Courthouse News Service has an extensive explainer on the state of a legal battle between The National Security Agency and a group of non-terrorist AT&T customers who claim that warrantless wiretapping violates their rights. The short version: NSA argues it is immune from their federal lawsuit because REASONS. Read the rest
At Los Angeles International airport early this morning, TSA screeners mistook a woman's insulin pump for a gun. Screening and boarding at Terminal 4 were delayed as airport authorities searched for a woman they thought had a weapon. Read the rest
Gothamist digs into whether NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly's statements and actions regarding the production of an Islamophobic propaganda film "screened on a continuous loop for over 1,200 NYPD officers" may have been a violation of NYPD conduct codes. If you're new to the story, first read this NYT item, then this followup. Read the rest
Boing Boing partner John Battelle was on a WiFi-enabled flight last night, and wanted to say bedtime-goodnight to his kids using videochat. Lots of parents tuck their kids into bed over video when they're far from home. What gentler, more loving example of the power of the internet could there be? Nope. A United Airlines flight attendant told John that this was prohibited because terrorists could use this to coordinate attacks.
So what's a curious guy to do? To the Internet! Which is exactly what I did. Responses starting pouring in. Including one from a pal at the State Department, who echoed my basic goal: To use video chat to tuck my kids into bed isn't a crime. Or at least, shouldn't be.
The flight attendant just showed me the United policy manual which prohibits "two way devices" from communicating with the ground. However, the PLANE HAS WIFI. To combat this, not unlike China, United and other airlines have blocked Skype and other known video chat offenders. Apparently, they missed Apple iChat. Oops.
An FAA guidebook says inflight video chat is to be discouraged because it can be annoying to seatmates, but that's very different than banning something because it's a terrorist weapon.
Read: Video Chat on the plane illegal? (battellemedia.com) Read the rest
A San Diego school vice-principal saw an 11-year-old's home science project (a motion detector made out of an empty Gatorade bottle and some electronics), decided it was a bomb, wet himself, put the school on lockdown, had the bomb-squad come out to destroy X-ray the student's invention and search his parents' home, and then magnanimously decided not to discipline the kid (though he did recommend that the child and his parents get counselling to help them overcome their anti-social science behavior).
When police and the Metro Arson Strike Team responded, they also found electrical components in the student's backpack, Luque said. After talking to the student, it was decided about 1 p.m. to evacuate the school as a precaution while the item was examined. Students were escorted to a nearby playing field, and parents were called and told they could come pick up their children.
A MAST robot took pictures of the device and X-rays were evaluated. About 3 p.m., the device was determined to be harmless, Luque said...
The student will not be prosecuted, but authorities were recommending that he and his parents get counseling, the spokesman said. The student violated school policies, but there was no criminal intent, Luque said.
Boing Boing: Stickers: This is engineering, not bomb-making
Funny doctored science fair photos - Boing Boing
Science fair project on dangers of BB guns rejected b/c BB guns ...
Teen wins science fair with $300 spectrograph - Boing Boing
Boing Boing: Teen wins science fair with $300 spectrograph Read the rest