Sunday, January 26, 2014





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'Revenge porn' site owner arrested in San Diego

A 27-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the running of a "revenge porn" website. Kevin Bollaert is accused of being behind UGotPosted, a site that published intimate photographs of people against their wishes. It would link to relevant social networks of the subjects pictured. Prosecutors said the website also sought to extort money from the people featured on the site by charging a fee to have pictures taken down. "This website published intimate photos of unsuspecting victims and turned their public humiliation and betrayal into a commodity with the potential to devastate lives," California Attorney General Kamala Harris said in a statement. "Online predators that profit from the extortion of private photos will be investigated and prosecuted for this reprehensible and illegal internet activity." The authorities alleged that Mr Bollaert also ran, a site that offered services to have pictures from UGotPosted removed for a fee of about $300 (£180). According to court documents, he is said to have made "around $900 per month from advertising on the site and records obtained from his PayPal account indicate that he received payments totalling tens of thousands of dollars". More than 10,000 images had been posted to the site, arranged by location, police said. In addition to the photographs, each entry would display a range of contact details - including links to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, places of work and other personal information. Mr Bollaert is being held in a San Diego jail on $50,000 (£30,000) bail. He has not yet entered a plea. Distress As part of the investigation, a search warrant was obtained to look through emails sent to - the address used by the site administrator. Hunter Moore with a teddy bear Hunter Moore ran IsAnyoneUp, another notorious revenge porn site that has since closed "Please help!" read one email. "I am scared for my life!" The woman - named in court only as Jane Doe #6 - said she felt unable to go back to work as people who had seen the picture had then called her office. Jane Doe #6 also noted that she may have been under 18 years old when the pictures in question had been taken. Another victim said over 100 people had tried to contact her after her pictures appeared on the website. ID theft Revenge porn sites have typically been difficult to shut down thanks to what many see as outdated laws surrounding the publishing of images. A common hurdle for law enforcement is the Communications Decency Act, which has been used as a defence for website owners who have found their services being used for hosting or distributing illegal material. The crime - the defendants have repeatedly successfully argued - is perpetrated by the user who uploaded the images, not the owner of the website. Another closed revenge porn site,, was targeted by campaigners who said it was a gross invasion of privacy. However, in this case the most effective way to see the content removed, at least from Google search results, was by using copyright law. If the person in a picture also took it - a "selfie" - then a copyright claim can be made to search engines under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, known as DMCA, designed to make it easier to stop pirated content from spreading online. In targeting UGotPosted, prosecutors used a different approach - pressing charges of ID theft and extortion. Law makers in several US states are looking at ways to crack down on revenge porn. In October, California enacted a new law that made posting explicit images of someone without permission punishable with six months in prison.

300 become ill on cruise ship

(CNN) -- More than 300 people on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship have become ill during a voyage, the Centers for Disease Control said on its website. According to the statement, 281 of the 3,050 passengers and 22 of 1,165 crew members of Explorer of the Seas reported vomiting and diarrhea. In a statement to CNN, Royal Caribbean International said those who fell sick have responded well to over-the-counter medication being administered on board the ship. Janet Diaz, spokesperson for Royal Caribbean International, told CNN that the ship skipped a planned stop in Haiti on Saturday and sailed directly to San Juan, Puerto Rico, where it underwent an extensive sanitizing. The agency said the cause of the illness was unknown. Diaz told CNN the use of special cleaning products designed to kill norovirus will continue to be used throughout the voyage. All responses are being coordinated closely with the CDC, she said. Noroviruses spread easily and are a common cause of gastroenteritis, which produces vomiting and diarrhea, according to the CDC. A CDC health officer and epidemiologist will board the ship in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, on Sunday to conduct an investigation, a health assessment and evaluate the response, the CDC release said. Explorer of the Seas left Cape Liberty, New Jersey, on January 21 and is scheduled to make stops in St. Thomas and St. Maarten.

