Armenian newspapers threatened by libel suits with sky-high damages awards

first_imgNews June 8, 2021 Find out more News ArmeniaEurope – Central Asia Reporters Without Borders is concerned about all the libel actions being brought against Armenian newspapers and the disproportionate damages being demanded, which threaten their survival and create a climate that encourages self-censorship. This tendency to use lawsuits to throttle news media must be reined in. The repeal of jail sentences for libel and slander in April 2010 was hailed as a democratic advance but judicial harassment of the media continues. There were 12 defamation actions during the first quarter of 2011 alone. Independent newspapers are the leading targets. The daily Jamanak is currently the subject of three different lawsuits. Haykakan Jamanak and Hraparak are also being sued. In most cases the plaintiffs are politicians. On 18 April, Armenia’s highest appeal court ordered the news website Hetq, founded by the NGO Investigative Journalists, to pay Ijevan mayor Tavush Marz 450,000 drams (820 euros) in damages and publish a retraction. The suit was brought over a series of articles about embezzlement by local officials. Having exhausted all possibilities of appeal in Armenia, the NGO says it will take the case to the European Court of Human Rights.Former president Robert Kocharian’s family are frequent plaintiffs. His wife, Bella Kocharian, and son, Sedrak Kocharian, are suing Jamanak for 6 million drams (11,000 euros) over a September 2011 article implicating them in an alleged case of embezzlement. The newspaper Haykakan Jamanak has already been ordered to pay Levon Kocharian 3.5 million drams (6,400 euros) in damages.The former president himself recently sued Hraparak over a 2 February article describing him as “bloodthirsty” and subject to “fits of madness.” While there may have been grounds for a libel action, there were certainly no grounds for his request for a freeze on the newspaper’s assets, which was granted at the first hearing.The order was rescinded on 11 April, but the former president’s action is still dangerous inasmuch as it suggest that the real of goal of defamation suits is to bankrupt independent media. The OSCE, to which Armenia belongs, has a clear position on this: “The amount of the fine should not reach the ceiling of bankruptcy of the media outlets or individual journalists, nor should it endanger their normal work.”In most cases, the courts seem to do what the plaintiffs want, imposing the maximum amount of damages. On 7 February, Haykakan Jamanak was ordered to pay 2,440,000 drams (nearly 16,000 dollars) in damages to each of the three parliamentarians – Ruben Hayrapetyan, Samuel Aleksanyan and Levon Sargsyan – who sued it over a 14 October article quoting a list of Armenian officials and businessmen allegedly involved in criminal activity. Editor Hayk Gevorgyan said he was amazed by the court’s verdict and has decided to appeal.As well as the large amounts in damages demanded by plaintiffs, newspapers must also pay excessive lawyers’ fees. The abuses are such that the council of the Armenian Chamber of Lawyers has approved a proposed directive imposing a ceiling of 300,000 drams (6,400 euros) on fees in defamation cases. It has been submitted to the legal department, which will decide whether it should go into effect.Reporters Without Borders is following all of these cases closely. As well as those already mentioned, Reporters Without Borders will also attend the upcoming hearings in the parliamentarian Tigran Arzakantsian’s lawsuit against the newspaper Yerkir and the lawsuit that the company Glendale Hills has brought against Jamanak.Reporters Without Borders has urged participants in the forum on media freedom held by the human rights ombudsman in Yerevan to discuss ways to limit defamation suits. Media self-regulation should be developed and, when legal actions are brought, the courts should respect the principle of proportionality when awarding damages. ArmeniaEurope – Central Asia November 11, 2020 Find out more to go further News April 9, 2021 Find out more Receive email alertscenter_img Follow the news on Armenia RSF calls for a fully transparent investigation after mine kills two journalists in Azerbaijan Organisation News RSF_en Forum on Information and Democracy 250 recommendations on how to stop “infodemics” Russian peacekeepers deny foreign reporters access to Nagorno-Karabakh Help by sharing this information May 1, 2011 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Armenian newspapers threatened by libel suits with sky-high damages awardslast_img read more

