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Australian computer scientist claims he created Bitcoin – May …

Posted: May 2, 2016 at 3:43 pm

Australian computer scientist Craig Steven Wright has publicly identified himself as “Satoshi Nakamoto,” founder of the widely-used cryptocurrency Bitcoin.

Wright has told three media organizations — the BBC, the Economist and GQ — that he is the father of Bitcoin. The computer scientist has also published a blog post that he says includes cryptographic proof for the claim.

Bitcoin was created in 2009, but the identity of its founder has remained shrouded in secrecy. The creator used the name “Satoshi Nakamoto,” but many experts have assumed the moniker was a pseudonym.

Speculation over the mystery flourished in recent years, and multiple media outlets carried out investigations that sought to unmask the founder. At least a dozen of people have in the past been named as Bitcoin creators.

Newsweek, for example, reported in 2014 that a retired engineer named Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto was the one. But Nakamoto forcefully denied the report, saying he had never even heard of the currency.

The New Yorker ran an article in 2011 that suggested a graduate student in cryptography at Trinity College could be the founder. The student denied the claim.

Related: Alleged Bitcoin creator denies he’s the one

In 2015, tech publications Wired and Gizmodo put forward Wright’s name. “Either Wright invented Bitcoin, or he’s a brilliant hoaxer who very badly wants us to believe he did,” Wired wrote at the time. Australian media reported at that time that a house believed to be owned by Wright has been searched by the Australian Federal Police in connection to a tax issue.

But many questions remained unanswered.

The blog published by Wright on Monday seeks to remove all doubts. In it, the computer scientist claims to verify the cryptographic keys to a key Bitcoin “block,” or group of transactions, that dates to the early days of the currency.

Two leading Bitcoin developers, Jon Matonis and Gavin Andersen, came forward on Monday, backing Wright’s claims.

Andersen, who is the chief scientist at the Bitcoin Foundation, said Wright demonstrated the supposed verifications keys to him at a meeting in London a couple of weeks ago. “After spending time with him I am convinced beyond a reasonable doubt: Craig Wright is Satoshi,” he said in a blog post.

Matonis, who is the founding director at Bitcoin Foundation, said he was also convinced Wright was the founder of Bitcoin, after attending a private proof session with him.

Related: What is Bitcoin?

But many other Bitcoin developers remain skeptical. They say the blog itself proves nothing, publishing something that has been “out there” for a while. They also claim cryptographic keys found on Wright’s blog posts have been backdated.

“The page copies a signature out of the Bitcoin Blockchain from 2009,” said Greg Maxwell, the chief technology office at Blockstream, a Bitcoin startup.

Wright reportedly demonstrated the procedure for the Economist, which reported that, “as far as we can tell he indeed seems to be in possession of the keys.”

But even the Economist, which agreed not to write about the computer scientist until the blog post was published, has doubts.

“Our conclusion is that Mr. Wright could well be Mr Nakamoto, but that important questions remain,” the magazine said in its report.

Wright did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday. “Some people will believe, some people won’t,” he told the BBC. “And to tell you the truth, I don’t really care.”

He told the Economist and the BBC he was not seeking publicity. “I don’t want money, I don’t want fame, I don’t want adoration. I just want to be left alone,” he said in a video posted by the BBC.

On his blog, Wright said he came out as the founder of Bitcoin to “set the record straight” and “dispel the myths out there and unleash its potential to change the world for the better.”

CNNMoney (London) First published May 2, 2016: 4:59 AM ET

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Australian computer scientist claims he created Bitcoin – May …

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Bitcoin Foundation board director says company is bankrupt

Posted: April 7, 2015 at 9:45 am

Home News Apps Bitcoin Foundation board director says company is bankrupt The financial future of one of the biggest backers of bitcoin is hanging in the balance according to directors within the company.

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The Bitcoin Foundation, an organisation that promotes development of bitcoin, is “effectively bankrupt” and has shed most of its staff, a member of the foundation’s board of directors has said.

