Archive for January 10, 2012

Indonesia issues tsunami warning following 7.6 quake off Sumatra

January 10, 2012 3 comments

JAKARTA (BNO NEWS) — A powerful 7.6-magnitude earthquake struck off the Indonesian island of Sumatra on early Wednesday morning, seismologists said, prompting a tsunami warning for local coastlines.

The earthquake at 12.37 a.m. local time (1837 GMT Tuesday) was centered about 423 kilometers (262 miles) southwest of Banda Aceh on Sumatra. It struck about 29.1 kilometers (18.1 miles) deep, making it a shallow earthquake, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG), the seismological agency of Indonesia, measured the strength of the earthquake at 7.6 on the Richter scale. The USGS put the magnitude at 7.3 on the regional moment magnitude (Mw) scale.

Although the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was Read more…

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Eyes on the Street: How Traffic Surveillance Invades Your Privacy

January 10, 2012 Comments off

traffic light shanghaiCredit: Dreamstime

Is it cutting-edge, or just downright creepy? Surveillance technology is increasingly being implemented in municipalities across the country. But while such gadgets aim to curtail crime and decrease traffic accidents, some people are wondering about the costs to both town budgets and privacy.

“Overall, we wonder if the costs will outweigh the benefits,” said Jay Stanley, a Washington, D.C.-based senior policy analyst at the American Civil Liberties Union’s Speech, Policy and Technology Project.

Such technology, which includes everything from neighborhood video cameras, red-light cameras and, most recently, parking-space sensors, is popping up faster than mushrooms in a shady forest.

“Over the last several years, traffic-centric surveillance applications Read more…

FTC seeks public comments on facial recognition

January 10, 2012 Comments off

The USA’s Federal Trade Commission is seeking public comments on facial recognition technology and the privacy and security implications raised by its increasing use.

A public workshop held in December – “Face Facts: A Forum on Facial Recognition Technology” – focused on the current and future commercial applications of facial detection and recognition technologies, and explored an array of current uses of these technologies, possible future uses and benefits, and potential privacy and security concerns. (The agenda for the workshop can be found here, and an archived webcast of the proceedings is viewable here).

The deadline for filing comments is 31 January 2012.

FTC says that facial detection and recognition technologies have been adopted in a variety of new contexts, ranging from online social networks to Read more…

IAEA Confirms Iran Has Started 20% Uranium Enrichment

January 10, 2012 Comments off

ranian technicians at the Uranium Conversion Facilities in Isfahan. (File photo)

The geopolitical foreplay is getting ridiculous. At this point it is quite obvious that virtually everyone involved in the US-Israel-Iran hate triangle is just itching for someone else to pull the trigger. And the latest report out of the IAEA will only precipitate this. Who – remember the IAEA? The same IAEA which did not find nukes in Iraq in 2003 only to be overriden by Dick “WMD” Cheney to “justify” an invasion. As RIA reports:  “The International Atomic Energy Agency officially confirmed that Iran has started enriching uranium to the 20-percent level, which can easily be turned into fissile warhead material. “The IAEA can confirm that Iran has started the production of uranium enriched up to 20 percent using IR-1 centrifuges in the Fordo Fuel Enrichment Plant,” the agency said in a statement. However, IAEA Spokeswoman Gill Tudor said that all nuclear materials and operations in the Fordo facility are “under the Agency’s containment and surveillance.”” Naturally, that leaves the Read more…

America’s Space Weakness

January 10, 2012 Comments off

On August 15, 2010, the U.S. Air Force almost lost a $2-billion communications satellite. A team of military and contract space operators eventually saved the Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite, built by Lockheed Martin. But the rescue, admittedly an impressive technological feat, is also a window into the greatest weaknesses of the world’s leading space power, according to one space insider.

The seven-ton “AEHF-1,” part of a planned six-satellite constellation meant to support radio communication between far-flung U.S. military units, had been in orbit just one day when the problems began. The satellite started out in a highly-elliptical, temporary orbit. The plan was to use the spacecraft’s on-board engine to boost it to a permanent, geo-stationary orbit. But when the Air Force space operators at Los Angeles Air Force Base activated the engine, nothing happened. The Government Accountability Office would later blame Read more…

US customs can and will seize laptops and cellphones, demand passwords

January 10, 2012 1 comment


CustomsThe American Civil Liberties Union has brought a suit against the US government over its seizure of the laptop of a computer security consultant – a seizure carried out at a Chicago airport about a year ago without a search warrant or any charges of crimes.

According to a report in Sunday’s Boston Globe, the consultant – a former MIT researcher, David House – was returning from rest and relaxation in Mexico when federal agents seized his laptop.

According to the Globe, the government wanted to know more about House’s connections to Bradley Manning, the US Army private accused of leaking classified information to WikiLeaks.

The seizure comes as no surprise. As Globe writer Katie Johnston notes, United States ports of entry are dubbed “Constitution-free zones” by civil liberties advocates.

Barring invasive techniques such as strip seizures, government agents are free to Read more…

China planning military base in Pakistan, Indian report says

January 10, 2012 Comments off

China is planning a military base in Pakistan, India Today reported, citing “a secret report prepared by the government’s joint intelligence committee.”

According to the report:

China is keen to build military bases in FATA, or the Northern areas, while Pakistan wants to counterbalance Indian naval forces by having a naval base in Gwadar. But it does not spell out the exact location of these bases.

At a time when Pakistan-US relations are strained — chiefly over drone missile attacks in Pakistan’s tribal areas and the covert Navy SEAL operation attack that took out Osama bin Laden on Pakistani soil — China has made no secret of its interest in strengthening its own ties with the nuclear-armed nation.

Last Thursday, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao hosted Pakistani Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani in Beijing and vowed to Read more…