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Thomas C Greene

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MS fits Messenger with sex police panic button

Microsoft has been persuaded to install a panic button in UK editions of Messenger, enabling every crackpot and prankster to distract police with claims that online sexual predators are pursuing them. A mere mouse click will alert the authorities that an online sex offender has been discovered. Child-protective hysterics from …
Thomas C Greene, 24 Aug 2006
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Nuclear Apocalypse milder than expected

Update The Register is pleasantly surprised to learn that humanity continues to muddle along after a leading Islamic scholar predicted its abrupt destruction on 22 August. Academician Bernard Lewis, a specialist in Middle-Eastern culture and politics, and one of Dick Cheney's favorite thinkers, appeared to have it all worked out in an …
Thomas C Greene, 23 Aug 2006
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Nuclear Holocaust starts today: WSJ

Public Service Announcement The Register regrets to report that the world is about to end. It seems that Iran is going to attack Israel today, 22 August, with nuclear weapons, and initiate World War III, as famous Islamic scholar Bernard Lewis explains in his recent Wall Street Journal editorial. "...confrontation seems to be looming between a nuclear- …
Thomas C Greene, 21 Aug 2006
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Apple relieves Chinese iPod slave laborers

Apple Computer has vowed to cease driving its Chinese iPod assemblers like rented mules, after being shocked, shocked, to learn of abuses at several of its overseas factories. The Mail on Sunday recently broke the story, and identified poor conditions at factories in Longhua and Suzhou, operated by Taiwanese outfits Foxconn and …
Thomas C Greene, 19 Aug 2006

Terror charges axed in 2nd cellphone bomb plot

Update The spirit of Barney Fife is alive and well in small-town America, but that will hardly amuse the three men recently accused of terrorist crimes in the redneck backwater of Caro, Michigan. Adham Abdelhamid Othman, Louai Abdelhamied Othman, and Maruan Awad Muhareb, who were rumbled by a watchful Wal-Mart clerk when they bought …
Thomas C Greene, 18 Aug 2006
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Federal judge axes Bush mass surveillance

A Detroit federal judge has declared the Bush administration's warrantless wiretap scheme unconstitutional. Ruling on a case brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) against the government, US District Judge Anna Taylor said that the electronic dragnet violates the First Amendment, the Fourth Amendment, and the …
Thomas C Greene, 18 Aug 2006
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Mass murder in the skies: was the plot feasible?

Analysis The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air; And a loud voice came forth out of the temple of Heaven, From the throne, saying, "It is done!" --Revelation 16:17 Binary liquid explosives are a sexy staple of Hollywood thrillers. It would be tedious to enumerate the movie terrorists who've employed relatively harmless …
Thomas C Greene, 17 Aug 2006

FBI doubts cellphone terror scheme

Update The FBI has expressed reservations about the alleged cellphone terror plot uncovered by a Wal-Mart cashier working with small-town cops in Michigan, which we reported recently. The purchase of an unusually large number of TracFones at a Wal-Mart store led to terrorism-related felony charges against three men of Middle-Eastern …
Thomas C Greene, 15 Aug 2006
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Wal-Mart cashier foils cellphone terror plot

An eagle-eyed Wal-Mart clerk in Caro, Michigan may have foiled a dastardly terrorist plot simply by alerting police to a suspicious purchase made by three men of Middle-Eastern descent, the Associated Press reports. Police are holding the men on terror charges because they bought 80 pre-paid cell phones in violation of Wal-Mart …
Thomas C Greene, 14 Aug 2006
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Yanks not impressed with UK terror emergency

Comment US Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff appeared relaxed, even amused, during a Washington press conference where he explained the American response to the UK airport terror emergency. A few security inconveniences will be put in place until the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) figures out how better to deal …
Thomas C Greene, 10 Aug 2006
hands waving dollar bills in the air

US Senator claims campaign site 'hacked'

A spokesman for US Senator Joseph Lieberman (Democrat, Connecticut) added a twist to the state's Democratic primary election by claiming that their website was hacked, presumably by plumbers associated with challenger Ned Lamont. "Voters cannot go to our website. They cannot access information," Lieberman campaign manager Sean …
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People still too human for Stephen Hawking

