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Sep 302014

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Time for leashes on beaches

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Freedom Kicks: D.C. United, MLS, and CONCACAF Champions League links for Wednesday September 24th, 2014

Silicon Valleys smartphone snitching has come to an end. Apple and Google have promised that the latest versions of their mobile operating systems make it impossible for them to unlock encrypted phones, even when compelled to do so by the government. But if the Department of Justice cant demand that its corporate friends unlock your phone, it may have another option: Politely asking that you unlock it yourself, and letting you rot in a cell until you do.

In many cases, the American judicial system doesnt view an encrypted phone as an insurmountable privacy protection for those accused of a crime. Instead, its seen as an obstruction of the evidence-gathering process, and a stubborn defendant or witness can be held in contempt of court and jailed for failing to unlock a phone to provide that evidence. With Apple and Google no longer giving law enforcement access to customers devices, those standoffs may now become far more common. You can expect to see more cases where authorities are thwarted by encryption, and the result is youll see more requests that suspects decrypt phones themselves, says Hanni Fakhoury, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. And by requests, I mean demands. As in, you do it or youll be held in contempt of court.

In some cases, the Fifth Amendments protection against self-incrimination may block such demands, under the argument that forcing defendants to unlock their phone would compel them to testify to their own guilt. But the few cases where suspects have pleaded the Fifth to avoid decrypting a PCthe legal equivalent of a smartphonehave had messy, sometimes contradictory outcomes. This is not a settled question, says James Grimmelmann, a professor at the University of Maryland Law School. And it likely wont be, he says, until more appeals courts or the Supreme Court consider the issue.

Grimmelmann does, however, offer one general guideline for whether a Fifth Amendment argument will keep the cops out of your locked phone and you out of jail: If the police dont know what theyre going to find inside, he says, they cant make you unlock it.

In 2011, for instance, a Florida man identified only as John Doe had two computers and five external hard drives seized in a child pornography investigation. (He was never charged with a crime, so his name was not revealed in court.) Doe had encrypted his drives with TrueCrypt, and took the Fifth to avoid having to unlock them. The court ruled that forcing him to surrender his password and decryption keys would be the same as making him provide self-incriminating testimony, and let him off the hook.

In a Vermont case in 2009, by contrast, a child pornography defendant named Sebastien Boucher made the mistake of allowing police access to his computer following his arrest at the Canadian border. They found child pornography, but after seizing his computer realized the portion of the hard drive containing the incriminating files was encrypted. They demanded Boucher cough up the password. He refused, pleading the Fifth. A judge ruled against him, calling the contents of the computer a foregone conclusion. The police didnt need Bouchers testimony to get the files, in other wordsthey only needed him to stop obstructing access to them.

Not every case is so clear-cut. In 2012, a Colorado district court ruled thatRamona Fricosu, a defendant in a mortgage fraud case, had to surrender the password to her locked laptop after she was heard on a recorded phone call telling her co-defendant husband that the incriminating evidence was encrypted. That call was enough to nullify her Fifth amendment argument. As with Boucher, the judge ruled that she give police access to the files or be held in contempt.

Even if you have a Fifth Amendment right to avoid compelled decryption, you have to be very circumspect in how you behave, warns Grimmelmann. The court may only find in favor of defendants who have been very careful about not talking to law enforcement and who have been very well advised in keeping in their head down.

Depending on where the law settles, it could leave few cases where the Fifth Amendment protects locked phones at all. Former prosecutor and George Washington University Law Professor Orin Kerr argued in a piece for The Washington Post on Friday that merely confirming that a phone belongs to you and admitting you know the passcode circumvents the Fifth Amendment. If the phones in the suspects hand or in his pocket when the government finds it, thats not going to be hard to show, he wrote. He pointed to the Boucher case. Under the relevant case law, that makes all the difference: Entering in the password no longer raises a Fifth Amendment problem.

Using Apples TouchID to unlock a phone represents another way to compel suspects to open their phone. As defense attorney Marcia Hofmann wrote for WIRED last year, a fingerprint isnt testimony. So demanding a suspect extend their hand allows for no Fifth Amendment defense. Other biometric unlocking mechanisms would be equally vulnerable. We cant invoke the privilege against self-incrimination to prevent the government from collecting biometrics like fingerprints, DNA samples, or voice exemplars. Hofmann wrote. The courts have decided that this evidence doesnt reveal anything you know.

