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Transponders: Save money on every trip by using a transponder! A transponder is a small electronic device that you attach to the interior of the windshield behind the rear-view mirror. Installation is easy, requires no tools and can be done in less than two minutes.
If you travel 407 ETR more than six times a year, a transponder will save you money by avoiding video toll charges. A video toll charge is added to every trip that is processed by our licence plate recognition system. (407 ETR)
The Canada-U.S. Smart Border Declaration: BUILDING A SMART BORDER FOR THE 21st CENTURY ON THE FOUNDATION OF A NORTH AMERICAN ZONE OF CONFIDENCE The terrorist actions of September 11 were an attack on our common commitment to democracy, the rule of law and a free and open economy. They highlighted a threat to our public and economic security. They require our governments to develop new approaches to meet these challenges. This declaration commits our governments to work together to address these threats to our people, our institutions and our prosperity.
Public security and economic security are mutually reinforcing. By working together to develop a zone of confidence against terrorist activity, we create a unique opportunity to build a smart border for the 21st century; a border that securely facilitates the free flow of people and commerce; a border that reflects the largest trading relationship in the world.
Our countries have a long history of cooperative border management. This tradition facilitated both countries' immediate responses to the attacks of September 11. It is the foundation on which we continue to base our cooperation, recognizing that our current and future prosperity and security depend on a border that operates efficiently and effectively under all circumstances. (Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada)
Canada implements no-fly list: List blasted by experts, government remains steadfast The Canadian federal government implemented a new federal “no-fly” list yesterday which, like its U.S. counterpart, has been opposed by transportation experts and even the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (on multiple occasions). The list dates back to the Canada-U.S. Smart Border Declaration, signed by then-Foreign Affairs Minister of Canada John Manley and then-Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge in December 2001. The document calls for action on several initiatives, including “indentify[ing] security threats before they arrive in North America through collaborative approaches to reviewing crew and passenger manifests.”
From there, the initiative was inserted in a piece of legislation which eventually became the Public Safety Act of 2002, an act which took 2 arduous years of debate and amendment to get passed, receiving royal assent in May 2004. The act explicitly “authorizes the Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the Director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), and the persons they designate, to require certain passenger information (set out in the proposed schedule to the Act) from air carriers and operators of aviation reservation systems, to be used and disclosed for transportation security purposes; national security investigations relating to terrorism; situations of immediate threat to the life or safety of a person; the enforcement of arrest warrants for offences punishable by five years or more of imprisonment and that are specified in the regulations; and arrest warrants under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and the Extradition Act.” (Corbett Report)
Building Manager: DC Madam's Death Not Suicide The building manager of a Central Florida condo said he spent time talking to Deborah Jean Palfrey on Monday as she packed to go to her mother's house and she did not seem suicidal.
Deborah Jean Palfrey has many ties to Central Florida. For the past 12 years she's owned a condo at Park Lake Towers in Orlando.
The building manager, who did not want to show his face, talked with Palfrey Monday before she left for her mother's in Tarpon Springs. He strongly believes Palfrey's death was not a suicide.
"Jean Palfrey was a class act. She wore very good clothes. She was well educated. Her way out of this world certainly would not have been in an aluminum shed attached to a mobile home in Tarpon Springs, Florida," he said. (NBC)
DC Madam Predicted She Would Be Suicided "Rape, beating, maiming, disfigurement and more than likely murder disguised in the form of just another jailhouse accident or suicide would await me," Palfrey wrote - Time Magazine curiously quick to re-affirm suicide story (Prison Planet)
D.C. Madam: Suicide Before Prison Deborah Jeane Palfrey, known as the "D.C. Madam," once implied that suicide was cowardice but, in the end, she seems to have chosen that same path herself. "She wasn't going to jail, she told me that very clearly. She told me she would commit suicide," author Dan Moldea told TIME soon after news broke of her body being found in Tarpon Springs, Florida, an apparent suicide. Palfrey's body, along with a handwritten suicide note, was discovered by police in a storage area attached to her mother's mobile home. Palfrey contacted Moldea last year to provide her help writing a book. "She had done time once before [for prostitution]," Moldea recalls. "And it damn near killed her. She said there was enormous stress — it made her sick, she couldn't take it, and she wasn't going to let that happen to her again." Palfrey had been free pending her scheduled July 24 sentencing on a series of racketeering and money laundering charges as part of running a prostitution ring that had as clients many prominent Washingtonians, including Senator David Vitter of Lousiana. She faced as many as 55 years behind bars (though sentencing guidelines could well have limited her prison time to a maximum of 71 months.)
