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Storage Files
There is a new legal ruling in the United States right now that could make it risky to store incriminating evidence in computers even if they happened several years ago or even it was outside the scope of an original probable-cause search warrant.

The 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that there was no constitutional violation when authorities obtain criminal evidence because the authorities acted in good faith when they initially received a search warrant, held on to the files for years, and built a case unrelated to the original search.

The case posed a vexing question—how long may the authorities keep somebody's computer files that were obtained during a search but were not germane to that search?

The convicted accountant said that only the computer files pertaining to his client — who was being investigated as part of an Army overbilling scandal — should have been retained by the government during a 2003 search. All of his personal files, which eventually led to his own tax-evasion conviction, should have been purged, he argued.

However, the appeals court said the authorities' behavior was acceptable and didn't reach the constitutional question of whether the Fourth Amendment rights were breached for accountant Stavros Ganias, who was sentenced to two years in prison.

The reason is that three years after the original search of the accountant's files in connection to the Army scandal, Connecticut authorities got another search warrant for Ganias' own tax files that were already in the government's possession, the appeals court ruled in a 12-1 decision written by Judges Debra Ann Livingston and Gerard Lynch. Ganias had subsequently deleted those files from his hard drives after the government had imaged them, according to court records.

The case is clearly nuanced, but it has huge ramifications for the public because many people keep all of their papers and effects co-mingled on their hard drives.

In his 40-page dissent, Judge Denny Chin blasted the majority opinion and said the authorities wrongly seized files from Ganias that were unrelated to the Army overbilling investigation. "The government did precisely what the Fourth Amendment forbids: it entered Ganias' premises with a warrant to seize certain papers and indiscriminately seized — and retained — all papers instead," Chin wrote.

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Amazon Echo
Amazon's Echo product line was labelled as the "accidental winner" of the smart-home speaker market besting other big names in the industry. Aside fro the surprising domination, it was called the "accidental early leader."

Google already announced several new products, including a new line of smartphones, an intelligent router and a voice-controlled wireless speaker. The latter, reportedly called "Google Home" is aimed to become the voice-controlled center of the future smart home and will compete directly with Amazon’s popular Echo devices.

The capabilities of the Echo are continually expanding thanks to a growing number of third-party Alexa skills. But how do people actually use their Echo devices? Numbers from Experian and Creative Strategies, published this a few days ago by Statista, reveal some interesting patterns.

The top feature tried by Echo users is the very simple act of setting a timer, with nearly 85 percent of survey respondents doing that at least once. But only a quarter of respondents repeatedly used the timer feature.

Infographic: What the Amazon Echo Is Actually Used For | Statista

You will find more statistics at Statista

In terms of consistent usage, the top feature is playing a song, according to the study. That's especially notable in light of reports that Amazon is planning to release a discounted ($US 5/month) music service in the coming weeks for Echo users.

Another interesting point: 66 percent of Echo users in the study had asked the device to read the news, but only 17 percent did so repeatedly. In terms of repeated usage, controlling smart lights came in second to playing a song, at 31 percent.

Finally, the numbers show that Amazon still has some work to do if it wants the Echo to fuel its broader e-commerce business. More than 45 percent of respondents used the Echo to add an item to a shopping list, but just 10 percent used that feature repeatedly

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Everyone should expect the bitter online hacking war between American and Russian web vigilantes to intensify after an American vigilante hacker known as Jester (whose signature graphic is shown above) took a critical swipe at Russia for hacking U.S. sites.

The self-described "gray hat" hacker who calls himself "Jester" hacked the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website last 21 October. His message: "Stop attacking Americans," according to CNNMoney.

Anyone who visited the Ministry website after the hack first heard the intentionally loud, annoying, attention-demanding dial tone sound that plays just before American emergency broadcast civil alert messages. Jester's letter to the Ministry displayed in full on the site’s homepage. The letter, which no longer appears on the site but was still visible a few days ago, went into detail about the activities to which The Jester objected.

As summarized by CNNMoney, Jester's message was, "Comrades! We interrupt regular scheduled Russian Foreign Affairs Website programming to bring you the following important message ... Knock it off. You may be able to push around nations around you, but this is America. Nobody is impressed."

Jester’s complaints about Russian hacking included alleged Russian interfering with American politics. Recently 17 U.S. intelligence agencies accused Russian agencies of being behind hacks into the Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails, leaking information to influence the election toward Donald Trump and away from Hillary Clinton. Russia is also accused of supplying hacked and stolen emails to WikiLeaks.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin has denied Russian involvement with DNC or other hacking, but the Jester called him out for it. "Let’s get real, I know it’s you, even if by proxy, and you know it's you. Now, get to your room. Before I lose my temper."

