Apple Enters Net Radio’s Busy Field

SAN FRANCISCO — Apple is known for making some of the finest hardware in the world, but one of its biggest stumbling blocks has been services that rely on an Internet connection.

Apple’s Maps app for iPhones was initially so bad the company apologized. Ping, Apple’s social network for discovering songs, was killed because hardly anyone used it. And iCloud, its service for synchronizing user data across devices, has been criticized for being unreliable, though it has not had as many glitches as its predecessor MobileMe, which had an e-mail blackout that disconnected thousands of customers for days.

Now, Apple is giving online services another try, in an area where it has long been the leader: music. On Monday, at the opening of its annual developers conference in San Francisco, the company is expected to unveil an Internet radio service that will stream songs over a data connection instead of storing them on a device, according to people briefed on the negotiations. The service is expected to be free, but supported by ads.

With its Internet radio service, Apple will be following other online music services, like Pandora, Spotify and Rdio. But it could spread this type of music consumption further into the mainstream, some analysts say.

“The genius of iTunes 10 years ago was that they made the mainstream consumer understand what digital music was, and how it all worked,” said Russ Crupnik, an analyst at NPD Group who studies the digital music market. He said Pandora was mainstream, with 200 million registered users, but it was not a dominant global player, and that a similar service from Apple would expose more people to online radio.

The company is also expected to introduce new Mac notebooks and a redesign of iOS, its software operating system for iPhones and iPads, at the four-day developers conference. The conference includes seminars where software developers can get training on the latest Apple software development tools so they can start making apps.

The new operating system will be the first mobile software system made under the company’s lead hardware designer, Jony Ive. Mr. Ive was put in charge of software design after the company fired Scott Forstall, the former head of mobile software development, amid the flurry of negative news reports surrounding Apple’s mapping software.

Before taking over software design, Mr. Ive made it known in the company that he did not like some of the visual ornamentations in Apple’s mobile software, particularly the use of textures representing physical materials. Under his direction, elements like the yellow-notepad inspired Notes app and the leather borders in the Calendar app for the iPad are expected to be removed from the software. The overall look will be smoother and less ostentatious, according to a person briefed on the company’s plans, who asked not to be named.

For Apple, the expansion into streaming music underscores a competitive issue: one of its chief rivals, Google, has long had robust Internet services, like Gmail and Google Apps, while over the years it has gotten better at designing the software and hardware for its phones and tablets.

But while Apple struggles with Internet services, its stock is down about 37 percent after peaking at a little more than $700 in the fall. The company is still selling tens of millions of iPhones and iPads, but investors are concerned about its growth slowing and profit margins getting tighter. A shift into services like Internet radio could present new opportunities to make money.

But James McQuivey, an analyst at Forrester Research, says he thinks Apple is too late in this game. The company has to present an Internet radio service that is better than what is out there, he said, or people will continue to just buy its hardware and use other companies’ services.

“It’s going to have to innovate,” Mr. McQuivey said. “It can’t just be Pandora with an ‘i’ in front of it or Spotify with an ‘i’ in front of it.”

In the late 1990s, the music industry was in turmoil because many Internet users quickly learned they could download their favorite songs for free instead of paying for albums. Steven P. Jobs, Apple’s late chief, approached the music labels with the idea of a store offering the ability to download songs a la carte for 99 cents a download.

“When we first approached the labels, the online music business was a disaster,” Mr. Jobs was quoted as saying in the book “The Perfect Thing: How the iPod Shuffles Commerce, Culture and Coolness.” “Nobody had ever sold a song for 99 cents. Nobody really ever sold a song. And we walked in, and we said: ‘We want to sell songs à la carte. We want to sell albums, too, but we want to sell songs individually.’ They thought that would be the death of the album.”

In 2003, Apple was the first company to legitimize digital music when it opened the iTunes Store, a legal way for people to download and purchase digital songs. Now digital music has grown far beyond the traditional album. Many companies offer the ability to stream music over a data connection.

Spotify, for example, based in London, lets people search for songs and immediately stream them over the Internet on their smartphones and computers; a free version of the service plays ads every few songs, but paying $5 a month will skip the ads.

Rdio, another music streaming service, costs at least $5 a month to stream songs from a computer, but it has an emphasis on social networking, or discovering music by looking at what friends are listening to.

And Pandora, launched eight years ago, lets users create their own stations by entering an artist and then automatically playing songs similar to that artist. Its ad-free upgrade is $4 a month.

But online streaming services are not as popular as iTunes, which counts about 500 million customers with their credit cards on file. Apple is still No. 1 in the paid digital music market with a 63 percent share, followed by Amazon at 22 percent, according to NPD Group.

