Research

Kim Dotcom Can Be Extradited, Rules A New Zealand Court

Slashdot: Your Rights Online - 12 hours 16 min ago
Kim Dotcom -- and Megaupload's programmers Mathias Ortmann and Bram van der Kolk, as well as its advertising manager Finn Batato -- could soon be in a U.S. courtroom. A New Zealand judge just ruled they can all be extradited to the U.S. An anonymous reader quotes Reuters: The Auckland High Court upheld the decision by a lower court in 2015 on 13 counts, including allegations of conspiracy to commit racketeering, copyright infringement, money laundering and wire fraud, although it described that decision as "flawed" in several areas. Dotcom's lawyer Ron Mansfield said in a statement the decision was "extremely disappointing" and that Dotcom would appeal to New Zealand's Court of Appeal. U.S. authorities say Dotcom and three co-accused Megaupload executives cost film studios and record companies more than $500 million and generated more than $175 million by encouraging paying users to store and share copyrighted material. High Court judge Murray Gilbert said that there was no crime for copyright in New Zealand law that would justify extradition but that the Megaupload-founder could be sent to the United States to face allegations of fraud. "I'm no longer getting extradited for copyright," Dotcom commented on Twitter. "We won on that. I'm now getting extradited for a law that doesn't even apply.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Research

Botnet attack analysis of Deflect protected website blacklivesmatter.com

beSpacific - Sun, 02/19/2017 - 22:04

Deflect Labs report #3. Seamus Tuohy and eQualit.ie View the report with 3D rendering (5mb)

This report covers attacks between April 29th and October 15th, 2016. Over this seven-month period, we recorded more than a hundred separate denial-of-service incidents against the official Black Lives Matter website. Our analysis shows a variety of technical methods used in attempts to bring down this website and the characterization of these attacks point to a “mob” mentality of malicious actors jumping on board in response to callouts made on social media and covert channels. Our reporting highlights the usage of no-questions-asked-hosting and booter services used by malicious actors to carry out these attacks. We describe the ever growing trend of Internet vandals who, searching for a little bit of infamy, launch denial-of-service attacks against the Black Lives Matter (BLM) website. Our analysis documented attacks that could be accomplished for as little as $1 and, with access to public documentation and malicious software within easy reach, only required basic technical skill. Some of the larger attacks against BLM generated millions of connections without relying on huge infrastructure. Instead, traffic was “reflected” from legitimate WordPress and Joomla sites. We compare public attribution for some of the attacks with the data coming through our networks, and present the involvement of purported members of the Ghost Squad Hackers crew in these events.”

Categories: Research

Working Without a Net: Supreme Court Decision Making as Performance

beSpacific - Sun, 02/19/2017 - 19:46

Gedicks, Frederick Mark, Working Without a Net: Supreme Court Decision Making as Performance (February 17, 2017). BYU Law Research Paper No. 17-09. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2919682

“A Depression-era Justice once suggested that in constitutional challenges the Supreme Court simply compares government action to the Constitution and decides “whether the latter squares with the former.” Chief Justice Roberts more prosaically compared the Justices to baseball umpires. Both expressed the conventional view that judges are and properly should be helpless to alter the outcomes dictated by law writ large. This is mostly false humility. Judges are nothing so much as illusionists, and their opinions sleights of hand which obscure that judges are not bound by the law in the powerful sense they suggest, but participate in creating what they purport merely to apply. This is especially the case in the Supreme Court, from which there is no appeal. The Justices perform constitutional law, and their opinions are the records of these performances. Performance theory supplies a better means of analyzing and criticizing Supreme Court decisions than ubiquitous attacks on judicial integrity. The idea that judges can uncover the law untainted by justice, social need, personal preference, or other judicial taboos rests on a largely rejected metaphysics that nonetheless retains a powerful cultural hold. The Court has its precedents, but they have no connection to a pre-existing natural order, and often not even to a determinate text. The Court’s readings of its precedents form a tradition that is rarely so fixed as to yield only one possible result in a new case. This makes the Court’s constitutional decision making the purest of performances — holdings and citations are “iterated,” shorn from their original contexts and dropped into new ones, creating new and surprising principles that masquerade as old and established. It is banal and unhelpful to call this dishonest. The Justices cannot admit their performative role because it cannot be reconciled with still-powerful higher-law and rule-of-law myths. If law does not exist outside the case in which the judge applies it, if it is not a stable premise of judicial decision making but a function of the judge and the situation, how are we governed by “law rather than men”? The necessity of performing constitutional law stems from the general absence of an underlying text that can constrain that performance; there are, instead, multiple indeterminate texts, which makes performance inevitable. The Justices are always working without a net, performing constitutional law in opinions with nothing underneath. Sometimes they pull off a convincing performance, but sometimes they don’t. It’s important to know the difference.”

