By Paul Joseph Watson
An influential international radiation safety organization has warned that the naked body scanners currently being rolled out in airports across the world increase the risk of cancer and birth defects and should not be used on pregnant women or children.
Despite governments claiming that backscatter x-ray systems produce radiation too low to pose a threat, the Inter-Agency Committee on Radiation Safety concluded in their report that governments must justify the use of the scanners and that a more accurate assessment of the health risks is needed.
Pregnant women and children should not be subject to scanning, according to the report, adding that governments should consider “other techniques to achieve the same end without the use of ionizing radiation.”
“The Committee cited the IAEA’s 1996 Basic Safety Standards agreement, drafted over three decades, that protects people from radiation. Frequent exposure to low doses of radiation can lead to cancer and birth defects, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,” reports Bloomberg .
Despite the fact that the level of radiation the passenger is exposed to is relatively low, repeated exposure for frequent flyers would undoubtedly increase cancer risks.
The report issued by the IACRS encompasses the work of the European Commission, International Atomic Energy Agency, Nuclear Energy Agency and the World Health Organization.
(ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW)
As we have highlighted, not only do the body scanners pose health risks but they also violate the fundamental human right of the innocent to be protected against strip-searches.
Despite official denials that the images produced by the devices show details of genitalia, journalists who have investigated trials of the technology have reported that details of sexual organs are “eerily visible”. 
Indeed, as we have previously highlighted , when the scanners were first introduced at Australian airports in 2008 it was admitted that the X-ray backscatter devices don’t work properly unless the genitals of people going through them are visible. “It will show the private parts of people, but what we’ve decided is that we’re not going to blur those out, because it severely limits the detection capabilities,” said Melbourne Airport’s Office of Transport Security manager Cheryl Johnson.
Attempts to keep this under wraps by lying about the images produced are an effort to head off challenges to the legality of the devices. Historically, civil lawsuits where an individual has been strip searched by a member of the opposite sex have proven to be successful in North America.
Courts have consistently found that strip searches are only legal when performed on a person who has already been found guilty of a crime or on arrestees pending trial where a reasonable suspicion has to exist that they are carrying a weapon. Subjecting masses of people to blanket strip searches in airports reverses the very notion of innocent until proven guilty.
Barring people from flying and essentially treating them like terrorists for refusing to be humiliated by the virtual strip search is a clear breach of the basic human right of freedom of movement.
February 5, 2010
By Jenny Hope
The swine flu pandemic, which has cost the nation more than £1billion, was declared over yesterday.
With the number of new cases plummeting, health chiefs announced the 24-hour flu helpline will close down next Thursday.
Critics said the seven-month outbreak had been mishandled by ministers and health officials, who had made a flawed assessment of the threat.
Swine flu has killed 411 Britons, with 124 more still in hospital – yet the 5,000 cases a week are far below the average for seasonal flu.
Chief Medical Officer Sir Liam Donaldson had warned the pandemic might claim 65,000 lives and Health Secretary Andy Burnham said 100,000 could be struck down with the disease every day.
Total cases stand at 800,000 so far. Around the world, an estimated 14,000 deaths have been reported – a fraction of the number dying each year from ordinary flu.
The Government is thought to have ordered tens of millions of doses of vaccine.
So far only 4.25million have been administered to priority groups in England.
Sir Liam is still urging the vulnerable to have the jabs.
He insists the vast cost of tackling the pandemic has been justified, from the £1billion cost of vaccines and antivirals to the £10.4million spent on publicity.
The National Pandemic Flu Service, which cost a further £13.5million to run, allowed patients to bypass their GP and collect antiviral drugs after a telephone assessment. Launched in July last year and employing 1,500 call centre staff, it led to 1.1million courses of antivirals being administered to patients – many of whom never had swine flu, according to research.
Anyone suspecting they have swine flu can still get antiviral drugs from their GP, while those in at-risk groups, including children under five, can receive a vaccination.
Sir Liam said: ‘When the virus returns I would very much like to see young children already protected.
‘From now on, most deaths from the pandemic flu virus should be regarded as potentially preventable.’
