Tag Archives: authorities

One Dead, Two Injured During Attack on NSA Headquarters – Video

Posted: March 31, 2015 at 10:50 pm

One Dead, Two Injured During Attack on NSA Headquarters
SUBSCRIBE to NewsBreaker's YouTube Channel: http://bit.ly/YgsSEg Authorities say a pair of men dressed as women tried to crash through the front gates Monday morning. Officials say they believe…

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One Dead, Two Injured During Attack on NSA Headquarters – Video

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Death threats to Aisyah are criminal, says NGOs

Posted: March 20, 2015 at 3:56 pm

According to one NGO, the BFM journalist was entitled to freedom of speech under Article 10 of the Federal Constitution.

PETALING JAYA: Several NGOs have come out to voice their support for Aisyah Tajuddin, the BFM 89.9 journalist who received threats of violence, murder and rape after presentng a video by BFM Kupas on PAS pushing for Hudud law in Kelantan.

The Institute of Journalists (IoJ) Malaysia in a press statement condemned the vicious threats which they felt were not only an attack on the press, but also on the freedom of speech in the country.

According to IoJ, the issue of Hudud was one that should be discussed and debated by all Malaysians.

The group added that the Malaysian media should not be forced into silence due to intimidation over an issue that had a direct or indirect effect on society.

The IoJ said this was all the more pertinent if the intimidating parties had abandoned whatever dubious moral grounds their comments were based on, when they threatened Aisyah with rape and murder under the guise of defending religious principles.

The IoJ asked the authorities to investigate the parties behind the threats made to Aisyah, which they said were tantamount to criminal intimidation.

Sisters in Islam assistant manager for legal advocacy and public education, Afiq M Noor revealed that the threats were un-Islamic and amounted to criminal offence under the Penal Code, The Star Online reported.

The Hudud laws in Kelantan can be criticised by anyone because they are man-made laws and not from God.

It can also be reviewed in the courts, he said, adding that Aisyah was entitled to freedom of speech under Article 10 of the Federal Constitution.

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Death threats to Aisyah are criminal, says NGOs

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Human remains found near highway in Southeast Washington

Posted: March 12, 2015 at 7:40 pm

Authorities discovered human remains Wednesday afternoon near an off-ramp of Interstate-295 in Southeast Washington, D.C. police said.

U.S. Park Police notified D.C. police of the discovery in the area of the southbound highway lanes and Malcolm X Avenue about 2:30 p.m., said Officer Hugh Carew, a D.C. police spokesman. Investigators later determined that remains were human and D.C. police are trying to determine how they ended up at that location.

Police did not know an age or gender of the remains and did not release how decomposed they were.

Clarence Williams is the night police reporter for The Washington Post and has spent the better part of 13 years standing next to crime scene tape, riding in police cars or waking officials in the middle of night to gather information about breaking news in and around Washington.

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Human remains found near highway in Southeast Washington

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Sports Hotline: What happened to freedom of speech – have Rangers fans lost their right to offend?

Posted: February 25, 2015 at 12:51 am

NO surprises that the thorny subject of sectarian singing should prompt a major backlash on yesterdays Hotline.

After Keith Jacksons column savaged both sides of the Old Firm support with a particularly fierce blast at Rangers for their songs of hate at Starks Park the outraged Whataboutery defence was as predictable as it was depressing.

Chris Lowe, Glasgow, emailed: So Rangers get a kicking once again from the media.

Compare and contrast to Celtic Park only 24 hours earlier where clear, audible pro-IRA chants were heard, something Celtic have been fined for in the past by UEFA .

The Celtic support were largely praised all round for creating a magnificent atmosphere and not one person reported what their fans were chanting let alone go seeking the match observer to ask if he would be including it in his report.

Whatever happened to the whole of Europe claiming freedom of speech and the right to offend after Paris? Are Rangers fans exempt?


Robert Forrest emailed: I have no problem with Keith Jackson criticising Rangers fans singing banned songs, it is not right.

However, he fails to point out the difference in the way the support of either team has been treated by the authorities. A Rangers supporter was jailed for singing a banned song but no Celtic fan, and I could include their player Leigh Griffiths, has been anywhere near this.

He also completely ignores the offensive banner on display at Hampden.


Sports Hotline: What happened to freedom of speech – have Rangers fans lost their right to offend?

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Bitcoin firm goes dark, and funds are missing

Posted: February 11, 2015 at 3:48 pm

Computer software engineer Mike Caldwell created these physical representations of Bitcoins, but in truth the currency exists only in the digital realm. AP Photo

Bitcoin is again drawing scrutiny following an apparent theft of $387 million in client funds from a Hong Kong exchange that trades in the virtual currency.

