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Thomas C Greene

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Fake boarding pass brouhaha settled amicably

The FBI has let Indiana University graduate student Christopher Soghoian off the hook for having posted a fake boarding pass generator on his website. Soghoian had intended to illustrate the ease with which a person on the no-fly lists could gain access to secure areas of an airport, although it is unlikely that anyone could …
Thomas C Greene, 29 Nov 2006
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Supremes skeptical toward trivial patents

The US Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of KSR International v. Teleflex, in which the limits of combination patents and so-called obvious patents are being considered. According to several wire reports, KSR argued that its design for adjustable vehicle accelerator pedals does not violate a patent held by Teleflex …
Thomas C Greene, 29 Nov 2006
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Mom cooks baby in microwave oven - police

Police have charged an Ohio woman in the death, by microwave oven, of her one-month-old daughter, the Associated Press reports. Mom China Arnold, 26, stands accused of aggravated murder after bringing her dead infant daughter, Paris, to a hospital, with a "high body temperature". The woman was arrested, and later released. "We …
Thomas C Greene, 28 Nov 2006
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Xandros Linux conquers a hostile Sony laptop

OS Review I have an impressive talent for buying laptop computers hostile to Linux. Right now I'm using a Sony Vaio VGN-FS840/W, with more proprietary drivers than you can shake a stick at. It's so bad that even a retail edition of Windows XP won't run on it; you need the OEM Windows (and sure enough, Sony is too cheap to include the CD …
Thomas C Greene, 27 Nov 2006
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Websites not liable for third party posts - court

The California Supreme Court issued a unanimous ruling on Monday stating that websites can't be sued over third-party content, the Associated Press reports. The court found that, according to the Communications Decency Act of 1996, only the person responsible for creating libellous content can be pursued. At issue was a San …
Thomas C Greene, 21 Nov 2006
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Bushies push NSA wiretap extravaganza

Comment True freedom is protecting Americans by letting the NSA monitor their email and phone calls by the millions without a warrant, US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales explained to Air Force Academy cadets in a speech last week. It's a mistake to regard such Gestapo tactics as compromising freedom, he told the young officers in …
Thomas C Greene, 20 Nov 2006
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Bush taps ex-CIA man to head DoD

Analysis "It was a thumpin'," President George W Bush said of the mid-term elections, as he made Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld his first burnt offering to a Democratic Congress. Rumsfeld had served as a lightning rod for criticism of the war in Iraq, and Bush no doubt believes that chucking him will be seen on the Hill as a positive …
Thomas C Greene, 10 Nov 2006
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Democrats win majority in US Senate

Analysis It was only by a whisker, but Democrats managed to pull off a clean sweep of Congress in the midterm election. Two exceptionally tight Senate races, in Montana and in Virginia, ended yesterday with the Republican candidates conceding. Democrats now enjoy a razor-thin majority in the Senate, and a substantial one in the House. …
Thomas C Greene, 10 Nov 2006
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US govt may appeal in AT&T wiretap case

The US government and AT&T have been granted an opportunity to argue for dismissal of their case concerning the mass wiretapping of phone and email traffic, Reuters reports. The US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Tuesday that the defendants' motion for dismissal, originally rejected by US District Court Judge Vaughn …
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Piracy losses fabricated - Aussie study

A draft study commissioned by the Australian Attorney General's office finds that the music and software industries attributes sales losses to piracy without any evidence to back their claims, The Australian reports. According to a draft report by the Australian Institute of Criminology, the music industry can't explain how it …
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Americans choose Democrats

Americans have chosen to send Democrats to Capitol Hill in hopes that they will restrain the the bumbling and imperious Bush administration and correct its many blunders. According to exit polls, nearly 40 per cent of voters said they were consciously voting against the President and his numerous failed policies and national …
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USA to ground all travellers until 'cleared'

No one will be permitted to board an aircraft or a marine vessel leaving or bound for the United States until cleared by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP), under proposed regulations. Under current regs, the US requires airlines to transmit their manifests no later than …
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Republicans post nuke cookbook on line

The persistent delusions of senior Republicans in Congress and the President have led to the leaking of sensitive documents on nuclear weapons via the Web, the New York Times reports. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Peter Hoekstra (Republican, Michigan), and Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (Republican, …
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Stupid aul' Reg hack has tin ear