New political voice for Limerick’s Muslim community

first_imgNewsPoliticsNew political voice for Limerick’s Muslim communityBy Alan Jacques – November 25, 2018 5162 Twitter Limerick on Covid watch list Previous articleHugh Tinney celebrates 60 in CastleconnellNext articleTelling the Sue Rynhart story Alan Jacqueshttp://www.limerickpost.ie Abul Kalam Azad Talukder, going for County Council Elections in MayPicture Brendan GleesonA LEADING member of the Muslim community in Limerick has promised to be a voice not only for the migrant community in the city but for all communities if he is successful in next year’s local election.Abul Kalam Azad Talukder (50) has been selected by Fianna Fail to run in Limerick City West next May alongside Mayor James Collins, Cllr Sean Lynch, and former Young Munster rugby player Francis Brosnahan.Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up Known fondly as “Jackie”, the Bangladeshi father-of-two runs a number of local businesses and operates two taxis.“Ireland and Limerick have been very good to me. They have given me a happy life. I want to be a voice not only for the migrant community, but also for everyone. We have to think about our children and their future,” he told the Limerick Post.Abul came to Limerick in 2000 and first started work with Fianna Fail in 2004 as an aid to former Junior Minister Peter Power within the migrant community. His father was a politician in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, and he is now hoping to make his own contribution by becoming the first Muslim elected to Limerick City and County Council.The increase in rents across Limerick City and County is something Abul feels very strongly about.“Rent is a huge issue. If two people are not working in a family it is very hard for them to be able to pay rent. My brother was paying €370 a month for an apartment in the city. Five years later, he is paying €800 for the same apartment”.He wants to see the migrant community make great strides to integrate within their communities.“I don’t want to see people just coming here to send money home. That’s not what we want. People need to be getting involved with local sports club, whether that is cricket or GAA. We want to see them integrating.”Limerick Fianna Fail TD Willie O’Dea welcomed Abul’s selection for next year’s local election.“There is a large non-Irish community in Limerick and it is important they integrate fully into society and one way to do this is to encourage participation in the political process. Abul has to be commended for putting himself forward and I wish him every success.Limerick Fianna Fail TD Niall Collins also welcomed Abul’s selection.“Limerick is now a multi-cultural society with a very large non Irish and non EU population living and integrated into our local communities. I’m delighted that Abul is going to stand for Fianna Fáil in next year’s local election. He is a leader from within his own community and has a very positive contribution to make,” he said.Chairman of Fianna Fail’s Limerick City Branch, Alec Morrissey, also said he was delighted to see new candidates like Abul come forward to represent his own community and the people of Limerick.“As I personally know Jackie, I look forward to working with him and all our candidates in the local election. We have some good people representing us,” he added. Is Aer Lingus taking flight from Shannon? TechPost | Episode 9 | Pay with Google, WAZE – the new Google Maps? and Speak don’t Type! Print Email TAGSLimerick City and CountyNewspolitics center_img Linkedin RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Housing 37 Compulsory Purchase Orders issued as council takes action on derelict sites WhatsApp Advertisement Shannon Airport braced for a devastating blow Local backlash over Aer Lingus threat Facebooklast_img read more

