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Study: Royalty Charges Almost On Par With Component Costs For Smartphones

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the cost-of-things dept.

Patents 131

Bismillah (993337) writes "An interesting study by WilmerHale lawyers and Intel's assistant general counsel Ann Armstrong looked into how much royalty payments and demands actually amount to per device, and found the cost so high it threatens industry profitability and competitiveness. 'As the bank robber Willie Sutton is reported to have said, he robbed banks 'because that's where the money is' - so too of smartphones for patent holders,' the authors wrote."

In First American TV Interview, Snowden Talks Accountability and Patriotism

timothy posted about 5 months ago | from the smart-enough-for-exile dept.

Government 389

mspohr (589790) points out NBC News's interview with Edward Snowden, the first time Snowden has talked with an American television reporter. It's a wide-ranging conversation, in which Snowden emphasizes his ongoing belief that he did the right thing to release the many documents that he did, even at the cost of his ability to travel. Snowden told NBC's Brian Williams "he had tried to go through channels before leaking documents to journalists, repeatedly raising objections inside the NSA, in writing, to its widespread use of surveillance. But he said he was told, "more or less, in bureaucratic language, 'You should stop asking questions.'" Two U.S. officials confirmed Wednesday that Snowden sent at least one email to the NSA's office of general counsel raising policy and legal questions." Perhaps paving the way to eventual repatriation, Snowden also indicated that he would be willing to accept a "short period" behind bars. But, he said, the U.S. should "reform the Espionage Act to distinguish between people who sell secrets to foreign governments for their own gain and people who return information to public hands for the purpose of serving the public interest," and to include contractors as well as government employees.

NYC Councilman (and Open Source Developer) Submits Bill Establishing Open Source

timothy posted about 5 months ago | from the say-fellas-we-could-give-the-money-back dept.

Government 105

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) writes "New York City Council Member Ben Kallos (KallosEsq), who also happens to be a Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) developer, just introduced legislation to mandate a government preference for FOSS and creating a Civic Commons website to facilitate collaborative purchasing of software. He argues that NYC could save millions of dollars with the Free and Open Source Software Preferences Act 2014, pointing out that the city currently has a $67 million Microsoft ELA. Kallos said: 'It is time for government to modernize and start appreciating the same cost savings as everyone else.'"

Iranian Hacker Group Created Fake News Organization For Social Engineering

timothy posted about 5 months ago | from the won't-you-be-my-neighbor dept.

United States 57

itwbennett (1594911) writes "A suspected Iranian hacker group seeded Facebook and LinkedIn with bogus profiles of attractive women and even created a fake online news organization to get digitally closer to more than 2,000 U.S. military members, defense contractors and lobbyists it wanted to spy on, according to a report by security consultancy iSight Partners. The group is suspected to be in Iran, based on their working patterns and the location of their command-and-control infrastructure, said Patrick McBride, vice president of iSight's marketing and communications. Their activity is consistent with government-sponsored espionage campaigns, but 'we don't have anything specific tying them back to the government,' he added." Adds reader wiredmikey (1824622): "The recently uncovered activity, which iSIGHT Partners calls NEWSCASTER, was a 'brazen, complex multi-year cyber-espionage that used a low-tech approach to avoid traditional security defenses–exploiting social media and people who are often the 'weakest link' in the security chain.' ... Working undetected since 2011, targets included senior U.S. military and diplomatic personnel, congressional personnel, Washington D.C. area journalists, U.S. think tanks, and defense contractors in the U.S. and Israel."

Mutant Registration vs. Vaccine Registration

timothy posted about 5 months ago | from the ok-you-need-not-register-your-zombies dept.

Medicine 493

Responding to an editorial endorsing a national vaccine registry in Canada (though the same kind of registry could be and has been proposed in the U.S. with the same logic), an anonymous reader writes "Vaccine Registration makes me think of Mutant and Superhero registration. The reasons are similar. It's based on fear and misinformation. People fear that unvaccinated people will doom us all. Sound familiar? The difference is this is real. (Oh, and they probably won't use sentinels to track down the dangerous unvaccinated folks.) Thoughts?" From the linked editorial: "A national vaccination registry would identify which Canadians have been fully vaccinated, those who have received less than a full dose of shots, and those who have not been vaccinated at all. Having a vaccine registry in place in the event of an outbreak of measles, whooping cough, and diseases like these would enable public health officials to identify the children and adults who need vaccinations. Getting them the shots they need would reduce the risk of anyone on the list getting sick, and would also reduce the threat of an outbreak in the community in which they live or travel to [and] from." In the U.S., immunization records — at least, ones which have been put in electronic form at all — are maintained in a mix of databases, including at the state level, or maintained by cities, or by insurance companies and medical providers. Here, some people (like the reader who submitted this story) also see a potential for unwarranted privacy invasion in a national vaccination registry; however, their case isn't helped by often being tied to opposition to vaccination more generally.

Wikia and Sony Playing Licensing Mind Tricks

timothy posted about 5 months ago | from the thanks-for-the-help dept.

