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Burke Hansen

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Bush-authored warrantless wiretapping suffers abrupt defeat

The last of the US warrantless wiretapping cases has come to a rather surprising and abrupt finish. Judge Vaughn Walker hearing the case formerly known as Al-Haramain vs Bush has ruled for the plaintiffs and against the US government on a motion for summary judgment, essentially telling the government it had no case. This rare …
Burke Hansen, 02 Apr 2010
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Dubya surveillance exceeded warrantless wiretaps

As yet unrevealed domestic intelligence activities by the Bush administration sent shock waves through Washington on Friday, as a report critical of post-9/11 US surveillance programs capped a week of increasingly acrimonious debate in the American capital about Bush-era policies. Disconcerting reports of abuses by the American …
Burke Hansen, 13 Jul 2009
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US gov ordered to play ball in state secrets case

"This is a lawsuit, not a career, Mr. Coppolino," a rather exasperated Judge Vaughn Walker explained in court today, chiding the lead counsel for the Justice Department, Anthony Coppolino, as Mr. Coppolino's stony-faced counterpart from the National Security Agency, Timothy Stinson, sat silently at his side. Why obey court …
Burke Hansen, 04 Jun 2009
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Torture case against Boeing subsidiary resuscitated

In a ruling sure to fan the flames of controversy over Bush-era torture policies, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals this week strongly repudiated the Bush and Obama administrations’ arguments of a broad reading of the so-called "state secrets" doctrine, which the Bush administration in particular had used to smother potentially …
Burke Hansen, 30 Apr 2009
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Bush-era NSA wiretap violations exposed

The New York Times has broken the latest news in the National Security Agency's warrantless wiretapping odyssey: that the NSA has been routinely scanning American communications at a rate far beyond what had been envisioned by Congress when the telecoms immunity and FISA wiretapping revisions passed last summer. Even more …
Burke Hansen, 16 Apr 2009
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Google antitrust suit: Is there a case?

Should Google be allowed to skew sponsored ads toward favored business partners? At face value, the answer would seem to be "Yes." In a free market, after all, businesses are allowed to partner with whomever they want, and advertising hardly seems to be the kind of industry susceptible to monopolistic profiteering. Of course, an …
Burke Hansen, 20 Feb 2009
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NSA whistleblower: Warrantless wiretaps targeted journos

Russell Tice has dropped another bombshell. More than two years after he leaked the existence of the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program to the New York Times in late 2006, Tice says warrantless wiretaps specifically targeted journalists and news organizations - all day, every day. The original outrage over the warrantless …
Burke Hansen, 25 Jan 2009
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California Academy of Sciences: A new lease on life

The grand dame of natural history museums in the American west gave a sneak peak to the press last week, after a multi-year green reconstruction and all-around face lift. The results are impressive: One of the ten largest natural science museums in the world, San Francisco’s California Academy of Sciences has - for the second …
Burke Hansen, 23 Sep 2008
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Senate approves FISA makeover and telco wiretap immunity

The Senate today passed the revised Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), offering blanket immunity to the telecoms giants for whatever spying activities they conspired in, smothering ongoing litigation against the companies and for all intents and purposes burying forever whatever unconstitutional surveillance …
Burke Hansen, 09 Jul 2008
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Congress still afraid to define 'internet gambling'

The intellectual haze that envelopes American internet gambling policy thickened the past week, as lawmakers failed to define what exactly constitutes "unlawful" internet gambling. As absurd as it sounds, two years after the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), Congress still can’t make up its …
Burke Hansen, 01 Jul 2008
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Feds urge court to dismiss lawsuit protecting life on Earth

The US government has asked a court to throw out a lawsuit that seeks to stop the world from ending. Late last week, federal lawyers along with other defendants asked for summary judgment in a lawsuit designed to halt the start-up of the most powerful particle accelerator yet built. The lawsuit, which was filed in Hawaii last …
Burke Hansen, 30 Jun 2008
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Congress bails out telcos for illegal snooping

Congress has largely capitulated to White House demands for widespread immunity for the telecoms industry, the New York Times reported on Thursday. Although Congressional Democrats claimed the compromise reached between Democrats and Republicans as a victory for the rule of law, the real winners in this action are the telecoms …
Burke Hansen, 20 Jun 2008
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FISA warrants on a roll - but who needs a warrant?