When a former employee of Palfrey's, Brandy Britton, hanged herself before going to trial, Palfrey told the press, "I guess I'm made of something that Brandy Britton wasn't made of."
Palfrey's trial, which concluded in mid-April with a conviction, is one of very few such cases prosecuted in the federal courts. Most prostitution violations are dealt with at the state or municipal level, and attract little publicity. In the Palfrey case, prosecutors obliged a string of obviously embarrassed clients and employees of the escort service to appear on the witness stand and testify under oath. Nearly all testified that they had engaged in sexual acts in exchange for money, a version of events that contradicted Palfrey's claims that she had been running a high-end sexual fantasy service — and that any actual sexual activity was against the rules, and clearly stated when employees were hired. (Time Magazine)
Trial Nearing, Alleged Call Girl Found Dead: Howard Police Probe Apparent Suicide of Former 'Top-Notch' UMBC Professor She was a former college professor who had lost almost everything -- her stellar academic reputation, her financial well-being and her anonymity in the swanky suburban neighborhood where she was accused of working as a high-priced prostitute.
With Brandy Britton's trial planned to start next week, the former University of Maryland Baltimore County professor apparently took her own life over the weekend, hanging herself in her living room, Howard County police say. A family member found the body Saturday afternoon. Police say they do not suspect foul play.
It was a grievous end to a life that friends and colleagues say was once filled with remarkable promise and ambition.
Britton, 43, was the first in her family to go to college, double-majoring in biology and sociology. Her first sociology professor, Sheila Cordray, told The Washington Post last year that Britton was "one of the brightest students I've ever had."
The woman whose looks matched her intelligence may still have possessed the long, blond hair, the glossy pink lips and the glamorous figure of her youth. And she may have still projected the warm, friendly demeanor of a small-town girl from Oregon. (Washington Post)
Network refuses to name clients of 'DC madam' There was an almost audible sigh of relief in parts of America's capital this weekend after a TV network said it would not reveal the identities of scores of clients of the alleged "DC madam" because they were not well enough known to be "newsworthy".
ABC News said that, having ploughed through 46lbs of phone records, it had discovered that among the clients of Deborah Palfrey's alleged prostitution ring were senior business executives, Nasa officials and at least five military officers. And among the women working for Ms Palfrey - who ran the network in Washington DC from her home in California - were an instructor at the US Naval Academy and a legal secretary at a prominent law firm
. The secretary was suspended after telling her bosses she worked for Ms Palfrey "for spa money".
Ms Palfrey, 51, faces federal charges of racketeering and money-laundering associated with prostitution. She claims she offered only "fantasy sex" and she was not breaking the law. (The Independent)
Feds Seek To Gag D.C. Madam: Prosecutors fear leak of sensitive client, escort information Federal prosecutors want to gag an indicted former Washington, D.C. madam who has recently threatened to go public with details about her former customers. In a motion filed Monday in U.S. District Court, investigators are seeking a protective order covering discovery material to be provided to Deborah Palfrey and her lawyers. Palfrey, 50, was indicted last week on racketeering and money laundering charges stemming from her operation of the Pamela Martin & Associates escort service, which closed last summer after 13 years in business. In their motion, a copy of which you'll find below, government lawyers claim that some discovery documents contain 'personal information' about Palfrey's former johns and prostitutes that is 'sensitive.' (The Smoking Gun)
New D.C. Sex Scandal Looming? Feds target escort service in money launder, prostitution probe With the capital already mired in its latest sex scandal, federal agents last week raided the home of a woman they allege has, for the past 13 years, operated a Washington, D.C. escort service that dispatched college-educated prostitutes to the homes and hotel rooms of well-heeled clients. A two-year probe by Internal Revenue Service and Unites States Postal Inspection Service agents has targeted the Pamela Martin & Associates escort service and its owner, Deborah Jeane Palfrey. In coordinated actions last week, agents searched the 50-year-old Palfrey's northern California home and froze nearly $500,000 in assorted bank and stock trading accounts. A copy of the seizure affidavit, sworn out by IRS Agent Troy Burrus and filed in U.S. District Court, can be found below. According to investigators, Palfrey charged clients about $300 per session and split the take with her stable of prostitutes, who were encouraged to 'work at least three nights a week.' Palfrey, who started Pamela Martin & Associates in 1993, was previously convicted of running a California prostitution business and served 18 months in prison (Palfrey is pictured in the above mug shot). In a TSG interview Monday, Palfrey admitted operating an escort firm, but claimed that her workers did not engage in 'illegal sexual activities.' There are 'a lot of erotic activities that one can do without participating in things that are illegal,' she claimed. (The Smoking Gun)
