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posted by janrinok on Thursday November 11, @02:43AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the government-is-here-to-save-the-day dept.

(Deliberately keeping summary politically neutral. There will be plenty of blame to go around if this goes anywhere.)

House Energy and Commerce Committee Unveil Comprehensive Strategy to Establish a National Privacy Standard:

Today, House Energy and Commerce Committee [...] issued the following statement on a comprehensive legislative draft that establishes a national privacy standard to protect Americans and sets clear rules for consumer privacy and data security in the U.S.

"We now share more of our personal information online than ever before. Everything from information about where we bank, what we buy at the grocery store, to where we drive, and how well we sleep. In order to ensure that our information is protected, we need one national privacy law that supports small businesses and innovation, promotes transparency, and incentivizes solutions for data security. [...]

I assume they mean "supports individuals" instead of "supports small businesses", and that by "small business", they mean any business smaller than the federal government.

Commerce Committee [...] privacy framework is guided by Leader Rodgers' four principles—which she outlines here [...]

Principle #1: The internet does not stop at state lines, so why should one state set the standard for the rest of the country? Creating arbitrary barriers to the internet may result in different options, opportunities, and experiences online based on where you live.

Principle #2: A lack of transparency has led to where we are today and any federal bill must ensure people understand how their information is collected, used, and shared. We must also ensure that companies who misuse personal information must be held sufficiently accountable.

Principle #3: Any federal bill must ensure companies are implementing reasonable measures to protect people's personal information.

Principle #4: We must also protect small businesses and innovation. We know that in Europe, investments in startups are down more than 40% since their data protection and privacy law—the General Data Protection Regulation—went into effect. We must guard against a similar situation here. We want small businesses hiring coders and engineers, not lawyers.

Maybe it's just me, but looking at Principle #1, it occurs to me that the internet does not stop at national borders any more than at state lines.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Sunday October 10, @06:16PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

[Ed note: In observance of the US federal holiday which is observed on Monday October 11, 2021, I am inviting the editorial staff to run stories on a weekend schedule tomorrow. Please join me in thanking them for all their hard work and for the sacrifice of their spare time and energy! --martyb.]

Biden becomes first president to issue proclamation marking Indigenous Peoples' Day:

President Joe Biden issued a proclamation commemorating Indigenous Peoples' Day on Friday, becoming the first US president to do so, the White House said.

"The contributions that Indigenous peoples have made throughout history — in public service, entrepreneurship, scholarship, the arts, and countless other fields — are integral to our Nation, our culture, and our society," Biden wrote in the proclamation Friday. "Today, we acknowledge the significant sacrifices made by Native peoples to this country — and recognize their many ongoing contributions to our Nation."

Biden also marked a change of course from previous administrations in his proclamation marking Columbus Day, which honors the explorer Christopher Columbus. In that proclamation, the President acknowledged the death and destruction wrought on native communities after Columbus journeyed to North America in the late 1500s, ushering in an age of European exploration of the Western Hemisphere.

"Today, we also acknowledge the painful history of wrongs and atrocities that many European explorers inflicted on Tribal Nations and Indigenous communities. It is a measure of our greatness as a Nation that we do not seek to bury these shameful episodes of our past — that we face them honestly, we bring them to the light, and we do all we can to address them," Biden wrote.

More than 100 cities -- including Seattle, Los Angeles, Denver, Phoenix, San Francisco -- and a number of states -- including Minnesota, Alaska, Vermont and Oregon -- have replaced Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples' Day, choosing instead to recognize the native populations that were displaced and decimated after Columbus and other European explorers reached the continent. Berkeley, California, was the first city to adopt Indigenous Peoples' Day, in 1992.

Also at Al Jazeera.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Saturday October 09, @08:43AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the it's-all-directed-into-your-head dept.

Biden signs bill to help victims of 'Havana syndrome'

President Biden on Friday signed into law a bill that provides financial support to U.S. government officials who have fallen victim to "Havana syndrome," mysterious health symptoms that have affected U.S. personnel in various parts of the world.

"We are bringing to bear the full resources of the U.S. Government to make available first-class medical care to those affected and to get to the bottom of these incidents, including to determine the cause and who is responsible," Biden said in a written statement Friday. "Protecting Americans and all those who serve our country is our first duty, and we will do everything we can to care for our personnel and their families."

Havana Syndrome: 'Attacks have stepped-up in their brazenness,' says national security expert

Frank Figliuzzi, a former assistant director for counterintelligence at the FBI, called for greater coordination within the U.S. government to combat the growing number of mysterious soundwave attacks against Americans dubbed as "Havana Syndrome."

"I still don't see the kind of coordinated, across agency, government-wide approach to this where there's a central medical review that's done, no matter which agency you're from, if you've been impacted, and look, these attacks have stepped-up in their brazenness," Figliuzzi said.

