Natural Remedies that Clean Teeth Safely

by

Taylor Owens

Teeth whitening products are widely advertised, and some contain abrasive materials than may not provide the best tooth care. Laser technology can remove stains quickly, but it is an expensive procedure. Stains appear on teeth as a consequence of eating foods such as cherries, beets and other dark foods that contain chromagens, molecules that are deeply pigmented.

Nature s abundance of brightly colored foods is essential for nutrition and good health, but many of them can cause stains to appear on teeth. WebMD mentions black tea as a source of stain that is more aggressive than coffee. White wine as well as red ones cause stains, and tea stains more readily if it is consumed after wine. Sports drinks have acidic content that can soften enamel, making it easier for teeth to absorb a stain. Dark sauces that contain tomato, soy or curry are known to produce stains.

Removing Stain with Food

Just as some fruits, foods and drinks cause stains, others are capable of removing them. Strawberries are effective stain removers with an enzyme that is also used in whitening toothpastes. The fibrous content in the berry removes bacteria from the mouth as well as the teeth. Placing half of a strawberry on a stain for a minute and then rinsing with water can help remove the discoloration.

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Hard Cheese, Yogurt and Milk

Lactic acid in dairy products helps reduce gum disease and prevents stains, including the small amount of milk or cream in a cup of coffee.

Carrots and Apples

Hard foods like celery, carrots and apples increase the flow of saliva, a natural cleaner. The abrasive effect of the hard fibers is similar to brushing.

Lemons and Oranges

In addition to increasing the amount of saliva, lemons are as effective in whitening teeth as they are in lightening hair color. A mouthwash of equal amounts of lemon juice and water once a week can brighten a smile. Oranges are healthful for many reasons, and they are also good for removing stains.

Other Natural Products

Hydrogen peroxide is an excellent cleaner that has none of the negative effects of chlorine. In combination with baking soda, it can remove stains quickly and effortlessly. While baking soda alone is a good cleaner as well, the combined mix is especially helpful. A teaspoon of each is all that is needed, and a dip into a little bit of toothpaste improves the taste.

The effectiveness of baking soda is indicated by its inclusion in many types of toothpaste on the market today. It neutralizes acid in the mouth, and it also serves as an abrasive that removes stains. It is safe to use alone or as an additive to toothpaste. Brushing with it every other week can gently produce the teeth whitening process that many people desire.

Nutritionists encourage the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables even if they do stain the teeth. A rinse with water after eating them can deter stains from forming.

http://www.wellnesswatchersmd.com/healthandbeauty/articles/avoid_foods.php.

Impressions Dental

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Article Source:

ArticleRich.com



Thursday, August 3, 2006

The Buffalo News is reporting that leaders of unions representing city employees in Buffalo, New York, met on Wednesday to discuss a possible ‘citywide strike.’ If the unions decided on a strike, firefighters, police officers, teachers and many other city employees would not show up for work.

The News is reporting that employees are upset about the wage-freeze which was put into effect when the Control Board took control of the city’s finances 27 months ago. Some employees even call the wage freeze “working class genocide.”

“Genocide of the working class is also illegal,” president of the Police Benevolent Association, Robert P. Meegan Jr., said to reporters when told that a strike would be illegal, after the meeting.

“We don’t expect to see any job actions with the bargaining units directly under the city administration. The fact that their legal counsel wouldn’t let [unions] comment any further speaks for itself,” said mayor of Buffalo, Byron W. Brown in reference to New York state‘s Taylor Law which makes striking illegal.

Members of the Control Board have refused to comment to the press about the option to strike.

A lawsuit has been filed by the Police Benevolent Association‘s union which would allow workers to strike if a judge grants permission to do so.



Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Yesterday, English football club Manchester United F.C. announced signing Frenchman Paul Pogba from Italian club Juventus F.C. Pogba rejoined The Red Devils on a five-year contract for €105 million making him the most expensive footballer of all time by breaking the previous fee record of Gareth Bale’s transfer from Tottenham Hotspur to Spanish capital club Real Madrid.

23-year-old midfielder Paul Pogba made his professional debut for United in 2011 after graduating from their academy. He played only seven games before leaving for Juventus the next year. Spending four years with the Old Lady, Pogba has won four Serie A titles, three Italian Super Cups, and two Coppa Italia trophies as well.

Pogba has played 38 games for the French side, netting six goals. Last month he collected a silver medal with the national team finishing runners-up at the UEFA Euro 2016, losing 1–0 to Portugal. This year, Pogba was named in the FIFA FIFPro team of the year as well as the UEFA team of the year.

After signing the five-year contract, Paul Pogba said, “I am delighted to rejoin United. It has always been a club with a special place in my heart and I am looking forward to working with [United manager] José Mourinho.” Mourinho praised Pogba and said Pogba “will be a key part of the United team”.

