chicksdaddy writes "Beware you barons of BitCoin – you World of Warcraft one-percenters: the long arm of the Internal Revenue Service may soon be reaching into your treasure hoard to extract Uncle Sam's fair share of your virtual wealth. A new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on virtual economies finds that many types of transactions in virtual economies – including Bitcoin mining and virtual transactions that result in real-world profit – are likely taxable under current U.S. law, but that the IRS does a poor job of tracking such business activity and informing buyers and sellers of their duty to pay taxes on virtual earnings. The report, 'Virtual Economies and Currencies: Additional IRS Guidance Could Reduce Tax Compliance Risks' found that the growing use of virtual currencies like BitCoin and virtual game currencies warrants the U.S.'s tax collection agency to mitigate the risks. Those include efforts to educate taxpayers and the publication of basic tax reporting requirements for transactions using virtual currencies, The Security Ledger reports."
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McGruber writes "In an Op-Ed published in The NY Times, Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF.org) Senior Fellow Richard Bennett claims that 'America's broadband networks lead the world by many measures, and they are improving at a more rapid rate than networks in most developed countries.' Mr. Bennett also says, 'the most critical issue facing American broadband has nothing to do with the quality of our networks; it is our relatively low rates of subscribership.'"
crackspackle writes "The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the State of Texas earlier today in a murder trial where the defendant, prior to be taken into custody, had been questioned by the police and chose to remain silent on key questions. This fact was bought up at trial and used to convict him. Most of us have seen at least enough cop shows to know police must read a suspect their Miranda rights when placing them in custody. The issue was a bit murkier here in that the defendant had not yet been detained and while we all probably thought the freedom from self-incrimination was an implicit right as stated in the Constitution, apparently SCOTUS now thinks you have to claim that right or at least be properly mirandized first." It appears that if you are "free to leave at any time" you lose a few rights. Fancy trick, up there with getting kids to write apology letters.
An anonymous reader writes "China's Tianhe-2 is the world's fastest supercomputer, according to the latest semiannual Top 500 list of the 500 most powerful computer systems in the world. Developed by China's National University of Defense Technology, the system appeared two years ahead of schedule and will be deployed at the National Supercomputer Center in Guangzho, China, before the end of the year."
An anonymous reader writes "Not to be left out Apple has released details about government requests for customer data. The company said it received between 4,000-5,000 government requests, affecting as many as 10,000 accounts or devices. From the article: 'The iPad maker said that it received between 4,000 and 5,000 requests from U.S. law enforcement agencies for customer data from December 1, 2012 to May 31, 2013, and that 9,000 to 10,000 accounts or devices were specified in the requests. Apple did not state how many of the requests were from the National Security Agency or how many affected accounts or devices may have been tied to any NSA requests.' Facebook and Microsoft released their numbers this weekend."
cold fjord writes "Yet more details about the controversy engulfing the NSA. From CNET: 'Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, explained how the program worked without violating individuals' civil rights. "We take the business records by a court order, and it's just phone numbers — no names, no addresses — put it in a lock box," Rogers told CBS News' "Face The Nation." "And if they get a foreign terrorist overseas that's dialing in to the United Sates, they take that phone number... they plug it into this big pile, if you will, of just phone numbers — it's like a phonebook without any names and any addresses with it — to see if there's a connection, a foreign terrorist connection to the United States." "When a number comes out of that lock box, it's just a phone number — no names, no addresses," he said. "If they think that's relevant to their counterterrorism investigation, they give that to the FBI. Then upon the FBI has to go out and meet all the legal standards to even get whose phone number that is."' From the AP: ' ... programs run by the National Security Agency thwarted potential terrorist plots in the U.S. and more than 20 other countries — and that gathered data is destroyed every five years. Last year, fewer than 300 phone numbers were checked against the database of millions of U.S. phone records ... the intelligence officials said in arguing that the programs are far less sweeping than their detractors allege.... both NSA programs are reviewed every 90 days by the secret court authorized by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Under the program, the records, showing things like time and length of call, can only be examined for suspected connections to terrorism, they said. The ... program helped the NSA stop a 2009 al-Qaida plot to blow up New York City subways.'"