In a study, NPD said it found that 44 million Americans bought at least one song or album download last year, a number that has remained stable despite the growth of Pandora and music streaming services. A separate NPD study found that people who stream music are much more likely to buy music downloads.

When Apple enters online radio, it will be difficult for companies like Spotify and Pandora to compete, said Laurence Isaac Balter, chief market strategist at Oracle Investment Research, which has clients that own Apple shares. He said Apple will be at an advantage because it will have deeper control of the iPhone software and hardware, as well as more data about its own customers, than outside companies would, so that it can make smarter music recommendations for customers. Streaming music will also give customers a chance to listen to music they would otherwise never have heard before, and then perhaps buy the songs in iTunes, Mr. Balter said.

Mr. Balter added that Apple could potentially leverage the user data it gets from streaming radio and expand it into a future Apple television, where people could find video content about their favorite bands or even purchase concert tickets on the bigger screen.

“There’s so much of a white canvas here for Apple to paint on,” Mr. Balter said. “It’s refreshing to see them start to think in this area.”

As Apple expands its product lines to include cheaper products, like the iPad Mini and a rumored cheaper iPhone, its profit margins will decrease. That is when the importance of online services will become even greater for Apple because they will provide more ways to make money, Mr. McQuivey said.

“If Apple doesn’t make this shift to services,” he said, “they won’t be left with a leg to stand on.”

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Officials From North and South Korea Meet to Arrange Talks

SEOUL, South Korea — Delegations from North and South Korea met on their heavily armed border on Sunday to try to arrange their first cabinet minister-level talks in six years following months of tensions marked by a North Korean nuclear test, international sanctions and threats of war.

The meeting at the “truce village” of Panmunjom — so named because the 1953 armistice ending the three-year Korean War was signed there — was the most concrete sign that the two Koreas were easing tensions and moving toward a thaw after years of recriminations.

Before leaving for the border, Chun Hae-sung, the chief South Korean delegate, reiterated that the North and South could move toward greater economic cooperation and political reconciliation when they “start building trust on small things first.” North Korea made a surprise overture proposing government-to-government dialogue with the South on Friday. South Korea quickly accepted, offering to hold cabinet minister-level talks in Seoul on Wednesday.

Mr. Chun told reporters on Sunday that talks on the border with a North Korean delegation, led by Kim Sung-hye, a senior official at the North’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea, will focus on sorting out “administrative and technical issues” related to the proposed cabinet minister-level talks.

In its proposal for dialogue, North Korea said it was ready to discuss reopening a joint industrial park, cross-border tours and Red Cross programs that arrange reunions of families separated by the Korean War. These projects, introduced during a period of inter-Korean rapprochement between 1998 and 2008, have been suspended in recent years as relations deteriorated.

Cross-border tours were canceled in 2008 after North Korean soldiers shot and killed a South Korean tourist and the North then rejected South Korean demands for a joint investigation and measures to prevent similar episodes. The two Koreas held their last reunion of separated families in 2010.

The joint industrial zone in Kaesong, a North Korean border town, had been the last symbol of cooperation until the North suddenly pulled out its 53,000 workers, blaming military tensions, and left South Korean factory owners at a loss to meet orders.

When minister-level talks are convened, the most contentious question will be the conditions imposed on any of the suspended projects before they can be reopened. President Park Geun-hye of South Korea has repeatedly said her government is determined to end a “vicious cycle” in which the South appeases the North after its provocations. And her aides have said that the South would not revive the projects “as if nothing had happened” and that the North must take steps to ensure that it would not sacrifice economic projects for political ends.

They have also said that South Korean efforts to engage the North would be limited until the stalemate is broken over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.

It is rare for government officials from the two Koreas to meet in Panmunjom. They last did so in 2000 to help arrange the logistics of the historic inter-Korean summit meeting that year. North Korea has repeatedly tried hard to undermine the Korean War armistice, calling instead for a peace treaty with the United States. Under that strategy, it has usually shunned Panmunjom, a symbol of the armistice, as a place for government dialogue, except for military talks.

The two Koreas held their last cabinet minister-level talks in 2007, although military officials from both sides met in February 2011 in a failed attempt to ease tensions.

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GOP rejects Dream Act-like deportation deferrals

WASHINGTON — The Republican-led House voted along party lines Thursday to prohibit funding for President Obama’s Dream Act-styled program, which temporarily halts the deportations of young immigrants if they have served in the military or are attending college.

The 224-201 vote underscored the resistance of House Republicans to the immigration overhaul that has gained momentum in the Senate. The amendment was proposed by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), who is among the chamber’s most hardened opponents of a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million people living in the country without legal status. The vote came as House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) sought to reach out to Latinos with an op-ed Thursday that touched on immigration reform in the Spanish-language newspaper La Opinion.

