government

Mars flyby mission aiming for 2017 launch, says Dennis Tito

Mars flyby mission aiming for 2017 launch, says Dennis Tito

Back in February, Dennis Tito revealed his ambitious plan to send a married couple on a flyby mission to Mars, something he has detailed today to members of Congress in a push to get the US government on board (figuratively speaking). Despite the science fiction-esque sound of it all, Tito says that the project can take place within the next couple of years rather than decades, and that he is aiming for December 2017.

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DoJ, SEC, the Fed to Senate Homeland Security: Bitcoin is legitimate

DoJ, SEC, the Fed to Senate Homeland Security: Bitcoin is legitimate

As Bitcoin settles in for another spasmodic leap in the ticker graphs, key agencies in the United States government are telling elected officials that Bitcoin is a legitimate financial instrument. Officials from the Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Reserve and other experts released letters ahead of a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing to say Bitcoin "has great potential benefits" as well as risks, just as with any other financial instrument. This signals a widening public acceptance of the digital currency.

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CIA reportedly collecting international financial transaction data on Americans

CIA reportedly collecting international financial transaction data on Americans

Through the same legal go-ahead and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court used by the NSA to grab phone records, the CIA is collecting American's international money transactions into a "vast database," according to officials who spoke to The Wall Street Journal. The data is reportedly gathered from money transfer services, such as Western Union, and aims to track the financing of terrorists.

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NSA says up to 200,000 documents were leaked by Snowden

NSA says up to 200,000 documents were leaked by Snowden

It is no secret that Edward Snowden leaked a vast quantity of documents, with new information continuing to surface repeatedly after he fled to Russia. Last month, the NSA revealed the approximate number of documents Snowden shared with the media, stating that it was up to 200,000 documents, and that they will continue to be revealed over time. The information was provided by the NSA's Director General Keith Alexander.

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Google seeing more government requests than ever before

Google seeing more government requests than ever before

Google released their latest Transparency Report today. This marks the eighth such report, with the seventh having come back in late-April. That last report brought mention of a record high number of government requests and this time around the report is arriving with a similar description. Details coming from Google point towards how "requests from governments for user information have increased by more than 100 percent." That is, from when Google began sharing these bi-annual reports in 2010.

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Pentagon begins preparing for Blackberry’s demise

Pentagon begins preparing for Blackberry’s demise

Blackberry, despite some noble efforts, has found itself unable to pull out of its tailspin, and has been undergoing a long process of deciding what to do with the company, reportedly rejecting offers to sell its assets last month and recently the expected Fairfax buyout falling through. In light of all this, the Department of Defense is now setting up what amounts to contingency plans in the event that Blackberry fizzles away.

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Amazon, USPS team up for Sunday delivery in select cities

Amazon, USPS team up for Sunday delivery in select cities

Amazon Prime members in New York City and Los Angeles can now receive packages via the United States Postal Service on Sundays, Amazon has announced. That means that even if a customer places an order on a Friday, the two-day shipping will still apply. The arrangement will also soon be extended to other cities.

Update: Amazon has directly informed SlashGear that Sunday delivery works for all Amazon orders for the selected cities, not just Amazon Prime deliveries as the company's original announcement stated. Let the Sunday deliveries roll.

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Google Engineers reply to NSA: “all too often, laws are for the little people”

Google Engineers reply to NSA: “all too often, laws are for the little people”

There are a couple of Google engineers working for the Google security team replying in kind to the NSA and the GCHQ (on the other side of the ocean) regarding the most recent round of Edward Snowden-leaked documents on government snooping into Google and Yahoo cloud networks. What you'll find is a rather everyman-level bit of talk that essentially anyone can understand. Per Google's Mike Hearn: "We designed this system to keep criminals out. There's no ambiguity here."

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Twitter hosts political rappartee between White House and opponents

Twitter hosts political rappartee between White House and opponents

The Obama administration has been increasingly using Twitter as a way to shape news stories and public debate, often going so far as to eschew traditional channels like press releases and news conferences in favor of the social microblogging network, Reuters reports. Characterizing the White House's Twitter activity as an "army" waging "wars" with conservatives and other Obama opponents, the report points to the administration's embrace of Twitter as a public debate sphere.

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NSA directorship to go civilian, report asserts

NSA directorship to go civilian, report asserts

The NSA directorship might revert from a military to a civilian post, The Hill has reported. The Pentagon "has already drawn up a list of possible civilian candidates for the next NSA director," the report said, although "no formal decision has been made yet." The NSA directorship would relinquish authority over Cyber Command, and a separate military officer would be appointed to Cyber Command. If the report is correct, the change would represent a planet-shaking change at the NSA, which since 1971 by law has been directed by military officers.

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