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EFF Tells Court That the NSA Knowingly and Illegally Destroyed Evidence

samzenpus posted about 2 months ago | from the was-that-wrong? dept.

Electronic Frontier Foundation 269

An anonymous reader writes in with this latest bit of EFF vs NSA news. 'We followed the back and forth situation earlier this year, in which there were some legal questions over whether or not the NSA needed to hang onto surveillance data at issue in various lawsuits, or destroy it as per the laws concerning retention of data. Unfortunately, in the process, it became clear that the DOJ misled FISA court Judge Reggie Walton, withholding key information. In response, the DOJ apologized, insisting that it didn't think the data was relevant — but also very strongly hinting that it used that opportunity to destroy a ton of evidence. However, this appeared to be just the latest in a long history of the NSA/DOJ willfully destroying evidence that was under a preservation order.

The key case where this evidence was destroyed was the EFF's long running Jewel v. NSA case, and the EFF has now told the court about the destruction of evidence, and asked the court to thus assume that the evidence proves, in fact, that EFF's clients were victims of unlawful surveillance. The DOJ/NSA have insisted that they thought that the EFF's lawsuit only covered programs issued under executive authority, rather than programs approved by the FISA Court, but the record in the case shows that the DOJ seems to be making this claim up.'

$10k Reward For Info On Anyone Who Points a Laser At Planes Goes Nationwide

Soulskill posted about 2 months ago | from the video-your-friends-for-fun-and-profit dept.

Shark 264

coondoggie writes: "The FBI today said it was making national a pilot program it tried out in 12 locations earlier this year that offers up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest of anyone who intentionally aims a laser at an aircraft. According to the FBI, the pilot locations have seen a 19% decrease in the number of reported laser-to-aircraft incidents. Those locations included: Albuquerque, Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, and Philadelphia."

US Secret Service Wants To Identify Snark

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 months ago | from the bound-for-success dept.

Privacy 213

beschra (1424727) writes "From the article: 'The U.S. Secret Service is seeking software that can identify top influencers and trending sets of social media data, allowing the agency to monitor these streams in real-time — and sift through the sarcasm. "We are not currently aware of any automated technology that could do that (detect sarcasm). No one is considered a leader in that,'" Jamie Martin, a data acquisition engineer at Sioux Falls, SD based Bright Planet, told CBS News.'

Why not just force Twitter to change TOS to require sarcasm tag?"

How Open Government Data Saved New Yorkers Thousands On Parking Tickets

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 months ago | from the pesky-citizens-ruining-revenues dept.

Stats 286

jfruh (300774) writes "Ben Wellington is a New Yorker and city planner with an interest in NYC Open Data, the city's online open government initiative. One thing he noticed in this vast dataset was that just two fire hydrants in the city generated tens of thousands of dollars a year in tickets. The sleuthing by which he figured out why is a great example of how open government data can help citizens in concrete ways."

Man Who Issued Securities For Bitcoins Settles With SEC

Soulskill posted about 2 months ago | from the if-it's-not-money,-it's-close-enough-for-government-work dept.

Bitcoin 56

MrBingoBoingo writes with news that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has settled federal civil charges with Erik Voorhees, a man who sold shares of two businesses in exchange for Bitcoins without registering them. Voorhees must make restitution for the $15,000 in profit he made, plus interest, and a $35,000 fine. Here's the SEC's filing (PDF). "The agreement reflects an expanded effort by U.S. regulators to cast a wider net over the burgeoning bitcoin economy. It comes as investor enthusiasm grows for direct offerings of shares by new bitcoin-focused ventures over bitcoin's global computer network. Maidsafe, a system for sharing computer memory, raised $7 million last month in such a deal."

FCC Website Hobbled By Comment Trolls Incited By Comedian John Oliver

Soulskill posted about 2 months ago | from the sweep-the-leg-johnny dept.

Government 144

An anonymous reader writes "In a recent segment of his new HBO show, Last Week Tonight, comedian John Oliver delivered a commentary (video) on the current net neutrality debate. He ended the segment by calling on all internet comment trolls to take advantage of the FCC's open comments section on the topic. 'We need you to get out there and for once in your lives focus your indiscriminate rage in a useful direction,' he said. 'Seize your moment, my lovely trolls, turn on caps lock, and fly my pretties! Fly! Fly! Fly!' While the true impact of John Oliver's editorial cannot be confirmed, the FCC nevertheless tweeted shortly after it aired that its website was experiencing technical difficulties due to heavy traffic. They accept comments via email as well at openinternet@fcc.gov."