The Delusional Miss Palfrey: D.C. Madam once promised judge she'd never re-enter pimping business After pleading guilty to pimping out women, Deborah Palfrey, the so-called D.C. Madam, once promised a California judge that she would never re-enter the escort business, and claimed that she did not deserve a prison sentence because she was a caring mother hen to her hookers, lived by the 'Golden Rule,' and had already 'suffered enough.' Following an early-90s felony conviction, the veteran pimp, now 51, filed a lengthy sentencing memorandum in San Diego Superior Court (a copy of the document can be found below). The memo provides an instructive glimpse into Palfrey's personal life and professional m.o.. It also leaves the reader with the impression that she is rather delusional and has a remarkably high opinion of herself. As she sought a sentence of probation, Palfrey explained that greed did not drive her to open an escort service. (The Smoking Gun)
'I Abhor Injustice,' Alleged Madam Says "Miz Julia" doled out a steady stream of advice, both practical and philosophical.
From her California home, she e-mailed tips to the 132 women who worked across the Washington area for the firm Pamela Martin & Associates. Her newsletters, now excerpted in court records, were a virtual how-to manual for avoiding all kinds of trouble in a business said to specialize in erotic fantasies.
"One never quite knows where evil, i.e., the vice squad is lurking in this business," read one arch entry from 1995. "The misogynists get a real kick out of surprising (shocking) you girls, when you give them the opportunity!!! . . . Therefore, you are to lock, double lock, triple lock all doors!!! . . . Figure it out, before they 'get cha'!!!"
Miz Julia was the pseudonym for Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the woman at the center of a sex scandal that has caused a deputy secretary of state to resign and has lawyers calling around town trying to keep their clients' names out of public view. A one-time law student, Palfrey ran for 13 years what she insists was a legal escort service. Federal prosecutors allege she was providing $300-an-hour prostitutes, and a grand jury indicted her in February on federal racketeering charges. (Washington Post)
WHY THE INQUIRY INTO AIR INDIA MUST CLARIFY THE ROLE OF CSIS INFORMER SURJAN SINGH GILL Alexandre Popovic
Open letter to the federal minister of public safety regarding the necessity to examine the role of a CSIS informer in the bombing against the Air India Flight 182 in which 329 peoples died more than twenty years ago.
Rest of the text:
To the Honorable Stockwell Day,
Minister of Public Safety
House of Commons
- Subject: public inquiry on Air India
Attention Mr. Minister :
Your party decided to honor the electoral promise engagement of holding a public inquiry into the Air India case. Your colleague, Justice Minister Vic Toews, gave you the task of fixing the framework and timeline of the public inquiry into this dramatic event that is now nearly twenty-one years old.
Despite the un-precedent scope of this tragedy, I can unfortunately testify, to the fact that today in Montreal, many fellow citizens are still very much unaware of this horrible event. People seem to have forgotten that the Air India Flight 182 took off from the Mirabel airport (in the Montreal area) before exploding over the Atlantic Ocean off the shores of Ireland. There were 329 people on board. This includes 84 children younger than twelve years old. No one survived. All of this took place on June 23, 1985.
In Depth: Air India; Evidence Part 1: Plotted in plain sight? - In 1987, Canada's solicitor-general James Kelleher declared: "I should point out to the House that there was no indication that there was a specific threat to Flight 182."
Sixteen years later, then federal solicitor-general Wayne Easter repeated the assertion: "They were not in a position to know that there would be a terrorist attack on an Air India aircraft."
Were they right? Was there really no warning — or was the Air India bombing plotted in plain sight?
In 1982, Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi complained to prime minister Pierre Trudeau that Sikh extremists in Canada were financing and organizing terrorist attacks against Indian targets.
Three years later, on June 22, 1985, two bombs placed by Sikh militants in Vancouver killed 331 people. Air India Flight 182 blew up as it approached the coast of Ireland, killing 329 people. Two baggage handlers died earlier during a blast at a Tokyo airport.