A spokesman for the Department of Health said: ‘Our priority remains to vaccinate those most at risk from swine flu, as people are still in hospital from the virus.
‘This is the first time we have had a vaccine to protect people while a pandemic virus has been circulating, so it has undoubtedly helped us save lives.’
However, the bumper revenues being reported by vaccine manufacturers – £4billion in windfall profits is predicted – have led to claims that the World Health Organisation fell under the influence of the industry when it declared a pandemic last June.
Matthew Elliott of the Taxpayers’ Alliance said: ‘The Government’s reaction to swine flu has proved to be excessive and poorly managed.
‘It beggars belief that they could have signed so many massive contracts with such a flawed assessment of the threat.’
But John Oxford, professor of virology at Bart’s and The London Hospital, defended the flu strategy.
‘Swine flu is behaving in a classic Darwinian fashion – the survival of the fittest – and has already displaced 98 per cent of the other flu viruses,’ he said.
‘My worry is that when it gets into the elderly next year, we could see many more deaths.
‘We should be proud that Britain responded in a way that prevented many more cases and deaths.’
By Paul Joseph Watson
Appearing on The Alex Jones Show, outgoing Chair of the Council of Europe’s Sub-committee on Health Wolfgang Wodarg said that his panel’s investigation into the 2009 swine flu outbreak has found that the pandemic was a fake hoax manufactured by pharmaceutical companies in league with the WHO to make vast profits while endangering public health.
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, a 47 nation body encompassing democratically elected members of parliament, began hearings last month to investigate whether the H1N1 swine flu pandemic was falsified or exaggerated in an attempt to profit from vaccine sales.
Wodarg said that governments were “threatened” by special interest groups within the pharmaceutical industry as well as the WHO to buy the vaccines and inject their populations without any reasonable scientific reason for doing so, and yet in countries like Germany and France only around 6 per cent took the vaccine despite enough being available to cover 90 per cent of the population.
Wodarg said he was alarmed when the WHO cited early cases in Mexico as a threat and quickly moved to pandemic status, despite the fact that the cases were relatively mild and the virus was not new.
“This was the mildest flu ever and the people were much more clever than the government so we have to find out what was going on with WHO – why did they do this pandemic alarm,” asked Wodarg, noting that pharmaceutical interests within the World Health Organization were instrumental in creating the panic and reaping the financial dividends.
“We don’t know what really happened, we only know that they changed the definition of a pandemic, which was a very dangerous thing before and now is just a normal flu, and this is why business for pharmaceutical companies was open,” said Wodarg, adding that select pharmaceutical companies were handed a monopoly on creating the vaccine.
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
“It is their trick that they always try to monopolize this and we pay much more like this,” said Wodarg, noting that if patents were left open, vaccines would be produced much quicker and far cheaper.
Wodarg said there was “no other explanation” for what happened than the fact that the WHO worked in cahoots with the pharmaceutical industry to manufacture the panic in order to generate vast profits, agreeing with host Alex Jones that the entire farce was a hoax.
He also explained how health authorities were “already waiting for something to happen” before the pandemic started and then exploited the virus for their own purposes.
Wodarg said that the investigation was likely to recommend an end to the undue influence of pharmaceutical companies on public health institutions in Europe.
However, Wodarg pointed out, “There is no law for WHO, there is no one who punishes those people in WHO, we only have national law, so this is very important that we collect the information and on the national level we try to find those people responsible and we try to punish them.”
“Have investigations, have a deep look, we cannot tolerate such a development, we cannot have this next winter again, we don’t want such fake pandemics,” concluded Wodarg.
Wodarg said that vast quantities of unused vaccines were now being dumped on the third world and that other countries were simply trying to push ahead with vaccination programs even though the virus has proven not to be a major threat.
“The Japanese bought vaccines for 110 million people and they cannot return from this vaccine contract so they are in a very big political dilemma now and they already have problems because the Japanese people already know it wouldn’t be necessary to get vaccinated,” Wodarg told The Alex Jones Show.
By Allen Sloan
Don’t look now. But even as the bank bailout is winding down, another huge bailout is starting, this time for the Social Security system.
