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Novartis denied cancer drug patent in landmark Indian case

beltsbear (2489652) writes | about a year and a half ago

Patents 0

beltsbear (2489652) writes "Following a reasonable view of drug patents, the Indian courts have decided that making small changes to an existing patented drug are not worthy of a new patent. This ruling makes way for low cost Indian cancer drugs that will save lives.
From the Article:
"Novartis lost a six-year legal battle after the court ruled that small changes and improvements to the drug Glivec did not amount to innovation deserving of a patent. The ruling opens the way for generic companies in India to manufacture and sell cheap copies of the drug in the developing world and has implications for HIV and other modern drugs too.""

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Defcad.org seized, shut down

Anonymous Coward writes | about a year and a half ago

Government 1

An anonymous reader writes "Defcad has been shut down. The Defcad/Defensedistributed crowd has been indicted on multiple counts which can be viewed at defcad.org."
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Ask Slashdot: How to stay ahead of phone tracking ?

Anonymous Coward writes | about a year and a half ago

Privacy 2

An anonymous reader writes "In the last few years there has been a significant upsurge in subverting the cellular network for law enforcement purposes. Besides old school tapping, phones are have become the ideal informant: they can report a fairly accurate location and can be remotely turned into covert listening devices. This is often done without a warrant.
How can I default the RF transmitter to off, be notified when the network is paging my IMSI and manually re-enable it (or not) if I opt to acknowledge the incoming call or SMS ? How to prevent remote software updates ? How to prevent GPS data from ever being gathered or sent ? How to authenticate the tower I'm connecting to is genuine and not a Stingray device, or at least how can spot encryption algorithm degradation by the man in the middle ? Is troglodytism the only valid defense ?"

Why Surveillance is Bad

Anonymous Coward writes | about a year and a half ago

Privacy 0

An anonymous reader writes "We have a sense that surveillance is bad, but we often have a hard time saying exactly why. In an interesting and readable new article in the Harvard Law Review, law professor Neil Richards argues that surveillance is bad for two reasons — because it menaces our intellectual privacy (our right to read and think freely and secretly) and because it gives the watcher power over the watched, creating the risk of blackmail, persuasion, or discrimination. The article is available for free download at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2239412, and is featured on the Bruce Schneier security blog here: http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2013/03/the_dangers_of.html."
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Persecution of Barrett Brown and other internet freedom activists

Anonymous Coward writes | about a year and a half ago

Crime 0

An anonymous reader writes "Prosecutorial abuse is a drastically under-discussed problem in general, but it poses unique political dangers when used to punish and deter online activism. But it's becoming the preeminent weapon used by the US government to destroy such activism.

The pending federal prosecution of 31-year-old Barrett Brown poses all new troubling risks. That's because Brown — who has been imprisoned since September on a 17-count indictment that could result in many years in prison — is a serious journalist who has spent the last several years doggedly investigating the shadowy and highly secretive underworld of private intelligence and defense contractors, who work hand-in-hand with the agencies of the Surveillance and National Security State in all sorts of ways that remain completely unknown to the public. It is virtually impossible to conclude that the obscenely excessive prosecution he now faces is unrelated to that journalism and his related activism."

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Fighting TSA Harassment of Disabled Travelers

Anonymous Coward writes | about a year and a half ago

Government 0

An anonymous reader writes "A man with a neurological disorder is currently pushing the TSA to release a full list of its policies and procedures after a series of incidents in which he was harassed while trying to fly. His condition requires medical liquids and causes episodic muteness, and the TSA makes his encounters very difficult. From January: 'Boston Logan TSA conducted an illegal search of my xray-cleared documents (probably motivated either by my opting out or by my use of sign language to communicate). They refused to give me access to the pen and paper that I needed to communicate. Eventually they gave it to me, but then they took it away in direct retaliation for my using it to quote US v Davis and protest their illegal search (thereby literally depriving me of speech). They illegally detained me for about an hour on spurious, law enforcement motivated grounds (illegal under Davis, Aukai, Fofana, Bierfeldt, etc). ... TSA has refused to comply with the ADA grievance process; they are over a month beyond the statutory mandate for issuing a written determination.'"
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FCC To Update 15-Year-Old Cell Phone Radiation Standard

