Congress Joint Economic Report Dedicates Chapter to Crypto, Blockchain

A new report from Congress — the 2018 Joint Economic Report, used to assess the nation’s economic status and provide recommendations for the upcoming year— includes an entire chapter dedicated to cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.

The report called for policymakers, regulators, and industry leaders to cooperate and ensure developers can implement these new blockchain technologies, and even called 2017 “The Year of Cryptocurrencies.”

The comprehensive report illustrates blockchain as a “potential tool for securing America’s digital infrastructure,” and points out how “methods of theft, espionage, and vandalism” are shifting “from physical toward virtual.”

Included within the Blockchain section is a statement that the technology is “not only nearly invulnerable to cyberattack but is revolutionizing the way the world conducts commerce and shares information.”

Blockchain is the distributed ledger technology that underlies digital currencies such as Bitcoin. A ledger is the accounting tool that tracks the movement of money from one person or account to another. Conventionally, such records are stored in central locations like banks, headquarters, and Paypal servers. Blockchain revolutionizes ledger technology with a network of distributed ledgers. Instead of one central, authoritative record of all transactions or information, blockchain creates potentially thousands of identical ledgers in computers and servers all over the world.

In “permissionless” proof-of-work blockchain, people compete to validate each transaction in return for a reward. The protocol rewards users for creating and validating entries into the ledger. This reward creates an incentive for competition and gives these validators (“miners” see Box 9-1) new tokens to use in the system. Users who do not earn tokens by performing verifications, i.e., not “miners,” must buy the tokens. This interplay between miners and purchasers create an ecosystem where people have clear incentives and rewards to maintain the distributed ledger for everyone.

The report tracked cryptocurrency’s massive rise during 2017, noting the significant price growth of leading cryptocurrencies Bitcoin and Ethereum, and that both outpaced the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500.

The report shared a critical view of cryptocurrencies as a currently viable form of money and stated that “technical and economic limitations” of Bitcoin “hinder its use as a medium of exchange.” The report went on to acknowledge that “If digital currencies become less volatile in the future, valuing items in those denominations could become easier and individuals might begin using them more frequently as a medium of exchange.”

[RELATED: WATCH: Rep Backed By Securities Industry Says Cryptocurrency Undermines Gov’t. Control]

Regulation concerns were also examined in this report, noting that cryptocurrencies, ICOs and exchanges all pose unique challenges. “Their rapid ascension led to instances of new products running afoul of America’s current regulatory framework,” the report noted. “This demonstrated how certain regulatory environments are simply out of touch with the internet age.”

The report concluded that:

Technology presents evolving challenges and generates new solutions. Blockchain technology essentially stores and transmits data securely, in large volume, and at high speeds. So far, the technology has proved largely resistant to hacking, and given this feature, developers first applied it to digital currencies. Yet blockchain has many more potential applications, such as portable medical records and securing the critical financial and energy infrastructure.

The report offered recommendations to policymakers, regulators, and industry leaders in its conclusion:

— Policymakers and the public should become more familiar with digital currencies and other uses of blockchain technology, which have a wide range of applications in the future.

— Regulators should continue to coordinate among each other to guarantee coherent policy frameworks, definitions, and jurisdiction.

— Policymakers, regulators, and entrepreneurs should continue to work together to ensure developers can deploy these new blockchain technologies quickly and in a manner that protects Americans from fraud, theft, and abuse, while ensuring compliance with relevant regulations.”

— Government agencies at all levels should consider and examine new uses for this technology that could make the government more efficient in performing its functions.

This new report offers an extensive interpretation of the rise and future potential of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. Other government acknowledgment this week included the House Capital Markets, Securities and Investment Subcommittee, the House Science, Space and Technology Committee and the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee.

The post Congress Joint Economic Report Dedicates Chapter to Crypto, Blockchain appeared first on Ben Swann's Truth In Media.

