Random, Unrelated Misfortune: Indiana Gov Website Targeted By Malicous Cyber Attacks

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(CBS) — The controversy over Indiana’s so-called religious freedom law was not the only problem the Hoosier state faced Tuesday. It also fended off an apparent attack on its official website.

It was the second time since Friday that the IN.gov website was overwhelmed by simultaneous requests for service.

Graig Lubsen of the Indiana Office of Technology said the threat was known well before the controversy over the new law surfaced.

He was quick to say that the site was not hacked. Instead, it was inundated by millions of simultaneous requests for service, which slowed access to the site for some and timed out others. Read the rest of this entry »


The Message is the Medium

Messaging Services Are Rapidly Growing Beyond Online Chat

“I PROPOSE, if and when found, to take him by his beastly neck, shake him till he froths, and pull him inside out and make him swallow himself.” It is not often that Silicon Valley’s denizens quote P.G. chat appsWodehouse. But this is what Benedict Evans of Andreessen Horowitz, a venture-capital firm, expects the success of messaging services could do to both mobile and corporate software.

The most striking example so far of this process came on March 25th when Facebook announced at a conference in San Francisco that it has started to turn its Messenger service into a “platform” that can carry, and be integrated with, all manner of apps created by other software firms. So Facebook Messenger, which is itself an app for smartphones that run on Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating systems, will then be competing with those operating systems’ services for buying apps and downloads. In plain language, it could become the app that ate Apple’s app store.

The prospect may surprise those who thought messaging apps were just another way for teens to share this week’s tragic news about One Direction (a pop group, apparently). But their continuing explosive growth suggests that they will be a
lasting phenomenon. According to Flurry, a market-research firm, the total number of users grew by more than 100% last year (which explains why old-style text messages seem to have peaked, see chart). Together the ten biggest messaging 20150328_WBC665apps, which include KakaoTalk, Viber and WeChat, now boast more than 3 billion users. WhatsApp, the leader of the pack, alone has 700m—a big reason why Facebook last year paid $22 billion for the firm, despite continuing to develop its own Messenger app.

As the number of users has grown, specialised versions of messaging apps have emerged. What made Snapchat popular was the ability to exchange pictures that vanish after a few seconds (and often contain nudity). Secret, Whisper and Yik Yak let users remain anonymous (including bullies, unfortunately). Telegram stands out because of its strong encryption (making intelligence services unhappy). And FireChat works without cellular service: users’ phones communicate directly, which was a popular feature during recent protests in Hong Kong. Read the rest of this entry »


Turkish Cartoonists Fined for Suggesting President Tayyip Erdogan is Gay

Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan arrives for a welcoming ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Ankara

Two Turkish caricaturists have been fined for insulting President Tayyip Erdogan after a court ruled that one of their cartoons implied he was gay, local media said on Wednesday.

“Erdogan, who brooks little dissent, has dominated politics for more than a decade in Sunni Muslim Turkey, where homosexuality is widely frowned upon.”

Bahadir Baruter and Ozer Aydogan were prosecuted for an illustration on the front page of satirical magazine Penguen last August in which an official greeted Erdogan while apparently making a circle with his thumb and forefinger.

“Others to fall foul of his sensitivities include a former Miss Turkey winner, who is facing a possible jail term for allegedly insulting him on social media, and a 13-year old boy who was this month questioned over a Facebook post.”

Prosecutors launched the indictment after a citizen complained that the hand signal, commonly used in Turkey to insult homosexuals, was against the country’s moral values.

Lawyers representing Erdogan then got involved in the case, demanding that the court punish the cartoonists for “insulting a public official”, Hurriyet newspaper reported. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Midland Police Dept Bomb Squad Detonates 20,000 Pounds of Seized Fireworks

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It was never meant to be a fireworks show, that’s why the Midland Police Department’s bomb squad set off 20,000 pounds of seized fireworks during the day.

The Midland Police Department posted the video on its Facebook page of one of the “disposals” that took place over three and half days in Glasscock County. Read the rest of this entry »


‘L’Origine du Monde’! Facebook Can be Sued if it Tries to Censor Content, Says French Court

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Frenchman whose Facebook account was shut by the social media giant after he posted an image of an explicit 19th century painting cries victory after Paris High Court rules his legal complaint can be handled in France

, Paris: The High Court in Paris has set a legal precedent after ruling that the American social media giant Facebook can be taken to court in France.

“I felt like they were indirectly treating me like a pornographer whereas this is a French painting hanging in a museum. It annoys me to be censored.”