Ever since, successive Canadian governments have insisted that Canada's security agencies could not have prevented the bombing because there was no warning. (CBC)
Harper launches Air India inquiry The Conservative government has launched a full public inquiry into the investigation of the Air India bombing, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Monday.
Harper said his government decided on the terms of reference for the inquiry after retired Supreme Court Judge John Major, who will lead the probe, consulted with family members of some of the victims.
Harper said the "thorough and compassionate investigation" cannot find fault or repeat the criminal trials that have already taken place. (CBC)
Canadians Assess Blame in Air India Bombing Adults in Canada say two entities should be held responsible for the country's deadliest terrorist attack, according to a poll by Angus Reid Strategies. 34 per cent of respondents think both the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and airport security personnel deserve a great deal of the blame for the 1985 Air India bombing. (Angus Reid Strategies)
Air India chronology: A chronology of the Air India case. 1978 to May 1984 - Sikh leaders in India and abroad start talking about separatism. They are led in England by Dr. Jagjit Singh Chouhan and in Punjab by the charismatic Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, who begins to amass arms and supporters in the Golden Temple complex, Sikhism's holiest shrine, in Amritsar.
1978 - In Vancouver, suspected Air India mastermind Talwinder Singh Parmar starts the militant separatist group Babbar Khalsa at the urging of Bhai Jiwan Singh, a leader of the fervently religious Akhand Kirtani Jatha.
June 29, 1983 - Parmar is arrested in Germany on an Interpol warrant saying he is wanted for murder in India in 1981. With assistance from two friends in Canada, Ripudaman Singh Malik and Surjan Singh Gill, he wins his release in July 1984. (Canada.com)
Air India Flight 182 was an Air India flight operating on the Montréal-London-Delhi route. On 23 June 1985, the airplane operating on the route — a Boeing 747-237B (c/n 21473/330, reg VT-EFO) named after Emperor Kanishka — was blown up by a bomb while in Irish airspace, at an altitude of 31,000 feet (9,400 m), and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean. 329 people perished, including 280 Canadian citizens, mostly of Indian birth or descent, and 22 Indians. The incident was the largest mass murder in modern Canadian history. The explosion and downing of the carrier occurred within an hour of the related Narita Airport Bombing.
Investigation and prosecution took almost 20 years and was the most expensive trial in Canadian history, costing nearly CAD $130 million. The main suspects in the bombing were the members of the Sikh separatist Babbar Khalsa and other related groups. Inderjit Singh Reyat was the only person convicted of involvement in the bombing, after pleading guilty in 2003 to manslaughter. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison for building the bombs that exploded at Narita airport and Flight 182.
The Governor General-in-Council in 2006 appointed former Supreme Court justice John Major to conduct a commission of inquiry and his report was completed and released on 17 June 2010. It was found that a "cascading series of errors" by the Government of Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service had allowed the terrorist attack to take place. (Wikipedia)
IPCC Official: "Climate Policy Is Redistributing The World's Wealth" Climate policy has almost nothing to do anymore with environmental protection, says the German economist and IPCC official Ottmar Edenhofer. The next world climate summit in Cancun is actually an economy summit during which the distribution of the world's resources will be negotiated. - Interview: Bernard Potter
NZZ am Sonntag: Mr. Edenhofer, everybody concerned with climate protection demands emissions reductions. You now speak of "dangerous emissions reduction." What do you mean?
Ottmar Edenhofer: So far economic growth has gone hand in hand with the growth of greenhouse gas emissions. One percent growth means one percent more emissions. The historic memory of mankind remembers: In order to get rich one has to burn coal, oil or gas. And therefore, the emerging economies fear CO2 emission limits.
But everybody should take part in climate protection, otherwise it does not work.
That is so easy to say. But particularly the industrialized countries have a system that relies almost exclusively on fossil fuels. There is no historical precedent and no region in the world that has decoupled its economic growth from emissions. Thus, you cannot expect that India or China will regard CO2 emissions reduction as a great idea. And it gets worse: We are in the midst of a renaissance of coal, because oil and gas (sic) have become more expensive, but coal has not. The emerging markets are building their cities and power plants for the next 70 years, as if there would be permanently no high CO 2 price.
The new thing about your proposal for a Global Deal is the stress on the importance of development policy for climate policy. Until now, many think of aid when they hear development policies.
That will change immediately if global emission rights are distributed. If this happens, on a per capita basis, then Africa will be the big winner, and huge amounts of money will flow there. This will have enormous implications for development policy. And it will raise the question if these countries can deal responsibly with so much money at all.
