should nonetheless have “full confidence” in both the police and the policy.

He conceded the AFP’s internal procedures had not anticipated and prevented the error and therefore those practices would be subject to “significant changes”.

Access to metadata would now be restricted to more senior officers, he said, and the number of officers who can approve access to metadata will be reduced. Training will also be bolstered.

Asked if the unlawfully-obtained phone records would still be relied on to inform the actions of investigators, he acknowledged that once seen it could not be unseen.

“Clearly they can’t unsee it. They’ll need to consider … what weight they put on what they saw,” Mr Colvin said. “But that material was accessed illegally, so it can have no bearing on the conduct of the investigation.”

He stressed the content of the journalist’s phone calls were not accessed, just the call records. But Paul Murphy, chief executive of the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance, said that was not a mitigating factor.

“It’s another demonstration that the AFP do not understand the sensitivities here, the vital importance of protecting journalists’ confidential sources,” he said. “It’s an absolute disgrace.”

South Australian senator Nick Xenophon, who lobbied for extra safeguards for journalists when the laws were formulated, said he was “furious” about the revelation and would seek further amendments to the law.

“This is outrageous. There’s been a flagrant breach of the law here,” he said. “The safeguards have been completely trashed. This should chill the spine of every journalist in this country.”

 

 

source:http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/police-illegally-obtained-journalists-phone-records-under-new-metadata-retention-regime-20170428-gvutjx.html

Australia’s Re-Entry Into Space Race Could End Gaps In Satellite Coverage

23rd April 2017

Australia’s return to the space race could provide valuable data on upper atmospheric weather and help close gaps in satellite coverage, an expert says.

The three satellites, made Down Under, blasted into orbit this week. It was the first time in 15 years that Aussie-made satellites have been sent into space.

They are the work of 50 University of Adelaide students and staff.

Since the launch, the Australian research satellites have reportedly been successfully transferred to the international space station where they are awaiting a catapult out of a canon and into orbit.

Dr Brad Tucker, an astronomer at Canberra’s Mt Stromlo Observatory, said the satellites were part of a network being built to provide “continuing monitoring of the upper atmosphere”.

 

“When we talk about gaps in satellite coverage, by having tons of them (satellites) we actually end the problem of having gaps in satellite coverage,” he told the Seven Network on Saturday.

The satellites would collect data from the thermosphere on things like solar flares, upper atmosphere winds and storm systems.

“It’s really (about) predicting better monitoring and space weather monitoring,” he added.

It’s only the third time that Aussie-constructed satellites have been sent into space, with the first orbital device launched back in 1967, followed by one in 2002.

The latest Australian satellites, known as “cubesats”, join a total of 28 satellites recently launched into space on a rocket from an air force base in the US.

The small satellites weigh just 1.3kg each, but researchers say they could provide groundbreaking data on weather and communication systems.

 

source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2017/04/21/australias-re-entry-into-space-race-could-end-gaps-in-satellite_a_22050122/?utm_hp_ref=au-homepage

Feds to Deploy Facial Recognition Tech at Border Checkpoints

20th April 2016

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is planning to unveil a facial recognition program that will track visa holders at U.S. airports while using the same technology on drones to patrol the southern border.

The system, called Biometric Exit, is currently being tested on a one-way flight from Atlanta to Tokyo and is expected to be rolled out to more airports this summer after being expedited by the Trump Administration, according to a report from The Verge.

The current practice used by Customs and Border Protection agents is to take photos and fingerprints of every visa holder who enters the U.S., but there is no system in place to verify that a visa holder has left before their visa expires. This is where Biometric Exit comes in.

Passengers will have their photos taken at the airport before boarding flights, that photo will cross-reference with “passport-style photos provided with the visa application.” If there is no match, then that will raise flags about whether the visitor entered the United States illegally.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Larry Panetta, who is leading the airport segment of the project, said, “We currently have everyone’s photo, so we don’t need to do any sort of enrollment. We have access to the Department of State records so we have photos of US Citizens, we have visa photos, we have photos of people when they cross into the US and their biometrics are captured into [DHS biometric database] IDENT.”

President Trump expedited the implementation of Biometric Exit when he signed the executive order, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States,” the same document that called for the temporary halt of immigrants from seven Middle Eastern countries.

“Sec. 7.  Expedited Completion of the Biometric Entry-Exit Tracking System.  (a)  The Secretary of Homeland Security shall expedite the completion and implementation of a biometric entry-exit tracking system for all travelers to the United States, as recommended by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States,” the executive order states.

