longacre writes in with the results of a report on voting machines that malfunctioned in NY during the 2010 mid-term elections. "Tests of a number of electronic voting machines that recorded shockingly high numbers of extra votes in the 2010 election show that overheating may have caused upwards of 30 percent of votes in some South Bronx voting precincts to go uncounted. WNYC first reported on the issue in December 2011, when it was found that tens of thousands of votes in the 2010 elections went uncounted because electronic voting machines counted more than one vote in a race. A review by the state Board of Election and the electronic voting machines’ manufacturer ES&S found that these 'over votes,' as they’re called, were due to a machine error. In the report issued by ES&S, when the machine used in the South Bronx overheated, ballots run during a test began coming back with errors."
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An anonymous reader writes "On the heels of a similar bill introduced last month. A group of Democrats today introduced legislation in both the House and Senate to prevent employers from forcing employers and job applicants into sharing information from their personal social networking accounts. In other words, Maryland may soon not be the only state that has banned employers demanding access to Facebook accounts. The Password Protection Act of 2012 (PPA) would also prevent employers from accessing information on any computer that isn't owned or controlled by an employee, including private e-mail accounts, photo sharing sites, and smartphones."
coondoggie writes "An innovative project, called Autonomous Dynamic Analysis of Metaphor and Analogy, or ADAMA, aims to build a software system that can automatically analyze metaphorical speech in five different languages by analyzing huge quantities of online data got off the ground this week when the U.S. Army Research Laboratory awarded a $1.4 million contract to the team conducting the research. The research is backed by the US Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), which develops high-risk, reward research projects for the government, and is intended to build a repository of speech metaphors from American/English Iranian Farsi, Mexican Spanish and Russian speakers. ADAMA could have immediate applications in forensics, intelligence analysis, business intelligence, sociological research and communication studies, researchers stated."
theodp writes "At Chicago's Billy Goat Tavern, construction workers found physical threats an effective way to discourage smart-ass Whitney Young High School students from playing annoying jukebox songs over and over again. But with Google's newly-patented technology for the Collaborative Rejection of Media for Physical Establishments, you no longer need to resort to violence to prevent Elton John Songs from being played on jukeboxes in bars. Its invention, boasts Google, 'enables customers of an establishment to collaboratively reject a media file that is currently playing and/or pending to be played within that establishment by entering data into a personal wireless portable computing device on their person, for example a cellular telephone.' But don't get your hopes up too high, kids. Much like Google's dual-tier stock plan, the patent calls for 'customer status levels including a premium status and a standard status,' so a premium customer will be able to veto attempts by lowly standard customers to kill his requests to play MC Hammer's 'Can't Touch This'. The patent comes from a quirky Outland Research IP portfolio acquired by Google; its inventor is Louis B. Rosenberg, a Stanford PhD and professional film maker."
AstroPhilosopher writes "Researchers at the Federation of American Scientists have discovered documentation (PDF) that allows the military to keep footage from drones for up to 90 days to determine whether further investigation is warranted. Besides using footage from natural disasters and monitoring of domestic military bases, all that's truly required is for an operator to 'accidentally' have the camera running while flying."
TheGift73 writes "By far the most controversial bill discussed in the Queen's speech today has to be the 'Draft Communications Bill' which '...will allow the police and intelligence agencies to collect data on communications, like texts and emails, flexible to changes in technology, such as the Internet. This will apply UK wide.' The Queen's Speech has set out the government's legislative plans for the next year." El Reg has the skinny on the CCDP related parts. From their article: "It's unclear if those 'strict safeguards' mean that a warrant, for example, would be needed before spooks could access such data. The rough proposal appeared to only fuzzily indicate that such protection for British citizens would be provided, however."
Trailrunner7 writes, quoting Threat Post: "Carrier IQ, a startup heavily bruised last fall by harsh criticism of its handset diagnostic software, today announced it's hired a high-profile lawyer as its Chief Privacy Officer. Magnolia Mansourkia Mobley, a CIPP and former Verizon executive, will be tasked with quickly broadening the company's focus on consumer privacy. She also was named the company's General Counsel. The company became the flashpoint in a heated controversy after initial reports its analytics software, embedded in some 150 mobile phones, was capable of gathering a great deal of personal data without the customer's consent."