That does not sound anymore like the climate policy that we know.
Ottmar Edenhofer was appointed as joint chair of Working Group 3 at the Twenty-Ninth Session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in Geneva, Switzerland. The deputy director and chief economist of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and Professor of the Economics of Climate Change at the Berlin Institute of Technology will be co-chairing the Working Group “Mitigation of Climate Change” with Ramón Pichs Madruga from Cuba and Youba Sokona from Mali. (Global Warming Policy Foundation)
Chomsky Warns of Risk of Fascism in America Noam Chomsky, the leading leftwing intellectual, warned last week that fascism may be coming to the United States.
“I’m just old enough to have heard a number of Hitler’s speeches on the radio,” he said, “and I have a memory of the texture and the tone of the cheering mobs, and I have the dread sense of the dark clouds of fascism gathering” here at home.
Chomsky was speaking to more than 1,000 people at the Orpheum Theatre in Madison, Wisconsin, where he received the University of Wisconsin’s A.E. Havens Center’s award for lifetime contribution to critical scholarship. (The Progressive)
My TSA Encounter: "You don’t need to see his identification." On November 21, 2010, I was allowed to enter the U.S. through an airport security checkpoint without being x-rayed or touched by a TSA officer. This post explains how.
Edit: For the sake of brevity, most of the quotes below are paraphrases. I have uploaded the actual audio and it is available here.
This past Sunday, I was returning from a trip to Europe. I flew from Paris to Cincinnati, landing in Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.
As I got off my flight, I did all of the things that are normally requested from U.S. citizens returning from abroad. I filled out the customs declarations, confirmed that I hadn’t set foot on any farmland, and answered questions about the chocolates that I had purchased in Switzerland. While I don’t believe that these questions are necessary, I don’t mind answering them if it means some added security. They aren’t particularly intrusive. My passport was stamped, and I moved through customs a happy citizen returning home. (No Blasters!)
Report: U.S. extremist groups grew in 2009 The number of extremist, anti-government groups in the United States grew in 2009, the Southern Poverty Law Center said in a report issued Tuesday.
The report -- "Rage on the Right," published in the organization's quarterly Intelligence Report -- concluded groups "steeped in wild, anti-government conspiracy theories" have exploited populist anger and have "infiltrated the mainstream."
Intelligence Report Editor Mark Potok of the SPLC said in a post on the group's Web site the organization documented a 244 percent increase in the number of active Patriot groups last year -- from 149 in 2008 to 512 in 2009. He said the number of militias, which the SPLC describes as "the paramilitary arm of the Patriot movement," grew from 42 in 2008 to 127 last year. (United Press International)
CNN makes bet on nonpartisan news There's a gamble implicit in CNN shuffling its lineup Thursday after the departure of controversial conservative commentator Lou Dobbs: It is betting there is a prime-time cable audience for news delivered without opinion.
Talk on the three major cable news outlets - Fox, MSNBC and CNN - "drives the public conversation," said Robert Calo, a senior lecturer at UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and a former NBC and ABC producer. "It is the engine of opinion." (San Francisco Chronicle)
Corporate Profits Hit New Record, U.S. Workers Still Struggling Happy days are back! During the summer months, corporations logged their biggest profits since the government started counting way back in the age of Elvis, and the economy expanded at a slightly faster pace than previously thought. Surely, when Caterpillar and Morgan Stanley are swimming in lucre, life must be getting more wonderful for everyone.
Alas, no. Word that American businesses sucked in profits at an annualized pace of $1.66 trillion between July and September is certainly better than the alternative. Ditto, the wholly expected news that the economy grew faster than an initially reported 2 percent annual rate, reaching a still modest 2.5 percent. But none of this has translated into the sort of job growth that will be required to cut into an unemployment rate stuck at 9.6 percent. Worse, there is little reason to suspect it will anytime soon.
