Tech

Senate Judiciary committee interrogates Apple, Facebook about crypto

Enlarge / Lindsay Graham doesn't want people reading his texts. But he'll make darned sure there are backdoors for law enforcement into encrypted texts and devices, and he will pass a law if he needs to.US Senate In a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday, while their counterparts in the House were busy with articles of impeachment, senators questioned New York District Attorney Cyrus Vance, University of Texas Professor Matt Tait, and experts from Apple and Facebook over the issue of gaining legal access to data in encrypted devices and messages. And committee chairman Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) warned the representatives of the tech companies, "You're gonna find a way to do this or we're going to do it for you." The hearing, entitled "Encryption and Lawful Access: Evaluating Benefits and Risks to Public Safety and Privacy," was very heavy on the public safety with a few passing words about privacy. Graham said that he appreciated "the fact that pe..

Tech

Fewer than 10% of Americans are buying $1,000 smartphones, report says

Enlarge / The Samsung Galaxy Note10. Ron Amadeo We've already seen indications that American consumers are holding onto their smartphones longer than before, posing challenges for companies like Apple and Samsung for whom mobile phone sales are important to the bottom line. A new NPD report reiterates that point but adds that fewer than 10 percent of American smartphone buyers spend more than $1,000, effectively ruling out flagship phones like the iPhone 11 Pro and the Samsung Galaxy Note10 that gather most of the marketer and media attention. The main point of concern raised by the NPD report, though, is 5G adoption. 5G phones will likely be unaffordable for many consumers at first, with the first wave of mainstream 5G phones in 2020 likely to cost at least $1,000 in most cases. On the other hand, consumer awareness of the imminent rollout of 5G is high, and many consumers cited that coming change as a reason they're holding out on spending big on new phones. It could be t..

Tech

Heatwaves on multiple continents linked by jet stream tendency

Enlarge / An example of meandering jet stream winds.NASA Summer 2018 saw some notably extreme weather in multiple locations around the Northern Hemisphere. There were heatwaves in the Western United States, Western Europe, the Caspian region through Siberia, and Japan as well. Thats not necessarily interesting on its face, as theres always weird weather going on somewhere. But this was not a coincidence, as all these events were physically linked by the physics of the jet stream. It's a linkage that could contribute to a crisis for food production. The Northern Hemisphere jet stream is a band of strong winds that marks a boundary between cold Arctic air and warmer mid-latitude air. As the jet stream slides farther north or south, it brings changes in temperatures with it, via the cold and warm fronts that can bring rain. The jet stream's path can range from a neat, east-west stripe around the planet to lazy meanders that form serpentine shapes. Large meanders tend to move s..

UK Politics

IG Horowitz Doesnt Rule Out Political Bias May Have Played Role in FISA Abuse

Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz appeared to admit during Wednesdays Senate Judiciary hearings that political bias could have played a role in the abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) process to surveil President Trump campaign staffer Carter Page. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) pressed Horowitz on the role political bias could have played in the FISA warrant on Page. Earlier in the day, and in his report, Horowitz concluded that political bias didnt play a role in the FBIs decision to start an investigation into potential Russian involvement in the Trump campaign. Eventually, Horowitz replied, “I think its fair for people to sit there and look at all of these 17 events and wonder how it could be purely incompetence.” He also said that he “agrees completely” with the assertion that someone at the FBI needs to be fired. The “culture” also needs to be “changed” at the FBI, he added. After being questioned by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), the inspecto..

UK Politics

Republicans Consider Calling Zero Witnesses in Possible Trump Impeachment Trial

Republican leaders in the Senate are signaling they might call no witnesses in a possible impeachment trial, which would be triggered if the House votes to impeach President Donald Trump. The House, which is controlled by Democrats, needs a simple majority to impeach Trump; a trial on the articles of impeachment would then commence in the Senate. Republicans hold a 53-47 majority in the Senate. Without a two-thirds vote on the articles, Trump would remain in office. A number of House Republicans and President Trump have said they want to call witnesses during the trial, including House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the person who filed a complaint against Trump, and former Vice President Joe Bidens son Hunter Biden. House Republicans tried multiple times to call witnesses during the impeachment hearings but were blocked by Democratic colleagues. But a growing number of GOP Senate leaders are suggesting a trial will move quickly, without witnesses. “I think a protrac..