Whatley strikes gold twice at CAC Games

first_imgGuyana’s four-member team that competed at the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Bodybuilding and Fitness Championships copped two gold medals and a bronze as the competition wrapped up on Sunday night in Mexico.Selvon Bruce Whatley claimed gold in the Masters and middleweight categories while Emmerson Campbell accounted for the bronze in the Men’s Physique.Selvon Whatley celebrates with the Golden Arrowhead after winning gold at the CAC Games Body Building ChampionshipsThe other members of the team, Caerus Cipriani (Men’s Physique) and Alisha Fortune (Body Fitness) were not able to secure podium finishes at the 45th edition of the championships.Cipriani fell just short of the podium, finishing fourth in his class (under 182cm) of six while Fortune was unable to make it to the final six after pre-judging.After the weekend’s outing, Whatley’s medal count doubled, as he added to the gold and silver he won in the 2016 CAC Games in the Dominican Republic.The annual fixture was cancelled last year following the hurricanes that ravaged parts of the Caribbean and the earthquakes in Mexico.Meanwhile, it was the second CAC medal for Campbell, a three-time and reigning national physique champion. At his last outing, he finished with the silver medal in his class.Campbell thanked Fitness Express, the National Sports Commission/Ministry of Social Cohesion, Bounty Farm Ltd, the local bodybuilding federation, and others for making his participation a success.The 46th edition of the event is scheduled for Puerto Rico in 2019.last_img read more

Chelsea reportedly keen on Stuttgart defender Rudiger

first_imgChelsea are one of several clubs keen on Stuttgart defender Antonio Rudiger, according to the Express.Manchester United and West Ham are also said to be interested in the 21-year-old along with Juventus, Bayern Munich and Monaco.“Of course I am aware of the interest from Manchester United,” he is quoted as saying.“They are definitely one of the top clubs in Europe and they are in a league I have been dreaming of. The Premier League is very physical, intense, breathtaking and with a lot of goals.“My focus, though, remains on playing for Stuttgart. For now, I just have to try and progress as a player.”The Express once again suggest Chelsea are trying to sign Sami Khedira, with reports in Spain claiming that Arsenal have already held talks with the Real Madrid midfielder over a £100,000-a-week deal.Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho is said to be considering making a bid. Khedira played under him at Real.And the Daily Star claim Arsenal could try to beat Chelsea to the signing of Paris St-Germain forward Edinson Cavani, who has also been repeatedly touted as a Blues transfer target.Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

Cassini to Rewrite Textbooks on Saturn

first_imgHundreds of scientists and engineers are waiting with eager anticipation for SOI: Saturn Orbit Insertion, as the schoolbus-sized Cassini spacecraft races for its closest approach to the ringed planet tonight.  Just before closest approach, Cassini will fire its main engine for 96 minutes to slow down the spacecraft and allow Saturn to capture it in orbit (see guide to SOI and diagram on the Cassini website).    Right after the burn, for about 75 minutes, Cassini will be flying high over the rings at close range.  The instruments will gather as many measurements and pictures as it can, because it will never again be this close to the rings or to Saturn.  