Hong Kong police are reportedly investigating the disappearance of the money at MyCoin, which allowed users to buy and sell Bitcoin. The company appears to have suspended its service. Calls to MyCoin could not be connected, while calls to its customer service line were not answered, according to Reuters.

In wake of the incident, Hong Kong’s central bank cautioned consumers against investing in virtual currencies.

“Authorities are fumbling around trying to regulate these things,” said Steve H. Hanke, a professor of applied economics at The Johns Hopkins University and a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. “Hong Kong has a very good, regulated banking system. It does not want the authorities in Beijing coming down on them hard because something happened in some Bitcoin exchange.”

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But the latest cloud over Bitcoin, and the largest since the 2014 bankruptcy of Tokyo-based Mt. Gox exchange, has less to do with the pros and cons of using or investing in virtual currencies and more to do with an old-fashioned scam.

“Reports say this wasn’t a traditional exchange that was hacked, like Mt. Gox, but instead a business that provided some sort of contract that promised you a return, and some are surmising MyCoin was really running a Ponzi scheme based on Bitcoins,” said Reuben Grinberg, an attorney at Davis Polk & Wardwell who started writing about the digital currency in law school.

“Oftentimes with new technology, where regulators haven’t clamped down yet, scammers or people with bad intentions come in and start harming investors,” said Grinberg, who cited as example the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission action last year against Trendon Shavers and Bitcoin Savings and Trust, or BSCST, the online entity he created.

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Bitcoin firm goes dark, and funds are missing

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NSA-GCHQ data sharing was illegal – but they are free to carry on doing it

Posted: February 7, 2015 at 12:50 am

The Investigatory Powers Tribunal ruled today that the UK intelligence services acted unlawfully in their sharing of intelligence with the NSA prior to December 2014.

The case was brought to the Tribunal, which rules on intelligence matters, by the organisations Privacy International, Bytes for All, Liberty and Amnesty International.

The basis of the ruling is that the way in which intelligence sharing between GCHQ and the US intelligence services was kept secret prior to that date contravenes human rights. That includes the Tempora programme, by which the UK intercepts data passing through the transatlantic fibre-optic cables that carry much of the world’s internet traffic, and warrantless access to data harvested by the NSA’s Prism and Upstream programmes.

However, those same activities are now deemed to be legal. Following a limited disclosure by UK intelligence about its methodology with respect to information sharing with the US, on December 5th the IPT ruled that the cooperation between GCHQ and the NSA could continue.

Privacy International welcomed today’s ruling, but said it does not go far enough since the activities are continuing as before.

“For far too long, intelligence agencies like GCHQ and NSA have acted like they are above the law. Today’s decision confirms to the public what many have said all along – over the past decade, GCHQ and the NSA have been engaged in an illegal mass surveillance sharing program that has affected millions of people around the world,” said deputy director Eric King in a statement.

“We must not allow agencies to continue justifying mass surveillance programmes using secret interpretations of secret laws. The world owes Edward Snowden a great debt for blowing the whistle, and today’s decision is a vindication of his actions,” he said, adding that more now needs to be done to put pressure on the authorities.

“The only reason why the NSA-GCHQ sharing relationship is still legal today is because of a last-minute clean-up effort by Government to release previously secret ‘arrangements’. That is plainly not enough to fix what remains a massive loophole in the law, and we hope that the European Court decides to rule in favour of privacy rather than unchecked state power.”

James Welch, legal director for Liberty, said his organisation will continue the battle through the European courts.

“We now know that, by keeping the public in the dark about their secret dealings with the National Security Agency, GCHQ acted unlawfully and violated our rights. That their activities are now deemed lawful is thanks only to the degree of disclosure Liberty and the other claimants were able to force from our secrecy-obsessed Government.” Welch said.

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NSA-GCHQ data sharing was illegal – but they are free to carry on doing it

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VPN providers play 'cat-and-mouse' with China's growing censorship

Posted: January 31, 2015 at 4:42 am

Amit Bareket calls it a “cat-and-mouse” game. In this instance, his company is the mouse, and the Chinese government is a giant cat.

The two sides are continually at odds, because Bareket’s company, SaferVPN, is one of many that provide software tools designed to circumvent the country’s notorious Internet censorship.

These tools are growing more popular in China, in spite of recent government attempts to block them, according to Bareket.

“I can tell you that more than 300 new VPN users come to our service every day in China,” said Bareket, who is the spokesman at SaferVPN.

