Assessing the Damage at the Mosul Museum, Part 1: The Assyrian Artifacts

3 Mar

Gates of Nineveh: An Experiment in Blogging Assyriology

Yesterday ISIS released yet another propaganda video, this time showing what has been feared since the fall of Mosul last summer: the destruction of ancient artifacts of the Mosul Museum. By now most of the world has seen this video, which has been featured in allthe world’smajornewsagencies. This post and those following it will attempt to identify what has been lost and assess the damage.

As in several of the group’s past videos, a spokesman for the group appears in the video to explain the rationale for the destruction. International Business Times has provided a translation:

These ruins that are behind me, they are idols and statues that people in the past used to worship instead of Allah. The so-called Assyrians and Akkadians and others looked to gods for war, agriculture and rain to whom they offered sacrifices…The Prophet Mohammed took down…

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CISPA Passes Out of the House Without Any Fixes to Core Concerns

2 May

CISPA Passes Out of the House Without Any Fixes to Core Concerns

As I posted recently, Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) passed the US House of Representatives without any suggested improvements.  It now moves on to the US Senate, which will introduce another information sharing bill.  The main issue is corporations are not held accountable to uphold privacy restrictions, but on a positive note, the the bill relays that domestic cyber security is not in the NSA’s jurisdiction.

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EFF Fights to Protect Electronic Reserves at College Libraries

30 Apr

EFF Fights to Protect Electronic Reserves at College Libraries

This article is corollary to my interests in this blog, but covers what we discussed in Info Tech 571 class last week about copyright…

Prior to the digital age, college and university instructors reserved books at the library for students to read a chapter of and not have to pay for the entire item.  Now, some instructors and librarians have created digital reserves for the same chapters that are reused for courses for easy retrieval (as is the case at Georgia State University).  Private publishing companies have met this with disapproval, insisting that university libraries pay fees for these electronic reserves. Librarians argue that use falls under fair use act.  My opinion: Facing shrinking budgets, libraries would not be able to reallocate funds to pay for licensing for something that is fair use….

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Online tracking debate heats up after flaws exposed

25 Apr

Online tracking debate heats up after flaws exposed

Tracking or targeted advertising? Online companies track your browsing history to advertise to you in your browsers.  In this article, a man exposes how he is incorrectly targeted as a “soccer mom”…The issue manifests-what if this technology is being used to track people for national security and what if they are incorrectly assessed and targeted?

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U.S. House of Representatives Shamefully Passes CISPA; Internet Freedom Advocates Prepare for a Battle in the Senate

19 Apr

U.S. House of Representatives Shamefully Passes CISPA; Internet Freedom Advocates Prepare for a Battle in the Senate

Although eclipsed by Obama’s visit to Boston to console victims of the Boston Marathon bombing and a huge explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, US House of Representatives voted to pass CISPA today (for the second year in a row).  It passes 288-127, now it moves on to the Senate.

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CISPA Goes to The Floor for a Vote, Privacy Amendments Blocked

17 Apr

CISPA Goes to The Floor for a Vote, Privacy Amendments Blocked

Tuesday, April 17, the House of Representatives debate Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) for the last time before it is voted on.  Widespread opposition has been voiced by academics, civil liberties groups, and internet companies. Rep. Jared Polis (D-Co) sides with the opposition or the critique of the opponents of the bills noting that it would effect internet users trust in the internet and prevent them from providing personal information due to privacy concerns….something to think about.

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Can Police Read Text Messages Without a Warrant?

16 Apr

Can Police Read Text Messages Without a Warrant?

Interesting debate on whether texts should or should not be searched without a warrant.  Does this violate our 4th amendment rights? Or should a cop be able to go through our cell phone if we are arrested and use it to set up meetings etc and make further arrests?  Once arrested do we give up our right to privacy…I would argue something along that vein…but just going through or intercepting and saving our texts is a no!