The Govt, the people, and the rule of law

first_imgThe “rule of law” is one of those phrases that this Government loves to use, and our citizenry is very familiar with it. But, like the perfunctory “good morning” or “good afternoon” greeting, it has absolutely no bearing on phenomena invoked. This is rather unfortunate, since it is this “rule of law” that has to be the foundation of any state we hope to establish in our long-abused land, where our people – brought here to labour as slaves and indentured servants, or peripheralised into the jungles – can live with dignity.What is the ‘rule of law”? Ultimately, that citizens should be ruled by laws and not men, and that no man – even a king – can be above those laws. In Britain, which ruled us for hundreds of years, the move from the rule of an absolute monarch to the present “rule of law” took hundreds of years, and witnessed a king beheaded. In Guyana, with only a half-century experience, our citizens are evidently yet not imbued with the well-nigh-reflexive opposition to threats to the rule of law, as is the case in the developed democracies.The immediate problem arises with the word “rule”. Whether out of “human nature” arising from the “twisted timber” out of which they are made, or individual idiosyncrasies of those who are chosen to “rule”, some being more “twisted” than others, the rule of law is constantly tested, especially by the rulers, as it is today by the PNC-led Government.The “rule of law” has to begin with the “law” – the rules by which we are to be ruled — and ultimately these have to emanate from the will of the people if they are to be seen as legitimate and obeyed. The Supreme Law of the land is the Constitution, which “constitutes” the state that is supposed to rule the citizenry under its mandate.Arising from the need to always be careful of the dangers of power being centralised and taking on authoritarian characteristics, modern constitutions invariably insist that the powers to rule the state be separated into the three functional areas of governance: Executive, Legislative and Judicial. The Legislative branch is responsible for enacting the laws of the state and authorising the funds necessary to operate the government. The Executive branch is responsible for implementing and administering the public policy enacted and funded by the legislative branch. While the Judicial branch is responsible for interpreting the constitution and laws, and applying their interpretations to controversies brought before it.The organisations that have these powers should be structured in such a way that they act as “checks and balances” on each other, to ensure the rule of law is not violated.In Guyana, we should discern immediately that the Executive President still has such a large reservoir of power, even after the 2000 Constitutional amendments, that it is facilitated to pose a challenge to democratic governance and the rule of law. This is evident when the incumbent refuses to accept the spirit of the Constitution as emanating from the intent of its framers. Take Article 162, covering the selection of the Chairman of GECOM. The intent of the framers was for the competing political parties to consensually select a candidate by insisting he/she be selected by the President from a list of six persons proposed by the Opposition Leader (OL). That the Judiciary allowed the President to unilaterally select his hand-picked candidate without any input from the OL is most unfortunate, and the constitutional crisis that we are presently facing was enabled by this decision.As we face the abyss of a constitutional crisis, such as has never been seen in the history of our republic – the refusal of the President to obey the clear command of the Constitution – the citizens of the country must accept that ultimate sovereignty, which undergirds the rule of law, lies in their hands.And they have to protect it from an out-of-control Leviathan.last_img read more

Union initiates boycott

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREPettersson scores another winner, Canucks beat KingsIn October, Countrywide said it would offer refinancing or modifications on $16 billion in loans with interest rates set to adjust by December 2008. The company also has said it is trying to work out payment plans with thousands of other borrowers and has already helped more than 55,000 customers avoid foreclosure this year. The union worries that Countrywide’s loan modification efforts will focus on borrowers who have yet to see their home loans reset, ignoring thousands of others who fell behind beginning last year, said Zakia Henderson-Brown, a research analyst for the union. “It’s a niche group of borrowers we’re asking them to consider,” Henderson-Brown said. A call to Countrywide was not immediately returned. A national labor union launched a campaign Monday against Calabasas-based Countrywide Financial Corp., calling on members and other consumers to boycott the mortgage lender’s banking subsidiary until it guarantees it won’t foreclose on borrowers who have fallen behind on adjustable rate loans. UNITE HERE, which represents more than 450,000 workers in the apparel manufacturing, hotel, restaurant and retail industries, asked consumers not to make deposits at Countrywide Bank and to send e-mails to the company demanding assurances it won’t foreclose on borrowers with mortgages that reset last year and this year. Countrywide and other lenders have been under intense pressure from lawmakers, consumer groups and others to do more to help stem a sharp increase in foreclosures. Defaults and foreclosures have been most pronounced on adjustable-rate mortgages made to borrowers with past credit problems. The subprime loans typically require a lower initial monthly payment in the first two or three years before resetting to far higher amounts. UNITE HERE’s campaign comes amid negotiations between mortgage lenders and U.S. Treasury officials aimed at reaching a deal to temporarily freeze interest rates on mortgages. The initiative, however, aims to help homeowners who have managed to make their mortgage payments but wouldn’t be able to afford an increase when their loans resets. By targeting Countrywide Bank, the labor union hopes to hurt the lender’s ability to generate the funds needed to make new home loans. Countrywide began relying on its banking arm to fund loans in the wake of the liquidity crisis that rattled financial markets following the spike in home loan defaults this summer. It has been aggressively courting new deposits and expanding its bank branches. Shares of Countrywide fell 14 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $10.68 on Monday.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Accord fuel-saver may suffer

