Choosing The Best Heating Company

By | February 18, 2019

byAlma Abell

When you are about to choose heating companies in Chicago you need to check their credentials. The best way to do this is to ask the company to provide you with references and go online and look for consumer reporting web sites that may have additional information on the companies that you are considering hiring for your job.

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In certain jurisdictions heating companies have to hold a license in order to engage in the installation and repair of equipment. When you are talking to heating companies in Chicago make sure you inquire if they need a license to operate and if they do find out what the current status is of their license. If it is not necessary to have a government issued license then find out if they are members of any reputable trade organizations. Although credentials are not an absolute guarantee that the company provides quality service it most certainly is a good indicator that the company has the skills and knowledge to effectively repair the heating equipment that has failed in your home.

From the number of heating companies in Chicago you will find a few that are of interest to you. If the company is licensed check with the licensing authority to see if the license is current, most quality heating companies are members of their local Better Business Bureau. Check with the BBB and find out if there are any unanswered or unresolved complaints and if so, what is the open complaint about. Many consumer reporting sites will have listings for heating companies in your area, check these sites out, they often are excellent sources of information but do take some of what you see with tongue in cheek. If you see a company that gets nothing but raves about how good they are and then see one that is quite damning you might just want to discount that comment.

Another great source of information on the better heating companies in Chicago is from other tradesmen and contractors. People who are involved in construction often work together on the same site, ask around and see if any other contractors have anything to say about the company you are looking at; either good or bad.

Most good heating companies in Chicago will come to your home for free or for a minimal fee, they will review the situation you have and offer you a price. You want to consider the demeanor of the people and ask yourself if you will be happy having them work in your home. The prices that you get should be reasonably close to one another, if you get a price which is considerably lower than all the rest you may wish to pass.

If you are looking for one of the best heating companies in Chicago, look no more. Heatmasters Heating and Cooling have been serving the needs for professional HVAC sales and service in the Chicago area for over 60 years and have built a wonderful reputation for customer service, reliability, honesty and excellent work. Go to the site www.heatmasters.com for more information.

National Hockey League news: February 28, 2008

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National Hockey League news: February 28, 2008

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

There were 6 games played in the National Hockey League on February 27, 2008. Colorado finishes their three-game road trip in eastern Canada against the Canucks, Minnesota tries to break a 4 game losing streak in an out-of-conference game against the Lightning, and the Maple Leafs try to pick up their fifth win in 6 games.

Contents

  • 1 Game summaries
    • 1.1 Nashville Predators @ Buffalo Sabres
    • 1.2 San Jose Sharks @ Columbus Blue Jackets
    • 1.3 Minnesota Wild @ Tampa Bay Lightning
    • 1.4 Toronto Maple Leafs @ Florida Panthers
    • 1.5 Phoenix Coyotes @ Chicago Blackhawks
    • 1.6 Colorado Avalanche @ Vancouver Canucks
  • 2 Wikinews Player of the Day
  • 3 Other news
  • 4 Sources

Cleveland, Ohio clinic performs US’s first face transplant

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Cleveland, Ohio clinic performs US’s first face transplant

By | February 13, 2019

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A team of eight transplant surgeons in Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, USA, led by reconstructive surgeon Dr. Maria Siemionow, age 58, have successfully performed the first almost total face transplant in the US, and the fourth globally, on a woman so horribly disfigured due to trauma, that cost her an eye. Two weeks ago Dr. Siemionow, in a 23-hour marathon surgery, replaced 80 percent of her face, by transplanting or grafting bone, nerve, blood vessels, muscles and skin harvested from a female donor’s cadaver.

The Clinic surgeons, in Wednesday’s news conference, described the details of the transplant but upon request, the team did not publish her name, age and cause of injury nor the donor’s identity. The patient’s family desired the reason for her transplant to remain confidential. The Los Angeles Times reported that the patient “had no upper jaw, nose, cheeks or lower eyelids and was unable to eat, talk, smile, smell or breathe on her own.” The clinic’s dermatology and plastic surgery chair, Francis Papay, described the nine hours phase of the procedure: “We transferred the skin, all the facial muscles in the upper face and mid-face, the upper lip, all of the nose, most of the sinuses around the nose, the upper jaw including the teeth, the facial nerve.” Thereafter, another team spent three hours sewing the woman’s blood vessels to that of the donor’s face to restore blood circulation, making the graft a success.