Pogba has been allotted the number 6 jersey. Previously, Manchester United signed Zlatan Ibrahimovi?, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and Eric Bailly.



Thursday, January 24, 2013

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A group of researchers published a paper about their discovery of a new species of Madagascar mermaid skink lizards last December. The species is the fourth forelimbs-only terrestrial tetrapods species known to science, and the first one which also has no fingers on the forelimbs.

The species was collected at Marosely, Boriziny (French: Port-Bergé), Sofia Region, Madagascar. The Sirenoscincus mobydick name is after the existing parent genus, and a sperm whale from the 1851 novel Moby-Dick by Herman Melville.

This week, Wikinews interviewed one of the researchers, French zoologist Aurélien Miralles, about the research.

((Wikinews)) What caused your initial interest in Madagascar lizards?

Aurélien Miralles: Well, I would say that since I am a child I am fascinated by the biodiversity of tropical countries, and more especially by reptiles. I did a PhD on the evolution and systematics of skink lizards from South America. Then, I get a Humboldt grant to do a postdoc in Germany, at the Miguel Vences Lab, in order to study Malagasy skinks. Madagascar being a fabulous hotspot for reptiles (and not only for reptiles actually), it was a very nice opportunity. Professor Vences proposed me to associate our complementary fields of expertise: he is expert in herpetology for Madagascar, and I am expert in skinks lizards (family Scincidae). It was a very fruitful experience, and many other results have still to [be] published.

((WN)) How was the new species discovered?

AM: By a very funny coincidence actually. In 2010, I went to Madagascar for a long trip through the south of the island, in the semi-arid bush for collecting lizards and snakes samples. Then, during the last days, just before coming back to Germany, I have visited by coincidence the zoological collection of the University of Antananarivo. In that place, I found an old jar of ethanol with two weird little specimens previously collected by a student who didn’t realize it was something new. Being expert on skinks, I immediately recognised it was something very probably new, very different from all the other known species.

((WN)) What does “Sirenoscincus” stand for?

AM: I am not the author of the genus name Sirenoscincus. This genus name was already existing. It has been described by Sakata and Hikida (two Japanese herpetologists). “Sireno” means mermaid. “Scincus” means skinks, a group of little lizards on which I am particularly focusing my studies. So, Sirenoscinus means “mermaid skink”, in reference to [the] fact it has forelimbs but no hindlimbs.

((WN)) How deep underground do the lizards live?

AM: Hard to answer this question because nothing is known on the ecology of this species. But more reasonably, we can hypothesize, by comparison to similar species of skinks, that it is probably living just under the sand surface, [a] few centimeters deep, probably no more, or below [a] rock, leaf litter, or piece of dead wood.

((WN)) What do the lizards eat?

AM: Again, by analogy, I would say most likely small invertebrates (insects, larvae, worms etc…).

((WN)) What equipment was used during the research?

AM: Classic equipment (microscope) and also a state-of-the-art device: a micro CT-scan. It is a big device producing [a] 3D picture of the internal structure without damaging the specimen. It is actually very similar to the scanner used in human medicine, but this one is specially designed for small specimens. Otherwise, I am currently studying the DNA of this species and closely related species in order to determine its phylogenetic position compared to other species with legs, in order to learn more about the evolutionary phenomena leading to limb loss.

((WN)) There are several news sources that have a photo of the species. Is it a photo as seen in a CT-scan?

AM: No, this picture showing a whitish specimen on a black background is not a CT-scan. It is a normal photograph of the collection specimen preserved in alcohol (the one that was in the jar). You can see the complete of picture (including CT-scan 3D radiography, drawing…) in the original scientific publication.

((WN)) Do you know when the newly discovered mermaid skink species was put into the jar? Do you have its photo (of the jar)?

AM: No, I have no picture of the jar. The specimen has been collected in November 2004.

((WN)) What were the roles of the people involved in the research? What activity was most time-consuming?

AM: As first investigator, I did most of the work…and the longest part of the work was to examine closely related species in order to do comparisons…and also to check the complete bibliography related to this topic and to write the paper.
Mrs Anjeriniaina is the student who […] collected the specimen a couple of years ago.
Mrs Hipsley and Mr Müller learnt me how to use the CT-scan, and helped me concerning some point relative to internal morphology. Mr Vences helped me as supervisors. Additionally, all of them have corrected the article, and gave me many relevant advices and corrections, thus improving the quality and the reliability of the paper.

((WN)) Did you get in touch with an external entity to get the new species officially recognised?