Article source link :

Article Source



NJ High School Revises Gun Policy Following Student Suspension Reports

Lanoka Harbor, NJ — Two New Jersey high school students were allegedly suspended after one reportedly posted a gun photo on Snapchat that showed “four rifles, ammunition [magazines], and a gun duffel bag” taken during a family visit to a shooting range with the caption “fun day at the range,” according to Lacey Township resident Amanda Buron, who said she was a family friend of one of the students.

NJ.com reported that Buron claimed the students received a five-day in-school suspension for violating the school’s policy on weapons possession after a screen shot of the image circulated among students and social media, and was eventually brought to the attention of the Lacey Township High School administration.

The school faced a swift backlash over the reported suspensions, as the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs (ANJRPC) sent a cease and desist letter to the school district, which noted that the school district’s weapons policy allowed students to be suspended for up to a year if “reported to be in possession of a weapon of any type for any reason or purpose on or off school grounds.”

The ANJRPC noted that they were prepared to take legal action if the policy wasn’t modified.

“The policy is clearly wrong and violates the Second Amendment,” ANJRPC executive director Scott Bach said. “We hope that they’re reasonable people and they will fix it. If they don’t, we’re prepared to take legal action.”

Bach also pointed out that schools lack the authority to “chill the rights of their students off of school grounds.”

“Schools do not have the authority to chill the rights of their students off of school grounds, and this blatant infringement of constitutional rights will not be tolerated,” Bach said. “I don’t care if no students were disciplined. The policy has got to go.”

After being threatened with a lawsuit, last week, by the ANJRPC, the Lacey school district quietly revised the policy in question, which prohibited students from legally handling a gun off campus. The policy now omits any mention of possessing a weapon off school grounds, nor a specific suspension length for offenders.

“Students are forbidden to carry any type of weapon or simulated weapon to school,” the revamped policy states, which can be accessed on the district’s website.

Bach told NJ.com that his organization considers the district’s policy change a victory, but is currently reviewing it.

“It addresses many of the major issues we identified, but our counsel is still reviewing it,” Bach said.

Bach also took issue with the district’s failure to take responsibility. “Instead of the superintendent fessing up and admitting the policy was wrong, they try this misdirection,” Bach proclaimed.

In an email to NJ Advance Media, on Thursday, Lacey schools Superintendent Craig Wigley said that “information posted on social media is incorrect” and that student privacy laws prevents him for commenting on the matter, declining to say what aspect of the account was inaccurate.

“We are not at will to contradict public opinion on the internet,” Wigley wrote.

Although the policy has been modified, the social media uproar over the boys suspension could potentially lead to a large turnout at a school board meeting scheduled for Monday evening at Lacey Township High School.

The post NJ High School Revises Gun Policy Following Student Suspension Reports appeared first on Ben Swann's Truth In Media.

Article source link :

Article Source



VIDEO: Deputies Laugh at Mentally Ill Inmate Held for 46 Hours in Restraint Chair

San Luis Obispo, CA — Chilling jailhouse footage captured an inmate as he writhed on the floor, lost consciousness and subsequently died after being bound naked in a restraint chair for 46 consecutive hours, as California sheriff’s deputies at the San Luis Obispo County Jail looked on, with some occasionally laughing.

.mcclatchy-embed{position:relative;padding:40px 0 56.25%;height:0;overflow:hidden;max-width:100%}.mcclatchy-embed iframe{position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%}

The newly released video stands in contrast to the version of events provided by county officials, as the video clearly shows that Andrew Holland was not “found unconscious and unresponsive” nor “under the continual care of a physician,” as noted in official reports about the Holland’s death.

Holland died while at the California jail on Jan. 22, 2017, nearly one hour after being released following close to two full days strapped naked to a restraint chair, according to a review of “more than 100 hours of jail surveillance footage” as reported by The Tribune of San Luis Obispo. Holland’s cause of death was ruled as “natural” by the county medical examiner, citing a pulmonary embolism due to a blood clot in his leg that traveled to his lung.

According to a report in the New York Post:

Holland, 36, had schizophrenia since his early 20s and was incarcerated on and off over the years, usually for minor offenses. He was taken into custody in 2015 on charges of battery, resisting an officer and probation violations. He was strapped into the chair after repeatedly hitting himself.

