Saturday, February 24, 2007

U.S. Toll in Iraq

Via The Boston Globe (AP).

As of Saturday, Feb. 24, 2007, at least 3,154 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count. The figure includes seven military civilians. At least 2,537 died as a result of hostile action, according to the military's numbers.

The AP count is five higher than the Defense Department's tally, last updated Friday at 10 a.m. EST.

More here.

And as always, keeps a very, very extensive list here, as does the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count website here.

SWIFT Sides With U.S. in Data Spat With EU

Mark Ballard writes on The Register:

The Belgian firm stuck in the middle of a transatlantic spat over the US infringement of civil liberties by the agents of its war on terror is throwing its lot in with the Americans.

In open defiance of European privacy officials, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (Swift), has declared that it has applied to the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for 'safe harbour' protection for the data it holds on US soil.

Swift had handed data containing the details of private international financial transactions to US terrorist finance investigators under a secret arrangement since late 2001. Since the transfers came to light last June, Europe's data protection authorities have declared that Swift is a data controller and, as such, it should take responsibility for the privacy of the data it administers for its banking clients.

Swift claims it is not a controller, but a mere processor and cannot be held responsible for what European authorities say is the illegal transfer of data to US Treasury agents.

More here.

Engineer Acquitted in ’01 Toy Robot Bomb Killing

An AP newswire article, via MSNBC, reports that:

An engineer was acquitted Friday of taking part in a plot to mail a toy robot dog with a pipe bomb hidden inside that killed a college student, prosecutors said.

A jury found David Lin not guilty Friday in San Jose federal court of three felony charges connected to the 2001 killing. Meanwhile, Lin’s friend, who allegedly masterminded the bizarre murder plot to exact revenge on his estranged wife, is believed to have fled the country and remains at large.

Lin faced life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted of using an explosive device to commit a felony, using an explosive device causing death, and conspiracy.

More here.

Off Topic: Shame of the Nation: Vets on the Street - UPDATE

...or do we?

Sarah Childress writes on

Young, alienated and often living on their own for the first time, Iraq and Afghanistan veterans increasingly are coming home to find that they don't have one. Already, nearly 200,000 veterans—many from the Vietnam War—sleep on the streets every night, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

But young warriors just back from the Mideast—estimated around 500 to 1,000—are beginning to struggle with homelessness too. Drinking or using drugs to cope with PTSD, they can lose their job and the support of family and friends, and start a downward spiral to the streets. Their tough military mentality can make them less likely to seek help.

More here.

UPDATE: 17:45 PST: "How the United States is Failing It's War Heros".

Europe Seeks to Tighten Some Online Big Brother Laws

An AP newswire article by Matt Moore, via Yahoo! News, reports that:

Some European countries are proposing outlawing the use of fake information to open e-mail accounts or set up Web sites, a move intended to help terror investigations but which could face resistance on a privacy-conscious continent.

The German and Dutch governments have taken the lead on the proposals, crafting legislation that would make it illegal to provide false information to Internet service providers and require phone companies to save detailed records on customer usage.

The aim, analysts say, is to make it easier for law enforcement to access information when they investigate crimes or terrorist attacks. But Europeans have long cherished their privacy, railing against measures that would see personal information stored for commercial use or government examination.

More here.

Japan Launches Its 4th Spy Satellite

An AP newswire article by Carl Freire, via Wired News, reports that:

Japan launched its fourth spy satellite Saturday, completing its capabilities to monitor activities worldwide and bolstering its ability to observe neighboring North Korea's nuclear program.

The satellite, along with a smaller test prototype, was launched from the country's space center on a remote southern Japan island atop an H-2A rocket, the workhorse of Japan's space program.

More here.

Yet Another Japanese Data Breach Due to p2p File-Sharing - UPDATE

Via Mainichi Daily News.

Chiba Bank admitted on Thursday that customers' personal information, such as the amount of their savings, was leaked through the Winny file-sharing software that was installed on an employee's personal computer.

The employee of Chiba Bank installed the Winny software sometime around 2003. Customer information, including savings and loan details for individual and corporate customers was leaked through his computer at home.

More here.

(Props, Pogo Was Right.)

Note: There have been several data breaches in Japan over the course of the past few years involved the Winny file-sharing software, including breaches at several airports and a power plant.

UPDATE: 10:46 PST: And yet another breach in Japan involving Winny: "Information on 500 people posted to web in latest police security leak".