“This mean-spirited vote shows that House Republicans have a tin ear for politics and cold hearts when it comes to compassion for young people who have only known America as their home,” said Sen. Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Democrat who has championed legal status for young immigrants. He called the House vote “shameful.”

King sought to end what he calls the Dream Act “light,” the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which was put in place last summer and has been enormously popular in the immigrant community. The program allows young people who apply to gain temporary legal status and avoid the risk of deportation for two years.

The deferral program was largely seen as a stopgap alternative to the Dream Act, failed legislation that would give the young people a route to citizenship. The Dream Act is included in the bipartisan Senate immigration overhaul. Young people who call themselves Dreamers have become prominent in the immigration debate.

“Whatever people think of the impending immigration policy here in the United States, we cannot allow the executive branch to usurp the legislative authority of the United States Congress,” King said during this week’s debate. “If we allow that to happen in immigration, it could happen to anything.”

Three Democrats joined Republicans in approving the amendment, which is tacked onto a must-pass bill to fund the Pentagon and other defense accounts. It would prevent funding for the Department of Homeland Security to use discretion in deportations. Half a dozen Republicans, including those from districts in California and Florida — some with large Latino populations — voted against it.

Except for the Senate bill’s bipartisan drafters, other Republicans have been cool to the legislation. Top Republicans, including Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, a key author, have been working to bring Republicans on board. But a meeting with House Republicans this week showed little interest.

Boehner and Republican leaders have been nudging their party toward an immigration overhaul, as they try to reach out to Latino and minority voters who have largely abandoned the party.

“Making the process of becoming a legal immigrant fairer and more efficient will help America remain a magnet for the brightest minds and hardest workers,” Boehner wrote in the Spanish-language paper.

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Dianne Feinstein Says NSA Phone Records Surveillance Has Thwarted Terrorism, ‘But That’s Classified’

WASHINGTON — Senate Intelligence Chair Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said Thursday the National Security Agency program collecting domestic phone records has prevented terrorism. But she and other senators briefed on the program refused to delve into details about how it is used.

Feinstein spoke to reporters after the Intelligence Committee held a “highly classified” briefing on the vast NSA program, which Feinstein said had been put together “quickly” after The Guardian’s report on its existence.

Asked whether the program had thwarted any attacks, Feinstein said, “It has, but that’s classified.” She added that “there is a report” about how the program has been used, but didn’t elaborate.

Senior officials from the NSA, the FBI, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Justice were all present to explain the surveillance program to 27 senators.

“Members who briefed made comments they were astonished. They didn’t know this was happening,” Feinstein said.

Feinstein and other senators, however, refused to go into details about what the NSA does with phone records after it has collected them. NBC News reported Thursday that the program extends to every phone call in the country, not just those made through Verizon.

Feinstein said she would not discuss concerns that her fellow senators may have raised during the meeting, because “this took place in a classified briefing, and we don’t talk about the substance of it.”

“I try not to comment on the results of a program or its effectiveness,” said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a member of the Intelligence Committee. “I don’t want to be the one that ever compromises any ongoing procedures.” Rubio added that “programs like this have great utility.”

“Programs like this are very sensitive exactly for the reasons why people are outraged by what they’ve heard, because you’re trying to balance the privacy expectations that Americans have with the obligation the federal government has to provide for our national security,” Rubio said.

Rubio would not comment on Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) statement that the NSA program was an “assault on the Constitution.” Both Republicans are are potential 2016 presidential contenders.

The secrecy around such massive surveillance programs has for years spurred critics, including Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) to ask the NSA to release the secret court orders permitting their use. He has suggested that it’s impossible to have an honest conversation about surveillance programs like the NSA’s phone records collection when Americans are in the dark about details.

Speaking after the meeting on Thursday, Wyden seemed frustrated that he wasn’t able to discuss the program’s specifics. He would not comment on how he thought the NSA’s phone records collection could be improved.

“That’s thoroughly classified,” Wyden said.

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NSA collecting phone records of millions of Verizon customers daily

The National Security Agency is currently collecting the telephone records of millions of US customers of Verizon, one of America’s largest telecoms providers, under a top secret court order issued in April.

The order, a copy of which has been obtained by the Guardian, requires Verizon on an “ongoing, daily basis” to give the NSA information on all telephone calls in its systems, both within the US and between the US and other countries.

The document shows for the first time that under the Obama administration the communication records of millions of US citizens are being collected indiscriminately and in bulk – regardless of whether they are suspected of any wrongdoing.

The secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (Fisa) granted the order to the FBI on April 25, giving the government unlimited authority to obtain the data for a specified three-month period ending on July 19.

