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The Internet

Dissension Grows Inside Anonymous Because Of Political Propaganda (softpedia.com) 45

An anonymous reader writes from a report on Softpedia: Political tensions relating to the U.S. presidential race are creating turmoil inside the Anonymous hacker collective, muddling waters even more in a group that's known for its lack of leadership and a common goal. The most recent Anonymous infighting relates to the actions of the group's most famous news portal known as AnonHQ, who's been showing downright public support for Bernie Sanders, while being extremely busy at bashing Trump, Cruz, and more recently issuing video threats against Clinton. Ever since Anonymous' official news source has started showing public support for Sanders, many of the group's divisions have publicly disavowed it and have even gone so far as launching constant waves of DDoS attacks at what once used to be the hacker's official news portal. Last month, when a former Anonymous member decided to dox himself, he said in interviews that the group had been infiltrated by government agents.
The Military

North Korea Launches Two Midrange Missiles, Both Tests Fail (cnn.com) 44

An anonymous reader writes: According to South Korean Defense Ministry officials, North Korea fired two midrange Musudan missiles Thursday, and both missiles appear to have failed. The military cannot confirm exactly when the missile exploded but said it "crashed shortly after it was launched," a Defense Ministry official said. U.S. military officials said the missiles traveled an estimated 200 meters from the launchpad. This past weekend, North Korea launched a ballistic missile from a submarine off the east cost of the Korean peninsula. It only traveled about 30 km, well short of the 300 km range that would be considered a successful test. A little more than a week prior to that launch, North Korea failed to launch an intermediate-range missile on the 104th anniversary of the birthday of the country's 'eternal president,' Kim II Sung.

Bernie Sanders' Second Life Headquarters Besieged by Trump-Supporting Swastikas (vice.com) 186

Wagner James Au, writing for Motherboard (edited and condensed):As Donald Trump continues to ride roughshod over much of the United States, there are multiple reports that Trumps' virtual fans are riding roughshod on Bernie Sanders' unofficial headquarters in Second Life as well. Sanders' spot is in the sim (Second Life region) of Caspoli, with a Bernie 2016 banner that can be seen from satellite. It's a Roman-themed hangout space in a peaceful meadow, where Bernie supporters often gather to share news of their favorite candidate. But lately, the place has been besieged by pro-Trump griefers. [...] During a Bernie rally in Second Life, Sanders support group member Macaria Wind goes on, Trump-supporting demons flew around Bernie's rally, endlessly typing "TRUMP! TRUMP! TRUMP!" into text chat.

With Carly Fiorina As Running Mate, Cruz's H-1B Stance Now In Question (computerworld.com) 312

dcblogs quotes a report from Computerworld: In 2013, Sen. Ted Cruz emerged as one of the Senate's top H-1B visa supporters, and argued for a 500% visa cap increase. But during his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, Cruz had a conversion. Cruz's presidential platform proposed a $110,000 minimum wage for visa workers, among other restrictions, as a way of ending their use as low-cost labor. The move marked a complete turnabout on the H-1B issue. Cruz's decision Wednesday to add former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina as his running mate if he wins the nomination, may make his newly found H-1B beliefs a hard sell. At HP, Fiorina was a prominent supporter of the offshore outsourcing model, said Ron Hira, an associate professor of public policy at Howard University. "To pump up profits, she was an early adopter of the practice, which given HP's status as a leading Silicon Valley firm, pushed other firms to adopt offshoring," said Hira. As offshoring gained, Fiorina played a leading role in defending globalization. To make her point, in 2004, Fiorina said: "There is no job that is America's God-given right anymore," reported the San Francisco Chronicle.

House Passes Email Privacy Act, Requiring Warrants For Obtaining Emails (techcrunch.com) 61

An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: The U.S. House of Representatives has passed H.R. 699, the Email Privacy Act, sending it on to the Senate and from there, hopefully anyhow, to the President. The yeas were swift and unanimous. The bill, which was introduced in the House early last year and quickly found bipartisan support, updates the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act, closing a loophole that allowed emails and other communications to be obtained without a warrant. It's actually a good law, even if it is arriving a couple of decades late. "Under current law, there are more protections for a letter in a filing cabinet than an email on a server," said Congresswoman Suzan Delbene during the debate period. An earlier version of the bill also required that authorities disclose that warrant to the person it affected within 10 days, or 3 if the warrant related to a government entity. That clause was taken out in committee -- something trade groups and some of the Representatives objected to as an unpleasant compromise.