UK Politics

IG Horowitz Says FISA Surveillance Without Legal Foundation Is Illegal Surveillance

Inspector General Michael Horowitz told a Senate Judiciary hearing that surveillance without a legal foundation is “illegal surveillance.” His comment came after he accused top officials in the FBI of mishandling a flawed effort via a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court to get authority to surveil Carter Page, an American foreign policy adviser who worked on President Donald Trumps election effort. Horowitz was asked by Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) about whether there was a point when surveilling Page became unlawful. Horowitz first said that his report was sent to the courts to make a decision on whether charges should be filed against anyone at the FBI. “If you dont have a legal foundation to surveil somebody and you keep doing it, is that bad?” Graham asked Horowitz. “Absolutely,” he replied, adding that “its illegal surveillance.” “Its not court-authorized surveillance,” Horowitz added. The FISA warrant application featured claims from an u..

UK Politics

Lindsey Graham Excoriates FBI, Media on IG Report: God Help Us All

Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) opened a committee hearing on Wednesday on the Department of Justices Inspector Generals report on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) investigation, saying there were widespread problems at the agency when it spied on a campaign aide of President Donald Trump. Inspector General Michael Horowitz was called before the committee and Graham said the report revealed widespread corruption at the nations top law enforcement agency. Horowitz concluded that the errors amounted to a failure that implicated the chain of command at the FBI responsible for handling the FISA applications, including senior officials. What started off as a few irregularities in the FBI morphed into a criminal conspiracy to defraud the FISA court system, illegally monitor a U.S. citizen, and keep an operation open into a sitting president, Graham stated. The report didnt just show “a few irregularities,” he said. “What happened here is the system failed..

UK Politics

Bill Clinton Comments on Trump Impeachment

Former President Bill Clinton, who was impeached in the late 1990s, weighed in on the articles of impeachment that were laid out by House Democrats against President Donald Trump. The former president demurred when he was asked about the articles of impeachment by a reporter at a Clinton Foundation program in New York City on Tuesday. “Theyre doing their job as they see it and we should wait to see it unfold,” Clinton told Fox News. “And the rest of us should go about our jobs and do them as we see it.” He didnt elaborate on what he meant by Congress is “doing their job,” although Trump and other Republicans have repeatedly said Democrats in the House have done little to help their constituents and are only focusing on impeachment. On Tuesday, House Democrats revealed two articles of impeachment against Trump, accusing him of obstruction of Congress and abuse of power over his interactions with Ukraine. The president has vociferously denied the allegations, and Ukrainian officials, ..

UK Politics

Impeachment Comes First, Schumer Tells Senators Running for President

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said that the senators running for the Democratic presidential nomination have to make impeachment a priority over their bid for the White House. “This has to come first. This is one of the most solemn decisions that anyone has to make. And Ive told all members of my caucus that scheduling concerns are secondary to doing this the right way,” Schumer told reporters at a Dec. 10 press conference. Since Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) recently exited the race, five senators are still running: Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Cory Booker (D-N.J.). “It is likely to be a problem, because being on the ground in key states is critically important, as Hillary [Clinton] learned to her—and our—cost,” Defiance Strategies, LLC President Christian Hanley told The Epoch Times. “But I dont see how they could choose to skip an impeachment trial, both as a matter of constitutional dut..

UK Politics

Trump to Sign Executive Order Targeting Anti-Semitism at Colleges

President Donald Trump plans on Dec. 11 to sign an executive order that would threaten to cut or withhold federal assistance from educational institutions that fail to combat anti-Semitism, according to a senior administration official. Under the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the executive order would extend protections against discrimination to people who face anti-Semitism on college campuses, the senior official said on Tuesday. It would effectively interpret Judaism as not just a religion, but as a race or nationality, in an attempt to prompt a federal law penalizing the educational institutions that fail to act against discrimination on campus, The New York Times reported. The order “just explains if an incident is anti-Semitic it could fall into a Title 6 violation,” an official told Reuters, referring to Title 6 of the law which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance. “Just because ..

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