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Rainbow Beach, in St. Croix, United States Virgin Islands
Our wonderful travel editor Q visited the famous, Rainbow Beach, in St. Croix, United States Virgin Islands. Rainbow Beach is one mile away from the ports, and makes it a popular destination…

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Rainbow Beach, in St. Croix, United States Virgin Islands – Video



All About – Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution
What is Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution? A report all about Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution for homework/assignment The Fourth Amendment (Amendment…

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All About – Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution – Video

Rudy Giuliani says, "I am morally outraged that a man like Noriega is seeking to inhibit our creative rights in the United States."

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Activision: Noriega's Call of Duty Lawsuit Is an "Outrageous Offense" to First Amendment

Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, now defendingActivision Blizzard inManuel Noriegas Call of Duty: Black Ops II lawsuit, called the legal matter an outrageous offense to the first amendment during a recent press conference (via The Hollywood Reporter). Giuliani spoke following a hearing at the Los Angeles Superior Court in which the Activision Blizzard legal team arguedfor a special motion to strike on the grounds that the games inclusion of Noriegas likeness is protected under the first amendment.

Giuliani contended that, should thelawsuit succeed, it would send us down a dangerous, slippery slope toward censorship. The reason Im involved in this case is I see the significance of the First Amendment, he said. Should Noriega be allowed tosucceed, it would virtually destroy the historical novel, the historical movies like The Butler and Zero Dark Thirty, inwhich historical figures are portrayed. If Noriega were to succeed in this case, as I told the judge,Bin Ladens heirs would be able to sue for Zero Dark Thirty.

Related:Former NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani to represent Activision against Manuel Noriega

His response then turned into a personal attack on Noriega:I think a man that engaged in selling $200 million of cocaine in the United States, who knows how many children he killed, a man who was a dictator of his country in which he tortured people for nine years, a man who laundered money in France, a man who chopped the head off of one of his allies and then was convicted in three countries, who is sitting in jail in Panama, trying to recover because he is a minor, minor figure in a very excellent game, Call of Duty by Activision, is an outrage,

Noriega, for his part, responded to Activision Blizzards motion to dismiss with a statement clarifying his position.I first became aware that my image and likeness was being utilized in Call of Duty: Black Ops II, the former Panamanian dictator explained,when my grandchildren played the game and asked why, in the video game, their target was to capture my character.

Incidents such as this andLindsay Lohans similar lawsuit against Rockstar Games overGrand Theft Auto Vare setting important, legal precedent for the future of gaming. As the medium grows up and starts to tackle more serious subject matter, it will fall under increasingly serious scrutiny. The path fromentertainment to art form is fraught,but these uncomfortable conversations are vital tothe mediums future.

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Noriegas Call of Duty lawsuit an outrageous offense to basic protections, Giuliani says

It’s former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani versus former Panama dictatorManuel Noriega in the latter’s lawsuit alleging that video game developerActivision Blizzard violates his name and likeness in its best-sellinggame Call of Duty: Black Ops II. Giuliani, now a named partner atBracewell & Giuliani, is defending the game publisher, and to hear himtell it, the former dictator’s claims are an “outrageous offense to the First Amendment.”

In a press conference Thursday following a Los Angeles Superior Courthearing on the case, Giuliani went after Noriega personally for suingover his likeness in the game. “I am morally outraged that a man likeNoriega is seeking to inhibit our creative rights in the United States.If creative rights have to be sacrificed, they shouldn’t be sacrificedfor someone like Noriega, nor should anyone have to send millions ofdollars down to a Panamanian jail because this madman is making absurdclaims,” he told reporters.

Also readManuelNoriegaon ‘Call of Duty’: My Grandchildren Asked Why I Was the Target

“I think a man that engaged in selling $200 million of cocaine in theUnited States, who knows how many children he killed, a man who was adictator of his country in which he tortured people for nine years, a manwho laundered money in France, a man who chopped the head off of one of his allies and then was convicted in three countries, who is sitting injail in Panama, trying to recover because he is a minor, minor figure ina very excellent game, Call of Duty by Activision, is an outrage,”Giuliani continued.

