A plan to divide California into 6 states…

sixStatesSilicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper has a big idea. Well, he’s got six of them: Draper thinks California, the nation’s most populous state, is too big to govern effectively. So he’s pushing a ballot initiative that would split the Golden State into six new states.

“Vast parts of our state are poorly served by a representative government,” according to Draper’s plan, which cleared a key government hurdle this week, part of the process to qualify for the ballot. California residents “would be better served by six smaller state governments.”

In a recent interview, Draper said he has seen a state once regarded as a model slide into decline — many public schools are troubled, transportation, water and other infrastructure systems are over matched and outdated, spending on prisons has soared.  A group of states could change that, he said, competing and cooperating with each other.  No one would dispute that California, home to 38 million people, is full of rivalries and squabbling. Dodgers or Giants. Tacos or sushi. Where water goes, and how much of it.  But the state has proven reliably resilient against attempts to split it apart, dating to the era of its founding in 1850. Over the years, proposals have suggested California should be two states, or three, or four.

Even if it were to be approved by voters, Congress would have to endorse the idea of creating six new states — and adding 10 senators to the chamber’s political mix (as with all states, California currently has two). Congress, under the U.S. Constitution, must approve the creation or division of any states.

Draper, in documents he submitted to the Secretary of State’s Office, recommends dividing California regionally, including establishing a state called Silicon Valley, which would include San Francisco and nearby counties that are home to technology giants like Facebook and Apple.  Los Angeles would become part of the new state of West California, which also would include the coastal cities of Santa Barbara and Ventura. The state’s farming heartland would become Central California. San Diego would be the largest city in the new South California.

Your thoughts?

SOURCE – washingtonpost.com

ALTERNATE OPINION – Huffingtonpost.com

UPDATE –Venture capitalist’s plan to divide California into six states makes 2016 ballot

UPDATE – 6 Californias initiative fails to make 2016 ballot

Squeaky Dolphin?

squeakydolphin-640x456Documents obtained by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden show that NSA analysts monitored content on The Pirate Bay and used the agency’s surveillance systems to track where it came from. The documents also show that the NSA’s British partners at the GCHQ used XKeyscore data as part of a surveillance program on sites that included WikiLeaks. That was part of a broader psychological profiling and targeting program to collect intelligence, influence individuals online, and disrupt groups like Anonymous that were considered threats.  The new documents show that the GCHQ conducted “broad real-time monitoring of social media activities, processing data on activities like watching YouTube videos and Facebook Likes to profile, categorize, and target individuals for psychological operations.” The NSA documents in the latest disclosure refer to monitoring for content that could be considered “malicious foreign activity.” But it’s clear that the NSA also used its XKeyscore surveillance to dig through traffic to the torrent-sharing site, and it could very well have profiled foreign users of sites like WikiLeaks and monitored their access to that and other websites.

However, the documents—one an internal NSA “frequently asked questions” Wiki page and the other a set of GCHQ slides on psychological operations—do not provide a picture of how much information about people accessing WikiLeaks was shared between the GCHQ and the NSA. And while the documents point to NSA monitoring of Pirate Bay, there’s no suggestion of how the information gathered was used or if it was used at all.  A third, unpublished document shows that the Obama administration apparently encouraged foreign governments in 2010 (including the UK) to pursue charges against WikiLeaks for the publication of diplomatic “wires” provided by Chelsea Manning, formerly known as Bradley Manning.

The GCHQ slide deck, published in 2012, highlights two tools used to conduct social networking, Web monitoring, and profiling. The first, called “Squeaky Dolphin,” pulls online activities within Web traffic caught by the agency’s monitoring systems. The monitoring systems are called “Airwolf” in the slides, which may be a UK codeword for the GCHQ’s equivalent of XKeyscore. That data includes webmail, blogs visited, YouTube views, Facebook “likes” clicked on websites themselves, and other data culled from individual users’ captured activity.

