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Congress Sets Sights On Fixing Privacy Rights

first_imgTop Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Tags:#Aaron Swartz#Congress#FISA#PIPA#privacy#security#SOPA The Senate will be taking on much-needed digital rights legislation in the new 113th Congress, including requiring law enforcement to have warrants before poking around online communications.In a speech at Georgetown University Wednesday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt). stressed the need for defending civil liberties, protecting privacy, improving transparency and making a push to require a warrant before law enforcement has carte blanche to read people’s emails, social media messages and other modes of online communication.We’re Trusting These Guys?Congress has been questioned of late for implementing some eyebrow-raising initiatives that have thrown the Fourth Amendment under the bus and seemingly worked towards the opposite of Leahy’s plans (think FISA, the Video Privacy Protection Act, and half a dozen other problematic regulations).  But if Leahy has his way, this new Congress could create legislation to help both consumers and creators protect their data. Leahy, who voted against FISA and was the chief proponent of last year’s U.S. patent law reform, may be the right man to push these bills along.In his speech, Leahy expressed concern over the potential loss of privacy that comes with the expanding use of drones in civilian life. The Federal Aviation Administration predicts that by the end of the decade, 30,000 commercial and government drones could be flying over U.S. skies. With that outcome literally on the horizon, Leahy plans on making drones the subject of Congressional hearings, indicating that legislators need to focus to make sure that technology will not be used to erode peoples’ privacy.“I am concerned about the growing use of drones by Federal and local authorities to spy on Americans here at home,” he said Wednesday. “We make a tragic mistake thinking that merely giving up more and more of our privacy will make us safer. It will not. Security and liberty are both essential in a free society, and we cannot forsake one for the other.”Leahy also spoke about insuring transparency, specifically referring to press freedoms. The son of Vermont printers said he has “concerns about the press being shut down.” While he’s against the release of classified government documents (think WikiLeaks), he says he will work to “make sure that legislative efforts to prevent classified leaks does not infringe upon our fundamental freedoms, including freedom of the press.”It’s a pretty tricky balance Leahy is striking here, but this may be a way of saying he doesn’t support penalizing journalists who publish formerly privileged documents.Walling Off Our DataThe last, and perhaps most important, tenet of Leahy’s plan was a promise to update outdated cyber security laws, specifically the 27-year-old Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). Right now the ECPA gives police and government agencies the ability to read people’s emails and digital communications – without a warrant.Leahy, who turns 73 in March, has said the reason he’s stayed chairman of the Judiciary Committee is to reform ECPA. He says electronic documents should have the same legal protection as paper documents. It won’t be easy to fix this, but he’s making it a top priority.“It is going to be a fight,” he said in his speech. “But I think people are realizing they don’t have to give up their ability to use the Internet while at the same time guarding their freedom.”What The Speech Didn’t SayHowever, for all the good will towards modifying these laws, a few major items were missing from Leahy’s speech. Another potential change to the ECPA is currently on the table in the Senate, one which would require all text messages to be archived and available to law enforcement. This under-the-radar item is a proposal and yet to be brought to the Congressional floor. Let’s hope Leahy can muster enough support to put the kibosh on this proposed legislation.And let’s not forget the thousand pound elephant in the room: Very much missing from the speech was an update on whether Congress will push for new versions of SOPA and PIPA. Leahy himself seems to have one foot in the pool and one out when you look at his record. This is the Senator who wrote PIPA and COICA (Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act). Yet he was also behind a failed FISA amendment reform that would have shortened the law and decreased the enforcement period to three years — which would have been good. Based on this track record, either he erred and learned from these past mistakes…or we’re all buying what he’s selling. And it’s not worth it. Fingers crossed the truth is the former, not the latter. Today, Friday, is Internet Freedom Day. And as the the world celebrates the life of the too-soon-departed Aaron Swartz and the one year anniversary of the Internet blackout victory against SOPA and PIPA, big change looms. Let’s hope Leahy has our best interests at heart when it comes to protecting our privacy. Image courtesy of Shutterstock. adam popescucenter_img Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Related Posts last_img read more