AM: No. In zoology, it is only needed to publish the description of a new species (and to give it a name) in a scientific journal, and to designate a holotype specimen (= specimen that will be the official reference for this species), to get this new species “officially” recognised by the scientific community. That does not mean that this new species is “correct” (it might be invalidated by subsequent counter-studies), but that means that this discovery and the new name of [the] species are officially existing.

((WN)) Are there any further plans on exploring the species habitat and lifestyle?

AM: No, not really for the time being, because ecology is not our field of expertise. But other studies (including molecular studies) are currently in progress, in order to focus on the phylogenetic position and the evolution of this species.



Friday, May 29, 2009

May 27, 200920:45(UTC+1)
FC Barcelona 2 – 0 Manchester United F.C. Stadio Olimpico, RomeAttendance: 62,467Referee: Massimo Busacca
10′ Samuel Eto’o 16′ Gerard Piqué 70′ Lionel Messi 72′ Thierry Henry 72′ Seydou Keita 90+2′ Andrés Iniesta 90+2′ Pedro Rodríguez Match Report 46′ Anderson 46′ Carlos Tévez 66′ Ji-Sung Park 66′ Dimitar Berbatov 75′ Ryan Giggs 75′ Paul Scholes 78′ Cristiano Ronaldo 80′ Paul Scholes 90+3′ Nemanja Vidi?

Claiming their major trophy of the season, FC Barcelona dominated reigning champions Manchester United F.C. at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome Wednesday to win the 2009 Champions League Final 2 – 0.

After a shaky start, Samuel Eto’o shot the ball past Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar in the tenth minute, the only goal Barcelona would need.

Manchester had several great chances in the opening ten minutes, with Christiano Ronaldo forcing a save from Barca keeper Víctor Valdés in the second minute. However it was Eto’o who capitalized on his teams first real chance striking a low ball that van der Sar could get hands to.

After the goal, Barcelona settled into a smooth passing game dominating long stretches in the remainder of the first half.

At the start of the second half, United looked to be on the offensive substituting Argentinian Carlos Tévez for the Brazilian Anderson and the Red Devils looked to have gained a boost for the first ten minutes of the half, but again Barcelona settled into a passing rhythm United could not break. In the 53rd minute, Xavi Hernández’s free kick hit the crossbar, which proved to be Barca’s best chance early in the half.

Halfway into the second half, Dimitar Berbatov came on for Ji-Sung Park, but Berbatov proved no better and in the 70th minute Lionel Messi headed in a cross from Hernández, giving Barca an insurance goal. Four minutes later, Barca captain Carles Puyol has a great chance on goal, but van der Saar in the United goal is equal to the task. In the next minute, United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, makes his third and final change, subbing in Paul Scholes for Ryan Giggs.

Scholes scored the lone goal in last season’s semi-final to put United into the final, but could not do so and as the minutes ticked off, United got increasingly desperate, earning three yellow cards in the final 12 minutes, but could not score and Barcelona took their second Champions League title since the 2005–06.

Barcelona also earned two domestic trophies, earning both the La Liga and the Copa del Rey titles.

Manchester United also earned three major trophies, earning the Premier League title, the League Cup title and the Community shield. In addition United defeated the best international club teams in 2008 Club World Cup.

Both teams will be eligible for the Champions League 2009–10, with Barcelona as title holders and winners of La Liga and Manchester United as the winners of the Premier League.

Other domestic club champions qualifying for the group state of next season’s competition include Italy’s Internazionale, France’s Bordeaux, Germany’s Wolfsburg, Russia’s Rubin Kazan, Portugal’s Porto, the Netherlands’ Alkmaar Zaanstreek, Scotland’s Rangers, the Ukraine’s Dynamo Kyiv, and Belgium’s Standard Liège. Champions of Romania and Turkey have yet to be determined and will join the group stage.



Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The United States government has filed a civil lawsuit against BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. (BPXA) alleging that the company “violated federal clean air and water laws” by “illegally discharging” more than 200,000 gallons crude oil during two oil spills in 2006 on Alaska’s North Slope in Prudhoe Bay.

BPXA previously pleaded guilty to one count of criminal negligence in illegally discharging the oil and paid US$20 million in damages. As a result of the plea, the lawsuit was filed saying that they “failed” to prepare for such a disaster by implementing “certain [sic] spill prevention measures” as the law requires.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the [DOT]-Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), alleges that BPXA “illegally discharged more than 200,000 gallons of crude oil from its pipelines” and “violated the Clean Air Act by improperly removing asbestos-containing materials from its pipelines” It also says that they “failed to comply in a timely manner with a corrective action order that the [DOT]-Pipeline and PHMSA issued to BPXA pursuant to federal pipeline safety laws.”

According to the Associated Press (AP), BPXA spokespeople state that the company has taken certain measures, making sure daily operations are safe.