Friday, February 23, 2007

UK: Security Alert as Thousands Told Bank Details Stolen

Rebecca Bourne writes in the Worcester News:

Thousands of county council staff are at risk of identity theft after their highly confidential bank and national insurance details were stolen.

A lap top computer containing the personal information of up to 19,000 staff - complete with names and addresses - was taken in a street robbery.

More here.

(Props, Flying Hamster.)

Is An Official State Secrets Act Coming?

Rebecca Carr writes in The Atlanta Journal Constitution's "Window on Washington" Blog:

That’s the fear of open government advocates.

They are launching a behind-the-scenes battle to prevent Arizona Republican Sen. Jon Kyl from winning passage next Thursday in the Senate Judiciary Committee of an amendment that would essentially create an Official Secrets Act.

Kyl is planning to introduce an amendment to the Federal Data Mining Reporting Act (S236) that has nothing to do with data mining and everything to do with expanding the espionage statutes, according to Kevin M. Goldberg, legal counsel to the American Society of Newspaper Editors.

More here.

Trojan Forced PCs to Take Part in Climate Research Project

Via heise Security News.

These days, if a Windows PC is infected with a trojan, it is quite likely that it will be used as a bot in a spam army to distribute advertising e-mails. But in some rare cases, the computer may suddenly find itself having to perform calculations of weather forecasts in a cluster.

A moderator of the distributed computing project has reported just such a case.

More here.

Sarasota, Florida, Voting Machines Insecure

Ed Felten writes on Freedom to Tinker:

The technical team commissioned by the State of Florida to study the technology used in the ill-fated Sarasota election has released its report.

One revelation from the study is that the iVotronic touch-screen voting machines are terribly insecure. The machines are apparently susceptible to viruses, and there are many bugs a virus could exploit to gain entry or spread.

More here.

Mozilla Security Update Fixes 7 Vulnerabilities

Sharon Gaudin writes on InformationWeek:

Mozilla rolled out the latest security update for its Firefox browser this week, patching seven vulnerabilities.

This round of patches is for Firefox and Firefox users. The updates are automatically deployed, but users also can go to this Web site and manually download them.

"We strongly recommend that all Firefox users upgrade to this latest release," said Mike Schroepfer, VP of engineering at Mozilla, in a statement e-mailed to InformationWeek. "This update resolves the location.hostname vulnerability and other security and stability issues. Thanks to the work of our contributors, we have been able to address these issues quickly in order to minimize the security risk to Firefox users."

The security update only repairs the current list of known flaws.

More here.

RIAA to Parents: Pop-Ups + Viruses = Piracy!

Via EFF Deep Links.

If a parent sees pop-up ads and viruses on her computer, she can be sued for copyright infringement by the RIAA.

At least that's what the RIAA is arguing in a recent court filing in the Capitol v. Foster case, in which a federal judge made the RIAA cough up attorney's fees to a mother, Debra Foster, who had been sued because her daughter was file sharing. The RIAA lawyers had dawdled in dismissing their complaint against Foster, even after her child admitted to being the file-sharer in the house (the RIAA went ahead and got a default judgment against the child).

This new filing marks the first time the RIAA has explained its claim that parents are liable for the infringements committed by their children (a theory that has never been accepted by any court, to the best of my knowledge). The argument is pretty remarkable, built on a house of cards including the notion that "everyone knows" pop-up ads and viruses signify piracy!

More here.

Gapingvoid: Me

Via Enjoy!

Microsoft Manager Says It Considered Banning Vista Virtualization

Scott M. Fulton, III writes on BetaNews:

In a story for the Associated Press carried on many online news services this afternoon, one of the directors of Microsoft's Windows Client Product Planning team appears to make a curious and perhaps astounding statement. Scott Woodgate is quoted as saying that a Black Hat security conference demonstration last August, where virtualization functions were exploited to plant an active rootkit onto a beta of the Windows Vista kernel, scared Microsoft to the point where the company seriously considered removing virtualization capability from Vista entirely.

Ostensibly, the AP article was about Microsoft's decision to ban Home Basic and Home Premium editions of Vista from serving as guest operating systems in virtualization engines. This was a recent discovery for Macintosh users, though it was public knowledge for Vista users since last July, when Woodgate himself made the announcement.

More here.

Want a Contract With Your Key Logger?

Andy Patrizio writes on

Malware authors in Russia are now offering service contracts with their spyware.