Categories: Research

Report – A Close Look at the Decline of Homeownership

beSpacific - Sun, 02/19/2017 - 19:26

Federal Reserve Bank of New York – Liberty Street Economics – Andrew Haughwout, Richard Peach, and Joseph Tracy, February 17, 2017

“The homeownership rate—the percentage of households that own rather than rent the homes that they live in—has fallen sharply since mid-2005. In fact, in the second quarter of 2016 the homeownership rate fell to 62.9 percent, its lowest level since 1965. In this blog post, we look at underlying demographic trends to gain a deeper understanding of the large increase in the homeownership rate from 1995 to 2005 and the subsequent large decline. Although there is reason to believe that the homeownership rate may begin to rise again in the not-too-distant future, it is unlikely to fully recover to its previous peak levels. This is a disconcerting finding for those who view homeownership as an integral part of the American Dream and a key component of income security during retirement. An estimate of the homeownership rate is published each quarter by the U.S. Census Bureau, based on a sample of housing units. A quarterly time-series of the not-seasonally-adjusted homeownership rate since 1965 is presented in the chart below. The first thing to catch the eye when looking at this chart is how much the homeownership rate rose over the period from the mid-1990s through 2005, and then how much it has declined since reaching a peak. The homeownership rate of 63.4 percent in the third quarter of 2016 is only modestly above the series low of 63.0 percent in the fourth quarter of 1965…”

Categories: Research

Report – Humanity’s Garbage Keeps Piling Up in the Arctic Ocean

beSpacific - Sun, 02/19/2017 - 19:11

Less ice and more shipping traffic has left the seafloor looking like the side of a New Jersey highway. John Metcalf, Feb 16, 2017. This post is part of a CityLab series on wastelands, and what we squander, discard, and fritter away.

“Humanity’s trash has near-universal dominion in the ocean. It swirls in the waves in immense “garbage patches,” drifts downward where it’s eaten by whales and turtles, and lands on the deepest sea floor to make it look like a landfill exploded on the moon. Even the places one might assume are pristine, such as the ice-covered Arctic Ocean, are littered with the detritus of human activity, as proven by the growth of a sixth garbage patch in the freezing Barents Sea. The latest evidence of worldwide junk infiltration comes from an observatory west of the Norwegian archipelago Svalbard, called HAUSGARTEN, where scientists have constructed a multiyear log of marine debris. In this remote location, more and more litter is appearing on the seabed—almost double the amount was found at one monitoring station in 2011 compared to 2002, they write in Deep Sea Research Part 1. Not only that, but it’s appearing in greater concentrations to the north, possibly due to climate change…”