Sony 108

TuringTest (533084) writes "Popular culture website Wikia originally hosted its user-contributed content under a free, sharealike Commercial Commons license (CC-BY-SA). At least as soon as 2003, some specific wikis decided to use the non-commercial CC-BY-NC license instead: hey, this license supposedly protects the authors, and anyone is free to choose how they want to license their work anyway, right? However, in late 2012 Wikia added to its License terms of service a retroactive clause for all its non-commercial content, granting Wikia an exclusive right to use this content in commercial contexts, effectively making all CC-BY-NC content dual-licensed. And today, Wikia is publicizing a partnership with Sony to display Wikia content on Smart TVs, a clear commercial use. A similar event happened at TV Tropes when the site owners single-handedly changed the site's copyright notice from ShareAlike to the incompatible NonCommercial, without notifying nor requesting consent from its contributors. Is this the ultimate fate of all wikis? Do Creative Commons licenses hold any weight for community websites?"

Comcast-Time Warner Deal May Hinge On Low-Cost Internet Plan

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the and-we'll-do-the-dishes-for-two-weeks dept.

Government 114

techpolicy (3586897) writes "Comcast Corp.'s proposed $45 billion purchase of Time Warner Cable Inc. has brought the issue of the digital divide and the federal government's failing policies to decrease it back onto center stage, according to an article by the Center for Public Integrity. Comcast has told the Federal Communications Commission that it will offer its discounted Internet program for low-income customers to residents living in Time Warner Cable's service areas — if the FCC approves the purchase. Comcast offered FCC the same deal in 2011 when it bought NBCUniversal. But the low-cost program, called Internet Essentials, has signed up only 12 percent of the 2.6 million families eligible for the service since it was launched nearly three years ago. While the FCC and other federal agencies have spent billions of dollars trying to provide broadband access and training programs to the poor to close the divide, so far the policies haven't worked much. The percentage difference between Americans earning below $30,000 who have an Internet connection in their home and those earning $75,000 or more who have an in-home connection has narrowed only 4 percentage points from 2009 to 2013. As the Comcast purchase moves through its regulatory approval process, the center reports that it may be time to revisit the policies that will get more poor Americans connected, especially because to function in society today you have to be online."

Amazon Confirms Hachette Spat Is To "Get a Better Deal"

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the no-book-for-you dept.

Books 211

tlhIngan (30335) writes "Last week we heard that Amazon was withdrawing Hachette books from its virtual shelves including allowing preorders of the new JK Rowling book. Amazon has responded to these allegations, and confirms that yes, they are purposefully preventing pre-orders and lowering stock in order to get a better deal from Hachette. Amazon recommends that in the meantime, customers either buy a used or new copy from their zShops or buy from a competitor. Amazon admits there is nothing wrong with Hachette's business dealings and that they are a generally good supplier." Here's Hachette's response to the Amazon statement.

No, HealthCare.gov Doesn't Require 500 Million Lines of Code

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the but-somebody-on-the-teevee-said-so dept.

Government 142

itwbennett writes: "Half a billion lines of code for a transactional website — more than five times as much code as that behind OS X — just didn't pass the sniff test. But just how many lines of code does it take to generate HealthCare.gov? This question came up on Reddit again last week and it appears that we may now have an answer. One commenter who claimed to have worked on HealthCare.gov as part of the post launch clean-up crew at the end of 2013, provided counts of the lines of code behind HealthCare.gov, broken down by programming/markup language."

German Authorities Lack Evidence To Prosecute Anyone For NSA Spying

Unknown Lamer posted about 5 months ago | from the leave-no-trace dept.

Privacy 107

jfruh (300774) writes "The revelations about the NSA's surveillance program caused particular outrage in Germany, a country that is closely allied with the United States but nevertheless found that its leader's cell phone was being snooped on. Nevertheless, the German federal prosecutor's office will not be bringing any charges against anyone, mostly because they lack enough evidence (Google translation). The decision is sparking anger among German privacy advocates."

Temporary Classrooms Are Bad For the Environment, and Worse For Kids

Unknown Lamer posted about 5 months ago | from the false-economy dept.

Education 187

tcd004 (134130) writes "You've always suspected those trailer-type portable classrooms are no good, right? It turns out you're right. Analysis of prefabricated classrooms in Washington shows the structures often don't allow for proper ventilation, leading to terrible air quality for kids. Students in temporary classrooms have higher rates of absenteeism than those in standard classrooms. And the energy-inefficient structures often become permanent, sucking on school energy bills for decades, and requiring more upkeep than permanent classrooms. What's needed are new designs for healthy, sustainable temporary classrooms."

Federal Court Pulls Plug On Porn Copyright Shakedown

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the millions-of-people-unwilling-to-admit-to-being-relieved dept.

The Courts 136

netbuzz writes: "The Electronic Frontier Foundation is calling it a 'crushing blow for copyright trolls.' A federal appeals court today has for the first time ruled against what critics call a shakedown scheme aimed at pornography downloaders and practiced by the likes of AF Holdings, an arm of notorious copyright troll Prenda Law. The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit called the lawsuit 'a quintessential example of Prenda Law's modus operandi' in reversing a lower court ruling that would have forced a half-dozen ISPs to identify account holders associated with 1,058 IP addresses."

Why Snowden Did Right

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the information-wants-to-be-free-and-private dept.

Government 348

Bruce66423 writes: "Ebon Moglen Gives a comprehensive explanation of how the NSA's surveillance operations are a threat to a functioning democracy, and why there is a need for real change. There are interesting parallels to the Roman Empires: 'The power of that Roman empire rested in its leaders' control of communications. ... The emperors invented the posts to move couriers and messages at the fastest possible speed. Using that infrastructure, with respect to everything that involved the administration of power, the emperor made himself the best-informed person in the history of the world. That power eradicated human freedom. "Remember," said Cicero to Marcellus in exile, "wherever you are, you are equally within the power of the conqueror.'

