The secretive conferences where delegates are hammering out the details of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) are effectively rewriting the law for the United States, particularly in the area of intellectual property.
The TPP is an international trade treaty currently being negotiated behind closed doors by nine nations located along the Pacific Rim (Mexico and Canada have been invited to join and would bring the total number of participants to 11) The 14th round of talks will be held on September 6-15 in Leesburg, Virginia.
The Internet-based whistleblower website WikiLeaks appears to have won some battles to recover its financial infrastructure in the past few weeks, winning the first stage of a legal battle in Iceland with Visa Corporation and gaining a French source for accepting donations in the Fund for Defense of Net Neutrality (FDN2). But a WikiLeaks satire of former New York Times executive editor Bill Keller — admitted as a phony by WikiLeaks July 29 on its Twitter feed — threatens to undo much of the organization's credibility. FDN2 claims that banks and credit card companies are legally bound to honor the French-based “Carte Bleue” transfer system.
Genia Photonics, a surrogate of the CIA, has announced its greatly enhanced surveillance capabilities to monitor innocent civilians without their knowledge or permission. The latest piece of terrifying technology, the Picosecond Programmable Laser scanner from Genia Photonics, will reportedly be able to identify gunpowder residue on an individual’s shoes, and what he had for breakfast along with his adrenaline levels.
The City of San Francisco, outraged at Apple's decision to depart from environmental standards, has announced its boycott of Apple's computers. San Francisco’s ban on the purchase of Apple computers came in the aftermath of the Cupertino-based company’s decision to withdraw from participating in the “Electronics Product Environmental Assessment Tool” (EPEAT) ranking of consumer electronics.
On July 2, social media service Twitter released its first ever “Transparency Report” revealing the alarming number of requests it has received from the government of the United States to delete tweets and disclose information about its users.
The report covers activity from January 1, 2012 to the end of June, and although brief, it contains irrefutable evidence of the government’s sustained effort to monitor the online activity of citizens of this nation. A fair reading of the report indicates that officials of the federal government are becoming increasingly interested in Twitter and in what is said there and who says it.
Adding to its revolutionary navigation service, Google is planning to release a new version of the Google Maps program, offering users a 3D aerial-mapping technology that provides details capable of showing objects just four inches wide. But as U.S. technology companies race to produce aerial maps with greater detail and visibility, critics are posing privacy concerns and warning that America is quickly becoming a surveillance society.
Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin is expected to save hundreds of millions of dollars or more on his tax liabilities after becoming one of the more high-profile individuals to renounce U.S. citizenship in recent years. The Brazilian-born multi-billionaire now lives in Singapore, where the government does not impose capital-gains taxes or take a cut of income earned abroad.
With social-networking giant Facebook ready to launch an initial public offering (IPO) of its stock, analysts have estimated that the company could be worth as much as $100 billion. That means Saverin, who owns about four or five percent of the company, might be sitting on billions of dollars’ worth of assets — a figure that almost certainly would get the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the big-spending U.S. government frothing at the mouth.
The U.S. government is developing implantable sensor microchips for use in American troops, supposedly to monitor their health on the battlefield, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced earlier this year seeking proposals. But critics of the scheme are speaking out, warning that the new technology could just be a prelude to expanding the use of related devices among the general population — with dangerous implications for freedom and privacy.
Supposedly on Americans’ behalf, the U.S. government is employing new hardware, such as supercomputers, monitoring systems, and laws to literally and figuratively lay us bare at will. “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures” is being undermined by the new surveillance state.
To rival the campaigning efforts of Mitt Romney and other GOP presidential hopefuls, President Obama’s reelection campaign is employing an array of high-technology tactics.
Last summer, the President’s reelection team hired dozens of engineers, developers, data scientists, and other specialists to bolster its new media and web development platform. "We need your help recruiting the folks that will wage the most innovative and effective digital campaign in history," Obama’s top digital strategist Joe Rospars wrote in an email to prospective staff members, "a team that will not just surpass but demolish our fundraising, communications, and organizing goals."
Is saving 30 percent on your car insurance enough to justify granting Big Brother access to your vehicle? That’s the question many consumers and industry analysts are asking, as more auto insurance companies offer new options that calculate premiums based on a person’s driving habits, rather than set variables such as age, gender, and past driving records.