Categories: Research

OpenCulture – Japanese Designers May Have Created the Most Accurate Map of Our World

beSpacific - Sun, 02/19/2017 - 18:54

“…last year, architect and artist Hajime Narukawa of Keio University’s Graduate School of Media and Governance in Tokyo solved these problems with his AuthaGraph World Map, at the top, which won Japan’s Good Design Grand Award, beating out “over 1000 entries in a variety of categories,” writes Mental Floss. You can view it in a larger format here. The[is] video from Ponder explains the AuthaGraph design, which is not—and could never be—100% mathematically accurate, but can, Narukawa writes, with “a further step” in its subdivisions “be officially called an equal-area map.” The concept was important to him because of the urgent relevance of globalist thinking…”

Categories: Research

How reporters around the world risk their lives for the truth

beSpacific - Sun, 02/19/2017 - 18:51

Via GOOD – “Last May, the United Nations Security Council met to discuss a problem tragically common in the 21st century: dead journalists. In the new millennium, 876 journalists have been killed—with almost 40 percent of those deaths occurring in the last five years. Meanwhile, global press freedom is at its lowest point since 2003, according to Freedom House, an independent watchdog organization.”  See this Infographic – the 10 Most Dangerous Countries for Journalism.

Categories: Research

A Critique of the Conventional Problematisation of Social Immobility in Elite Legal Education and the Profession

beSpacific - Sun, 02/19/2017 - 18:31

Ferguson, Lucinda, Complicating the ‘Holy Grail’, Simplifying the Search: A Critique of the Conventional Problematisation of Social Immobility in Elite Legal Education and the Profession (February 16, 2017). The Law Teacher, Vol. 51, (Forthcoming). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2919051

“This article challenges the conventional problematisation of and response to insufficient socio-economic diversity in elite legal education and the legal profession. I contend that the entrenched socio-economic stratification of admissions, the undergraduate experience, final degree classification, and career trajectories turns on elite institutions’ failure to recognise that education and educational proxies neither explain the core of socio-economic inequality nor are they the linchpin for improving social mobility. I draw on a case study of an elite UK university’s undergraduate Law programme. My argument proceeds in three parts. Firstly, I contend that justifiable commitment to ‘meritocracy’ continues to be unjustifiably implemented via the indeterminate critical values of ‘potential’ and ‘talent’, which undermines the meritocratic aim. Secondly, I explain how the inadequacy of the educational proxies employed for socio-economic disadvantage undermines the ability of targeted responses to achieve real improvements, and I call for the adoption of poverty-based proxies. Thirdly, I suggest that the search for mechanisms to increase diversity proceeds on the mistaken assumption that complex problems require complex solutions, which overlooks the transformative potential of ‘micro-adjustments’ or ‘nudges’. I propose both universal and targeted micro-adjustments, which focus on fostering a universal diversity of excellence; bringing disadvantaged students within the ‘community of practice’ to become expert in critical learning methods and assessment criteria; and enhancing disadvantaged students’ social and cultural capital.”

Categories: Research

Some Recyclers Give Up On Recycling Old Monitors And TVs

Slashdot: Your Rights Online - Sun, 02/19/2017 - 16:12
An anonymous reader writes: "In many cases, your old TV isn't recycled at all and is instead abandoned in a warehouse somewhere, left for society to deal with sometime in the future," reports Motherboard, describing the problem of old cathode-ray televisions and computer monitors with "a net negative recycling value" (since their component parts don't cover the cost of dismantling them). An estimated 705 million CRT TVs were sold in the U.S. since 1980, and many now sit in television graveyards, "an environmental and economic disaster with no clear solution." As much as 100,000 tons of potentially hazardous waste are stockpiled in two Ohio warehouses of the now-insolvent recycler Closed Loop, plus "at least 25,000 tons of glass and unprocessed CRTs in Arizona...much of it is sitting in a mountainous pile outside one of the warehouses." One EPA report found 23,000 tons of lead-containing CRT glass abandoned in four different states just in 2013.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Research

CrowdJustice

beSpacific - Sun, 02/19/2017 - 14:08

CrowdJustice is a crowdfunding platform built for legal cases. We launched in May 2015, as a way to democratise access to the legal system. We wanted to help make the law a powerful tool for everyone – not just a tool for the powerful. We’ve since seen cases challenge the government, go to the Supreme Court, and change the law….” View all cases to date – users may filter by subject matter.