The Jester, who in the past has actively attacked terrorist activities, told CNNMoney that his frustration over distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks that overloaded significant internet sites in the U.S. led him to attack the Russian Ministry site.

In previous attacks, Jester has alerted federal agencies about potential terrorist threats he learned about by hacking into communications forums. He has also taken down jihadist websites.

There are many Jester imitators, but he has a public Twitter account and a blog. In 2015 CNNMoney profiled the Jester, who claims to be a former U.S. soldier who worked in computer security.

"I realized something needed to be done about online radicalization and 'grooming' of wannabe jihadis, and we didn’t have mechanisms to deal with it," Jester was quoted the CNNMoney profile. "I decided to start disrupting them."

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Computer Programmers
Google will have to deal with several age discrimination suit in the next couple of years after a judge ruled that other software engineers over age 40 who interviewed with the company but didn't get hired can step forward and join the lawsuit.

The suit was brought by two job applicants, both over the age of 40, who interviewed but weren't offered jobs.

Specifically, the judge has approved turning the suit into a "collective action" meaning that people who "interviewed in person with Google for a software engineer, site reliability engineer, or systems engineer position when they were 40 years old or older, and received notice on or after August 28, 2014, that they were refused employment, will have an opportunity to join in the collective action against Google," the ruling says.

While this isn't good news for Google, the ruling was strictly focused on whether the suit could be broadened to include more people. It doesn't meant that Google will ultimately lose the case.

Google says it's fighting the suit. A spokesperson told reporters, "We believe the allegations here are without merit and we will continue to defend our position vigorously. We have strong policies against discrimination on any unlawful basis, including age."

Interestingly, the judge is particularly not buying that "policies" defense from Google, writing in the ruling:

"Having such a policy does not necessarily shield a company from a discrimination suit, particularly in light of the evidence and allegations presented here ... today, most, if not all, companies are well versed in anti-discrimination and make great efforts to ensure their written policies comply with anti-discrimination law."
In terms of allegations, one of the plaintiffs alleged that a Google recruiter told her she needed to puts the dates of her graduation on her resume so interviewers could determine her age. That same plaintiff argued that she had found seven others who say they had similar experiences at Google. She also presented evidence to the court that the median age of Google's workforce is 29 while the median age in the US for programmers is 42.8 years old.

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Iron Fist
Marvel TV shows haven't shied away from hot button topics like stereotyping races and they will not do so now no matter how intense are the clamor of the pathetic few misplaced anger coming from social justice unicorns and pink ponies.

The casting of Finn Jones as Danny Rand a.k.a Iron Fist in his upcoming Netflix series has generated n overwhelming support from comic purists, but also attracted some whimsical comments from those that demand attention by arguing that the role is tailor-made for an Asian actor. Well, these few shrieking voices were served with a cold dosed of reality check, especially made for those who criticize something that they haven't even seen yet.

Even Finn Jones himself has chimed in on the matter, and he wants fans to wait to see "Iron Fist" before they rush to criticize the casting choice. He explained:

"What I would say to that is, people should wait, and watch the show before they pass judgment... The comic books were written in the '70s. 1970s was a very different world to 2016, and we're going to reflect that. We have an incredibly diverse cast; incredibly talented. What I would say to that is, wait until you've seen the show, and then pass judgment, before you make comment, because people will be very, very, very pleasantly surprised with what we're doing in the show."
During a recent Q&A session at New York Comic-Con (via Finn Jones addressed the "Iron Fist" casting issue, and implored audiences to wait until they have seen the show before passing any sort of judgment.

While admitting that the character of Danny Rand represents certain racial stereotypes of a bygone era, Jones argued that this new depiction of "Iron Fist" will reflect a far more contemporary outlook on the Marvel mythos. Within the context of "The Defenders" universe, it will all make sense in the end.

Just some fact checks first. Danny Rand is already a white character in the pages of Marvel comics, and bringing in an Asian actor to portray these stereotypes might not go over well with fans. Also, Luke Cage recently proved that embracing the comic stereotypes of the source material can be an incredibly powerful creative step unless some people want to cast Asians as the man with impregnable skin.

Marvel has done a phenomenal job in regards to finding the right actors for the right roles thus far, so no loudmouth social justice freaking coward can do anything about that.

"Iron Fist" debuts on 17 March 2017.

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