Showing posts from February 26, 2015

Net neutrality rules passed by US regulator

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[Most people won't recognize how huge a victory this is - see also Net neutrality: should you care about it? However this battle will continue to be fought for a long time coming. *RON*]
By Jane Wakefield, BBC World News, 26 February 2015
New rules on how the internet should be governed have been approved by the Federal Communications Commission.

In what is seen as a victory for advocates of net neutrality, the commission voted in favour of changes proposed by chairman Tom Wheeler.

Three commissioners voted in favour and two against.

The US Telecommunications Industry Association said that broadband providers would take "immediate" legal action over the rule changes.

The main changes for broadband providers are as follows:
Broadband access is being reclassified as a telecommunications service, meaning it will be subject to much heavier regulationBroadband providers cannot block or speed up connections for a feeInternet providers cannot …

Controversial Spanish mine to reopen

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[The photo of the breached tailings dam will certainly be familiar to British Columbians. Conservationists claim environmental concerns have been ignored in the runup to regional elections in decision to reopen Aznalcóllar mine that caused one of Spain’s worst ecological disasters 17 years ago. The Doñana is a spectacular wildlife reserve in the the largest parkland in Europe. *RON*]
James Bryce, The Guardian, 25 February 2015
A controversial mine which caused one of Spain’s biggest ever environmental disasters is set to reopen, the government has announced.

Los Frailes mine in Aznalcóllar, near Seville, will resume operations 17 years after a tailings dam burst, dumping five million cubic metres of toxic sludge into the Guadiamar river.

The spill narrowly avoided one of Europe’s most important wetlands and led to a €240m (£178m) cleanup operation.

The Andalucían regional government claims reopening the mine will create 450 jobs in an area with one …

US government and private sector developing ‘precrime’ system to anticipate cyber-attacks

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[Orwell was right: there's nothing left to persecute in the surveillance state now but thought-crime. *RON*]
Martin Anderson, The Stack, 24 February 2015

The USA’s Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) is soliciting the involvement of the private and academic sectors in developing a new ‘precrime’ computer system capable of predicting cyber-incursions before they happen, based on the processing of ‘massive data streams from diverse data sets’ [1] - including social media and possibly deanonymised Bitcoin transactions.

In January the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), administrated by ODNI, held a Proposers’ Day Conference [2] for the Cyber-attack Automated Unconventional Sensor Environment (CAUSE) initiative, inviting interest from IBM and other cyber-security companies including Battelle [3], RepKnight [4], the Florida Center for Cybersecurity (FC2) [5], Galois Inc [6], SoarTech [7], SRA International I…

Canada Considers Joining U.S.-Led Training Mission In Ukraine

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[Austerity Harper style. "There's always money for another war," quips a smiling Minister Kenney. "Just don't ask us for pensions for disabled veterans (or about murdered Aboriginal women, or poor children). By the way, did I mention that the budget is balanced, and we're financially responsible, so vote for us?" *RON*]
By Murray Brewster, The Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 25 February 2015

OTTAWA - The Harper cabinet is actively and seriously considering whether Canada should join the U.S. and Britain in a military training mission to shore up embattled Ukrainian troops, Defence Minister Jason Kenney said Wednesday.

The notion drew a lukewarm response from opposition parties, who seem reluctant to see Canada venture further into the tinderbox of eastern Europe beyond the delivery of non-lethal military aid and satellite intelligence.

Britain said Wednesday that it would send 75 military trainers to Ukraine next mo…

Rafe: Federal leaders out of touch on LNG, fracking

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[In other words, if the dangers of fracking to health and the environment matter to you, at this point in time your only choice as a responsible citizen is to vote Green; yet they cannot possibly form the next government. So on this issue you're democratic choices in reality boil down to: nil. You can join the protests and hope you aren't arrested under Bill C-51. *RON*]
By Rafe Mair, Common Sense Canadian, 23 February 2015
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has thrown down the gauntlet with his promise of federal tax giveaways for LNG enterprises.

I expected this sort of nonsense – just one look at the smug sneer of power on the face of James Moore, Minister of Industry, over the last few months, indicated that this decision was coming and that the opinions of the people of British Columbia didn’t matter a tinker’s dam.

This I think is one of the central points.

When it comes to industry and the people with whom this government are philosophical…

DFO Slams Kinder Morgan's Shoddy Analysis of Oil Tankers' Impact on Whales

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[A shoddy environmental impact analysis by Kinder Morgan? Colour me surprised! *RON*]
Carol Linnitt, DeSmog Blog, 23 February 2015

A report submitted to the National Energy Board (NEB) by the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) points to “insufficient information and analysis” in Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion proposal as it relates to whale populations off the coast of British Columbia.

“There are deficiencies in both the assessment of potential effects resulting from ship strikes and exposure to underwater noise in the Trans Mountain Expansion Project Application documents,” the report says. “Ship strike is a threat of conservation concern, especially for…Fin Whales, Humpback Whales and other baleen whales.”

The report concludes that an increase in shipping intensity related to Kinder Morgan’s proposal would lead to an increase in threats to whale populations that occupy the Strait of Georgia and the Juan de Fuca …