jm + usa   23

Mozilla Employee Denied Entry to the United States
Ugh. every non-USian tech worker's nightmare. curl developer Daniel Stenberg:
“I can’t think of a single valid reason why they would deny me travel, so what concerns me is that somehow someone did and then I’m worried that I’ll get trouble fixing that issue,” Stenberg said. “I’m a little worried since border crossings are fairly serious matters and getting trouble to visit the US in the future would be a serious blowback for me, both personally with friends and relatives there, and professionally with conferences and events there.”
curl  travel  mozilla  esta  us-politics  usa  immigration  flying 
7 weeks ago by jm
USA Address & Package Forwarding - Shipito
recommended by Eoin for Parcelmotel-style delivery forwarding
packages  delivery  parcels  parcelmotel  shipito  via:eoin  usa 
april 2017 by jm
Intuit and H&R Block Are Spending Millions to Keep Us From Having Simpler Tax Forms
I noticed this when I was living there -- it was nearly impossible to file a 1040 without help, and this is why:
Intuit spent more than $2 million lobbying last year, much of it spent on legislation that would permanently bar the government from offering taxpayers pre-filled returns. H&R Block spent $3 million, also directing some of their efforts toward the bill.


On the upside, with H&R Block it's reasonably easy. Just pretty unpleasant that it's a requirement and effectively private-sector taxation as a result.
h-r-block  intuit  taxes  us-politics  lobbying  scams  usa 
march 2017 by jm
Did the Russians “hack” the election? A look at the established facts | Ars Technica
solid roundup. There's a whole lot of evidence pointing Russia's way, basically
usa  russia  hacking  politics  security  us-politics  trump 
december 2016 by jm
​Why I Hate Security, Computers, and the Entire Modern Banking System | Motherboard
I am honestly amazed the US banking system still works this way, after over a decade of rampant identity theft:
I cannot count the number of times I’ve freely given out my routing and account numbers—in emails, in webforms, in paperwork. This is because it’s necessary for other people to know my routing number and account number in order for them to send me money. But apparently, with that same information, they can also snatch money straight from my account. What kind of insane system is this? There’s two factor authentication, there’s one factor authentication, and then there’s this, which I think I can call zero factor authentication.
identity-theft  phishing  banking  banks  usa  authentication  2fa  0fa  security 
may 2016 by jm
ZIP SIM
Prepaid talk+text+data or data-only mobile SIM cards, delivered to your home or hotel, prior to visiting the US. great service for temporary US business visits
visiting  us  usa  zip-sim  sims  mobile-phones  travel  phones  mobile  travelling  data 
april 2016 by jm
US government commits to publish publicly financed software under Free Software licenses
Wow, this is significant:
At the end of last week, the White House published a draft for a Source Code Policy. The policy requires every public agency to publish their custom-build software as Free Software for other public agencies as well as the general public to use, study, share and improve the software. At the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) we believe that the European Union, and European member states should implement similar policies. Therefore we are interested in your feedback to the US draft.
government  open-source  coding  licenses  fsf  free-software  source-code  us-politics  usa 
april 2016 by jm
Microsoft warns of risks to Irish operation in US search warrant case

