CQ Politics | David Corn – Burn Your Facebook


Frightening report from NPR’s website:

A scary anecdote from Iran. A trusted colleague – who is married to an Iranian-American and would thus prefer to stay anonymous – has told me of a very disturbing episode that happened to her friend, another Iranian-American, as she was flying to Iran last week. On passing through the immigration control at the airport in Tehran, she was asked by the officers if she has a Facebook account. When she said "no", the officers pulled up a laptop and searched for her name on Facebook. They found her account and noted down the names of her Facebook friends.

This is very disturbing. For once, it means that the Iranian authorities are paying very close attention to what’s going on Facebook and Twitter (which, in my opinion, also explains why they decided not to take those web-sites down entirely – they are useful tools of intelligence gathering).

Social networking can empower political opposition and dissidents. But it can also help security forces track them. During the red scare witch hunts in the United States, suspected communists were asked to name the names of friends and relatives in the party. These days, the authorities could just check out your Facebook or MySpace pages

CQ Politics | David Corn – Burn Your Facebook

Talking about FutureGen Alliance, Energy Department Agree on Path Forward for Mattoon Power Plant



FutureGen Alliance, Energy Department Agree on Path Forward for Mattoon Power Plant
Washington, D.C. — The FutureGen Alliance and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) have reached an agreement to proceed with a reconfigured energy facility using carbon capture and sequestration at Mattoon, Ill. The agreement comes after several months of discussions between officials from the Alliance and the DOE. FutureGen Alliance Chief Executive Officer Michael J. Mudd said that under the agreement the Alliance and DOE will work together through the rest of the year to refine the facility’s design to reduce cost and technical risk. Several technology configurations will be considered and upcoming discussions with equipment vendors, the engineering team and economics will shape the final design of the facility. With the Energy Department’s assistance, substantial progress has been made on the project’s financing. The DOE will provide $1.073 billion from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and previously appropriated federal funds. Contingent upon an acceptable total project cost and funding, the Alliance expects to begin equipment procurement and construction in 2010

Talking about Murdoch papers paid out £1m to gag phone-hacking victims | Media | guardian.co.uk



Murdoch papers paid out £1m to gag phone-hacking victims | Media | guardian.co.uk
News Group Newspapers has paid out more than £1m to settle legal cases that threatened to reveal evidence of his journalists’ repeated involvement in the use of criminal methods to get stories.The payments secured secrecy over out-of-court settlements in three cases that threatened to expose evidence of Murdoch journalists using private investigators who illegally hacked into the mobile phone messages of numerous public figures and to gain unlawful access to confidential personal data including tax records, social security files, bank statements and itemised phone bills. Cabinet ministers, MPs, actors and sports stars were all targets of the private investigators.

Talking about Will Rudd’s bush backhaul bonanza deliver? – Broadband



Will Rudd’s bush backhaul bonanza deliver? – Broadband
The Rudd Government’s decision to kick off its NBN backhaul upgrades with a $250 million investment in six rural centres may be great news for telecoms in those areas, but it’s also an indictment of the fully privatised model of telecommunications that was foisted on rural Australia over a decade ago. Initially, the Howard Government’s assumption was that competitive forces would spur private-sector investment that would generate untold momentum for technological progress. While the cities ended up awash in bandwidth, however, many rural areas were only kept online at all thanks to the pressure of the Universal Service Obligation and related Digital Data Service Obligation, and their paltry 64Kbps minimum connectivity standards

Talking about Michael Pollan: We Are Headed Toward a Breakdown in Our Food System | Environment | AlterNet



Michael Pollan: We Are Headed Toward a Breakdown in Our Food System | Environment | AlterNet
Michael Pollan’s famous motto for a smart, healthy diet is "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." Add to that: "And when you happen to be on your publisher’s expense account, splurge." The night we met up to chat at a place of his choosing, he tucked into a roasted slab of B.C. wild Chinook salmon, a tangle of salad greens and several glasses of good Okanagan Pinot Gris in the swank environs of the Blue Water Café in Vancouver’s Yaletown neighbourhood