In what Indiana‘s governor and his supporters describe as defense of any given individual’s religious convictions, detractors roundly decry as blatant discrimination against the LGBT community. Possibly the best explanation of Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) rendered down to two sentences would be that as reported by CBS News on March 30, 2015, “Supporters say it protects a person or business owner from government persecution when following their religious beliefs. But opponents say the measure gives businesses a free pass to refuse gay and lesbian customers on religious grounds.”
Despite the Hoosier State’s Governor Mike Pence stressing the new law wouldn’t legalize discrimination against certain individuals or groups, but instead would protect the religious convictions of service providers such as pro-life pharmacists forced to sell abortifacients (abortion-inducing drugs), a number of high profile pro-LBGT advocates have slammed Pence and the Indiana legislature. One of the more prominent would be Apple CEO Tim Cook, who the Gawker.com news portal tagged in 2011 as “The Most Powerful Gay Man in America.”
As reported by CBS, Cook took to the editorial pages of The Washington Post slam the RFRA as he believes it “goes against the very principles our nation was founded on.” Not done yet, Cook also opined “On behalf of Apple, I’m standing up to oppose this new wave of legislation wherever it emerges. I’m writing in the hopes that many more will join this movement.”
However, Cook made no mention of Apple Inc. expanding to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia last year. As reported by Arabian Business on Dec. 20, 2014, Apple opened two new stores in Riyadh and Al Khobar. According to Apple’s official website, the corporation has well over 14 retail stores within the Kingdom, as well as numerous other stores the width and breadth of the Muslim World. A number of the same Muslim-majority nations also adhere to Islamic Shari’a law which clearly states homosexuality to be illegal.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia takes it a bit further. Saudi Arabia executes homosexuals. Publicly executing homosexuals isn’t the only Shari’a compliant move taken in the oil rich nation. Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah, the powerful Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, declared in 2012 that it is “necessary to destroy all the [Christian] churches of the region.” Not finished with calling for the death of homosexuals or bulldozing churches, the Sheikh also gave the official thumbs-up for 10-year-old girls to be married off against their will.
Category Archives: Technology
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said Wednesday that it’s possible the Secret Service erased surveillance tapes of two supposedly intoxicated agents driving a vehicle through an active bomb-scene investigation site.
Speaking to CNN and CBS News, the House Oversight Committee chairman said the revelation was made known to several lawmakers during a closed-doors meeting with Secret Service Director Joe Clancy.
“We inquired if there were additional tapes and angles and the director informed us that there may not be because it’s their policy to erase them 72 hours after they record, which is just unfathomable,” Chaffetz told CNN. “I can’t think of any good reason to do that.”
“This is not your local 7-11. This is the White House,” he added.
The Republican lawmaker told CBS News that the news left the entire room in astonishment.
“I don’t think anyone in that room could believe it,” Chaffetz said. “That’s just a stunning revelation that 72 hours after they make a tape they destroy it? That doesn’t make any sense to us.”
Chaffetz also questioned why some tapes would be destroyed, when others were preserved.
“If it’s regular policy to destroy them after 72 hours, why did they have two of the tapes, and where are the rest of the tapes? And so far the Secret Service has not been able to answer the question,” he told CBS News.
The two senior agents — including Mark Connolly, the No. 2 on Obama’s security detail — had been with other agents drinking at a bar last week when they returned to the White House in a government car, a U.S. official said. The vehicle entered an area already closed off by the Secret Service, who were investigating a suspicious package and had put the White House on lockdown. Officers on the scene saw the agents’ car, traveling slowly, make contact with a barrier, the official said.
“Net neutrality” has nothing to do with neutrality: It has to do with who is going to prevent Comcast from doing bad things. (By the way, when I say “Comcast,” I mean Time-Warner and all the other pestiferous cable companies, too.) This is the “shiny object” they want to mesmerize you with—this fury at the cable companies—so you won’t dig too deeply into what they’re trying to do.
Make no mistake: the benign term “net neutrality” is camouflage for a far less innocent meaning: Government regulation of the Internet. (No, you don’t need to know the intricacies of Title II and all that, you just need to know that government will be assuming the power to run things.) You might think that’s a good thing, or you might think it’s a bad thing, or you might even think the government won’t screw around even when it has the power to do so, but before we can move on we need to be honest in calling it what it is: Essentially a governmental putsch of the Internet.
Once we know what it is, you can decide whether you like it or not.
Comcast will be answerable to somebody: They would prefer it to be the government. That’s because dealing with the government is a lot easier than dealing with the marketplace—at least if you have the kind of machine in place that Comcast does. Also, the government can ensure your survival even if you treat your customers like vermin, while, if left to the devices of the marketplace, your survival might be in question.