The ruling was made after Frédéric Durand-Baissas, a teacher and father-of-three, posted a picture of L’Origine du Monde (The Origin of the World), an 1866 painting by Gustave Courbet that hangs in the Musée D’Orsay in Paris, on his Facebook account.

“The tableau, which depicts a close-up of the female genitalia, was deemed “too offensive” for Facebook and removed, and the user subsequently blocked.”

Arguing that his freedom of expression had been violated, Mr Durand-Baissas filed a legal complaint to the Parisian court.

“I felt like they were indirectly treating me like a pornographer whereas this is a French painting hanging in a museum. It annoys me to be censored,” he told BFM TV.

Two hauliers prepare to install the Gustave Courbet's canvas 'L'origine du monde' (The origin of the world) at the Courbet museum (AFP)

Two hauliers prepare to install the Gustave Courbet’s canvas ‘L’origine du monde’ (The origin of the world) at the Courbet museum (AFP)

His lawyer, Stéphane Cottineau, insisted that France’s 28 million Facebook users should be able to take any issues they have with the company to a French court.

During a hearing in January, Facebook had argued French justice was not competent to handle the case as the man had signed the social media group’s terms that stipulate only American courts can handle disputes.

“The first round has been won by David against Goliath. Given the Paris High Court’s aura, this decision will set a legal precedent for other socal media networks and other giants of the net that use the location of their headquarters, mainly in the United States, to try and escape French law.”

It also said he could not expect French consumers’ rights as the service was free and he had opened an account on his own initiative.

But the court found Facebook’s compulsory clause on jurisdiction, in which only a California court can handle disputes, to be “abusive”. Read the rest of this entry »


Facebook Messenger adds iOS 8 extension, WordPress gains WYSIWYG editor & image features

Originally posted on 9to5Mac:

Facebook is out with a useful update to its Messenger app for iPhone and iPad today adding an action extension for sharing content from other apps on iOS 8. This adds the ability to have deep Facebook Messenger integration with other apps including Safari and Photos just like Apple’s own Messages app.

Once enabled, you can do things like share images and videos from the Photos app or links from Safari directly to your contacts on Facebook Messenger without having to jump back and forth between apps. Facebook Messenger version 22.0 is rolling out now on the App Store.

WordPress’s mobile blogging app for iPhone and iPad also received a new update bringing the experience closer to that on the desktop … 

View original 96 more words


[VIDEO] Grammy Nominated Singer Arrested After Allegedly Punching Female Fan on Stage

A Grammy nominated singer is facing charges after allegedly punching a female fan on stage during a Mardi Gras performance reported WLOX-TV.

“This was a completely involuntary reflex reaction to people infringing on his stage space. It was uncharacteristic behavior that was initiated by outside uncontrolled forces.”

– Joseph Foreman’s rep, in a prepared statement

Joseph Foreman, known as Afroman on stage, was caught on camera during a Tuesday performance at a concert in Biloxi Mississippi.

In the video, posted on Facebook, a woman can be seen coming up next to Foreman while he played guitar only to have him turn and throw a punch.

The woman can be seen falling instantly to the ground. Read the rest of this entry »


University of Texas, Arlington Campus REWIND: Muslim Student Fabricated Story About Being Threatened by a Man With a Gun

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Jessica Chasmar reports: A Muslim student at the University of Texas, Arlington, who claimed she was threatened at gunpoint by a white man on campus, admitted on Friday that she made the story up, a university spokeswoman said.

The university had issued an alert Friday that the student, whose name was not released, told police that she was followed on her way to campus by a white man wearing a camouflage baseball hat and driving a white pickup truck, the Daily Caller reported. She claimed that when she parked at the university, the man yelled threats at her and pointed a handgun at her before taking off, the Dallas Morning News reported.

[Also see – Student Who Claimed to Be Victim of Anti-Muslim Hate Crime Now Admits She Lied – NRO]

The student also posted on Facebook that the man might have targeted her because she is Muslim, citing the fatal shootings of three Muslim students last week in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, the Morning News reported. Read the rest of this entry »


KickassTorrents Has Switched Domains Again

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It’s hard to be a torrent site

Popular torrent site KickassTorrents switched back to a Tongan top-level domain (.to) this week after authorities apparently banned its Somalian address, KickassTorrents.so.

The file-sharing site had only been at the Somalian address since last November, but it appears a crackdown has forced it to move again, Mashable reports. The domain frequently rotates between different countries.