Anonymous Coward writes | about a year and a half ago

Cellphones 0

An anonymous reader writes "It's been more than a decade and a half since the FCC adopted a set of standards for radiation exposure from cell phones. The guidelines set in 1996 (and based on studies from the '80s) have applied to all cell phones released in the U.S. since then. Now, the FCC has decided that modern devices are just a tiny bit different than models from the '90s (where did those suitcase phones go?), so they're going to review and update the standard. 'Even though the FCC hasn't changed its standards for evaluating the safety of cell phones, it has provided consumers with information about how to minimize the risk of exposure to cell phone radiation. For example, the FCC recommends people use the speakerphone feature or an earpiece when talking on the phone, since increasing the distance the device is held from the body greatly reduces exposure. But the agency has not advocated for stricter warnings nor has it even endorsed these safety measures as necessary. The current review of the standards could change that as the agency will look at its testing procedures as well as the educational information it provides to the public about cell phone safety.'"
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DOJ, MIT, JSTOR Seek Anonymity in Swartz Case

theodp (442580) writes | about a year and a half ago

Crime 0

theodp (442580) writes "Responding to an earlier request by the estate of Aaron Swartz to disclose the names of those involved in the events leading to Aaron's suicide, counsel for MIT snippily told the Court, "The Swartz Estate was not a party to the criminal case, and therefore it is unclear how it has standing, or any legally cognizable interest, to petition for the modification of the Protective Order concerning others' documents." In motions filed on slow-news-day Good Friday (MIT's on spring break), the DOJ, MIT, and JSTOR all insisted on anonymity for those involved in the Swartz case, arguing that redacting of names was a must, citing threats posed by Anonymous and LulzSec, a badly-photoshopped postcard sent to Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Heymann and another sent to his Harvard Prof father, cake frosting, a gun hoax, and e-mail sent to MIT. From the DOJ filing: 'I also informed him [Swartz estate lawyer] that whatever additional public benefit might exist by disclosing certain names was, in this case, outweighed by the risk to those individuals of becoming targets of threats, harassment and abuse.' From the MIT filing: 'The publication of MIT's documents in unredacted form could lead to further, more targeted, and more dangerous threats and attacks...The death of Mr. Swartz has created a very volatile atmosphere.' From the JSTOR filing: 'The supercharged nature of the public debate about this case, including hacking incidents, gun hoaxes and threatening messages, gives JSTOR and its employees legitimate concern for their safety and privacy.'"

New Facebook-branded Android coming?

Earthquake Retrofit (1372207) writes | about a year and a half ago

Facebook 0

Earthquake Retrofit writes "The Register reports that "Facebook has sent out invitations to an event at its Menlo Park headquarters next week that many believe will see the launch of a new, Facebook-branded smartphone..."
I have lately become dissillusioned with Google having so much power over my phone and the usual privacy concerns, so this announcment means I now have a choice.

Oh, wait..."

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Ask Slashdot: Should Bitcoin Be Regulated?

Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes | about a year and a half ago

Bitcoin 0

Nerval's Lobster writes "Federal regulators are starting to make noise about Bitcoin, the digital currency that’s gained in recognition and value over the past few years: the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) is offering up “guidance” for digital currency and those who use it as part of commerce. But the Bitcoin Foundation, which is devoted to standardizing and promoting the currency, doesn't like that idea; as Patric Murck, the organization’s general counsel, wrote in a March 19 blog posting: "If FinCEN would like to expand its statutory authority over ‘money transmitters’ to include brand new categories such as ‘administrators’ and ‘exchangers’ of digital currency it must do so through proper rulemaking proceedings and not by fiat.” If Bitcoin continues to gain in value, it could spark a rise in virtual currencies—and force some very interesting discussions over regulation. But here's the question: would regulation actually be good for Bitcoin, if it made organizations and businesses more comfortable with using it as a currency?"
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Google pledges not to sue open source software, unless first attacked

sfcrazy (1542989) writes | about a year and a half ago

Google 0

sfcrazy (1542989) writes "Google has announced the Open Patent Non-Assertion (OPN) Pledge. In it's pledge Google says that they will not sue any user, distributor or developer of open-source software on specified patents, unless first attacked. Under this pledge, Google is starting off with 10 patents relating to MapReduce, a computing model for processing large data sets first developed at Google. Google says that over time they intend to expand the set of Google’s patents covered by the pledge to other technologies."
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Texas judge tosses out patent claim against Linux

netbuzz (955038) writes | about a year and a half ago

Patents 0

netbuzz writes "A federal judge in Texas, presiding over a district notorious for favoring patent trolls, has summarily dismissed all claims relating to a case brought by Uniloc USA against Rackspace for allegedly infringing upon Linux patents. Red Hat defended Rackspace in the matter and issued a press release saying: “In dismissing the case, Chief Judge Leonard Davis found that Uniloc’s claim was unpatentable under Supreme Court case law that prohibits the patenting of mathematical algorithms. This is the first reported instance in which the Eastern District of Texas has granted an early motion to dismiss finding a patent invalid because it claimed unpatentable subject matter.”"
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North Korea Halts Internet Access After One Month

redletterdave (2493036) writes | about a year and a half ago

Cellphones 0

redletterdave writes "After just one month online, North Korea has pulled the plug on its only 3G data network, which was previously made available for tourists to access the Internet starting on Feb. 22. The North Korean government did not explain why its 3G network has been shut off, but given the raised level of international interest in the country’s activities (the country is facing UN sanctions after its third nuclear test last month) and how it severed its final communication line with South Korea on Wednesday, the government likely had a change of heart about its loosening communication restrictions. That said, as with most things in North Korea, we may never know the real answer."
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U.S. plans to let spy agencies scour Americans' finances

concealment (2447304) writes | about a year and a half ago

Government 0

concealment writes "The Obama administration is drawing up plans to give all U.S. spy agencies full access to a massive database that contains financial data on American citizens and others who bank in the country, according to a Treasury Department document seen by Reuters.