VPNs, which stand for Virtual Private Networks, are essentially tools that can let users bypass Internet censorship. For about US$6 to $10 a month, subscribers to these services in China can access blocked sites such as Facebook, YouTube and more.

But lately, China has been more aggressive in trying to disrupt these services. Last week, several VPN providers reported access problems for users. Days later, one of the country’s top regulators defended the actions and signaled that the authorities were prepared to crack down further.

“As the Internet develops, and new circumstances arise, we will take new regulatory measures to keep up,” said Wen Ku, a director with China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

That said, the recent disruptions haven’t stopped the VPN services, only added a minor roadblock. Companies like SaferVPN still manage to bring their services to the country, and are working on new technologies to stay a step ahead of the censors.

Although VPN providers serve countries across the world, China is one of the big markets, Bareket said. SaferVPN is a smaller player, and has only several thousands of users from the country. Bareket estimated that the bigger VPN providers may have over 100,000 users in China, if not more.

In SaferVPN’s case, it’s not just foreigners living in China and businesses that use its service, but also local residents. VPNs became more widespread among Chinese users last year, driven mainly by regular users wanting access to site likes Facebook, Bareket said.

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Candid Discussions: Gissou Nia on Irans Human Rights in 2014

Posted: January 2, 2015 at 7:42 am

Gissou Nia is the Deputy Director of the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran (ICHRI), an independent human rights organization based in New York City. She is an expert on human rights in Iran and on international law. Ms. Nia previously served as Executive Director of the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center (IHRDC). Under her leadership, IHRDC produced comprehensive human rights reports and documentations on political prisoners, violation of rights of women as well as those of marginalized groups such as religious and ethnic minorities.

Prior to her tenure at IHRDC, Ms. Nia worked on war crimes trials at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), where she represented former government ministers from Bosnia and Kosovo in pre-trial, trial, and appellate proceedings. Ms. Nia also assisted in proceedings at the International Criminal Court (ICC) related to allegations of crimes against humanity committed during the 2007/2008 post-election violence in the Republic of Kenya.

Ms. Nia lectures and publishes frequently on human rights developments in Iran as well as the rule of law in post-conflict and transitional societies. Her work has been profiled by NPR, CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera, Forbes, FPA Blogs, and other major media outlets. Ms. Nia sat down with Reza Akhlaghi of the Foreign Policy Association to discuss Irans human rights record in 2014 and share her perspectives on the challenges the Iranian society faces in greater recognition of human rights.


How would you describe the state of human rights in Iran in 2014?

The state of human rights in Iran in 2014 is, rather unfortunately, not where we envisioned we would be when we started out the year. Shortly after the inauguration of President Rouhani in August 2013, the Iran human rights community had some cause to be optimistic with the release of more than a dozen prominent political prisoners in September 2013, the publication of a draft Citizenship Rights Charter in November 2013 and a general feeling that the authorities tight grip on personal freedoms might be loosening somewhat.

However, fast-forward a year later and it seems that instead of improvements in line with President Rouhanis campaign pledges to bring civil and social reforms to the country there has actually been regression along a number of human rights indicators. An on-going power struggle between the Rouhani administration and the hardliner-controlled intelligence ministry and judiciary has resulted in new detentions of journalists and activists, with a rising number of individuals arrested for online activities. Womens rights have deteriorated with a series of acid splashing attacks targeting women in Isfahan followed by widely believed to be insufficient response from the authorities to the attacks. The number of executions in the country, particularly for drug-related offenses, has increased since the year priorplacing the Islamic Republic among the worlds leaders in death sentences per capita. Additionally, the leaders of the Green Movement and other civil society actors, who were jailed for their role in events following the disputed June 2009 presidential election, remain imprisoned.

This lack of improvement has not been lost on the international community. Indeed, this lack of improvement in human rights condition was noted in November at Irans Universal Periodic Review (UPR)a process that examines the human rights performance of all 193 UN member states. At the UPR, Irans country peers expressed concern that many of the recommendations made to Iran, which were accepted by the Iranian authorities in the last UPR process four years ago, had yet to be implemented. These recommendations addressed a whole range of issues such as Irans high rate of executions; practice of public and juvenile executions; stoning; restrictions on freedom of expression and assembly; torture; mistreatment of detainees; lack of fair trial standards; due process of law; and discrimination against ethnic and religious minorities.

Rouhanis presidency has consistently come under fire for its lack of progress on the human rights front. The worsening of this situation has been widely interpreted as a demonstration of power plays by Irans hardliners who are determined to dash Iranians hopes for more moderate and liberal socio-political and cultural policies. What do you attribute to the worsening of human rights conditions in Iran over the past year?