Noriega was convicted in the United States for money laundering and drugtrafficking in 1992. Then extraditions led to prison sentences in Parisand Panama, where he has been since 2011. In July, he nevertheless filedsuit against Activision Blizzard, claiming that he is given a defamatorydepiction in two Black Ops II levels set in 1980s Panama. His character is the villain, and he’s “portrayed as the victim of numerous fictionalheinous crimes,” his complaint alleges.

See more Hollywood’s 100 Favorite Films

The lawyers for the video game publisher, who include Kelly Klaus atMunger, Tolles & Olse alongside Giuliani, have filed a special motion tostrike on the grounds that the game’s use of the Noriega character isprotected by first amendment legislation. If Noriega wins, it will openthe gates for historical figures of all stripes to censor their inclusionin creative works or even historical documentation, they argue.

“The reason I’m involved in this case is I see the significance of the First Amendment,” Giuliani told reporters. “Should Noriega be allowed tosucceed, it would virtually destroy the historical novel, the historical movies like [Lee Daniels'] The Butler and Zero Dark Thirty, inwhich historical figures are portrayed.”

He added, “If Noriega were to succeed in this case, as I told the judge,Bin Laden’s heirs would be able to sue for Zero Dark Thirty.”

In a response to the game developer’s motion to strike the lawsuit, filed weeks ago, Noriega’s attorneys argued that regardless of the time for which the character is present, the mission that includes him is “a major if not the most key level of the game.” They included numerous snapshots of the gameplay to establish the Noriega character’s prominence, including “Noriega with a shotgun in hand,” “Noriega getting choked” and “Noriega in the first-person shooter’s crosshairs.”

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Rudy Giuliani Calls Manuel Noriega's 'Call of Duty' Lawsuit "Outrageous Offense to the First Amendment"

The recent data breach outbreak in the retail and financial sectors drives home the fact the United States faces a massive cybersecurity conundrum but this should not come as a surprise to anyone.

While the issue of keeping cyber criminals at bay is a monumental task all on its own, there is another perhaps more vexing cyber-related concern plaguing the nation: Both industry and government are struggling to find enough bodies to deal with the digital pandemic.

A report from Cisco (CSCO) found demand for cybersecurity experts has grown at three and a half times the pace of the overall I.T. job market, with an estimated 1 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs across the globe in 2014.

At the heart of the matter is a lack of younger Americans in the cybersecurity talent pool.

In its recent survey on millennials and cybersecurity, Raytheon (RTN) and the National Cyber Security Alliance found nearly two-thirds of millennial respondents are not sure what the cybersecurity profession is. Additionally, in that same study, only 26% strongly agree their high school education prepared them to use technology safely, securely, ethically and productively in the workplace.

The National Security Agency is looking to change that.

In an effort to groom talent and stress the importance of cybersecurity education, the agency introduced its National Centers for Academic Excellence, Cyber Operations Program in 2012. That program has since expanded to include a total of 13 undergraduate and graduate programs in the United States with the U.S. Military Academy, New York University, the University of New Orleans, Towson University, and the University of Cincinnati being added to the list in 2014.

The agency is trying to increase the future pipeline of cyber professionals of the nation — not just for NSA, but for academia, industry and the rest of government, Steven LaFountain, Dean of NSAs College of Cyber, said in an interview with Firewall. We’re doing that by trying to influence the security curriculum that’s being taught at the university level.

In doing so, the agency has mapped out specific standards that colleges and universities must fulfill in order to gain designation as a Cyber Operations Center of Academic Excellence.

NSA benefits by utilizing the program to identify top talent for its ranks, and students benefit by becoming more attractive to prospective employers once they enter the job market.

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NSA Grooming Cyber Talent through Academics



All About – Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution
What is Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution? A report all about Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution for homework/assignment The F…

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All About – Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution – Video

Published October 14, 2014

NEW YORK A man accused of creating an online, underworld bank that helped launder $6 billion for drug dealers, child pornographers, identity thieves and other criminals was facing his first court appearance in Manhattan.

Arthur Budovsky, 40, the Costa Rican founder of currency transfer and payment processing company Liberty Reserve, was scheduled to appear in federal court in Manhattan on Tuesday afternoon. He was extradited from Spain to the U.S. on Friday.