Saturday, January 25, 2014



South Korea to launch 5G service so fast users can download an entire film in just ONE SECOND

South Korea to launch 5G service so fast users can download an entire film in just ONE SECOND South Korea is now investing £900million in 5G services Trial service expected in 2017 with commercial service by December 2020 Will allow users to download a 800MB movie file in one second Speeds up to 1GB per second are 1,000 times faster than 4G South Korea is to introduce a blazing fast 5G mobile internet service, quick enough to download a full length feature film in less than a second. While most of the world has yet to experience the improvements offered by 4G services, the technologically advanced country has announced a £900million (1.6 trillion won) in its successor. South Korea's science ministry said it aims to implement the technology, which is about 1,000 times faster than the 4G, within six years. 5G will allow users to download a 800-megabyte movie file in one second, compared with 40 seconds using 4G, the science ministry said, adding that such speeds would help South Korean firms win overseas deals. A ministry spokesman said: 'We helped fuel national growth with 2G services in the 1990s, 3G in the 2000s and 4G around 2010. Now it is time to take preemptive action to develop 5G.' 'Countries in Europe, China and the US are making aggressive efforts to develop 5G technology ... and we believe there will be fierce competition in this market in a few years,' it said. Under the roadmap, a trial 5G service will be rolled out in 2017 and a fully commercial service in December 2020. Priority will be given to developing key features for the new network, including Ultra-HD and hologram transmission as well as cutting-edge social networking services. Related industries will be able to rack up sales of 5G-related devices and infrastructure equipment worth 331 trillion won from 2020 to 2026, the ministry estimated. The government hopes to implement the plan with investment and cooperation from operators such as SK Telecom and Korea Telecom as well as handset makers like Samsung and LG. It also aims to expand the telecom infrastructure equipment industry, which is relatively weaker than the mighty mobile device sector. Led by Samsung - the world's top handset maker - South Korea has a leading 30-percent stake in the global mobile device market. 'But the (telecom) infrastructure equipment industry has only a 4.4 percent share in the global market, with exports very limited,' the ministry said. Chinese equipment makers including Huawei have expanded their presence in the global market from 12 percent in 2007 to 26 percent in 2012. Huawei announced in November that it was looking at a 5G commercial rollout by 2020, with a minimum investment of $600 million to develop the technology. Seoul intends to take up to a 20 percent stake in the world's telecom infrastructure equipment market by 2020, according to the ministry. New opportunities South Korea is renowned for being at the forefront of internet technology with broadband speeds that consistently out-pace those in Europe or the United States. Officials said the new service would also mean people on bullet trains running faster than 500 kilometres (310 miles) an hour would even be able to access the Internet, compared with 300 kph currently. 'Bullet trains around the world keep getting faster, with some in China running as fast as 500 and 600 kilometres per hour,' said one ministry official who declined to be named. 'If we have the technology to allow fast Internet access in these trains, it can open new opportunities for us globally,' he said. Samsung Electronics announced back in May that it had successfully tested 5G technology, managing data transmission of more than one gigabyte per second over a distance of two kilometres. Samsung said it had found a way to harness millimetre-wave bands which have proved to be a sticking point for the mobile industry to date. The test used 64 antenna elements, which the tech titan said overcame the issue of 'unfavourable propagation characteristics' that have prevented data travelling across long distances using the bands. However, it made clear that the technology would not be available commercially before the end of the decade. Read more:



Teacher brought marijuana-laced food to after-work potluck

Police: Teacher brought marijuana-laced food to after-work potluck (CNN) -- Police in Northern California have arrested an elementary schoolteacher after she allegedly brought marijuana-laced food to an after-hours employee potluck dinner. Teresa Gilmete Badger, a 47-year-old teacher at Matthew Turner Elementary School in Benicia, was arrested Friday afternoon on suspicion of poisoning after a six-week-long investigation, said Lt. Frank Hartig of the Benicia Police Department. After the late-November get-together in the Bay Area town, several people reported feeling ill, a police statement said. Obama, Perry backpedals on marijuana "One of the partygoers was rushed to the hospital with severe reactions; she was hospitalized," Hartig told CNN affiliate KPIX. "The very next morning, another partygoer was taken to the hospital, because she continued to feel like she was under the influence of something." At least one of the women tested positive for THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), the principal intoxicant in marijuana, police said. A 15-year-old also got sick after someone at the party brought leftovers home, according to police. During their investigation, police said they were told that Badger had "allegedly confessed her involvement to individuals who were also in attendance at the party." She was arrested Friday and booked into Solano County Jail in Fairfield. Bail was set at $15,000. Badger chose not to speak to arresting officers, Hartig said.