Nowadays, 'Our military listeners have invaded the centre of an evolving net, where conscriptable digital superbrains gather intelligence on the human race for purposes of bagatelle and capitalism. In the US, the telecommunications companies have legal immunity for their complicity, thus easing the way further. The invasion of our net was secret, and we did not know that we should resist. But resistance developed as a fifth column among the listeners themselves. Because of Snowden, we now know that the listeners undertook to do what they repeatedly promised respectable expert opinion they would never do. They always said they would not attempt to break the crypto that secures the global financial system. That was false.'"

Iran Court Summons Mark Zuckerberg For Facebook Privacy Violations

timothy posted about 5 months ago | from the beacon-of-tolerance-and-privacy dept.

Facebook 304

wiredmikey (1824622) writes "An Iranian judge has summoned Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg to answer allegations that his company's apps have breached people's privacy, it was reported Tuesday. The court in Fars province ordered that Zuckerberg address unspecified 'violation of privacy' claims made by Iranians over the reach of Facebook-owned apps, ISNA news agency reported. 'Based on the judge's verdict, the Zionist manager of Facebook... should report to the prosecutor's office to defend himself and make compensation for damages,' Rouhollah Momen-Nasab, a senior Iranian Internet security official, told ISNA. Access to social networks, including Twitter and Facebook, are routinely blocked by Iranian authorities, as are other websites considered un-Islamic or detrimental to the regime."

Australian iPhone and iPad Users Waylaid By Ransomware

timothy posted about 5 months ago | from the beware-the-jabberwock-my-son dept.

Australia 52

DavidGilbert99 (2607235) writes "Multiple iPhone/iPad/Mac users in Australia are reporting their devices being remotely locked and a ransom demand being made to get them unlocked again. However, unlike PC ransomware, the vector of attack here seems to be Apple's iCloud service with the attacker getting to a database of username/password credentials associated with the accounts. It is unclear if the database was one of Apple's or the hacker is simply using the fact that people reuse the same password for multiple accounts and is using data stolen from another source. Apple is yet to respond, but there has already been one report of the issue affecting a user in the UK."

Torrentz.eu Domain Name Suspended

Unknown Lamer posted about 5 months ago | from the searching-is-now-a-crime dept.

Piracy 226

First time accepted submitter S37Rigor Mortis (1601271) writes "Torrentz.eu, the largest torrent search engine on the Internet, has had its domain name suspended following a request from the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit in the UK. The site continues to operate under two alternative domains, and is hoping to move the .eu domain to a new registrar." Update: 05/27 12:53 GMT by T : That was quick; the site is back, "after the owners pointed out that its suspension was illegal."

The Internet Is Now Part of the Crime Scene

samzenpus posted about 4 months ago | from the looking-back dept.

Crime 145

theodp (442580) writes "Over at Forbes, Kashmir Hill examines the disturbing Internet footprint of Santa Barbara shooter Elliot Rodger. 'A decade ago,' observes TechCrunch's John Biggs in The Internet Is Now Part Of The Crime Scene, 'a crime scene was a photo and a report. Now it is a sea of interconnected tracings, the murderer bobbing loosely in social media and the forums. We can watch him make his way through these straits, we can watch the madness growing, and we can watch his terrible end, all through murk of media. We are quick to judge and we are quick to look at his wake and say, definitively, that he was this or he was that. He was frustrated. The frustration grew. He went to a place he thought would help. It didn't.'"

Twitter Capitulates To Governments, Censors Users

timothy posted about 4 months ago | from the cost-of-doing-business-with-hitler dept.

Censorship 91

An anonymous reader writes "Twitter made a public stance in 2011 to remain a platform for free speech, having helped fuel movements such as the Arab Spring. This past week, however, Twitter is shown to have complied with Russian government demands to block a pro-Ukrainian Twitter feed from reaching Russian citizens, with Turkish government demands that it remove content that the Turkish government wants removed, and with a Pakistani bureaucrat's request that content he considers blasphemous and unethical be censored in Pakistan. Given Twitter's role in the democratic uprisings of the past few years, what do these capitulations bode for future movements? Will other platforms take Twitter's place? Or is the importance to democracy of platforms such as Twitter overblown?"

Sifting Mt. Gox's Logs Reveals Suspicious Trading Patterns

timothy posted about 5 months ago | from the didn't-do-it-and-nobody-saw-me dept.

Bitcoin 143

This analysis of trading logs from the Mt. Gox Bitcoin exchange analyzes a subset of the transactions that took place there prior to the exchange's collapse, and makes the case that two bots (the writer calls them "Willy," and "Markus") were making suspicious transactions which may have been used to intentionally manipulate the trading price, and which can explain the loss of Bitcoin inventory on which the exchange's failure was blamed. The author of the analysis says "[T]here is more than plenty of evidence to suspect that what happened at Mt. Gox may have been an inside job. What I hope to achieve by releasing this analysis into the wild is for the public to learn the truth behind what happened at Mt. Gox, how it affected the Bitcoin price, and hopefully for the individuals responsible for the massive fraud that occurred at Mt. Gox to be put to justice. Although the evidence shown in this report is far from conclusive, it can hopefully spur a more rigorous investigation into Mt. Gox’s accounting data, both by the public (using the leaked data) and the authorities (forensic investigation on the actual data)."