Under the terms of the blanket order, the numbers of both parties on a call are handed over, as is location data, call duration, unique identifiers, and the time and duration of all calls. The contents of the conversation itself are not covered.

The disclosure is likely to reignite longstanding debates in the US over the proper extent of the government’s domestic spying powers.

Under the Bush administration, officials in security agencies had disclosed to reporters the large-scale collection of call records data by the NSA, but this is the first time significant and top-secret documents have revealed the continuation of the practice on a massive scale under President Obama.

The unlimited nature of the records being handed over to the NSA is extremely unusual. Fisa court orders typically direct the production of records pertaining to a specific named target who is suspected of being an agent of a terrorist group or foreign state, or a finite set of individually named targets.

The Guardian approached the National Security Agency, the White House and the Department of Justice for comment in advance of publication on Wednesday. All declined. The agencies were also offered the opportunity to raise specific security concerns regarding the publication of the court order.

The court order expressly bars Verizon from disclosing to the public either the existence of the FBI’s request for its customers’ records, or the court order itself.

“We decline comment,” said Ed McFadden, a Washington-based Verizon spokesman.

The order, signed by Judge Roger Vinson, compels Verizon to produce to the NSA electronic copies of “all call detail records or ‘telephony metadata’ created by Verizon for communications between the United States and abroad” or “wholly within the United States, including local telephone calls”.

The order directs Verizon to “continue production on an ongoing daily basis thereafter for the duration of this order”. It specifies that the records to be produced include “session identifying information”, such as “originating and terminating number”, the duration of each call, telephone calling card numbers, trunk identifiers, International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) number, and “comprehensive communication routing information”.

The information is classed as “metadata”, or transactional information, rather than communications, and so does not require individual warrants to access. The document also specifies that such “metadata” is not limited to the aforementioned items. A 2005 court ruling judged that cell site location data – the nearest cell tower a phone was connected to – was also transactional data, and so could potentially fall under the scope of the order.

While the order itself does not include either the contents of messages or the personal information of the subscriber of any particular cell number, its collection would allow the NSA to build easily a comprehensive picture of who any individual contacted, how and when, and possibly from where, retrospectively.

It is not known whether Verizon is the only cell-phone provider to be targeted with such an order, although previous reporting has suggested the NSA has collected cell records from all major mobile networks. It is also unclear from the leaked document whether the three-month order was a one-off, or the latest in a series of similar orders.

The court order appears to explain the numerous cryptic public warnings by two US senators, Ron Wyden and Mark Udall, about the scope of the Obama administration’s surveillance activities.

For roughly two years, the two Democrats have been stridently advising the public that the US government is relying on “secret legal interpretations” to claim surveillance powers so broad that the American public would be “stunned” to learn of the kind of domestic spying being conducted.

Because those activities are classified, the senators, both members of the Senate intelligence committee, have been prevented from specifying which domestic surveillance programs they find so alarming. But the information they have been able to disclose in their public warnings perfectly tracks both the specific law cited by the April 25 court order as well as the vast scope of record-gathering it authorized.

Julian Sanchez, a surveillance expert with the Cato Institute, explained: “We’ve certainly seen the government increasingly strain the bounds of ‘relevance’ to collect large numbers of records at once — everyone at one or two degrees of separation from a target — but vacuuming all metadata up indiscriminately would be an extraordinary repudiation of any pretence of constraint or particularized suspicion.” The April order requested by the FBI and NSA does precisely that.

The law on which the order explicitly relies is the so-called “business records” provision of the Patriot Act, 50 USC section 1861. That is the provision which Wyden and Udall have repeatedly cited when warning the public of what they believe is the Obama administration’s extreme interpretation of the law to engage in excessive domestic surveillance.

In a letter to attorney general Eric Holder last year, they argued that “there is now a significant gap between what most Americans think the law allows and what the government secretly claims the law allows.”

“We believe,” they wrote, “that most Americans would be stunned to learn the details of how these secret court opinions have interpreted” the “business records” provision of the Patriot Act.

Privacy advocates have long warned that allowing the government to collect and store unlimited “metadata” is a highly invasive form of surveillance of citizens’ communications activities. Those records enable the government to know the identity of every person with whom an individual communicates electronically, how long they spoke, and their location at the time of the communication.

Such metadata is what the US government has long attempted to obtain in order to discover an individual’s network of associations and communication patterns. The request for the bulk collection of all Verizon domestic telephone records indicates that the agency is continuing some version of the data-mining program begun by the Bush administration in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attack.

The NSA, as part of a program secretly authorized by President Bush on 4 October 2001, implemented a bulk collection program of domestic telephone, internet and email records. A furore erupted in 2006 when USA Today reported that the NSA had “been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth” and was “using the data to analyze calling patterns in an effort to detect terrorist activity.” Until now, there has been no indication that the Obama administration implemented a similar program.

