government

Ohio capital wins ‘smart city’ award, details self-driving plans

Ohio capital wins ‘smart city’ award, details self-driving plans

Ohio’s capital Columbus has won the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Smart City competition, and as such will get $40 million in federal funds and another $10 million from the company Vulcan. The city has detailed its plans for the money, saying the combined $50 million will be used alongside locally raised funds to, among other things, connect the impoverished community Linden with a nearby job center using self-driving vehicles.

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FAA propses more fines against Amazon over alleged shipment violations

FAA propses more fines against Amazon over alleged shipment violations

On the heels of a recent proposed $350,000 fine against Amazon over the alleged improper shipment of hazardous materials comes another two notices from the FAA: a proposed fine of $78,000 and a proposed fine of $52,000, both likewise over the claimed violations of hazardous materials shipment regulations. The shipping instances took place in 2014, and are said to have involved a total of three cardboard boxes.

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The Pentagon expands program for hackers to test its security

The Pentagon expands program for hackers to test its security

Back in March, the US's Department of Defense launched a "Hack the Pentagon" campaign to get hackers to test their websites and security networks for vulnerabilities, without the threat of jail time. The project was so successful that the government agency has announced it's being expanded, including more DoD websites and networks, with further cash incentives for hackers. Think of it like the bug bounty programs that Google, Facebook, and other tech companies offer, except hackers get to put the government's most secure facilities to the test.

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Cable industry offers alternate plan to FCC’s ‘unlocked’ set-top boxes

Cable industry offers alternate plan to FCC’s ‘unlocked’ set-top boxes

Back in January, the FCC came up with a plan to reform the US's cable TV industry by "unlocking" set-top boxes, in turn allowing consumers to use devices from other companies or receive content from multiple providers. The goal is to both open the market to competitors, as well as give consumers more choices in how they browse content. The cable industry, unsurprisingly, didn't like this idea, and now, several months later, has proposed their own idea for reform.

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FDA fires back at OIG over claims its food recall program is too slow

FDA fires back at OIG over claims its food recall program is too slow

On June 8, the Office of the Inspector General sent the FDA an ‘early alert’ letter advising it that an ongoing audit has found the Food and Drug Administration’s food recall program to be inadequate on a couple of levels, particularly when it comes to prodding companies to get a move with their voluntary food recalls. Now the FDA has fired back with its own statement, justifying its processes and saying that it expediting changes it already had in the pipeline.

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US developing real-time camera-based behavior monitoring system

US developing real-time camera-based behavior monitoring system

In the not-so-distant-future, your every public action may be monitored by cameras that deliver video feeds to behavior tracking systems capable of analyzing your actions for suspicious elements in real-time. The system is called Deep Intermodal Video Analytics, DIVA for short, and it is currently a research project with the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Agency. As you may have guessed, it is being developed under the banner of fighting terrorism.

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FBI tipped to be making powerful ‘tattoo recognition technology’

FBI tipped to be making powerful ‘tattoo recognition technology’

Before getting my first tattoo, I joked that I was about to make any potential future as a fugitive from the law a lot harder. Tattoos, even trendy ones picked from the same book used by hundreds of other people, can be highly personal -- not just in what it means to a person, but in how much it helps identify that individual. Even small elements can say quite a bit about the person who got it, and the FBI is reportedly developing a technology that can exploit these unspoken cues.

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Yahoo has made three National Security Letters public

Yahoo has made three National Security Letters public

National Security Letters are a big deal, and that’s because companies face severe restrictions related to them. No company has been able to make the nature of the letters, nor the number or even a narrow range of the number of letters received, public. As consumer fears about privacy invasions led to a fast scramble on tech companies’ parts to be more transparent, certain law changes have come about, and one of them has led to Yahoo disclosing publishing National Security Letters.

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FCC targets signal jammers, fines Chinese company $34m

FCC targets signal jammers, fines Chinese company $34m

Chinese company CTS Technology has been fined $34.9 million by the Federal Communications Commission for selling signal jammers, which block your ability to use your phone and are, as you’d expect, incredibly illegal. According to the FCC, some of the CTS’ signal jammers could disrupt phones, GPS and other devices across multiple blocks, impairing access to emergency services and more.

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Ecigs now banned from checked airline luggage

Ecigs now banned from checked airline luggage

The U.S. Department of Transportation has banned e-cigarettes from checked airline luggage, announcing the change today. According to DOT, putting e-cigarettes or ‘vapes’ in checked baggage poses a fire risk, with there having been several incidents in the recent past related to the matter. The ban doesn’t mean you can’t take your ecig with you, though -- you'll just have to make sure it's in your carry-on.

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Study: many Americans limit Internet use over a roster of fears

Study: many Americans limit Internet use over a roster of fears

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA) has published a new study that found a combination of concerns about security and privacy are causing some Americans to limit their online activities, something that could, over time, impact the economy and more. The lack of trust in online safety comes at a time when report after report details mass government spying against citizens and cybersecurity breaches that leave ordinary users exposed and vulnerable.

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Hidden FBI microphones planted in public outside California courthouse

Hidden FBI microphones planted in public outside California courthouse

For a period of 10 months, the FBI planted hidden microphones in several public locations outside a courthouse in Oakland, California, it has recently been discovered. A warrant wasn't needed, but the microphones allowed the government to secretly record and monitor private conversations during the period between March 2010 and January 2011.

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