“Our concern is that if we lose the case more countries across Europe or elsewhere are going to be concerned about having their data in Ireland, ” Mr Smith said, after testifying before the House judiciary committee.
Asked what would happen to its Irish unit if the company loses the case or doesn’t convince Congress to pass updated legislation governing cross-border data held by American companies, the Microsoft executive said: “We’ll certainly face a new set of risks that we don’t face today.”
He added that the issue could be resolved by an executive order by the White House or through international negotiations between the Irish Government or the European Union and the US.
microsoft  data  privacy  us-politics  surveillance  usa 
february 2016 by jm
Yosemite agrees to change the names of its significant locations to appease trademark troll / Boing Boing
This is absolutely appalling. IP law gone mad:
DNC Parks & Resorts at Yosemite, Inc (a division of one of the largest privately owned companies in the world) used to have the concessions to operate various businesses around Yosemite National Park. Now that they've been fired, they're using some decidedly dubious trademark to force the Park Service to change the names of buildings and locations that have stood for as much as a century, including some that have been designated national landmarks. The Parks Service has caved to these requests as it readies the park for its centennial celebration. It will not only change the names of publicly owned landmarks -- such as the Ahwahnee hotel, Yosemite Lodge, the Wawona Hotel, Curry Village, and Badger Pass ski area -- it will also have to change all its signs, maps and guidebooks.
yosemite  ip  trademarks  law  fiasco  national-parks  usa 
january 2016 by jm
Behold: The Ultimate Crowdsourced Map of Punny Businesses in America | Atlas Obscura
"Spex in the City", "Fidler on the Tooth", "Sight For Four Eyes", "Fried Egg I'm In Love", "Lice Knowing You" and many more
business  humor  map  geography  usa  puns 
october 2015 by jm
The Titanium Gambit | History | Air & Space Magazine
Amazing story of 1960s detente via Maciej: 'During the Cold War, Boeing execs got a strange call from the State Department: Would you guys mind trading secrets with the Russians?'
via:maciej  titanium  history  cold-war  detente  ussr  usa  boeing  russia  aerospace 
july 2015 by jm
Foreign Founders Should Look Beyond Silicon Valley | TechCrunch
'Reasons abound for international entrepreneurs and top technical talent to stay away from Silicon Valley and build their startup somewhere else.'

Strongly agreed. This factoid is particularly nuts:

'As Balaji Srinivasan of a16z has observed, roughly 50%+ of the capital allocated for early stage tech investments is actually flowing into Bay Area real estate, directly through office rentals and indirectly via home rentals as a primary driver of skyrocketing salaries.'
salary  bay-area  silicon-valley  usa  tech  jobs  work  real-estate  rent  startups  techcrunch 
january 2015 by jm
How to Name a Baby
some good data (and graphs) on baby names (via Ruth)
via:ruth  babies  naming  graphs  dataviz  data  usa  names 
january 2014 by jm
Soviets map America
An amazing Soviet map of the US economy from 1979. Wonderful piece of cold war memorabilia
cold-war  ussr  usa  mapping  maps  soviet  economy  memorabilia 
august 2013 by jm
Schneier on Security: Blowback from the NSA Surveillance
Unintended consequences on US-focused governance of the internet and cloud computing:
Writing about the new Internet nationalism, I talked about the ITU meeting in Dubai last fall, and the attempt of some countries to wrest control of the Internet from the US. That movement just got a huge PR boost. Now, when countries like Russia and Iran say the US is simply too untrustworthy to manage the Internet, no one will be able to argue. We can't fight for Internet freedom around the world, then turn around and destroy it back home. Even if we don't see the contradiction, the rest of the world does.
internet  freedom  cloud-computing  amazon  google  hosting  usa  us-politics  prism  nsa  surveillance 
june 2013 by jm
Former NSA Boss: We Don't Data Mine Our Giant Data Collection, We Just Ask It Questions
'Well, that's - no, we're going to use it. But we're not going to use it in the way that some people fear. You put these records, you store them, you have them. It's kind of like, I've got the haystack now. And now let's try to find the needle. And you find the needle by asking that data a question. I'm sorry to put it that way, but that's fundamentally what happens. All right. You don't troll through the data looking for patterns or anything like that. The data is set aside. And now I go into that data with a question that - a question that is based on articulable(ph), arguable, predicate to a terrorist nexus.'


Yep, that's data mining.
data-mining  questions  haystack  needle  nsa  usa  politics  privacy  data-protection  michael-hayden 
june 2013 by jm
PRISM explains the wider lobbying issues surrounding EU data protection reform | EDRI
The US has very successfully and expertly lobbied against the [EU] data protection package directly, it has mobilised and supported US industry lobbying. US industry has lobbied in its own name and mobilised malleable European trade associations to lobby on their behalf to amplify their message, “independent” “think tanks” have been created to amplify their message again. The result is not just the biggest lobbying effort that Brussels has ever seen, but also the broadest.