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREOregon Ducks football players get stuck on Disney ride during Rose Bowl event“We’ve had to reevaluate our position,” Colliver said. “It’s having a hard time in the market.” Colliver said a decision on the Accord will be made sometime this year. Not all hybrids are suffering. The Honda Insight hybrid saw sales jump 15 percent last year, and Colliver said sales of the Honda Civic hybrid remain strong. The company expects to sell 25,000 hybrid Civics this year, or 8 percent of its total Civic volume. Colliver said the problem with the Accord is that the hybrid system is paired with a V6 engine, compared to the smaller 4-cylinder engine in the Civic, and consumers aren’t convinced it will offer them any fuel savings. Toyota Motor Corp.’s Lexus luxury division is betting that consumers eventually will adopt so-called performance hybrids like the Accord, which give vehicles a bigger engine with better fuel economy and lower emissions. NEW YORK – Honda Motor Co. may cut production of the Honda Accord hybrid because sales have been so slow, Honda Executive Vice President Dick Colliver said Thursday at the New York Auto Show. Colliver was the second executive in as many days to question the direction of hybrid sales during media previews for the show, which opens to the public today. Nissan Motor Co. Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn said Wednesday that hybrid sales appear to be slowing down, something he has warned could happen as consumers decide whether hybrids are worth their additional cost. Colliver wouldn’t give exact sales for the Accord hybrid, which went on sale in December 2004, but said they make up a tiny percentage of Honda’s overall sales. Overall Accord sales were down 4 percent last year, according to Autodata Corp. The 2008 Lexus LS 600h, introduced at the New York show, is the first luxury vehicle to pair a powerful V-8 engine with a hybrid system. The combination gives the 600h the power of a 12-cylinder engine with the fuel efficiency of a smaller vehicle. Lexus said the sedan will have fuel economy ratings equal to or better than some mid-size luxury sedans. But Colliver said he’s not convinced consumers will embrace performance hybrids. “We’re still looking at where’s the best package for hybrids,” Colliver said. “We’re going to have to watch the market.” Hybrids made up 1.5 percent of new-car sales last year, up slightly from 2004, even though there were new models on the market, according to J.D. Power and Associates.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

‘Sissoko is basically Paulinho! Poch is searching for the receipt!’

first_img Moussa Sissoko made his first start for Spurs on Sunday 1 Moussa Sissoko made his first start for Tottenham on Sunday, following his deadline day move from Newcastle.The French midfielder was signed for a £30 million fee, with many eyebrows raised when confirmation of the deal was announced.Consistently poor performances for the Magpies had many believing Sissoko was not a Premier League-level footballer, and even though he played well at Euro 2016, the fee paid seemed excessive.The 27-year-old had made two appearances off the bench prior to his first start against Sunderland on Sunday, and even when given a full 90 minutes to show his skill, the Frenchman hardly impressed.Tottenham fans (and gleeful Newcastle supporters) took to Twitter during the game to react to Sissoko’s showing, and we collect some of the best responses below…last_img read more