There Will Be A Huge New 'Panama Papers' Data Dump (businessinsider.com) 107

An anonymous reader writes: The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists said in an email that on May 9 it would "publish what will likely be the largest-ever release of information about secret offshore companies and the people behind them," based on data from the Panama Papers investigation. "The searchable database will include information about more than 200,000 companies, trusts, foundations, and funds incorporated in 21 tax havens, from Hong Kong to Nevada in the United States." The ICIJ said in the email, "The impact of Panama Papers has been epic." The investigation has caused Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson to resign following revelations about his personal finances. It has caused Putin to point fingers at the West, accusing the U.S. of trying to weaken Russia. It has even created drama in the UK with calls for Prime Minister David Cameron to resign after his connections to offshore companies became evident. In addition, the ICIJ said, "[The Panama Papers investigation] sparked a new sense of urgency among lawmakers and regulators to close loopholes and make information about the owners of shell companies public."
United States

Half Of Americans Think Presidential Nominating System 'Rigged' (huffingtonpost.com) 308

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Huffington Post: More than half of American voters believe that the system U.S. political parties use to pick their candidates for the White House is "rigged" and more than two-thirds want to see the process changed. The results echo complaints from Republican front-runner Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Bernie Sanders that the system is stacked against them in favor of candidates with close ties to their parties -- a critique that has triggered a nationwide debate over whether the process is fair. The United States is one of just a handful of countries that gives regular voters any say in who should make it onto the presidential ballot. But the state-by-state system of primaries, caucuses and conventions is complex. The contests historically were always party events, and while the popular vote has grown in influence since the mid-20th century, the parties still have considerable sway. Just the other day, a poll was conducted by Harvard University showing a majority of young people do not support capitalism. Are the times they are a changin' or are people starting to wake up?

A Majority Of Millennials Now Reject Capitalism, Poll Shows (washingtonpost.com) 1044

A new poll shows that a majority of young people do not support capitalism. The study was conducted by Harvard University, which polled young adults ages 18-29. It found that 51 percent of those polled rejected capitalism, that is to say, they did not support it. Only 42 percent said they support capitalism -- there was a margin of error of 2.4 percentage points. When asked what alternative system they would prefer, there wasn't a clear winner. Just 33 percent said they supported socialism. When talking about politics or economics, it can get complicated and the poll does little to shed light on what parts of capitalism young people dislike or what parts of socialism young people like. It does appear to suggest young people are frustrated with the status quo and are more focused on the flaws of free markets.

2016 Hugo Awards Shortlist Dominated By Rightwing Campaign (theguardian.com) 672

Dave Knott quotes a report from The Guardian: The annual Hugo awards for the best science fiction of the year have once again been riven by controversy, as a concerted campaign by a conservative lobby has dominated the ballot. The Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies movements, which both separately campaign against a perceived bias towards liberal and leftwing science-fiction and fantasy authors, have managed to get the majority of their preferred nominations on to the final ballot, announced today. Since 2013, the Puppies factions have posted recommendations of works to combat the Hugo tendency to reward works that leaders of the movement deem "niche, academic, overtly to the left in ideology and flavor, and ultimately lacking what might best be called visceral, gut-level, swashbuckling fun." The Rabid Puppies has been successful in getting its nominations on the shortlist again this year; out of 80 recommendations, 62 have received sufficient votes to make the ballot. At MidAmeriCon II this year, it was announced that more than 4,000 nominating ballots were cast for the 2016 Hugo awards, almost double the previous record of 2,122 ballots. This news was initially greeted with cautious optimism, but the shortlist shows that the Puppies and their supporters have redoubled their efforts to "game" the awards. The shortlist will be voted upon and the winners revealed at the forthcoming Worldcon in Kansas in August.

Symantec: Cruz and Kasich Campaign Apps May Expose Sensitive Data (go.com) 32

An anonymous reader writes: Apps released by the campaigns of Republican presidential contenders Ted Cruz and John Kasich have the potential for hackers to access users' personal information. According to an independent analysis by Symantec, the "Cruz Crew" app could allow third parties to capture a phone's unique identifying number and other personal information while the Kasich 2016 app could expose users' location data and information about other apps installed on the phones. First it was Veracode that reported potential vulnerabilities with the apps, now it's Symantec. Apparently the Cruz campaign updated its app to resolve the issues after the Veracode report was released. Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols said the security experts didn't know what they were talking about. Both campaigns have yet to respond to the latest Symantec analysis. Neither security firm found any issues in the app released by the campaign of Democrat Bernie Sanders. Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton do not have campaign apps.

Hacker Collective Attacks KKK Sites (theepochtimes.com) 191

An anonymous reader writes: A KKK web site went offline for several hours Saturday, part of an ongoing attack campaign being attributed to "several hacker collectives, including Anonymous and BinarySec, under a loosely-coordinated operation theyâ(TM)re calling #OpKKK." The Epoch Times newspaper reports that "Over the course of the last couple months, websites belonging to the KKK flicked off and on, members of the hate group have had their identities posted online, and their recruiting efforts have been attacked." Saturday's DDoS attack and others are being chronicled on Twitter with the hashtag #OpKKK, prompting the newspaper to describe the collective as "very active".