bill_mcgonigle writes with this news from from CNET: "Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D NY) disclosed that NSA analysts eavesdrop on Americans' domestic telephone calls without court orders during a House Judiciary hearing. After clearing with FBI director Robert Mueller that the information was not classified, Nadler revealed that during a closed-door briefing to Congress, the Legislature was informed that the spying organization had implemented and uses this capability. This appears to confirm Edward Snowden's claim that he could, in his position at the NSA, 'wiretap anyone from you or your accountant to a federal judge to even the president.' Declan McCullagh writes, 'Because the same legal standards that apply to phone calls also apply to e-mail messages, text messages, and instant messages, Nadler's disclosure indicates the NSA analysts could also access the contents of Internet communications without going before a court and seeking approval.' The executive branch has defended its general warrants, claiming that 'the president had the constitutional authority, no matter what the law actually says, to order domestic spying without [constitutional] warrants,' while Kurt Opsahl, senior staff attorney at EFF claims such government activity 'epitomizes the problem of secret laws.'" Note that "listening in" versus "collecting metadata" is a distinction that defenders of government phone spying have been emphasizing. Tracking whom you called and when, goes the story, doesn't impinge on expectations of privacy. Speaking of the metadata collection, though, reader Bruce66423 writes "According to the Washington Post, the Bush administration took 'bulk metadata' from the phone companies under voluntary agreements for more than four years after 9/11 until a court agreed they could have it compulsorily." Related: First time accepted submitter fsagx writes that Brewster Kahle of the Internet Archive has calculated the cost to store every phone call made in the U.S. over the course of a year: "It's surprisingly inexpensive. It puts the recent NSA stories (and reports from the Boston bombings about the FBI's ability to listen to past phone conversions) into perspective."
New rules for labs that use chimpanzees as test subjects may be on the horizon. From the New York Times blog: "The Fish and Wildlife Service proposal came in response to a petition filed in 2010 by the Jane Goodall Institute, the Humane Society of the United States, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and other groups. It would require permits for interstate commerce involving any chimpanzees, or for what the law calls 'taking,' which could be anything from harassment to major harm to something as simple as obtaining a blood sample. And those permits, Mr. Ashe said, would be granted only if the action could be shown to benefit the survival of the species. If the new rule is enacted, it will be a major success for animal welfare groups, a grave disappointment for some scientists and another sign of the profound changes over the last half-century in the way animals are used and imagined in science and popular culture." The L.A. Times lauds the proposed rule change in an editorial.
First time accepted submitter Clarklteveno writes "New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his San Francisco counterpart, Ed Lee, said at a news conference Friday that they are sponsoring a pair of technology summits over the next year. The mayors said the 'digital cities' summits — one in New York in September and another in San Francisco early next year — will seek to find ways to use technology to solve problems the cities face. The mayors made the announcement after touring the office of San Francisco-based mobile payment company Square with co-founder Jack Dorsey, who also helped found Twitter. Bloomberg pointed to power outages and dangerous winds and flooding from Hurricane Sandy as examples of issues the summits would seek to address."
New submitter BioTitan writes "New York City may be the first state to crack down on 3D printed guns. Two pieces of legislation were introduced on June 13, one in the City Council that only allows licensed gunsmiths to print the guns, and another in the State Assembly that would make it illegal for anyone to print a gun. Cody Wilson, creator of the first 3D printed guns, and founder of Defense Distributed, told The Epoch Times, 'Such legislation is a deprivation of equal protection and works in clear ignorance of Title I and II of U.S. gun laws.'"
chicksdaddy writes "In the days since stories based on classified information leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden hit the headlines, a string of reports and editorials claim that he had his facts wrong, accuse him of treason – or both. Others have accused journalists like Glen Greenwald of The Guardian of rushing to print before they had all the facts. All of these criticisms could be valid. Technology firms may not have given intelligence agencies unfettered and unchecked access to their users' data. Edward Snowden may be, as the New York Times's David Brooks suggests, one of those 20-something-men leading a 'life unshaped by the mediating institutions of civil society.' All those critiques may be true without undermining the larger truth of Snowden's revelation: in an age of global, networked communications and interactions, we are all a lot less free than we thought we were. I say this because nobody has seriously challenged the basic truth of Snowden's leak: that many of the world's leading telecommunications and technology firms are regularly divulging information about their users' activities and communications to law enforcement and intelligence agencies based on warrantless requests and court reviews that are hidden from public scrutiny. It hasn't always been so." Bruce Schneier has published an opinion piece saying that while Snowden did break the law, we need to investigate the government before any prosecution occurs. (Schneier's piece is one in a series on the subject.) Snowden himself said in an interview today that the U.S. government has been pursuing hacking operations against China for years.
Zothecula writes "Ever since it was first unveiled in 2007, many people were captivated with the sleek, futuristic looks of the Aptera. When Aptera Motors went out of business in 2011, not having commercially produced a single vehicle, those same people were understandably disappointed. Now, word comes that a new company may be manufacturing and selling Apteras as soon as next year." Says the article: "Aptera USA has most of the original company’s prototypes, equipment, patents and designs, so it wouldn’t be starting from scratch. Given that fact, Deringer hopes that Aptera USA could be making cars as early as the first quarter of 2014. He’s currently in the process of hiring engineers, and the company has already put in an order for 1,000 bodies from its Detroit-based supplier." Until there really is a super-charger network from central Texas to California, I wish I could get one of the gas-powered (or gas-electric hybrid) Apteras. Why should Tesla have all the fun?