Once an American, Budovsky renounced his citizenship after setting up the company in Costa Rica, where all online businesses are legal and there aren’t laws regulating them.

Budovsky was arrested in Spain on May 23 and held to face a Manhattan indictment against him and others.

U.S. officials accuse Budovsky of using Liberty Reserve as a kind of underworld bank that handled about $6 billion worth of illicit transactions for 1 million users, including 200,000 in the U.S.

Budvosky has said he created a secure platform for online financial transactions, and Liberty Reserve cooperated with investigators. According to court documents, Budvosky moved his business to Costa Rica after he was convicted on state charges related to an unlicensed money transmitting business.

When he announced the charges in May 2013, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said Liberty Reserve “became the bank of choice for the criminal underworld.”

He said the case might represent the largest international money laundering case ever brought by the United States.

During the Liberty Reserve investigation, authorities raided 14 locations in Panama, Switzerland, the U.S., Sweden and Costa Rica. In Costa Rica, investigators recovered five luxury cars, including three Rolls-Royces. Authorities also seized Liberty’s computer servers in Costa Rica and Switzerland.

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Liberty Reserve founder extradited from Spain to US faces first NY court appearance

Microsoft says it’s patching a Windows security flaw cited in a report on alleged spying by Russian hackers. Ted S. Warren/AP hide caption

Microsoft says it’s patching a Windows security flaw cited in a report on alleged spying by Russian hackers.

A group of hackers, allegedly from Russia, found a fundamental flaw in Microsoft Windows and exploited it to spy on Western governments, NATO, European energy companies and an academic organization in the United States.

That’s according to new research from iSight Partners, a Dallas-based cybersecurity firm.

Last month, the U.S. and the U.K. were preparing to meet at a NATO summit to talk about Ukraine. Emails were flying back and forth. Different experts were offering to talk at the conference. And in the midst of all the digital traffic, hackers jumped into the conversation.

Patrick McBride, a spokesman with iSight, says the hackers targeted specific officials using a well-known kind of attack called spear-phishing. Hackers would craft a message with a PowerPoint document attached. For example, they’d say, “We’d like to be involved in the conference.”

And when an unknowing recipient opened the corrupted PowerPoint, the file was exploited to load a piece of malware onto the computer that the attacker could then use later to “exfiltrate documents,” McBride says.

The hacker group, dubbed the “Sandworm Team,” allegedly pulled emails and documents off computers from NATO, Ukrainian government groups, Western European government officials, and energy sector and telecommunications firms.

In the mad dash to grab information, McBride says, the hackers got a little sloppy and dropped hints about their identity. He says they’re Russian, “but we can’t pinpoint if they work for the Russian government or work in a particular department in the government.”

The Russian embassy did not immediately respond to NPR’s inquiry. Microsoft says that Tuesday, it’s patching the security flaw so that PowerPoint and other Office products can’t be exploited again in the same way.

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Microsoft Windows Flaw Let Russian Hackers Spy On NATO, Report Says

Staying anonymous online could get a lot simpler with Anonabox, a pocket-sized networking device due to launch early next year.

The $51 device plugs into any standard Internet router and pipes all traffic through the Tor network. The traffic then moves through multiple computers on Tors network, erasing its tracks along the way, before finally hitting the open Internet. The result is an anonymous and encrypted connection straight out of the box.

While Tor already offers a Web browser for this purpose, extending Tors capabilities to other programs requires a complicated setup process. Even opening an attachment from Tor can create risk, as the outside program could connect to the Internet without keeping the user anonymous. By plugging directly into the router, Anonabox promises to anonymize all Internet activity regardless of what program youre using.

Why this matters: Between overreaching government data collection in the United States, censorship in other countries and the rise of the darknet, theres a huge demand for products that hide their users online activities. Anonabox is hitting all the right notes at just the right time, with a low-cost product thats supposedly easy to use and to conceal. That may explain why the Kickstarter campaign is nearing $300,000 as of this writingfar beyond Anonaboxs $7,500 goal.

