reifman writes "Apple's not the only company to save billions in taxes through Nevada as The New York Times reported yesterday. Here's how Microsoft's saved $4.37 billion in tax payments to Washington State and how it's led indirectly to $4 billion in K-12 and Higher Education cuts since 2008. 18% of University of Washington freshman are now foreigners (because they pay more) up from 2% six years ago. Washington State ranks 47th nationally in 18-24 yo college enrollment and 48th in K-12 class size. This hasn't stopped the architect of the company's Nevada tax dodge from writing in The Seattle Times: 'it's [Washington] state's paramount duty to provide for the public education of all children. Unfortunately, steady declines in public resources now threaten our ability to live up to that commitment.' Yes, indeed."
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bs0d3 writes "The FCC has voted to require broadcast TV stations to post online advertising rates they charge political candidates and advocacy groups. The vote came despite strong opposition from many broadcasters. 'By law, television stations offer political candidates advertising rates that are much lower than those offered to other advertisers.' Advocates argue the public should have easy access to information about how much candidates and other groups are spending on television to suck in voters. 'Network-affiliated stations in the top 50 markets will have six months to comply. For all others, the deadline is 2014.'"
cosm writes "With public outcry against the TSA continuing to spread, the TSA is defending a recent episode in which a four-year-old was patted down while kicking and screaming at Wichita Airport in Kansas. From the AP article: 'The grandmother of a 4-year-old girl who became hysterical during a security screening at a Kansas airport said Wednesday that the child was forced to undergo a pat-down after hugging her, with security agents yelling and calling the crying girl an uncooperative suspect.'"
First time accepted submitter casac8 writes "As Friday's House vote on CISPA nears, it appears Congress members are getting nervous. Literally millions of people around the world have signed petitions voicing their opposition, and it appears Congress has heard their concerns, as House members are considering a number of amendments aimed at limiting the negative impacts the legislation would have on Internet privacy. For instance, one amendment likely to pass would tighten the bill's language to ensure its provisions are only applied in the pursuit of legit crimes and other rare instances, rather than whenever the NSA wants to target Joe Web-user. And another would increase possible liability on the parts of companies who hand personal information over to the government."
DesScorp writes "James Lovelock, the scientist that came up with the 'Gaia Theory' and a prominent herald of climate change, once predicted utter disaster for the planet from climate change, writing 'before this century is over billions of us will die and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic where the climate remains tolerable.' Now Lovelock is walking back his rhetoric, admitting that he and other prominent global warming advocates were being alarmists. In a new interview with MSNBC he says: '"The problem is we don't know what the climate is doing. We thought we knew 20 years ago. That led to some alarmist books — mine included — because it looked clear-cut, but it hasn't happened," Lovelock said. "The climate is doing its usual tricks. There's nothing much really happening yet. We were supposed to be halfway toward a frying world now," he said. "The world has not warmed up very much since the millennium. Twelve years is a reasonable time it (the temperature) has stayed almost constant, whereas it should have been rising — carbon dioxide is rising, no question about that," he added.' Lovelock still believes the climate is changing, but at a much, much slower pace."
New submitter microcars writes "Harvard recently sent a memo to faculty saying, 'We write to communicate an untenable situation facing the Harvard Library. Many large journal publishers have made the scholarly communication environment fiscally unsustainable and academically restrictive. This situation is exacerbated by efforts of certain publishers (called "providers") to acquire, bundle, and increase the pricing on journals.' The memo goes on to describe the situation in more detail and suggests options to faculty and students for the future that includes submitting articles to open-access journals. If Harvard paves the way with this, how long until other academic bodies follow suit and cut off companies such as Elsevier?"
Fluffeh writes "CTIA (The mobile operators' industry association) is opposing a California law proposing that a court order be required prior to disclosing personal information. The law seems to be in opposition to the federal government's attempts to wash away the last requirements to get at any information about citizens, but CTIA claims (PDF) '... the wireless industry opposes SB 1434 as it could create greater confusion for wireless providers when responding to legitimate law enforcement requests.' The EFF and the ACLU have been arguing strongly for the bill which is to be voted on shortly." A charming quote from CTIA: "For example, the definition of 'location information' is so sweeping that it could implicate information generally considered basic subscriber information under federal law. Since the implications of this definition are unclear, wireless providers will have difficulty figuring out how to respond to requests for such information. It could place providers in the position of requiring warrants for all law enforcement requests."