Comment The Honorable Richard B. Cheney...Dear Mr. President..... Drum roll, please. It's like the Price is Right for conspiracy theorists, the annual release to Congress of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) statistics. How many this year? Did the court tell the spooks to pound sand even once? The FISC is the secretive …
Burke Hansen, 02 May 2008
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No-fly list grounds US Air Marshals

One aspect of the American response to air safety in the year after the September 11 attacks that generated relatively little controversy was welcome expansion of the Federal Air Marshal program - other than some concerns about what kind of weapons could be used safely within a pressurized cabin, really, who could complain about …
Burke Hansen, 02 May 2008
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Surveillance immunity bill for telecoms tries livin’ la vida loca

Only the paranoid survive. But which ones - the kind who choose to live in solitude, à la Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, patiently loading and unloading their weaponry to protect themselves from the dystopian techno-state? Or the kind living in Washington, who yearn for proto-totalitarian surveillance authority, all the better to …
Burke Hansen, 13 Mar 2008
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EU investigates DOJ internet gambling tactics

The European Union launched an investigation today into discriminatory trade practices by the United States in the internet gambling industry, according to a press release from the European Commission. The move could pave the way for a formal complaint with the World Trade Organization. "The U.S. has the right to address …
Burke Hansen, 11 Mar 2008
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US.gov disappears European-owned Cuba websites

Let's see this Treasury Department list again... Aiman Al-Zawahiri....Radovan Karadzic....Alexander Lukashenko.... ah, Tour & Marketing International. Steven Marshall, the owner of T&M and affiliated websites such as www.cuba-hemingway.com, www.cuba-oldhavana.com, and www.cubanculture.com, is a British travel agent with an …
Burke Hansen, 05 Mar 2008
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Google absolved of 'crimes against humanity'

Shuka-shuka-shuka-shuka-shuka. Black helicopters were spotted over Scranton, Pennsylvania last week, as Dylan Stephen Jayne saw his civil rights lawsuit against Google flushed once and for all down the proverbial toilet. As some may recall, Jayne had an epiphany back on September 16th, 2007, after he discovered that his social …
Burke Hansen, 19 Feb 2008
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FBI screwed up, spied on entire email network

The FBI on Friday revealed that human error led to surveillance of an entire email network back in 2006, rather than the single email address approved by the secretive court which approves domestic wiretaps and other forms of e-surveillance. Although the alleged mistake came to light in an Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) …
Burke Hansen, 18 Feb 2008
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Rendition lawsuit against Boeing subsidiary tossed

The American judicial system handed another victory to executive power today, as a federal court judge in San Jose threw out a lawsuit filed against Boeing subsidiary Jeppesen for its involvement in the CIA's extraordinary rendition program. The lawsuit concerned five individuals who claimed to have been kidnapped by the CIA and …
Burke Hansen, 14 Feb 2008
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Feds bat for Boeing in rendition lawsuit

The US government argued vehemently yesterday in District Court that government contractors engaged in confidential activities are covered by the controversial state secrets doctrine to the extent that litigation would require disclosure of government secrets. The state secrets document is a common law doctrine that the American …
Burke Hansen, 08 Feb 2008
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From crunching cans to TechCrunch

Comment Long before he was stroking our collective Web 2.0 consciousness, Michael Arrington, a Young Republican-type of guy from an affluent part of Orange County, studied economics at Claremont McKenna College in Southern California, and generally enjoyed the life of the beer-swilling collegian that many of us led. I know this because …
Burke Hansen 2, 06 Feb 2008
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Rendition lawsuit targets aerospace giant Boeing

Alone, in the middle of the night and nowhere, Khaled El-Masri discovered himself once again to be a free man. He had been left on a hilltop in Albania by his CIA captors, after nearly six months of torture in squalid detention at one of the CIA's black site prisons. The German citizen eventually sued the CIA and lost after the …
Burke Hansen, 24 Dec 2007
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FBI preps $1bn biometric database

"If someone steals and spoofs your iris image, you can't just get a new eyeball." Paul Saffo, technology industry observer Quality science fiction has often provided the prism through which we view, for good or ill, the effects of technological and scientific evolution on human life in all its moral and ethical disarray. No …
Burke Hansen, 24 Dec 2007
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US TKOs Antigua in bizarre WTO arbitration decision

The long-running dispute between little Antigua and the mighty US over the cross border provision of gaming services came to a head this morning, with the announcement of a US $21 mil award in Antigua’s favor. The amount was quite a bit less than the $3.4 bil demanded by the Antiguans, but considerably more than the $500,000 …
Burke Hansen, 21 Dec 2007
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What’s in a name, asks Bodog founder Calvin Ayre

The strange and underreported case of 1st Technology v. Bodog continued its legal sojourn this week with another response by 1st Technology to the gambling giant's continued claims of ownership to its one-time domains, such as Bodog.com. The case, in which 1st Technology has managed to wrest at least temporary control over …
Burke Hansen, 03 Dec 2007
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Quebec fights Mohawk Nation over online gambling jurisdiction