Figliuzzi, an NBC News national security analyst, gave examples of the increasingly flagrant attacks against high-ranking U.S. officials. One attack occurred during a trip to India in September with CIA Director William Burns. Another potential attack delayed Vice President Kamala Harris' trip to Vietnam in August.

U.S. investigators increasingly confident directed-energy attacks behind Havana Syndrome

The U.S. government's investigation into the mysterious illnesses impacting American personnel overseas and at home is turning up new evidence that the symptoms are the result of directed-energy attacks, according to five lawmakers and officials briefed on the matter.

Berlin police investigating 'Havana syndrome' cases at U.S. Embassy

In response to a report by the news magazine Der Spiegel, Berlin police said they had since August been investigating an "alleged sonic weapon attack on employees of the U.S. Embassy," but declined to provide further information.

Havana syndrome.

Also at NYT.

Previously: CIA Director "Fuming" After Havana Syndrome Strikes Team Member in India

Original Submission

posted by FatPhil on Tuesday September 21, @03:39AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the Not-Skynet,-but-groundnet! dept.

An Israeli defense contractor on Monday unveiled a remote-controlled armed robot it says can patrol battle zones, track infiltrators and open fire. The unmanned vehicle is the latest addition to the world of drone technology, which is rapidly reshaping the modern battlefield.

Proponents say such semi-autonomous machines allow armies to protect their soldiers, while critics fear this marks another dangerous step toward robots making life-or-death decisions.

The four-wheel-drive robot presented Monday in Lod was developed by the state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries’ “REX MKII.”

It is operated by an electronic tablet and can be equipped with two machine guns, cameras and sensors, said Rani Avni, deputy head of the company’s autonomous systems division. The robot can gather intelligence for ground troops, carry injured soldiers and supplies in and out of battle, and strike nearby targets.

It is the most advanced of more than half a dozen unmanned vehicles developed by Aerospace Industries’ subsidiary, ELTA Systems, over the past 15 years.

Several other sites carrying very similar stories:

Previously: Israel Assassinated Iranian Nuclear Scientist Using a Remote-Controlled Machine Gun

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Monday September 20, @11:16PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

Explainer: Australia's nuclear-powered submarine deal is fueling anger in the country. Here's why

The US and UK will be sharing technology and expertise with Australia to help it build nuclear-powered submarines as part of a newly-announced defense pact between the three countries. The move has sparked fury in France, which has lost a long-standing agreement to supply Australia with diesel-powered subs.

But it's not only the French who are furious. Anti-nuclear groups in Australia, and many citizens, are expressing anger over the deal, worried it may be a Trojan Horse for a nuclear power industry, which the nation has resisted for decades.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern spoke personally to her Australian counterpart, Scott Morrison, to tell him the vessels would not be welcome in the waters of her country, which has been a no-nuclear zone since 1984.

French ambassador: Australia made a 'huge mistake' canceling submarine contract

The French ambassador to Australia issued a sharp rebuke of the country's decision to cancel a submarine contract with France, calling it a "huge mistake," according to a report from The Associated Press.

Ambassador Jean-Pierre Thebault said that the original agreement was based on sincerity and trust. However, the diplomat said, "This has been a huge mistake, a very, very bad handling of the partnership," according to the news wire. ​​"I would like to be able to run into a time machine and be in a situation where we don't end up in such an incredible, clumsy, inadequate, un-Australian situation," Thebault said.

[...] The deal is a blow to France, which was set to help provide 12 diesel-electric submarines under a deal worth roughly $66 billion, the AP noted.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Friday July 09, @10:36PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

WSJ News Exclusive | WikiLeaks' Julian Assange Wouldn't Go to Supermax if Extradited, U.S. Says:

LONDON—The U.S. government has given assurances to the U.K. that Julian Assange wouldn't be held under the strictest maximum-security conditions if extradited to the U.S., a concession aimed at resolving Washington's yearslong battle to put the WikiLeaks founder on trial on espionage charges.

The U.S. has also assured British authorities that Mr. Assange, if convicted, would be permitted to serve any jail time in his native Australia, according to excerpts of a court ruling provided by the U.K. Crown Prosecution Service, the public prosecutor's office for England and Wales.

A U.K. court on Wednesday formally allowed a U.S. government appeal against a January ruling blocking Mr. Assange's extradition. No date for a hearing has yet been set.

A British judge in January refused to grant a U.S. request to extradite Mr. Assange on the grounds that he would likely commit suicide if incarcerated in a federal maximum-security, or "Supermax," prison and subjected to added security measures, such as solitary confinement, which are common pretrial arrangements in national-security cases.

The U.S. has given the U.K. a package of assurances that Mr. Assange won't be held at ADX, a maximum-security federal penitentiary in Colorado, or subjected to extra security measures, according to the excerpts of the ruling, potentially removing a key impediment to his potential extradition.