A report from the Congressional Budget Office shows that for the first time in 25 years, Social Security is taking in less in taxes than it is spending on benefits.
Instead of helping to finance the rest of the government, as it has done for decades, our nation’s biggest social program needs help from the Treasury to keep benefit checks from bouncing — in other words, a taxpayer bailout.
More from CNNMoney.com:
• Obama’s Budget: Impact on Your Taxes
• Stimulus: Secret Sequel in the Budget
• Bang for the Buck. Finally.
No one has officially announced that Social Security will be cash-negative this year. But you can figure it out for yourself, as I did, by comparing two numbers in the recent federal budget update that the nonpartisan CBO issued last week.
The first number is $120 billion, the interest that Social Security will earn on its trust fund in fiscal 2010 (see page 74 of the CBO report). The second is $92 billion, the overall Social Security surplus for fiscal 2010 (see page 116).
This means that without the interest income, Social Security will be $28 billion in the hole this fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30.
Why disregard the interest? Because as people like me have said repeatedly over the years, the interest, which consists of Treasury IOUs that the Social Security trust fund gets on its holdings of government securities, doesn’t provide Social Security with any cash that it can use to pay its bills. The interest is merely an accounting entry with no economic significance.
Social Security hasn’t been cash-negative since the early 1980s, when it came so close to running out of money that it was making plans to stop sending out benefit checks. That led to the famous Greenspan Commission report, which recommended trimming benefits and raising taxes, which Congress did. Those actions produced hefty cash surpluses, which until this year have helped finance the rest of the government.
But even then, it was clear the surpluses would be temporary. Now, years earlier than projected, Social Security is adding to the government’s borrowing needs, even though the program still shows a surplus on paper.
If you go to the aforementioned pages in the CBO update and consult the tables on them, you see that the budget office projects smaller cash deficits (about $19 billion annually) for fiscal 2011 and 2012. Then the program approaches break-even for a while before the deficits resume.
Social Security currently provides more than half the income for a majority of retirees. Given the declines in stock prices and home values that have whacked millions of people, the program seems likely to become more important in the future as a source of retirement income, rather than less important.
It would have been a lot simpler to fix the system years ago, when we could have used Social Security’s cash surpluses to buy non-Treasury securities, such as government-backed mortgage bonds or high-grade corporates that would have helped cover future cash shortfalls. Now it’s too late.
Even though an economic recovery might produce some small, fleeting cash surpluses, Social Security’s days of being flush are over.
To be sure — three of the most dangerous words in journalism — the current Social Security cash deficits aren’t all that big, given that Social Security is a $700 billion program this year, and that the government expects to borrow about $1.5 trillion in fiscal 2010 to cover its other obligations, about the same as it borrowed in fiscal 2009.
But this year’s Social Security cash shortfall is a watershed event. Until this year, Social Security was a problem for the future. Now it’s a problem for the present.
February 5, 2010
By Elizabeth Cohen
When Annie Brown’s daughter, Isabel, was a month old, her pediatrician asked Brown and her husband to sit down because he had some bad news to tell them: Isabel carried a gene that put her at risk for cystic fibrosis.
While grateful to have the information — Isabel received further testing and she doesn’t have the disease — the Mankato, Minnesota, couple wondered how the doctor knew about Isabel’s genes in the first place. After all, they’d never consented to genetic testing.
It’s simple, the pediatrician answered: Newborn babies in the United States are routinely screened for a panel of genetic diseases. Since the testing is mandated by the government, it’s often done without the parents’ consent, according to Brad Therrell, director of the National Newborn Screening & Genetics Resource Center.
In many states, such as Florida, where Isabel was born, babies’ DNA is stored indefinitely, according to the resource center.
Many parents don’t realize their baby’s DNA is being stored in a government lab, but sometimes when they find out, as the Browns did, they take action. Parents in Texas, and Minnesota have filed lawsuits, and these parents’ concerns are sparking a new debate about whether it’s appropriate for a baby’s genetic blueprint to be in the government’s possession.
“We were appalled when we found out,” says Brown, who’s a registered nurse. “Why do they need to store my baby’s DNA indefinitely? Something on there could affect her ability to get a job later on, or get health insurance.”