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Google and Apple Wont Unlock Your Phone, But a Court Can Make You Do It

An internal study finds that female-led proposals to use the in-demand device are less likely to be selected

The Hubble Space Telescope, launched in 1990, is still in high demand among scientists. Less than a quarter of proposals for observation time are approved. NASA

For an astronomer, winning precious observation time on the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) for your study is a big dealmore than three quarters of proposals are rejected. It turns out, however, that this honor is a bit easier for men to achieve than women. An internal Hubble study found that in each of the past 11 observation proposal cycles, applications led by male principal investigators had a higher success rate than those led by women. Its fascinating and disturbing, says Yale University astronomer Meg Urry, who formerly led the Hubble proposal review committee for several years and admitted to frustration that some of the results occurred during her tenure. I made a lot of efforts to have women on the review committees, and during the review I spent time listening to the deliberations of each panel. I never heard anything that struck me as discriminationand my antennae are definitely tuned for such thingsso its clear the bias is very subtle, and that both men and women are biased. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore runs the HST program and began the study about two years ago. After manually reviewing all proposals and categorizing them by gender the researchers found that mens applications fared better than womens in every cycle they examined. The results will be published in an upcoming issue of Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. The effect is smallit translates to about four or five fewer proposals from women being selected each cycle than one might expect based on how many were submitted. You can kind of explain it away as just sampling statistics in any given cycle, but it happens every year, says Neill Reid, an STScI astronomer who oversees time allocation for Hubble. It is a systematic effect. The effect is stronger for older principal investigators (PIs); among recent graduates, the success rates for men and women are closer to equal. I could speculate whether the proposals are being written in a different way or whether the younger astronomers are more visible because theyre giving more talks. Maybe it has something to do with the institutions theyre at, Reid offers. Because the Hubble scientists have no information about the cause of the gender imbalance, they plan to analyze their data for contributing factors and consult social scientists who research bias about the best strategies to combat the trend. Already STScI has implemented some changes to try to level the playing field for men and women. The scientists who oversee proposal evaluation now tell reviewers before each cycle that this systematic effect exists, and that they believe unconscious bias might contribute to it. Sometimes people talk about the proposer rather than the proposal, Reid says. We ask them to focus on the science. The proposal format has also changed. Whereas the PIs name used to be in large type on the first page, they are now included among the rest of the team on page 2, and only first initials are used. Thus far, these steps have not reversed the trend, however: Women fared no better in the latest proposal-review cycle than they had before. I know STScI has tried very hard to minimize the effects of unconscious bias, Urry remarks. The only thing left is to do blind reviews, removing the names of the proposers altogether. But this is very difficult because the panels are supposed to evaluate the ability of the team to deliver what they propose. I am not sure what the answer is. A further complication is that the astronomy field is small, and reviewers may be able to guess the identities of proposers even if names are minimized or removed. Nevertheless, taking steps to make review processes as anonymous as possible has been shown to reduce bias in other scientific settings. Susan Benecchi, an astronomer at the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Ariz., won observing time on Hubble during the latest round of applications and previously served on a review panel. She said shes never been aware of any bias in the process. Except for the fact that PI names are on the proposal, it’s really not about the PI or team or anything other than: Do we think they can get the result they are after and is that science interesting, timely and uniquely requiring of HST? Ultimately, allocating time on Hubble is a subjective and human process, and therefore open to biases. It may be unsurprising, then, that signs of gender discrimination show up, as they do in many sectors of society. Indeed, preliminary studies at several other U.S. observatories, such as Kitt Peak National Observatory and Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, appear to show the same gender disparity in proposal success. This is a community issue not an HST issue, Reid observes. One positive development, the STScI team found, is that more and more women are applying for Hubble time. In the most recent cycles women have contributed close to 25 percent of all proposals, with the latest round featuring a greater ratio of female-led petitions than ever before. The scientists hope that this trend, at least, is one that continues.

2014 Scientific American, a Division of Nature America, Inc.

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Hubble Telescope Time Preferentially Goes to Men

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Freedom bid for man with 'terror links'

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Los Angeles, CA and New York, NY (PRWEB) September 02, 2014

For the third consecutive year, 180fusion has been selected as the 2014 Best of Manhattan Award in the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) category and awarded into the Hall of Fame for Top SEO Company. 180fusion has been recognized as a local company that has enhanced the positive image of small businesses through exceptional customer service, SEO Results, and community support.

The Program identifies prominent companies that are leaders in their local community and business category. The Award was established to recognize the best of local businesses in each community. Nationwide, only 0.5% (1 in 140) of 2014 award recipients qualified as Three-Time Award Winners. To choose recipients, the committee gathered and analyzed various sources of information including data provided by third parties.

180fusion is honored to be recognized as the #1 provider of high-quality Local SEO. Our team continues to focus on helping SMBs increase sales by generating qualified traffic from our SEO products and services, Scott Cohen, CEO of 180fusion.

As one of the fastest growing private companies as recognized by Inc 500, 180fusion has grown the digital marketing team by 85+ employees to deliver an integrated suite of SEO, SEM and Social Media solutions for clients in all industries from startups to large enterprise companies.