These recent events reflect how profoundly the NSA’s mission has transformed from an agency exclusively devoted to foreign intelligence gathering, into one that focuses increasingly on domestic communications. A 30-year employee of the NSA, William Binney, resigned from the agency shortly after 9/11 in protest at the agency’s focus on domestic activities.

In the mid-1970s, Congress, for the first time, investigated the surveillance activities of the US government. Back then, the mandate of the NSA was that it would never direct its surveillance apparatus domestically.

At the conclusion of that investigation, Frank Church, the Democratic senator from Idaho who chaired the investigative committee, warned: “The NSA’s capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter.”

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Sales of older iPhones, iPads banned as agency says Apple infringed Samsung patent

A U.S. trade agency on Tuesday banned the sale of several iPhone and iPad models for infringing a Samsung patent, dealing a high-profile setback to Apple’s crusade against copycats.

If upheld, the ruling would show that at least some of Apple’s iconic technology duplicated that of its primary competitor in the mobile-device market, an embarrassment for a company that has held itself up as the source of Silicon Valley’s most groundbreaking innovations. Samsung, once a bit player in the cellphone market, now sells more smartphones than Apple around the world.

The order by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) would block sales of several older devices that work on AT&T Wireless’s network, including the iPhone 4, the iPhone 3GS and the iPad 2 3G. Apple’s newest offerings, the iPhone 5 and the fourth-generation iPad, were not affected.

Unless President Obama issues a veto, the ruling will take effect in 60 days. Apple said it will appeal the decision to federal courts.

Apple and Samsung have been entangled in myriad cases making their way through courts around the world. The legal battles were initiated by Apple, which has been determined to prove that Samsung and others copied the iPhone, from the curved shape of the casing to the way contact lists were displayed.

Last year, Apple won a lawsuit in a federal court that ruled Samsung had infringed several Apple patents.

Separately, Apple and Samsung filed dueling lawsuits in 2011 at the ITC, which has become a preferred venue for patent disputes among companies because the body can rule quickly and has the authority to ban imports or sales.

Carolina Milanesi, a consumer devices analyst for Gartner, said the ITC ruling’s damage to Apple may be more from a publicity standpoint, since the order applies only to older models. The iPhone 4, she said, does not sell as well in the United States as Apple’s newer 4S and 5 models.

But the decision comes at a bad time for Apple, whose stock has taken a hit in recent months. Some analysts have said the company has lost its innovative edge to Samsung, Google and other rivals.

Meanwhile, Apple has become embroiled in a tax controversy in Washington after a Senate investigation found that it shielded tens of billions of dollars from U.S. taxes. In New York, it is facing a lawsuit filed by the Justice Department, which is accusing the firm of fixing prices for e-books.

“This adds to all the being down on Apple that we’ve seen recently,” Milanesi said. “But it’s a blow they can take on the chin.”

The commission said Apple “failed to prove an affirmative defense” against Samsung’s allegations. The ruling reversed an earlier opinion by an ITC judge that Apple had infringed a Samsung cellular data patent used in AT&T models.

Regulators and lawmakers have criticized the ITC, arguing that monetary damages are better than outright sales bans. Still, vetoes of its rulings are rare. The last president to do so was Ronald Reagan, according to the ITC.

The decision “has confirmed Apple’s history of free-riding on Samsung’s technological inno­vations,” Samsung spokesman Adam Yates said in a statement.

To Apple, the battles are more about principle than potential business losses. Apple chief executive Tim Cook has said Apple has a clean reputation as a global business leader and will fight to protect its name.

“We are disappointed that the Commission has overturned an earlier ruling and we plan to appeal,” Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet said in a statement.

Analysts said the ruling was significant for Samsung.

“This decision is a major surprise,” said Florian Mueller, a patent expert and blogger on the site FOSS Patents. “Samsung’s track record in asserting patents against Apple has been rather dismal.”

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Supreme Court upholds Maryland law, says police may take DNA samples from arrestees

A divided Supreme Court ruled Monday that police may take DNA samples when booking those arrested for serious crimes, narrowly upholding a Maryland law and opening the door to more widespread collection of DNA by law enforcement.

The court ruled 5 to 4 that government has a legitimate interest in collecting DNA from arrestees, just as it takes photographs and collects fingerprints. Rejecting the view that the practice constitutes an unlawful search, the majority said it was justified to establish the identity of the person in custody.

“DNA identification represents an important advance in the techniques used by law enforcement to serve legitimate police concerns for as long as there have been arrests,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the majority.