According to the state of Minnesota’s Web site, samples are kept so that tests can be repeated, if necessary, and in case the DNA is ever need to help parents identify a missing or deceased child. The samples are also used for medical research.
Art Caplan, a bioethicist at the University of Pennsylvania, says he understands why states don’t first ask permission to screen babies for genetic diseases. “It’s paternalistic, but the state has an overriding interest in protecting these babies,” he says.
However, he added that storage of DNA for long periods of time is a different matter.
“I don’t see any reason to do that kind of storage,” Caplan says. “If it’s anonymous, then I don’t care. I don’t have an issue with that. But if you keep names attached to those samples, that makes me nervous.”
DNA given to outside researchers
Genetic testing for newborns started in the 1960s with testing for diseases and conditions that, if undetected, could kill a child or cause severe problems, such as mental retardation. Since then, the screening has helped save countless newborns.
Over the years, many other tests were added to the list. Now, states mandate that newborns be tested for anywhere between 28 and 54 different conditions, and the DNA samples are stored in state labs for anywhere from three months to indefinitely, depending on the state. (To find out how long your baby’s DNA is stored, see this state-by-state list.)
Brad Therrell, who runs the federally funded genetic resource consortium, says parents don’t need to worry about the privacy of their babies’ DNA.
“The states have in place very rigid controls on those specimens,” Therrell says. “If my children’s DNA were in one of these state labs, I wouldn’t be worried a bit.”
The specimens don’t always stay in the state labs. They’re often given to outside researchers — sometimes with the baby’s name attached.
According to a study done by the state of Minnesota, more than 20 scientific papers have been published in the United States since 2000 using newborn blood samples.
The researchers do not have to have parental consent to obtain samples as long as the baby’s name is not attached, according to Amy Gaviglio, one of the authors of the Minnesota report. However, she says it’s her understanding that if a researcher wants a sample with a baby’s name attached, consent first must be obtained from the parents.
The Economic Collapse
A lot of people are very upset about the rapidly increasing U.S. national debt these days and they are demanding a solution. What they don’t realize is that there simply is not a solution under the current U.S. financial system. It is now mathematically impossible for the U.S. government to pay off the U.S. national debt. You see, the truth is that the U.S. government now owes more dollars than actually exist. If the U.S. government went out today and took every single penny from every single American bank, business and taxpayer, they still would not be able to pay off the national debt. And if they did that, obviously American society would stop functioning because nobody would have any money to buy or sell anything.
And the U.S. government would still be massively in debt.
So why doesn’t the U.S. government just fire up the printing presses and print a bunch of money to pay off the debt?
Well, for one very simple reason.
That is not the way our system works.
You see, for more dollars to enter the system, the U.S. government has to go into more debt.
The U.S. government does not issue U.S. currency – the Federal Reserve does.
The Federal Reserve is a private bank owned and operated for profit by a very powerful group of elite international bankers.
If you will pull a dollar bill out and take a look at it, you will notice that it says “Federal Reserve Note” at the top.
It belongs to the Federal Reserve.
The U.S. government cannot simply go out and create new money whenever it wants under our current system.
Instead, it must get it from the Federal Reserve.
So, when the U.S. government needs to borrow more money (which happens a lot these days) it goes over to the Federal Reserve and asks them for some more green pieces of paper called Federal Reserve Notes.
The Federal Reserve swaps these green pieces of paper for pink pieces of paper called U.S. Treasury bonds. The Federal Reserve either sells these U.S. Treasury bonds or they keep the bonds for themselves (which happens a lot these days).
So that is how the U.S. government gets more green pieces of paper called “U.S. dollars” to put into circulation. But by doing so, they get themselves into even more debt which they will owe even more interest on.
So every time the U.S. government does this, the national debt gets even bigger and the interest on that debt gets even bigger.
Are you starting to get the picture?
As you read this, the U.S. national debt is approximately 12 trillion dollars, although it is going up so rapidly that it is really hard to pin down an exact figure.
So how much money actually exists in the United States today?
Well, there are several ways to measure this.