KickassTorrents is one of the Internet’s most popular web sites, ranked by online analytics company Alexa as the world’s 68th biggest.

Torrents have come under increased scrutiny after recent server raids on the popular torrent site the Pirate Bay, and investigations by the U.S. Department of Justice into sites like Demonoid and Torrentz in 2011.

[Mashable]

Via: TIME


Facebook and Instagram are Down, and Everyone is F-F-F-F-F-F-Freaking Out

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Provocative Anti-Semetic Standup Comic Detained As Charlie Hebdo Sells Out

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…In the city still shaken by the deaths of 17 people at the hands of Islamic extremists, a controversial comic who appeared to be praising the men was taken into custody.

The core of the irreverent newspaper’s staff perished a week ago when gunmen stormed its offices, killing 12. Those who survived put out the issue that appeared on newsstands Wednesday, working out of borrowed offices, with a print run of 3 million — more than 50 times the usual circulation.

“Dieudonne, who popularized an arm gesture that resembles a Nazi salute and who has been convicted repeatedly of racism and anti-Semitism, is no stranger to controversy. His provocative performances were banned last year but he has a core following among many of France’s disaffected young people.”

The storming of the newspaper was the opening salvo of three days of terror and bloodshed in the Paris region, ending when security forces killed all three gunmen on Friday.

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France’s government was preparing tougher anti-terrorism measures, and there were growing signs that authorities were ready to use current laws to their fullest extent. Wednesday’s detention of Dieudonne for defending terrorism followed a four-year prison sentence involving the same charge for a man in northern France who seemed to defend the attacks in a drunken rant while resisting arrest.

“His Facebook post, which was swiftly deleted, said he felt like “Charlie Coulibaly” — merging the names of Charlie Hebdo and Amedy Coulibaly, the gunman who seized a kosher market and killed four hostages, along with a policewoman.”

French police say as many as six members of a terrorist cell that carried out the Paris attacks may still be at large, including a man seen driving a car registered to the widow of one of the gunmen. The country has deployed 10,000 troops to protect sensitive sites, including Jewish schools and synagogues, mosques and travel hubs.

Dieudonne, who popularized an arm gesture that resembles a Nazi salute and who has been convicted repeatedly of racism and anti-Semitism, is no stranger to controversy. His provocative performances were banned last year but he has a core following among many of France’s disaffected young people. Read the rest of this entry »


The Global Panic of 2014 Remembered: Wired Looks at Our Slow Descent Into Dystopia

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Devon Maloney writes: This year was, to put it as gently as possible, the devil’s playground. Oh sure, every year has its horrors and there are far worse annums behind us (the Crusades, anyone?), but 2014 proved to be a year in which long-festering social, environmental, and political problems were exposed in ways we have not seen in a very long time.

Thank social media, or globalization, or perhaps the recent explosion of hyper-accessible dystopian entertainment (though that is something of a chicken/egg scenario), but no single year  in recent memory has so closely resembled the exaggerated conditions employed as metaphorical warnings in dystopian sci-fi. In fact, a lot of dystopian fiction we saw this year is at the very least on par with everyday realities, if not tame by comparison.

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Around the world, instances of palpable, immediate environmental catastrophe and brazen, systematic oppression proliferated at a terrifying rate, which underscores a position we and others have taken of late: With such nightmares growing more real each day, where does dystopian fiction end and reality begin? Read the rest of this entry »


SONY HACK UPDATE: ‘The Interview’ Facebook, Twitter Accounts Are Deleted

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Todd Spangler reports: The Facebook and Twitter pages for Sony Pictures Entertainment’s “The Interview” — the satirical film at the center of North Korea’s alleged attack on the studio — as of Saturday morning were not accessible.

It’s not clear if Sony deleted the accounts or if hackers had disabled them….(read more)

Variety


REWIND: Remember That Time Elizabeth Warren Said A Shutdown Was ‘Anarchy’?

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 writes: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) was against government shutdowns before she was for them. Last year, she railed against Republicans and said they wanted to shut down the government in order to prevent food inspections, allow lead into children’s toys manufactured in China, and deform babies through their mothers’ use of unsafe morning sickness pills.

Seriously, she said that:

You’d think that they believe that the government that functions best is a government that doesn’t function at all. So far, they haven’t ended government, but they have achieved the next best thing: shutting the government down. But behind all the slogans of the Tea Party and all the thinly veiled calls for anarchy in Washington, behind all that, there’s a reality.