We have been hearing for so long now that, once companies start making real money, they will feel the urge to expand. Then, they will hire lots of people, and we can stop worrying and resume shopping. Yet so far--this most recent quarter included--all we have gotten is an extended lesson in the modern workings of a stubbornly lean job market and a display of what now stands as American management's core competency: How to rack up profits and reward shareholders while keeping the cubicles empty. (Huffington Post)
Active 'Patriot' Groups in the United States in 2009 The Intelligence Project identified 512 "Patriot" groups that were active in 2009. Of these groups, 127 were militias, marked with an asterisk, and the remainder includes "common-law" courts, publishers, ministries and citizens' groups. Generally, Patriot groups define themselves as opposed to the "New World Order," engage in groundless conspiracy theorizing, or advocate or adhere to extreme antigovernment doctrines. Listing here does not imply that the groups themselves advocate or engage in violence or other criminal activities, or are racist. The list was compiled from field reports, Patriot publications, the Internet, law enforcement sources and news reports. Groups are identified by the city, county or region where they are located. (Southern Poverty Law Center)
'Space-time cloak' could conceal events Scientists compare bending light around an event to enabling a pedestrian to cross a road without interrupting the traffic flow. - New materials with the ability to manipulate the speed of light could enable the creation of a "space-time cloak" capable of masking events or even creating an illusion of "Star Trek"-style transportation, according to scientists in London.
The cloak, while currently only existing in mathematical theory, takes advantage of the potential properties of "metamaterials" -- artificial materials designed and manipulated at a molecular level to interact with and control electromagnetic waves.
Scientists have previously demonstrated that one possible use of metamaterials could be to render objects invisible by bending light around them. But Professor Martin McCall of Imperial College London says he has now extended the concept of invisibility to a cloak also capable of hiding events both in time and space.
"In some senses our work is mathematically quite closely related to the idea of invisibility cloaking," McCall told CNN. "It's just that we're doing it in space and time instead of just in space. It's added a new dimension to cloaking, quite literally." (CNN)
WikiLeaks is an international organization that publishes submissions of otherwise unavailable documents from anonymous sources and leaks. Its website, launched in 2006, is run by The Sunshine Press. Within a year of its launch, the site claimed a database that had grown to more than 1.2 million documents.
The organization has described itself as having been founded by Chinese dissidents, as well as journalists, mathematicians, and start-up company technologists from the U.S., Taiwan, Europe, Australia, and South Africa. Newspaper articles and The New Yorker magazine (June 7, 2010) describe Julian Assange, an Australian journalist and Internet activist, as its director.
WikiLeaks has won a number of awards, including the 2008 Economist magazine New Media Award. In June 2009, WikiLeaks and Julian Assange won Amnesty International's UK Media Award (in the category "New Media") for the 2008 publication of "Kenya: The Cry of Blood – Extra Judicial Killings and Disappearances", a report by the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights about police killings in Kenya. In May 2010, the New York Daily News listed WikiLeaks first in a ranking of "websites that could totally change the news".
In April 2010, WikiLeaks posted video from a 2007 incident in which Iraqi civilians were killed by U.S. forces, on a website called Collateral Murder. In July of the same year, WikiLeaks released Afghan War Diary, a compilation of more than 76,900 documents about the War in Afghanistan not previously available for public review. In October the group released a package of almost 400,000 documents called the Iraq War Logs in coordination with major commercial media organisations. (Wikipedia)
Crypto-Gram Newsletter: Open Source and Security As a cryptography and computer security expert, I have never understood the current fuss about the open source software movement. In the cryptography world, we consider open source necessary for good security; we have for decades. Public security is always more secure than proprietary security. It's true for cryptographic algorithms, security protocols, and security source code. For us, open source isn't just a business model; it's smart engineering practice.
Open Source Cryptography
Cryptography has been espousing open source ideals for decades, although we call it "using public algorithms and protocols." The idea is simple: cryptography is hard to do right, and the only way to know if something was done right is to be able to examine it.
This is vital in cryptography, because security has nothing to do with functionality. You can have two algorithms, one secure and the other insecure, and they both can work perfectly. They can encrypt and decrypt, they can be efficient and have a pretty user interface, they can never crash. The only way to tell good cryptography from bad cryptography is to have it examined.
Even worse, it doesn't do any good to have a bunch of random people examine the code; the only way to tell good cryptography from bad cryptography is to have it examined by experts. Analyzing cryptography is hard, and there are very few people in the world who can do it competently. Before an algorithm can really be considered secure, it needs to be examined by many experts over the course of years.