Cyber World Group, the owner of GoldenPalace.com, in Canada this week pleaded guilty to charges of illegal gambling and agreed to a $2m fine. GoldenPalace.com has made a name for itself through a variety of outlandish promotions, and the case is the first of its kind in Quebec. Cyber World operated the online casino from a …
Burke Hansen, 01 Dec 2007
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Norway apes American gambling folly

Norway's Minister of Culture and Church affairs has decided that the future of online gambling is American-style ineffectual regulatory madness, according to iGamingBusiness, among others. Minister Trond Giske had initially intended to adopt a full-fledged version of the much-derided American legislation but, perhaps due to …
Burke Hansen, 29 Nov 2007
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Iron Mountain lands ICANN data escrow agreement

Iron Mountain announced today that it has begun providing long-awaited data escrow services to ICANN and its panoply of approved registrars. Ever since the RegisterFly debacle exposed ICANN’s failure to account properly for the data escrow requirements of its Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA), data escrow has been at or …
Burke Hansen, 29 Nov 2007
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ICANN gets test results on internationalised domains

ICANN made a serious public relations push about its long-standing attempts to implement Internationalised Domain Names (IDNs) the week prior to the October ICANN meeting, and the initial public test results are in. ICANN released preliminary statistics Monday covering the first public tests of the long awaited localised …
Burke Hansen, 28 Nov 2007
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Intralot to offer Aussie punters lottery by cellphone

Greek gaming powerhouse Intralot has raised eyebrows in Australia with plans to allow Aussies in Victoria to purchase lottery tickets over their mobile phones. Quite the slippery slope, it seems. John Katakis, the head honcho at Intralot, yesterday confirmed plans to sell tickets in lotteries via SMS, The Australian has reported …
Burke Hansen, 27 Nov 2007
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European online gambling party continues push eastward

Not to be left out of a potentially lucrative source of tax revenue, the Bulgarian Ministry of Finance last week submitted proposals to regulate and tax online betting, iGamingBusiness reports. Tired of watching potential tax dollars drain out of the national coffers, the former communist stalwart has decided to throw in the …
Burke Hansen, 27 Nov 2007
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Korean cyber junkies march off to bootcamp

Tired of its citizens dropping dead forehead to keyboard after marathon online sessions, the South Korean government has decided to follow China's lead with a tough-love approach, the New York Times noted this week. It recently opened a government-funded, Chinese-style juvenile boot camp, tailored to the special needs of the …
Burke Hansen, 22 Nov 2007
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German court rules internet gambling ban an 'impossibility'

The the Administrative Court of Appeal in Hessen state today overturned a ruling by a lower court that had prohibited Austrian online gambling operator Bwin from providing gambling services over the internet to German customers. The ruling focused on what the court described as the practical impossibility of enforcing a ban on …
Burke Hansen, 06 Nov 2007
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Swedes look to join online gambling party

The ruling Moderate Party at its annual conference last week voted to abolish the Swedish government-run monopoly in gambling, Poker News reports. Breaking up government monopolies in booze, gambling and pharmaceuticals is an established plank of the Moderate Party's platform, so the move is not overly surprising, but the vote …
Burke Hansen, 06 Nov 2007
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Telnic proposal spurs internal ICANN debate

ICANN 2007 - Los Angeles The acrimonious debate surrounding the Whois database is ICANN's most enduring ritualistic dance. Three times each year, The Register covers the ICANN meetings; and at each meeting the same intransigent entrenched opposing interests, after considerable howling and gnashing of teeth, throttle whatever reform efforts are on the …
Burke Hansen, 05 Nov 2007
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ICANN annoints Vint Cerf's successor

ICANN 2007 Los Angeles The traditional ICANN board meeting that closes out the week-plus worth of meetings, public forums, and whatnot that constitute ICANN's thrice-yearly geek-fest brought in a new chairman today to replace departing internet legend Vint Cerf. The selection of Peter Dengate Thrush to replace Cerf overshadowed other important board …
Burke Hansen, 02 Nov 2007
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Shills protest Paris Convention on IP

ICANN 2007 Los Angeles "This is an open meeting, of course, but I just want everyone to know it's all off the record." Steven Metalitz, Intellectual Property Constituency (IPC) Thanks, Steve. Since everything's off the record, what better way to give the public an idea of what really goes on in the emerald city of the internet than to offer an up …
Burke Hansen, 02 Nov 2007
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Whois reform: ICANN says let's run more tests