Yes you read right: You can now get a service contract to provide upgrades for spyware, Trojans, rootkits and key loggers, just like you get with your computers, Oracle databases and CRM software.

You have to marvel at the sheer brass of it all. "The pricing model is scarily professional," Mark Sunner, chief security analyst at security firm MessageLabs, told "You can buy a one-off and get an update or pay more and get many updates. The whole thing looks like a commercial model but is revolving around malware."

The prices start at around $260 for just the software, and can go up to $3,500 for something guaranteed with updates and containing specific functionality, such as being able to recognize specific online banks.

More here.

Report: DHS Must Do More to Protect Personal Info

Alice Lipowicz writes on

The Homeland Security Department is not doing enough to protect personal identifying information within its computer systems, according to a new report from DHS Inspector General Richard L. Skinner.

Personal identifying information is any information that can be used to identify a person. It includes, for example, full name, telephone number, e-mail address, credit card numbers and date of birth.

While the department has performed draft assessments of privacy impacts and risks to most of its 699 systems, the final validations and approvals by the DHS Privacy Office are not yet complete, the report [.pdf] said.

More here.

Vigilante Hacker's Evidence Puts Judge Behind Bars

Sharon Gaudin writes on InformationWeek:

A former California judge was sentenced this week for possession of child pornography, five years after a vigilante hacker infiltrated his computer with a Trojan horse computer program designed to weed out pedophiles.

Former Orange County Superior Court Judge Ronald C. Kline, 65, of Irvine, Calif., was sentenced Feb. 20, to 27 months in federal prison for possessing thousands of images of under-age boys engaged in sexually explicit conduct. He pleaded guilty in December 2005 to four counts of possession of child pornography, admitting that the images of child pornography were on his home computer, two floppy disks and one portable disk drive, according to a written release from the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Central District of California.

The sentencing wrapped up nearly six year of legal wrangling over the admissibility of evidence obtained from Kline's computer.

More here.

Japan: Cybercrime jumped 40% in 2006

Via The Yomiuri Shimbun Daily.

There were 4,425 reported instances of cybercrime last year, up 40 percent from the previous year and the highest number since 2000, when police began keeping statistics, the National Police Agency said Thursday.

Cybercrime has increased every year since 2000, when there were 913 reported cases, the NPA said.

The NPA report stressed that an increasing number of Net-based crime involved password theft, and that "Internet users should take preventive measures including not submitting their passwords to suspicious Web sites."

More here.

U.S. Citizen Pleads Guilty to Creating Spyware and ID Theft

Fiona Raisbeck writes on SC Magazine Online:

A US citizen, who was charged with creating and distributing a Trojan horse intended to steal computer usernames and passwords, has pleaded guilty in court.

Richard Honour admitted to distributing the spyware through emails he sent to users of DarkMyst, an IRC chatroom popular with players of online games.

He also released messages with embedded links claiming to connect to online film clips to other internet users. However, by clicking on the link it would download and install the spyware on to the recipient’s computers.

The 31-year-old then used the infected machines to steal online banking details and other personal information in order to commit identity theft.

More here.

ICANN Threatens RegisterFly Termination

Philip S. Corwin writes on CircleID:

ICANN sent a 10-page letter to RegisterFly on February 21st threatening to terminate its accreditation. The letter is available here.

ICANN’s not exactly advertising this—no conspicuous notice appears on its home page and, more curiously, no update has been posted by the Ombudsman despite two prior postings about RegisterFly in the past week. A member of the general public would be hard pressed to find out that any action has been threatened.

This February 21st letter provides some interesting information:

RegisterFly has 15 days to cure the multiple breaches or ICANN will give notice of termination of its Registry Accreditation Agreement. At that point, RegisterFly must either shut down or request arbitration. So they will be open for business for at least two more weeks and possibly longer. (Question: Might RegisterFly file bankruptcy in the next two weeks and try to use bankruptcy protection as a means of preventing ICANN from terminating its accreditation?)

ICANN and RegisterFly have had three face to face meetings to discuss ongoing breaches over the past year.

More here.

MP3 Patents in Upheaval After Verdict

Saul Hansell writes in The New York Times:

Microsoft was ordered by a federal jury yesterday to pay $1.52 billion in a patent dispute over the MP3 format, the technology at the heart of the digital music boom. If upheld on appeal, it would be the largest patent judgment on record.