The New York Times reported that “three partial face transplants have been performed since 2005, two in France and one in China, all using facial tissue from a dead donor with permission from their families.” “Only the forehead, upper eyelids, lower lip, lower teeth and jaw are hers, the rest of her face comes from a cadaver; she could not eat on her own or breathe without a hole in her windpipe. About 77 square inches of tissue were transplanted from the donor,” it further described the details of the medical marvel. The patient, however, must take lifetime immunosuppressive drugs, also called antirejection drugs, which do not guarantee success. The transplant team said that in case of failure, it would replace the part with a skin graft taken from her own body.

Dr. Bohdan Pomahac, a Brigham and Women’s Hospital surgeon praised the recent medical development. “There are patients who can benefit tremendously from this. It’s great that it happened,” he said.

Leading bioethicist Arthur Caplan of the University of Pennsylvania withheld judgment on the Cleveland transplant amid grave concerns on the post-operation results. “The biggest ethical problem is dealing with failure — if your face rejects. It would be a living hell. If your face is falling off and you can’t eat and you can’t breathe and you’re suffering in a terrible manner that can’t be reversed, you need to put on the table assistance in dying. There are patients who can benefit tremendously from this. It’s great that it happened,” he said.

Dr Alex Clarke, of the Royal Free Hospital had praised the Clinic for its contribution to medicine. “It is a real step forward for people who have severe disfigurement and this operation has been done by a team who have really prepared and worked towards this for a number of years. These transplants have proven that the technical difficulties can be overcome and psychologically the patients are doing well. They have all have reacted positively and have begun to do things they were not able to before. All the things people thought were barriers to this kind of operations have been overcome,” she said.

The first partial face transplant surgery on a living human was performed on Isabelle Dinoire on November 27 2005, when she was 38, by Professor Bernard Devauchelle, assisted by Professor Jean-Michel Dubernard in Amiens, France. Her Labrador dog mauled her in May 2005. A triangle of face tissue including the nose and mouth was taken from a brain-dead female donor and grafted onto the patient. Scientists elsewhere have performed scalp and ear transplants. However, the claim is the first for a mouth and nose transplant. Experts say the mouth and nose are the most difficult parts of the face to transplant.

In 2004, the same Cleveland Clinic, became the first institution to approve this surgery and test it on cadavers. In October 2006, surgeon Peter Butler at London‘s Royal Free Hospital in the UK was given permission by the NHS ethics board to carry out a full face transplant. His team will select four adult patients (children cannot be selected due to concerns over consent), with operations being carried out at six month intervals. In March 2008, the treatment of 30-year-old neurofibromatosis victim Pascal Coler of France ended after having received what his doctors call the worlds first successful full face transplant.

Ethical concerns, psychological impact, problems relating to immunosuppression and consequences of technical failure have prevented teams from performing face transplant operations in the past, even though it has been technically possible to carry out such procedures for years.

Mr Iain Hutchison, of Barts and the London Hospital, warned of several problems with face transplants, such as blood vessels in the donated tissue clotting and immunosuppressants failing or increasing the patient’s risk of cancer. He also pointed out ethical issues with the fact that the procedure requires a “beating heart donor”. The transplant is carried out while the donor is brain dead, but still alive by use of a ventilator.

According to Stephen Wigmore, chair of British Transplantation Society’s ethics committee, it is unknown to what extent facial expressions will function in the long term. He said that it is not certain whether a patient could be left worse off in the case of a face transplant failing.

Mr Michael Earley, a member of the Royal College of Surgeon‘s facial transplantation working party, commented that if successful, the transplant would be “a major breakthrough in facial reconstruction” and “a major step forward for the facially disfigured.”

In Wednesday’s conference, Siemionow said “we know that there are so many patients there in their homes where they are hiding from society because they are afraid to walk to the grocery stores, they are afraid to go the the street.” “Our patient was called names and was humiliated. We very much hope that for this very special group of patients there is a hope that someday they will be able to go comfortably from their houses and enjoy the things we take for granted,” she added.

In response to the medical breakthrough, a British medical group led by Royal Free Hospital’s lead surgeon Dr Peter Butler, said they will finish the world’s first full face transplant within a year. “We hope to make an announcement about a full-face operation in the next 12 months. This latest operation shows how facial transplantation can help a particular group of the most severely facially injured people. These are people who would otherwise live a terrible twilight life, shut away from public gaze,” he said.

San Jose Dental Clinic: Dental Hygiene Is A Quality Thing

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San Jose Dental Clinic: Dental Hygiene Is A Quality Thing

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Hewlett-Packard to cut 9,000 jobs in $1 billion restructuring plan

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Hewlett-Packard to cut 9,000 jobs in $1 billion restructuring plan

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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Hewlett-Packard (HP) expects to lose 9,000 jobs between now and 2013 in a US$1 billion (£686m) restructuring plan.