Scientists do not predict that the high-resolution cameras will be able to resolve individual ring particles from this range – the best resolution will be about 50 meters per pixel, and most particles are much smaller than 10 – but it may detect wakes, waves and streams that will provide clues to the dynamic evolution of ring particles over time.  There should be good sample images of all three main rings, C, B, and A, as well as the narrow F ring.  After downloading its data during the night, Cassini will point to Titan for its first of 45 encounters.    Saturn has already provided Cassini’s instruments with a puzzle: the rotation rate appears to be slowing down.  According to Cassini’s radio and plasma wave detectors, Saturn is rotating about 1% slower than when Voyager made measurements in 1981.  (This is determined by timing radio pulses in the planet’s magnetic field, which is presumed to originate from deep within the fluid planet’s interior.)  Jupiter’s rotation rate has been rock solid for 50 years of measurements, so why Saturn should show this change is without explanation at this time.  The principal investigator for the radio and plasma wave instrument suspects it has something to do with the fact that Saturn’s polar and magnetic field axes are almost perfectly aligned, to within 0.2 degree – a characteristic unique to Saturn.  All other planets with magnetic fields show an offset of 10 degrees or more.  It is that offset that generates the magnetic dynamo, according to favored models; these models, however, cannot account for a field on an axisymmetric body.  How Saturn can have a magnetic field with a negligible offset is a major puzzle Cassini scientists hope to solve.Update  Stupendous success!  The orbit insertion burn occurred flawlessly.  Cassini followed its trajectory exactly as predicted, and then turned to capture the data and images.  Relieved scientists and engineers expressed their enthusiasm at the performance of the spacecraft.  Now the four-year adventure begins.  Some of the first science results will be posted in the July issue as soon as available.We hope to be able to bring you findings and analyses that the media will miss or misinterpret.  For instance, the media will always interpret phenomena in terms of the Sacred Parameter A, the “age of the solar system” (4.5 billion years), a figure invariably assumed without question, even when apparently young phenomena are being observed.    Of special interest will be the rings, not only because of their beauty, but because of their apparent youth.  Most ring scientists believe that the rings had to form relatively recently.  Even if 100 million years were allowed, that would only be 1/50 of the Sacred Parameter.  To hold onto A, they have to invoke ad hoc theories of a comet wandering into the Roche Limit of Saturn and disrupting.  Even so, the forces of plasma drag, sputtering, micrometeorite bombardment, light pressure and collisions would dissipate the rings in short order.  Will embedded moons be found to feed new material into the rings?  Stay tuned.    Also, we will provide balance to the claims about Titan having “prebiotic chemistry” that might be like the “building blocks of life” or like the “early earth in deep freeze.”  One scientist was even heard suggesting that Titan’s atmosphere may be a natural laboratory for the Miller Experiment (see 05/02/2003 headline).  Such statements assume evolution in spite of the evidence.  Also, it will be interesting to see if long-age believers can rescue Titan’s atmosphere from the evidence it is depleting rapidly (see 10/16/2003 headline).    Cassini is poised to make major contributions to our understanding of the solar system and its age.  For now, enjoy the ride; it will be high adventure tonight at Saturn!(Visited 11 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Great astronomy, with or without SKA

