GPS devices reveal what the U.S. is really doing with its toxic e-waste

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A two-year investigation of electronics recycling using GPS tracking devices has revealed that policies aimed at curtailing the trade in toxic e-waste have been unsuccessful, with nearly one-third of the devices being exported to developing countries, where equipment is often dismantled in low-tech workshops — often by children — endangering workers, their families, and contaminating the surrounding environment.

A report from the Basel Action Network (BAN), a Seattle-based nonprofit devoted to ending the trade in toxic waste, raises major questions about U.S. government e-waste policies and oversight as well as the voluntary programs the electronics recycling industry relies on to ensure that this equipment is handled responsibly. BAN’s early data has already resulted in one major recycler losing an important certification as a responsible e-waste handler and launched state investigations into possible hazardous waste violations. The data BAN obtained with these tracking devices also shows equipment left at Read more…

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U.S. Set to Give up Its Last Power Over the Internet

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The U.S. government will give up its last measure of control over the Internet, possibly as soon as next year.

An agreement between the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is set to expire in 2015 and will not be renewed, according to a report from the Washington Post.

The details of the handover are not set yet. A commerce official told the Post that a new oversight body must be created first. The U.S. role in web domain management has been among the last pieces of the Internet under the government’s control

The U.S. has been widely criticized for its control of aspects of the Internet, particularly in light of Edward Snowden’s revelations about the actions of the National Security Agency. The EU recently called for a replacement to ICANN in an effort to minimize U.S. control. Read more…

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After 5 Rejections, Apple Accepts App That Tracks U.S. Drone Strikes

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Persistence, it turns out, does pay off. After rejecting it five times, Apple has finally approved an app that tracks every U.S. drone strike and sends a push notification to users every time a flying robot carries out a deadly mission around the world.

Josh Begley, the data artist and developer who made the app, finally got through Apple’s careful approval process on Friday, more than a year and a half after the first rejection by the company’s App Review Team

It took persistence, but it took also some semantic trickery. Begley got the app approved because he removed the word “drone” from the name of the app and from its description. For the first three attempts, it was called Drones+, then Dronestream for the last two. This latest, successful time, it’s called Metadata+, and Begley initially submitted it with no content or functionality, adding the archive of strikes later Read more…

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George H.W. Bush Is Third U.S. President to Join Twitter

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George Herbert Walker Bush posted his first tweet on Tuesday, becoming the third U.S. President — and the first Republican President — to join Twitter

Bush Sr. seems to have beaten his son, George W. Bush, to the service. The second President Bush does have a presence on Twitter via his Presidential Library, alongside several parody accounts, but no personal account

The 41st President’s first tweet expressed his sadness that he couldn’t be at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela in South Africa. Mandela was freed from prison, won the Nobel Peace Prize and became President of South Africa all during Bush’s single term in office, 1989 to 1993. Read more…

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