The CBP is also looking to use facial recognition at the border to help identify any person that is in relevant law enforcement databases.

Officials with the CBP solicited proposals from companies for small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS), like consumer drones, for deployment by Border Patrol agents along the southern border.

The agency is specifically looking for a drone that is small enough that it can fit into a truck, weighs under 55 pounds, and is deployable by a single agent in less than 5 minutes. Officials also want a drone fitted with state-of-the-art sensor technology which reportedly may include, “infrared cameras and facial-recognition capabilities.”

A document included with the solicitation, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) Capabilities, said the agency is looking for a drone that can, “distinguish between natural and artificial features, and between animals, humans, and vehicles at long range.”

The same document also states that the agency is looking for a drone that, “would have facial recognition capabilities that allow it cross-reference any persons identified with relevant law enforcement databases.”

The goal will be to cross-reference the facial scans against multiple government databases that collect biometric information, including the FBI. “The bureau can draw from over 411 million photos spread across state and federal databases, including more than 173 million driver’s license photos, as part of the new biometric effort,” according to a government document that was analyzed by The Verge.

Ari Schuler, co-lead of CBP’s Silicon Valley office, which is managing the project, said that a drone that has these capabilities would allow Border Patrol Agents to identify traffickers who have violent criminal backgrounds, allowing the Agent the call backup.

Since large portions of the border lack cellular service, the biggest challenge for contractors is figuring out how to stream data from the drones. The CBP is also looking for a drone that is secure, not vulnerable to hacking.

The move to go from large military-style drones to small consumer ones comes from the disappointment the CBP has had with the Predator. A report from 2014 shows that the cost to operate 10 Predators over the course of a year exceeded $60 million. The drones failed to lower the cost of border surveillance and were vulnerable to GPS jamming and other attacks.

 

 

source:http://www.breitbart.com/texas/2017/04/19/feds-deploy-facial-recognition-tech-border-checkpoints/

Battle intensifies between Trump’s CIA, WikiLeaks

15th april 2017

The battle between the CIA and WikiLeaks is intensifying.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo used his first major public remarks on Thursday to skewer WikiLeaks as a “non-state hostile intelligence service” willing to work with Russia and other foreign actors to promote their interests.

He blasted Julian Assange as a “fraud” interested in his own fame, seeking to undermine efforts by the WikiLeaks founder to be viewed as a legitimate ally of civil libertarians.

“It is time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is, a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia,” Pompeo said.“Assange is a narcissist who has created nothing of value,” the former Republican congressman charged. “He relies on the dirty work of others to make himself famous. He is a fraud—a coward hiding behind a screen.”

WikiLeaks was quick to respond, sending out a series of messages on Twitter claiming that Pompeo vowed to “silence” the organization over its purported disclosures of CIA hacking tools and using his remarks to promote an op-ed written by Assange in the Washington Post.

In the op-ed, Assange wrote that WikiLeaks had the same mission as news outlets such as the Post and The New York Times.

The organization also mocked Pompeo by sending out a since-deleted tweet he wrote last July, when the former Kansas lawmaker cited stolen Democratic National Committee emails released by WikiLeaks as proof that the presidential nomination had been “fixed” for Hillary Clinton.

Pompeo’s speech was a wide departure from President Trump’s praise of WikiLeaks on the campaign trail. Trump and his administration have taken a much more hostile approach to WikiLeaks since taking office.

U.S. national security experts welcomed Pompeo’s comments as a signal that the new director was taking a hard line on an organization that has leaked information damaging to American interests.

“I think what [Pompeo] did was putting him on notice, which I think is exactly the right thing to do,” James Carafano, a national security expert at the conservative Heritage Foundation, said. “I think he’s throwing down the gauntlet.”

But the speech was not warmly embraced by all. Journalist Glenn Greenwald, who published documents leaked by Edward Snowden, slammed Pompeo for his remarks, accusing him of “explicitly” threatening free speech and press freedoms.

“WikiLeaks now has few friends in Washington,” Greenwald wrote in The Intercept. “But the level of affection for WikiLeaks should have no bearing on how one responds to these press freedom threats from Donald Trump’s CIA Director. Criminalizing the publication of classified documents is wrong in itself, and has the obvious potential to spread far beyond their initial target.”

WikiLeaks for weeks has needled the CIA by releasing troves of leaked documents allegedly revealing the agency’s hacking programs.

The releases, called “Vault 7,” contain documents describing hacking techniques used by the CIA, such as tools to breach mobile devices and hack into smart televisions, as well as other internal communications.