Correction In a recent article about electronic voting in Ireland, I claimed that Taoiseach Bertie Ahern had been misquoted in a Sunday Times article by Mark Tighe on the same topic. Speaking in the Dáil, Bertie had advocated resurrecting Ireland's electronic voting terminals whilst decrying the insult to Irish sophistication implied by …
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Florida ballot terminals favor Republicans

Florida voters using electronic ballot machines are having persistent problems choosing Democrats in early elections, the Miami Herald reports. The touch-screen gizmos seem strangely attracted to Republican candidates. One voter needed assistance from an election official, and even then, needed three tries to convince the …
Thomas C Greene, 31 Oct 2006
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Airline security critic raided by Feds

Indiana University graduate student Christopher Soghoian pointed out a flaw in airline security by posting a fake boarding pass generator online, and was rewarded with a visit from FBI agents with a search warrant. The FBI raided his residence on Saturday, only days after the student posted a PHP script enabling anyone to print …
Thomas C Greene, 31 Oct 2006
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Italian spy chief eyes jail over CIA abduction

Comment There's nothing new about governments exploiting the 9/11 atrocities for such purposes as passing draconian laws at home, or pleasing the USA enough to feast on some of its rich security pork. But there is something new about a country's top-ranked security official facing criminal charges for trying to please the Bush …
Thomas C Greene, 30 Oct 2006
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Los Alamos docs turn up in meth lab bust

A search of a suspected meth lab turned up classified documents from Los Alamos National Laboratory, where, among other things, nuclear weapons research is conducted. According to the Associated Press, a researcher at the lab was under investigation for methamphetamine related offences, and the documents were discovered when …
Thomas C Greene, 25 Oct 2006
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Irish e-voting emerges from the crypt

After spending €52m on a computerised voting scheme that doesn't work reliably, and warehousing the kit at a cost of about €800,000 per year, the Irish government would like to revive the technology so that the country's reputation doesn't suffer. Ireland will be embarrassed without computerised balloting, Taoiseach Bertie …
Thomas C Greene, 24 Oct 2006
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Irish passports go RFID, and naked

Analysis The Irish government has begun issuing RFID passports with biometric data that can be read at a distance to comply with US regulations for its visa waiver programme. But unlike the RFID passports the USA is now issuing, the Irish ones lack a security feature preventing them from being skimmed, or read surreptitiously. The US …
Thomas C Greene, 23 Oct 2006

Venturing online in Ireland

Comment I'm flattered by the number of Reg readers who have spotted the change in my byline and taken the time to ask if I've moved permanently. And for the record, yes; I and my lovely wife and dear little boy have emigrated from the USA. And yes, we're very much pleased to be here. Naturally, for someone in my line of work, a …
Thomas C Greene, 20 Oct 2006
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EFF to probe FBI's new monster database

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is suing the US Department of Justice to learn more about the FBI's new monster database, called the Investigative Data Warehouse, or IDW. The Bureau has been eager to showcase its new counterterrorist gimmick, after expensive and largely humiliating efforts to launch its Trilogy and …
Thomas C Greene, 18 Oct 2006
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Welcome to the Fourth Reich

Comment "It is a rare occasion when a President can sign a bill that he knows will save American lives; I have that privilege this morning," US President George W Bush trilled as he consigned 200 years of judicial oversight to the scrap heap of history. For the bill that he signed with such evident satisfaction has relieved the federal …
Thomas C Greene, 18 Oct 2006
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TV causes autism - study

Researchers at Cornell University and Purdue University have claim to have found a link between childhood TV watching and autism, confirming what everyone had already surmised. The study, by Michael Waldman, Sean Nicholson and Nodir Adilov, is based on data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics American Time Use Survey, which …
Thomas C Greene, 17 Oct 2006

NK nukes: We're all (not) going to die

Analysis Just when we all got comfortable with the idea of Islamofascists bringing down the curtain on humanity's dominion over the Earth, those wacky North Koreans come along and put everyone's pet Apocalyptic theories into disarray. And boy, is it getting complicated: we've got people trying to blow up airplanes with KY jelly and …
Thomas C Greene, 16 Oct 2006

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