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What's inside a "Hello Barbie" surveillance toy?

Mattel's Hello Barbie has a microphone and a wifi interface, and it transmits the phrases it hears to a central server in order to parse them and formulate a response. Mattel claims that the data isn't being retained or harvested for marketing purposes, and assures parents that they can make Barbie stopping eavesdropping on them at will. But does it work? Somerset Recon has done a teardown on a Hello Barbie, examining its components and dumping its firmware. Part one of their report is online now, and it's a little dry: Hello Barbie has some standard IoT chips -- a sound codec, a wifi card, etc -- but until Somerset posts their analysis of the firmware dump, this is pretty preliminary stuff.
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The Nation's Criminals Can't Keep Up With The Government's Legalized Theft Programs

The Institute for Justice has released its latest report on asset forfeiture. Despite some recent legislative attempts to add a much-needed conviction requirement to the seizure of property, most of the country still allows law enforcement to proceed under the assumption that money, vehicles and houses are "guilty," even if those they take this property from are, for all intents and purposes, innocent.
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Documents Show 1033 Program Still Resulting In Lots Of Lost Weapons And Other Abuse

The Pentagon's 1033 program is a case study in unintended consequences. The idea -- put military equipment back into service rather than simply scrapping it -- has some merit. The actual deployment has been a nightmare. The Dept. of Defense wondered who could possibly make use of military weapons, armor and vehicles, and came to an almost-logical conclusion. Law enforcement agencies became the military's little brother, taking ownership of cheap/free hand-me-downs and putting them to use in the War at Home.
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This Fake Bomb Detector Is Blamed for Hundreds of Deaths. It’s Still in Use.

THE ADE 651 IS A SMALL, HANDHELD WAND with a plastic grip and a swiveling antenna, designed by a British company named ATSC for the ostensible purpose of finding hidden explosives. I saw one of these devices firsthand last year while driving up to a security checkpoint at Jinnah International airport in Karachi, Pakistan. As our vehicle approached, a security officer walked past us, waving the wand alongside our doors. In theory, had there been a bomb located inside, the device’s antenna would have moved, alerting officials to the danger nearby.
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Act of War: Turkey Shoots Down Russian Military Jet

Turkey has shot down a Russian military jet which it says violated its airspace near the Syrian border. The Russian Defence Ministry and Turkish Presidency, quoted in Russian and Turkish media reports, have both described the plane as Russian, and video posted by the Haberturk TV station appeared to show the jet coming down in flames. A military official, quoted by Turkey’s Dogan news agency, said the plane was shot down by Turkish F16s, and that the pilot was given prior warning.
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Who Exactly is Trying to Kill off Cash?

In the Irish city of Cork, business leaders recently launched a three-month pilot project to encourage consumers to abandon the archaic use of cash by offering the chance to enter into a prize draw if they use electronic means of payment. It is a cheap, almost insulting inducement, but nonetheless probably an effective one. The ultimate aim of the scheme is to transform Cork into the first Irish city to go completely cashless.
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Why Paris Reveals the Horror – and the Hypocrisies – of Global Terrorism

The world was shocked and horrified at the terror inflicted upon Paris on the night of Friday the 13th, 2015, when ISIS-affiliated militants killed well over 100 civilians in one of the world’s most iconic cities. An outpouring of grief, solidarity, support and condolences came in from across the world. The tragedy, and tyranny, of such terror cannot be underestimated, but it should also be placed in its global context: namely, that the chief cause of terrorism is, in fact, terrorism, and that the chief victims are the innocent, wherever they may be.
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More Than 1 In 4 Americans Believe Government Is The Enemy

More than 1 in 4 Americans believe that the government is the enemy, according to a new poll. Pew Research Center found that 27 percent of registered voters say they think of government as an enemy, up 8 points since 1996. The latest poll looked at general public opinion regarding the federal government.
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Animal Magnetic Sense Comes from Protein That Acts as a Compass

Quick – can you tell where north is? Animals as diverse as sea turtles, birds, worms, butterflies and wolves can, thanks to sensing Earth’s magnetic field. But the magnet-sensing structures inside their cells that allow them to do this have evaded scientists – until now.
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Russian Su-24 fighter jet shot down over Syria - Russian MoD (VIDEO)

A Russian Su-24 fighter has been shot down in Syria, the Russian Defense Ministry said, adding the plane hadn’t violated Turkish airspace and was flying at an altitude of 6,000 meters. “During the flight, the aircraft was flying within the borders of Syria, which was registered by objective monitoring data,” the ministry said, adding that the aircraft was "supposedly shot down from the ground.”
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Putin Accuses Turkey Of "Backstabbing", Funding ISIS, Sees "Serious Consequences" To Ties

Moments ago Putin delivered a brief statement following the downing of the Russian jet by Turkish forces during a press conference with the King of Jordan. Here are the highlights
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Not a Safe Space – Canadian University Suspends Yoga Class After Students Become Offended

Young kids going to college are precisely that: Young kids going to college. Administrators are the ones who are supposed to be responsible for protecting free speech and upholding the U.S. Constitution within their spheres of influence, not pandering to hypersensitive students accustomed to always getting their way by merely shouting “racist” at whoever they happen to disagree with that week. Where are the adults in the room? – From the post: Speechless – UCLA Engages in Absurd, Anti-Intellectual and Dangerous Attack on Campus Free Speech
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Police destroy blind man's house and terrify his dog in bungled raid then leave him to clean up mess

A BLIND man had his home raided by police by mistake – and was left to pick up the pieces himself. Jonathon Miller says the botched swoop on his Glasgow house has left him at least £500 out of pocket and forced him to take time off work. The housing officer says the bungled bust – which left his front door smashed in – could have been avoided with basic checks on his address.
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Vladimir Putin’s massive, triple-decker war room revealed

“Gentlemen. You can’t fight in here. This is the war room!” It could have been a scene straight out of “Dr. Strangelove” when President Vladimir V. Putin stepped into the Russian Ministry of Defense’s brand new, three-tiered, multibillion-dollar control center this week, for a war briefing that had its fair share of movie-like pageantry.
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LifeLock Used to Electronically Track Arizona Woman

Suzanna Quintana, 47,says that when she applied for credit cards, leased a car, signed a cellphone contract and opened a bank account, her ex-husband received e-mails and alerts detailing the activity.
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Americans Irrationally Fear Terrorist Attacks

Death by auto accident, preventable diseases, violence at home by one family member against another, alcoholism or excessive use of harmful legal drugs is infinitely higher – what media propaganda never explains.
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In New Video, A Grateful Al-Qaeda Thanks US For Supplying Anti-Tank Missiles

“Among seven areas that Syrian state media listed as targets of Russian strikes, only one—an area east of the town of Salamiyah in Hama province—has a known presence of Islamic State fighters. The other areas listed are largely dominated by moderate rebel factions or Islamist groups, such as Ahrar al-Sham and the al Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front.” Yes, “moderate rebel factions such as the al-Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front.”
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Climate change root cause of Syrian war: Britain’s Prince Charles

The heir to the British throne is due to give a keynote speech at the opening of a global climate summit in Paris next week where 118 leaders will gather to try to nail down a deal to limit rising greenhouse gas emissions.
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"Smart" apartments are spying on everything you do

Coming to an apartment and home near you, "smart' sensors that spy on everything you do. According to the video, IOTAS's CEO, Sce Pike claims their surveillance technology allows your home to know you and becomes your ALLY! If spying on us in our homes is considered our ally then I've got a 'bridge' to sell you in Arizona. Fyi, IOTAS is also dba as
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