President Obama commutes a man's jail sentence over typo

President Obama today used his executive authority to commute the prison term of Ceasar Cantu, a convict who otherwise would have spent an extra three and a half years behind bars thanks to a typo. In 2006, Cantu pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana and...

Al Franken wants Netflix CEO's perspective on Comcast / TWC deal

Senator Al Franken has repeatedly warned of the dangers presented by Comcast's proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable, and today he repeated those concerns in a letter to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings. If regulators clear the purchase, Franken said he fears it will give Comcast "the power and the incentive to act as a gatekeeper on the internet, raising costs and limiting choices for...

NYPD shutters controversial unit that spied on Muslims

The New York Police Department has disbanded a division that conducted extensive covert surveillance on the city's Muslim communities. The Demographics Unit infiltrated mosques, restaurants, and other locations with plainclothes officers and informants, but the NYPD was forced to conclude in 2012 that the program never generated any serious leads or investigations into terrorism. A report last year explored the fear and mistrust that the unit spread among Muslims in New York, with many saying they felt forced to downplay their faith as a result.

No more Demographics Unit

FBI's facial recognition database will contain 52 million images by 2015

The FBI is currently building a massive facial recognition database, and now we have an idea of just how big that database is. According to documents obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the FBI's Next Generation Identification (NGI) database will contain a whopping 52 million photos by 2015, up significantly from the 16 million the database contained in the middle of 2013. Beyond the size of the database, the documents obtained by EFF's Freedom of Information Act requests also...

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Inside Google's efforts to become one of the largest corporate forces in Washington

Google is taking Washington politics seriously. Like many other massive corporations, the company is working hard to gain and wield influence among lawmakers. After largely avoiding politics in its earlier years, the search giant has become one of the top five lobbying powers over the past two years. In 2012, it ranked above all others, save General Electric. It's only natural that a company as large as Google would be involved in politics,...

Senators propose 'Let Me Google That For You Act' aimed at outdated technical agency

Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla) is well known for his Wastebook reports, annual documents that detail the unwieldy and often absurd expenditures made by the federal government. Now, Coburn and a bipartisan group of policymakers have come together to propose a new bill aimed at a single agency, the National Technology Information Service (NTIS), they view as outdated and unnecessary. The bill, snarkily named the "Let Me Google That For You Act,"...

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