"Part of OpKKK is bringing attention to the fact that these groups are not dead and are in fact finding a new life online..." one attacker told the newspaper. "We private citizens have the right to pass judgment and respond to hate speech and those who perpetuate these dangerous ideals...and there are consequences."

The Almighty Buck

Greece's Former Finance Minister Explains Why A Universal Basic Income Could Save Us (fastcoexist.com) 849

Charlie Sorrel, writing for FastCoExist: Next time you're having a fight with somebody who doesn't like the idea of a universal basic income, you might employ some of these arguments from Yanis Varoufakis, Greece's former finance minister. In an interview with the Swiss newspaper Tages Anzeiger, he not only refutes the usual arguments against the concept that the government should give everyone a minimum check every month, but he makes them sound quite ridiculous. The interview was published ahead of the Switzerland's vote on a universal basic income (or UBI) in June. If successful, all Swiss adults would get $2,500 per month, and kids around $625 per month, whether or not they have a job. Here are some of Varoufakis's best answers.

First, on the need for a UBI: "For the first time in the history of technology more jobs are destroyed than created. Technical progress means that more and more high-paying jobs will disappear and thus shrink the middle class. This will in turn cause a further concentration of income and wealth in the upper classes. That's why I fight like a basic income for sociopolitical reforms. The robotization [of work] has long been underway, but robots don't buy products. Therefore, a basic income is needed to offset this change and stabilize a society which has an increasing wealth inequality." Then, on why you need a UBI if you already have a good job: "What good is a well-paying job, if you are afraid to lose it? This constant fear paralyzes."
Good luck convincing many citizens to do actual work.

The Android Administration: Google's Relationship With the Obama White House (theintercept.com) 47

theodp writes: The Intercept takes a look at Google's remarkably close relationship with the Obama White House, driving home its point with charts of When Google Visited the White House and how individuals have moved Back and Forth Between Google and Government. "Much of this collaboration could be considered public-minded," writes David Dayen. "It's hard to argue with the idea that the government should seek outside technical help when it requires it. And there's no evidence of a quid pro quo. But this arrangement doesn't have to result in outright corruption to be troubling. The obvious question that arises is: Can government do its job with respect to regulating Google in the public interest if it owes the company such a debt of gratitude?"

One interesting meeting The Intercept missed was a 2014 sit-down of Google and Microsoft execs with the head of the National Science Foundation and educators following a White House Hour of Code event, at which President Obama was 'taught to code' by Google-backed Code.org with Google-exec-turned-US-CTO Megan Smith looking on. Asked about the event in an interview, the President suggested the school system was to blame for his daughters not taking to coding the way he'd like. "I think they got started a little bit late," the President explained. "Part of what you want to do is introduce this with the ABCs and the colors." Less than a year later, the President sought to redress things with his Computer Science for All K-12 Initiative, citing Google-provided factoids ("Nine out of ten parents want it taught at their children's schools") to explain the need for the $4B budget request for the program.


Spy Chief Pressed For Number Of Americans Ensnared In Data Espionage (reuters.com) 34

Dustin Volz, reporting for Reuters: U.S. lawmakers are pressing the nation's top intelligence official to estimate the number of Americans ensnared in email surveillance and other such spying on foreign targets, saying the information was needed to gauge possible reforms to the controversial programs. Eight Democrats and six Republicans made the request to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper in a letter seen by Reuters on Friday, reflecting the continued bipartisan concerns over the scope of U.S. data espionage. "You have willingly shared information with us about the important and actionable intelligence obtained under these surveillance programs," wrote the lawmakers, all members of the U.S. House of Representatives' Judiciary Committee. "Now we require your assistance in making a determination that the privacy protections in place are functioning as designed." They requested that Clapper provide the information about data collected under a statute, known as Section 702, by May 6.

Pro-Clinton Super PAC Caught Spending $1 Million On Social Media Trolls (usuncut.com) 428

An anonymous reader quotes a report from US Uncut: A Super PAC headed by a longtime Clinton operative is spending $1 million to hire online trolls to "correct" Bernie Sanders' supporters on social media. Correct The Record (CTR), which is operated by Clinton attack dog and new owner of Blue Nation Review David Brock, launched a new initiative this week called "Barrier Breakers 2016" for the purpose of debating supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders -- or "Bernie Bros," as they're referred to in Correct the Record's press official release -- on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and other social media platforms. The "Barrier Breakers" will also publicly thank Hillary Clinton's superdelegates and fans for supporting her campaign. The paid trolls are professional communicators, coming from public relations and media backgrounds. "The task force staff's backgrounds are as diverse as the community they will be engaging with and include former reporters, bloggers, public affairs specialists, designers, Ready for Hillary alumni, and Hillary super fans who have led groups similar to those with which the task force will organize," CTR stated.