Hours after Pompeo’s speech, WikiLeaks leaked yet another trove of documents that claimed to reveal information about a top-secret CIA hacking program called Hive.

Experts have largely described the contents of the periodic document releases as unsurprising, and evidence that the CIA is doing its job. Nevertheless, they have renewed the debate around privacy and intelligence community spying and also raised questions about the source of the leaks.

“Obviously, this hurts when other people know where you have been, what you have been thinking,” said former CIA Director Michael Hayden, who said that the documents show no abuse of the agency’s powers.

“There is the danger that even though these things might reflect appropriate activities that Americans don’t object to, the fact that you can’t keep the tools secret, the fact that you can’t keep the data you collect from other prying eyes, that creates a real big, strong argument for, ‘then I don’t want you doing it in the first place,’” Hayden said.

Some note that the leaks underscore the persisting problem of insider threats, which has been a major cause for concern since the leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and former soldier Chelsea Manning.

Pompeo acknowledged Thursday that the agency needs to strengthen its own systems to prevent leaks.

Adam Klein, a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, said that a major concern about WikiLeaks is that the organization provides an “outlet” for insider threats and encourages them.

“Insider threats are our intelligence agencies’ biggest security threat,” Klein told The Hill.

WikiLeaks has appeared to target CIA interns as potential sources of information. “CIA advertises internships. Whistleblowing opportunity?” the organized wrote on Twitter in mid-March.

“To the extent that there’s any news here, it’s that we have not gotten a handle on insider threats,” Klein said of the latest releases, noting that Congress should be concerned about the CIA leaks.

“I think it’s good news, frankly, that the CIA us thinking creatively about collecting information from foreign intelligence targets in the digital age,” Klein said.

The CIA has not confirmed the authenticity of any of the documents released, which Pompeo mentioned briefly on Thursday.

“As a policy, we at CIA do not comment on the accuracy of purported intelligence documents posted online,” Pompeo said. “In keeping with that policy, I will not specifically comment on the authenticity or provenance of recent disclosures.”

“But the false narratives that increasingly define our public discourse cannot be ignored,” he said.

 

source: http://thehill.com/policy/cybersecurity/328918-battle-intensifies-between-trumps-cia-wikileaks

Hackers post code in Trump protest: ‘Don’t forget about your base’

9th April 2017

An individual or group known for leaking complete computer code for apparently authentic, stolen NSA hacking tools released a new batch of computer code Saturday.

The leaker, dubbed “TheShadowBrokers,” claimed that the newest leak was a “form of protest” against President Trump not continuing the isolationist brand of populism that he campaigned on. Earlier leaks from the group were typically political in nature.

TheShadowBrokers claimed to be releasing samples from the NSA source code to draw attention to its auction. The latest leaks accompany a post titled “Don’t Forget About Your Base.”

In the group’s trademark broken English, the post reads, “TheShadowBrokers voted for you. TheShadowBrokers supports you. TheShadowBrokers is losing faith in you. Mr. Trump helping theshadowbrokers, helping you. Is appearing you are abandoning ‘your base’, ‘the movement’, and the peoples who getting you elected.”

The post goes on to cite “good evidence” of Trump shunning his base, pointing to the GOP’s death on healthcare reform last month, removing White House chief strategist Steve Bannon from the National Security Council principals committee and appointing Cabinet members from Goldman Sachs and the “Military Industrial Intelligence Complex.”

TheShadowBrokers debuted in August, leaking a large package of source code it claimed was from the toolkit of the Equation Group, a vaunted hacking operation long believed to be affiliated with the NSA. Between then and January, the group dumped two more packages of source code.

Though always in the context of advertising the sale of their wares, the Brokers have mentioned politics in prior posts, including a racist sketch about the Clinton campaign. In the group’s last message to the public in January, it claimed any prior mention of politics was meant for publicity.

Past releases by TheShadowBrokers appears to be authentic. The Intercept, the publication headed by the fount of Edward Snowden leaks, Glenn Greenwald, published that a tracking ID code that appeared in the Brokers’ files matched a previously unreleased code in the Snowden files.

Earlier files from the group, while years old, contained working computer code to exploit many previously unknown security flaws in popular cybersecurity hardware from Cisco and other manufacturers.

Those flaws sent cybersecurity companies into a frantic race to repair their products before hackers took advantage. Researchers ultimately did find malware in the wild, which used these product vulnerabilities.

It is unclear how TheShadowBrokers obtained the files.