The “M0″ money supply is the total of all physical bills and currency, plus the money on hand in bank vaults and all of the deposits those banks have at reserve banks. As of mid-2009, the Federal Reserve said that this amount was about 908 billion dollars.
The “M1″ money supply includes all of the currency in the “M0″ money supply, along with all of the money held in checking accounts and other checkable accounts at banks, as well as all money contained in travelers’ checks. According to the Federal Reserve, this totaled approximately 1.7 trillion dollars in December 2009, but not all of this money actually “exists” as we will see in a moment.
February 5, 2010
By Steve Watson
Google is set to establish a working relationship with the National Security Agency, the government spy force responsible for warrantless monitoring of Americans’ phone calls and e-mails in the wake of 9/11.
The announcement comes in response to recent cyber attacks on the search engine company, which it says emanated from China.
Anonymous sources tell the Washington Post that “the alliance is being designed to allow the two organizations to share critical information”, adding that the agreement will not allow the NSA access to users’ search details or e-mails.
The sources also said that the NSA, the largest intelligence agency in the country, may also involve the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security in the project.
“The critical question is: At what level will the American public be comfortable with Google sharing information with NSA?” said Ellen McCarthy, president of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance, an organization of current and former intelligence and national security officials that seeks ways to foster greater sharing of information between government and industry.
Greg Nojeim, senior counsel for the Center for Democracy & Technology, a privacy advocacy group, told the Post that companies have statutory authority to share information with the government to protect their rights and property.
In 2008, Google denied that it had any role in the NSA’s “terrorist” surveillance program, after first refusing to say if they have provided users private data to the federal government under the warrantless wiretapping initiative.
However, it is clear where Google’s interests lie given that the company is supplying the software, hardware and tech support to US intelligence agencies in the process of creating a vast closed source database for global spy networks to share information.
The government supply arm of Google has also reportedly entered into a number of other contracts, details of which it says it cannot share.
Google’s partnership with the intelligence network is not new. As we reported in late 2006, An ex-CIA agent Robert David Steele has claimed sources told him that CIA seed money helped get the company off the ground
Speaking to the Alex Jones Show, Steele elaborated on previous revelations by making it known that the CIA helped bankroll Google at its very inception. Steele named Google’s CIA point man as Dr. Rick Steinheiser, of the Office of Research and Development.
“I think Google took money from the CIA when it was poor and it was starting up and unfortunately our system right now floods money into spying and other illegal and largely unethical activities, and it doesn’t fund what I call the open source world,” said Steele, citing “trusted individuals” as his sources for the claim.
“They’ve been together for quite a while,” added Steele.
By Luca Di Leo and Jeff Bater
The U.S. unemployment rate unexpectedly declined in January, but the economy continued to shed jobs and revisions painted a bleaker picture for 2009, casting doubt over the labor market’s strength.
The unemployment rate, calculated using a household survey, fell to 9.7% last month from an unrevised 10% in December, the Labor Department said Friday. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had forecast the jobless rate would edge higher to 10.1%.
Meantime, nonfarm payrolls fell by 20,000 compared with a revised 150,000 drop decline in December. Economists had expected payrolls to be flat. The December figure was revised down sharply from an originally reported 85,000 drop.
The Labor Department’s annual benchmark revision to the survey that produces the monthly payroll report painted a bleaker 2009 picture. Last year, job losses were almost 600,000 more than previously reported, the revisions showed.
Jan Employment Report ! Consensus: !
Jan Dec ! Payrolls: Unch !
Payrolls -20K -150Kr! !
Unemployment Rate 9.7% 10.0% ! Actual: -20K !
Hourly Earnings $18.89 $18.84r! !
The January report was influenced by several special factors that may not be consistent with the underlying jobs trend. Temporary hiring for the U.S. 2010 census collection helped the employment picture in January, while the unusually cold weather probably hurt it. The interaction of a very bad employment year in 2009 with January seasonal factors clouds the picture further, analysts warned ahead of the release.
“We will be inclined to treat either a very strong or a very weak employment report — particularly the payroll portion — with a greater than usual skepticism,” Goldman Sachs economist Andrew Tilton warned in a note.