After Knocked-Down Damages Claim, Apple Again Seeks to Ban Some Samsung Phones

timothy posted about 5 months ago | from the literally-anti-competitive-behavior dept.

Cellphones 114

Bloomberg reports that after Apple's patent victory in court last week over smart-phone rival Samsung, Apple is seeking a sales ban on several specific phones from Samsung; none of them are currently flagship devices. "The nine devices targeted by Cupertino, California-based Apple for a U.S. sales ban include the Admire, Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy Note, Galaxy Note 2, Galaxy S2, Galaxy S2 Epic 4G Touch, Galaxy S2 Skyrocket, Galaxy S3 and Stratosphere." Getting the competition blocked from the marketplace over patent claims is something that Apple's tried before in connection with its beef with Samsung, and the company has had mixed results, depending on jurisdiction. Last week's decision in favor of Apple hints that the jury didn't think the company deserved the entire $2.2 billion it was seeking, awarding (a mere) $120 million, instead.

US Gov't Seeks 7-Month Sentence For LulzSec's Sabu

timothy posted about 5 months ago | from the just-call-it-good dept.

Crime 76

An anonymous reader writes with this news from Wired: "As a reward for his extensive cooperation helping prosecutors hunt down his fellow hackers, the government is seeking time served for the long-awaited sentencing of top LulzSec leader Hector Xavier Monsegur, also known as 'Sabu.' After delaying his sentencing for nearly three years, the government has asked a federal court to sentence Monsegur to time served — just seven months — calling him an 'extremely valuable and productive cooperator' in a document that details for the first time his extensive cooperation providing 'unprecedented access to LulzSec.'" That's much less than the 317 months in prison he might otherwise face.

NASA Money Crunch Means Trouble For Spitzer Space Telescope

timothy posted about 5 months ago | from the infinite-desires-finite-resources dept.

Space 107

Scientific American reports that an ongoing budget crunch at NASA may spell doom for the Spitzer Space Telescope, the agency having "taken stock of its fleet of orbiting astrophysics telescopes and decided which to save and which to shutter. Among the winners were the Hubble Space Telescope, the Chandra X-Ray Observatory and the Kepler planet-hunting telescope, which will begin a modified mission designed to compensate for the recent failure of two of its four stabilizing reaction wheels." Also from the SciAm article: "Until JWST comes online, no other telescope can approach Spitzer’s sensitivity in the range of infrared light it sees. The Senior Review report noted that Spitzer had the largest oversubscription of any NASA mission from 2013 to 2014, meaning that it gets about seven times more applications for observing time from scientists than it can accommodate. ...'The guest observing programs were very powerful because you get people from all over the world proposing ideas that maybe the people on the team wouldn’t have come up with,' [senior review panel chair Ben R.] Oppenheimer says. 'But it’s got to be paid for.'"

US May Prevent Chinese Hackers From Attending Def Con, Black Hat

timothy posted about 5 months ago | from the like-a-george-lucas-script dept.

Security 193

Taco Cowboy (5327) links to a report from Reuters that says "Washington is considering using visa restrictions to prevent Chinese nationals from attending popular summer hacking conferences in Las Vegas as part of a broader effort to curb Chinese cyber espionage, a senior administration official said Saturday. The official said that Washington could use such visa restrictions and other measures to keep Chinese from attending the August Def Con and Black Hat events to maintain pressure on China after the United States this week charged five Chinese military officers with hacking into U.S. companies to steal trade secrets."

FCC Gets Go-Ahead For Plan To Expand Rural Internet Access

timothy posted about 5 months ago | from the we-call-them-the-hinterlands dept.

The Internet 156

The FCC's plan to use fees collected from big telecom companies to expand Internet infrastructure in rural parts of the U.S. was given a green light yesterday in Denver, by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. Those telecoms maintained that the FCC's mandate did not extend to using the money to pay for Internet service, but a three-judge panel dismissed their challenge. From The Verge: "The FCC originally pitched the program as part of the Universal Service Fund in 2011, noting in a report a year earlier that approximately 14 million people did not have access to broadband. The Connect America Fund aimed to use a portion of customer bills in other areas of the country to build out broadband infrastructure, including cellular data networks in those areas. That would begin with $300 million at the start, and up to $500 million as part of an annual budget."

German Court Rules That You Can't Keep Compromising Photos After a Break-Up

timothy posted about 5 months ago | from the talk-about-hard-to-enforce dept.

Privacy 334

mrspoonsi (2955715) writes "A German amateur photographer has found out after his ex-girlfriend took him to court, which ruled that the subjects of smutty pictures can withdraw their consent if they're naked. [News release in German.] The shutterbug was able to keep the clothed pictures, however, as they weren't considered to compromise the reputation of the woman in question."

Questionable Patents From MakerBot

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the you-should-play-nice-with-others dept.