The ruling, in Federal District Court in San Diego, was a victory for Alcatel-Lucent, the big networking equipment company. Its forebears include Bell Laboratories, which was involved in the development of MP3 almost two decades ago.

At issue is the way the Windows Media Player software from Microsoft plays audio files using MP3, the most common method of distributing music on the Internet. If the ruling stands, Apple and hundreds of other companies that make products that play MP3 files, including portable players, computers and software, could also face demands to pay royalties to Alcatel.

More here.

Customer Data Breach Began in 2005, TJX Says

Ellen Nakashima writes in The Washington Post:

Retail giant TJX, whose stores include discount clothing chains T.J. Maxx and Marshalls, said yesterday that a computer-security breach stretched back 10 months earlier than the company originally thought, compromising credit and debit card data, drivers' license numbers, and names and addresses.

The announcement underscores a trend of security breaches involving sensitive credit card data and reflects failures to properly secure computer systems, to notify customers when breaches occur and to update laws for the cyber-crime age, lawmakers and analysts said.

TJX said that while it first thought the intrusion took place from May 2006 to January 2007, it now thinks its computer system was also hacked in July 2005 and on "various subsequent dates" that year. The company, which reported the intrusion in January -- a month after it said it discovered the breach -- has not said how many customers may have been affected or how many customers it has notified.

More here.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Vint Cerf: Internet is a Reflection of Society

Personal note: Folks who attended the ISOI Security and Intelligence Summit in Redmond last month heard me talk about very similar things here.

First and foremost, I said that the measure of success in the Internet is that the movement of "real-world" criminal activity into the Internet is a mirror effect -- it is (unfortunately) an indication that the Internet is a success.

And actually, while I was giving my talk, Vint was making his (good) case at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that the problem is getting out of hand.

Great minds think alike? :-)

John Ribeiro writes on InfoWorld:

The Internet is a mirror of the population that uses it, said Google's vice president and chief Internet evangelist Vinton Cerf said in reference to the proliferation of fraud, social abuse, and other online crimes.

"If you stand in front of a mirror and you don't like what you see, it does not help to fix the mirror," Cerf said.

Internet companies like Google are putting in a lot of effort to help prevent these abuses, but the problem is more social and economic than technical, Cerf told reporters Tuesday in Bangalore.

More here.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Man Admits Sending Millions of Spam e-Mails That Offered to Steal Passwords

Via The Sydney Morning Herald.

A man who flooded e-mail systems with millions of messages advertising software that could steal passwords pleaded guilty to violating a federal anti-spam law.

Joshua Eveloff, 27, of Carter Lake, Iowa, admitted Wednesday that he faked information on the e-mails to conceal that they came from him.

The messages, which promised to "steal anyone's password" and "read your FBI file," were sent to millions of people over three months in 2004. The FBI began investigating after a Florida company reported that its computers had been used to transmit at least 1.5 million e-mails in six hours.

Prosecutors said the case was only the nation's third to be brought under federal legislation banning unsolicited e-mails.

Eveloff could face up to three years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 when he is sentenced in April.

More here.

Quote of the Day: Christopher Soghoian

"I'd be willing to bet a couple Fin Du Monde beers that even with a change of DNS, that Desyne is still running and hosting TSA's Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (TRIP) website."

- Christopher Soghoian, commenting on the recent developments in the questionable and dubious website for the TSA's Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (TRIP).

Photo: Tokyo Daylight Cityscape

One view from the Trend Micro office in Tokyo.
Click for larger image.

'One Wilshire' - A Los Angeles 'Hotel' for Internet Carriers

Via Boing Boing.

If the Internet is a superhighway, One Wilshire is a really popular roadside hotel. It's a 30-story building, and once exclusively housed law offices. CRG West manages the property, and they're the tech real estate branch of the Carlyle Group.

David Dunn of CRG West says 23 of the building's floors are now designed to house not people, but some of the most important communications infrastructure in the country.

More here.

Judge Denies Complete Stay in AT&T Surveillance Case

Via The EFF.

A federal judge today ruled that the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) can go forward with elements of its class action lawsuit against AT&T for collaborating with the government on illegal spying in ordinary Americans -- despite the government and AT&T's request to freeze proceedings during an appeal.

In his ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker opened the door to beginning the discovery process, allowing EFF to ask "limited and targeted" questions as long as those questions do not overlap with the issues under consideration in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

More here.

UK Surveillance Figures Could Mask Bugging of Millions


British security agencies who made 440,000 requests to monitor people's phone and internet use in 2005 and 2006 could in fact have tracked millions of people.