 

source;http://thehill.com/policy/cybersecurity/327971-shadowbrokers-post-new-nsa-cyberweapons-in-pro-conservative-protest-of

Disney seeks new patent for soft robots playing characters

8th April 2017

Soft-body robots could someday be roaming Disney theme parks, playing animated, humanoid movie characters and interacting with visitors.

A new patent application by the entertainment giant doesn’t name specific characters, but it describes “designing a robot that will move and physically interact like an animated character.”

A prototype sketch filed with the patent application shows a round body, echoing the shape of the Baymax soft-robot character in Disney’s 2014 movie “Big Hero 6.” The application, and theme park observers, say the big issue for robotic interaction is safety. The document, dated Thursday, shows Disney research scientists in Pittsburgh have worked on prototypes identified only as “soft body 300” or “soft body 1000.”

“It’s hard to know why Disney decides to file for a patent, but they have been looking at soft-body robots since ‘Big Hero,’” said theme park writer Jim Hill. “Disney is still terrified that even with this soft technology, a robot could accidentally harm a child. They do a lot of testing.”

Disney officials declined to comment on the patent application.

The new Disney patent says soft-body robots would be “designed for reducing collision impacts during human interaction.”

“Robots can be found providing interactive guidance or entertainment in stores and amusement parks and in more dynamic settings,” the new patent filing says.

From Aladdin and Ariel to Winnie the Pooh and Woody, keeping track of character appearances at Walt Disney World is practically a full-time job for theme park blogs and websites. There are dozens and dozens of characters listed on multiple sites that track them. On Walt Disney World’s own website, visitors can search locations and times to meet specific characters. Characters roam freely or meet visitors in set-aside areas.

More robotic characters could eliminate some labor costs, although there’s no information about how much they would cost or whether it would reduce the number of costumed characters.

Free-roaming robots aren’t exactly new at Walt Disney World. Previous versions have included Push the Talking Trash Can, which was basically a remote-controlled vehicle, and Lucky the Dinosaur.

But the new patent filing describes problems with previous robot-human interaction: “It has proven difficult to provide wholly safe interactions between humans and robots simply by operating these humanoid and other robots with controlled movements.”

The new application describes pliable chambers making up the body of the robot, filled with fluid or air. The robot would be able to sense pressure on each chamber and adjust the amount of air or water, to respond to a child’s hug, or to an accidental collision.

The outer shape of the robot could be determined by “data obtained from a digital model of an animated (or other) character,” the application says.

It says frame and joint components made with a 3-D printer and outer shapes on the robot would include “a donut shape, a cylinder, and a cylinder with a round end.” It leaves open the possibility for variations on the basic concept.

The inventors are Alexander Alspach, Joohyung Kim and Katsu Yamane, who work at Disney Research Pittsburgh. They’ve been working on a prototype soft robot since at least 2014, according to Disney Research. They posted videos online showing a soft upper body of a robot holding an apple and a small plush toy.

Pittsburgh is also where Carnegie Mellon University developed a soft robotic arm that inspired Disney director Don Hall as he researched concepts for a “huggable robot,” which eventually became “Big Hero 6’s” Baymax.

Jim Hill said Hall actually brought the soft robot research to the attention of Disney’s engineers, the Imagineers, at that time.

Disney in the past has clashed with unions regarding rules for employees who portray characters. In a 2015 dispute, union representatives objected to a rule that such actors can’t publicly talk about which character they portray.

Staffing characters with costumed humans hasn’t proven foolproof, either. A 2011 lawsuit filed by a Philadelphia woman claimed that an Epcot employee dressed as Donald Duck groped her. That lawsuit alleged that Disney attempted “to cover up continuing, long-standing similar prior incidents,” and Disney declined to comment publicly; the suit was settled confidentially.

And in 2007, a Disney employee playing Tigger the tiger was suspended after a New Hampshire family accused him of punching their 14-year-old son during a home-video session at Disney-MGM Studios.

Bob Boyd, a financial analyst who follows Disney closely, said filing for a patent doesn’t mean Disney is close to rolling out new soft-body robots.

But he said it indicates that Disney continues to pursue advanced technology that interacts with guests, similar to its leading role in animatronics in the 1960s and 1970s.

“Meeting the legal and liability threshold is very difficult,” Boyd said. “Most robotics or animatronics are separated from guests by a physical barrier. But it is very difficult to have large numbers of people posing as characters too.”

 

source: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/business/brinkmann-on-business/os-bz-disney-soft-robots-20170407-story.html