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Candid Discussions: Gissou Nia on Irans Human Rights in 2014

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Moscows fringe Doc theatre faces censorship with eviction

Posted: November 2, 2014 at 9:43 pm

Performer wears Vladimir Putin mask in Halloween performance at Moscows Doc theatre. Photograph: Alexey Zhiryako

Russia has been discouraging public celebrations of Halloween as part of a campaign against western influence.

But that did not stop Teatr.Doc from staging a bitingly satirical Night of the Living Dead on Friday night in what may be one of the last ever productions at the tiny basement theatre in central Moscow famous for innovative and uncompromising work.

In a move that has shaken the international theatrical community, the Moscow authorities have ordered Teatr.Doc to vacate the basement on grounds that it had violated property regulations.

Many people think the eviction order masks an illegal attempt to censor one of Moscows few independent theatres and turn the premises into something and more profitable and predictable like a cocktail bar or billiard hall.

Problems began at Teatr.Doc, or Doc as its known among Moscow theatre buffs, when fire inspectors visited in April and ordered the theatre to replace a window with a door. What initially looked like a safety precaution turned out to be bureaucratic trap. Moscow City Property Department has ruled the new exit breaches structural rules and has terminated Teatr.Docs lease.

Were not state-owned and dont receive any government funding so the lease is the only weapon the authorities can use against us, said Mr Ugarov who co-founded Teatr.Doc with his wife and fellow playwright and director Elena Gremina in 2002.

News of Teatr.Docs eviction has sparked outrage. More than 6,200 people including Elyse Dodgson, international director at Londons Royal Court Theatre, and Hollywood actor Bill Pullman have signed a petition on change.org urging Moscows mayor to reverse the decision.

Russia has reverted to Soviet style censorship and petty vindictiveness to silence Teatr.Doc, British playwright Tom Stoppard wrote in an open letter published last week. With sorrow one cannot help noting that the battle for freedom of expression which has been won in the past has to be fought again by this tiny theatre.

Founded in the early years of Vladimir Putins rule, Teatr.Doc has made enemies with documentary work that explores the social and political fall out from Russias slide towards authoritarianism.

Moscows fringe Doc theatre faces censorship with eviction

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Facebook opens up to Tor users with new secure .onion address

Posted: November 1, 2014 at 11:46 pm

For those who are concerned about their privacy post-Snowden, there are various ways to boost online privacy such as using the anonymizing Tor browser. Browsing the internet anonymously is something that scares the authorities — there were reports just a couple of months ago that Comcast was threatening to cut off customers who chose to use Tor — but now Facebook has opened up to the idea.

The social network — often criticized for its own privacy policies — has lifted its bans on using Tor, and has created a secure URL (https://facebookcorewwwi.onion/). This can be used to visit Facebook using any Tor-enabled browser and adds a few extra layers of protection for those looking to stay secure. While the idea of anonymity on Facebook may seem oxymoronic, there is a degree of logic.

One of the key benefits of using Tor is that it enables users to bypass locally enforced censorship and blocks, but until now Facebook has blocked access via Tor. The fact that Tor traffic bounced around the internet multiple times in a bid to disguise its origin, it was often flagged as suspicious by Facebook for appearing like botnet activity. This is no longer the case as the new URL opens up access to the security-minded.

Software engineer Alec Muffett explains that, “Facebook’s onion address provides a way to access Facebook through Tor without losing the cryptographic protections provided by the Tor cloud”. Accessing Facebook viaTor using the .onion address means connecting directly to Facebook’s Core WWW Infrastructure (hence the URL). This allows for direct communication with Facebook, effectively sidestepping browsing restrictions that may have been put in place by local governments, and avoiding any surveillance that might be carried out on traffic that is permitted.

Facebook’s Tor-friendly TLD is the first .onion address to be granted SSL certificate. Muffett says:

We decided to use SSL atop this service due in part to architectural considerations – for example, we use the Tor daemon as a reverse proxy into a load balancer and Facebook traffic requires the protection of SSL over that link. As a result, we have provided an SSL certificate which cites our onion address; this mechanism removes the Tor Browser’s SSL Certificate Warning for that onion address and increases confidence that this service really is run by Facebook. Issuing an SSL certificate for a Tor implementation is – in the Tor world – a novel solution to attribute ownership of an onion address; other solutions for attribution are ripe for consideration, but we believe that this one provides an appropriate starting point for such discussion.

Despite what some news reports say, this is not a way to stay anonymous on Facebook. You still log into your regular account and use it in the same way. What the .onion URL does is ensure that nothing happens to your data as it travels from your computer to Facebook and back.

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