As Wired points out, Anonabox is not the first device of its kind. Devices like Torouter and Portal require technical know-how to replace a routers stock software, while OnionPi arrives as a kit that must be assembled by the user. Anonaboxs closest competitor is SafePlug, a $49 device that plugs into any router, but its larger and potentially less secure. By comparison, Anonabox is small enough to conceal in a pants pocket, and the creators promise to test and configure each unit by hand to make sure theyre working properly.

For now, the Tor community isnt giving a full endorsement, though Tors executive director Andrew Lewman told Wired that the device looks promising. Micah Lee, lead technologist for The Intercept, suggested that users still fire up the Tor browser in conjunction with the box, as it avoids fingerprinting techniques that other browsers use to track individuals around the Web.

Given that this is a Kickstarter project, potential buyers need to reserve some skepticism as well. However, the creators note that the product is already fully functional and ready for large-scale production, with backup vendors in place. At a glance, it seems like a well-organized campaign, and a potentially valuable tool for protestors, privacy paranoids and Internet miscreants alike.

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Anonabox promises a portable, streamlined way to use Tor to hide your online tracks

Senate committee chairman Sam Dastyari has vowed to investigate corporate tax avoidance. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Forty ofAustralia’s biggest companies will be asked to explain their tax affairs to a Senate committee investigating corporate tax avoidance.

Companies shown, in a recent report, to have the lowest “effective tax rate” over the past decade and to operate the most subsidiaries in tax havens have been given the chance to outline their tax strategies before the committee decides which corporate leaders to call in to appear before public hearings.

The Senate can subpoena witnesses and committee chairman Sam Dastyari has vowed to use that power if the inquiry encounters resistance from big business.

Companies that will be invited to explain their persistently low tax contributions, according to the report, include shopping centre company Westfield, building products firm James Hardie, motorway group Transurban,SydneyAirport, Telstra, SingTel and Echo Entertainment, owner ofSydney’s Star casino.

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The Greens, who led the push to form the tax inquiry, have vowed to call multinationals Apple, Google and Swiss-based miner Glencore to face questions about their tax contribution toAustralia.

The report, Who pays for our common wealth?,found almost a third of the nation’s largest companiesare paying less than 10 in the dollar in company tax and some companies, including global broadcaster 21st Century Fox and Toll Holdings, operate dozens of subsidiaries in low-tax jurisdictions such as the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands and Bermuda.

A recent tax justice report in the United States found that US companies that claim to have business in tax havens declared profits that equate to $870,000 for each person that lives in those three tiny island nations.

There is a certain office block, known as Ugland House, in the Caymans that is the registered address of 18,857 companies.

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Tax 'please explains' on the way

Senate committee chairman Sam Dastyari has vowed to investigate corporate tax avoidance. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Forty ofAustralia’s biggest companies will be asked to explain their tax affairs to a Senate committee investigating corporate tax avoidance.

Companies shown, in a recent report, to have the lowest “effective tax rate” over the past decade and to operate the most subsidiaries in tax havens have been given the chance to outline their tax strategies before the committee decides which corporate leaders to call in to appear before public hearings.

The Senate can subpoena witnesses and committee chairman Sam Dastyari has vowed to use that power if the inquiry encounters resistance from big business.

Companies that will be invited to explain their persistently low tax contributions, according to the report, include shopping centre company Westfield, building products firm James Hardie, motorway group Transurban,SydneyAirport, Telstra, SingTel and Echo Entertainment, owner ofSydney’s Star casino.

Advertisement

The Greens, who led the push to form the tax inquiry, have vowed to call multinationals Apple, Google and Swiss-based miner Glencore to face questions about their tax contribution toAustralia.

The report, Who pays for our common wealth?,found almost a third of the nation’s largest companiesare paying less than 10 in the dollar in company tax and some companies, including global broadcaster 21st Century Fox and Toll Holdings, operate dozens of subsidiaries in low-tax jurisdictions such as the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands and Bermuda.

A recent tax justice report in the United States found that US companies that claim to have business in tax havens declared profits that equate to $870,000 for each person that lives in those three tiny island nations.

There is a certain office block, known as Ugland House, in the Caymans that is the registered address of 18,857 companies.

Read more here:
Companies asked to please explain

Welcome to Google’s actual offices in Dublin, Ireland.