Leicester latest: Riyad Mahrez admits he ‘would like to talk’ to Roma

first_img1 Riyad Mahrez is keen to leave Leicester this summer Riyad Mahrez has promised to do his best for Leicester despite admitting he is still keen to discuss a potential move to Serie A side Roma.The 26-year-old winger, who won the Premier League with the Foxes in 2015-16, first expressed a desire to leave in May and boss Craig Shakespeare has said a July bid from Roma was rejected.Algeria international Mahrez – the PFA players’ player of the year in 2016 – is eager to speak to “great club” Roma, but until he is given permission to do so he will continue to fight for the Leicester cause.“I know Roma came in, but nothing was accepted so there is little I can do,” he told Sky Sports News HQ.“They are a great club who I would like to talk to but I can’t until Leicester accept a deal.“Leicester know my thoughts, but I will continue to give my best for the club as I always have.“Clearly it is flattering whenever you get linked with any big clubs but, as it stands, I have not talked to anyone as nobody has had a bid accepted but we nearly have a month left of the transfer window so we will see what happens.”France-born Mahrez scored 17 league goals as Leicester stole an unlikely march to the title 15 months ago but his levels dipped as the Foxes slipped to 12th in the table last season.last_img read more

TechCrunch Disrupts Protest That Was Trying To Disrupt TechCrunch Disrupt

first_imgTags:#Alexia Tsotsis#Evictions#Jack Halprin#Kim-Mai Cutler#Protests#San Francisco#TechCrunch#TechCrunch Disrupt 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market selena larson Protesters who attempted to demonstrate outside the TechCrunch Disrupt conference Wednesday afternoon found themselves disrupted instead, after TechCrunch organizers called security—who then called the police—to shoo away the protest.A group of around 20 disgruntled San Francisco citizens gathered outside the main entrance to TechCrunch Disrupt yesterday afternoon, calling on San Francisco techies to support ballot initiatives intended to stop home evictions and raise the city’s minimum wage. Both are big issues in San Francisco, where skyrocketing rents—thanks largely to the tech boom—are pricing out many long-time city residents.  While the protesters waved signs and chanted along with megaphone-wielding leaders, the TechCrunch closing awards celebrated the winner of the event’s startup-battle competition: Alfred, a personal butler that manages on-demand services like housecleaning and laundry.But the protest only lasted for 40 minutes. According to Shum Preston, a campaign strategist for Raise the Bay who helped coordinate the demonstration, TechCrunch asked police to remove the protesters from the parking lot outside the event.I contacted TechCrunch co-editor Alexia Tsotsis for comment. After some back-and-forth via email, she provided me with the following statement, which she asked me to attribute to “TechCrunch”:There were people intimidating our guests and blocking them from leaving parking spaces. We were asked if our security could manage this situation, and we said yes. The property managers took this one step further and asked the police from Giants stadium [where a baseball game was underway] to come by and assist (without our knowledge).  We did not request, nor authorize any removal of protestors from property to which the public has the right to access. The only thing I was interested in was protecting the safety of TechCrunch staff as I would in the normal course of business.We did allow the DisruptDenial people to hang out in the parking lot and peacefully distribute coffee and talk to our guest. They actually parked a trailer there without asking and we allowed them to continue doing what they were doing.  Shum said the group was approached by a San Francisco police officer who asked them to disperse. “We told him we believed it was public property, which he said was possible, but we complied,” he told me by email. Why The Protest?Claudia Tirado, who joined the protests with her son Valentino, is fighting eviction from a building recently bought by Google executive Jack Halprin. In June, Tirado crashed Google’s I/O developer conference to call attention to the pending eviction of Halprin’s tenants.Tirado, a veteran 3rd-grade teacher in the San Francisco public schools, lives with her son and partner (who, by the way, drives for Uber to help support the family). If evicted, she said, they’ll have to move away from San Francisco, where the average rent is $3,200 per month.“We have to adapt to this technology and we struggle every day to make it and keep our family together,” she said.Preston said that the activists came out to Disrupt to ask attending technologists to support fair wages and housing to “disrupt economic inequality.”“It’s an effort to get the tech industry to support and come out in favor of raising the minimum wage and asking them to support Prop G which will provide economic incentives to stop the quick flipping,” Shum said, referring to the way landlords buy property at a low price, then evict tenants and sell it for much larger sum. “Is it the perfect solution for housing? Obviously not.”But it is a start, he says.Tech And The SF Housing CrunchThe San Francisco Bay Area has seen a number of anti-tech protests this year. There was a spate of demonstrations against the buses that shuttle employees from San Francisco and Oakland to Silicon Valley throughout the year, including one at which protester intentionally vomited on a Yahoo shuttle in April.TechCrunch itself has covered both the protests and the underlying issues, most notably in a 13,000-word piece on the San Francisco housing crisis by the site’s Kim-Mai Cutler in April. Cutler even moderated a panel on the subject on Tuesday at … TechCrunch Disrupt.Though the protest was small, Shum said he was pleased with the turnout. “Inside they were feting virtual butlers, while outside, sure, the execs were ignoring the poor and middle-class folks who are getting squeezed by this economy,” he said. Update 3:40 p.m.: After publishing, TechCrunch responded with the following statement from COO Ned Desmond. TechCrunch supports the right to peaceful protest and the right of our Disrupt attendees to move freely in and out of the Pier 48 during our show. When the Pier 48 property manager asked a group of protestors to stop obstructing cars and guests at the show entrance, they refused to cooperate. At that point the property manager requested help from the police.Images by Selena Larson for ReadWrite Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic…center_img Related Posts A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hostinglast_img read more