An anonymous reader writes "While the tech media has gone wild the past few days with the reports of the NSA tracking Verizon cell usage and creating the PRISM system to peer into our online lives, a new study by Pew Research suggests that most U.S. citizens think it's okay. 62 percent of Americans say losing some personal privacy is acceptable as long as its used to fight terrorism, and 56 percent are okay with the NSA tracking phone calls. Online tracking is fair less popular however, with only 45 percent approving of the practice. The data also shows that the youth are far more opposed to curtailing privacy to fight terror, which could mean trouble for politicians planning to continue these programs in the coming years."
Taco Cowboy writes "Edward Snowden, the leaker who gave us the evidence of US government spying on its people is under threat of being extradited back to the U.S. to face prosecution. Some people in Congress, including Republican Peter King (R-NY), are calling for his extradition from Hong Kong to face trial. From the article: 'A spokesman for the director of national intelligence, James Clapper, said Snowden's case had been referred to the justice department and US intelligence was assessing the damage caused by the disclosures. "Any person who has a security clearance knows that he or she has an obligation to protect classified information and abide by the law," the spokesman, Shawn Turner, said.'"
An anonymous reader writes "The individual responsible for one of the most significant leaks in US political history is Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old former technical assistant for the CIA and current employee of the defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. Snowden has been working at the National Security Agency for the last four years as an employee of various outside contractors, including Booz Allen and Dell. The Guardian, after several days of interviews, is revealing his identity at his request. From the moment he decided to disclose numerous top-secret documents to the public, he was determined not to opt for the protection of anonymity. 'I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong,' he said."
anagama writes "NSA officials have repeatedly denied under oath to Congress that even producing an estimate of the number of Americans caught up in its surveillance is impossible. Leaked screenshots of an NSA application that does exactly that, prove that the NSA flat out lied (surprise). Glenn Greenwald continues his relentless attacks with another bombshell this time exposing Boundless Informant. Interestingly, the NSA spies more on America than China according to the heat map. Representative Wyden had sought amendments to FISA reauthorization bill that would have required the NSA to provide information like this (hence the NSA's lies), but Obama and Feinstein demanded a pure reauthorization of FISA, which they got at the end of 2012." And if you don't mind that you might have your name on yet another special list, you might enjoy this Twitter-based take on the ongoing news.
An anonymous reader writes "Privacy and surveillance have taken centre stage this week with the revelations that U.S. agencies have been engaged in massive, secret surveillance programs that include years of capturing the meta-data from every cellphone call on the Verizon network (the meta-data includes the number called and the length of the call) as well as gathering information from the largest Internet companies in the world including Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Apple in a program called PRISM. Michael Geist explains how many of the same powers exist under Canadian law and that it is very likely that Canadians have been caught up by these surveillance activities."
Lauren Weinstein writes "Now, what's really going on with PRISM? The government admits that the program exists, but says it is being 'mischaracterized' in significant ways (always a risk with secret projects sucking up information about your citizens' personal lives). The Internet firms named in the leaked documents are denying that they have provided 'back doors' to the government for data access. Who is telling the truth? Likely both. Based on previous information and the new leaks, we can make some pretty logical guesses about the actual shape of all this. Here's my take."
An anonymous reader writes "Cyber espionage, crime, and warfare are possible only because of poor application or system design, implementation, and/or configuration,' argues a U.S. Air Force cyber security researcher. 'It is technological vulnerabilities that create the ability for actors to exploit the information system and gain illicit access to sensitive national security secrets, as the previous examples highlight. Yet software and hardware developers are not regulated in the same way as, say, the auto or pharmaceutical industries.' 'The truth is that we should no longer accept a patch/configuration management culture that promotes a laissez-faire approach to cyber security."
theodp writes "It was the best of movies; it was the worst of movies. GeekWire reports that The Internship — the new comedy starring Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson as two 40-something guys who get internships at Google — is getting high praise from Googlers but low marks from movie critics. Google CEO Larry Page called the movie 'a lot of fun' in his Google+ post, while fellow Google exec Vic Gundotra gushed, 'I laughed a lot while watching this movie!' After screening a sneak preview with Google companions, Wired's Steven Levy wrote, 'From Google's point of view, the movie could not possibly be better.' USA Today's take, on the other hand, is that 'Google has never looked lamer thanks to The Internship.' And the NY Daily News calls the movie 'an unfunny valentine to Google.' But perhaps the unkindest cut of all comes from the NY Post, who suggests that 'maybe The Internship was secretly funded by Bing.' Ouch." Update: 06/07 20:02 GMT by T : Peter Wayner saw the movie (a "harmless bit of summer fluff"), and his full-length take below takes on some of the tech-company misconceptions that the film-makers gleefully adopted as script material.