first_imgThe KAT-7 radio telescope array isoperational and has produced its firstimages. The SKA site, near Carnarvon in theNorthern Cape, is in the middle ofa proclaimed radio astronomy reserve. No mobile phones or other electronicdevices are permitted in the reserve. Prof Justin Jonas is optmistic about SouthAfrica’s chances of winning the SKA bid.(Images: Janine Erasmus) MEDIA CONTACTS • Tommy Makhode  Dept of Science and Technology  +27 12 843 6793 or +27 82 379 8268• Marina Joubert  SKA South Africa communications  +27 83 409 4254 RELATED ARTICLES • SA’s SKA takes another step forward • MeetKAT in demand among scientists • Space science thriving in SA • Gallery: the KAT-7 radio telescope • SA assists with Nasa’s Mars missionJanine ErasmusSouth Africa is one of two finalists bidding to host the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), and with its rival Australia is awaiting the recommendation of the SKA Site Advisory Committee, due in February 2012.But whether or not the US$1.9-billion ($15.9-billion) project goes ahead, the local astronomy sector has already made huge strides.Speaking in Cape Town in December, South Africa’s deputy science and technology minister Derek Hanekom said that the SKA project has got the country’s brightest young minds excited about astronomy.Hanekom added that the SKA is a major catalyst for human capital development in relevant fields, and with over 300 bursaries already awarded to students from around the continent, has been a scientific boon for South Africa and other African countries.“With the equipment already developed and built, South Africa has proven its scientific capability,” he said, “and has shown that it is a country that can play a pioneering role in science.”When complete, the SKA will comprise some 3 000 radio antennae, spread out over a vast area of Southern Africa. South Africa will host the core of the array, comprising about half the dishes, and it and eight partner countries in the region will accommodate the remainder.The first astronomical observations, expected in 2019, will help to answer long-standing questions such as the formation of the universe; why it’s expanding; the possibility of life on other planets; and the mystery of dark energy and dark matter.Ground-breaking technologyAt the isolated Northern Cape site which has been set aside for the SKA, an array of seven dishes is already operational – this is the Karoo Array Telescope, or KAT-7.The KAT-7 is a precursor to the larger 64-dish MeerKAT array, which itself is a precursor to the SKA.A ground-breaker in its own right, KAT-7 is the first radio telescope to consist of fibreglass dishes.These were produced on-site from a mould, and the same manufacturing facility will be expanded to accommodate the larger MeerKAT dishes, using local ingenuity and skills.MeerKAT is Afrikaans, meaning “more KAT”, but is also the name of an endearing little mongoose-like mammal that is indigenous to the Northern Cape and other Southern African regions.When completed in 2018, MeerKAT will be among the five largest radio telescopes in the world.Hanekom stressed that the MeerKAT construction will go ahead, whether or not the SKA is awarded to South Africa.“Great astronomy work will be done, with or without the SKA,” he said.Hanekom also said that the knowledge that has already been amassed is invaluable, and that the project has given rise to a new generation of scientists. The unprecedented scientific opportunities are expected to keep South African talent in the country, and attract expertise from overseas.The KAT-7 has caused much excitement in the local astronomy community with the capture of images of the Centaurus A galaxy and its associated black hole, located 14-million light years from Earth.But scientists are looking further ahead, and are queuing up to book research time on MeerKAT, which will be the largest radio telescope in the southern hemisphere. Already five years’ worth of observation time have been allocated to ten research projects, ranging from a study of radio pulsars to a high-frequency survey of the galactic plane.South Africa leading the wayProfessor Justin Jonas, SKA associate director for science and engineering, and head of Rhodes University’s physics and electronics department, is excited about the opportunities that lie ahead.He said that astronomy has been identified by the government as one of the fields in which South Africa is likely to succeed, because of geographic, natural and knowledge advantages.“We must have aspirations for cutting-edge science,” he said, “or we will always be viewed as a second-class nation.”Jonas said that South Africa’s government is wholly committed to the SKA and its related projects. The African Union has also stated its support for the project, and it is hoped that this will be one of a number of factors that gives South Africa an edge over Australia.The government has declared the entire Northern Cape province to be an astronomy advantage area, through the Astronomy Geographic Advantage Act of 2007. The only exemption is the Sol Plaatje Municipality, which encompasses Kimberley.Within the province, an area of 12.5 million hectares was proclaimed a radio astronomy reserve, and anyone entering must switch off their mobile and other electronic devices. Survey results show that the reserve is one of the quietest environments on earth, in terms of radio frequency, for radio astronomy. This makes it an ideal location for the sensitive SKA.The legislation means that any development that might interfere with the reception of radio signals must first be carefully considered.This high-level support has enabled South African scientists to leap ahead of their international colleagues in areas such as rapid prototyping.“For example, with our dishes we can now go from an engineering diagramme to an on-site antenna in less than a year,” said Jonas.Innovations in astronomy, he said, are helping to drive development in other industries.He mentioned another significant South African achievement – the second-generation Roach board, designed and produced locally.Roach is the reconfigurable open architecture computing hardware board that can be adapted to all kinds of digital signal processing requirements, including medical or telecommunications applications.“Roach 1 is now being used in every radio telescope in the world,” said Jonas. ”It can replace an entire rack of computers, and use a twentieth of the energy.”Because the development team has released the Roach design under an open source licence, the plans can be freely downloaded and used for an increasing number of applications, while the international development community grows.“The software is the key to getting the most out of Roach,” said Jonas.The KAT-7 uses Roach 1, but MeerKAT will most likely use Roach 3. Roach 1 was developed in collaboration with engineers from the University of California, Berkeley.last_img read more

