government

DoD accidentally ships live anthrax to South Korea, 9 US labs

DoD accidentally ships live anthrax to South Korea, 9 US labs

The Department of Defense has revealed that it accidentally shipped live anthrax to nine labs located in the United States, as well as to a joint military based located in South Korea. No known infections among lab personnel have been reported, and the Pentagon says there is no known risk to the general population. The Centers for Disease Control is working with the Department of Defense to investigate the issue, which is said to have resulted from live samples of anthrax being shipped inadvertently from a government lab located in Dugway, Utah to the aforementioned locations.

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IRS hacked; data stolen from over 100,000 taxpayers

IRS hacked; data stolen from over 100,000 taxpayers

Hackers successfully accessed—stole—personal information, including tax return data, from over 100,000 U.S. taxpayers. In a series of attacks that took place from February to mid-May, the hackers utilized the IRS's "Get Transcript" system to access all of the personal information that would be on a tax return, from birthdays and social security numbers to addresses. The motivation behind the attack is, apparently, an extensive plot to claim fraudulent tax returns using stolen identities. According to the IRS, over $5.8 billion USD in fraudulent refunds were sent out in the year 2013, alone.

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Takata to declare 33.8 million cars defective over faulty airbags

Takata to declare 33.8 million cars defective over faulty airbags

The Takata faulty airbag saga has been a long and tragic one, with the defective components resulting in at least half a dozen deaths, dozens of injuries, and numerous recalls. The end is nowhere in sight, however. Today the manufacturer is declaring approximately 33.8 million vehicles defective, and as a result the United States will likely see its largest ever recall — not just automotive recall, mind you, but largest consumer product recall that has ever taken place. And frankly, it's about time.

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Feds to probe Chrysler for (maybe) being lazy about 20 recalls

Feds to probe Chrysler for (maybe) being lazy about 20 recalls

Fiat Chrysler has gotten itself into hot water with the NHTSA, which made it known in the recent past that it is putting pressure on auto makers to improve their recall completion rates. The National Highway Safety Traffic Administration announced today a future hearing during which it will examine whether the auto maker has been lazy about 20 automotive recalls totaling about 10 million vehicles, with numerous potential problems being cited. At this point the NHTSA is looking into whether the problems represent a pattern, and if so what it plans to do about it.

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Drones banned from Tokyo’s public parks

Drones banned from Tokyo’s public parks

While the acceptance of privately owned drones is rapidly expanding here in the US, in some countries, such as Japan, they are only beginning to get consumers' attention. Unfortunately for budding drone enthusiasts in Tokyo, there is a new roadblock to enjoying their hobby. The Japanese capital's municipal government recently issued a ban on drones being used at all public parks. The prohibition on UAVs follows a recent political protest incident, where a drone was landed on the roof of the Japanese Prime Minister's residence.

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FTC chides Michigan for banning direct-to-consumer vehicle sales, like Tesla

FTC chides Michigan for banning direct-to-consumer vehicle sales, like Tesla

The FTC has come out defending auto manufacturer's right to direct-to-consumer sales. The regulatory agency claims this is much bigger than Tesla, which has been getting all the press from forgoing dealerships and selling its electic vehicles directly to consumers, aggravating conventional manufacturers. The FTC's latest post is a direct comment on Michigan's new, legislation which has yet to be passed.

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Appeals court rules NSA surveillance program illegal

Appeals court rules NSA surveillance program illegal

In March, the ACLU filed a lawsuit against the NSA, claiming their surveillance program was overreaching and illegal. Today, a Federal Court of Appeals has agreed with that assertion, finding the NSA’s practice of data collection “exceeds the scope of what Congress has authorized”. This decision comes well after Edward Snowden began leaking documentation highlighting just how deep and intrusive the NSA’s domestic surveillance program is. In the ruling, Circuit Judge Gerald Lynch wrote “such an expansive concept of 'relevance' is unprecedented and unwarranted”.

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Uber’s China office raided by government authorities

Uber’s China office raided by government authorities

Police and other government officials in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou conducted a raid on the offices of Uber Technologies last week. The incident was initially reported by local newspaper Guangzhou Daily, who added that cellphones and other equipment were seized, and that transportation and business-licensing departments were taking part in the ongoing investigation. The office raid took place on Thursday, while on Friday the Xinhua News Agency, the Chinese government's official broadcaster, reported that the operation was not targeting Uber specifically, but part of a general crackdown on illegal taxi services.

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Slack says they’ve had no government requests for data

Slack says they’ve had no government requests for data

News of government requests for data is oftentimes troubling to read. Companies who transmit data typically fall under the watchful gaze of officials who may want to know what some citizens are up to, where those companies get legal requests for all kinds of data, including who we may have spoken with. Slack, the enterprise-focussed chat service, says they’ve not had a single government request for data of any kind. For such a widely used conversation platform, that’s hard to believe.

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EU is making automatic emergency calling mandatory for cars

EU is making automatic emergency calling mandatory for cars

The European Parliment just voted to enact a measure to make Europe's highways a bit safer. Automatic emergency dialing service, eCall, will be installed in all new passenger cars and trucks within the EU. The service is designed to aid car accident victims by automatically calling 112 (the European equivalent to America's 911) in the case of a crash. Last year, over 25,700 people lost their lives from European road accidents. The eCall system is expected to cut the EU's annual death toll from car accidents by 10%.

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