The decision will reinstate Alonzo Jay King Jr.’s conviction in a 2003 rape in Salisbury on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. He was connected to the crime after a DNA sample was taken following an unrelated 2009 arrest for assault.

Law enforcement has found DNA to be a powerful tool in solving cold cases, and the federal government and 28 states allow the practice.

As with other recent court decisions involving the Fourth Amendment’s “right of the people to be secure in their persons, ­houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures,” the justices split in an unusual fashion.

The dissenters were three of the court’s liberals plus conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, who amplified his displeasure by reading a summary of his dissent from the bench.

“The court has cast aside a bedrock rule of our Fourth Amendment law: that the government may not search its citizens for evidence of crime unless there is a reasonable cause to believe that such evidence will be found,” Scalia said from the bench.

In his dissent, Scalia wrote that the majority’s attempts to justify the use of DNA as an identification tool “taxes the credulity of the credulous.” He added, “Make no mistake about it: As an entirely predictable consequence of today’s decision, your DNA can be taken and entered into a national DNA database if you are ever arrested, rightly or wrongly, and for whatever reason.”

Scalia was joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

Kennedy wrote that the decision was more limited than that, noting that DNA can be taken only from those suspected of “serious” crimes. He said that police have a legitimate interest in identifying the person taken into custody and that the DNA samples could make sure that a dangerous criminal is not released on bail.

“By comparison to this substantial government interest and the unique effectiveness of DNA identification, the intrusion of a cheek swab to obtain a DNA sample is a minimal one,” Kennedy wrote. Justice Stephen G. Breyer — who most often votes with Ginsburg, Sotomayor and Kagan — joined the opinion, as did Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr.

At the oral argument in the case in February, Alito called it “perhaps the most important criminal procedure case that this court has heard in decades.”

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SMART DISCLOSURE MAKES CONSUMERS HAPPIER AND MARKETS BETTER

The government collects reams of information that might benefit citizens, but just opening that data up to the public isn’t enough, according to a task force report released Thursday.

Federal agencies should tag any public data releases that might benefit people so consumers and intermediaries such as smart buying applications can easily find relevant information, a task force of the White House’s National Science and Technology Council said.

Officials also should create a cross-government community of practice so agencies can share ideas about how best to get consumer information to the public, according to the report.

“This will enable the public to search easily for smart disclosure data sets that are already available or could be made available,” the report said. “Such tagging in agency’s metadata will also enable the creation of a centralized directory of smart disclosure data sets held by the government.”

President Obama signed an executive order in May requiring agencies to make as much of their data as possible open to the public in machine-readable formats. Later the same month, the government collected nearly 400 government application programming interfaces or APIs, which stream information directly to outside computers, websites and mobile apps.

The open data initiative is aimed partly at improving the quality of information available to consumers of everything from food and toothpaste to education, real estate and medical care. It’s also aimed at spurring private sector growth as digital entrepreneurs repackage and commoditize raw government data.

Thursday’s report was produced by a task force on “smart disclosure” chartered by the science and technology council in July 2011.

Smart disclosure of government data can help consumers make smarter choices without being overwhelmed by doing research themselves, the council said.

“In some cases, the effort required to sift through all of the available information is so large that consumers default to decision making based on inadequate information,” the report said. As a result, they may overpay or miss out on a better product.

“Poorly organized or inaccessible information can also make consumer markets less efficient, less competitive, or less innovative,” the report said. “And, collectively, consumers’ uninformed decisions about topics such as higher education, energy consumption, or financial services can affect the nation’s competitiveness, security, and fiscal health.”

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U.S. and China Agree to Hold Regular Talks on Hacking

WASHINGTON — The United States and China have agreed to hold regular, high-level talks on how to set standards of behavior for cybersecurity and commercial espionage, the first diplomatic effort to defuse the tensions over what the United States says is a daily barrage of computer break-ins and theft of corporate and government secrets.

The talks will begin in July. Next Friday, President Obama and President Xi Jinping of China, who took office this spring, are scheduled to hold an unusual, informal summit meeting in Rancho Mirage, Calif., that could set the tone for their relationship and help them confront chronic tensions like the nuclear threat from North Korea.

American officials say they do not expect the process to immediately yield a significant reduction in the daily intrusions from China. The head of the United States Cyber Command and director of the National Security Agency, Gen. Keith B. Alexander, has said the attacks have resulted in the “greatest transfer of wealth in history.” Hackers have stolen a variety of secrets, including negotiating strategies and schematics for next-generation fighter jets and gas pipeline control systems.

Nonetheless, a senior American official involved in the negotiations to hold regular meetings said in an interview on Friday that “we need to get some norms and rules.”

“It is a serious issue that cannot simply be swatted away with talking points,” said the official, who noted that the meetings would focus primarily on the theft of intellectual property from American companies. “Our concerns are not limited to that, but that’s what needs urgent attention,” he added.