The video posted on The Tribune’s website shows sheriff’s deputies periodically entering his cell to rotate his arms and legs and offer him food and water. Strapped to the chair, he is unable to use a nearby toilet.

County policy requires rotating a restrained inmate’s extremities every 1 ½ to 2 ½ hours to prevent blood clots that can lead to a fatal embolism.

In an email to The Tribune, San Luis Obispo County Administrative Officer Wade Horton called the footage “extremely painful to watch.”

“What happened to Andrew Holland was a tragedy that impacts our entire community,” Horton told The Tribune. “Although we can’t bring Andrew back, our county has made and continues to make changes in response to this terrible event.”

Holland’s family received a $5 million settlement from the county in July of 2017, which it is now using to form an advocacy nonprofit for mentally ill individuals caught in the criminal justice system.

The Tribune reported that San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson refused to say if any county employee had been disciplined in relation to Holland’s death, but acknowledged in  August 2017 that the county held some responsibility for Holland’s death.

“We had hope that his life would improve, but on January 22nd of this year, our son Andrew died a brutal and tortured death at the hands of the custodial staff at San Luis Obispo County jail,” Holland’s mother, Sharon, told reporters last July.

A statement released on March 17th by the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office pointed to the role of County Mental Health in the incident. The statement read in part:

The Sheriff’s Office contacted County Mental Health multiple times requesting that Mr. Holland be transferred to the Mental Health facility for treatment. The Mental Health Department refused to accept him, claiming that they were at “capacity.” It was later determined that their claim was untrue and Mental Health could have taken custody of Mr. Holland for treatment. Two doctors, one from Mental Health and one from Public Health, conferred about the Holland case on that Friday night and refused to have him transferred to the Mental Health facility for treatment. They also failed to adopt a plan to involuntarily sedate the inmate.

“The Sheriff’s Office had no alternative other than to place Mr. Holland in restraints,” the statement continued. “Use of restraints is strictly regulated by a six-page set of rules about every aspect of this process. Citizens of our County and especially all inmates have every right to expect that the Sheriff’s Office will follow these rules whenever restraints are used. The Sheriff’s Office followed these rules at all times during this incident.”

The Tribune editorial board noted in a March 16 editorial that “We agree the Psychiatric Health Facility failed in its duty, but remember, it was the correctional staff that maintained custody of Holland, as the video shows. It was the correctional staff that looked on as Holland was kept restrained in a chair for 46 hours, even though multiple sources say that under no circumstances should an inmate be restrained in a chair longer than 10 hours, and then only when the inmate is under the direct supervision of medical personnel.”

.mcclatchy-embed{position:relative;padding:40px 0 56.25%;height:0;overflow:hidden;max-width:100%}.mcclatchy-embed iframe{position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%}

The post VIDEO: Deputies Laugh at Mentally Ill Inmate Held for 46 Hours in Restraint Chair appeared first on Ben Swann's Truth In Media.

Article source link :

Article Source



Uber CEO halts all autonomous car tests after deadly crash

Update: Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi tweeted of the “incredibly sad news”…

As we detailed earlier, Tempe, Arizona police report that a self-driving Uber vehicle was in autonomous mode when it was involved in a deadly crash overnight.

As ABC15 reports, the crash occurred near Mill Avenue and Curry Road early Monday morning.

The Uber vehicle was reportedly headed northbound when a woman walking outside of the crosswalk was struck.

The woman was taken to the hospital where she died from her injuries.

Tempe Police says the vehicle was in autonomous mode at the time of the crash and a vehicle operator was also behind the wheel.

The post Uber CEO halts all autonomous car tests after deadly crash appeared first on Intellihub.

Article source link :

Article Source



Archaeologists Unearth 115,000-Year-Old Bone Tools in China

These 115,000-year-old tools represent the first instance of the use of bone as raw material to modify stone tools found at an East Asian early Late Pleistocene site.

Article source link :

Article Source