Patents 56

An anonymous reader writes "OpenBeam USA is a Kickstarted company that builds open source aluminum construction systems (think high-quality erector sets). One of the main uses for the systems is building 3D printers, and creator Terence Tam is heavily involved in the 3D-printing community. He's now put up a blog post about some disturbing patents filed by MakerBot. In particular, he notes a patent for auto-leveling on a 3D printer. Not only is this an important upcoming technology for 3D printers, the restriction of which would be a huge blow to progress, it seems the patent was filed just a few short weeks after Steve Graber posted a video demonstrating such auto-leveling. There had also been a Kickstarter campaign for similar tech a few months earlier. Tam gives this warning: 'Considering the Stratasys — Afinia lawsuit, and the fact that Makerbot is now a subsidiary of Stratasys, it's not a stretch to imagine Makerbot coming after other open source 3D manufacturers that threaten their sales. After all, nobody acquires a patent warchest just to invite their competitors to sit around the campfire to sing Kumbaya. It is therefore vitally important that community developed improvements do not fall under Makerbot's (or any other company's) patent portfolio to be used at a later date to clobber the little guys.'"

Microsoft Fends Off Data Request, FBI Gets Data Another Way

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the more-than-one-way-to-eavesdrop-on-a-cat dept.

Government 152

An anonymous reader writes "In a time when the government avows that it cannot carry out justice without issuing secret warrants and National Security Letters to anyone other than the suspect, it is truly noteworthy when news breaks that the FBI, facing push-back from the likes of a company such as Microsoft, finds that it can indeed gather the information it needs for its investigation through a regular search warrant applied directly to its suspect. Such was the case on Thursday. Court documents (PDF) reveal that Microsoft filed a petition against the National Security Letter (NSL) it received involving one of its customers, citing violations to the First Amendment. The FBI later withdrew the NSL and went after their suspect in the old, Constitutionally-sound way. A federal judge ruled last year that the NSLs impinge on free speech' That judgement has been stayed, of course, pending appeal."

WikiLeaks: NSA Recording All Telephone Calls In Afghanistan

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the stirring-the-pot dept.

Government 241

On Monday, The Intercept reported that the NSA is recording the content of every cell phone call in the Bahamas. At the time of publication, The Intercept said there was another country in which the NSA was doing this, but declined to name it because of "specific, credible concerns that doing so could lead to increased violence." Now, reader Advocatus Diaboli points out that WikiLeaks has spilled the beans: the country being fully monitored by the NSA is Afghanistan. Julian Assange wrote, "Such censorship strips a nation of its right to self-determination on a matter which affects its whole population. An ongoing crime of mass espionage is being committed against the victim state and its population. By denying an entire population the knowledge of its own victimization, this act of censorship denies each individual in that country the opportunity to seek an effective remedy, whether in international courts, or elsewhere. Pre-notification to the perpetrating authorities also permits the erasure of evidence which could be used in a successful criminal prosecution, civil claim, or other investigations. ... We do not believe it is the place of media to 'aid and abet' a state in escaping detection and prosecution for a serious crime against a population. Consequently WikiLeaks cannot be complicit in the censorship of victim state X. The country in question is Afghanistan."

Yelp Reviews Help NYC Health Department Find and Close Dirty Restaurants

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the bad-dates dept.

Government 64

An anonymous reader writes with news about a study that investigated the effectiveness of Yelp reviews in pinpointing the source of foodborne illnesses. "In 2012, New York City's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) found that residents weren't turning to the city's free 311 service to make such complaints, but rather they were reporting their experiences in Yelp reviews. So the CDC, in collaboration with the New York City DOHMH, Yelp, and Columbia University, conducted a nine-month long research into the effectiveness of using online reviews to identify sources of foodborne illnesses. The study discovered 468 actionable complaints, 97% of which hadn't been officially reported to the city, and analyzed roughly 294,000 Yelp restaurant reviews. Subsequent investigations on suspected restaurants turned up evidence of bare-handed food handling, cross-contamination, or even the presence of mice and cockroaches. The study concluded that providing the public with more options for reporting complaints about restaurants, particularly in the social media sphere, would help in the identification and possible closure of sources of foodborne illnesses."

Who Helped Kill Patent Troll Reform In the Senate

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the whoever-has-the-most-money dept.

Patents 157

First time accepted submitter VT-802-Software (3663479) writes "A bipartisan proposal to curb patent trolls was shelved by the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Wednesday. 'Supporters of the compromise accuse trial lawyers, universities, pharmaceutical companies and biotech companies for foiling the plan at the eleventh hour. As late as Tuesday, the University of Vermont and a biotech coalition each sent letters to Leahy opposing the legislation. "We believe the measures in the legislation go far beyond what is necessary or desirable to combat abusive patent litigation, and would do serious damage to the patent system," reads one of the letters. "Many of the provisions would have the effect of treating every patent holder as a patent troll."'"

NSA Surveillance Reform Bill Passes House 303 Votes To 121

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the better-than-nothing dept.

United States 208

First time accepted submitter strangeintp (892348) writes "The first legislation aimed specifically at curbing US surveillance abuses revealed by Edward Snowden passed the House of Representatives on Thursday, with a majority of both Republicans and Democrats. But last-minute efforts by intelligence community loyalists to weaken key language in the USA Freedom Act led to a larger-than-expected rebellion by members of Congress, with the measure passing by 303 votes to 121. The bill's authors concede it was watered down significantly in recent days but insist it will still outlaw the practice of bulk collection of US telephone metadata by the NSA first revealed by Snowden."

California Opens Driverless Car Competition With Testing Regulations

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the johnny-cab dept.