Why criminals can’t hide behind Bitcoin

first_imgShadow is far from the only Bitcoin competitor. Scores of alternative cryptocurrencies now exist. And some experts predict that one may finally go mainstream. Some banks already rely on a cryptocurrency called Ripple for settling large global money transfers. And the U.S. government “has been engaging with the cryptocurrency community and learning from them,” says Bill Gleim, head of machine learning at Coinalytics, a company based in Menlo Park, California. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and other law enforcement begged to differ. Ross Ulbricht, the 31-year-old American who created Silk Road, a Bitcoin market facilitating the sale of $1 billion in illegal drugs, was sentenced to life in prison in February 2015. In March, the assets of 28-year-old Czech national Tomáš Jiříkovský were seized; he’s suspected of laundering $40 million in stolen Bitcoins. Two more fell in September 2015: 33-year-old American Trendon Shavers pleaded guilty to running a $150 million Ponzi scheme—the first Bitcoin securities fraud case—and 30-year-old Frenchman Mark Karpelès was arrested and charged with fraud and embezzlement of $390 million from the now shuttered Bitcoin currency exchange Mt. Gox. The majority of Bitcoin users are law-abiding people motivated by privacy concerns or just curiosity. But Bitcoin’s anonymity is also a powerful tool for financing crime: The virtual money can keep shady transactions secret. The paradox of cryptocurrency is that its associated data create a forensic trail that can suddenly make your entire financial history public information.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Read more of our special package that examines the hurdles and advances in the field of forensicsAcademic researchers helped create the encryption and software systems that make Bitcoin possible; many are now helping law enforcement nab criminals. These experts operate in a new field at the crossroads of computer science, economics, and forensics, says Sarah Meiklejohn, a computer scientist at University College London who co-chaired an annual workshop on financial cryptography in Barbados last month. “There aren’t that many of us,” she notes. “We all know each other.” Among the first researchers to find a crack in the wall were the husband-and-wife team of Philip and Diana Koshy. In 2014, as graduate students in McDaniel’s lab at Penn State, they built their own version of the software that buyers and sellers use to take part in the Bitcoin network. It was especially designed to be inefficient, downloading a copy of every single packet of data transmitted by every computer in the Bitcoin network. “We wanted to see everything,” Philip Koshy says. As Science went to press, Bitcoin’s market capitalization, a measure of the amount of money invested in it, stood at $5.6 billion. That money is very safe from theft, as long as users never reveal their private keys, the long—and ideally, randomly generated—numbers used to generate a digital signature. But as soon as a Bitcoin is spent, the forensic trail begins. C. Smith/Science © Lucas Jackson/Reuters Those Bitcoins have been split up and changed hands numerous times since then, and all of these transactions are public knowledge. The past and present ownership of every Bitcoin—in fact every 10-millionth of a Bitcoin—is dutifully recorded in the “blockchain,” an ever-growing public ledger shared across the Internet. What remains hidden are the true identities of the Bitcoin owners: Instead of submitting their names, users create a code that serves as their digital signature in the blockchain. Exactly that scenario is playing out now. On 20 January of this year, 10 men were arrested in the Netherlands as part of an international raid on online illegal drug markets. The men were caught converting their Bitcoins into Euros in bank accounts using commercial Bitcoin services, and then withdrawing millions in cash from ATM machines. The trail of Bitcoin addresses allegedly links all that money to online illegal drug sales tracked by FBI and Interpol. But even mixing has weaknesses that forensic investigators can exploit. Soon after Silk Road shut down, someone with administrative access to one of the newly emerging black markets walked away with 90,000 Bitcoins from user escrow accounts. The thief tried to use a mixing service to launder the money, but wasn’t patient enough to hide the tracks, Meiklejohn says. “It’s difficult to push large amounts of Bitcoin through mixing services secretly. It’s extremely