Protecting Our Brains From Datamining

Soulskill posted about 2 months ago | from the we-all-know-what-your-brain-would-tell-us dept.

Privacy 100

Jason Koebler writes: 'Brainwave-tracking is becoming increasingly common in the consumer market, with the gaming industry at the forefront of the trend. "Neurogames" use brain-computer interfaces and electroencephalographic (EEG) gadgets like the Emotiv headset to read brain signals and map them to in-game actions. EEG data is "high-dimensional," meaning a single signal can reveal a lot of information about you: if you have a mental illness, are prone to addiction, your emotions, mood, and taste. If that data from gaming was collected and mined, it could theoretically be matched with other datasets culled from online data mining to create a complete profile of an individual that goes far beyond what they divulge through social media posts and emails alone. That's led some to develop privacy systems that protect your thoughts from hackers.'

Local Police Increasingly Rely On Secret Surveillance

Soulskill posted about 2 months ago | from the show-of-hands,-who's-surprised? dept.

Crime 146

v3rgEz writes: 'The Wall Street Journal reports on how local law enforcement is increasingly requesting (and receiving) sealed wiretap requests and surveillance that doesn't require a warrant for cellular data, a move that is making some courts uneasy — but not uneasy enough to stop the practice. "Across the U.S., thousands of similar law-enforcement requests for electronic monitoring are likewise locked away from public view, even after the investigations that spawned them have ended. In most cases, they stay sealed indefinitely—unlike nearly all other aspects of American judicial proceedings. Courts long have presumed that search warrants, for example, eventually should be made public." One group has set up a crowdfunding campaign to research how far the practice has spread, hoping to raise money to file and follow up on public records requests across the country for policies, invoices, and other "surveillance metadata."'

3D Printed Gun Maker Cody Wilson Defends Open Source Freedom

timothy posted about 2 months ago | from the comfortable-truths-aren't-the-ones-to-worry-about dept.

Censorship 354

Lucas123 (935744) writes "Cody Wilson, the 26-year-old former law school student who published plans for printing 3D guns online, disputed claims by universities and government agencies that his thermoplastic gun design is unsafe. Wilson claims the agencies that tested the guns did not build them to spec. In a Q&A with Computerworld, he also addressed why he's continuing to press regulatory agencies to allow him to offer the plans again for upload after being ordered to take them down, saying it's less about the Second Amendment and more about the implications of open source and the digital age. "If you want to talk about rights, what does it mean to respect a civil liberty or civil right? Well, it means you understand there are social costs in having that right; that's why it deserves protection in the first place," he said. Wilson is also planning to release other gun-related project, though not necessarily a CAD design."

Bill Blunden's Rejected DEF CON Presentation Posted Online

timothy posted about 2 months ago | from the what-I-was-going-to-say dept.

China 40

Nicola Hahn (1482985) writes "Though the Review Board at DEF CON squelched Bill Blunden's presentation on Chinese cyber-espionage, and the U.S. government has considered imposing visa restrictions to keep out Chinese nationals, Bill has decided to post both the presentation's slide deck and its transcript online. The talk focuses on Mike Rogers, in all his glory, a former FBI agent who delivers a veritable litany of hyperbolic misstatements (likely to be repeated endlessly on AM radio). Rather than allow the DEFCON Review Board to pass judgement as supposed .gov 'experts,' why not allow people to peruse the material and decide for themselves who is credible and who is not?" "Squelched" seems a little harsh (only so many talks can fit, and there's no accounting for taste), but it's certainly good to see any non-accepted DEF CON presentations made public.

Whistleblowers Enter the Post-Snowden Era

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 months ago | from the exile-not-optional dept.