Two other board members, however, said the foundation was not bankrupt, though in need of some kind of restructuring.

The outburst by Olivier Janssens, who was elected to the board last month, is the latest in a series of controversies surrounding the foundation, which was founded in the U.S. in 2012 as a nonprofit entity.

“The foundation has almost no money left, and just fired 90 percent of its people. Some will stay on as volunteers,” Janssens wrote in a blog post on the foundation’s forum.

“The Bitcoin Foundation hates transparency,” he added. “If they would have been transparent then everyone would know there is no money left.”

Janssens attributed the foundation’s financial straits to two years of “ridiculous spending and poorly thought out decisions,” adding that the board has tried to remedy the situation by finding a new executive director. He called for the replacement of the entire board.

Described as a bitcoin millionaire, Janssens wrote that he will donate “several 100k” to a special trust fund aimed at supporting core development of the digital currency and supplemented by crowdfunding efforts.

The foundation did not immediately respond to a request for information about Janssens’ post. But Patrick Murck, its executive director, wrote in a response to Janssens’ post, “The foundation is not bankrupt, but a restructuring is needed. Olivier basically jumped in front of our announcements on that and our annual report on the 2014 finances to be released next week, and he spun it very very negative.”

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The Bitcoin Foundation is out of cash, says board member

Posted: at 9:45 am

The Bitcoin Foundation, an organization that promotes development of bitcoin, is effectively bankrupt and has shed most of its staff, a member of the foundations board of directors has said.

Two other board members, however, said the foundation was not bankrupt, though in need of some kind of restructuring.

The outburst by Olivier Janssens, who was elected to the board last month, is the latest in a series of controversies surrounding the foundation, which was founded in the U.S. in 2012 as a nonprofit entity.

The foundation has almost no money left, and just fired 90 percent of its people. Some will stay on as volunteers, Janssens wrote in a blog post on the foundations forum.

The Bitcoin Foundation hates transparency, he added. If they would have been transparent then everyone would know there is no money left.

Janssens attributed the foundations financial straits to two years of ridiculous spending and poorly thought out decisions, adding that the board has tried to remedy the situation by finding a new executive director. He called for the replacement of the entire board.

Described as a bitcoin millionaire, Janssens wrote that he will donate several 100k to a special trust fund aimed at supporting core development of the digital currency and supplemented by crowdfunding efforts.

The foundation did not immediately respond to a request for information about Janssens post. But Patrick Murck, its executive director, wrote in a response to Janssens post, The foundation is not bankrupt, but a restructuring is needed. Olivier basically jumped in front of our announcements on that and our annual report on the 2014 finances to be released next week, and he spun it very very negative.

While saying that the money has basically run out, board member Gavin Adresen wrote in another response that The foundation isnt bankrupt, but the board needs to decide whether the responsible thing to do is to continue the organization with a much smaller organization and vision or to dissolve it.

The Bitcoin Foundation is no stranger to controversy. Among its founding members are Charlie Shrem, who pleaded guilty to transmitting money linked to the Silk Road online drugs site, and Mark Karpeles, who presided over the collapse of MtGox, once the worlds largest trading place for bitcoin.

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DNA testing clears woman after 35 years in Nevada prison (+video)

Posted: March 7, 2015 at 5:47 pm

Reno, Nev. After the case was dropped against a Nevada woman who spent 35 years in prison for a 1976 murder she did not commit, both sides agreed on one point: justice was finally served thanks to new technology in DNA testing.

Cathy Woods became the latest innocent person in the country to be cleared by DNA evidence after prosecutors announced Friday there will be no retrial of her in the fatal stabbing of 19-year-old Michelle Mitchell on the edge of the University of Nevada, Reno, campus.

A judge tossed Woods’ conviction in September after new DNA tests linked the Reno crime to an Oregon inmate who now faces charges near San Francisco in a string of killings about the same time.

Washoe County District Attorney Chris Hicks said he didn’t fault earlier police, prosecutors and juries for sending Woods to prison because they didn’t have “the incredible tool of DNA.”