[...] Experts said the Justice Department's offer to allow Mr. Assange to serve out any sentence in Australia was unusual, given that inmates usually only apply for such a move once they have been convicted, under the international prisoner transfer program.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Wednesday July 07, @04:05PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

Chinese-owned firm acquires UK's largest semiconductor manufacturer:

The UK's largest producer of semiconductors has been acquired by the Chinese-owned manufacturer Nexperia, prompting a senior Tory MP to call for the government to review the sale to a foreign owner during an increasingly severe global shortage of computer chips.

Nexperia, a Dutch firm owned by China's Wingtech, said on Monday that it had taken full control of Newport Wafer Fab (NWF), the UK's largest producer of silicon chips, which are vital in products from TVs and mobile phones to cars and games consoles.

Tom Tugendhat, the Conservative MP for Tonbridge and Malling and the chair of the foreign affairs select committee, told CNBC on Monday that he would be very surprised if the deal was not being reviewed under the National Security and Investment Act, new legislation brought in to protect key national assets from foreign takeover.

"The semiconductor industry sector falls under the scope of the legislation, the very purpose of which is to protect the nation's technology companies from foreign takeovers when there is a material risk to economic and national security," he said.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Wednesday June 16, @05:34AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
Senate confirms Lina Khan to Federal Trade Commission in a 69-28 vote:

The vote was 69-28 in a Senate split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans, signaling the growing bipartisan interest in reining in large tech companies' power, just days after House lawmakers from both parties unveiled a series of bills that could force Silicon Valley companies to change their business practices and in the most severe cases, break the companies up.

Khan, who is aligned with the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, is well-known for her 2017 paper, "Amazon's Antitrust Paradox," which argued that decades-old antitrust laws aren't equipped to deal with the e-commerce giant and the unique ways it exerts its dominance. (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)

Khan previously worked as a counsel for the House Judiciary's antitrust panel, where she helped lead an investigation into the tech giants. That probe's findings of monopoly-style tactics and anti-competitive behavior at Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon gave rise to the recent bills introduced by House lawmakers.

Khan, 32, will be one of the youngest commissioners in the FTC's history after a meteoric rise since writing the Amazon paper as a law school student. She is an associate professor at Columbia Law School, and previously worked as a legal adviser to FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra (D).

Original Submission

posted by mrpg on Friday May 28 2021, @11:26AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the what-could-go-wrong dept.

Ohio lawmakers want to abolish vaccine requirements:

[...] Lawmakers are working on legislation to call off the lottery immediately. They're also trying to head off any plans for "vaccine passports." And last month, they introduced a sweeping antivaccination bill that would essentially demolish public health and vaccination requirements in the state—and not just requirements for COVID-19 vaccines, requirements for any vaccine.

[...] State Rep. Beth Liston (D-Dublin) blasted the bill, telling The Columbus Dispatch, "Not only would it prevent schools, businesses and communities from putting safety measures in pace related to COVID, it will impact the health of our children... This bill applies to all vaccines—polio, measles, meningitis, etc. If it becomes law we will see worsening measles outbreaks, meningitis in the dorms, and children once again suffering from polio."

[...] "At its core, this proposal would destroy our current public health framework that prevents outbreaks of potentially lethal diseases, threatens the stability of our economy as it recovers from a devastating pandemic and jeopardizes the way we live, learn, work and celebrate life," the letter said.

[...] "HB 248 would put all Ohioans at risk while increasing the cost of health care for families, individuals and businesses," spokesperson Dan Williamson said. "This proposal applies to all immunizations, including childhood vaccines. If passed, this legislation could reverse decades of immunity from life-threatening, but vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles, mumps, hepatitis, meningitis and tuberculosis."

Also: Ohio GOP lawmakers, citing 'need to protect' from vaccines, seek to expand exemptions, nix COVID passports

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Thursday May 27 2021, @04:34AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the proving-a-negative? dept.

Biden asks intel community to 'redouble' efforts probing COVID-19 origins

President Biden on Wednesday announced a ramped-up effort to determine the origins of COVID-19, reflecting a new acceptance in U.S. political and public health circles that the virus might have emerged naturally or from a Chinese lab in the city of Wuhan.

Biden asked the U.S. intelligence community to "redouble their efforts" to come to a definitive conclusion on the disease's origins, calling on them to report back to him within 90 days.

"As part of that report, I have asked for areas of further inquiry that may be required, including specific questions for China," Biden said in a statement. "I have also asked that this effort include work by our National Labs and other agencies of our government to augment the Intelligence Community's efforts. And I have asked the Intelligence Community to keep Congress fully apprised of its work."

"The United States will also keep working with like-minded partners around the world to press China to participate in a full, transparent, evidence-based international investigation and to provide access to all relevant data and evidence," Biden added.

Top intelligence officials including Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines acknowledged at a hearing in April that a laboratory accident was a plausible scenario that the intelligence community was investigating.

Also at The Guardian, CNBC, and Politico.

Original Submission