“U.S. Customs & Border Protection is becoming more adamant about examining the cell phones of some arriving travelers – including U.S. citizens – and now the American Civil Liberties Union is challenging that practice. The ACLU has taken up the case of a U.S. artist named Aaron Gach, who returned to the U.S. at San Francisco International from an exhibition in Europe, and was pulled aside by CBP officers and ordered to unlock his iPhone for a search of its contents. Gach resisted, but finally gave in when he was told that if he didn’t, CBP would keep his phone for an indefinite period.” Continue reading

“Speaking to the Montreal Council on Foreign Relations, Alexandre de Juniac, director general and chief executive of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), questioned the efficacy of the ban, which prohibits electronics larger than a cellphone on direct flights to the United States from 10 airports in the Middle East and North Africa. The regulations, prompted by reports that militant groups want to smuggle explosive devices in electronic gadgets, require that electronics larger than a cellphone, including laptops and tablets, must be stowed with checked baggage on U.S.-bound passenger flights.” Continue reading

“The rule is reportedly prompted by the difficulty of distinguishing plastic explosives from other components in electronic devices using an X-ray machine. But this explanation is baffling: a plastic explosive is every bit as dangerous in the hold of an airplane as it is in the cabin. What’s more, placing a plastic-explosive charge in a hardsided case densely packed with lithium-battery-equipped devices seems an especially dangerous measure. Travelers to and from affected airports will now face the risk of having their laptops and tablets stolen, having their confidential data leaked, and having their devices broken.” Continue reading

“Mr. Moon’s strategy is the opposite: to offer an outstretched hand to the North Koreans first, in the hope of reducing tensions with the promise of economic integration. Just because that effort failed the last time it was tried, he argued during a hard-fought campaign, does not mean it will fail again as he deals with an erratic, 33-year-old leader in Pyongyang whose main interest is remaining in power.” Continue reading

“Middle-school student Zachary Bowlin didn’t bring a gun to school. He didn’t say the word gun. He didn’t do anything wrong, or dangerous, to merit a 10-day suspension from Edgewood Middle School in Trenton, Ohio. Bowlin ‘liked’ a picture of a gun on Instagram. That’s it. He didn’t do this during school hours, with school resources, or on school property.” Continue reading

“By elevating your blood alcohol content to approximately 0.08 per cent, you’ll give your body ‘a small elevation of pain threshold’ and thus a ‘moderate to large reduction in pain intensity ratings’. The researchers explained: ‘Findings suggest that alcohol is an effective analgesic that delivers clinically-relevant reductions in ratings of pain intensity, which could explain alcohol misuse in those with persistent pain, despite its potential consequences for long-term health.'” Continue reading

“A new form of insurance that this law may create: A policy that would pay for health insurance premiums if the user ever got sick enough to need them. Such insurance would be very cheap, as the maximum exposure to the insurance company is only 130% of the premium for a standard health insurance policy. In the end, the only people buying health insurance would be those who can buy it for free using their tax credits and really sick people for whom insurance premiums are cheaper than their medical bills. But as insurance companies lose money on the latter group, they will be forced to raise their premiums on the former. This puts us right back in the box we are stuck in with Obamacare.” Continue reading

“The San Diego District Attorney (DA) seized all of the family’s money from their bank accounts on February 2, 2016, following a raid on James Slatic’s legal medical marijuana business. Although no one has been charged with any crime, the DA used civil forfeiture laws to seize more than $55,000 from James’ personal bank account, more than $34,000 from his wife, Annette, and more than $5,600 each from their teenage daughters Lily and Penny, who had saved the money for college. Judge Ipema’s order requires the DA to return all $100,693.85 to the Slatics.” Continue reading

“The unidentified attackers exploited weaknesses in Signalling System No. 7, a telephony signaling language that more than 800 telecommunications companies around the world use to ensure their networks interoperate. SS7, as the protocol is known, makes it possible for a person in one country to send text messages to someone in another country. It also allows phone calls to go uninterrupted when the caller is traveling on a train. The same functionality can be used to eavesdrop on conversations, track geographic whereabouts, or intercept text messages.” Continue reading

“You can imagine my surprise when I found out that SWIFT runs on Windows Vista – an obsolete operating system that Microsoft no longer supports. When my bank received its SWIFT code, we were told that we had to have a computer running Vista in the office in order to connect to SWIFT. It was such an absurd exercise to find an obsolete computer running an obsolete operating system to connect to the supposedly most advanced and important international payment network in the world. Unsurprisingly, SWIFT has been hacked numerous times, both by the NSA as well as private hackers who have stolen a great deal of money from their victims.” Continue reading

“In its latest John Doe summons, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is requiring American Express to send account information of Dutch residents with credit or debit cards linked to bank accounts outside the Netherlands to U.S. tax authorities. The IRS had requested the information in cooperation with the Dutch government as part of an investigation to determine whether Dutch citizens living outside the Netherlands are complying with tax laws.” Continue reading