The 9,000 jobs losses will be in the enterprise services division, but the company expects to add about 6,000 employees to its sales and delivery teams.

HP commented in a statement, “As a result of productivity gains and automation, HP expects to eliminate roughly 9,000 positions over a multi-year period to reinvest for further growth and to increase shareholder value”

HP will invest in fully automated data centers as it makes operational changes in its Internet technology services business. HP said the restructuring will generate savings of $500–700 million (about €407–571 million) in net savings after reinvestment.

Hewlett-Packard has around 300,000 employees and is the world’s largest technology company by sales. HP is an American multinational information technology corporation headquartered in Palo Alto, California.

On the campaign trail in the USA, August 2016

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On the campaign trail in the USA, August 2016

By | February 12, 2019

Friday, September 23, 2016

The following is the fourth edition of a monthly series chronicling the U.S. 2016 presidential election. It features original material compiled throughout the previous month after an overview of the month’s biggest stories.

In this month’s edition on the campaign trail: the vice presidential nominee of the Reform Party is revealed; those attacked in a high profile campaign speech respond; and Wikinews interviews an economist seeking the presidency a second time.

Contents

  • 1 Summary
  • 2 Reform Party vice presidential nominee confirmed
  • 3 Alt-rightists respond to Clinton speech
  • 4 Wikinews interviews economist again running for president
  • 5 Related articles
  • 6 Sources

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Accidental email brings product placement agency under fire

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Accidental email brings product placement agency under fire

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

An email accidentally sent to Jeff Crouse of the Anti-Advertising Agency recently brought the controversial techniques of the advertising firm Kluger Agency under fire.

“I’m writing because we feel you may be a good company to participate in a brand integration campaign within the actual lyrics of one of the worlds most famous recording artists upcoming song/album,” the email read, offering to place Jeff Crouse‘s fake brand, Double Happiness Jeans, into the songs of popular artists. It was posted on his blog along with a reply that mocked Kluger and brought ridicule and criticism against Adam Kugler and his agency. According to Crouse, Kluger emailed him once again to claim it had been an automated email, and later requested that Crouse remove the post and comments criticizing himself and his agency, threatening a $150,000 lawsuit against Crouse for defamation.

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Kluger Agency is known for advertising brands like Abercrombie & Fitch, Mercedes-Benz, and Nike by inserting the brand names in the songs of popular artists like Mariah Carey, Black Eyed Peas, Fall Out Boy, Pink, Lady GaGa and Ludacris. Kluger, founded in 2006, represents over 170 corporations and focuses on well-known record labels.

Kluger and his PR team have come forward defending the advertising techniques, stating that they do not have songs made just for the products in question and do not infringe on artistic integrity. “Now, we don’t want an artist to write a song specifically to promote a brand, we just feel that if it’s a product that’s admired by the artist and fits his/her image, we now have the capability of leveling out the playing field and making things financially beneficial for all parties involved,” he was quoted saying to Wired.

However, the agency’s website shows video examples of its product placement, with brand images and names often being repeated, pointed at, praised, or being the basis of the song. The website also advertises that “a successful ‘brand-dropping’ campaign will imprint [the] brand name and product into your market’s subconscious”.

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Effective Wayfinding Signs

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By Eliz Guide

Everywhere you go you will see wayfinding signs that tell you how to get where you need to go. They are on the roads, in parking lots, and in buildings. Some hotels even have interactive wayfinding signage. Like the name implies, these items help people find their way away unfamiliar stores or businesses. Without their guidance, some of us would never find our ultimate destination.

There is more to wayfinding signs than you may think. They are not just letters with arrows. Many of these are Americans with Disabilities Act or ADA signage that is strictly regulated by law. The location, colors, layout, and even the shape all play a role in their design and placement.

The size of the letters needs to be large enough to be seen from a distance. The contrast between the letters and the background should be prominent enough to make it easily legible. The arrows should clearly point toward the objective, and the landscape or background should be very welcoming and easily recognizable to passersby. Though they can be made to match your dcor and signs, they need to stand out enough to be easy to find.

The color contrast, the type face, and the graphics play an important part in the effectiveness of wayfinding signage. Signs with faded and poorly designed graphics and lettering are way-losers which often results in the loss of business.

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From a distance you may mistake the direction youre supposed to go. Indistinct graphics may leave you unable to read the sign or make it hard to find. Any of these problems could leave you hopelessly lost and with no more patience.