Government 129

Presto Vivace (882157) writes GovExec Magazine reporting on the aftermath of Snowden's disclosures: '...At the Intelligence Community's Office of the Inspector General, [Dan Meyer, executive director for intelligence community whistleblowing and source protection] told Government Executive that a communitywide policy directive signed in March by the director of the Office of National Intelligence "is an affirmative statement that you have to blow the whistle" upon encountering wrongdoing, noting that in the past it was seen as an option. The new directive, he added, "shows firm support for the IC IG Whistleblowing program that actively promotes federal whistleblowing through lawful disclosures, which ultimately strengthens our nation's security." The key to the campaign of openness to whistleblowers, as distinct from criminal leakers and publicity seekers, Meyer stresses, is that it "must aid the agency mission. It is developmental and helps all stakeholders understand that we have rules in effect," he added. Meyer is expecting a bow wave of whistleblower retaliation cases (which can involve punishments ranging from demotion to pay cuts to required psychiatric evaluation) to come through his office directly or through a hotline in the coming months.'

Given the realities of the insider threat program and war on whistleblowers I can't say that I am optimistic about the new directive."

Justice Dept. Names ZeuS Trojan Author, Seizes Control of P2P "Gameover" Botnet

samzenpus posted about 2 months ago | from the shutting-it-down dept.

Crime 76

tsu doh nimh (609154) writes "The U.S. Justice Department announced today an international law enforcement operation to seize control over the Gameover ZeuS botnet, a sprawling network of hacked Microsoft Windows computers that currently infects an estimated 500,000 to 1 million compromised systems globally. Experts say PCs infected with Gameover are being harvested for sensitive financial and personal data, and that the botnet is responsible for more than $100 million in losses from online banking account takeovers. The government alleges that Gameover also was rented out to an elite cadre of hackers for use in online extortion attacks, spam and other illicit moneymaking schemes. In a complaint unsealed today, the DOJ further alleges that ZeuS and Gameover are the brainchild of a Russian man named Evgeniy Mikhailovich Bogachev, a.k.a. 'Slavik.'"

Patent Troll Ordered To Pay For the Costs of Fighting a Bad Patent

timothy posted about 2 months ago | from the once-in-a-while-justice-peeks-through dept.

Patents 191

We mentioned last year that FindTheBest CEO Kevin O'Connor had taken an unusual step, when confronted with a demand by patent troll company Lumen View that the startup pay $50,000 for what struck O'Connor as a frivolous patent: He not only refused, but pledged to spend a million bucks, if necessary, to fight Lumen View in court. Now, as Ars Technica reports, O'Connor has succeeded on a grand scale. Before trouncing Lumen View in court, Ars reports, "FindTheBest had spent about $200,000 on its legal fight—not to mention the productivity lost in hundreds of work hours spent by top executives on the lawsuit, and three all-company meetings. Now the judge overseeing the case has ruled (PDF) that it's Lumen View, not FindTheBest, that should have to pay those expenses. In a first-of-its-kind implementation of new fee-shifting rules mandated by the Supreme Court, US District Judge Denise Cote found that the Lumen View lawsuit was a 'prototypical exceptional case.'"

Daniel Ellsberg: Snowden Would Not Get a Fair Trial – and Kerry Is Wrong

timothy posted about 2 months ago | from the where-liddy-was-wrong dept.

Democrats 519

Daniel Ellsberg, no slouch himself in bringing to public awareness documents that reveal uncomfortable facts about government operations, says that "Edward Snowden is the greatest patriot whistleblower of our time." Ellsberg says, in an editorial at The Guardian pointed out by reader ABEND (15913), that Snowden cannot receive a fair trial without reform of the Espionage Act. According to Ellsberg, "Snowden would come back home to a jail cell – and not just an ordinary cell-block but isolation in solitary confinement, not just for months like Chelsea Manning but for the rest of his sentence, and probably the rest of his life. His legal adviser, Ben Wizner, told me that he estimates Snowden's chance of being allowed out on bail as zero. (I was out on bond, speaking against the Vietnam war, the whole 23 months I was under indictment). More importantly, the current state of whistleblowing prosecutions under the Espionage Act makes a truly fair trial wholly unavailable to an American who has exposed classified wrongdoing. Legal scholars have strongly argued that the US supreme court – which has never yet addressed the constitutionality of applying the Espionage Act to leaks to the American public – should find the use of it overbroad and unconstitutional in the absence of a public interest defense. The Espionage Act, as applied to whistleblowers, violates the First Amendment, is what they're saying. As I know from my own case, even Snowden's own testimony on the stand would be gagged by government objections and the (arguably unconstitutional) nature of his charges. That was my own experience in court, as the first American to be prosecuted under the Espionage Act – or any other statute – for giving information to the American people." Ellsberg rejects the distinction made by John Kerry in praising Ellsberg's own whistleblowing as patriotic, but Snowden's as cowardly and traitorous.