noticeable no matter how you do it.” Thomas Jiikovský, the man under investigation by Czech police, is suspected to be the thief in question. Just like any currency, Bitcoin’s real-world value emerges as people trade it for goods, services, and other currencies. If you’re not a miner, you can only get Bitcoins from someone who already has them. Companies have sprung up that sell Bitcoins—at a profitable rate—and provide ATM machines where you can convert them into cash. And of course, you can sell something in return for Bitcoins. As soon as both parties have digitally signed the transaction and it is recorded in the blockchain, the Bitcoins are yours. Bitcoin, the Internet currency beloved by computer scientists, libertarians, and criminals, is no longer invulnerable. As recently as 3 years ago, it seemed that anyone could buy or sell anything with Bitcoin and never be tracked, let alone busted if they broke the law. “It’s totally anonymous,” was how one commenter put it in Bitcoin’s forums in June 2013. “The FBI does not have a prayer of a chance of finding out who is who.” Investigators quietly collected every shred of data from Silk Road—from the images and text describing drug products to the Bitcoin transactions that appear in the blockchain when the deals close. Ultimately, investigators needed to tie this string of evidence to one crucial, missing piece of data: the Internet Protocol (IP) addresses of the computers used by buyers or sellers. The challenge is that the Bitcoin network is designed to blur the correspondence between transactions and IP addresses. All Bitcoin users are connected in a peer-to-peer network over the Internet. Data flow between their computers like gossip in a crowd, spreading quickly and redundantly until everyone has the information—with no one but the originator knowing who spoke first. This system worked so well that it was carelessness, not any privacy flaws in Bitcoin, that led to the breakthrough in the investigation of Silk Road. When Ulbricht, the ringleader, was hiring help to expand his operation, he used the same pseudonym he had adopted years before to post announcements on illegal drug discussion forums; that and other moments of sloppiness made him a suspect. Once FBI tracked his IP address to a San Francisco, in California, Internet cafe, they caught him in the act of logging into Silk Road as an administrator.Other criminals could take solace in the fact that it was a slip-up; as long as you used Bitcoin carefully, your identity was protected behind the cryptographic wall. But now even that confidence is eroded.center_img Ultimately, they were able to map IP addresses to more than 1000 Bitcoin addresses; they published their findings in the proceedings of an obscure cryptography conference. It is unusual for an academic paper to cause both The New York Times and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to come calling. “It was crazy,” Philip Koshy says. Their technique has not yet appeared in the official record of a criminal case, but the Koshys say they have observed so-called fake nodes on the Bitcoin network associated with IP addresses in government data centers in Virginia, suggesting that investigators there are hoovering up the data packets for surveillance purposes too. (The pair has since left academia for tech industry jobs.) If Bitcoin’s privacy shortcomings drive users away, the currency will quickly lose its value. But the demand for financial privacy won’t disappear, and new systems are already emerging. “I don’t feel people have the right to know, unless disclosed, how much cash is in my wallet, just like I don’t feel anyone should know what conversations I’m having with anyone else,” says Ryno Matthee, a software developer based in Somerset, South Africa. The beauty of Bitcoin, from a detective’s point of view, is that the blockchain records all. “If you catch a dealer with drugs and cash on the street, you’ve caught them committing one crime,” Meiklejohn says. “But if you catch people using something like Silk Road, you’ve uncovered their whole criminal history,” she says. “It’s like discovering their books.” By 2013, millions of dollars’ worth of Bitcoins were being swapped for illegal drugs and stolen identity data on Silk Road. Like a black market version of Amazon, it provided a sophisticated platform for buyers and sellers, including Bitcoin escrow accounts, a buyer feedback forum, and even a vendor reputation system. The merchandise was sent mostly through the normal postal system—the buyer sent the seller the mailing address as an