At this point, you are likely to give up and look for a competitor with an easier to find locations and better signs. You probably would not want to go back to that business anytime soon, just for the simple fact that it is just too complicated for navigating through the maze of the parking garage.

On the other hand, if the postings had large lettering and arrows that were well maintained and easy to see and read, you wouldnt think twice about coming back. Wayfinding signs are simple tools, but extremely effective and useful to the public.

Interactive touch-screen technology is the latest development in technology that helps people navigate through buildings, parks, and thoroughfares. With this technology, the future is here today.

Hotels are some of the places where you might see these innovative and wonderful inventions. In addition to their many attributes, the novelty factor of these interactive maps increases their effectiveness.

To have effective signage, whether standard or ADA-compliant, doesnt require high tech gadgets, though, it simply takes a little care and forethought and well placed, legible signs to make those unfamiliar with your layout comfortable as they move through your workplace or store.

If you are in the market for wayfinding signs, architectural signs, or banners, contact a local company . They have experienced sign makers that can do it all from graphics and design all the way through installation. They have been helping people find their way to clients places of business as well as around their facilities for years.

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ACLU, EFF challenging US ‘secret’ court orders seeking Twitter data

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ACLU, EFF challenging US ‘secret’ court orders seeking Twitter data

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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Late last month, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed objections to the United States Government’s ‘secret’ attempts to obtain Twitter account information relating to WikiLeaks. The ACLU and EFF cite First and Fourth amendment issues as overriding reasons to overturn government attempts to keep their investigation secret; and, that with Birgitta Jonsdottir being an Icelandic Parliamentarian, the issue has serious international implications.

The case, titled “In the Matter of the 2703(d) Order Relating to Twitter Accounts: Wikileaks, Rop_G, IOERROR; and BirgittaJ“, has been in the EFF’s sights since late last year when they became aware of the US government’s attempts to investigate WikiLeaks-related communications using the popular microblogging service.

The key objective of this US government investigation is to obtain data for the prosecution of Bradley Manning, alleged to have supplied classified data to WikiLeaks. In addition to Manning’s Twitter account, and that of WikiLeaks (@wikileaks), the following three accounts are subject to the order: @ioerror, @birgittaj, and @rop_g. These, respectively, belong to Jacob Apelbaum, Birgitta Jonsdottir, and Rop Gonggrijp.

Birgitta is not the only non-US citizen with their Twitter account targeted by the US Government; Gonggrijp, a Dutch ‘ex-hacker’-turned-security-expert, was one of the founders of XS4ALL – the first Internet Service Provider in the Netherlands available to the public. He has worked on a mobile phone that can encrypt conversations, and proven that electronic voting systems can readily be hacked.

In early March, a Virginia magistrate judge ruled that the government could have the sought records, and neither the targeted users, or the public, could see documents submitted to justify data being passed to the government. The data sought is as follows:

  1. Personal contact information, including addresses
  2. Financial data, including credit card or bank account numbers
  3. Twitter account activity information, including the “date, time, length, and method of connections” plus the “source and destination Internet Protocol address(es)”
  4. Direct Message (DM) information, including the email addresses and IP addresses of everyone with whom the Parties have exchanged DMs

The order demands disclosure of absolutely all such data from November 1, 2009 for the targeted accounts.

The ACLU and EFF are not only challenging this, but demanding that all submissions made by the US government to justify the Twitter disclosure are made public, plus details of any other such cases which have been processed in secret.

Bradley Manning, at the time a specialist from Maryland enlisted with the United States Army’s 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, was arrested in June last year in connection with the leaking of classified combat video to WikiLeaks.

The leaked video footage, taken from a US helicopter gunship, showed the deaths of Reuters staff Saeed Chmagh and Namir Noor-Eldeen during a U.S. assault in Baghdad, Iraq. The wire agency unsuccessfully attempted to get the footage released via a Freedom of Information Act request in 2007.

When WikiLeaks released the video footage it directly contradicted the official line taken by the U.S. Army asserting that the deaths of the two Reuters staff were “collateral damage” in an attack on Iraqi insurgents. The radio chatter associated with the AH-64 Apache video indicated the helicopter crews had mistakenly identified the journalists’ equipment as weaponry.

The US government also claims Manning is linked to CableGate; the passing of around a quarter of a million classified diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks. Manning has been in detention since July last year; in December allegations of torture were made to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights regarding the conditions under which he was and is being detained.