The Sudden Policy Change In Truecrypt Explained

timothy posted about 2 months ago | from the maybe-your-canary-needs-a-canary dept.

Encryption 475

X10 (186866) writes "I use Truecrypt, but recently someone pointed me to the SourceForge page of Truecrypt that says it's out of business. I found the message weird, but now there's an explanation: Truecrypt has received a letter from the NSA." Anyone with a firmer source (or who can debunk the claim), please chime in below; considering the fate of LavaBit, it sure sounds plausible. PCWorld lists some alternative software, for Windows users in particular, but do you believe that Microsoft's BitLocker is more secure?

NSA Collecting Millions of Faces From Web Images

timothy posted about 2 months ago | from the no-smiling-please dept.

Communications 136

Advocatus Diaboli (1627651) writes "The National Security Agency is harvesting huge numbers of images of people from communications that it intercepts through its global surveillance operations for use in sophisticated facial recognition programs, according to top-secret documents. The spy agency's reliance on facial recognition technology has grown significantly over the last four years as the agency has turned to new software to exploit the flood of images included in emails, text messages, social media, videoconferences and other communications, the N.S.A. documents reveal. Agency officials believe that technological advances could revolutionize the way that the N.S.A. finds intelligence targets around the world, the documents show. The agency's ambitions for this highly sensitive ability and the scale of its effort have not previously been disclosed."

LAPD Gets Some Hand-Me-Down Drones From Seattle, Promises Discretion

timothy posted about 2 months ago | from the orange-groves-as-far-as-the-eye-can-see dept.

Crime 108

After Seattleites objected to the local police department's plan to deploy unmanned aircraft, that plan was withdrawn. Now, it seems, Seattle has found a willing recipient for some of the drones that it no longer has use for: the Los Angeles Police Department. From the linked article: "The Draganflyer X6 aircraft, which resemble small helicopters, are each about 3 feet wide and equipped with a camera, video camera and infrared night-vision capabilities. In making the announcement, however, department officials were at pains to make it clear the LAPD doesn't intend to use the new hardware to keep watch from above over an unsuspecting public. If they're used at all, the remotely controlled aircraft will be called on only for "narrow and prescribed uses" that will be made clear to the public, the statement said."

Pirate Bay Co-Founder Peter Sunde Arrested In Sweden

timothy posted about 2 months ago | from the high-priority dept.

Crime 221

An anonymous reader writes "Peter Sunde was arrested today in a police raid in southern Sweden. The Pirate Bay co-founder was wanted by Interpol as he had yet to serve prison time for his involvement with the site. Sunde's arrest comes exactly eight years after the police raided the Pirate Bay servers, which marked the start of the criminal prosecution against the site's founders." From the article: "While details are scarce at the moment, the Swedish newspaper Expressen reports that the arrest has been confirmed by the Swedish authorities. According to Peter Althin, Sunde’s lawyer, the news means that his client will most likely be sent to prison to serve his 8-month sentence. Sunde’s prison sentence was made final in 2012 after Sweden’s Supreme Court announced its decision not to grant leave to appeal in the long-running criminal case against the founders of The Pirate Bay."

New Federal Database Will Track Americans' Credit Ratings, Other Financial Info

timothy posted about 2 months ago | from the but-they-know-your-social-security-number dept.

United States 294

schwit1 (797399) writes "As many as 227 million Americans may be compelled to disclose intimate details of their families and financial lives — including their Social Security numbers — in a new national database being assembled by two federal agencies. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau posted an April 16 Federal Register notice of an expansion of their joint National Mortgage Database Program to include personally identifiable information that reveals actual users, a reversal of previously stated policy. The FHFA will manage the database and share it with CFPB. A CFPB internal planning document for 2013-17 describes the bureau as monitoring 95 percent of all mortgage transactions. FHFA officials claim the database is essential to conducting a monthly mortgage survey required by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 and to help it prepare an annual report for Congress."