Cars Are Delivering Tons Of Driving Data To Manufacturers With Minimal Security And Even Less Transparency
Nothing’s driving the acquisition of data faster than, well, driving. As new technology makes its way into vehicles, so does the apparent desire to harvest information about the vehicle itself. Between the outside harvesting (automatic plate readers that gather plate/location data, as well as photos of vehicle occupants) and the “inside” transmissions, there’s very little any number of unknown entities won’t know about a person’s driving habits. And that’s not even including what’s transmitted and collected by drivers’ omnipresent smartphones and their installed apps.
Sen. Edward Markey has expressed some alarm at the amount of data being collected (and distributed) by vehicle manufacturers. His office has produced a report [pdf link] showing that while many manufacturers are involved in collecting data, very few of them seem concerned about the attendant risks. Even worse, many respondents to his office’s questionnaire seem to show very little understanding of the underlying technology and most have not made an effort to fully inform customers as to how much is being collected or how it’s being distributed.
Drivers of today’s connected cars aren’t going to like the report’s findings.
Nearly 100% of cars on the market include wireless technologies that could pose vulnerabilities to hacking or privacy intrusions.
While some basic security measures have been implemented, the fact remains that transmitting data always poses a risk. Three of the 14 manufacturers that responded to Markey’s questions had actually let their security measures stagnate or decrease from 2013 to 2014, even as the amount of data transmitted rose. Worse, many of the respondents deployed security measures in a “haphazard and inconsistent” fashion, and nearly all respondents seemed unable to fully process the questions posed by Markey’s office.
FCC commissioner Ajit Pai said President Barack Obama is about to succeed in his attempt to take “alarmingly unprecedented direct involvement” into the FCC’s plan to regulate the internet, which he explained will mean “billions of dollars in new taxes,” slower broadband speeds and “less competition.”
Discussing the plan that the FCC has refused to let the public see Pai said, “Unfortunately it looks like the cake has been baked. President Obama gave his direction to the FCC in back in early November and lo and behold, the FCC majority has put together President Obama’s plan for Internet regulation. And it looks to be posed pass it on a 3-to-2 vote.”
When asked if the president’s move was an “alarmingly unprecedented direct involvement,” into FCC, Pai agreed, explaining the FCC has been an independent agency since 1934, he said, “When you have a politician shortly after the midterm election deciding to direct the agency to do x, y, z and telling us he wants us to use a particular legal theory to do it you’re in uncharted territory, at least in my experience. I think compromising the independence of the agency is bad enough, but especially when it involves the government control the Internet. That is just a dangerous road for us to travel on.”
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) explained in November the Treasury Inspector General reported that it had recovered almost 80,000 missing emails from the seized IRS disaster recovery tapes. Upon investigation it was found approximately 80 percent are duplicates, which leaves roughly 16,000 recovered, unique Lois Lerner emails.
The Wisconsin senator promised “a number of committees,” working together will spend the next couple of month “sorting through” the emails to “piece together this plot.”
Johnson said, “This administration has been completely opaque. But that’s one question. Who was communicating with Lois Lerner? What emails were exchanged with the White House or Treasury department? That’s what we are trying to get to the bottom of.”
He added, “I smell a rat. I smell a number of rats, and that’s what we are going to get to the bottom of.”
Claiming that thousands of public comments condemning “dark money” in politics can’t be ignored, the Democrat-chaired Federal Election Commission on Wednesday appeared ready to open the door to new regulations on donors, bloggers and others who use the Internet to influence policy and campaigns.
During a broad FEC hearing to discuss a recent Supreme Court decision that eliminated some donor limits, proponents encouraged the agency to draw up new funding disclosure rules and require even third-party internet-based groups to reveal donors, a move that would extinguish a 2006 decision to keep the agency’s hands off the Internet.
Noting the 32,000 public comments that came into the FEC in advance of the hearing, Democratic Commissioner Ellen L. Weintraub said, “75 percent thought that we need to do more about money in politics, particularly in the area of disclosure. And I think that’s something that we can’t ignore.”
But a former Republican FEC chairman said in his testimony that if the agency moves to regulate the Internet, including news voices like the Drudge Report as GOP commissioners have warned, many thousands more comments will flood in in opposition of regulation.
“If you produce a rule that says we are going to start regulating this stuff, including the internet and so on, I think you will see a lot more than 32,000 comments come in and I don’t think staff will analyze them and find that 75 percent are favorable to more regulation,” said Bradley Smith, now with the Center for Competitive Politics.
Why did Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler decide to embrace the idea of regulating the Internet like a utility?
He says it’s because he saw that the wireless industry had thrived under similar regulation. But as a report in today’s Wall Street Journal makes abundantly clear, it was really a response to pressure from the White House, which effectively ran a shadow FCC.
As the folks at TechFreedom point out, Wheeler has now reversed himself on a number of issues related to net neutrality in order to align with the preferred position of the White House.
Technically, the FCC is an independent agency charged with making its own decisions on such matters. But the Journal‘s report, and Wheeler’s multiple reversals, suggest that in practice, it is instead acting as a direct extension of the White House, proposing policy changes that the agency’s chairman would not have supported without unusual and aggressive prodding from the administration.