Reports last month that he must now sleep naked and attend role call at the U.S. Marine facility in Quantico in the same state, raised further concern over his detention conditions. Philip J. Crowley, at-the-time a State Department spokesman, remarked on this whilst speaking at Massachusetts Institute of Technology; describing the current treatment of Manning as “ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid”, Crowley was, as a consequence, put in the position of having to tender his resignation to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Despite his native Australia finding, in December last year, that Assange’s WikiLeaks had not committed any criminal offences in their jurisdiction, the U.S. government has continued to make ongoing operations very difficult for the whistleblower website.

The result of the Australian Federal Police investigation left the country’s Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, having to retract a statement that WikiLeaks had acted “illegally”; instead, she characterised the site’s actions as “grossly irresponsible”.

Even with Australia finding no illegal activity on the part of WikiLeaks, and with founder Julian Assange facing extradition to Sweden, U.S. pressure sought to hobble WikiLeaks financially.

Based on a State Department letter, online payments site PayPal suspended WikiLeaks account in December. Their action was swiftly followed by Visa Europe and Mastercard ceasing to handle payments for WikiLeaks.

The online processing company, Datacell, threatened the two credit card giants with legal action over this. However, avenues of funding for the site were further curtailed when both Amazon.com and Swiss bank PostFinance joined the financial boycott of WikiLeaks.

Assange continues, to this day, to argue that his extradition to Sweden for questioning on alleged sexual offences is being orchestrated by the U.S. in an effort to discredit him, and thus WikiLeaks.

Wikinews consulted an IT and cryptography expert from the Belgian university which developed the current Advanced Encryption Standard; explaining modern communications, he stated: “Cryptography has developed to such a level that intercepting communications is no longer cost effective. That is, if any user uses the correct default settings, and makes sure that he/she is really connecting to Twitter it is highly unlikely that even the NSA can break the cryptography for a protocol such as SSL/TLS (used for https).”

Qualifying this, he commented that “the vulnerable parts of the communication are the end points.” To make his point, he cited the following quote from Gene Spafford: “Using encryption on the Internet is the equivalent of arranging an armored car to deliver credit card information from someone living in a cardboard box to someone living on a park bench.

Continuing, the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KUL) expert explained:

In the first place, the weak point is Twitter itself; the US government can go and ask for the data; companies such as Twitter and Google will typically store quite some information on their users, including IP addresses (it is known that Google deletes the last byte of the IP address after a few weeks, but it is not too hard for a motivated opponent to find out what this byte was).
In the second place, this is the computer of the user: by exploiting system weaknesses (with viruses, Trojan horses or backdoors in the operating system) a highly motivated opponent can enter your machine and record your keystrokes plus everything that is happening (e.g. the FBI is known to do this with the so-called Magic Lantern software). Such software is also commercially available, e.g. for a company to monitor its employees.
It would also be possible for a higly motivated opponent to play “man-in-the-middle”; that means that instead of having a secure connection to Twitter.com, you have a secure connection to the attacker’s server, who impersonates Twitter’s and then relays your information to Twitter. This requires tricks such as spoofing DNS (this is getting harder with DNSsec), or misleading the user (e.g. the user clicks on a link and connects to tw!tter.com or Twitter.c0m, which look very similar in a URL window as Twitter.com). It is clear that the US government is capable of using these kind of tricks; e.g., a company has been linked to the US government that was recognized as legitimate signer in the major browsers, so it would not be too large for them to sign a legitimate certificate for such a spoofing webserver; this means that the probability that a user would detect a problem would be very low.
As for traffic analysis (finding out who you are talking to rather than finding out what you are telling to whom), NSA and GCHQ are known to have access to lots of traffic (part of this is obtained via the UK-USA agreement). Even if one uses strong encryption, it is feasible for them to log the IP addresses and email addresses of all the parties you are connecting to. If necessary, they can even make routers re-route your traffic to their servers. In addition, the European Data Retention directive forces all operators to store such traffic data.
Whether other companies would have complied with such requests: this is very hard to tell. I believe however that it is very plausible that companies such as Google, Skype or Facebook would comply with such requests if they came from a government.
In summary: unless you go through great lengths to log through to several computers in multiple countries, you work in a clean virtual machine, you use private browser settings (don’t accept cookies, no plugins for Firefox, etc.) and use tools such as Tor, it is rather easy for any service provider to identify you.
Finally: I prefer not to be quoted on any sentences in which I make statements on the capabilities or actions of any particular government.