Oregon vs. Oracle: the Battle of Blame Heats Up

timothy posted about 2 months ago | from the named-larry-ellison dept.

Oracle 83

Rambo Tribble (1273454) writes "The ongoing efforts to assign responsibility for the disastrous attempts to create the Cover Oregon health exchange, the primary contractor for which was Oracle Corporation, have entered a new round, with Governor John Kitzhaber calling on State Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum to initiate legal action against the firm. Kitzhaber has also sought the help of Washington D.C. in sanctioning Oracle, though Oregon's own management of the project and the terms of their contract with Oracle muddy the waters, considerably. Although the AG's office hasn't committed to filing suit, yet, AG Rosenblum has said, 'I share your determination to recover every dollar to which Oregon is entitled.' Although the outcome of this is uncertain, it is likely heads, both corporate and political, will roll."

Thousands of Europeans Petition For Their 'Right To Be Forgotten'

timothy posted about 2 months ago | from the don't-call-me-a-spammer-that-was-a-long-time-ago dept.

Privacy 224

The EU's new rule (the result of a court case published May 13) requiring that online businesses remove on request information that is "inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant" has struck a chord with more than 12,000 individuals, a number that's rising fast. Other search engines, ISPs, and firms are sure to follow, but the most prominent reaction to the decision thus far, and one that will probably influence all the ones to come, is Google's implementation of an online form that users can submit to request that information related to them be deleted. The Daily Mail reports that the EU ruling "has already been criticised after early indications that around 12 per cent of applications were related to paedophilia. A further 30 per cent concern fraud and 20 per cent were about people's arrests or convictions"; we mentioned earlier this month one pedophile's request for anonymity. As the First Post story linked above puts it, the requirement that sites scrub their data on request puts nternet companies in the position of having to interpret the court’s broad criteria for information meeting the mandate's definition of "forgettable," "as well as developing criteria for distinguishing public figures from private individuals." Do you favor opt-out permissions for reporting facts linked to individuals? What data or opinions about themselves should people not be able to suppress? (Note: Google's form has this disclaimer: "We're working to finalize our implementation of removal requests under European data protection law as soon as possible. In the meantime, please fill out the form below and we will notify you when we start processing your request." That finalization may take some time, since there are 28 data-protection agencies across the EU to harmonize.)

Congressman Introduces Bill To Limit FCC Powers

timothy posted about 2 months ago | from the but-regulators-are-perfect-and-righteous dept.

Government 176

An anonymous reader writes "Representative Bob Latta (R-OH) introduced a bill on Wednesday that would limit the FCC's power to regulate ISPs in a supposed effort to keep the internet free. The bill's text is currently not available on the Library of Congress webpage or on congress.gov, but a purported copy has been spotted on scribd. Representative Latta's press release nevertheless indicates that the bill is intended to prevent the FCC from re-classifying ISPs as common carriers under Title II. Latta is one of the 28 representatives who lobbied the FCC earlier this month and were shown to have received double the average monetary donations given to all House of Representative members from the cable industry over a two year period ending this past December."

German Intelligence Agency Planning To Follow Big NSA Brother On Shoestring

timothy posted about 2 months ago | from the ironie-und-sarcasmus dept.

Privacy 80

An anonymous reader, tongue in cheek, writes"Facebook, Twitter, et al are tools for terrorists planning to do whatever terrorists do, Germany's BND has discovered. Inevitably, real-time monitoring of these sites is necessary and urgently required [original, in German], not least because that Snowden chap has shown we're running behind the U.S. and UK. And Spain. And Italy. In short, it's a national emergency — 300 million euros, presto please — and if we do this smartly, we could even get a sense of what the population outside Germany thinks. And while we're at it, why not throw in automated enemy face recognition too — and biometry and-and a program to deform the faces of our own spies' selfies, so the enemy cannot google them. Time to invest in national security startups."

Popular Shuttered Torrent Site Demonoid Returns

timothy posted about 2 months ago | from the there-and-back-again dept.