Each interception warrant is capable of permitting surveillance of a premises which could contain tens or hundreds of people. Each request for communications data, a different kind of request, can relate to a person or an organisation.

The Interceptions of Communications Commissioner revealed in his annual report that in a 15-month period in 2005 and 2006 there were 439,054 requests for communications data made by public and security authorities.

There were 4,843 warrants for the interception of communications in the same period. A single warrant could legitimise the bugging of an entire office.

More here.

U.S. Toll in Iraq

Via The Boston Globe (AP).

As of Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2007, at least 3,146 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count. The figure includes seven military civilians. At least 2,522 died as a result of hostile action, according to the military's numbers.

The AP count is 11 higher than the Defense Department's tally, last updated Tuesday at 10 a.m. EST.

More here.

And as always, keeps a very, very extensive list here, as does the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count website here.

AT&T Whistleblower Wins Award

Via EFF Deep Links.

Whistleblower Mark Klein will get some well-deserved acknowledgement when he receives a James Madison Freedom of Information Award next month. The award could hardly find a more deserving recipient — Klein is the former AT&T technician who exposed the extent of the government’s warrantless wiretapping program.

In early 2006, Klein came forward with internal AT&T documents that show the company cooperated with the NSA’s secret program to eavesdrop on internet communications, in violation of federal wiretapping laws and the Fourth Amendment. Klein’s evidence demonstrates that in at least one of AT&T’s facilities, internet traffic was diverted to a secret, secure room to which only the NSA had access.

All of the documents have been used in EFF’s court case, which is currently under review by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and a portion have been made broadly available on the internet since April, 2006.

More here.

NSA Spy Docs Stay Sealed For Now

Ryan Singel writes on 27B Stroke 6:

A federal judge rebuffed an effort by media organizations, ranging from the Associated Press to Wired News, to unseal whistleblower documents in a civil rights group's case against AT&T for allegedly helping the government's warrantless wiretapping of Americans.

Those documents include technical diagrams provided to the Electronic Frontier Foundation in January 2005 by former AT&T engineer Mark Klein, a written declaration by Klein, and an evaluation of the documents by former FCC employee J. Scott Marcus.

More here.

FBI, DHS Launch Third Fingerprint System Data-Sharing Pilot

Wilson P. Dizard III writes on

The government’s massive, technologically ambitious project to achieve connectivity between two critical biometric databases took a step forward as the Homeland Security Department and the FBI unveiled an additional pilot project.

The project to achieve information sharing between the FBI’s Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) and the Homeland Security’s Automated Biometric Identification System (IDENT) database dates back in various forms for many years and is planned to extend forward for several years.

IDENT contains millions of two-fingerprint records gathered by the former Immigration and Naturalization Service, which now is part of DHS.

More here.

U.S. Cyber Security Czar Has His Marching Orders

Joris Evers writes on C|Net News:

The top U.S. cybersecurity official wants Congress to come up with ways to promote adoption of security technologies, and he sees a tax break as one possible incentive.

Greg Garcia was appointed by Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff in September, after the position went unfilled for more than a year. He's the first U.S. cybersecurity czar to hold the title of assistant secretary. The elevated position is important as it comes with more power; a lack of stature is part of the reason why his predecessors failed, Garcia says.

His self-described mission is hardly surprising, especially given his background as an executive at the Information Technology Association of America, a tech industry group.

More here.

FBI Translating Over 1,000 Wiretap Conversations a Day

David E. Kaplan writes on the U.S. News & World Report "Bad Guys" Blog:

Spurred by adding hundreds of new linguists and help from allies overseas, the FBI is translating a record 34,000 wiretapped conversations a month, bureau officials tell the Bad Guys blog.

Long criticized for its lack of language specialists, the FBI, they say, is finally catching up to an unprecedented intake of foreign-language surveillance recordings, electronic data, and text since 9/11.

More here.

Picture of the Day: Japanese Toilets

Yes, we have distilled it down to this.


Click for larger image.

Click for larger image.

Monday, February 19, 2007

U.S. Northeast: Stop & Shop Reports Credit Data Stolen

Peter J. Howe writes in The Boston Globe:

With help from US Secret Service agents, Stop & Shop Supermarket Cos. executives scrambled yesterday to determine how many consumers may have had their credit and debit card data stolen by high-tech thieves who apparently broke into checkout-line card readers and planted the equivalent of bugs to steal information.