“I am abolishing the ability of companies to use the Double Irish by changing our residency rules to require all companies registered in Ireland to also be tax resident,” Irish Finance Minister Michael Noonan said in a statement accompanying the governments new 2015 budget on Tuesday. “This legal change will take effect from the 1stof January 2015 for new companies. For existing companies, there will be provision for a transition period until the end of 2020.”

The move will affect many tech firms that take advantage of this arrangement such as Apple, Amazon, Adobe, Microsoft, and Google. Last year, for example, Google alone cut billions off of its tax bill.

Google declared $60 billion worth of revenue in the United States in 2013. Googles effective tax rate in the United States has fallen dramatically from 21 percent to 15.7 percent in recent years as the company has broadened its use of overseas tax benefits.

As Google stated in its 2013 annual report, “Our provision for income taxes and our effective tax rate decreased from 2012 to 2013, primarily as a result of proportionately more earnings realized in countries that have lower statutory tax rates as well as the federal research and development credit related to the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012.”

In July 2014, Ars reported thatGoogle Ireland Limited paid an effective tax rate of just 0.16 percent on 17 billion ($22.8 billion) revenue in 2013. That bill came to a mere 27.7 million ($37.2 million). Google paid 11.7 billion in “administrative expenses,” which The Irish Times reports “largely refers to royalties paid to other Google entities, some of which are ultimately controlled from tax havens such as Bermuda.”

Google and many other tech firms have recently come underincreased scrutiny for using a quirky Irish tax law arrangement that allows organizations to incorporate in Ireland but legally route money through other jurisdictionssuch as the Netherlands. It’s all done in the name of drastically reducing tax burdens. The general term is called “transfer pricing,” although specific tactics involve colorful names like the “Double Irish” and the “Dutch Sandwich.”

Samuel Brunson, a professor of tax law at Loyola University Chicago, said that such a move was a long time coming.

“It does seem like a good thing, albeit a delayed good thing,” he told Ars.”With the low corporate tax rate, though, I assume Ireland will still actively try to attract foreign direct investment, and even aggressive tax planning, since its corporate rate is staying at 12.5 percent and it still has its web of tax treaties. Still, although theres bound to be some way to arbitrage the change, it seems like a move toward a cleaner global set of international taxes.”

Ars has previously detailedhow the Double Irish works. Bloomberg reporter Jesse Drucker first described the process in 2010: a company sells or licenses its foreign rights forintellectual property developed in the United States to a subsidiary in a country with lower tax rates. The result? Foreign profits that come from that techlike the rights to Googles search and advertising technology, effectively the keys to the kingdomare now attributed to that offshore subsidiary rather than the Mountain View, California headquarters. The subsidiaries have to pay “arms length” prices for those rights, just like an outside company would.

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Ireland to phase out Double Irish tax trickery, to Googles chagrin

A man accused of creating an online, underworld bank that helped launder $6 billion for drug dealers, child pornographers, identity thieves and other criminals was facing his first court appearance in Manhattan.

Arthur Budovsky, 40, the Costa Rican founder of currency transfer and payment processing company Liberty Reserve, was scheduled to appear in federal court in Manhattan on Tuesday afternoon. He was extradited from Spain to the U.S. on Friday.

Once an American, Budovsky renounced his citizenship after setting up the company in Costa Rica, where all online businesses are legal and there aren’t laws regulating them.

Budovsky was arrested in Spain on May 23 and held to face a Manhattan indictment against him and others.

U.S. officials accuse Budovsky of using Liberty Reserve as a kind of underworld bank that handled about $6 billion worth of illicit transactions for 1 million users, including 200,000 in the U.S.

Budovsky has said he created a secure platform for online financial transactions, and Liberty Reserve cooperated with investigators. According to court documents, Budovsky moved his business to Costa Rica after he was convicted on state charges related to an unlicensed money transmitting business.

When he announced the charges in May 2013, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said Liberty Reserve “became the bank of choice for the criminal underworld.”

He said the case might represent the largest international money laundering case ever brought by the United States.

During the Liberty Reserve investigation, authorities raided 14 locations in Panama, Switzerland, the U.S., Sweden and Costa Rica. In Costa Rica, investigators recovered five luxury cars, including three Rolls-Royces. Authorities also seized Liberty’s computer servers in Costa Rica and Switzerland.