Transportation 167

smaxp (2951795) writes "California just released rules for testing autonomous vehicles on California's roads and highways. Californians will soon be seeing more autonomous vehicles than just those built by the Google X labs. These vehicles offer great promise, such as freeing the driver's attention for productivity or leisure, better safety and less congestion. It will be a while, though, before we see these vehicles on the road. From the article: 'Getting started requires the RMV’s approval of testing under controlled circumstances prior to testing on public roads. The manufactures must insure the vehicles with a $5 million surety bond. Autonomous vehicle manufacturers need a permit and test drivers need a special license. The RMV will receive applications beginning on July 1, 2014, and the permits that are granted will be announced beginning on September 1, 2014.'"

Japanese Court Rules Against Restarting Ohi Reactors

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the fear-is-power-against-power dept.

Power 75

AmiMoJo writes: "A Japanese court has ordered the operator of the Ohi nuclear plant in Fukui Prefecture, central Japan, not to restart two of its reactors, citing inadequate safety measures. The plant's No. 3 and 4 reactors were halted for regular inspections last September. Local residents filed a lawsuit asking that the reactors be kept offline. They said an estimate of possible tremors is too small, and that the reactors lack backup cooling systems. The operator, Kansai Electric Power Company, has insisted that no safety problems exist."

Interviews: Ask Jennifer Granick What You Will

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the go-ahead-and-ask dept.

Your Rights Online 58

samzenpus (5) writes "Jennifer Granick was one of the primary crafters of a 2006 exception to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and served as the EFF's Civil Liberties Director. She has represented many high profile hackers during her career and was sought out by Aaron Swartz after his arrest. She currently serves as the Director of Civil Liberties for the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School. Jennifer has agreed to answer your questions about security, electronic surveillance, data protection, copyright, and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Please limit yourself to one question per post."

5 Years Later, 'Do Not Track' System Ineffective

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the never-track-me-unless-you-feel-like-tracking-me dept.

Advertising 254

An anonymous reader sends this excerpt from ComputerWorld: "In 2009, a few Internet privacy advocates developed an idea that was supposed to give people a way to tell websites they don't want to be monitored as they move from website to website. The mechanism, which would eventually be built into all the major browsers, was called Do Not Track. ... But today, DNT hangs by a thread, neutered by a failure among stakeholders to reach agreement. Yes, if you turn it on in your browser, it sends a signal in the form of an HTTP header to Web companies' servers. But it probably won't change what data they collect. That's because most websites either don't honor DNT — it's currently a voluntary system — or they interpret it in different ways. Another problem — perhaps the biggest — is that Web companies, ad agencies and the other stakeholders have never reached agreement on what "do not track" really means."

Google Using YouTube Threat As Leverage For Cheaper Streaming Rights

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the not-playing-fair dept.

Youtube 197

Sockatume writes: "According to a press release issued by WIN, a group representing independent musicians, Google is threatening to de-list musicians' videos from YouTube if they do not agree to the terms for its unannounced streaming music service. The template contracts issued to musicians are described as 'undervalued' relative to other streaming services, and are not open for negotiation. The press release was issued by WIN but rescinded when Google agreed to further discussions; The Associated Free Press and The Guardian have published stories based on that original release."

Blizzard Sues Starcraft II Cheat Creators

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the zerging-with-lawyers dept.

The Courts 252

qubezz writes: "TorrentFreak reports that on Monday, Blizzard filed a lawsuit in US District court in California against the programmers behind the popular Starcraft II cheat 'ValiantChaos MapHack.' The complaint seeks relief from 'direct copyright infringement,' 'contributory copyright infringement,' 'vicarious copyright infringement,' 'trafficking in circumvention devices,' etc. The suit seeks the identity of the cheat's programmers, as it fishes for names of John Does 1-10, in addition to an injunction against the software (which remains on sale) and punitive damages. Blizzard claims losses from diminished user experiences, and also that 'when users of the Hacks download, install, and use the Hacks, they directly infringe Blizzard's copyright in StarCraft II, including by creating unauthorized derivative works"."

IT Pro Gets Prison Time For Sabotaging Ex-Employer's System

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the fractions-of-a-penny dept.

Crime 265

itwbennett writes: "In June 2012, Ricky Joe Mitchell of Charleston, West Virginia, found out he was going to be fired from oil and gas company EnerVest and in response he decided to reset the company's servers to their original factory settings. He also disabled cooling equipment for EnerVest's systems and disabled a data-replication process. After pleading guilty in January, Mitchell has been sentenced to four years in federal prison."

Zenimax Sues Oculus Over VR Tech

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the being-jerks-for-fun-and-profit dept.

Facebook 97

An anonymous reader writes "We had hints at this when Zenimax accused John Carmack of stealing 'proprietary technology and know-how,' but now it's official: Zenimax is suing Oculus VR over its virtual reality headset technology. 'According to a statement released by Zenimax, the lawsuit was filed over what it perceives to be the defendants' illegal exploitation of intellectual property, including "trade secrets, copyrighted computer code, and technical know-how relating to virtual reality technology" that was developed by Zenimax. Zenimax is also seeking to take Oculus and Luckey to task for breach of contract, unjust enrichment, and unfair competition. Zenimax continues to claim that it provided IP to Oculus under a legal agreement that it would be owned exclusively by ZeniMax and could not be "used, disclosed, or transferred to third parties without Zenimax's approval."'"

White House Pressures Legislators Into Gutting USA FREEDOM Act

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the too-bad-everybody-moved-their-indignation-over-to-net-neutrality dept.