Fluffeh writes "Although the DHS has spent around $90 million upgrading magnetometers to the new body scanners, federal investigators 'identified vulnerabilities in the screening process' at domestic airports using the new machines, according to a classified internal Department of Homeland Security report. Exactly how bad the body scanners are is not being divulged publicly, but the Inspector General's report (PDF) made eight separate recommendations on how to improve screening. To quiet privacy concerns, the authorities are also spending $7 million to 'remove the human factor from the image review process' and replace the passenger's image with an avatar."
Sparrowvsrevolution writes "In defense of user privacy, Twitter filed a motion (PDF) yesterday in a New York state court asking a judge to block a subpoena that would force the company to turn over the data of one of its users, Malcolm Harris. Harris was arrested in an Occupy Wall Street protest on the Brooklyn Bridge in October for 'disorderly conduct.' The company's lawyers claim that the subpoena violates the fourth amendment and Twitter's terms of service, which says that users' tweets belong to them and thus can't be handed over to law enforcement without their consent."
Fluffeh writes "Around nine months ago, BART Police asked to have wireless communications disabled (PDF) between Trans Bay Tube Portal and the Balboa Park Station. That was because they knew a public protest was to take place there — and the service to the underground communication system was disabled. This affected not only cellphone signals, but also the radio systems of Police, Fire and Ambulance crews (PDF) within the underground. This led to an even larger protest at a BART station and many folks filed complaints along with the American Civil Liberties Union and Electronic Frontier Foundation. The FCC responded by launching a probe into the incident. The results were a mixed bag of 'To protect citizens!' and 'Only in extreme cases,' not to mention the classic 'Terrorists use wireless communications!' But even if the probe doesn't lead to a full proceeding and formal order, the findings may well be used as a guide for many years to come."
OverTheGeicoE writes "Savannah Barry, a Colorado teenager, was returning home from a conference in Salt Lake City. She is a diabetic and wears an insulin pump to control her insulin levels 24/7. She carries documentation of her condition to assist screeners, who usually give her a pat-down search. This time the screeners listened to her story, read her doctor's letter, and forced her to go through a millimeter-wave body scanner anyway. The insulin pump stopped working correctly, and of course, she was subjected to an invasive manual search. 'My life is pretty much in their hands when I go through a body scan with my insulin pump on,' she says. She wants TSA screeners to have more training. Was this a predictable outcome, considering that no one outside TSA has access to millimeter-wave scanners for testing? Would oversight from the FDA or FCC prevent similar incidents from happening in the future?"
TheGift73 sends this excerpt from TorrentFreak: "Despite the widespread availability of pirated releases, The Avengers just scored a record-breaking $200 million opening weekend at the box office. While some are baffled to see that piracy failed to crush the movie's profits, it's really not that surprising. Claiming a camcorded copy of a movie seriously impacts box office attendance is the same as arguing that concert bootlegs stop people from seeing artists on stage. ... Of all the people who downloaded a pirate copy of the film about 20% came from the U.S. This means that roughly 100,000 Americans have downloaded a copy online through BitTorrent. Now, IF all these people bought a movie ticket instead then box office revenue would be just 0.5% higher. Not much of an impact, and even less when you consider that these 'pirates' do not all count as a lost sale."
jfruh writes "Adscend Media, which has been making up to $20M a year from so-called 'likejacking' spam on Facebook, has reached an agreement with the Attorney General of Washington to stop those activities and pay $100,000 in court costs. Among other nefarious techniques, Adscend would overlay Facebook 'like' buttons with provocative photos to spread links to ads from which Adscend would earn referral fees. Adscend also settled out of court with Facebook for an undisclosed amount."
New submitter dandv writes with a story from VentureBeat about another entry in the race to escape national jurisdiction by offshoring work — literally offshoring, that is : "Blueseed is a Silicon Valley company that plans on launching a cruise ship 30 minutes from the coast of California, housing startup entrepreneurs from around the world. These startuppers won't need to bother with U.S. visas, because the ship will be in international waters. They'll have to pay tax to whatever country they're incorporated in, though. So far, 146 startups said they'd like to come to the ship."