Categories: Research

That One Privacy Guy’s Guide to Choosing the Best VPN

beSpacific - Sun, 02/19/2017 - 14:00

The following is intended to be a detailed guide to answer the question, “How do I choose the best VPN (for me)?” The reason this is a hard thing to help people with, is that their needs and level of technical knowledge vary greatly – there is no one perfect VPN, they all have at least some flaws and some will just flat out be better for different people. I very well might have forgotten to add a section I intended to, said something that needs clarification, or was just sleepy when I wrote parts of this guide, so I intend to update and expand it as needed. I’m assuming that if you’re reading this far, you have at least SOME knowledge as to the basics of what a VPN is, so I won’t cover that here. This will be heavily emphasizing the need of a VPN for privacy, but I will echo and expand on other use cases as well towards the end.”

Categories: Research

The real National Treasure: US presidential libraries

beSpacific - Sun, 02/19/2017 - 13:44

Oxford University Press Blog: “…A presidential library is actually two things,” Giller [Melissa Giller, Chief Marketing Officer for the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Institute in Simi Valley, California] describes. “It’s a museum that anyone can come and visit and tour through…and it is a library.” The library is, more often than not, the private side of the establishment, where the archives are held. The curation is for the actual museum. The museum covers the president’s life before becoming president, his time during office, post-administration, and if the president is deceased, then any history related to him after his death. At the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum, one might be so lucky to catch a glimpse of certain famous historical artifacts, such as a handwritten copy of the Gettysburg address in Lincoln’s handwriting, an original printing of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by Lincoln, a copy of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, the bloody gloves Lincoln wore the night he was assassinated, and the stove pipe hat he wore, “where you can still see the thumb print on it from when he would tip his hat to people,” Lowe informs me. “So in terms of what goes into our library versus a private library…you can’t compare,” Giller says of the Ronald Reagan President Library. “We don’t have books on display.” At Lincoln, they have a permanent exhibit and special exhibit, and it takes time to determine which artifacts to show in each section. Since many of their pieces no longer contain information that could be a threat to national security, their primary concern with these items is conservation and the ability to streamline the research process for those using these artifacts as evidential or study materials. “My main goal since I got here,” Lowe declared, “is making sure we have the right research rooms set up to help researchers and educators to get the most out of their time here…”

Categories: Research

WaPo – Memos signed by DHS secretary describe sweeping new guidelines for deporting illegal immigrants

beSpacific - Sun, 02/19/2017 - 13:35

David Nakamura, The Washington Post – “Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly has signed sweeping new guidelines that empower federal authorities to more aggressively detain and deport illegal immigrants inside the United States and at the border. In a pair of memos, Kelly offered more detail on plans for the agency to hire thousands of additional enforcement agents, expand the pool of immigrants who are prioritized for removal, speed up deportation hearings and enlist local law enforcement to help make arrests. The new directives would supersede nearly all of those issued under previous administrations, Kelly said, including measures from President Barack Obama aimed at focusing deportations exclusively on hardened criminals and those with terrorist ties. “The surge of immigration at the southern border has overwhelmed federal agencies and resources and has created a significant national security vulnerability to the United States,” Kelly stated in the guidelines. He cited a surge of 10,000 to 15,000 additional apprehensions per month at the southern U.S. border between 2015 and 2016. In a series of executive actions in January, President Donald Trump announced plans to make good on his campaign promises to build a wall on the border with Mexico and to ramp up enforcement actions against the nation’s estimated 11 million unauthorized immigrants. Kelly’s memos, which have not been released publicly, are intended as an implementation blueprint for DHS to pursue Trump’s goals…His memos are copied to officials at Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. A Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman declined to comment on the documents but did not dispute their authenticity. A White House official said the memos were drafts and that they are under review by the White House Counsel’s Office, which is seeking some changes…The memos do not include measures to activate National Guard troops to help apprehend immigrants in 11 states that had been included in a draft document leaked to reporters on Friday. DHS officials said Kelly, whose signature did not appear on the draft document, had never approved such plans. Immigrant rights advocates said the two memos signed by Kelly mark a major shift in U.S. immigration policies by dramatically expanding the scope of enforcement operations. The new procedures would allow authorities to seek expedited deportation proceedings, currently limited to undocumented immigrants who have been in the country for two weeks or less, to anyone who has been in the country for up to two years….”