Government 284

The U.S. House of Representatives has substantially reduced the effectiveness of the USA FREEDOM Act, a surveillance reform bill that sought to end mass collection of U.S. citizens' data. House Leadership was pressured by the Obama Administration to weaken many of the bill's provisions. The EFF and the Center for Democracy & Technology had both given their backing to the bill earlier this month, but they've now withdrawn their support. CDT Senior Counsel Harley Geiger said, "The Leadership of the House is demonstrating that it wants to end the debate about surveillance, rather than end bulk collection. As amended, the bill may not prevent collection of data on a very large scale in a manner that infringes upon the privacy of Americans with no connection to a crime or terrorism. This is quite disappointing given the consensus by the public, Congress, the President, and two independent review groups that ending bulk collection is necessary."

Robyn Greene of the Open Technology Institute added, "We are especially disappointed by the weakening of the language intended to prohibit bulk collection of innocent Americans’ records. Although we are still hopeful that the bill’s language will end the bulk collection of telephone records and prevent indiscriminate collection of other types of records, it may still allow data collection on a dangerously massive scale. Put another way, it may ban ‘bulk’ collection of all records of a particular kind, but still allow for ‘bulky’ collection impacting the privacy of millions of people. Before this bill becomes law, Congress must make clear—either through amendments to the bill, through statements in the legislative record, or both—that mass collection of innocent people’s records isn’t allowed."

AT&T Hacker 'weev' Demands One Bitcoin For Each Hour He Spent In Jail

Unknown Lamer posted about 5 months ago | from the re-arrested-on-terror-charges-in-3-2-... dept.

AT&T 449

Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes "The notorious troll and hacker known as Andrew 'weev' Auernheimer spent 13 months in jail for exposing an AT&T security flaw. He was recently released when a federal court overturned the conviction on grounds of improper venue. Now, Auernheimer has penned an open letter to the Department of Justice in which he demands reparations for acts of 'fraud' and 'violence' carried out against him over the past three years. Those reparations must be paid in Bitcoin, he says — 28,296, to be exact. At current market value, that comes out to $13.7 million. The bombastic letter is titled 'Open letter to federal scum,' and was allegedly bcc'd to 'a few hundred journalists.' In it, 28-year-old Auernheimer writes that he calculated the sum owed to him based on his market value:" A gem: "Know that all this wealth will be directed towards a good and charitable cause. I am building a series of memorial groves for the greatest patriots of our generation: Timothy McVeigh, Andrew Stack, and Marvin Heemeyer. You see, In the 'Special Housing Unit,' which is Bureau of Prisons codespeak for 'solitary confinement' and 'torture,' I had enough time to think about the current state of federal government. "

Declining LG's New Ad-friendly Privacy Policy Removes Features From Smart TVs

Unknown Lamer posted about 5 months ago | from the apt-get-install-xbmc dept.

Television 221

BUL2294 (1081735) writes "Techdirt and Consumerist posted articles about a user in the UK who, after a firmware update to his 2-year old LG Smart TV, declined their new Privacy Policy, only to find that most Internet-connected features (e.g. BBC iPlayer, Skype) of the TV now no longer work. From the Techdirt article: 'Does a manufacturer have the right to "brick" certain integral services just because the end user doesn't feel comfortable sharing a bunch of info with LG and other, unnamed third parties? LG certainly feels it has the right to do this. In fact, it makes no secret of this in its long Privacy Policy — a document that spends more time discussing the lack thereof, rather than privacy itself. The opening paragraph makes this perfectly clear.' To add, even declining the policy still results in non-specified information being sent to LG. LG's policy of spying on the viewing habits of customers, along with sending filenames of videos stored on USB devices connected to TVs, was previously discussed on Slashdot."

Kaleidescape Settles With DVD CCA But No Victory For DRM

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the giant-waste-of-time dept.

DRM 76

An anonymous reader writes "10 years ago the copyright police at the DVD CCA sued Kaleidescape for creating movie servers that (allegedly in breach of contract) allowed customers to copy their DVDs onto a hard drive. Yesterday, a California court announced the was voluntarily dismissed. 'Kaleidescape has always maintained that the DVD CCA contracts express no such prohibitions. In any case, Kaleidescape servers make bit-for-bit copies so that the digital rights management (DRM) provisions of CSS are preserved. The legal imbroglio with the DVD CCA has forced Kaleidescape to impose burdens on its customers and its engineers while offshore companies like AnyDVD and the U.S. manufacturers that employ their legally untouchable software proceed with impunity.' Is there a broader implication for DRM? Not really."

Congress Unhappy With FCC's Proposed Changes To Net Neutrality

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the they-can-tell-which-way-the-wind-is-blowing dept.

The Internet 208

Presto Vivace writes with news that the FCC's suggested net neutrality rules are facing opposition in Congress. "FCC chairman Tom Wheeler took the hot seat today in an oversight hearing before the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology to testify about current issues before his agency, including net neutrality. The overriding theme of the day? Pretty much everyone who spoke hates the rule the FCC narrowly approved for consideration last week — just for different reasons." Wheeler himself made some interesting comments in response to their questions: "[He said] the agency recognizes that Internet providers would be disrupting a 'virtuous cycle' between the demand for free-flowing information on one hand and new investment in network upgrades on the other if they started charging companies like Google for better access to consumers. What's more, he said, the FCC would have the legal authority to intervene. 'If there is something that interferes with that virtuous cycle — which I believe paid prioritization does — then we can move against it,' Wheeler said, speaking loudly and slowly. A little later, in response to a question from Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), Wheeler cited network equipment manufacturers who've argued that you can't create a fast lane without worsening service for some Internet users. 'That's at the heart of what you're talking about here,' Wheeler said. 'That would be commercially unreasonable under our proposal.'" Here are instructions for how to send your comment to the FCC for those so inclined.