Read more here:
Liberty Reserve Founder Faces Court Appearance



Air strength at the heart of eastern defence
The new NATO Secretary General visits fighter pilots from Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and the United States, as well as the AWACS aircraft and crew at ask Air Base in …

By: NATO

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Air strength at the heart of eastern defence – Video

Published October 09, 2014

KINGSTON, Jamaica A Cayman Islands jury on Thursday found a former premier not guilty of nearly a dozen criminal charges about two years after he was ousted from office on suspicion of corruption.

Prosecutors alleged McKeeva Bush had illegally tapped his government credit card to withdraw nearly $50,000 in casinos in the Bahamas and the United States, using some of the cash to gamble on slot machines.

The jury of four men and three women deliberating about seven hours, and unanimously cleared Bush of six counts of misconduct and five counts of breach of trust in the tiny British Caribbean territory that is one of the world’s biggest financial centers.

In a statement after the verdict was delivered, Bush said the charges “were nothing more than the result of a conspiracy to remove me from power.” He has repeatedly asserted that he did not break any laws and that he was the victim of a smear campaign by political opponents.

Bush and a few dozen supporters hugged and cheered outside the courtroom after Justice Michael Mettyear had departed.

Bush, the British Caribbean territory’s longest serving politician, lost a no-confidence vote in December 2012 and was ousted as the islands’ No. 1 politician after police arrested him at his home on suspicion of misusing a government credit card and other charges.

The charges rocked the Cayman Islands, where Bush had been the premier since his United Democratic Party won 2009 general elections. He wielded great power within the territory because he was in charge of finance, tourism and development as well as being head of government.

A few months after his arrest, Bush’s fractured party was defeated in parliamentary elections. He retained his seat as a lawmaker in his powerbase in a populous district of Grand Cayman. He also remained head of his political faction.

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Cayman Islands jury clears ex-premier of all criminal charges nearly 2 years after his ouster

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Top Silicon Valley execs have warned that the NSA’s continued surveillance of innocent people will rupture the internet which is bad news for business.

Oh, and bad news for hundreds of thousands of workers, and America’s moral authority, too.

The suits were speaking at a roundtable organized by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) in Palo Alto, California, on Wednesday. Google’s chairman Eric Schmidt and John Lilly, a partner at venerable VC firm Greylock Partners, were on the panel, along with Microsoft’s general counsel Brad Smith and his counterpart at Facebook, Colin Stretch, and Dropbox, Ramsey Homsany.

“It is time to end the digital dragnet, which harms American liberty and the American economy without making the country safer. The US government should stop requiring American companies to participate in the suspicionless collection of their customers data, and begin the process of rebuilding trust both at home and abroad,” said Senator Wyden.

“The United States here in Silicon Valley, up in the Silicon Forest of the State of Oregon that I am so proud to represent, and in tech campuses and garage start-ups across the country has the best technologies and the best ideas to drive high-tech innovation. It is policy malpractice to squander that capital for no clear security gain.”

The assembled speakers echoed Wyden’s sentiments, and agreed that unless the US government reined in its intelligence agencies, American business would suffer badly.

“The simplest outcome [of NSA spying] is that we end up breaking the internet,” Google’s Schmidt said.

“What’s going to happen is that governments will bring in bad laws and say ‘we want our own internet and we dont want to work with others.’ The cost of that is huge to knowledge and science, and has huge implications.”

Schmidt said he had spent the summer in Germany talking to, among others, Chancellor Angela Merkel. She had told him of her youth growing up in East Germany and said that the knowledge that the NSA were listening to her calls to her mother reminded her of chilling Cold War surveillance.

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NSA spying will shatter the internet, Silicon Valley bosses warn

The first argument of the Term yesterday appears to have been somewhat unsatisfying for the Justices. As previewed here, the question on which the Court granted review in Heien v. North Carolina was a simple one: May a police officers reasonable mistake of law provide the reasonable suspicion required for a traffic stop under the Fourth Amendment? The Justices questions appeared to indicate an almost unanimous affirmative answer, although the Chief Justice did note that an answer with too broad a scope might have troubling implications. The Justices expressed some confusion about the proper disposition of the case, however, with Justice Scalia going so far at one point as to almost suggest a DIG (dismiss as improvidently granted). Still, Ill predict a short unanimous opinion answering the Question Presented with yes, leaving to footnotes and concurrences the larger and more difficult intricacies of the case.