Categories: Research

Krebs: 'Men Who Sent SWAT Team, Heroin to My Home Sentenced'

Slashdot: Your Rights Online - Sun, 02/19/2017 - 13:34
An anonymous reader quotes KrebsOnSecurity: On Thursday, a Ukrainian man who hatched a plan in 2013 to send heroin to my home and then call the cops when the drugs arrived was sentenced to 41 months in prison for unrelated cybercrime charges. Separately, a 19-year-old American who admitted to being part of a hacker group that sent a heavily-armed police force to my home in 2013 was sentenced to three years probation. Sergey Vovnenko, a.k.a. "Fly," "Flycracker" and "MUXACC1," pleaded guilty last year to aggravated identity theft and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Prosecutors said Vovnenko operated a network of more than 13,000 hacked computers, using them to harvest credit card numbers and other sensitive information... A judge in New Jersey sentenced Vovnenko to 41 months in prison, three years of supervised released and ordered him to pay restitution of $83,368. Separately, a judge in Washington, D.C. handed down a sentence of three year's probation to Eric Taylor, a hacker probably better known by his handle "Cosmo the God." Taylor was among several men involved in making a false report to my local police department at the time about a supposed hostage situation at our Virginia home. In response, a heavily-armed police force surrounded my home and put me in handcuffs at gunpoint before the police realized it was all a dangerous hoax known as "swatting"... Taylor and his co-conspirators were able to dox so many celebrities and public officials because they hacked a Russian identity theft service called ssndob[dot]ru. That service in turn relied upon compromised user accounts at data broker giant LexisNexis to pull personal and financial data on millions of Americans.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Research

This week at the court

SCOTUS Blog - Sun, 02/19/2017 - 12:04

We expect orders from the February 17 conference on Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. There is a possibility of opinions on Wednesday at 10 a.m. The court will also hear oral arguments on Tuesday and Wednesday, beginning at 10 a.m. each day. The calendar for the February sitting is available on the court’s website. On Friday the justices will meet for their February 24 conference; our list of “petitions to watch” for that conference will be available soon.

The post This week at the court appeared first on SCOTUSblog.

Categories: Research

Used Cars Can Still Be Controlled By Their Previous Owners' Apps

Slashdot: Your Rights Online - Sun, 02/19/2017 - 11:34
An IBM security researcher recently discovered something interesting about smart cars. An anonymous reader quotes CNN: Charles Henderson sold his car several years ago, but he still knows exactly where it is, and can control it from his phone... "The car is really smart, but it's not smart enough to know who its owner is, so it's not smart enough to know it's been resold," Henderson told CNNTech. "There's nothing on the dashboard that tells you 'the following people have access to the car.'" This isn't an isolated problem. Henderson tested four major auto manufacturers, and found they all have apps that allow previous owners to access them from a mobile device. At the RSA security conference in San Francisco on Friday, Henderson explained how people can still retain control of connected cars even after they resell them. Manufacturers create apps to control smart cars -- you can use your phone to unlock the car, honk the horn and find out the exact location of your vehicle. Henderson removed his personal information from services in the car before selling it back to the dealership, but he was still able to control the car through a mobile app for years. That's because only the dealership that originally sold the car can see who has access and manually remove someone from the app. It's also something to consider when buying used IoT devices -- or a smart home equipped with internet-enabled devices.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Research

