The first paramedic to reach Michael Jackson’s bedroom tells jurors that the doctor charged in the singer’s death initially said Jackson wasn’t suffering from any condition.
Capitol Police were not amused by tweets and an article written by the satirical newspaper The Onion falsely reporting that members of Congress had taken a group of schoolchildren hostage.
As American Amanda Knox and her ex-boyfriend, Italian Raffaele Sollecito, await a verdict on their appeal against their murder convictions in a Perugia courtroom, the family of victim Meredith Kercher remembers her and hopes for justice.
Internet firms co-opted for surveillance: experts
Reuters US Online Report Technology News
Sep 30, 2011 10:02 EDT
NAIROBI (Reuters) – Internet companies such as Google, Twitter and Facebook are increasingly co-opted for surveillance work as the information they gather proves irresistible to law enforcement agencies, Web experts said this week.
Although such companies try to keep their users’ information private, their business models depend on exploiting it to sell targeted advertising, and when governments demand they hand it over, they have little choice but to comply.
Suggestions that BlackBerry maker RIM might give user data to British police after its messenger service was used to coordinate riots this summer caused outrage — as has the spying on social media users by more oppressive governments.
But the vast amount of personal information that companies like Google collect to run their businesses run has become simply too valuable for police and governments to ignore, delegates to the Internet Governance Forum in Nairobi said.
“When the possibility exists for information to be obtained that wasn’t possible before, it’s entirely understandable that law enforcement is interested,” Google’s Chief Internet Evangelist Vint Cerf told Reuters in an interview.
“Then the issue would be, what’s the right policy? And that, or course, engenders a lot of debate,” said Cerf, who is recognized as one of the “fathers of the Internet” for his early work in areas including communications protocols and email.
Demands from governments for Internet companies to hand over user information have become routine, according to online privacy researcher and activist Christopher Soghoian, who makes extensive use of freedom-of-information requests in his work.
“Every decent-sized U.S. telecoms and Internet company has a team that does nothing but respond to requests for information,” Soghoian told Reuters in an interview.
Soghoian estimates that U.S. Internet and telecoms companies may receive about 300,000 such requests in connection with law enforcement each year — but public information is scarce.
While U.S. courts are obliged to publish reports on wire-tapping of telephone lines, no similar information is required to be made public with respect to the Internet — which grew up after the laws on electronic communications were passed.
Google does voluntarily publish a transparency report every six months in which it details the number of requests it receives from governments around the world to remove content from its services or hand over user data.
But the numbers do not reveal how many users are affected by each request — only trends country by country (www.google.com/transparencyreport).
Some governments are requiring Internet companies to collect more data and keep it for longer, said Katarzyna Szymielewicz, executive director of Poland‘s Panoptykon Foundation, which campaigns for human rights in light of modern surveillance.
“Government agencies throughout the world are pushing companies to collect even more data than is needed for their business purposes,” she told the conference.
“For example, we have a very controversial data retention regime which is currently under review. This requires people to store data for a period up to two years so it can easily be accessed by law enforcement agencies.”
The ease and cost of surveillance are at an all-time low, Soghoian said, with Google charging an administrative fee of $25 to hand over data, Yahoo charging $20, and Microsoft and Facebook providing data for free.
“Now, one police officer from the comfort of their desk can track 20, 30, 50 people all through Web interfaces provided by mobile companies and cloud computing companies,” he said.
“The marginal cost of surveilling one more person is now essentially approaching zero.”
(Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Will Waterman)
N.Zealand ‘runaway millionaire’ arrested in HK
By Staff Reporter
AFP Asian Edition
Sep 30, 2011 03:46 EDT
A New Zealand man who allegedly fled the country after a bank mistakenly deposited millions of dollars into his account has been arrested in Hong Kong, according to police.
The 30-year-old man is accused of departing for China with his partner in April 2009 after Westpac Bank accidentally placed NZ$10 million ($7.7 million) into his account, police said.
They said he was stopped by a Hong Kong border patrol Thursday trying to enter the territory from China at Lok Ma Chau and subsequently arrested by Interpol officers on an outstanding warrant alleging theft and money laundering.
Police did not name the man but have previously identified him as Hui (Leo) Gao.
He made international headlines in 2009 when he and partner Kara Hurring went on the run after Westpac put NZ$10 million into his business account after he had requested a NZ$100,000 dollar overdraft.
The error was discovered within days but by then some NZ$6.78 million had allegedly been transferred into other accounts and the pair had left New Zealand.
Hurring returned to New Zealand voluntarily in February and will face trial next year on charges of stealing NZ$11,000 and money laundering HK$1.5 million ($192,000) in Macau.
Detective inspector Mark Loper said even after Hurring’s arrest, the focus of the investigation remained on apprehending her partner.
“The arrest in Hong Kong reinforces the determination and tenacity of New Zealand police and our investigation team,” he said.
Loper said the man was due to face a Hong Kong court later Friday. He said the accused could choose to return to New Zealand voluntarily or face extradition proceedings.
Source: AFP Asian Edition
Police say they found a handgun like the one used to kill five people in Indiana in the car of a man linked to the deaths, and bloodstained clothes and a victim’s cell phone were found in the home where he stayed.
Holly Madison insures breasts for $1 million
Reuters US Online Report Oddly Enough
Sep 29, 2011 15:40 EDT
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Reality TV star and model Holly Madison has insured her breasts for $1 million with Lloyd’s of London, she told People magazine on Thursday.
Madison, 31, said she took out the policy to protect herself and others in her Las Vegas production, “Peepshow.”
“If anything happened to my boobs, I’d be out for a few months and I’d probably be out a million dollars,” she told People. “I thought I’d cover my assets.”
Madison has said she had plastic surgery in 2001 that took her from an A-cup size to a larger D-cup.
Madison, who gained fame as one of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner’s girlfriends on the TV series “The Girls Next Door,” isn’t alone in insuring famous body parts. Film stars Betty Grable and Angie Dickinson as well as TV stars Angie Everhart and Mary Hart each had their legs insured for $1 million.
Madison also was a contestant on TV show “Dancing With the Stars” before starting her Las Vegas show.
(Editing by Bob Tourtellotte and Jill Serjeant)
Source: Reuters US Online Report Oddly Enough