NSA Whistleblower ‘Disappears’ In Hong Kong

NSA Whistleblower 'Disappears' In Hong KongAn ex-CIA employee who leaked details of US top-secret phone and internet surveillance has disappeared from his hotel in Hong Kong. Edward Snowden, 29, checked out from his hotel on Monday. His whereabouts are unknown, but he is believed to be still in Hong Kong.

‘Criminal matter’

Earlier, he said he had an “obligation to help free people from oppression”. It emerged last week that US agencies were gathering millions of phone records and monitoring internet data. A spokesman for the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence said the case had been referred to the Department of Justice as a criminal matter.

Meanwhile a petition posted on the White House website, calling for Mr Snowden’s immediate pardon, has gathered more than 30,000 signatures. However an opinion poll commissioned by the Washington Post suggests a majority of Americans think government monitoring of phone records is acceptable if the aim is to fight terrorism.

‘Prism’

Mr Snowden was revealed as the source of the leaks at his own request by the UK’s Guardian newspaper. His revelations have caused transatlantic political fallout, amid allegations that the UK’s electronic surveillance agency, GCHQ, used the US system to snoop on British citizens. Foreign Secretary William Hague cancelled a trip to Washington to address the UK parliament on Monday and deny the claims.

On Thursday, the Washington Post and Guardian said the NSA tapped directly into the servers of nine internet firms including Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo to track online communication in a programme known as Prism. All the internet companies deny giving the US government access to their servers. Prism is said to give the NSA and FBI access to emails, web chats and other communications directly from the servers of major US internet companies.

Are you in favor of using the government collecting phone and internet records? Do you think Edward Snowden will be jailed for the information he leaked out?

Source: BBC News

Image: The Raw Story

World’s First 3D Printable Handgun Test Fired Successfully

World's First 3D Printable Handgun Test Fired SuccessfullyThe world’s first gun made with 3D printer technology has been successfully fired in the US. The controversial group which created the firearm, Defense Distributed, plans to make the blueprints available online. The group has spent a year trying to create the firearm, which was successfully tested on Saturday at a firing range south of Austin, Texas.

‘More user friendly’

Anti-gun campaigners have criticised the project. Europe’s law enforcement agency said it was monitoring developments. Victoria Baines, from Europol’s cybercrime centre, said that at present criminals were more likely to pursue traditional routes to obtain firearms.

She added, however: “But as time goes on and as this technology becomes more user friendly and more cost effective, it is possible that some of these risks will emerge.”

Defense Distributed is headed by Cody Wilson, a 25-year-old law student at the University of Texas.


‘Used to harm people’

3D printing has been hailed as the future of manufacturing. The technology works by building up layer upon layer of material – typically plastic – to build complex solid objects. The idea is that as the printers become cheaper, instead of buying goods from shops, consumers will instead be able to download designs and print out the items at home. But as with all new technologies, there are risks as well as benefits.

The gun was made on a 3D printer that cost $8,000 (£5,140) from the online auction site eBay. It was assembled from separate printed components made from ABS plastic – only the firing pin was made from metal.

Asked if he felt any sense of responsibility about whose hands the gun might fall into, Wilson told the BBC: “I recognise the tool might be used to harm other people – that’s what the tool is – it’s a gun. But I don’t think that’s a reason to not do it – or a reason not to put it out there.”

Is this 3D printable handgun a good thing or a bad thing? Why do you say so?

Source: Rebecca Morelle, BBC News

Image: iO9