“We have taken significant steps to ensure that our operations are safe and reliable, and protect the environment. Those include building a new $500 million system of oil transit lines at Prudhoe Bay,” said spokesman Steve Rinehart to the AP.

The spills were discovered on March 2, 2006 and covered nearly two acres. It was initially estimated that nearly 270,000 gallons had spilled. The official loss was put at 212,252 gallons.

BPXA, a subsidiary of BP America, specializes in exploring and finding locations to drill for oil, as well as drilling for it.



byAlma Abell

?Alexandria residents who want the best care for their pets often use area animal hospitals. The best facilities include state-of-the-art diagnostic and surgical equipment. Their staff will create wellness plans for every stage of pets’ lives. In addition to providing high-caliber Pet Care in Alexandria, they also offer dog and cat boarding services designed around animals’ needs.

Wellness Care Guarantees Lifelong Health

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Pet owners who want to keep their dogs and cats healthy through every life stage trust Pet Care in Alexandria to veterinary hospitals. Many owners bring their kittens and puppies in soon after birth to give them the best start. Vets examine each animal carefully and vaccinate them if needed. They create wellness programs designed around each patient’s nutrition, exercise, and medical needs. As animals grow, vets alter their care to ensure well-being through adulthood, pregnancy, and senior years. Vets and techs also offer owner education that includes instructions on how best to feed, groom, and train pets.

Hospitals Provide Surgical Services

An animal hospital offers emergency and routine surgery. In fact, clinic websites like http://hayfieldanimalhospital.com include a “Contact us” option that allows pet parents to get help for after-hours medical emergencies. If clients need to bring pets in, vets have access to in-house labs, ultrasound equipment, and digital x-ray machines to make quick diagnoses. When injuries require surgery, it takes place in the hospital’s state-of-the-art surgical suite. Owners can also arrange for routine surgical procedures like spaying and neutering as well as scheduled operations for medical conditions.

Clients Can Board Their Pets

Many pet owners board their dogs and cats at the same hospital that provides the pets’ routine veterinary care. A hospital’s boarding facilities are clean and comfortable. There are runs for dogs and individual condos for cats. All pets are fed high-quality food and pampered by staff members who are animal lovers. Guests are carefully monitored and, if caregivers note signs of distress, they have quick access to medical help.

Veterinary hospitals are great choices for all-around pet care. They can provide lifelong wellness plans as well as high-tech diagnostic and surgical services. Most also include comfortable, safe boarding facilities where guests are pampered by caring staff members.



Thursday, October 26, 2006

New Zealand Internet service provider (ISP) Xtra, owned by telecommunication giant Telecom New Zealand, has today “unleashed” the downstream lines as fast as the line will allow. The speed could reach up to 7 megabits per second. All new plans will allow maximum downstream bandwidth, although upstream bandwidth will still be constrained. The maximum downstream bandwidth previously available was 3.5 megabits per second.

Neither Xtra nor ihug responded to questions sent via e-mail.

Along with the improved bandwidth, two new plans have been introduced. These include the Go Large which has no data cap and the Go Express which offers “fast upstream connection.”

On September 26, 2006 Telecom announced the speed changes and Kevin Bowler, Telecom’s general manager of Consumer Marketing, said: “With maximum speeds customers may find it easier to do things online that are bandwidth-intensive. Some customers will notice a difference in the time it takes to do things like download music… watch video or send and receive large email attachments.”

Xtra says existing customers will be transferred onto the new plans progressively from October 26, 2006.



Monday, October 9, 2017

After killing 30 people on a rampage through Honduras, Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Nicaragua and dumping rain on the Yucatan in Mexico, Hurricane Nate reached the U.S. states of Louisiana and Mississippi on the north shore of the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday night. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) downgraded Nate to a tropical storm on Sunday morning. A state of emergency was declared parts of Louisiana, which saw damage from the significantly more intense Hurricane Harvey earlier this year; Alabama; Florida; and Mississippi.

Nate made its first U.S. landfall on Saturday night, bringing winds of 85 miles per hour (134 kph) and considerable storm surge to the mouth of the Mississippi River. By Sunday morning, these had declined to 35 miles per hour (56 kph). Tens of thousands of households in Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana were without power.

In contrast, when Nate made its way across Latin America, dozens of people died. Some 400,000 Costa Ricans lost access to safe drinking water. All train travel and a great deal of air travel halted, and many national parks closed. Landslides trapped travelers in a dangerous road segment nicknamed “the Mountain of Death” on the Inter-American Highway, and the high water of the Tárcoles River raised concerns about crocodile attacks.

“We were well aware that this could’ve been a much more serious storm. There was talk of it being a Category 2 with an 11-feet tidal surge when it came ashore. It did not — happily — it did not live up to that billing,” said Vincent Creel, public affairs manager for Biloxi, Mississippi, near which Nate made its second U.S. landfall.