The so-called “underemployment” rate–which includes everyone in the official rate plus those who are neither working nor looking for work, but say they want a job and have looked for work recently–fell to 16.5% in January from 17.3%.
Since the start of the recession at the end of 2007, payroll employment has fallen by 8.4 million. Over the last quarter, however, employment has shown little net change as the economy’s recovery helped companies retain workers.
Although the revisions show there were more job losses in 2009 than previously reported, the moderation in payroll cuts in the second half of last year remained broadly in place. November was revised to show a 64,000 gain in payrolls from a previous reading that only 4,000 jobs were added.
Last month, employment fell in construction, transportation and warehousing, while retail trade and temporary help services added jobs. Temporary services added 52,000 jobs in January.
The Federal Reserve’s view that U.S. interest rates must remain at a record low for several months shouldn’t change following the jobs report. Fed officials have in the past warned against reading too much from just one set of monthly data.
The central bank’s rate-setting committee left interest rates close to zero last week in the face of low inflation and high unemployment. The labor market’s performance is likely to be the main driver of Fed decisions this year over if and when it is time to raise interest rates.
Fed officials have predicted the unemployment rate will remain above 9% in the fourth quarter of 2010 due to a slow recovery. The economy surged in the fourth quarter of last year, but that was driven by inventories, a factor that will fade this year.
Friday’s jobs report showed that average hourly earnings rose to $18.89 in Janaury from $18.84 the previous month. The average workweek was up by 0.1 hour to 33.3 hours.
These data were also revised by the Labor Department, which started to report hours and earnings for all employees, instead of just for production and non- supervisory workers.
February 5, 2010
By Declan McCullagh
Anyone with an e-mail account likely knows that police can peek inside it if they have a paper search warrant.
But cybercrime investigators are frustrated by the speed of traditional methods of faxing, mailing, or e-mailing companies these documents. They’re pushing for the creation of a national Web interface linking police computers with those of Internet and e-mail providers so requests can be sent and received electronically.
CNET has reviewed a survey scheduled to be released at a federal task force meeting on Thursday, which says that law enforcement agencies are virtually unanimous in calling for such an interface to be created. Eighty-nine percent of police surveyed, it says, want to be able to “exchange legal process requests and responses to legal process” through an encrypted, police-only “nationwide computer network.”The survey, according to two people with knowledge of the situation, is part of a broader push from law enforcement agencies to alter the ground rules of online investigations. Other components include renewed calls for laws requiring Internet companies to store data about their users for up to five years and increased pressure on companies to respond to police inquiries in hours instead of days.
But the most controversial element is probably the private Web interface, which raises novel security and privacy concerns, especially in the wake of a recent inspector general’s report (PDF) from the Justice Department. The 289-page report detailed how the FBI obtained Americans’ telephone records by citing nonexistent emergencies and simply asking for the data or writing phone numbers on a sticky note rather than following procedures required by law.
Some companies already have police-only Web interfaces. Sprint Nextel operates what it calls the L-Site, also known as the “legal compliance secure Web portal.” The company even has offered a course that “will teach you how to create and track legal demands through L-site. Learn to navigate and securely download requested records.” Cox Communications makes its price list for complying with police requests public; a 30-day wiretap is $3,500.
The police survey is not exactly unbiased: its author is Frank Kardasz, who is scheduled to present it at a meeting (PDF) of the Online Safety and Technology Working Group, organized by the U.S. Department of Commerce. Kardasz, a sergeant in the Phoenix police department and a project director of Arizona’s Internet Crimes Against Children task force, said in an e-mail exchange on Tuesday that he is still revising the document and was unable to discuss it.
In an incendiary October 2009 essay, however, Kardasz wrote that Internet service providers that do not keep records long enough “are the unwitting facilitators of Internet crimes against children” and called for new laws to “mandate data preservation and reporting.” He predicts that those companies will begin to face civil lawsuits because of their “lethargic investigative process.”
“It sounds very dangerous,” says Lee Tien, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, referring to the police-only Web interface. “Let’s assume you set this sort of thing up. What does that mean in terms of what the law enforcement officer be able to do? Would they be able to fish through transactional information for anyone? I don’t understand how you create a system like this without it.”