Piracy 80

First time accepted submitter AudioEfex (637163) writes "Demonoid has emailed all registered users that it is back online — at its original site — in a new "cloud based" back-end. There have been various attempts in the past (including one accused of simply being malware), but so far this appears to be the original site admins and a legitimate resurrection. User registrations are also open at this time, but as a semi-private tracker, it's unknown how long that will continue."

Security Researchers Threatened With US Cybercrime Laws

Soulskill posted about 2 months ago | from the building-inspectors-threatened-with-arson-laws dept.

Security 156

An anonymous reader writes "The Guardian reports that many of the security industry's top researchers are being threatened by lawyers and law enforcement over their efforts to track down vulnerabilities in internet infrastructure. 'HD Moore, creator of the ethical hacking tool Metasploit and chief research officer of security consultancy Rapid7, told the Guardian he had been warned by U.S. law enforcement last year over a scanning project called Critical.IO, which he started in 2012. The initiative sought to find widespread vulnerabilities using automated computer programs to uncover the weaknesses across the entire internet. ... Zach Lanier, senior security researcher at Duo Security, said many of his team had "run into possible CFAA issues before in the course of research over the last decade." Lanier said that after finding severe vulnerabilities in an unnamed "embedded device marketed towards children" and reporting them to the manufacturer, he received calls from lawyers threatening him with action."

Zazzle.com Thinks Depictions of Pi Are Protected Intellectual Property

Soulskill posted about 2 months ago | from the attention-i-have-trademarked-the-space-between-letters-please-stop-using-it dept.

Math 264

Byteme writes: "A number of Zazzle.com users have had their art and products removed from the site after a man named Paul Ingrisano was granted a trademark for 'Pi Productions' using a logo that consists of this freely available version of the pi symbol from the Wikimedia website combined with a period. He made infringement claims against several websites, and Zazzle took down many clothing products that featured designs using the pi symbol. When users called them on it, they locked a public forum thread and said they're evaluating Ingrisano's complaint."

UPS Denies Helping the NSA 'Interdict' Packages

Soulskill posted about 2 months ago | from the what-can-brown-do-for-you dept.

Networking 207

An anonymous reader writes "When Glenn Greenwald's book came out recently, one of the most startling revelations was that the NSA has been intercepting shipments of networking gear to add spyware. Cisco was one of the vendors whose gear was altered, and now their shipping provider has spoken up about it: 'UPS, which Cisco has used since 1997 to ship hardware to customers around the world, said on Thursday that it did not voluntarily allow government officials to inspect its packages unless it is required to do so by law. "UPS' long-standing policy is to require a legal court-ordered process, such as a subpoena, before responding to any third-party requests," UPS spokeswoman Kara Ross wrote in an e-mail to TheBlot Magazine. "UPS is not aware of any court orders from the NSA seeking to inspect technology-related shipments." In a follow-up e-mail, Ross said UPS had no knowledge of similar orders from the FBI, CIA or any other federal agency.' That sounds like carefully parsed language to me. 'Did not voluntarily,' 'unless it is required to do so by law.' Perhaps they're bound by a National Security Letter?"

Proposed SpaceX Spaceport Passes Its Final Federal Environmental Review

samzenpus posted about 2 months ago | from the getting-the-green-light dept.

Space 40

An anonymous reader writes "The proposed SpaceX spaceport in Brownsville, Texas, has passed its final federal environmental review. 'The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which had raised concerns about possible impact on habitat for some endangered species, ultimately concluded that "the project is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any listed or proposed to be listed species nor adversely modify piping plover critical habitat". But wildlife officials don't expect the project to be harmless: Two individual cats, either from the endangered ocelot or jaguarondi species, could be lost as a result of the project in spite of efforts to avoid just that with measures such as posting warning signs along the road leading to the launch site. And federal wildlife officials also anticipate that more than 7 miles of beachfront used by nesting sea turtles could be disturbed by security patrols, though driving is already permitted on the beach.'"

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

samzenpus posted about 2 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 2 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 2 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 2 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 2 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 2 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 2 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 2 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 a month 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 a month 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 a month 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 2 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 2 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 2 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 2 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 2 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 2 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 2 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 2 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 2 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 2 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.

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