Why Lavabit Shut Down

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the read-this-if-you-want-your-day-to-get-worse dept.

Encryption 304

An anonymous reader writes "Ladar Levison, founder of the encrypted email service Lavabit that shut down last year because of friction with U.S. government data requests, has an article at The Guardian where he explains the whole story. He writes, 'My legal saga started last summer with a knock at the door, behind which stood two federal agents ready to to serve me with a court order requiring the installation of surveillance equipment on my company's network. ... I had no choice but to consent to the installation of their device, which would hand the U.S. government access to all of the messages – to and from all of my customers – as they traveled between their email accounts other providers on the Internet. But that wasn't enough. The federal agents then claimed that their court order required me to surrender my company's private encryption keys, and I balked. What they said they needed were customer passwords – which were sent securely – so that they could access the plain-text versions of messages from customers using my company's encrypted storage feature. (The government would later claim they only made this demand because of my "noncompliance".) ... What ensued was a flurry of legal proceedings that would last 38 days, ending not only my startup but also destroying, bit by bit, the very principle upon which I founded it – that we all have a right to personal privacy.'"

FBI Need Potheads To Fight Cybercrime

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the government-dorito-budget-not-up-to-snuff dept.

Crime 319

An anonymous reader writes "The rate of cybercrime is growing and growing, and law enforcement is struggling to keep up. The FBI is in the process of beefing up its headcount, but they're running into a problem: many of the hackers applying for these jobs have a history of marijuana use, and the agency has a zero tolerance policy. FBI Director James Comey said, 'I have to hire a great work force to compete with those cyber criminals and some of those kids want to smoke weed on the way to the interview.' However, change may be on the horizon: Comey said the FBI is changing 'both our mindset and the way we do business.' He also encouraged job applications from former pot users despite the policy."

California Legislation Affirms Privacy Rights Against NSA Spying Methods

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the but-only-for-prius-owners dept.

Privacy 96

New submitter amxcoder writes: "A recent bill making its way through the California state legislature reaffirms 4th amendment protections against NSA-style wiretapping of cell phones and computer records, and declares that the NSA's data collection methods and practices are unconstitutional. The bill has passed the California Senate with only a single opposing vote. It would require a warrant to be issued by a Judge before the state's law enforcement and other departments can assist federal agencies in obtaining these records. Similar bills in other states are trickling through the legislative process, but California's is the furthest along. At the least, it will establish that a state of 38 million people are unhappy with the NSA's methods."

Driverless Cars Could Cripple Law Enforcement Budgets

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the jaywalking-soon-to-become-very-expensive dept.

Transportation 626

colinneagle writes "Google's driverless cars have now combined to drive more than 700,000 miles on public roads without receiving one citation, The Atlantic reported this week. While this raises a lot of questions about who is responsible to pay for a ticket issued to a speeding autonomous car – current California law would have the person in the driver's seat responsible, while Google has said the company that designed the car should pay the fine – it also hints at a future where local and state governments will have to operate without a substantial source of revenue.

Approximately 41 million people receive speeding tickets in the U.S. every year, paying out more than $6.2 billion per year, according to statistics from the U.S. Highway Patrol published at StatisticBrain.com. That translates to an estimated $300,000 in speeding ticket revenue per U.S. police officer every year. State and local governments often lean on this source of income when they hit financial trouble. A study released in 2009 examined data over a 13-year period in North Carolina, finding a 'statistically significant correlation between a drop in local government revenue one year, and more traffic tickets the next year,' Popular Science reported. So, just as drug cops in Colorado and Washington are cutting budgets after losing revenue from asset and property seizures from marijuana arrests, state and local governments will need to account for a drastic reduction in fines from traffic violations as autonomous cars stick to the speed limit."

China Bans Government Purchases of Windows 8

timothy posted about 5 months ago | from the everybody's-got-priorities dept.

China 200

itwbennett (1594911) writes "Last week, China's Central Government Procurement Center posted a notice on new requirements for government tender, that included, among other things, the mysterious request that Windows 8 be excluded from the bidding process on computer purchases. The agency could not be reached Tuesday, but China's state-controlled Xinhua News Agency said that the government was forbidding the use of Windows 8 after Microsoft recently ended official support for Windows XP."

Gun Rights Groups Say They Don't Oppose Smart Guns, Just Mandates

timothy posted about 5 months ago | from the force-breeds-resistance dept.

Government 584

Lucas123 (935744) writes "When two gun stores attempted to sell the nation's first integrated smart gun, the iP1, gun advocacy groups were charged in media reports with organizing protests that lead to the stores pulling the guns from their shelves or reneging on their promise to sell them in the first place. But, the National Rifle Association and the National Shooting Sports Foundation say they do not oppose smart gun technology, which they call "authorized user recognition" firearms. "We do oppose any government mandate of this technology, however. The marketplace should decide," Mike Bazinet, a spokesman for the NSSF, wrote in an email reply to Computerworld. However, the argument for others goes that if stores begin selling smart guns, then legislators will draft laws requiring the technology."

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