“Whenever we hear about these rare cases where convicted individuals are later exonerated by DNA, it is a circumstance that upsets our society, rightly so,” Hicks said at a news conference. “It is also depicted as a strike against our modern day criminal justice system. I would suggest otherwise.

“These exonerations, 30 and 40 years later, show how improved our criminal justice system has become. So as tragic and difficult as this case continues to be, the one shining light is that it shows our modern day system is working,” he added.

Woods’ public defender, Maizie Pusich, agreed, saying earlier authorities and juries simply lacked DNA evidence.

“I wish it (Woods’ exoneration) happened a long time ago, but at least it happened now when she’s in relatively good health,” Pusich told The Associated Press. “As time goes by, there will be innocent people in prison who slip through the cracks because they won’t survive much longer.”

Woods, 64, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. She lives in the Southern California home of her brother and his wife, both of whom care for her. She remains under mental health treatment and is “doing well,” Pusich said.

She was convicted in 1980 and again five years later. The convictions were based largely on the confession she made in 1979 at a psychiatric hospital in Shreveport, Louisiana, where her mother committed her months earlier.

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DNA testing clears woman after 35 years in Nevada prison (+video)

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DNA testing clears woman after 35 years in Nevada prison

Posted: at 5:47 pm

Reno, Nev. After the case was dropped against a Nevada woman who spent 35 years in prison for a 1976 murder she did not commit, both sides agreed on one point: justice was finally served thanks to new technology in DNA testing.

Cathy Woods became the latest innocent person in the country to be cleared by DNA evidence after prosecutors announced Friday there will be no retrial of her in the fatal stabbing of 19-year-old Michelle Mitchell on the edge of the University of Nevada, Reno, campus.

A judge tossed Woods’ conviction in September after new DNA tests linked the Reno crime to an Oregon inmate who now faces charges near San Francisco in a string of killings about the same time.

Washoe County District Attorney Chris Hicks said he didn’t fault earlier police, prosecutors and juries for sending Woods to prison because they didn’t have “the incredible tool of DNA.”

“Whenever we hear about these rare cases where convicted individuals are later exonerated by DNA, it is a circumstance that upsets our society, rightly so,” Hicks said at a news conference. “It is also depicted as a strike against our modern day criminal justice system. I would suggest otherwise.

“These exonerations, 30 and 40 years later, show how improved our criminal justice system has become. So as tragic and difficult as this case continues to be, the one shining light is that it shows our modern day system is working,” he added.

Woods’ public defender, Maizie Pusich, agreed, saying earlier authorities and juries simply lacked DNA evidence.

“I wish it (Woods’ exoneration) happened a long time ago, but at least it happened now when she’s in relatively good health,” Pusich told The Associated Press. “As time goes by, there will be innocent people in prison who slip through the cracks because they won’t survive much longer.”

Woods, 64, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. She lives in the Southern California home of her brother and his wife, both of whom care for her. She remains under mental health treatment and is “doing well,” Pusich said.

She was convicted in 1980 and again five years later. The convictions were based largely on the confession she made in 1979 at a psychiatric hospital in Shreveport, Louisiana, where her mother committed her months earlier.

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Sen. Dan Sullivan amends proposed bill to disarm EPA agents

Posted: January 24, 2015 at 11:53 pm

ANCHORAGE Alaskas freshman senator has filed his first amendment, and it is aimed at keeping firearms out of the hands of Environmental Protection Agency agents.

Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan said Friday he filed the amendment to follow through with a promise he made while campaigning in Fairbanks last fall. The idea to disarm the EPA came after agents swept into the mining town of Chicken wearing body armor and carrying rifles in August 2013 while investigating possible violations of the Clean Water Act, Sullivan said.

The amendment is attached to a larger bill that would authorize the Keystone XL pipeline.