Wikinews also consulted French IT security researcher Stevens Le Blond on the issues surrounding the case, and the state-of-the-art in monitoring, and analysing, communications online. Le Blond, currently presenting a research paper on attacks on Tor to USENIX audiences in North America, responded via email:

Were the US Government to obtain the sought data, it would seem reasonable the NSA would handle further investigation. How would you expect them to exploit the data and expand on what they receive from Twitter?

  • Le Blond: My understanding is that the DOJ is requesting the following information: 1) Connection records and session times 2) IP addresses 3) e-mail addresses 4) banking info
By requesting 1) and 2) for Birgitta and other people involved with WikiLeaks (WL) since 2009, one could derive 2 main [pieces of] information.
First, he could tell the mobility of these people. Recent research in networking shows that you can map an IP address into a geographic location with a median error of 600 meters. So by looking at changes of IP addresses in time for a Twitter user, one could tell (or at least speculate about) where that person has been.
Second, by correlating locations of different people involved with WL in time, one could possibly derive their interactions and maybe even their level of involvement with WL. Whether it is possible to derive this information from 1) and 2) depends on how this people use Twitter. For example, do they log on Twitter often enough, long enough, and from enough places?
My research indicates that this is the case for other Internet services but I cannot tell whether it is the case for Twitter.
Note that even though IP logging, as done by Twitter, is similar to the logging done by GSM [mobile phone] operators, the major difference seems to be that Twitter is subject to US regulation, no matter the citizenship of its users. I find this rather disturbing.
Using 3), one could search for Birgitta on other Internet services, such as social networks, to find more information on her (e.g., hidden accounts). Recent research on privacy shows that people tend to use the same e-mail address to register an account on different social networks (even when they don’t want these accounts to be linked together). Obviously, one could then issue subpoenas for these accounts as well.
I do not have the expertise to comment on what could be done with 4).
((WN)) As I believe Jonsdottir to be involved in the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative (IMMI), what are the wider implications beyond the “WikiLeaks witchhunt”?
  • Le Blond: Personal data can be used to discredit, especially if the data is not public.

Having been alerted to the ongoing case through a joint press release by the ACLU and EFF, Wikinews sought clarification on the primary issues which the two non-profits saw as particularly important in challenging the U.S. Government over the ‘secret’ court orders. Rebecca Jeschke, Media Relations Director for the EFF, explained in more detail the points crucial to them, responding to a few questions from Wikinews on the case:

((WN)) As a worse-case, what precedents would be considered if this went to the Supreme Court?
  • Rebecca Jeschke: It’s extremely hard to know at this stage if this would go to the Supreme Court, and if it did, what would be at issue. However, some of the interesting questions about this case center on the rights of people around the world when they use US Internet services. This case questions the limits of US law enforcement, which may turn out to be very different from the limits in other countries.
((WN)) Since this is clearly a politicised attack on free speech with most chilling potential repercussions for the press, whistleblowers, and by-and-large anyone the relevant U.S. Government departments objects to the actions of, what action do you believe should be taken to protect free speech rights?
  • Jeschke: We believe that, except in very rare circumstances, the government should not be permitted to obtain information about individuals’ private Internet communications in secret. We also believe that Internet companies should, whenever possible, take steps to ensure their customers are notified about requests for information and have the opportunity to respond.
((WN)) Twitter via the web, in my experience, tends to use https:// connections. Are you aware of any possibility of the government cracking such connections? (I’m not up to date on the crypto arms race).
  • Jeschke: You don’t need to crack https, per se, to compromise its security. See this piece about fraudulent https certificates:
Iranian hackers obtain fraudulent httpsEFF website.
((WN)) And, do you believe that far, far more websites should – by default – employ https:// connections to protect people’s privacy?
  • Jeschke: We absolutely think that more websites should employ https! Here is a guide for site operators: (See external links, Ed.)

Finally, Wikinews approached the Icelandic politician, and WikiLeaks supporter, who has made this specific case a landmark in how the U.S. Government handles dealings with – supposedly – friendly governments and their elected representatives. A number of questions were posed, seeking the Icelandic Parliamentarian’s views:

((WN)) How did you feel when you were notified the US Government wanted your Twitter account, and message, details? Were you shocked?
  • Birgitta Jonsdottir: I felt angry but not shocked. I was expecting something like this to happen because of my involvement with WikiLeaks. My first reaction was to tweet about it.
((WN)) What do you believe is their reasoning in selecting you as a ‘target’?
  • Jonsdottir: It is quite clear to me that USA authorities are after Julian Assange and will use any means possible to get even with him. I think I am simply a pawn in a much larger context. I did of course both act as a spokesperson for WikiLeaks in relation to the Apache video and briefly for WikiLeaks, and I put my name to the video as a co-producer. I have not participated in any illegal activity and thus being a target doesn’t make me lose any sleep.
((WN)) Are you concerned that, as a Member of Parliament involved in the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative (IMMI), the US attempt to obtain your Twitter data is interfering with planned Icelandic government policy?
  • Jonsdottir: No
((WN)) In an earlier New York Times (NYT) article, you’re indicating there is nothing they can obtain about you that bothers you; but, how do you react to them wanting to know everyone you talk to?
  • Jonsdottir: It bothers me and according to top computer scientists the government should be required to obtain a search warrant to get our IP addresses from Twitter. I am, though, happy I am among the people DOJ is casting their nets around because of my parliamentary immunity; I have a greater protection then many other users and can use that immunity to raise the issue of lack of rights for those that use social media.
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((WN)) The same NYT article describes you as a WikiLeaks supporter; is this still the case? What attracts you to their ‘radical transparency’?
  • Jonsdottir: I support the concept of WikiLeaks. While we don’t have a culture of protection for sources and whistleblowers we need sites like WikiLeaks. Plus, I think it is important to give WikiLeaks credit for raising awareness about in how bad shape freedom of information and expression is in our world and it is eroding at an alarming rate because of the fact that legal firms for corporations and corrupt politicians have understood the borderless nature of the legalities of the information flow online – we who feel it is important that people have access to information that should remain in the public domain need to step up our fight for those rights. WikiLeaks has played an important role in that context.I don’t support radical transparency – I understand that some things need to remain secret. It is the process of making things secret that needs to be both more transparent and in better consensus with nations.
((WN)) How do you think the Icelandic government would have reacted if it were tens of thousands of their diplomatic communications being leaked?
  • Jonsdottir: I am not sure – A lot of our dirty laundry has been aired via the USA cables – our diplomatic communications with USA were leaked in those cables, so far they have not stirred much debate nor shock. It is unlikely for tens of thousands of cables to leak from Iceland since we dont have the same influence or size as the USA, nor do we have a military.
((WN)) Your ambassador in the US has spoken to the Obama administration. Can you discuss any feedback from that? Do you have your party’s, and government’s, backing in challenging the ordered Twitter data release?
  • Jonsdottir: I have not had any feedback from that meeting, I did however receive a message from the DOJ via the USA ambassador in Iceland. The message stated three things: 1. I am free to travel to the USA. 2. If I would do so, I would not be a subject of involuntary interrogation. 3. I am not under criminal investigation. If this is indeed the reality I wonder why they are insisting on getting my personal details from Twitter. I want to stress that I understand the reasoning of trying to get to Assange through me, but I find it unacceptable since there is no foundation for criminal investigation against him. If WikiLeaks goes down, all the other media partners should go down at the same time. They all served similar roles. The way I see it is that WikiLeaks acted as the senior editor of material leaked to them. They could not by any means be considered a source. The source is the person that leaks the material to WikiLeaks. I am not sure if the media in our world understands how much is at stake for already shaky industry if WikiLeaks will carry on carrying the brunt of the attacks. I think it would be powerful if all the medias that have had access to WikiLeaks material would band together for their defence.
((WN)) Wikinews consulted a Belgian IT security expert who said it was most likely companies such as Facebook, Microsoft, and Google, would have complied with similar court orders *without advising the ‘targets*’. Does that disturb you?
  • Jonsdottir: This does disturb me for various reasons. The most obvious is that my emails are hosted at google/gmail and my search profile. I dont have anything to hide but it is important to note that many of the people that interact with me as a MP via both facebook and my various email accounts don’t always realize that there is no protection for them if they do so via those channels. I often get sensitive personal letters sent to me at facebook and gmail. In general most people are not aware of how little rights they have as users of social media. It is those of uttermost importance that those sites will create the legal disclaimers and agreements that state the most obvious rights we lose when we sign up to their services.
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.
((WN)) Has there been any backlash within Iceland against US-based internet services in light of this? Do you expect such, or any increase in anti-American sentiments?
  • Jonsdottir: No, none what so ever. I dont think there is much anti-American sentiments in Iceland and I dont think this case will increase it. However I think it is important for everyone who does not live in the USA and uses social services to note that according to the ruling in my case, they dont have any protection of the 1st and 4th amendment, that only apply to USA citizens. Perhaps the legalities in relation to the borderless reality we live in online need to be upgraded in order for people to feel safe with using social media if it is hosted in the USA. Market tends to bend to simple rules.
((WN)) Does this make you more, or less, determined to see the IMMI succeed?
  • Jonsdottir: More. People have to realize that if we dont have freedom of information online we won’t have it offline. We have to wake up to the fact that our rights to access information that should be in the public domain is eroding while at the same time our rights as citizens online have now been undermined and we are only seen as consumers with consumers rights and in some cases our rights are less than of a product. This development needs to change and change fast before it is too late.

