State Secrets Privilege trumps 4th Amendment? Did we vote for that?
This most recent ruling was in response to the motion for partial summary judgment EFF filed in July 2014 arguing that the NSA’s backbone surveillance violates the Fourth Amendment. The government responded with its own motion for partial summary judgment, asserting several defenses, including the “state secrets” privilege, which permits judges to disregard evidence that would endanger national security if publicly released. In support of its motion, the government filed secret declarations by NSA officials that were available to Judge White, but not to us [EFF] or the public, and the judge relied on this evidence in his order.
Judge White did not rule on the legality or constitutionality of the NSA mass Internet surveillance we challenged. Rather, the court explained that the publicly available information did not paint a complete picture of how the NSA collects Internet traffic, so the court could not rule on the program without looking at information that could constitute “state secrets.”
“Because a fair and full adjudication of the Government Defendants’ defenses would require harmful disclosures of national security information that is protected by the state secrets privilege, the Court must exclude such evidence from the case,” Judge White writes in the decision. “Addressing any defenses involves a significant risk of potentially harmful effects any disclosures could have on national security.”
Also Must Read: Origin and History of the State Secrets Privilege
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republican Senator Rand Paul, a potential 2016 presidential candidate, on Wednesday re-introduced a bill that would expose the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy discussions and decisions to a congressional audit.
The Fed fears that a full GAO audit would reveal too much detail of monetary policy decisions made by the Federal Open Market Committee. Fed officials have said such exposure would complicate their public communications, hurt their credibility and stoke financial market volatility. The central bank also fears that efforts to impinge on its independence would hurt U.S. monetary policy.
15 January 2015
The UK and US are to carry out "war game" cyber attacks on each other as part of a new joint defence against online criminals.
The first exercise, a staged attack on the financial sector, will take place later this year, Downing Street said.
The "unprecedented" arrangement between the two countries was announced as Prime Minister David Cameron held talks with US President Barack Obama.
Agents will also co-operate in "cyber cells" on both sides of the Atlantic.
Downing Street said this was the first "cyber cell" the UK had established with another country.
The measures come in the wake of recent cyber attacks on Sony Pictures and US Central Command.
What is it about the financial sector that encourages bad behavior?
December 30, 2014 |By Francesca Gino
A paper recently published in Nature magazine found that the financial sector’s culture encourages dishonesty.
For the study published in Nature, Alain Cohn and his colleagues divided 128 employees of a large bank into two groups. In the first group, bankers were primed to think about their professional identity, with questions such as “what is your function at this bank?” Bankers in the second group, instead, completed a survey about their wellbeing and everyday life that did not include questions about to their professional life. Next they all tossed a virtual coin 10 times, in private, knowing each time which outcome would earn them $20 for the flip. They then had to report their results online to claim any winnings. The second group of bankers behaved honestly—reporting half heads, half tails—but there was cheating among those whose professional identity had been primed. In their case, in fact, the percentage of winning tosses came in at an incredibly fortunate 58.2 percent. Interestingly, the researchers also conducted the same experiment in other industries but did not find the same skewing when employees were primed to think about their work.
The authors conclude that the prevailing business culture in the banking industry weakens and undermines honesty.
Research in moral psychology and behavioral ethics, however, suggests that the dishonesty may be due something more basic: money and number crunching are an important part of the banking industry.
When people are focused on money, research shows, they behave in self-interested ways. Even thinking about money leads people to be less helpful and fair in their dealings with others, to be less sensitive to social rejection, and to work harder toward personal goals. In fact, money can make us so focused on our selfish motives that it can even lead to unethical behavior.
December 17, 2014
By DAVID DISHNEAU / AP
U.S. Air Force Col. William Pitts stands in front of an unmanned aerostat on Dec. 17, 2014, in Middle River, Md. /Patrick Semansky/AP
The radar-toting vehicle will be launched next week as part of a three-year test of the system at Aberdeen Proving Ground, about 25 miles northeast of Baltimore.
When fully deployed next spring, the system will feature two, unmanned, helium-filled aerostats, tethered to concrete pads 4 miles apart. They’ll float at an altitude of 10,000 feet, about one-third as high as a commercial airliner’s cruising altitude.
One balloon will continuously scan in a circle from upstate New York to North Carolina’s Outer Banks, and as far west as central Ohio. The other will carry precision radar to help the military on the ground to pinpoint targets.
Full Story from Stars & Stripes: Army’s blimp-like airships get East Coast test – U.S. – Stripes
Federal Court Agrees with EFF, Throws Out Six Weeks of Warrantless Video Surveillance | Electronic Frontier Foundation
December 12, 2014 | By Hanni Fakhoury
Update: On December 15, Judge Edward Shea issued his written opinion in United States v. Vargas, which you can read here.
The public got an early holiday gift today when a federal court agreed with us that six weeks of continually video recording the frontyard of someone’s home without a search warrant violates the Fourth Amendment.
After a 2 year pause in collisions in the LHC for maintenance and upgrades, the accelerator is on track to be powered up again in March 2015 to begin a new era of ultra-high energy particle collisions by the following May. The goal for 2015 is to push for proton-proton collision energies of up to 13 TeV — nearly double the energy of the first LHC run.
“With this new energy level, the LHC will open new horizons for physics and for future discoveries,” said CERN Director-General Rolf Heuer. “I’m looking forward to seeing what nature has in store for us.”
On the long list of physics breakthroughs scientists hope to achieve, a glimpse of dark matter particles, understanding antimatter interactions, seeking out signs of extra dimensions and identifying possible signs of supersymmetry rank highly.
from Discovery News: LHC Revs-Up for Most Powerful Particle Collisions Ever : Discovery News