Zuma to discuss fees impasse with university students and management

first_img“Nobody disagrees with the message that students from poor households are facing financial difficulties and possible exclusion,” said South African President Jacob Zuma. (Image: The Presidency)South African President Jacob Zuma is set to meet university management and student leaders on Friday 23 October to discuss the countrywide stalemate over fee increases.The meeting will be held with university vice-chancellors, chairpersons of councils and student leaders at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, with a view to finding a solution to the impasse.This will be Zuma’s second meeting with university management this month. His consultation with vice-chancellors and council chairs on 6 October resolved to set up a task team to explore solutions to short-term student funding challenges.Zuma said the government fully understands the pressure and difficulties confronting students from poor and working class households.“It is important that we work together to find solutions,” he said. “Nobody disagrees with the message that students from poor households are facing financial difficulties and possible exclusion.“Even in the January 8 statement of the governing party this year, we stated that the escalating cost of university education had become another source of exclusion for the poor and vulnerable South African child. All parties should allow space for this matter to be discussed in a manner that will enable us to find a solution.”In a statement released today, the South African government reiterated its commitment to funding for both basic and higher education, and to overcoming funding shortfalls.“Since 1994 government has prioritised education,” the statement reads. “This has translated into substantial funding for both basic and higher education. But given the legacy of the past there is a funding shortfall in higher education.“The current student protests over higher fees which began at Wits University and have since migrated to other campuses are of serious concern to government. The issues raised by the students are legitimate and government is sympathetic to their cause and are in line with our own priorities of ensuring quality and affordable education.“Government is committed to working with student leadership, university management and unions to find a solution to the current impasse and is working towards a long term solution to student funding in South Africa.”last_img read more

CERCLA reporting deadline Jan. 22

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest As a reminder, EPA issued a notice directing all livestock farms emitting more than 100 pounds of ammonia or hydrogen sulfide in a 24-hour period to report continuous air emissions under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA).The deadline to report is Monday, January 22, 2018.For more information on how to report, click here.Questions? Concerns? Please contact the Ohio Pork Council at (614) 882-5887.last_img read more

“The Enchanted Forest” GC2P52E GEOCACHE OF THE WEEK – April 16, 2012

first_imgShare with your Friends:More Cache page photo montageThis cache page reads, “You Must Believe in Magic” and then casts a spell on geocachers. The Multi-Cache “The Enchanted Forest” (GC2P52E) weaves an elaborate fairy tale for geocachers to unravel on Terceira island. The island is located 1500 kilometers (950 miles) off the coast of Portugal. Victor from  Team Recanto hid the geocache in 2010, after his 6-year-old daughter sparked his imagination.He says, “The idea came to mind while visiting the park [where the cache is now placed] with my wife and my daughter. At the time my daughter… was talking about fairies and unicorns, and [said] that one of the larger trees reminded her of a magical tree. That tree is now the final stage for The Enchanted Forest.”While the idea may have been instant, building the caching experience took weeks. “[Creating the cache]… took 45 days, and 12 site visits. My daughter asked if I could make things move on the cache page, that is why we have the animated dragons.”Victor’s daughter with the handmade cache container located at the final coordinatesBeyond animated dragons on the cache page and photo montages with fairies and dragons, Victor also wrote the cache description in Portuguese and in English. The four stage Multi-Cache challenges geocachers to solve puzzles to discover a handmade cache container.On the cache huntA recent log reads, “WOW!!! totally worth the hike! Congratulations to Team Recanto for another magnificent cache. The amount of work that went in to this truly shows. Thank you for taking us on a grand adventure!”Victor has advice for geocachers hoping to create an engaging caching experience. He says, “Take your time, visit the Groundspeak forums, do several site visits, make sure the story and containers combine well with the location, attention to detail is very important.”Continue to explore some of the most engaging geocaches around the globe. Check out all the Geocaches of the Week on the Latitude 47 blog or view the Bookmark List on Geocaching.com.Detail of cache containerIf you’ d like to nominate a Geocache of the Week, send an email with your name, comments, the name of the geocache, and the GC code to [email protected] SharePrint RelatedBeyond Here, Lay Dragons (GCH52C) – GEOCACHE OF THE WEEK – January 17, 2013January 16, 2013In “Community”…wo hab Ich den Cache denn nochmal hingelegt??? (GC1DZ17) – GEOCACHE OF THE WEEK – December 27, 2012December 26, 2012In “Community”High energy! — Fission around the bend (GC1NGRD) — Geocache of the WeekMay 28, 2015In “Geocache of the Week”last_img read more