It runs those activities, captured in real-time, through IBM’s InfoSphere Streams processing software to create analytical feeds. Those feeds are then piped into a Splunk database and surfaced through a “dashboard” view that allows analysts to find trends in sentiment. As an example, the slides showed activity related to cricket matches in London and the surge in Facebook likes for Conservative member of Parliament Liam Fox. It can also be used to spot trends in traffic that might indicate upcoming events such as protests or other civil unrest.

While Squeaky Dolphin tends to look at things with a wider view, “AnticrisisGirl” is a bit more targeted. It can be used to passively monitor specific websites—including traffic to WikiLeaks, as the slides demonstrate. The tool can be tuned to a specific set of Internet user signatures or keywords, and it provides analytics of their behavior in real time, capturing search terms or direct Web addresses used to get to the sites in question.

SOURCE – arstechnica.com

Hollywood producer wants to take your guns…

Harvey_WeinsteinRemember “Bowling for Columbine”?  The anti-gun documentary that attempted to politicize the tragic school shooting at Columbine, Colorado, was wildly successful, both critically and commercially, and even won its writer/director, Michael Moore, an Oscar.

But while the film may have been entertaining, and may have even got some folks thinking about gun violence, it did little to move the needle on its presumptive goal: curbing gun ownership and weakening the National Rifle Association.  That’s because gun owners and the powerful lobby that represents them don’t care what Hollywood thinks of them, a lesson producer Harvey Weinstein will learn soon.

Weinstein “reluctantly” told Howard Stern that he’s planning a movie that will make the NRA “wish they weren’t alive.” in an exclusive interview pre-taped with Piers Morgan, he says that none other than Meryl Streep will star as an anti-gun senator (Feinstein?)

For so many reasons, Weinstein deserves a good, hard reality check:

  1. Obvious and almost comical hypocrisy. Weinstein’s profited immensely from portraying graphic gun violence in films such as “Kill Bill” and “Pulp Fiction.”  His sudden attack of social conscience is astounding and curiously timed. In the same Morgan interview, he says he’ll stop making movies that glamorize guns. But according to Internet Movie Database, “Kill Bill Vol. 3” and “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” are in the works. Maybe he means starting … now.
  2. Overtly ideological films — think “Rendition” and “Lions for Lambs” — bomb at the box office. Theatergoers don’t want to be lectured by Hollywood for two hours on what they think is wrong with the country.  If we’re to assume Weinstein is motivated by a deep concern about gun violence (and not sheer arrogance), then it’s also worth pointing out that he’s got the wrong target. The NRA represents law-abiding gun owners, not criminals. A gangbanger in Chicago doesn’t care about the NRA, isn’t motivated or supported by the NRA, and may not even know what the NRA is. In vowing to take down this powerful organization supported by millions of law-abiding citizens, Weinstein will simply end up empowering and emboldening it.
  3. The effort most certainly won’t rid the country of guns (a goal he’s admitted to having, unless there’s another Holocaust in which case he very much wants a gun, or something.)

The National Shooting Sports Foundation, a trade association for the U.S. firearms industry, calculates that from 2002, the year “Bowling for Columbine” came out, to 2011, there’s been a 54.1% rise in the number of federal background checks, one way of measuring an increase in gun sales. And remember, that movie was actually successful.  This proves the nation’s gun owners not only don’t care about Hollywood’s dictates but Washington’s either, in the year since the tragic Newtown, Connecticut, shooting — and despite significant efforts from the Obama administration and other Democrats to push increased gun control, gun sales are up 8%.   Just another scumbag producer thinks he can impose his will on the American people.  Idiot.

SOURCE – CNN.com

Call Yourself A Hacker, Lose Your 4th Amendment Rights…

The US District Court for the State of Idaho ruled that an ICS product developer’s computer could be seized without him/she being notified or even heard from in court primarily because he/she states on his/her web site “we like hacking things and don’t want to stop”.