About 180fusion 180fusion is a nationally recognized search engine marketing company specializing in helping companies increase sales, generate qualified leads, and expand market share by taking full advantage of the internet. Its suite of integrated solutions include National and Local SEO, PPC Management, Mobile Search, and Social Media Marketing to help thousands of small and medium sized companies to Fortune 1000 companies succeed online. 180fusion is offering expert insight, best-in-class products, and continuous innovation to address emerging digital marketing challenges for its customers and channel partners. 180fusion was recognized in the Inc. Magazine Top 500 Fastest Growing Private Companies in America in 2014 as #176 overall and top 25 fastest growing in the Advertising and Marketing industry. The LA Business Journal also awarded 180fusion for Top 100 Best Places to Work at #18. The company is headquartered in Los Angeles, California with regional offices across North America. For more information, please visit:

About Manhattan Award Program The Manhattan Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Manhattan area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

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180fusion Recognized as Top SEO Company by Best of Manhattan Award

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Merkel makes first White House visit since NSA spying scandal
For the first time since it emerged her mobile phone may have been monitored for years by the US, Angela Merkel is visiting the White House. Ukraine will be …

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Warframe: Specters of Liberty Operation Detailed Overview
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As hundreds of altcoin knockoffs are minted online, bitcoins no longer dominate as the principal form of digital currency

Hundreds of bitcoin knockoffsaltcoins, as they are commonly calledhave been built. Credit: Casacius via Wikimedia Commons

At a bitcoin conference in Miami this January, Jeffrey Tucker, a laissez-faire economist and libertarian icon, made an unexpected observation. There are people in this room who would think bitcoin is a little old-fashioned, he quipped. Well, that was fast. After all, it was only five years ago that bitcoin appeared on the scene and provided the world with the first open-source, decentralized alternative to government controlled currencies. And its really only in the last year that bitcoin has begun to gain traction as a payment option. Now bitcoin faces competition. Hundreds of bitcoin knockoffsaltcoins, as they are commonly calledhave been built. The software that underpins bitcoin is open-source, so anyone can copy and tweak the code to create their own digital currency. You can even pay someone to do it for you: The owner of a Web site called Coingen, for example, promises to start a new bitcoin clone for anyone who pays a fee of 0.05 bitcoin. All you have to do is give it a name. Some of these new altcoins are truly innovative. People have made bitcoin versions that process transactions faster, consume less energy or better protect user privacy. Other iterations differ from bitcoin only in their branding and implementation. For example, a few altcoins are intended to serve specific geographical communities. Last month an altcoin called auroracoin was distributed to the people of Iceland to serve as a nation-specific digital currency. (Of course not all altcoins attempt to create an improved product. Many are pump-and-dump schemes. Someone will make a new version of bitcoinusually tweaking minor features of the protocolhype it as the new best thing and then cash out as soon as the coins take on a bit of value.) Regardless, altcoins are now advancing the evolution of digital currency at a rate that bitcoin, as a relatively established project, can no longer keep pace with. Although none of these altcoins have yet flourished enough to surpass bitcoin in either value or rate of adoption, many are doing well enough to prove one point: the alternative currency experiment is far from over.

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Bitcoin Vies with New Cryptocurrencies as Coin of the Cyber Realm

Baldwin, Mobile county students hit beaches amid red flag warnings
Baldwin, Mobile county students hit beaches amid red flag warnings.

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Libertarianism the political ideology of the live and let live is enjoying a surge in popularity. Some believe its hour has finally arrived and it can truly become an alternative to the Republican Party.

I understand its appeal. I like libertarians, and can read Ludwig Von Mises and listen to Murray Rothbard all day long. But it isn’t an alternative. It’s an electoral distraction.

Diehard libertarians disagree, of course. Last week the Libertarian Party’s 2012 presidential nominee, Gary Johnson, visited Alabama on a fund-raising tour. The former two-term governor of New Mexico made stops in Mobile, Montgomery and Birmingham touting his party’s message of civil liberties and personal responsibility. He probably met receptive audiences since more voters are identifying themselves as libertarians now than at anytime in recent memory.

This trend should worry conservatives, especially since the libertarian candidate cost the GOP votes and victory in last year’s gubernatorial election in Virginia.

But how many of these new libertarians really support what the Libertarian Party stands for?

Many call themselves libertarians because of a single issue pot. When comedian, drug legalization activist and self-identified libertarian Bill Maher attended one of conservative Grover Norquist’s policy discussions, he rattled off a list of things the government should be doing and how taxes should increase as well. Norquist laughed, and then asked if he represented the big government wing of the Libertarian Party. Maher didn’t get the joke.

Some identify with libertarians until they scratch beyond the surface of “Hey, freedom, baby!” and learn about the party’s actual positions. Others just don’t want to be called conservatives, much less Republicans.

There are certainly true believers who bear the scars of a generational battle with conservatives. William F. Buckley drummed them out of the Republican Party decades ago and they’ve been building a 50-state network ever since. Their sincerity is beyond doubt, but their judgment remains in serious question.

“It’s the libertarian principles that matter,” wrote a good friend while debating the issue over email recently. However, their beliefs seem more like doctrine than principles. Conservatives believe in principles limited government, individual liberty, free enterprise and apply them to unique problems while guided by tradition and morality. We have flexibility to make judgments.

Libertarianism, as far as I can tell, demands consistent application of its beliefs, regardless of their impact. Responses to an issue must always be X, no matter if X is harmful or unwanted. Consistency isn’t a virtue in government; its application will eventually end in tyranny or chaos.

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Libertarianism isn't an alternative to the Republican Party

Apr 042014

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Apr 032014

Liberty Mobile App

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