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The American people don’t want the extremist Republican’s bizarre vision of a future without government. They don’t support it. Why? Because the American people know that without government, we would no longer be a great nation with a bright future. The American people know that government matters.

The anarchy gang is quick to malign government, but when was the last time anyone called for regulators to go easier on companies that put lead in children’s toys? Or for food inspectors…(read more)

My, my, my, how things have changed. Now Warren is suddenly a big fan of government shutdowns. She’s such a big fan that she’s trying to orchestrate one all by herself:

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Weird. I was told last year that threatening to block a spending bill over one provision was tantamount to treason. I was told that hostage-taking during the budget negotiation process was downright un-American. Read the rest of this entry »


Cuckoo Journalism for a Tweetable Time

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Edward Kosner writes: Desperate times call forth desperate journalism. Suddenly, what we used to think of as the big-time press is being convulsed by a spasm of amateurism.stock-footage-animated-angry-cuckoo-clock-bird

Rolling Stone, since the 1960s a paragon of hip investigative journalism and gonzo reportage, finds itself sweatily backpedaling from a single-sourced exposé of gang rape at the University of Virginia, an article that rattled the campus designed by Thomas Jefferson and went viral.

The 30-something Facebook zillionaire who bought the New Republic two years ago decided to convert the century-old journal of political and arts commentary into “a vertically integrated digital media company.” The two top editors quit as they were being pushed—and nearly all their staff and 51GQLlXkr7L._SL250_contributors followed them out the door, devastating the magazine.

[Order Edward Kosner‘s book “News to Me: Adventures of an Accidental Journalist” from Amazon]

Not long ago, Newsweek resurrected itself in print after a near-death experience. Its very first cover story claimed to identify the mysterious Asian creator of bitcoin, the brave new digital currency—only to have the putative inventor surface to insist persuasively that the magazine had the right name, but the wrong man. And the vastly experienced author of a new 500-page biography of Bill Cosby managed to blow the lead: to leave out detailed accusations by more than a dozen women that the beloved comedian had drugged and raped or otherwise sexually molested them.

RStone-WSJ

Inevitably in any journalistic trend story, there is an element of coincidence in the cascade of these sorry episodes. And, even in the best-run publications, mistakes are as inescapable in journalism as they are in any sustained human activity. But there is ancuckoo-clock-tatoo unseen common denominator to all these fiascoes that helps explain why they happened, illuminating both the existential dangers that serious journalism now faces and its fraught future.

“Here was a story made to go viral—doing journalistic due diligence on it might blunt its sharp edges and sap its appeal. As it happened, the Rolling Stone piece was undone by old-school reporting by the Washington Post, which has the resources to do its job…”

Quite simply, print editors and their writers, and especially the publications’ proprietors, are being unhinged by the challenge of making a splash in a new world increasingly dominated by twitterthe values of digital journalism. Traditional long-form journalism—painstakingly reported, carefully written, rewritten and edited, scrupulously fact-checked—finds itself fighting a losing battle for readers and advertisers. Quick hits, snarky posts and click-bait in the new, ever-expanding cosmos of websites promoted by even quicker teasers on Twitter and Facebook have broadened the audience but shrunk its attention span, sometimes to 140 characters (shorter than this sentence).

Whether they realize it or not, and most do, print journalists feel the pressure to make their material ever more compelling, to make it stand out amid the digital chatter. The easiest way to do that is to come up with stories so sensational that even the Twitterverse has to take notice. Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: General Mills’ ‘French Toast Crunch’ Cereal is Back by Popular Demand

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Sugar-blasted Breakfast Treat Gets New Life

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — 2006 was the year Twitter debuted and Pluto was demoted to dwarf planet status. It was also the last time French Toast Crunch cereal was for sale in U.S. stores.

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“Little toast-shaped, maple-flavored bites of deliciousness…”

Now, General Mills has given the sugar-blasted breakfast treat new life, announcing its return to supermarket shelves after an eight-year hiatus.

The distinctive “little toast-shaped, maple-flavored bites of deliciousness,” as General Mills describes them, were survived by their sister cereal Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

General Mills said it was responding to demand by relaunching French Toast Crunch.

But it also wants to ride a wave of nostalgia: Children who ate the cereal in the mid-to-late 1990s are now in their 20s and buying cereal themselves. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Muslim Youths Shooting Rocket Fireworks at Cops in Bow, East London

A group of young Muslims launching rocket fireworks at police in Bow, East London. The video was distributed on Facebook by members of the public that were concerned it did not appear in the mainstream media.