Techdirt Asks Judge To Dismiss Another Lawsuit By That Guy Who Didn't Invent Email

Slashdot: Your Rights Online - Sun, 02/19/2017 - 03:34
Three months ago Shiva Ayyadurai won a $750,000 settlement from Gawker (after they'd already gone bankrupt). He'd argued Gawker defamed him by mocking Ayyadurai's claim he'd invented email, and now he's also suing Techdirt founder Michael Masnick -- who is not bankrupt, and is fighting back. Long-time Slashdot reader walterbyrd quotes Ars Technica: In his motion, Masnick claims that Ayyadurai "is seeking to use the muzzle of a defamation action to silence those who question his claim to historical fame." He continues, "The 14 articles and 84 allegedly defamatory statements catalogued in the complaint all say essentially the same thing: that Defendants believe that because the critical elements of electronic mail were developed long before Ayyadurai's 1978 computer program, his claim to be the 'inventor of e-mail' is false"... The motion skims the history of e-mail and points out that the well-known fields of e-mail messages, like "to," "from," "cc," "subject," "message," and "bcc," were used in ARPANET e-mail messages for years before Ayyadurai made his "EMAIL" program. Ayyadurai focuses on statements calling him a "fake," a "liar," or a "fraud" putting forth "bogus" claims. Masnick counters that such phrases are "rhetorical hyperbole" meant to express opinions and reminds the court that "[t]he law provides no redress for harsh name-calling." The motion calls the lawsuit "a misbegotten effort to stifle historical debate, silence criticism, and chill others from continuing to question Ayyadurai's grandiose claims." Ray Tomlinson has been dead for less than a year, but in this fascinating 1998 article recalled testing the early email protocols in 1971, remembering that "Most likely the first message was QWERTYIOP."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Research

Should International Travelers Leave Their Phones At Home?

Slashdot: Your Rights Online - Sat, 02/18/2017 - 19:34
Long-time Slashdot reader Toe, The sums up what he learned from freeCodeCamp's Quincy Larson: "Before you travel internationally, wipe your phone or bring/rent/buy a clean one." Larson's article is titled "I'll never bring my phone on an international flight again. Neither should you." All the security in the world can't save you if someone has physical possession of your phone or laptop, and can intimidate you into giving up your password... Companies like Elcomsoft make 'forensic software' that can suck down all your photos, contacts -- even passwords for your email and social media accounts -- in a matter of minutes.... If we do nothing to resist, pretty soon everyone will have to unlock their phone and hand it over to a customs agent while they're getting their passport swiped... And with this single new procedure, all the hard work that Apple and Google have invested in encrypting the data on your phone -- and fighting for your privacy in court -- will be a completely moot point. The article warns Americans that their constitutional protections don't apply because "the U.S. border isn't technically the U.S.," calling it "a sort of legal no-man's-land. You have very few rights there." Larson points out this also affects Canadians, but argues that "You can't hand over a device that you don't have."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Research

RSA Conference Attendees Get Hacked

Slashdot: Your Rights Online - Sat, 02/18/2017 - 18:34
The RSA Conference "is perhaps the world's largest security event, but that doesn't mean that it's necessarily a secure event," reports eSecurityPlanet. Scanning the conference floor revealed rogue access points posing as known and trusted networks, according to security testing vendor Pwnie Express. storagedude writes: What's worse, several attendees fell for these dummy Wi-Fi services that spoof well-known brands like Starbucks. The company also found a number of access points using outdated WEP encryption. So much for security pros... At least two people stayed connected to a rogue network for more than a day, according to the article, and Pownie Express is reminding these security pros that connecting to a rogue network means "the attacker has full control of all information going into and out of the device, and can deploy various tools to modify or monitor the victim's communication."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Research

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