The U.S. Government continues to have issues internationally as a result of material passed to WikiLeaks, and subsequently published.

Within the past week, Ecuador has effectively declared the U.S. ambassador Heather Hodges persona-non-grata over corruption allegations brought to light in leaked cables. Asking the veteran diplomat to leave “as soon as possible”, the country may become the third in South America with no ambassadorial presence. Both Venezuela and Bolivia have no resident U.S. ambassador due to the two left-wing administrations believing the ejected diplomats were working with the opposition.

The U.S. State Department has cautioned Ecuador that a failure to speedily normalise diplomatic relations may jeapordise ongoing trade talks.

The United Kingdom is expected to press the Obama administration over the continuing detention of 23-year-old Manning, who also holds UK citizenship. British lawmakers are to discuss his ongoing detention conditions before again approaching the U.S. with their concerns that his solitary confinement, and treatment therein, is not acceptable.

The 22 charges brought against Manning are currently on hold whilst his fitness to stand trial is assessed.

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Obama and Romney enter final stretch in campaign for US Presidency

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Obama and Romney enter final stretch in campaign for US Presidency

By | February 11, 2019

Friday, November 2, 2012File:ObamaVsRomney.jpg

Incumbent U.S. President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney have returned to campaigning after taking time out due to Hurricane Sandy.

On Wednesday, Obama visited New Jersey, meeting with Governor Chris Christie in Atlantic City, and spoke to victims of the storm at a community center in Brigantine. Obama earned the praise of the Republican governor who said “[Obama had] sprung into action immediately”. The President’s reaction to the storm also earned him positive polling, with a Washington Post/ABC survey saying 8 out of 10 respondents thought Obama had responded in a “good” or “excellent” manner to the storm.

After restarting the campaign, Obama has campaigned in Wisconsin where he has attacked Romney’s proposed policies as being the same as those of George W. Bush. “Governor Romney has been using all his talents as a salesman to dress up these very same policies that failed our country so badly – the very same policies we’ve been cleaning up after for the past four years – and he is offering them up as change.” said the President.

Yesterday, the independent mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg gave his endorsement to Obama. With several areas of New York affected by flooding from Hurricane Sandy, the former Republican mayor said Obama’s stance on climate change factored in his decision. Writing an editorial for Bloomberg View, the mayor asserted: “Our climate is changing. And while the increase in extreme weather we have experienced in New York City and around the world may or may not be the result of it, the risk that it may be — given the devastation it is wreaking — should be enough to compel all elected leaders to take immediate action.”

Bloomberg said Obama had taken action to deal with climate change; has proposed measures to reduce emissions from cars and power plants. Bloomberg explained he could not support Romney as the Republican challenger had changed his position on several issues. “In the past he has taken sensible positions on immigration, illegal guns, abortion rights and health care – but he has reversed course on all of them, and is even running against the very health care model he signed into law in Massachusetts,” said Bloomberg.

Bloomberg did however have some criticism of Obama. He said that Obama had “engaged in partisan attacks and has embraced a divisive populist agenda focused more on redistributing income than creating it.” Responding in a statement, Obama said he was “honored to have Mayor Bloomberg’s endorsement”.

Romney spoke at an event in the city of Roanoke, Virginia, criticising Obama’s proposal to create a cabinet-level position for business development. In his speech in Virginia, Romney stated: “I don’t think adding a new chair in his cabinet will help add millions of jobs on Main Street. We don’t need a secretary of business to understand business. We need a president who understands business and I do.” Romney also launched a TV advert which stated that the idea represents a broader failing of the Obama presidency by suggesting that Obama’s “solution to everything is to add another bureaucrat.”

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After speaking in Roanoke, Romney spoke in Doswell, Virginia. His speech was interrupted by a protester who shouted “Climate change caused Sandy! Let’s get real!”

Romney plans to make a last-minute campaign stop in Pennsylvania on Sunday.

Jill Stein, the presidential candidate for the Green Party of the United States, was arrested on Wednesday in Winnsboro in east Texas for misdemeanor criminal trespassing while trying to bring food and confectionery to environmental protesters who have been camping in trees for over a month to protest the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. Stein has been released pending a court date.

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