The proposed plan represents a major step by U.S. intelligence agencies to spot and track down terrorist networks and crime syndicates by bringing together financial databanks, criminal records and military intelligence. The plan, which legal experts say is permissible under U.S. law, is nonetheless likely to trigger intense criticism from privacy advocates."

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Copyright Ruling Rings With Echo of Betamax

GLMDesigns (2044134) writes | about a year and a half ago

Piracy 0

GLMDesigns (2044134) writes ""When the Betamax videocassette recorder hit American living rooms in 1976, consumers, for the first time, could tape their favorite TV shows and watch them later. Hollywood hated it. ... The decisions had enormous implications for the media economy. The VCR gave way to the DVD player and the digital video recorder. Videotape gave the kiss of life to the low-budget independent film. From “Rip. Mix. Burn.” to YouTube, every step of the evolution of digital media has been affected by that decision.""
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British Government Tries To Kill EU Privacy Regulation

judgecorp (778838) writes | about a year and a half ago

EU 0

judgecorp writes "The British Government has joined corporations such as Yahoo, Facebook and BT, in arguing against a tough proposed EU Regulation on Privacy. The UK government's intervention, led by justice minister Lord McNally, wants to scrap the proposed Regulation and replace it with a system of Directives. That's not just a matter of word play, it dilutes the proposals greatly. Regulations must be implemented in all EU member states at once, while the states have freedom on when and how to put a Directive into force."
Link to Original Source

Mobile Phone Use Patterns Identify Individuals Better Than Fingerprints

chicksdaddy (814965) writes | about a year and a half ago

Privacy 0

chicksdaddy writes "Mobile phone use may be a more accurate identifier of individuals than even their own fingerprints, according to research published on the web site of the scientific journal Nature.
Scientists at MIT and the Université catholique de Louvain in Belgium analyzed 15 months of mobility data for 1.5 million individuals who the same mobile carrier. Their analysis, “Unique in the Crowd: the privacy bounds of human mobility” showed that data from just four, randomly chosen “spatio-temporal points” (for example, mobile device pings to carrier antennas) was enough to uniquely identify 95% of the individuals, based on their pattern of movement. Even with just two randomly chosen points, the researchers say they could uniquely characterize around half of the 1.5 million mobile phone users. The research has profound implications for privacy, suggesting that the use of mobile devices makes it impossible to remain anonymous – even without the use of tracking software.

For their research, they studied anonymized carrier data from a “significant and representative part of the population of a small European country.” In the study, the researchers used sample data collected between April 2006 and June 2007. Each time a user interacted with their mobile phone operator network by initiating or receiving a call or a text message, the location of the connecting antenna was recorded, providing both a spatial and temporal data point.
“We show that the uniqueness of human mobility traces is high, thereby emphasizing the importance of the idiosyncrasy of human movements for individual privacy,” the researchers write. Given the amount of information that can be inferred from mobility data, as well as the potentially large number of simply anonymized mobility datasets available, this is a growing concern.”"

Link to Original Source

You Don't "Own" Your Own Genes

olePigeon (Wik) (661220) writes | about a year and a half ago

Patents 0

olePigeon (Wik) (661220) writes "Cornell University's New York based Weill Cornell Medical College issued a press release today regarding an unsettling trend in the U.S. patent system: Humans don't "own" their own genes, the cellular chemicals that define who they are and what diseases for which they might be at risk. Through more than 40,000 patents on DNA molecules, companies have essentially claimed the entire human genome for profit, report Dr. Christopher E. Mason of Weill Cornell Medical College, and the study's co-author, Dr. Jeffrey Rosenfeld, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey and a member of the High Performance and Research Computing Group, who analyzed the patents on human DNA. Their study, published March 25 in the journal Genome Medicine, raises an alarm about the loss of individual "genomic liberty.""
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Google Gets "Ungoogleable" Removed From Swedish

jfruh (300774) writes | about a year and a half ago

Google 1

jfruh writes "The Swedish Language Council is a semi-official, government funded body that regulates, cultivates, and tracks changes to the Swedish language. Every year it releases a list of new words that have crept into Swedish, and one of 2012's entries was "ogooglebar" — "ungoogleable," meaning something that can't be found with a search engine. After Google demanded that the definition be changed and the Council add a disclaimer about Google's trademark, the Council has instead decided to remove the word from the list altogether."
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