A Computer Error Released 450 Prisoners with “a High Risk of Violence”

Computer system errors accidentally released more than 450 inmates with “a high risk of violence” from California prisons. What might be even worse is that no attempt has been made to return any of them back to prison.

The prisoners were accidentally placed on ‘non-revocable parole’ which means they don’t have to report to any parole officers. Non-revocable parole is a program originally created to combat the overcrowding of prisons by releasing inmates with a low risk of reoffending. Those with ‘a high risk of violence’ don’t really qualify, you know.

Inmates are supposed to be excluded from non-revocable parole if they are “gang members, have committed sex crimes or violent velonies or have been determined to pose a high risk to reoffend based on an assessment of their records behind bars.” But according to the inspection:

The computer program prison officials used to make that assessment does not access an inmate’s disciplinary history. The program also relies on a state Department of Justice system that records arrests but is missing conviction information for nearly half of the state’s 16.4 million arrest records.

Without that information about disciplinary history, they’re completely disregarding their own criteria. And though prison officials say they’ve addressed some of the computer errors, they still can’t access an inmate’s disciplinary record. So the system is still fucked. And with the overpopulation of prisons a major issue in California, who knows if they’ll even bother fixing it. [LA Times via BoingBoing]


PlayStation Network Users Can Now Get Free Identity Theft Protection From Sony

United States-based PlayStation Network users will now be able to register for a free Identity Protection service, thanks to an arrangement made by Sony with Debix.


On May 3rd, Sony promised all customers affected by recent break-ins into the PlayStation Networksystem free identity theft protection from Debix for one year. Now they’re delivering on that promise, and users can sign up for their identity protection starting today. As Sony explained in an e-mail send to every active PSN customer:

Sony has arranged, at no charge to eligible PlayStation®Network and Qriocity account holders, for twelve months of this service to be provided by Debix to those who choose to enroll. In order to be eligible, account holders must be residents of the United States with active accounts as of April 20, 2011.

If you currently own a PlayStation Network account, you can sign up by simply following the link on the email, or just click here if you haven’t received the email yet.  Even if your account has expired recently, you’re still eligible if your account was active by April 20, when the first attack took place. All customers have until May 28 to sign up.

Debix’s AllClear ID PLUS protection, which would otherwise cost $9.95 per month, is a comprehensive identity theft protection service, giving customers live monitoring for possible frauds, live customer support if there’s any attack and up to $1 million identity theft insurance in case disaster happens. According to the company, Debix is chosen by 9 out of 10 privacy professionals.

It’s still unclear what kind of benefits PlayStation Network users will see in other countries, since this deal is only meant for US-based customers, but expect them to be similar to this one.

Details of an attack first surfaced on April 20 this year, when Sony confirmed its PlayStation Network service had been broken into. Successive hacks have happened since, not only to PlayStation Network, but to other Sony services as well, such as Sony Ericsson’s Canadian eShop site yesterday. Reportedly, Sony has already lost $171.4 million thanks to the attacks, including the costs of fixing the service and refunding its customers. That comes as part of a $208.1 million loss this fiscal year due to the hacks and the earthquake that happened in Japan earlier this year.

What’s going to happen in the future to Sony’s services is unclear, but lets hope the worst is behind us. Meanwhile, be sure to grab your free Debix identity protection.

Google Wallet Announced, You Can Now Ditch Your Wallet For Your Phone [VIDEO]



This new service will allow users to store all their credit card info, as well as gift cards, offers, coupons and royalties on their cell phones. Google has just announced this service, along with Spring, Citi, MasterCard and First Data in New York city:

Today, we’ve joined with leaders in the industry to build the next generation ofmobile commerce, With Citi, MasterCard, First Data and Sprint we’re building an open commerce ecosystem that for the first time will make it possible for you to pay with an NFC wallet and redeem consumer promotions all in one tap, while shopping offline.

Payment will be done either through a PayPass eligible Citi MasterCard or a Google prepaid card. Google Wallet will work using near-field communication (NFC) to secure payments within seconds by simply checking into any PayPass-enabled terminal at checkout.

The company is also concerned about security and has promised to create a unique PIN code which will be used to protect all the sensitive data, including credit card numbers, which will be encrypted and stored on a chip, known as the secure element, independent from the phone’s memory and only accessible through authorized programs.

There will also be daily deals, much like those found on sites like Groupon. Those deals will be available on Google Ads as well as check-ins inside stores.

This service will have a global reach. Google Market will be accepted at over 124,000 PayPass-enabled merchants nationally and more than 311,000 globally.

“MasterCard has pioneered mobile payments with our PayPass technology and we’re proud that it is at the heart of Google Wallet,” said Ed McLaughlin, chief emerging payments officer, MasterCard. “We’re excited to partner with theseindustry leaders today and committed to continuing to play a leadership role in the development of mobile payment technologies.”

Google is taking mobile payments one step forward, with a technology they call SingleTap. In short, it allows users to easily store gift cards and coupons right on the device. Redeeming gift cards will also be easy, and possible to do with a single tap. This puts an end to paper overload forever, at least in wallets. Retailers such as Macy’s, Toys”R”US and American Eagle Outfitters are participating in the program:

“Google Wallet allows us to harness the power of mobile technology to enhance our in-store shopping experience and helps bridge the gap between our online and in-store consumer interactions,” said Martine Reardon, executive vice-president of marketing and advertising, Macy’s. “Macy’s is always looking for cutting-edge technology that will deliver value and engage our customers in personal ways. Google Wallet delivers this unique interaction across channels.”

The service will first debut in test mode in New York City and San Francisco, where stores, Coca Cola vending machines and even taxis will be able to interact  with the technology.

Wow, are we ready to ditch our wallets yet?

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZGoXvzW4WU]

Nike+ GPS App Free for a Limited Time

iPhone users looking to get a bit extra out of their daily jogs should definitely check out the Nike+ GPS app, which has been around for awhile but is available free for a limited time (though we don’t know how limited). With it, you can track your pace, distance, and running route using the iPhone’s GPS sensor, whether you’re running an actual route or just around an indoor track. It can also give you voice feedback, keep a record of your best runs, and integrate with quite a few social networking features designed to keep you motivated. And, since it no longer requires that chip in your shoe, pretty much anyone can use it. Hit the link to check it out, and if you aren’t a fan, be sure to check out the now-free RunKeeper as an alternative. [iTunes App Store via App Shopper]

Apple Store 2.0 gets official: interactive iPads replace paper signs, more

Our sources nailed it. What is being referred to as Apple Store 2.0 internally has officially launched Down Under.  Australia is close to a day ahead of us in the United States. Just like we told you, paper signs and information cards have been swiped from Apple’s wood tables and have been replaced with super-interactive iPad 2s. These specially equipped tablets provide a simple and easy-use-view into the product right beside it.

Additionally, the iPads feature a button to call an Apple representative for assistance – sort of like an airplane call button.That’s all we’ve been able to find so far, but given that our sources nailed that part 100% – it won’t be too long until we see the other changes. Another picture after the break courtesy of Mac Prices.