 –  Brietbart.com


NASA Hoax Response Item of the Day

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non-stop-panic-pearls


BREAKING: Body of Missing Arkansas Real Estate Agent Beverly Carter Found

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Body of missing real estate agent found in shallow grave

(CNN) — The body of missing Arkansas realtor Beverly Carter has been located north of the Little Rock area, the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office said early Tuesday.

Her body was found in a shallow grave near Cabot, about 20 miles northeast of central Little Rock.

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Arron Lewis, of Jacksonville, will be charged with capital murder, the sheriff’s office said.

Police took Aaron Lewis’s photo after a Sunday traffic accident.140929115636-aaron-lewis-story-body

The 33-year-old was arrested by authorities Monday.

“Lewis admitted … to kidnapping Beverly Carter, but would not divulge her whereabouts,” the sheriff’s office said. After he was booked into the Pulaski County Regional Detention Facility, investigators said they obtained information that led them to the property where the grave was located. Read the rest of this entry »


FireChat Messaging App Gains Users During Hong Kong Protests

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Exclusive – Photo by pundit planet’s Hong Kong Bureau Chief

A new mobile messaging app that enables users to communicate in the absence of cellular or Internet connections is seeing a surge in downloads among Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protesters.

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Exclusive – Photo by pundit planet’s Hong Kong Bureau Chief

The free FireChat app, which launched in March, was downloaded 100,000 times in Hong Kong between Sunday morning and Monday morning, said Micha Benoliel, co-founder and chief executive of San Francisco-based Open Garden, which developed the app.firechat-hk

“When your smartphone cannot connect to a cellular tower or Wi-Fi it chooses Bluetooth.”

– Benoliel, a 42-year-old France native

It is unclear how many protesters are using it to communicate regularly during the protests, which mark Hong Kong’s most serious confrontation with Beijing in more than a decade. Students and other protesters have flooded the city’s streets in the weeks since Beijing’s decision on Aug. 31 to impose limits on how Hong Kong elects its leader. The protests escalated Sunday, with police using pepper spray and tear gas to disperse demonstrators.

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Exclusive – Photo by pundit planet’s Hong Kong Bureau Chief

[Also see - VIDEO – Aerial Drone Captures Scale of Hong Kong Protests – WSJ VIDEO]

There have been no confirmed cellular network outages in Hong Kong, though some people have complained of sluggish mobile connections, perhaps due to high numbers of people massed together. Read the rest of this entry »


Reality Check: Despite Apple’s Privacy Pledge, Cops Can Still Pull Data Off a Locked iPhone

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A reminder to iPhone owners cheering Apple’s latest privacy win: Just because Apple will no longer help police to turn your smartphone inside out doesn’t mean it can prevent the cops from vivisecting the device on their own.

“I am quite impressed, Mr. Cook! That took courage. But it does not mean that your data is beyond law enforcement’s reach.”

–  iOS forensics expert Jonathan Zdziarski

On Wednesday evening Apple made news with a strongly-worded statement about how it protects users’ data from government requests. And the page noted at least one serious change in that privacy stance: No longer will Apple aid law enforcement or intelligence agencies in cracking its users’ passcodes to access their email, photos, or other mobile data. That’s a 180-degree flip from its previous offer to cops, which demanded only that they provide the device to Apple with a warrantto have its secrets extracted.

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In fact, Apple claims that the new scheme now makes Apple not only unwilling, but unable to open users’ locked phones for law enforcement. “Unlike our competitors, Apple cannot bypass your passcode and therefore cannot access [your personal] data,” reads the new policy. “So it’s not technically feasible for us to respond to government warrants for the extraction of this data from devices in their possession running iOS 8.”

“I can do it. I’m sure the guys in suits in the governments can do it. And I’m sure that there are at least three or four commercial tools that can still do this, too.”

But as the media and privacy activists congratulated Apple on that new resistance to government snooping, iOS forensics expert Jonathan Zdziarski offered a word of caution for the millions of users clamoring to pre-order the iPhone 6 and upgrade to iOS 8. In many cases, he points out, the cops can still grab and offload sensitive data from your locked iPhone without Apple’s help, even in iOS 8. All they need, he says, is your powered-on phone and access to a computer you’ve previously used to move data onto and off of it. Read the rest of this entry »


Cop Smear Blowback: Civil Rights Leaders Demand that Actress Daniele Watts Apologize to LAPD for Claiming She was Racially Profiled


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