The Chinese government has insisted it is a victim of cyberattacks, not a perpetrator, and Chinese officials have vigorously denied the extensive evidence gathered by the Pentagon and private security experts that a unit of the People’s Liberation Army, Unit 61398 outside Shanghai, is behind many of the most sophisticated attacks on the United States.

On Saturday, after Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel spoke of a “growing threat of cyberintrusions” at a conference in Singapore, in comments directed at China, a Chinese general gave a tart response saying she doubted the United States’ assurances that its growing military presence in Asia was not directed at China.

While cyberattacks will be a major subject of the talks in Rancho Mirage, at an estate that belonged to Walter Annenberg, the main effort will be to forge a rapport between Mr. Obama and Mr. Xi. American officials hope the estate, known as Sunnylands, which has played host to American presidents and foreign dignitaries dating to Richard M. Nixon, will put both men at ease.

American officials said they have been surprised by the pace at which Mr. Xi, a longtime party functionary who consolidated his grip on power in March, has installed new faces in the Chinese leadership and moved to take greater control over the military, something his predecessor, Hu Jintao, never mastered.

Another main issue at the meeting will be North Korea. American officials, emerging from talks with Mr. Xi and his team, believe that the new Chinese leader has less patience for North Korea and little of the sentimental attachment to its leaders that his predecessors had.

“What’s interesting here is the dog that isn’t barking,” the American official said. The Chinese, he noted, are not urging all sides to resume talks until the North Koreans agree that the objective is removing all nuclear weapons from the Korean Peninsula. “We’re not hearing the soothing mantra of restraint,” he said.

The Chinese have also taken public steps to confront North Korea, like ordering the Bank of China to stop dealing with North Korea’s largest foreign-exchange bank.

“They’re much more open to causing pain to North Korea,” said Jeffrey A. Bader, a top China adviser to Mr. Obama until 2011.

Still, during the latest round of the Korea crisis this spring, Kim Jong-un, the young and largely untested new North Korean leader, made it clear that he had no intention of ever giving up his small arsenal.

Cybersecurity issues loom large between the United States and China because they go to the heart of the economic relationship between the two countries, even more so now that previous sources of friction, like China’s foreign exchange policies, have eased in the last year.

Chinese academics and industrialists say that if China is to maintain its annual economic growth rate of 7 or 8 percent, it needs a steady inflow of new technology. That could make the Chinese reluctant to cut back on the systematic theft of intellectual property.

In return, the Chinese will press the Americans on their use of cyberweapons: while there is no evidence that they have been used against Chinese targets, the sophisticated cyberattacks on Iran’s nuclear program by the United States and Israel are often cited by the Chinese news media and military journals as evidence that Washington, too, uses cyberspace for strategic advantage.

The talks over computer hacking will start as part of the Strategic and Economic Dialogue, an annual meeting of Chinese and American officials on a broad range of issues. But a new working group is being organized on the subject that will meet more frequently, officials say.

Where the talks will lead, however, is unclear: after considerable debate within the Obama administration, officials have concluded that online conflict does not lend itself to the kind of arms control treaties that the United States and the Soviet Union began negotiating 50 years ago. Today, cyberweapons are held by private individuals as well as states, and figuring out where an attack began can be maddeningly difficult.

Another problem, China experts said, is that neither the Americans nor the Chinese are well prepared for a candid discussion of cyberissues. The growth of hacking, and its use in both military and corporate espionage, is a new enough phenomenon that it is not clear how seriously Mr. Xi and other senior Chinese leaders view it.

Tung Chee-hwa, a former chief executive of Hong Kong who has close ties to China’s leaders, said recently that when he raises the American concerns about hacking with senior officials in Beijing, they express puzzlement.

And neither side, experts said, is ready to discuss military espionage, which means the conversation will necessarily focus on the theft of corporate secrets by China-based hackers. On that subject, they said, Mr. Obama needs to be unyielding.

“Obama has got to say, ‘You’ve got a major hacking operation under way in Beijing, you’ve got a major hacking operation under way in Shanghai. This is going to have repercussions if we don’t see changes very quickly,’ ” said Kenneth G. Lieberthal, a China adviser in the Clinton administration who is now at the Brookings Institution.

China and the United States, experts say, could find common ground on the need to stop cyberattacks on critical national infrastructure, like the electrical grid, since it poses such a danger to both countries. “I personally think a bilateral ‘no sabotage’ pledge would be a very good idea,” Mr. Bader said.

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Turkish police fire tear gas in worst protests in years

(Reuters) – Turkish police fired tear gas and water cannon on Friday at demonstrators in central Istanbul, wounding scores of people and prompting rallies in other cities in the fiercest anti-government protests in years.