The storm had been expected to move further west, and some evacuations were recommended in the New Orleans area in preparation. Many of the ports on the U.S. Gulf Coast were closed to shipping. In one way, Nate is having a more pronounced effect than Harvey: production of oil and natural gas is a fraction of normal levels as workers evacuated oil rigs and platforms.

The NHC forecast the storm to continue north and east, losing intensity as it moves inland.

“Our great team at FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Agency] is prepared for #HurricaneNate. Everyone in LA [Lousiana], MS [Mississippi], AL [Alabama] and FL [Florida] please listen to your local authorities and be safe!” tweeted President Donald Trump.

This is the fourth major hurricane to hit U.S. territory since summer, after Harvey, Irma, and Maria.



Thursday, April 7, 2011

Late last month, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed objections to the United States Government’s ‘secret’ attempts to obtain Twitter account information relating to WikiLeaks. The ACLU and EFF cite First and Fourth amendment issues as overriding reasons to overturn government attempts to keep their investigation secret; and, that with Birgitta Jonsdottir being an Icelandic Parliamentarian, the issue has serious international implications.

The case, titled “In the Matter of the 2703(d) Order Relating to Twitter Accounts: Wikileaks, Rop_G, IOERROR; and BirgittaJ“, has been in the EFF’s sights since late last year when they became aware of the US government’s attempts to investigate WikiLeaks-related communications using the popular microblogging service.

The key objective of this US government investigation is to obtain data for the prosecution of Bradley Manning, alleged to have supplied classified data to WikiLeaks. In addition to Manning’s Twitter account, and that of WikiLeaks (@wikileaks), the following three accounts are subject to the order: @ioerror, @birgittaj, and @rop_g. These, respectively, belong to Jacob Apelbaum, Birgitta Jonsdottir, and Rop Gonggrijp.

Birgitta is not the only non-US citizen with their Twitter account targeted by the US Government; Gonggrijp, a Dutch ‘ex-hacker’-turned-security-expert, was one of the founders of XS4ALL – the first Internet Service Provider in the Netherlands available to the public. He has worked on a mobile phone that can encrypt conversations, and proven that electronic voting systems can readily be hacked.

In early March, a Virginia magistrate judge ruled that the government could have the sought records, and neither the targeted users, or the public, could see documents submitted to justify data being passed to the government. The data sought is as follows:

  1. Personal contact information, including addresses
  2. Financial data, including credit card or bank account numbers
  3. Twitter account activity information, including the “date, time, length, and method of connections” plus the “source and destination Internet Protocol address(es)”
  4. Direct Message (DM) information, including the email addresses and IP addresses of everyone with whom the Parties have exchanged DMs

The order demands disclosure of absolutely all such data from November 1, 2009 for the targeted accounts.

The ACLU and EFF are not only challenging this, but demanding that all submissions made by the US government to justify the Twitter disclosure are made public, plus details of any other such cases which have been processed in secret.

Bradley Manning, at the time a specialist from Maryland enlisted with the United States Army’s 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, was arrested in June last year in connection with the leaking of classified combat video to WikiLeaks.

The leaked video footage, taken from a US helicopter gunship, showed the deaths of Reuters staff Saeed Chmagh and Namir Noor-Eldeen during a U.S. assault in Baghdad, Iraq. The wire agency unsuccessfully attempted to get the footage released via a Freedom of Information Act request in 2007.

When WikiLeaks released the video footage it directly contradicted the official line taken by the U.S. Army asserting that the deaths of the two Reuters staff were “collateral damage” in an attack on Iraqi insurgents. The radio chatter associated with the AH-64 Apache video indicated the helicopter crews had mistakenly identified the journalists’ equipment as weaponry.

The US government also claims Manning is linked to CableGate; the passing of around a quarter of a million classified diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks. Manning has been in detention since July last year; in December allegations of torture were made to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights regarding the conditions under which he was and is being detained.

Reports last month that he must now sleep naked and attend role call at the U.S. Marine facility in Quantico in the same state, raised further concern over his detention conditions. Philip J. Crowley, at-the-time a State Department spokesman, remarked on this whilst speaking at Massachusetts Institute of Technology; describing the current treatment of Manning as “ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid”, Crowley was, as a consequence, put in the position of having to tender his resignation to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Despite his native Australia finding, in December last year, that Assange’s WikiLeaks had not committed any criminal offences in their jurisdiction, the U.S. government has continued to make ongoing operations very difficult for the whistleblower website.

The result of the Australian Federal Police investigation left the country’s Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, having to retract a statement that WikiLeaks had acted “illegally”; instead, she characterised the site’s actions as “grossly irresponsible”.