In fall 2013, miners in the Chicken area told the Daily News-Miner they felt intimidated by the agents, who, in some cases, did not identify themselves when arriving at mines in all-terrain vehicles. An EPA spokesperson described the discussions as consensual and cordial.

The investigation was based on reports of mines with a history of not complying with state and federal clean water laws and ongoing significant discharges, the EPA said in a written statement in September 2013.

There have been no federal charges or arrests, at least so far, as a result of the investigation.

Asked about the raid and Sullivans amendment Friday, an EPA spokeswoman referred questions to agency officials in Washington, D.C., who did not respond to a request for comment by late Friday.

Sullivan said in a phone interview the issue, while important to Alaska and its miners, goes beyond the incident in Chicken.

I think theres this conventional wisdom that the federal government is always growing, always into new areas, always gaining new responsibilities, Sullivan said. Part of what I ran on is that is not some kind of law of nature. We can roll back some of the responsibilities and authorities of the federal government.

Looking at the history of the EPA, which was formed in the early 1970s, it was not until the late 1980s that the agents were authorized to carry firearms, said Sullivan, who had researched the congressional hearings from that time. Originally, the authorization was to protect agents investigating hazardous waste dumps connected to the mafia, he said.

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NSA targeted Chinese tech giant Huawei

Posted: December 25, 2014 at 4:48 am

US intelligence agencies hacked into the email servers of Chinese tech giant Huawei five years ago, around the time concerns were growing in Washington that the telecommunications equipment manufacturer was a threat to US national security, a report says.

The National Security Agency began targeting Huawei in early 2009 and quickly succeeded in gaining access to the company’s client lists and email archive, German weekly Der Spiegel reported on Saturday, citing secret US intelligence documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Among the people whose emails the NSA was able to read were Huawei president Ren Zhengfei, the magazine said.

The operation, which Der Spiegel claims was co-ordinated with the CIA, FBI and White House officials, also netted source codes for Huawei products.

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One aim was to exploit the fact that Huawei equipment is widely used to route voice and data traffic around the world, according to the report.

But the NSA was also concerned that the Chinese government itself might use Huawei’s presence in foreign networks for espionage purposes, it said.

In 2012, the House Intelligence Committee recommended that Huawei be barred from doing business in the US, citing the threat that its equipment could enable Chinese intelligence services to tamper with American communications networks.

Huawei didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment late on Saturday.

In January, the company rejected a previous Der Spiegel report claiming that its equipment was vulnerable to hacking.

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China cuts access to Dropbox

Posted: December 16, 2014 at 5:42 am

China on Wednesday started blocking the online storage service Dropbox.

Censorship watchdog group GreatFire.org reported the blocking on Thursday, stating that access had been cut to dropbox.com and to the company’s apps.

China had previously tried blocking Dropbox as far back as 2010, GreatFire.org said in an email. But in early 2014, Dropbox updated its app to use the HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) communications protocol, helping it bypass the country’s censorship.

China, however, has begun cutting access to Dropbox’s HTTPS address, banning the company’s services completely in what GreatFire.org said was the “strictest method of blocking.”

Dropbox did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Dropbox site was inaccessible from Beijing, and the company’s apps failed to synch data between devices.

China has been stepping up its censorship lately, targeting Google on May 31 with a block that’s disrupted access to nearly all the company’s services. The government has given no explanation for the move, but it took place just ahead of the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests that were brutally quashed on June 4, 1989.

The historical event is among the many censored topics in the country; before it was blocked, Google was one source of unfiltered search results about it.

Prior to the Google block, terrorists in China’s western Xinjiang region also killed dozens in a bombing attack. The country’s state-run media later reported that Chinese police had arrested several terrorist groups that had been using messaging apps and online videos to organize.

In the case of Dropbox, the service’s blocking will probably affect few users. China’s own Internet giants including Baidu are offering similar cloud storage services and Dropbox has yet to actively market its services to the country.

In recent weeks, Chinese Internet users have been complaining about the country’s Google blocking, and have urged the government to end it. Government censors, however, are deleting social-networking posts about the topic, according to GreatFire.org. The group is cataloging the deleted posts on one of its sites.