encrypted message—and the site even provided helpful tips, such as how to vacuum-pack drugs. As criminals have evolved more sophisticated methods to use Bitcoin, researchers have followed apace. Meiklejohn—who says she regularly works with law enforcement but is “not comfortable discussing the details”—was one of the first researchers to explore Bitcoin “mixing” services. The basic idea is to protect the anonymity of transactions by swapping many people’s Bitcoin stashes with each other, as in a shell game. The forensic trail shows the money going in but then goes cold because it is impossible to know which Bitcoins belong to whom on the other end. “So in principle, this is a solution to Bitcoin’s anonymity problem,” Meiklejohn says. When Bitcoin first emerged, law enforcement officers were “panicking,” Meiklejohn says. “They thought these technologies were dangerous and made it harder for them to do their job.” But as the arrests and convictions have rolled in, “there’s a steady shift toward seeing cryptocurrency as a tool for prosecuting crimes.” Even in the strange new world of Bitcoin, FBI Assistant General Counsel Brett Nigh said in September 2015, “investigators can follow the money.” Gleim believes the federal government will issue its own cryptocurrency, “maybe as soon as late 2016.” If so, it is likely to require users to verify their real-world identities. That could defeat the purpose of cryptocurrency in the eyes of privacy advocates and criminals. Or maybe not: In this technological game of cat and mouse, the next move may go to the criminals.Correction, 11 March, 4:27 a.m.: A previous version of this story attributed this quote to Bitcoin developer and investor Martti Malmi, but Malmi tells Science that it was manufactured by a cyberbully. Bitcoin Foundation Vice Chairman Charlie Shrem (right) leaves the Manhattan federal courthouse in New York City in January 2014. Shrem was later sentenced to 2 years in prison for laundering money on Silk Road. Unlike money issued by governments, Bitcoin has no Federal Reserve, no gold backing, no banks, no physical notes. Created in a 2008 academic paper by a still unknown person using the name Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin “is an intellectual artifact,” says Patrick McDaniel, a computer scientist at Pennsylvania State University (Penn State), University Park. “It’s the frontier of economics.” If the data flowing through the network were perfectly coordinated, with everyone’s computer sending and receiving data as frequently as the rest, then it might be impossible to link Bitcoin addresses with IP addresses. But there is no top-down coordination of the Bitcoin network, and its flow is far from perfect. The Koshys noticed that sometimes a computer sent out information about only one transaction, meaning that the person at that IP address was the owner of that Bitcoin address. And sometimes a surge of transactions came from a single IP address—probably when the user was upgrading his or her Bitcoin client software. Those transactions held the key to a whole backlog of their Bitcoin addresses. Like unraveling a ball of string, once the Koshys isolated some of the addresses, others followed. Matthee is part of a team launching a new anonymous online market called Shadow this year, which will use its own cryptocurrency, ShadowCash. The goal is not to facilitate illegal transactions, Matthee says. It will be up to the users, who administer the system, to police it, he says, but to help prevent abuse, “we are going to try our best to filter out known keywords for drugs or worse.” Strictly speaking, Bitcoins are nothing more than amounts associated with addresses, unique strings of letters and numbers. For example, “1Ez69SnzzmePmZX3WpEzMKTrcBF2gpNQ55” represents nearly 30,000 Bitcoins seized during the Silk Road bust—worth about $20 million at the time—that were auctioned off by the U.S. government on 1 July 2014. The job of keeping the system running and preventing cheating is left to a volunteer workforce known as Bitcoin miners. They crunch the numbers needed to verify every transaction. Added to this is an evergrowing math task known as “proof of work,” which keeps the miners honest. The calculations are so intense that miners use specialized computers that run hot enough to keep homes or even office buildings warm through the winter. The incentive for all this effort is built into Bitcoin itself. The act of verifying a 10-minute block of transactions generates 25 new Bitcoins for the miner. This is how Bitcoins are minted.last_img read more