A little background…

Battelle Energy Alliance LLC is the management and operating contractor for Idaho National Laboratory (INL), and they have brought suit against ex-INL employee Corey Thuen and his company Southfork Security.   It began with the US Department of Energy funding an effort for INL to develop “a computer program aimed at protecting the United States’ critical energy infrastructure (oil, gas, chemical and electrical companies) from cyber attacks.” Corey Thuen was one of the developers of this software program that was later called Sophia.  Sophia identifies new communication patterns on ICS networks.

Battelle wants to license this technology, NexDefense was selected to negotiate for a license, and the suit states that Corey was pushing for it to be open source. Eventually Corey left INL, created Southfork Security, and wrote a similar “situational awareness” program called Visdom.  In simple terms, the suit alleges that Corey stole the code and violated agreements with INL.

But all this is not the important part…

The disturbing part of the ruling is that Battelle asked for and got a restraining order without first notifying Corey/Southfork Security primarily because the Southfork web site said “We like hacking things and we don’t want to stop”. They requested and got an order to knock on his door and seize his computer because he claims to like hacking things on the Southfork web site. From the court decision:

“…The Court finds it significant that defendants are self-described hackers, who say, “We like hacking things and we don’t want to stop”…

“…The Court has struggled over the issue of allowing the copying of the hard drive. This is a serious invasion of privacy and is certainly not a standard remedy, as the discussion of the case law above demonstrates. The tipping point for the Court comes from evidence that the defendants – in their own words – are hackers. By labeling themselves this way, they have essentially announced that they have the necessary computer skills and intent to simultaneously release the code publicly and conceal their role in that act. (underline added) And concealment likely involves the destruction of evidence on the hard drive of Thuen’s computer. For these reasons, the Court finds this is one of the very rare cases that justifies seizure and copying of the hard drive…”

This is bull$hit.  All of a sudden capability = intent?  I guess its really true – “Stupid is as Stupid does…”

Another factor in issuing the restraining order without notice was:

“…Battelle must show that the defendants have “a history of disposing of evidence or violating court orders or that persons similar to the adverse party have such a history.” Id. (citing In the Matter of Vuitton et Fils S.A., 606 F.2d 1, 5 (2d Cir. 1979))…”

“…Battelle asserts generally that defendants who have the technical ability to wipe out a hard drive will do precisely that when faced with allegations of wrongdoing…”

I think the Judge, Battelle and their lawyers either have forgotten or never knew what the term “hacker’ means.  In other words, they have been afflicted with “Hacker Madness.”  They obviously have been watching too many movies.  From a hardware perspective a hacker is someone who innovates, customizes or combines electronic or computer equipment.  From the software side, a hacker may be thought of as one who combines excellence, cleverness or exploration in the job they do.  Basically a person who makes things “smaller, better, faster”.  Any idiot can wipe a hard drive.

SOURCE – digitalbond.com

Anonymous members Charged for DDoS attacks

anonymousThe U.S. has brought criminal charges against 13 persons, said to be members of the hacker group Anonymous, for their alleged participation in cyberattacks as part of a campaign called Operation Payback.  The defendants and other members of Anonymous allegedly launched or attempted to launch cyberattacks against government entities, trade associations, individuals, law firms and financial institutions, according to a federal grand jury indictment released Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria division.  The method of attack was DDoS (distributed denial of service) which floods web sites with spurious Internet traffic so that they become unavailable, and the weapon of choice was the freely-available and downloadable network stress testing program known as the Low Orbit Ion Cannon or LOIC, according to the indictment.  The 13 persons have been charged with one count of “conspiracy to intentionally cause damage to a protected computer” from about Sept. 16, 2010 to at least Jan. 2, 2011. All are from the U.S. and in their 20s with the exception of Geoffrey Kenneth Commander, a 65-year-old man from Hancock, New Hampshire, and Dennis Owen Collins, a man from Toledo, Ohio born in 1960.  Members of Anonymous launched Operation Payback on about September 2010 to retaliate against the discontinuation of The Pirate Bay, a controversial file-sharing website in Sweden, according to the indictment.

13 go down, 100’s rise up…

SOURCE – PC World

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