What police see in ISPs
Kardasz’s survey, based on questionnaires completed by 100 police investigators, says that 61 percent of them had their investigations harmed “because data was not retained” and only 40 percent were satisfied with the timeliness of responses from Internet providers. It also says: “89 percent of investigators agreed that a nationwide computer network should be established for the purpose of linking ISPs with law enforcement agencies so that they may exchange legal process requests and responses to legal process. Authorized users would communicate through encrypted virtual private networks in order to maintain the security of the data.”
Some of the responses to other questions: “AT&T is very prompt.” “Cox Communications seems to be the worst.” “Places like Yahoo can take a month for basic subscriber info which is also a problem.” “AT&T Mobility does not keep a log at all.” “MySpace give (sic) me the quickest response and they have been very pro-police.”
Hemanshu (Hemu) Nigam, MySpace’s chief security officer, said in an interview with CNET on Tuesday that: “You can be very supportive of law enforcement investigations and at the same time be very cognizant and supportive of the privacy rights of our users. Every time a legal process comes in, whether it’s a subpoena or a search order, we do a legal review to make sure it’s appropriate.”
Nigam said that MySpace accepts law enforcement requests through e-mail, fax, and postal mail, and that it has a 24-hour operations center that tries to respond to requests soon after they’ve been reviewed to make sure state and federal laws are being followed. MySpace does not have a police-only Web interface, he said.
Creating a national police-only network would be problematic, Nigam said. “I wish I knew the number of local police agencies in the country, or even police officers in the country,” he said. “Right there that would tell you how difficult it would be to implement, even though ideally it would be a good thing.”
Another obstacle to creating a nation-wide Web interface for cops–one wag has dubbed it “DragNet,” and another “Porknet”–is that some of its thousands of users could be infected by viruses and other malware. Once an infected computer is hooked up to the national network, it could leak confidential information about ongoing investigations.
Jim Harper, a policy analyst at the free-market Cato Institute, says that he welcomes the idea of a police-only Web interface as long as it’s designed carefully. “A system like this should have strong logins, should require that the request be documented fully, and should produce statistical information so there can be strong oversight,” he says. “I think that’s a good thing to have.”
February 5, 2010
The bulk of this essential nutrient is made by the skin on exposure to sunlight. The rest comes from the diet.
A study in Clinical Endocrinology journal of 2,299 men found those with enough of the vitamin had more of the male sex hormone than those with less.
Blood levels of both dipped in the winter and peaked in the summer.
Low testosterone levels can impact on a man’s libido as well as zap energy levels.
It also performs essential functions in both men and women such as maintaining muscle strength and bone density.The researchers from the Medical University of Graz, Austria, found men with at least 30 nanograms of vitamin D per millilitre of blood had much more testosterone circulating than those lacking in vitamin D.
Across the 2,299 men studied, testosterone and vitamin D levels appeared to peak in the month of August, and drop off in the winter, hitting their lowest levels in March.
Professor Winfried Marz and colleagues, who ran the study, said scientists should now look at whether vitamin D supplements would have the same effect on testosterone.
Ad Brand of the Sunlight Research Forum in The Netherlands, a non-profit organisation set up to inform the general public on latest medical research on sun and health, said: “Men who ensure that their body is at least sufficiently supplied with vitamin D are doing good for their testosterone levels and their libido among other things.”
Cancer experts warn that too much sun exposure is damaging for the health.
Allan Pacey, senior lecturer in Andrology at the University of Sheffield, said: “We know that medically we can increase the libido and general well-being of men who have low levels of testosterone by giving them testosterone replacement therapy.
“However, this is for a defined set of medical circumstances where testosterone production is low.
“Whether healthy men notice a significant changes throughout the year is less clear and I would urge men to be sensible about using sunbeds in the winter months given the known risks of using them excessively.”
Jessica Harris of Cancer Research UK said: “Enjoying the sun safely while taking care not to burn should help people strike a balance between making enough vitamin D and avoiding a higher risk of skin cancer.
“People can also top up their levels of vitamin D by eating more foods like oily fish such as salmon, trout or mackerel.”