Even with Australia finding no illegal activity on the part of WikiLeaks, and with founder Julian Assange facing extradition to Sweden, U.S. pressure sought to hobble WikiLeaks financially.

Based on a State Department letter, online payments site PayPal suspended WikiLeaks account in December. Their action was swiftly followed by Visa Europe and Mastercard ceasing to handle payments for WikiLeaks.

The online processing company, Datacell, threatened the two credit card giants with legal action over this. However, avenues of funding for the site were further curtailed when both Amazon.com and Swiss bank PostFinance joined the financial boycott of WikiLeaks.

Assange continues, to this day, to argue that his extradition to Sweden for questioning on alleged sexual offences is being orchestrated by the U.S. in an effort to discredit him, and thus WikiLeaks.

Wikinews consulted an IT and cryptography expert from the Belgian university which developed the current Advanced Encryption Standard; explaining modern communications, he stated: “Cryptography has developed to such a level that intercepting communications is no longer cost effective. That is, if any user uses the correct default settings, and makes sure that he/she is really connecting to Twitter it is highly unlikely that even the NSA can break the cryptography for a protocol such as SSL/TLS (used for https).”

Qualifying this, he commented that “the vulnerable parts of the communication are the end points.” To make his point, he cited the following quote from Gene Spafford: “Using encryption on the Internet is the equivalent of arranging an armored car to deliver credit card information from someone living in a cardboard box to someone living on a park bench.

Continuing, the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KUL) expert explained:

In the first place, the weak point is Twitter itself; the US government can go and ask for the data; companies such as Twitter and Google will typically store quite some information on their users, including IP addresses (it is known that Google deletes the last byte of the IP address after a few weeks, but it is not too hard for a motivated opponent to find out what this byte was).
In the second place, this is the computer of the user: by exploiting system weaknesses (with viruses, Trojan horses or backdoors in the operating system) a highly motivated opponent can enter your machine and record your keystrokes plus everything that is happening (e.g. the FBI is known to do this with the so-called Magic Lantern software). Such software is also commercially available, e.g. for a company to monitor its employees.
It would also be possible for a higly motivated opponent to play “man-in-the-middle”; that means that instead of having a secure connection to Twitter.com, you have a secure connection to the attacker’s server, who impersonates Twitter’s and then relays your information to Twitter. This requires tricks such as spoofing DNS (this is getting harder with DNSsec), or misleading the user (e.g. the user clicks on a link and connects to tw!tter.com or Twitter.c0m, which look very similar in a URL window as Twitter.com). It is clear that the US government is capable of using these kind of tricks; e.g., a company has been linked to the US government that was recognized as legitimate signer in the major browsers, so it would not be too large for them to sign a legitimate certificate for such a spoofing webserver; this means that the probability that a user would detect a problem would be very low.
As for traffic analysis (finding out who you are talking to rather than finding out what you are telling to whom), NSA and GCHQ are known to have access to lots of traffic (part of this is obtained via the UK-USA agreement). Even if one uses strong encryption, it is feasible for them to log the IP addresses and email addresses of all the parties you are connecting to. If necessary, they can even make routers re-route your traffic to their servers. In addition, the European Data Retention directive forces all operators to store such traffic data.
Whether other companies would have complied with such requests: this is very hard to tell. I believe however that it is very plausible that companies such as Google, Skype or Facebook would comply with such requests if they came from a government.
In summary: unless you go through great lengths to log through to several computers in multiple countries, you work in a clean virtual machine, you use private browser settings (don’t accept cookies, no plugins for Firefox, etc.) and use tools such as Tor, it is rather easy for any service provider to identify you.
Finally: I prefer not to be quoted on any sentences in which I make statements on the capabilities or actions of any particular government.

Wikinews also consulted French IT security researcher Stevens Le Blond on the issues surrounding the case, and the state-of-the-art in monitoring, and analysing, communications online. Le Blond, currently presenting a research paper on attacks on Tor to USENIX audiences in North America, responded via email:

Were the US Government to obtain the sought data, it would seem reasonable the NSA would handle further investigation. How would you expect them to exploit the data and expand on what they receive from Twitter?