Thousands of demonstrators massed on streets surrounding Istanbul’s central Taksim Square, long a venue for political unrest, while protests erupted in the capital, Ankara, and the Aegean coastal city of Izmir.

Broken glass and rocks were strewn across a main shopping street near Taksim. Primary school children ran crying from the clouds of tear gas, while tourists caught by surprise scurried to get back to luxury hotels lining the square.

The unrest reflects growing disquiet at the authoritarianism of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and his Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Riot police clashed with tens of thousands of May Day protesters in Istanbul this month. There have also been protests against the government’s stance on the conflict in neighboring Syria, a tightening of restrictions on alcohol sales and warnings against public displays of affection.

“We do not have a government, we have Tayyip Erdogan. … Even AK Party supporters are saying they have lost their mind, they are not listening to us,” said Koray Caliskan, a political scientist at Bosphorus University, who attended the protest.

“This is the beginning of a summer of discontent.”

The protest at Taksim’s Gezi Park started late on Monday after trees were torn up under a government redevelopment plan, but has widened into a broader demonstration against Erdogan’s administration. Friday’s violence erupted after a dawn police raid on demonstrators who had been camped out for days.

“This isn’t just about trees anymore, it’s about all of the pressure we’re under from this government. We’re fed up, we don’t like the direction the country is headed in,” said 18-year-old student Mert Burge, who came to support the protesters after reading on Twitter about the police use of tear gas.

“We will stay here tonight and sleep on the street if we have to,” he said.

Thousands chanting for the government to resign gathered at a park in the center of Ankara, where police earlier fired tear gas to disperse several dozen opposition supporters trying to reach the AKP headquarters. Protesters also rallied at two locations in Izmir, according to pictures on social media.

EXCESSIVE FORCE

A Turkish woman of Palestinian origin was in a critical condition after being hit by a police gas canister, hospital sources said. The 34-year-old, who doctors had earlier identified as Egyptian, was undergoing an operation after suffering a brain hemorrhage.

A total of 12 people, including a pro-Kurdish MP and a Reuters photographer, suffered trauma injuries and hundreds suffered respiratory problems due to tear gas, doctors said.

Some people were injured when a wall they were climbing collapsed as they tried to flee clouds of tear gas.

Amnesty International said it was concerned by “the use of excessive force” by the police against what had started out as a peaceful protest. Ria Oomen-Ruijten, the European parliament rapporteur on Turkey, also voiced concern.

In Washington, the State Department said it was concerned with the number of injuries and was gathering its own information on the incident.

“We believe that Turkey’s long-term stability, security and prosperity is best guaranteed by upholding the fundamental freedoms of expression, assembly and association, which is what it seems these individuals were doing,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters.

Interior Minister Muammer Guler promised that allegations that police had used disproportionate force would be investigated.

Erdogan has overseen a transformation in Turkey during his decade in power, turning its economy from crisis-prone into Europe’s fastest-growing. Per-capita income has tripled in nominal terms since his party rose to power.

He remains by far Turkey’s most popular politician, and is widely viewed as its most powerful leader since Mustafa Kemal Ataturk founded the modern secular republic on the ashes of the Ottoman Empire 90 years ago.

DEFIANCE

But Erdogan brooks little dissent. Hundreds of military officers have been jailed for plotting a coup against him in recent years. Academics, journalists, politicians and others face trial on similar charges.

He has made no secret of his ambition to run for the presidency in elections next year when his term as prime minister ends, increasing opposition dismay.

“These people will not bow down to you” read one banner at the Gezi Park protest, alongside a cartoon of Erdogan wearing an Ottoman emperor’s turban.

Postings on social media including Twitter, where “Occupy Gezi” – a reference to protests in New York and London last year – was a top-trending hashtag, and Facebook said similar demonstrations were planned for the next few days in other Turkish cities including Ankara, Izmir, Adana and Bursa.

“Kiss protests,” in which demonstrators are urged to lock lips, had already been planned for Istanbul and Ankara this weekend after subway officials were reported to have admonished a couple for kissing in public a week ago.

Erdogan is pushing ahead with a slew of multibillion-dollar projects he sees as embodying Turkey’s emergence as a major power. They include a shipping canal, a giant mosque and a third Istanbul airport billed to be one of the world’s biggest.

Speaking a few miles (km) from Gezi Park at the launch on Wednesday of construction of a third bridge linking Istanbul’s European and Asian shores, Erdogan vowed to pursue plans to redevelop Taksim Square.

Architects, leftist parties, academics, city planners and others have long opposed the plans, saying they lacked consultation with civic groups and would remove one of central Istanbul’s few green spaces.

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