McCain Pleads Case for Raising Defense Spending

first_img Dan Cohen AUTHOR The combination of stringent spending caps and growing worldwide challenges “have left each of our military services underfunded, undersized, and unready to meet current and future threats,” Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) stated in a “dear colleague” letter intended to build support this week for action to lift the statutory cap on defense spending.McCain sent the letter on Friday, one day after he telling a Brookings Institution audience he plans to offer an amendment on the Senate floor to the fiscal 2017 defense authorization bill to raise the spending cap by at least $17 billion.McCain’s plan for increasing Pentagon funding to restore shortfalls in readiness and capability contrasts with the approach House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) adopted in crafting his chamber’s version of the annual defense policy bill. The House measure calls for allocating $18 billion from the uncapped overseas contingency operations account (OCO) to base budget items not requested by the administration.If McCain’s amendment passes and is incorporated into the final version of the authorization bill, it would upend the two-year bipartisan budget agreement reached last year to lift the caps on both defense and non-defense spending.His letter details shortfalls each of the services is experiencing at the same time threats across the globe — including aggressive behavior by Russia and China, the emergence of the Islamic State and an escalation in cyberattacks on the United States — are breaking out.“These and other growing demands on our force have occurred with no commensurate increase in resources, so our military is being forced to raid funds that it needs now to restore readiness, maintain equipment and modernize its equipment,” McCain states.His letter lists a series of budget-driven cuts that would go ahead in the absence of additional funds for the Pentagon:downsizing the Navy, with no plan to reach a fleet of at least 323 ships;retiring the Navy’s 10th air wing;cancelling over 50 military construction projects; andunderfunding facilities sustainment, restoration and modernization, with the current budget funding only 74 percent of such requirements.Failure to raise the defense cap also would prevent the Senate from providing resources to rebuild the military’s readiness levels, freeze the drawdown of the Army and reverse the drawdown of the Marine Corps.“When the Senate takes up the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017, I am committed to seeking solutions to give our service members the resources, training, and the equipment they need and deserve,” McCain said.last_img read more

The Cure To Play Exclusive Sydney Shows In Celebration Of Disintegration 30th

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Tiny robot swarm able to play tunes on a virtual piano w

first_img Kilobots bring us one step closer to a robot swarm © 2012 Phys.org This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Citation: Tiny robot swarm able to play tunes on a virtual piano (w/ video) (2012, November 26) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-11-tiny-robot-swarm-tunes-virtual.html (Phys.org)—Researchers at Georgia Tech’s Georgia Robots and InTelligent Systems (GRITS) Laboratory have succeeded in programming a swarm of very tiny robots to figure out for themselves how to go about playing a tune on a virtual piano displayed on a flat plane. One of the robots is the leader, and knows the tune and where a robot needs to be to create the notes that make up the tune; that information is conveyed to the other robots that make up the swarm, and the result is the playing of the familiar classical tune, Beethoven’s “Fur Elise.” More information: gritslab.gatech.edu/home/2011/ … er-follower-control/ Explore further With swarming, individual members take actions based on the location and actions of those around them. With this new research, the objective was to cause individual members of the swarm to appear at a certain location on the virtual keyboard at a certain time to cause the playing of a note; necessary ingredients to create music. The catch though, was that only one of them, the designated leader, was “told” what those data points were beforehand. Thus, the leader had to convey to the other bots where they needed to be and when. The team added some other elements to the goal to increase the difficulty of the assignment, which should theoretically help in learning more about how to program swarms. They wanted the bots to use the fewest number of themselves possible to play a song together, based on the tempo of the song (and to use the shortest routes possible all while avoiding collisions). If a song is played slow enough, for example, it could be performed by one little robot racing across the virtual keyboard (or by a person using just one finger perhaps on a real piano). As the tempo picks up, it becomes impossible for one bot to get the next note in time for the song to play correctly, thus another bot is added, starting a swarm.What’s remarkable about the playing bots is that the leader doesn’t just tell every other bot where it’s supposed to be, instead, it conveys information to those nearest to it, which in turn convey information to those nearest them, and so on. In this way, each robot is able to work out for itself where it is supposed to be and when – which is how it’s supposed to be, because that’s how swarming works in the natural world. The robots, called Khepera bots by the team, are very small, just 5.5 centimeters across their thimble shaped bodies. Each has a host of sensors, including in their little hats and antenna and two wheels to allow for moving around. The whole idea is to create swarming behavior that mimics that seen in nature with birds, fish, etc.last_img read more