Monday, January 20, 2014


Gruesome Syria photos may prove torture by Assad regime Photos show "direct evidence" of "systematic torture and killing" by Syrian regime, experts say. (CNN) -- A team of internationally renowned war crimes prosecutors and forensic experts has found "direct evidence" of "systematic torture and killing" by the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime, the lawyers on the team say in a new report. Their report, based on thousands of photographs of dead bodies of alleged detainees killed in Syrian government custody, would stand up in an international criminal tribunal, the group says. CNN's "Amanpour" was given the report in a joint exclusive with The Guardian newspaper. "This is a smoking gun," said David Crane, one of the report's authors. "Any prosecutor would like this kind of evidence -- the photos and the process. This is direct evidence of the regime's killing machine." Crane, the first chief prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, indicted former Liberian President Charles Taylor for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Taylor went on to become the first former head of state convicted of war crimes since World War II. He was sentenced to 50 years in prison. CNN cannot independently confirm the authenticity of the photographs, documents and testimony referenced in the report, and is relying on the conclusions of the team behind it, which includes international criminal prosecutors, a forensic pathologist, an anthropologist and an expert in digital imaging. The bodies in the photos showed signs of starvation, brutal beatings, strangulation, and other forms of torture and killing, according to the report. In a group of photos of 150 individuals examined in detail by the experts, 62% of the bodies showed emaciation -- severely low body weight with a hollow appearance indicating starvation. The majority of all of the victims were men most likely aged 20-40. A complex numbering system was also used to catalog the corpses, with only the relevant intelligence service knowing the identities of the corpses. It was an effort, the report says, to keep track of which security service was responsible for the death, and then later to provide false documentation that the person had died in a hospital. One of the three lawyers who authored the report -- Sir Desmond de Silva, the former Chief Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone -- likened the images to those of Holocaust survivors. The emaciated bodies were the product of starvation as a method of torture, "reminiscent of the pictures of those [who] were found still alive in the Nazi death camps after World War II," he said in a CNN interview. "This evidence could underpin a charge of crimes against humanity -- without any shadow of a doubt," de Silva told CNN's Christiane Amanpour. "Of course, it's not for us to make a decision. All we can do is evaluate the evidence and say this evidence is capable of being accepted by a tribunal as genuine." Throughout the civil war in Syria, al-Assad's regime has denied accusations of human rights abuses and blamed "terrorists" for the deadly violence. The report draws its evidence from the testimony of a Syrian government defector codenamed "Caesar" and almost 27,000 photographs he provided; in all 55,000 such images were brought out of the country. According to the report, Caesar worked as photographer in the military police. Once the war broke out, his work consisted entirely of documenting "killed detainees." He claimed to have photographed as many as 50 bodies a day. At one point he took the unusual step of photographing a group of bodies to show that it "looked like a slaughterhouse," according to the report. The fact that all the bodies were photographed, the report's authors say, strongly suggests that "the killings were systematic, ordered, and directed from above." "It's a callous, industrial machine grinding its citizens," Crane said to CNN. "It is industrial age mass killing." The killings may have been so thoroughly documented as a way of proving each person's death without allowing the deceased's family to see the body, the report suggests. Also, it may have been aimed at proving that "orders to execute individuals had been carried out." It is also possible that, far from being a systematic plan to document human rights abuses, the photographing was simply the way it had always been done -- a little-thought-out continuation of a long-time practice. The report was authored by de Silva, Crane, and Professor Sir Geoffrey Nice, former lead prosecutor against former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. Its release comes just days ahead of the Geneva II conference, the latest push for a diplomatic solution to Syria's bloody civil war. The lawyers were hired to write the report by the British law firm Carter-Ruck, which in turn was funded by the Government of Qatar, de Silva told Amanpour. "Ultimately, the validity of our conclusions turn on the integrity of the people involved," he said. "We, the team, were very conscious of the fact there are competing interests in the Syrian crisis -- both national and international. We were very conscious of that." "We approached our task with a certain amount of skepticism, bearing that in mind." CNN was referred to Carter-Ruck, and this report, by a Qatari government official, and a CNN producer met in the Qatari capital Doha with the report's authors. Mountains of data The report says "Caesar" brought from Syria photographs of thousands of people who had been killed, he says, by the regime. The lawyers and the three forensics experts with whom they worked were given 26,948 images on a laptop computer. They, in turn, did a "formal analysis" of images of 835 and then a much more detailed examination of 150 individuals. The images given to CNN paint a horrific scene. Stomachs, faces and even legs are concave -- sunken, rather than convex. On some torsos, bruising and bleeding is so severe that the victims' skin is a mosaic of black, red, purple and