  • Le Blond: My understanding is that the DOJ is requesting the following information: 1) Connection records and session times 2) IP addresses 3) e-mail addresses 4) banking info
By requesting 1) and 2) for Birgitta and other people involved with WikiLeaks (WL) since 2009, one could derive 2 main [pieces of] information.
First, he could tell the mobility of these people. Recent research in networking shows that you can map an IP address into a geographic location with a median error of 600 meters. So by looking at changes of IP addresses in time for a Twitter user, one could tell (or at least speculate about) where that person has been.
Second, by correlating locations of different people involved with WL in time, one could possibly derive their interactions and maybe even their level of involvement with WL. Whether it is possible to derive this information from 1) and 2) depends on how this people use Twitter. For example, do they log on Twitter often enough, long enough, and from enough places?
My research indicates that this is the case for other Internet services but I cannot tell whether it is the case for Twitter.
Note that even though IP logging, as done by Twitter, is similar to the logging done by GSM [mobile phone] operators, the major difference seems to be that Twitter is subject to US regulation, no matter the citizenship of its users. I find this rather disturbing.
Using 3), one could search for Birgitta on other Internet services, such as social networks, to find more information on her (e.g., hidden accounts). Recent research on privacy shows that people tend to use the same e-mail address to register an account on different social networks (even when they don’t want these accounts to be linked together). Obviously, one could then issue subpoenas for these accounts as well.
I do not have the expertise to comment on what could be done with 4).
((WN)) As I believe Jonsdottir to be involved in the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative (IMMI), what are the wider implications beyond the “WikiLeaks witchhunt”?
  • Le Blond: Personal data can be used to discredit, especially if the data is not public.

Having been alerted to the ongoing case through a joint press release by the ACLU and EFF, Wikinews sought clarification on the primary issues which the two non-profits saw as particularly important in challenging the U.S. Government over the ‘secret’ court orders. Rebecca Jeschke, Media Relations Director for the EFF, explained in more detail the points crucial to them, responding to a few questions from Wikinews on the case:

((WN)) As a worse-case, what precedents would be considered if this went to the Supreme Court?
  • Rebecca Jeschke: It’s extremely hard to know at this stage if this would go to the Supreme Court, and if it did, what would be at issue. However, some of the interesting questions about this case center on the rights of people around the world when they use US Internet services. This case questions the limits of US law enforcement, which may turn out to be very different from the limits in other countries.
((WN)) Since this is clearly a politicised attack on free speech with most chilling potential repercussions for the press, whistleblowers, and by-and-large anyone the relevant U.S. Government departments objects to the actions of, what action do you believe should be taken to protect free speech rights?
  • Jeschke: We believe that, except in very rare circumstances, the government should not be permitted to obtain information about individuals’ private Internet communications in secret. We also believe that Internet companies should, whenever possible, take steps to ensure their customers are notified about requests for information and have the opportunity to respond.
((WN)) Twitter via the web, in my experience, tends to use https:// connections. Are you aware of any possibility of the government cracking such connections? (I’m not up to date on the crypto arms race).
  • Jeschke: You don’t need to crack https, per se, to compromise its security. See this piece about fraudulent https certificates:
Iranian hackers obtain fraudulent httpsEFF website.
((WN)) And, do you believe that far, far more websites should – by default – employ https:// connections to protect people’s privacy?
  • Jeschke: We absolutely think that more websites should employ https! Here is a guide for site operators: (See external links, Ed.)

Finally, Wikinews approached the Icelandic politician, and WikiLeaks supporter, who has made this specific case a landmark in how the U.S. Government handles dealings with – supposedly – friendly governments and their elected representatives. A number of questions were posed, seeking the Icelandic Parliamentarian’s views:

((WN)) How did you feel when you were notified the US Government wanted your Twitter account, and message, details? Were you shocked?
  • Birgitta Jonsdottir: I felt angry but not shocked. I was expecting something like this to happen because of my involvement with WikiLeaks. My first reaction was to tweet about it.
((WN)) What do you believe is their reasoning in selecting you as a ‘target’?
  • Jonsdottir: It is quite clear to me that USA authorities are after Julian Assange and will use any means possible to get even with him. I think I am simply a pawn in a much larger context. I did of course both act as a spokesperson for WikiLeaks in relation to the Apache video and briefly for WikiLeaks, and I put my name to the video as a co-producer. I have not participated in any illegal activity and thus being a target doesn’t make me lose any sleep.
((WN)) Are you concerned that, as a Member of Parliament involved in the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative (IMMI), the US attempt to obtain your Twitter data is interfering with planned Icelandic government policy?
  • Jonsdottir: No
((WN)) In an earlier New York Times (NYT) article, you’re indicating there is nothing they can obtain about you that bothers you; but, how do you react to them wanting to know everyone you talk to?
  • Jonsdottir: It bothers me and according to top computer scientists the government should be required to obtain a search warrant to get our IP addresses from Twitter. I am, though, happy I am among the people DOJ is casting their nets around because of my parliamentary immunity; I have a greater protection then many other users and can use that immunity to raise the issue of lack of rights for those that use social media.
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((WN)) The same NYT article describes you as a WikiLeaks supporter; is this still the case? What attracts you to their ‘radical transparency’?
  • Jonsdottir: I support the concept of WikiLeaks. While we don’t have a culture of protection for sources and whistleblowers we need sites like WikiLeaks. Plus, I think it is important to give WikiLeaks credit for raising awareness about in how bad shape freedom of information and expression is in our world and it is eroding at an alarming rate because of the fact that legal firms for corporations and corrupt politicians have understood the borderless nature of the legalities of the information flow online – we who feel it is important that people have access to information that should remain in the public domain need to step up our fight for those rights. WikiLeaks has played an important role in that context.I don’t support radical transparency – I understand that some things need to remain secret. It is the process of making things secret that needs to be both more transparent and in better consensus with nations.
((WN)) How do you think the Icelandic government would have reacted if it were tens of thousands of their diplomatic communications being leaked?
  • Jonsdottir: I am not sure – A lot of our dirty laundry has been aired via the USA cables – our diplomatic communications with USA were leaked in those cables, so far they have not stirred much debate nor shock. It is unlikely for tens of thousands of cables to leak from Iceland since we dont have the same influence or size as the USA, nor do we have a military.
((WN)) Your ambassador in the US has spoken to the Obama administration. Can you discuss any feedback from that? Do you have your party’s, and government’s, backing in challenging the ordered Twitter data release?
  • Jonsdottir: I have not had any feedback from that meeting, I did however receive a message from the DOJ via the USA ambassador in Iceland. The message stated three things: 1. I am free to travel to the USA. 2. If I would do so, I would not be a subject of involuntary interrogation. 3. I am not under criminal investigation. If this is indeed the reality I wonder why they are insisting on getting my personal details from Twitter. I want to stress that I understand the reasoning of trying to get to Assange through me, but I find it unacceptable since there is no foundation for criminal investigation against him. If WikiLeaks goes down, all the other media partners should go down at the same time. They all served similar roles. The way I see it is that WikiLeaks acted as the senior editor of material leaked to them. They could not by any means be considered a source. The source is the person that leaks the material to WikiLeaks. I am not sure if the media in our world understands how much is at stake for already shaky industry if WikiLeaks will carry on carrying the brunt of the attacks. I think it would be powerful if all the medias that have had access to WikiLeaks material would band together for their defence.
((WN)) Wikinews consulted a Belgian IT security expert who said it was most likely companies such as Facebook, Microsoft, and Google, would have complied with similar court orders *without advising the ‘targets*’. Does that disturb you?
  • Jonsdottir: This does disturb me for various reasons. The most obvious is that my emails are hosted at google/gmail and my search profile. I dont have anything to hide but it is important to note that many of the people that interact with me as a MP via both facebook and my various email accounts don’t always realize that there is no protection for them if they do so via those channels. I often get sensitive personal letters sent to me at facebook and gmail. In general most people are not aware of how little rights they have as users of social media. It is those of uttermost importance that those sites will create the legal disclaimers and agreements that state the most obvious rights we lose when we sign up to their services.
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.
((WN)) Has there been any backlash within Iceland against US-based internet services in light of this? Do you expect such, or any increase in anti-American sentiments?
  • Jonsdottir: No, none what so ever. I dont think there is much anti-American sentiments in Iceland and I dont think this case will increase it. However I think it is important for everyone who does not live in the USA and uses social services to note that according to the ruling in my case, they dont have any protection of the 1st and 4th amendment, that only apply to USA citizens. Perhaps the legalities in relation to the borderless reality we live in online need to be upgraded in order for people to feel safe with using social media if it is hosted in the USA. Market tends to bend to simple rules.
((WN)) Does this make you more, or less, determined to see the IMMI succeed?
  • Jonsdottir: More. People have to realize that if we dont have freedom of information online we won’t have it offline. We have to wake up to the fact that our rights to access information that should be in the public domain is eroding while at the same time our rights as citizens online have now been undermined and we are only seen as consumers with consumers rights and in some cases our rights are less than of a product. This development needs to change and change fast before it is too late.

The U.S. Government continues to have issues internationally as a result of material passed to WikiLeaks, and subsequently published.

Within the past week, Ecuador has effectively declared the U.S. ambassador Heather Hodges persona-non-grata over corruption allegations brought to light in leaked cables. Asking the veteran diplomat to leave “as soon as possible”, the country may become the third in South America with no ambassadorial presence. Both Venezuela and Bolivia have no resident U.S. ambassador due to the two left-wing administrations believing the ejected diplomats were working with the opposition.

The U.S. State Department has cautioned Ecuador that a failure to speedily normalise diplomatic relations may jeapordise ongoing trade talks.

The United Kingdom is expected to press the Obama administration over the continuing detention of 23-year-old Manning, who also holds UK citizenship. British lawmakers are to discuss his ongoing detention conditions before again approaching the U.S. with their concerns that his solitary confinement, and treatment therein, is not acceptable.

The 22 charges brought against Manning are currently on hold whilst his fitness to stand trial is assessed.



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