Home run in Capital marks United Nations’s 70th anniversary

first_imgThe 70th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations was marked in the Capital by US Ambassador Richard Verma with a baseball tournament at Leo Flanagan ball field in Chanakyapuri on Sunday.The afternoon match was played between Modern Barakhama Warriors and Firangis (an international mixed team with players from Japanese, American and British schools as well as children from Indian government schools). Warriors MSBK lost by 9-2 from Firangis. Another game was played after the match, between the Eagles and the Rajputs. The Rajputs won on a walk-off hit by Yuki Miyashita in the bottom of the 6th.The finals will now be held in February next year.The sports event was organised with New Delhi Little League and Grand Slam Baseball, an enterprise that offers baseball training to children in India. The organisation operates in and around Delhi-NCR.Speaking on the occasion, the Ambassador said, “Standing here today I see young people from the United States, Canada, Europe, Japan, South Korea, Latin America, and of course so many students from India, all playing this great game. It’s wonderful how sports bring people from across the world together.”Meanwhile, Director of UN Information Centre for India and Bhutan, Kiran Mehra-Kerpelman said, “I believe wholeheartedly in sports as a medium for bringing out the best in children. The United Nations promotes sports for peace and development and we at UNIC have taken successful initiatives in many parts of India, in football and in cricket. As such, we are so happy that today, on UN’s 70th birthday, we are able to add baseball to this list and are seeing a mini-United Nations team.”advertisementlast_img read more

Virat Kohli wants RCB to be braver: ‘We don’t deserve to win if we field like that’

first_imgVirat Kohli was critical of Royal Challengers Bangalore fielding (RCB) after they slumped to a six-wicket loss against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) at M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Sunday.Brendon McCullum and Quinton de Kock gave RCB a flying start as they put up 67-run partnership up top but after Brendon McCullum fell in the 10th over of the match, Virat Kohli waged a lone battle through the innings.Kohli smashed his 33rd IPL fifty scoring 68 off 44 deliveries and accelerated in the end to take RCB to a competitive total of 175/4.Kohli felt that the score was par and in fact more than they had anticipated at one point in the game.Young @RealShubmanGill seals @KKRiders’ six-wicket win over #RCB in style with a four. @lynny50 remains unbeaten on 62.Details – #VIVOIPL (@IPL) April 29, 2018″It’s a pretty surprising every time we bat. Looked better than it played (the track). 175 was a really good score, we were thinking of 165 at one stage after those wickets, so 10 was a bonus,” Kohli said after the match.Also read – IPL 2018, RCB Vs KKR: Another Virat special in vain as RCB crash to 2nd straight defeatDespite a par score, RCB’s fielding was a huge disappointment and eventually cost them the match. Dropped catches and slack fielding were the highlights of the second innings from RCB. Chris Lynn went on to score a match-winning 62 after he was dropped by Murugan Ashwin on 7 and captain Kohli looked a frustrated man.advertisement”If we field like that, we don’t deserve to win. We need to be hard on ourselves and be more brave with the ball and in the field, we need to correct those things going forward.”In the 19th over, Kohli himself took an exemplary catch as he raced towards long-on to catch hold of the ball and dismiss Dinesh Karthik. However, the match had already gone out of RCB’s clutches and Kohli did not even celebrate his breathtaking fielding effort.”All 11 of us need to come together and bring that excitement on the field. We don’t deserve to win if we field like that. We can’t afford to field like that and let singles go to boundaries. We were just not good enough tonight.”Also read – IPL 2018: Anushka Sharma applauds as husband Virat Kohli wages lone battle vs KKRRCB are now second from bottom in the points table with just two wins from seven games and will need to put up miraculously better performances in each match ahead to qualify for the playoffs.Kohli urged for his men to understand from their mistakes and step up if they were to stay in the tournament.Also read – IPL 2018, Royal Challengers Bangalore v Kolkata Knight Riders: Highlights”I can’t pin point anything right now, we need to win six out of seven to qualify from here. We need to be in that mindset to take every match as as virtual semi-final from now. There’s no room for lapses, complacency or hesitation. We need our guys stepping up and hopefully the guys can put up a better show,” Kohli concluded.last_img read more