pink. Oblong and parallel wounds, a mix of bruises and torn skin, line one man's chest and torso, covering every inch of the victim's body from neck to pelvis. "This is not just somebody who is thin, or who maybe hasn't had enough food because there's a war going on," Dr. Stuart Hamilton, a forensic pathologist who examined the evidence, told Amanpour. "This is somebody who has been really starved." The forensics team identified the neck bruising as consistent with strangulation with a rope, piece of rubber, or other such object, as opposed to the marks that would be left by a hanging. "Strangulation of this kind is also consistent with strangulation being used as a method of torture," the report reads. Digital imaging expert Stephen Cole also offered his assessment that the images were not digitally altered or manipulated. Evidence allegedly shows process 'line by line' So why do the lawyers think that they were given "smoking gun" proof of murders by the Assad regime? "In Sierra Leone I had 1.2 million human beings that were destroyed but I could not match them to names and incidents," David Crane said. "Here we have the photographs, the photographer and the reports with documents, stamps, signatures and dates." Each body in the photographs seen by CNN had a number written on it; a person's hand can often also be seen holding a piece of paper in the frame of the photograph with the same number written on it. Those numbers are obscured in the report released to CNN to protect "Caesar's" identity and to hide the location of the military hospital where the photos were taken. However a CNN producer in Doha viewed the unobscured, original images. When a detainee dies in custody, the body is sent to a military hospital where it is numbered and photographed as part of a bureaucratic record-keeping process. This detailed numbering system, the lawyers say, is compelling evidence of the government's deadly intent. When a detainee was killed, the report says, the corpse was assigned a number that corresponded to the "branch of the security service responsible for his detention and death." The body was then taken by the security service to a military hospital. There, the body would enter the Syrian government's bureaucracy. Caesar told the lawyers that he, a doctor, and a member of the judiciary would examine the corpse. The doctor would then fill out internal paperwork, to document that he had seen the body, as well as an official death certificate, which would often list a false cause of death -- like "heart attack" or "breathing problems" -- to be given to the deceased's family. At this point, a second number would be assigned to the body, documenting its false cause of death, according to Caesar, the report says. "As a prosecutor I have to prove a process," Crane said. "And evidence like this, though not unusual, is rare in modern international law." He added that he could walk a tribunal or jury through the process "line by line." Nice, in an interview with Amanpour, agreed. The number of bodies, the systematic way in which they were catalogued, and the effort given to obscuring their causes of death point in one direction, he said. "You can reasonably infer that this is a pattern of behavior, which has to have higher authority," he said. The source Ever since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq -- bolstered by false evidence provided by a source codenamed "Curveball" -- there has been deep skepticism in both the intelligence community and the press about believing single-source defectors like "Caesar." The lawyers who interviewed Caesar, including Crane whose background also includes experience in military intelligence, said they found him to be "a truthful and credible witness." Part of the report reads: "He revealed no signs of being 'sensational,' nor did he seem partisan. Although he was a supporter of those who opposed the present regime, the inquiry team is satisfied that he gave an honest account of his experiences." Caesar's evidence, they say, "could safely be acted upon in any subsequent judicial proceedings." The report says that Caesar claims taking the photos inflicted "psychological suffering" on him and his colleagues In September 2011, about seven months after the Syrian civil war broke out, Caesar was contacted by a man, a relative by marriage, who had fled the country just days after the uprising began. This man is referred to in the report as "Caesar's contact," whom the lawyers also interviewed for the report. The contact was working with what the report calls "international human rights groups," and saw "Caesar" as a reliable source of information from within the country. Soon Caesar was sending his contact thousands of images. When Caesar became concerned for his safety, his contacts in the Syrian opposition to whom he had leaked the photos arranged for him and his family to be smuggled out of Syria. The lawyers have remained mum on how that was done, but the report says the process took four months, and that Caesar left the country before his family. "If he wished to exaggerate his evidence it would have been very easy for him to say that he had actually witnessed executions," the report says. "In fact, he made it quite plain that he never witnessed a single execution." It is unclear where Caesar and his family are currently living; the lawyers say only that they carried out their investigation in the Middle East. The next step Syria is not a member of the International Criminal Court. The only way the court could prosecute someone from Syria would be through a referral from the United Nations Security Council. Because of Russia's support for the Assad regime, and because it has veto power on the council, such a referral seems unlikely, at least for the time being. But if, one day, the court were to take up Syria's case, this report would almost certainly be entered into evidence. "All we can do is put the ammunition in the pistol," said de Silva. "It is for others to aim it and pull the trigger."

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