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The Wall Street Journal: Human trial of experimental Merck Ebola vaccine is suspended

Posted: December 12, 2014 at 11:45 pm

A pedestrian walks outside a Merck & Co. facility in Summit, New Jersey.

A human trial of an experimental Ebola vaccine recently licensed by Merck & Co. has been suspended until January after four healthy volunteers receiving it experienced mild joint pain, according to a Geneva hospital helping conduct the trial.

As a precautionary measure, the study team has declared a pause in the injections, the hospital said. It added that joint pain after infection or vaccination is a well-documented phenomenon which does not worry specialists. However, it deserves to be carefully studied. The hospital said the vaccine overall has been very well tolerated among the 59 people who have received it in Geneva.

Merck agreed in November to pay NewLink Genetics Corp. NLNK, +0.76% of Ames, Iowa, $30 million for the rights to the vaccine, plus an additional $20 million and royalties on sales if the vaccine meets certain development targets.

Merck MRK, -2.73% , of Whitehouse Station, N.J., said in a statement that it was aware the study had been placed on a temporary hold after transient complaints of joint pain in Geneva. These events have not been reported at any of the other clinical sites, the company added. It is not known at this time whether these events are related to the vaccine or not. We understand the level of vaccine being administered in the trial, which is being conducted at a number of other sites, will proceed using lower doses of the vaccine.

NewLink didnt immediately respond to a request for comment.

An expanded version of this report appears at WSJ.com.

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Vodafone blocks Chaos Computer Club site, fueling 'Net censorship concerns in UK

Posted: December 9, 2014 at 5:41 am

Vodafone UK isnt letting its customers access the website of the Chaos Computer Club (CCC), one of the oldest and largest associations of computer hackers in Europe.

Its not clear why the mobile operator has blocked the ccc.de website since late last week, but the CCC believes its because its site has been misclassified in the Internet filtering system used by Vodafone.

Since its founding in 1981 in Berlin, the CCC has highlighted security risks in technology affecting a large number of people, has exposed government surveillance and has advocated for privacy and freedom of information online. Every year the group organizes the Chaos Communication Congress, the largest hacker convention in Europe.

Vodafone UK did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

For years ISPs in the U.K. have blocked access to websites that host images of child sexual abuse based on a list maintained by an organization called the Internet Watch Foundation. However, in 2013 the U.K. government convinced ISPs to build their own Internet safety filters in order to block sites that host content unsuitable for minors, including pornography and drugs.

The initiative was criticized by human rights and Internet advocacy groups because it allows ISPs to judge what is right or wrong for young people and opens up the door to over-blocking, where users are prevented access to non-harmful and even helpful websites and information.

When these filters were introduced, their abuse was imminent, said CCC spokesman Dirk Engling in a blog post Friday. Today, we are shocked to learn that they not only block access to our site, but also to our conference. We see this as proof that censorship infrastructureno matter for which reasons it was set up, and no matter which country you are inwill always be abused for political reasons.

According to a check on http://www.blocked.org.uk, a website maintained by U.K.-based Open Rights Group (ORG), ccc.de was being blocked by both Vodafone and Three, another U.K. mobile operator, as of Sunday. The Chaos Communication Congress tickets site, tickets.events.ccc.de, was only being blocked by Vodafone.

Overblocking is a major issue when it comes to filters that are designed to stop children and young people from seeing adult content, said Pam Cowburn, ORGs communications director, Monday via email. When we tested the Alexa 100k websites, we found that almost 1 in 5 sites were blocked. Although many of these may have been deliberately blocked because, for example they are pornography, this high figure suggests that there is a real problem with over blocking.

Sites that have been incorrectly blocked in the past include political blogs, sites about womens rights and even a Porsche sales site, Cowburn said. A site that offers support to victims of sexual abuse and rape, aged 16 and higher, was also blocked and so were some sites that belong to charities, she said.

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