Is the $400 Billion F-35's 'Brain' Broken? (cnn.com) 175

Zachary Cohen, reporting for CNN News: Almost 2,500 of the world's most advanced warplanes, with a total price tag of $400 billion, and they may not have a "brain" in the bunch? That's the fear of federal watchdogs who say problems with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter's complex logistics software system could lead to a grounding of the entire fleet, not to mention future cost increases and schedule delays. Documenting risks to the F-35's Autonomic Logistics Information System, which Department of Defense officials have described as the "brains" of the fifth-generation fighter, an April 14 Government Accountability Office report says a failure "could take the entire fleet offline," (PDF) in part, due to the lack of a backup system. The report also outlines concerns related to the lack of testing done to ensure the software will work properly by the time the Air Force plans to declare its version of the aircraft ready for deployment this August and the Navy reaches that milestone in 2018. The Marine Corps declared the first squadron of its F-35 variant ready for combat in July 2015, with the intention of upgrading and resolving the software issues before its first planned deployment in 2017.

US Treasury To Feature Harriet Tubman On $20 Bill (reuters.com) 577

An anonymous reader writes: Harriet Tubman will become the first African-American woman to be featured on the face of U.S. paper currency in more than a century. Tubman was born a slave and went on to become an anti-slavery crusader. Ironically, she will be replacing Andrew Jackson, the seventh President of the U.S. and a slave owner. According to Wikipedia, "Jackson held as many as 44 [slaves] by 1820, and later held up to 150 slaves, making him among planter elite. Throughout his lifetime Jackson may have owned as many as 300 slaves." The decision to feature a woman on a bill started in part from a young girl's letter to President Obama about the lack of women on U.S. currency. A social media campaign "Women on 20s" then began pushing for a woman to replace Jackson on the currency early last year. Originally, the department announced it would feature a woman on the $10 bill instead of Alexander Hamilton. Now it's being reported Hamilton will stay on the front of the bill with a group of women on the back of it. Civil rights era leaders will reportedly be depicted in the new $5 bill.

Blackmail: Obama Under Pressure To Declassify Secret 9/11 Report (cbsnews.com) 354

An anonymous reader writes: Families of Sept. 11, 2001 terror attack victims are pressuring Obama to support legislation allowing them to sue the Saudi government. A recent "60 Minutes" investigation has stirred up some controversy by looking at possible links between Saudi officials and the 9/11 hijackers, which revealed that new information may be hiding in a classified section of a Congressional report. The Saudis said in a report in the New York Times that they might sell "up to $750 billion in treasury securities and other assets in the United States" if the bill passes. The bill in question is being considered by Congress and it would permit lawsuits against countries that "contribute material support or resources" for "acts of terrorism." Van Auken, who is among those convinced that the 9/11 hijackers were helped by Saudi agents, said, "It feels like blackmail. The government, the president is siding with Saudi Arabia over the 9/11 families. If someone you loved was murdered and the person was just able to go away Scott free, would you be okay with that? I don't think anybody would." Last week the royal embassy of Saudi Arabia said, "The 9/11 commission confirmed that there is no evidence that the government of Saudi Arabia supported or funded Al Qaeda."
Social Networks

Twitter Appoints Chief In China With Former Chinese Military Ties (nytimes.com) 17

An anonymous reader writes: The Sinosphere blog at the NYT reports that Twitter has appointed Kathy Chen as Chief for the Greater China Region. Ms. Chen served as an engineer in the Chinese military in the 1980s. After that, she was involved in a joint venture that was partly owned by the country's powerful domestic security ministry. She posted on Friday a message of cooperation to China Central Television, the state-run broadcaster. The language resembled President Xi Jinping's call to the Chinese media to "tell the China story well." Twitter has been and remains blocked in China by the "Great Firewall".Quartz has more details.
United States

Bill Gates Calls On the US Government To Invest More In Research and Development (fortune.com) 154

An anonymous reader cites an article on Fortune: On Monday, Bill Gates attempted a commendable feat: to get politicians to focus on something other than the current election cycle and its partisan bickering. In an op-ed published by Reuters, the billionaire co-founder of Microsoft called on the United States to spur technological innovation by increasing its investment in research and development. "Government funding for our world-class research institutions produces the new technologies that American entrepreneurs take to market," he wrote. But while other nations like South Korea and China have drastically upped their R and D spending, the United States' has "essentially flatlined." He said that the rest of the world's commitment to research and development is great, "but if the United States is going to maintain its leading role, it needs to up its game." His call for more government-sponsored R&D also comes as corporations pull back on their commitment to discovery and innovation. With more government investment, he said, U.S. scientists could completely eradicate polio and further decrease the number of deaths from malaria. More funding could also "develop the technologies that will power the world -- while also fighting climate change, promoting energy independence, and providing affordable energy for the 1.3 billion poor people who don't have it today."

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