Stop & Shop said customer information, including personal identification codes for cards, was confirmed stolen from supermarkets in Coventry and Cranston, R.I. The company said it had found evidence that card readers were tampered with in a similar way at four other stores in Seekonk and in Bristol, Providence, and Warwick, R.I. But the supermarket company said it had no reports of illegal transactions on cards that had been used at those stores.

After being notified by a bank last week that its Coventry and Cranston stores appeared to be the common link to a number of stolen card numbers, Quincy-based Stop & Shop has bolted down card readers at all 385 of its supermarkets in New England, New York, and New Jersey, company spokesman Robert Keane said yesterday.

More here.

U.S. Toll in Iraq

Via The Boston Globe (AP).

As of Monday, Feb. 19, 2007, at least 3,146 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count. The figure includes seven military civilians. At least 2,514 died as a result of hostile action, according to the military's numbers.

The AP count is 19 higher than the Defense Department's tally, last updated Friday at 10 a.m. EST.

More here.

And as always, keeps a very, very extensive list here, as does the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count website here.

Europe’s Plan to Track Phone and Net Use

Victoria Shannon writes in The New York Times:

European governments are preparing legislation to require companies to keep detailed data about people’s Internet and phone use that goes beyond what the countries will be required to do under a European Union directive.

In Germany, a proposal from the Ministry of Justice would essentially prohibit using false information to create an e-mail account, making the standard Internet practice of creating accounts with pseudonyms illegal.

A draft law in the Netherlands would likewise go further than the European Union requires, in this case by requiring phone companies to save records of a caller’s precise location during an entire mobile phone conversation.

Even now, Internet service providers in Europe divulge customer information — which they normally keep on hand for about three months, for billing purposes — to police officials with legally valid orders on a routine basis, said Peter Fleischer, the Paris-based European privacy counsel for Google. The data concerns how the communication was sent and by whom but not its content.

More here.

Websense: Trojan Crimeware using Google Maps

Image source: Websense

Via the good folks over at Websense Security Labs.

Websense Securitylabs ™ has received reports of a Trojan which is related to an email that has been distributed, claiming that the Australian Prime Minister had suffered a heart attack.

The Trojan is formed by several different components. It basically monitors all your accesses to web pages and keeps track of them, keylogging everything you do. It contains a special module which it uses for phishing. At the time of this alert there were more than 2500 infected victims.

More here.

Campaign Strengthens For a Voting Paper Trail

Zachary A. Goldfarb writes in The Washington Post:

Efforts are intensifying in Congress to pass legislation that would require electronic touch-screen voting machines used in federal elections to provide paper trails that could be checked in the case of a recount.

The new momentum is the result of lingering concerns about the machines as the 2008 presidential primaries fast approach, as well as strong support for changes by the new Democratic majority, with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chair of the Rules Committee, taking a leading role.

More here.

Canadian Police Ads Pulled From U.S. Gang Websites

Via Reuters.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police have pulled online job recruitment advertisements that mistakenly appeared on Web sites with links to a prominent U.S. street gang.

Canada's renowned police force removed the ads after it learned the RCMP brand appeared alongside "inappropriate material that belonged to the 18th Street Gang," Sgt. Martin Blais, a media spokesman for the Mounties in Ottawa, said on Monday.

The Mounties responded after being alerted by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. late last week that its recruitment ads ran on Web sites run by the notorious 18th Street Gang, a Los Angeles-based group thought to be one of the largest and most violent gangs in the world.

More here.

Spotted in Tokyo


XM and Sirius to Disclose Merger Today

Via Reuters.

The two main satellite radio providers, XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. and Sirius are expected to announce a long-awaited merger on Monday, according to the New York Post.

The newspaper said the two companies were negotiating over the weekend to merge the companies, a deal that is expected to be structured as a "merger of equals."

Representatives of the two companies could not immediately be reached for comment.

More here.

Programming Note -- And Greetings From Tokyo

View from my hotel room.
Shinjuku, Tokyo.

Blogging will most likely be light for the next few days -- I just arrived in Tokyo this evening.

- ferg

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Programming Note

Posting may be light for the next few days -- I'll be traveling on business.


- ferg

Happy Year of the Golden Pig

A man in a traditional costume performs a stunt at a holiday fair in the southwestern city of Chongqing on Feb. 16.
Image source: MSNBC / Reuters

Chinese New Year starts today. Enjoy.