ICANN 2007 Los Angeles Quick, people: what takes seven years? Biblical plagues? Itches? If you guessed an ICANN policy development process - that's a PDP to you, luddite - you are correct. ICANN today officially cut off the oxygen to its Whois reform PDP after seven years in favor of... well, no one's quite sure, yet. Something must have happened - …
Burke Hansen, 01 Nov 2007
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Modest reform efforts mask tough issues in gTLD reform

ICANN 2007 Los Angeles ICANN offered a workshop today intended to clarify the latest proposed application process for acquiring new generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) and to make the entire process more transparent. Unfortunately, the results were a disappointment, leaving as many contentious questions unanswered as answered. ICANN tried to spin this …
Burke Hansen, 30 Oct 2007
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Putin tightens his grip on Russia's internet

ICANN 2007 Los Angeles The Washington Post reported unwelcome news yesterday for our internet overlords - as internet penetration in Russia grows exponentially, the story claims, Vladimir Putin's allies are increasingly focused on strong-arming blogs and internet news sources in Russia to get their message across, efforts which may extend to the …
Burke Hansen, 29 Oct 2007
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Vint Cerf set to part ways with ICANN

ICANN 2007 Los Angeles The ICANN Los Angeles 2007 meeting begins Monday, and it is Vint Cerf's swan song as chairman of the ICANN board of directors. We couldn't pass up the opportunity to talk to the "father of the internet" about the future of the internet and of ICANN itself. vint cerf headshot Departing ICANN chairman Vint Cerf. ICANN has come …
Burke Hansen, 29 Oct 2007
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Swede with UK betting licence held in Amsterdam for 'breaking' ancient French law

France found itself embroiled in the middle of yet another internet gambling controversy Tuesday, after Dutch authorities arrested the CEO of Unibet - a Swedish online gambling provider with a history of run-ins with French authorities - on an outstanding French warrant. Authorities arrested Petter Nylander, a resident of …
Burke Hansen, 24 Oct 2007
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American betting exchange craps out after four months

The state of Louisiana has apparently had enough of Betcha.com, a peer-to-peer betting exchange similar to Intrade or Betfair but based in Seattle, the Seattle Times reports. The raid on the company's offices was conducted by Washington authorities at the behest of the state of Louisiana after law enforcement officers there …
Burke Hansen, 12 Oct 2007
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Supreme Court denies cert in el-Masri rendition case

The Supreme Court today declined certiorari in the case of El Masri v. United States, effectively endorsing the Cheney administration's notorious extraordinary rendition program. The case had been dismissed at both the district court level and the appellate level based on the administration's invocation of the state secrets …
Burke Hansen, 09 Oct 2007
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Online gambling law regs revealed

The US Treasury Department (DoT), in consultation with the Department of Justice, last week finally released proposed regulations for enforcement of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). The UIGEA wreaked havoc on the internet gambling industry when it was passed last October, and the proposed regulations are …
Burke Hansen, 09 Oct 2007
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Online casinos hit by bot armies

Botnets are fulfilling law enforcement fears that online casinos could prove fertile ground for money laundering, according to a recent, little-noticed report by risk compliance firm Fortent. Some are engaging in variations of an old casino scam, in which preprogrammed-to-lose bots transfer dirty money - obtained through stolen …
Burke Hansen, 09 Oct 2007
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Rise of the f*cking machines: Arse Elektronika bumps uglies with Web 2.0

NSFW "To learn how to make computers more human, we have to f*ck them." - Stefan Lutschinger, Arse Elektronika How could El Reg fail to cover a conference with presentations like Paging Dr. Moreau: "Humanimal" Porn in the Age of Xenotransplants and Genetic Chimera on the agenda - a conference set in a San Francisco dungeon porn …
Burke Hansen, 09 Oct 2007
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Betfair catches whiff of tennis match fix

The gentlewomen of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) have gotten their knickers in a twist over some unusual betting activity at the online betting exchange Betfair, the AP reports. The suspicions led Betfair to suspend payouts on the match, in which 120th-ranked Mariya Koryttseva beat No. 96 Tatiana Poutchek of Belarus 6-4 …
Burke Hansen, 05 Oct 2007
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Brain-sucking parasitic killer menaces warming lake waters

Eat your heart out, David Cronenberg. Mad CIA frankenscience runs amuck in the American heartland. Brain-wasting parasite fans techno-paranoia. The pitch would write itself. Unfortunately, the reality of biological science is sometimes more than the stuff that cinematic sci-fi fantasy is made on. American health officials …
Burke Hansen, 01 Oct 2007