A simple question presented, albeit with troubling implications

You will recall that a deputy sheriff stopped Heiens car because one of his brake lights was not working. (Because the officer was actually interested in criminal interdiction, Justice Sotomayor described the encounter as a lawful pretext, and the officer did indeed find drugs in a subsequent consent search. Although Justice Ginsburg twice inquired why the lawful consent didnt eliminate the issue of the stop, the traditional rule has been that the fruits of an invalid stop must be suppressed.)

On appeal, however, a state appellate court ruled that there was in fact no traffic violation as a matter of law (and hence no reasonable suspicion of one), because the North Carolina statute requires only a [singular] stop lamp. Thus, that court ruled, the Fourth Amendment had been violated, and Heiens conviction should be vacated. But on further appeal, while accepting the appellate courts surprising legal interpretation of the law, the North Carolina Supreme Court ruled that Heiens conviction might stand, because the officers mistake of law had been a reasonable one the state statute was antiquated and the one-brake-light legal ruling was surprising to most. Thus, the court ruled, there was no Fourth Amendment violation, and Heiens case was remanded for further proceedings.

On Heiens further interlocutory certiorari petition, the question thus appeared to be simply presented: can such a reasonable legal error create reasonable suspicion, or should officers be held to know the law just as private citizens would be? That is, if two working brake lights were in fact required, it would be no defense for Heien to argue that he reasonably did not know that. Ignorance of the law is no excuse is the common law maxim, and Heien argued that this should apply equally to officers stopping cars. A contrary ruling would, as Heiens experienced Supreme Court advocate Jeff Fisher argued, vastly expand police officer discretion, allowing them to stop cars and people whenever a reasonable ambiguity of legal authority could be argued. This is the broad implication about which Chief Justice Roberts and some other Justices expressed concern yesterday.

Of course, the Court could simply rule that a reasonable mistake of law satisfies the Fourth Amendment, and then just narrowly define what will count as reasonable. Justice Kennedy repeatedly turned to this question what is standard to determine a reasonable legal mistake? and Justice Breyer and others also seemed to focus on it. It was interesting to this reader that no one suggested that when there is legal ambiguity, a reasonable officer might be required to conduct a reasonable investigation to obtain a clear legal ruling about the scope of the law, before relying on it to stop and search. Fisher did suggest, however, that the Court ought to require a definitive ruling from a court or legislature before allowing officers to act. Meanwhile, North Carolina Deputy Attorney General Robert Montgomery suggested a generous standard (although no Justice appeared to endorse it): the officer simply gets to decide which he thought was the better rule. But as Fisher responded, allowing officers to exploit statutory ambiguities in order to conduct intrusive stops and searches would undercut public confidence in law enforcement.

The twist in the case

Aside from defining what is reasonable, one might think, simple question, simple answer, right? Not so fast. About thirty seconds into yesterdays argument, Justice Kennedy asked the first question, raising a point which then preoccupied the Court for much of the hour. Suppose North Carolina did have a good-faith exception to the exclusionary rule. What would you be arguing today? It turns out that, at the time of Heiens arrest, the North Carolina Supreme Court had ruled that as a matter of state constitutional law, suppression of evidence is required when the Fourth Amendment is violated regardless of officers good faith. (North Carolinas legislature has since amended the law.) That ruling is of course opposite to the U.S. Supreme Courts 1984 ruling in United States v. Leon that there is a good faith exception to the exclusionary rule. It was briefly asked yesterday, but not seriously examined, whether a state may declare its own state-law remedy for federal constitutional violations. Federalism should respect that choice, argued Fisher.