gManZboy writes "As noted last week, the USAID's JEEP (Job Enabling English Proficiency) program has been using U.S. taxpayer dollars to train students in the Philippines to work at outsourcing call centers. An update: After Congressman Tim Bishop and a colleague protested to USAID, USAID decided to suspend funding to the effort. 'In response to the concerns you have raised, the Agency is suspending its participation in the English language training project in Mindanao pending further review of the facts,' said USAID deputy assistant administrator Barbara Feinstein, in a letter Monday to Bishop. 'Furthermore, the Agency has established a high-level taskforce to review these matters.' Bishop says that USAID needs to find ways to assist developing regions without compromising the jobs of U.S. call center workers"
vivIsel writes "This morning, President Obama is set to unveil a new executive order that will allow the U.S. to specifically target sanctions against individuals, companies or countries who use technology to enable human rights abuse. Especially as repressive regimes more effectively monitor their dissidents online (rather than simply blocking access), the sanctions focus on companies that help them do that."
bs0d3 writes "From having a position in the development and support of ACTA, to implementation of HADOPI, to imposing an internet tax to pay for music; France has been at the forefront of anti-piracy legislation. This week, it has been announced that current President and anti-piracy advocate Nicolas Sarkozy is unlikely to win the next election. His leading opponent is a man named Francois Hollande. Hollande has in the past opposed both ACTA and HADOPI (France's 3 strikes law). Hollande believes that ACTA, 'originally intended to combat counterfeiting trade[,] was gradually diverted from its objective, in the utmost discretion and without any democratic process.' At the same time, Hollande is also strongly against piracy. 'Piracy has been costly,' Hollande said, 'but I do not think that law enforcement alone is the answer to the problem.' Will internet issues be of concern to the voters in France? It certainly is to the rest of us internet users."
Jeremiah Cornelius writes "While conducting investigative reporting on civilian contractors in the Pentagon's "InfoOps" Internet propaganda operations, two reporters found themselves the subject of a highly targeted, professional media manipulation effort. Reporter Tom Vanden Brook and Editor Ray Locker found that Twitter and Facebook accounts have been created in their names, along with a Wikipedia entry and dozens of message board postings and blog comments. Websites were registered in their names. Some postings merely copied Vanden Brook's and Locker's previous reporting. Others accused them of being sponsored by the Taliban. 'I find it creepy and cowardly that somebody would hide behind my name and presumably make up other names in an attempt to undermine my credibility,' Vanden Brook said. If these websites were created using federal funds, it could violate federal law prohibiting the production of propaganda for domestic consumption."
wytcld writes "Sending an individually-written e-mail to my state senator resulted in an automated response saying that since she receives hundreds of e-mails a day, there might be no personal response, but please don't take that to mean she hasn't read my e-mail. So I contacted her again suggesting that was a pretty poor answer. Most of the e-mails she receives are mass mailings coordinated by various interest group websites. Why doesn't she put those to the side, I asked, and prioritize response to individual e-mails from constituents who've taken the time to actually write? Her response? She often can't tell the difference at first, so spends time drafting responses to the first instances of group e-mail spam, and gets diverted from responding to those who really write her. Are there tools out there which a politician can use to identify the incoming group-think blasts and put them to to side? It's easy enough to imagine sorting by repeated content or headers, if I ran the mail server, but I'm looking for packages already out there that a state-level representative, with no staff to speak of, might use to cut through the mess and prioritize communication with constituents who care enough about an issue to draft their own thoughts."
trichard writes with this quote from an AP report: "Ameren Missouri is vying to be the first utility in the country to seek a construction and operating license for a small-scale nuclear reactor, a technology that's appealing to utilities because of the smaller upfront costs and shorter development lead times. The small reactors, about a fourth or less the capacity of full-size nuclear units, are appealing to the nuclear industry because they could be manufactured at a central plant and shipped around the world. By contrast, building nuclear reactors today is a more cumbersome process that must be done largely on site and takes years."
nk497 writes "The first official expert witness in an inquiry into network-level filtering of porn was a Sun advice columnist called Dear Deidre. A group of MPs has been pushing to censor the UK web to prevent children from seeing porn, but reading the full report reveals the weakness of the evidence. It also features Dear Deidre defending the topless model on Page 3 of her own newspaper, saying, 'the Editor of The Sun thinks it's okay' and 'nine million people read it.'"
CAPSLOCK2000 writes "The Dutch Pirate Party (PPNL) just won a court-case against BREIN. Last week BREIN got a court to issue an emergency order to take down a reverse-proxy to The Pirate Bay. The next day BREIN claimed the court order also included a generic proxy also ran by PPNL and any other service that might lead to TPB (aka hyperlinks). PPNL responded with an emergency lawsuit of their own, asking for a literal interpretation of the verdict instead of BREIN's broad reading. The judge acknowledged the narrow interpretation of the verdict. proxy.piratenpartij.nl stays up and tpb.piratenpartij.nl now sports a list of other ways to reach The Pirate Bay. Due to the Streisand effect this list has grown to a considerable length. Noteworthy is that The Pirate Party got favorable verdict in a single day, a first in Dutch law." Full verdict (in Dutch). This is only a temporary order by the judge to keep the general-purpose proxy run by the Pirate Party and the list of alternative proxies to the Pirate Bay online. A full case hearing is expected on April 24th.