Internet filters block websites of sex abuse charities

The adult content filters being rolled out by some internet providers under a scheme championed by David Cameron are blocking the websites of businesses and charities and are a “distraction” for parents seeking to protect children from online pornography, claim campaigners.

TalkTalk announced this weekend that it would follow Sky and become the second of the UK’s four major internet providers to roll out automatic filters for all its customers unless they specifically ask for them to be turned off. It plans to begin applying the blocks to all users’ accounts next month.

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But campaigners say that it is misleading to suggest these filters are just about blocking pornography, and that they block a range of content, such as drugs, sex, alcohol, tobacco and anorexia.

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A website discussing the legalisation of cannabis found itself blocked, as did several small wine dealers, said Pam Cowburn of the transparency campaign Open Rights Group. Last year research by the group found that 54 registered charities had their websites blocked by one or another of the filters.

Full article guardian

GMO insects could be released in Florida Keys

Millions of genetically modified mosquitoes could be released in the Florida Keys if British researchers win approval to use the bugs against two extremely painful viral diseases.

Never before have insects with modified DNA come so close to being set loose in a residential U.S. neighborhood.

“This is essentially using a mosquito as a drug to cure disease,” said Michael Doyle, executive director of the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District, which is waiting to hear if the Food and Drug Administration will allow the experiment.

“Kill Switch” Prevents Spread of Genetically Modified Bacteria

As genetically-modified microbes take on ever more tasks – from creating new pharmaceuticals to turning out clean fuel sources – researchers have searched for a way to biologically isolate them from their wild counterparts, so that if they were ever accidentally released, they wouldn’t be able to survive.

Now, scientists releasing two separate papers in the journal Nature think they have a solution. They unveiled two different approaches to modifying a strain of E. coli to make it dependent on artificial nutrients. In a controlled environment, such as a research lab or factory, scientists would provide that sustenance. But if the bacteria break free, they wouldn’t be able to make the compounds themselves, and would die.

Argentine prosecutor who accused president found dead

An Argentine prosecutor was found dead just hours before giving what was expected to be damning testimony against President Cristina Kirchner, in what appears to have been a suicide, officials said.

The body of Alberto Nisman, 51, who had received threats, was found overnight in his 13th-floor apartment in the upscale Puerto Madero waterfront neighborhood of the capital Buenos Aires.

Hebdo attack was a strike against free speech. So why is the response more surveillance?

As politicians drape themselves in the flag of free speech and freedom of the press in response to the tragic murder of Charlie Hebdo cartoonists, they’ve also quickly moved to stifle the same rights they claim to love. Government officials on both sides of the Atlantic are now renewing their efforts to stop NSA reform as they support free speech-chilling surveillance laws that will affect millions of citizens that have never been accused of terrorism.

Artificial intelligence experts sign open letter to protect mankind from machines

We’re decades away from being able to develop a sociopathic supercomputer that could enslave mankind, but artificial intelligence experts are already working to stave off the worst when — not if — machines become smarter than people.

AI experts around the globe are signing an open letter issued Sunday by the Future of Life Institute that pledges to safely and carefully coordinate progress in the field to ensure it does not grow beyond humanity’s control. Signees include co-founders of Deep Mind, the British AI company purchased by Google in January 2014; MIT professors; and experts at some of technology’s biggest corporations, including IBM’s Watson supercomputer team and Microsoft Research.

The FBI Says It Doesn’t Need a Warrant to Track Your Cell Phone in Public

The FBI claims that it doesn’t need a warrant to use so-called Stingray cell-phone tracking technology in public spaces, according to two US Senators raising privacy concerns over use of the devices.

Stingrays and similar devices intercept data by emulating a cell phone tower, say privacy groups. With the briefcase-size technology, police can identify and locate cell phone users in a general area or search for a specific person while also vacuuming up metadata from phones.

BPA alternative disrupts normal brain-cell growth

In a groundbreaking study, researchers have shown why a chemical once thought to be a safe alternative to bisphenol-A, which was abandoned by manufacturers of baby bottles and sippy cups after a public outcry, might itself be more harmful than BPA.

University of Calgary scientists say they think their research is the first to show that bisphenol-S, an ingredient in many products bearing “BPA-free” labels, causes abnormal growth surges of neurons in an animal embryo.

Cameron pledges new Internet security laws to tighten intelligence web

Cameron pledged on Monday to give security and intelligence services new powers to monitor Internet communications, as Britain set out its response to last week’s deadly attacks by Islamist militants in Paris.

Facing a tight election in four months’ time, Cameron promised that if he was re-elected he would bring in new laws to make sure that Internet firms were covered by rules that allow security services to monitor communications and, in some cases, access their content.

Full article reuters