Thus Fisher plainly wants to argue on remand that Heiens conviction should remain vacated because reasonable good faith does not apply. However, Fishers immediate response to Justice Kennedy was that the Court [does]nt have to reach that question, since North Carolina has not argued it. When Deputy Attorney General Robert Montgomery stood up to argue in response, he confirmed that point; the state has not argued for a good faith exception to be applied in Heiens case. This position seemed to clearly confuse at least some of the Justices (as it continues to confuse me). The North Carolina Supreme Courts ruling suggests that Heiens narcotics conviction should be reinstated on remand. Heien plainly wants that ruling vacated. But as repeatedly stressed by Justice Scalia, the Court doesnt review opinions, [it] reviews judgments. So unless the remedy is exclusion, Justice Scalia asserted, theres no basis for us to set aside the judgment of the North Carolina Supreme Court. Or, in other words, if the federal rule is that there should not be suppression in any case due to good faith, why should the Court answer a preliminary question (whether there was a Fourth Amendment violation) that doesnt matter? As Justice Kennedy asked with some frustration, Can North Carolina more or less set us up this way?

Fisher responded that in fact it is not uncommon for the Court to announce a federal constitutional rule, and then remand to the state courts for further proceedings not inconsistent with its ruling. Indeed, that is what the North Carolina Supreme Court did, once it ruled that a reasonable mistake of law did not constitute a Fourth Amendment violation: just remand for further proceedings. Justice Scalia ultimately expressed reluctant acceptance on this point: If it hasnt been argued, I guess we can do that. I guess. . . . Im sorry to waste so much of our time.

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Argument analysis: A simple answer to a deceptively simple Fourth Amendment question?

US yet to request help in Iraq, says Abbott

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has not ruled out Australian military involvement in Iraq if requested by the US.

Clive Palmer says he’ll sue Qld’s Deputy Premier for claiming he sought special favours for coal projects.

Former president George H.W. Bush turns 90 on Thursday and is marking the big day with a skydive.

Clive Palmer is hiring an Elvis impersonator to entertain his constituents at his Sunshine Coast resort.

The meeting between US President Barack Obama and PM Tony Abbott went ahead despite the Iraq crisis.

The Geoff Shaw show rolls on with the suspended Victorian MP due to headline a comedy event on Friday night.

Australia and the United States have reached a deal to bolster Marine rotations through Darwin.

Julia Gillard’s former boyfriend has denied ever giving her money from a union slush fund for renovations.

Victoria’s parliament is now deadlocked but the premier says his government is getting on with business.

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Solomon Islands elections set for November

FIRE ISLAND, N.Y., Oct. 8 (UPI) — A federally backed $207-million plan to replenish the sands along the beaches of New York’s Fire Island has been stalled, thanks to an ongoing lawsuit filed by the state chapter of the Audubon Society which argues the project would threaten the federally protected piping plover.

Proponents of the project, which is backed by the Army Corps of Engineers and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, argue that reinforcing the beaches with additional sand is essential to protecting the people and property of Fire Island — and preventing future storm damage from the likes of Hurricane Sandy.

In the lawsuit, the Audubon Society argues the beach rehabilitation project will “inhibit natural renewal of ephemeral pools, bay tidal flats and open vegetation,” and prevent “natural storm processes that create habitat to act unimpeded.”

“The burying of existing beaches under dredged material temporarily destroys available prey resources along the coast while the construction of dunes running parallel to the ocean fragments nesting habitat from optimal foraging habitat and prevents plovers from accessing bayside areas for foraging,” the plaintiffs add.

The Audubon Society and their allies say the project is also a massive waste of money — throwing away millions on a short-term and unreliable fix. But local supporters of the plan say environmentalists are valuing birds over people.

“They are asserting that habitat protection trumps the safety and security of the residents living in Mastic Beach and other low-lying South Shore communities,” state representative Tim Bishop, D-Southampton, said in a statement. “This is a position I simply cannot support. I believe the action of Audubon New York in this instance, particularly as the dredging contract was about to be awarded, is indefensible.”

At a hearing in federal court on Wednesday, a judge declined to lift the current injunction on the sand replenishment plans. The plaintiffs say they don’t want to thwart the project in its entirety, but only wish to spare two vital nesting grounds on Fire Island. As of now, it appears federal officials may have to rethink their plans before they’re able to move ahead with construction.

2014 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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Piping plover stalling plans to replenish Fire Island beaches



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