Daily Archives: April 2, 2016

Snowden ‘more helpful than dangerous’ says ex-Colin Powell aide

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The leaks from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden about US worldwide surveillance have helped rather than harmed America, and the leaks haven’t endangered lives.

Lawrence “Larry” Wilkerson, the former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell in the last Bush administration, said that he believed Snowden’s assertions that he leaked out of concern for the US breaking both domestic and international law.

“I think Snowden has done a service. I wouldn’t have had the courage, and maybe not even the intellectual capacity, to do it the way he did it,” he told Salon magazine.

“There’s a logic to what he has done that is impressive. He really has refrained from anything that was truly dangerous, with regard to our security – regardless of what people say.”

continue http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/03/25/snowden_more_helpful_than_dangerous_says_senior_bush_official/

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Biometrics not a magic infosec bullet for web banking, warns GCHQ bloke

Around the world, banks are implementing biometric authentication systems for their customers as fraud cases increase – but experts warn biometrics should not be treated like a silver bullet for ID woes.

Earlier this year, HSBC announced the launch of Voice ID for its customers in the UK, alongside fingerprint authentication, to offer a more secure service to its mobile banking customers by allowing them to authenticate themselves with their unique biological features.

Classically the three factors of authentication have been something an individual knows, something theyhave, and something they are. While biometrics have come to typify the latter category, they have not done so without concern.

Something you are, rather than something you know, is capable not merely of allowing individuals to voluntarily authenticate themselves, but also exposes them to the risk of being identified, potentially covertly and without their consent, for the purposes of surveillance.*

In the already highly-surveilled world of finance, however, there is little defence of anonymity, such as in cash transactions, due to the risk posed by theft and money laundering. The use of chip-and-pin cards to provide two-factor authentication (having the chip and knowing the pin) provides security in raising the bar for fraudulent access, and also in creating a record of expenditure.

continue http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/03/18/biometrics_not_answer_online_banking_security_gchq_cesg_allgrove/

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Baltimore Woman Sues Mayor for Violent Toilet Explosion

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Pic of the toilet and an estimate of damages.   (Twitter)

(Newser) – A Baltimore woman who says she was blown off of her toilet when it exploded in November 2014, causing her physical injuries and PTSD, as well as loads of physical damage to her home, is now suing the city’s mayor and City Council, as well as a couple of city contractors, for $75,000 each, or $225,000 in full, the Baltimore Sun reports. Angela Wright says in her February court filing that she was using the facilities when the system got backed up and exploded, knocking her off the toilet seat “with great force and violence” and leaving her covered in excrement and seriously wounded. “I was literally covered in feces. … Who wants that?” she told Fox45 shortly after the incident, with her lawyer adding, “She had to clean it up herself. Can you imagine doing that?”

continue http://www.newser.com/story/222167/baltimore-woman-sues-mayor-for-violent-toilet-explosion.html

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Depressing Survey Results Show How Extremely Stupid America Has Become

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Ten years ago, a major Hollywood film entitled “Idiocracy” was released, and it was an excellent metaphor for what would happen to America over the course of the next decade.  In the movie, an “average American” wakes up 500 years in the future only to discover that he is the most intelligent person by far in the “dumbed down” society that he suddenly finds himself in.  Sadly, I truly believe that if people of average intellect from the 1950s and 1960s were transported to 2016, they would likely be considered mental giants compared to the rest of us.  We have a country where criminals are being paid$1000 a month not to shoot people, and the highest paid public employee in more than half the states is a football coach.  Hardly anyone takes time to read a book anymore, and yet the average American spends 302 minutes a day watching television. 75 percent of our young adults cannot find Israel on a map of the Middle East, but they sure know how to find smut on the Internet.  It may be hard to believe, but there are more than 4 million adult websites on the Internet today, and they get more traffic than Netflix, Amazon and Twitter combined.

What in the world has happened to us?  How is it possible that we have become so stupid?  According to a brand new report that was recently released, almost 10 percent of our college graduates believe that Judge Judy is on the Supreme Court…

The American Council of Trustees and Alumni publishes occasional reports on what college students know.

Nearly 10 percent of the college graduates surveyed thought Judith Sheindlin, TV’s “Judge Judy,” is a member of the U.S. Supreme Court. Less than 20 percent of the college graduates knew the effect of the Emancipation Proclamation. More than a quarter of the college graduates did not know Franklin D. Roosevelt was president during World War II; one-third did not know he was the president who spearheaded the New Deal.

It can be tempting to laugh at numbers like these until you realize that survey after survey has come up with similar results.

continue http://tinyurl.com/h7sjyab

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