"Did you have fun with your robot buddy?" --Homer Simpson to Lisa Simpson, on Stephen Hawking's departure "How can the human race survive the next hundred years?" Stephen Hawking wants to know. So much so that he posted the question on line, in quest of enlightenment from the Netizen masses and their collective wisdom. At …
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Bomb Earth's atmosphere with sulphur, researcher says

Firing artillery shells into the stratosphere to release sulphur particles could defeat global warming, climate researcher Paul Crutzen says. In a paper to be published in the journal Climatic Change in August, the professor will explain his scheme in greater detail. So far we have learned, from this press release, that …
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Secret court secretly reviewing secret wiretaps

Washington Roundup Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Arlen Specter (Republican, Pennsylvania) has crafted proposed legislation, pre-approved by the White House, enabling the FISA star chamber court to rubber-stamp the NSA's massive, warrantless wiretap program, and decide that it is constitutional. Clearly, the Republicans don't want the …
Thomas C Greene, 14 Jul 2006
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Supremes axe Gitmo kangaroo courts

The US Supreme Court has axed a pillar of the Bush Administration's national security strategy by insisting that prisoners in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba not be subjected to the kangaroo courts, otherwise known as "military tribunals," that the Bushies have attempted to use in disposing of terror suspects. The Court had previously …
Thomas C Greene, 29 Jun 2006
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NY Times accused of treason

US Representative Peter King (Republican, New York), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, has called the New York Times "treasonous" for informing the public about another secret Bush Administration counter-terrorist program, the Associated Press reports. "We're at war, and for the Times to release information …
Thomas C Greene, 26 Jun 2006
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Net neutrality has ruined the web

Comment I thought I knew something about networking, but according to an animated cartoon by telco lobbyists, I've been laboring under numerous misconceptions. For example, I'd always believed it possible to increase both capacity and bandwidth without the kind of traffic discrimination that the telcos would like to introduce. …
Thomas C Greene, 22 Jun 2006
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DoJ pushes data retention on ISPs

Anticipating a court defeat for the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) bid which would extend the Communications Assistance to Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) to make Internet service providers wiretap friendly, US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and FBI Director Robert Mueller have launched a PR campaign pitching Internet …
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Telcos wish to deny mass snooping

BellSouth has demanded that USA Today must retract its story fingering the telco in the Bush Administration's mass domestic dragnet of phone records. "BellSouth insists that your newspaper retract the false and unsubstantiated statements you have made regarding our company," the company demanded in a letter to USA Today …
Thomas C Greene, 19 May 2006
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NY Times administers coup de grâce to crippled website

The New York Times website has certainly seen better days. The financially-strapped company blundered late last year with its TimesSelect gimmick, placing its regular columnists behind a subscription scheme and strangling its circulation. Until the TimesSelect fiasco, the regular columnists were nearly always among the "most …
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Middle-class peeves cost more money than exists

A simple thing prompted this inquiry: a recent story by Forbes that we happened upon, in which we encountered the startling news that this year's National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) tournament will cost US businesses billions in lost productivity. The figures come courtesy of consulting outfit Challenger, Gray and …
Thomas C Greene, 16 Mar 2006
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Senate to save Bush's bacon on illegal wiretaps

The Republican-controlled Senate is convinced that US President George W. Bush committed a crime when he ordered wiretaps outside of the provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), because it about to undertake legislation to make them legal. Naturally, it would not be necessary to make them legal if they …
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Permanent Pat Act a done deal as Senate caves

The US Senate has approved a new version of the so-called "Patriot" Act at last, by a vote of 89-10. After months of stalling and pointless posturing that made two temporary extensions of the previous version necessary, Senators knuckled down and gave the Bush Administration what it has been asking for all along. Although the …
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Windows back door rumor is bunk

Contrary to a recent rumor circulating on the internet, Microsoft did not intentionally back-door the majority of Windows systems by means of the WMF vulnerability. Although it is a serious issue that should be patched straight away, the idea that it's a secret back door is quite preposterous. The rumor began when popinjay …
Thomas C Greene, 21 Jan 2006
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NSA uses ECHELON against US citizens

Washington Roundup Who would have believed that twitchy paranoiacs are actually onto something? Incredibly, they are: the New York Times has revealed that the US National Security Agency (NSA) has been spying on American citizens. Previously, the Agency had shown itself to be scrupulous about avoiding this sort of activity. But according to …
Thomas C Greene, 16 Dec 2005

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