Microsoft Ratchets Up Its Defensive Rhetoric On PRISM Allegations

first_imgRelated Posts Microsoft is swinging back—again—at allegations that it willingly cooperated with U.S. intelligence agencies in order to enable government access to messages on Outlook.com, SkyDrive and Skype.See also Skype: Reportedly Funneling Your Calls To PRISM Since 2011In a blog post on Tuesday, Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith again denied the reports from the Guardian last week that apparently showed how the FBI, CIA and NSA were working hand in hand with Microsoft to enable near-anytime access to the software company’s cloud services. (On July 12, Microsoft previously denied giving any government blanket or direct access to Skype or any other Microsoft service.)Smith used the latest blog post to deconstruct as much as he could the interpretation of the Guardian article, which was based heavily on leaked PRISM documents from former IT contractor Edward Snowden. Smith and the rest of his company is hobbled by the fact that Microsoft does assist the government in intelligence gathering and law enforcement, and they are strictly forbidden to discuss the former.To correct that situation, Microsoft sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder yesterday reiterating what it says were previous requests to “share publicly more complete information about how we handle national security requests for customer information.” Microsoft had earlier filed a court petition on June 19 to “publish the volume of national security requests we have received,” Smith wrote. Google filed a similar request with the attorney general’s office and the FBI on June 11.“In my opinion, these issues are languishing amidst discussions among multiple parts of the Government, the Constitution itself is suffering, and it will take the personal involvement of you or the President to set things right,” Smith’s letter asked.Beyond the request to report data on how many national-security requests it receives, Smith did not characterize what kind of information about its cooperation with intelligence agencies that Microsoft is seeking to disclose. He did, however, categorically deny the conclusions from the Guardian article from last week. Regarding Outlook.com (formerly Hotmail), Smith stated:We do not provide any government with direct access to emails or instant messages. Full stop. Like all providers of communications services, we are sometimes obligated to comply with lawful demands from governments to turn over content for specific accounts, pursuant to a search warrant or court order.Similar procedures are in place, Smith added for SkyDrive and Skype calls. Regarding enterprise email and document storage:If we receive a government demand for data held by a business customer, we take steps to redirect the government to the customer directly, and we notify the customer unless we are legally prohibited from doing so. We have never provided any government with customer data from any of our business or government customers for national security purposes.The denials are to be expected: if the revelations of the PRISM documents are true, then the breach-of-trust damage to Microsoft’s cloud business would be enormous. Not to mention the slew of lawsuits that would be sure to come in for Microsoft violating its own Terms of Service, since there’s no clause for providing the government unlimited access to customer data.Does this mean someone is lying here? Perhaps, but perhaps not. It could be that the access described in the leaked PRISM documents is describing the creation of a more direct connection between Microsoft (and the other named PRISM participants) and the government, but that does not mean the access is open 24/7.One possible scenario that could have Smith and colleagues telling could be that the FBI, which appears to be the direct contact to PRISM companies, is still using warrants to request information on an as-needed basis, but the actual transferal of the data is done via the methodologies described in the PRISM documents and statements by Snowden.Or everyone involved is lying through their teeth and we’re all screwed.Meanwhile Yahoo has won a spotlight on its own dealings with the government, with a win in the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Monday that will allow Yahoo to reveal information about a 2008 case that ordered the company to turn over customer data. Yahoo is hoping that the revelation of this information will help shed a better light on what intelligence cooperation really means.But unless someone inside Microsoft or Google, Yahoo or any other PRISM participant goes rogue and blows the whistle on their own, it is doubtful the full story will remain anything other than speculation. But that won’t stop Microsoft and the rest of the PRISM gang from trying. Image courtesy of Wikipedia Serverless Backups: Viable Data Protection for … brian proffitt Cloud Hosting for WordPress: Why Everyone is Mo…center_img How Intelligent Data Addresses the Chasm in Cloud Tags:#Microsoft#nsa#Prism#Yahoo Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hostinglast_img read more