Compliant Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and EU Member States [...] have been imposing a “death by a thousand cuts” on the Regulation. Where previously there was a clear obligation to collect the “minimum necessary” data for any given service, the vague requirement to retain “not excessive” data is now preferred. Where previously companies could only use data for purposes that were “compatible” with the original reason for collecting the data, the Irish EU Presidency (pdf) has proposed a comical definition of “compatible” based on five elements, only one of which is related to the dictionary definition of the word.

Members of the European Parliament and EU Member States are falling over themselves to ensure that the EU does not maintain its strategic advantage over the US. In addition to dismantling the proposed Regulation, countries like the UK desperately seek to delay the whole process and subsume it into the EU-US free trade agreement (the so-called “investment partnership” TTIP/TAFTA), which would subordinate a fundamental rights discussion in a trade negotiation. The UK government is even prepared to humiliate itself by arguing in favour of the US position on the basis that two and a half years (see Communication from 2010, pdf) of discussion is too fast!
edri  data-protection  eu  ec  ireland  politics  usa  meps  privacy  uk  free-trade 
june 2013 by jm
Microsoft admits US government can access EU-based cloud data
interesting point from an MS Q&A back in 2011, quite relevant nowadays:
Q: Can Microsoft guarantee that EU-stored data, held in EU based datacenters, will not leave the European Economic Area under any circumstances — even under a request by the Patriot Act?

A: Frazer explained that, as Microsoft is a U.S.-headquartered company, it has to comply with local laws (the United States, as well as any other location where one of its subsidiary companies is based). Though he said that "customers would be informed wherever possible," he could not provide a guarantee that they would be informed — if a gagging order, injunction or U.S. National Security Letter permits it. He said: "Microsoft cannot provide those guarantees. Neither can any other company." While it has been suspected for some time, this is the first time Microsoft, or any other company, has given this answer. Any data which is housed, stored or processed by a company, which is a U.S. based company or is wholly owned by a U.S. parent company, is vulnerable to interception and inspection by U.S. authorities. 
microsoft  privacy  cloud-computing  eu  data-centers  data-protection  nsa  fisa  usa 
june 2013 by jm
High home ownership can seriously damage labor market, new study suggests
Interesting -- a healthy rental market is needed to allow sufficient labour mobility. This matches what I heard and saw from friends and coworkers in the US, anecdotally
science  home-ownership  rental  homes  usa  economics 
may 2013 by jm
'What Idiot Wrote The Patent That Might Invalidate Software Patents? Oh, Wait, That Was Me' | Techdirt
'So I was thinking - great they invalidated software patents, lets see what crappy patent written by an idiot they picked to do it - then I realized the idiot in question was me :-)

Not sure how I feel about this.

John - inventor of the patent in question.'
patents  swpats  reform  usa  software-development  coding  funny  techdirt 
august 2011 by jm
F.B.I. Seizes Web Servers, Knocking Sites Offline
law enforcement fail. "the agents took entire server racks, perhaps because they mistakenly thought that “one enclosure is = to one server,” [DigitalOne's CEO] said in an e-mail."
search-and-seizure  law-enforcement  fbi  fail  datacenters  racks  digitalone  usa  hosting 
june 2011 by jm
Stuxnet Worm Used Against Iran Was Tested in Israel - NYTimes.com
some amazing details of Stuxnet's apparent background. 'By the accounts of a number of computer scientists, nuclear enrichment experts and former officials, the covert race to create Stuxnet was a joint project between the Americans and the Israelis, with some help, knowing or unknowing, from the Germans and the British.'
security  iran  israel  usa  stuxnet  politics  espionage  nytimes  testing  from delicious
january 2011 by jm

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