This argues very strongly for open source cryptographic algorithms. Since the only way to have any confidence in an algorithm's security is to have experts examine it, and the only way they will spend the time necessary to adequately examine it is to allow them to publish research papers about it, the algorithm has to be public. A proprietary algorithm, no matter who designed it and who was paid under NDA to evaluate it, is much riskier than a public algorithm. (Bruce Schneier)
Lieberman, Collins, Carper, Unveil Major Cybersecurity Bill To Modernize, Strengthen, and Coordinate Cyber Defenses Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., Ranking Member Susan Collins, R-Me., and Federal Financial Management Subcommittee Chairman Tom Carper, D-De., Thursday introduced comprehensive legislation to modernize, strengthen, and coordinate the security of federal civilian and select private sector critical infrastructure cyber networks.
The Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act of 2010, S.3480, would create an Office of Cyber Policy in the White House with a director accountable to the public who would lead all federal cyberspace efforts and devise national cyberspace strategy. A National Center for Cybersecurity and Communications within the Department of Homeland Security, also led by a director accountable to the public, would enforce cybersecurity policies throughout the government and the private sector. The bill would also establish a public/private partnership to set national cyber security priorities and improve national cyber security defenses. (US Congress)
Jay Rockefeller John Davison "Jay" Rockefeller IV (born June 18, 1937) is the senior United States Senator from West Virginia, which he was first elected to in 1985. He was the 29th Governor of West Virginia, from 1977 to 1985. As a great-grandson of oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller, he is the only current politician of the prominent six-generation Rockefeller family and the only Democrat in what has been a traditionally progressive Republican dynasty. (Wikipedia)
Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act of 2010 (S. 3480) is a bill introduced in the United States Senate by Joe Lieberman (Independent Democrat, Connecticut), Susan Collins (Republican Party, Maine), and Tom Carper (Democratic Party, Delaware) on June 10, 2010. The purpose of the bill is to increase security in cyberspace and prevent attacks which could disable infrastructure such as telecommunications or disrupt the nation's economy. Collins has stated that "we cannot afford to wait for a 'cyber 9/11'. The legislation would create an Office of Cyberspace Policy and a National Center for Cybersecurity and Communications. ".
"Kill switch" Controversy
Senator Lieberman has been criticized for giving the President the power to use a "kill switch" which would shut off the Internet. He has called these accusations "total misinformation" and said that "the government should never take over the Internet". Lieberman further inflamed skeptics when he cited China's similar policy in a backfired attempt to show the policy's normalcy. However, the bill would allow the President to enact "emergency measures" in the case of a large scale cyber attack. The original bill granted the US President the authority to shut down part of the internet indefinitely, but in a later amendment the maximum time for which the President could control the network was reduced to 120 days. After this period, the networks will have to be brought up, unless Congress approves an extension. (Wikipedia)
Senate panel passes Cybersecurity Act with revised "kill switch" language Last April, Sen. Jay Rockefeller [D, WV] (pictured at right), the Chairman of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, introduced the Cybersecurity Act of 2009 to his committee. The goal of the bill was to develop a public-private plan for strengthening national security in the case of internet-based attacks. But it stalled almost immediately because of a controversial provision that would have give the President unilateral authority to declare a cybersecurity emergency and then shut down or limit access to parts of the internet without any oversight or explanation.
A couple weeks ago, Sen. Rockefeller partnered with Sen. Olympia Snowe [R, ME] to introduce a major revision to the bill that, among other things, made changes the emergency “kill switch” provision. The revision was adopted by the committee last Thursday and the bill was approved. It’s now ready for consideration by the full Senate. (Open Congress)
Stop the Internet Blacklist! (Petition) Just the other day, President Obama urged other countries to stop censoring the Internet. But now the United States Congress is trying to censor the Internet here at home. A new bill being debated this week would have the Attorney General create an Internet blacklist of sites that US Internet providers would be required to block. (The first vote is scheduled Thursday, November 18!)
This is the kind of heavy-handed censorship you'd expect from a dictatorship, where one man can decide what web sites you're not allowed to visit. But the Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to pass the bill quickly -- and Senators say they haven't heard much in the way of objections! That's why we need you to sign our urgent petition to Congress demanding they oppose the Internet blacklist. (Demand Progress)
Two Million Strong for Net Neutrality (Petition)
This is a crucial time in the fight for Net Neutrality. The FCC is pursuing new Net Neutrality rules; Congress is weighing legislation; and President Obama wants Net Neutrality to become the law of the land.
More than 1.9 million people have already urged Congress and the FCC to stand with the public and pass strong Net Neutrality protections. If we can reach 2 million people, we will send a resounding message that Washington can't ignore.
Urge Congress and the FCC to support Net Neutrality. (SaveTheInternet.com)
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