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Government

EFF Sues to Block New Internet Sex-Offender Law 305

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-more-lists dept.
Bobfrankly1 writes "The EFF sued to block portions of the approved Prop 35 today. Prop 35 requires sex offenders (including indecent exposure and non-internet offenses) to provide all of their online aliases to law enforcement. This would include e-mail addresses, screen and user names, and other identifiers used on the internet. The heart of the matter as the EFF sees it, would be not only the chilling effect it would have on free speech, but also the propensity of these kind of laws to be applied to other (non-sex offending) people as well."
Patents

Apple Loses Patent Case For FaceTime Tech, Owes $368 Million 139

Posted by Soulskill
from the we-invented-the-transmission-of-data dept.
beeudoublez writes "Apple was ordered to pay $368 million today to a software company named VirnetX over patents related to Apple's FaceTime technology. Apple engineers testified they didn't pay attention to any patents when building FaceTime. 'The jury, which had sat through the five-day trial, ruled that Apple infringed two patents: one for a method of creating a virtual private network (VPN) between computers, and another for solving DNS security issues. ... It's not the first time VirnetX has won a payout from a major tech firm: the company bagged $105.7m from Microsoft two years ago, and it may not be the last either. VirnetX has a separate case against Apple pending with the International Trade Commission and it has court cases against Cisco, Avaya and Siemens scheduled for trial next year.'" It's not all bad news for Apple today, though — according to Ars, they've won a new patent for a rounded rectangle (D670,286).
Piracy

Gabon Suspends Me.ga Domain, Dotcom Says "We Have Alternative Domain" 212

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the everyone-loves-racketeers-this-year dept.
hypnosec writes "Kim Dotcom's plan to launch a 'bigger, better, faster, stronger, safer' Megaupload successor, Mega, is already in peril as Gabon's government has suspended the domain me.ga . Announcing his decision, Gabon's Communication Minister Blaise Louembe said 'I have instructed my departments... to immediately suspend the site www.me.ga' in a bid to 'protect intellectual property rights' and 'fight cyber crime effectively.' Dotcom revealed through a tweet that he is in possession of an alternative domain name and that the recent suspension 'demonstrates the bad faith witch hunt the U.S. government is on.'"
AT&T

AT&T To Pay $700,000 For Overcharging Consumers 74

Posted by Soulskill
from the two-thousandths-of-a-percent-of-quarterly-revenue dept.
An anonymous reader writes "CNet reports on an agreement between AT&T and the FCC which will require the telecom company to pay $700,000 to the federal government to resolve overcharging complaints. AT&T will also refund charges to customers who were switched from pay-as-you-go data plans to monthly plans after AT&T said they could keep the old plans. 'AT&T has also agreed to an extensive compliance plan (PDF), which includes: consumer notification, training of customer care representatives, and periodic compliance reports to the FCC. AT&T must also conduct additional searches of its records to identify improperly switched consumers and ensure appropriate refunds.'"
Privacy

The Privacy Illusion 198

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-have-your-very-own-database-entry dept.
LoLobey writes "Scott Adams has an entertaining entry on his Dilbert Blog about the perception of privacy. He writes, 'It has come to my attention that many of my readers in the United States believe they have the right to privacy because of something in the Constitution. That is an unsupportable view. A more accurate view is that the government divides the details of your life into two categories: 1. Stuff they don't care about. 2. Stuff they can find out if they have a reason.' His post is written in response to some reader comments on another entry about privacy guardians and how swell life would be if we voluntarily gave up certain personal info."
Democrats

Barack Obama Retains US Presidency 1576

Posted by Soulskill
from the but-will-he-go-for-the-three-peat dept.
Fox News, NBC, and CNN have called the U.S. election for incumbent Barack Obama. Of the so-called 'battleground states,' Obama carried Ohio, Iowa, Wisconsin, and New Hampshire, which, along with all of the solidly Democrat-leaning states, was enough to push him beyond the 270 required for victory. You can check this chart to see the full list of states that have currently been called, and by which news networks. The NY Times has an excellent interactive map showing all election results updated in real time, as does CNN. It's currently projected that the Republicans will retain control of the House of Representatives, and the Democrats will retain control of the Senate.
Education

A Trail of Clicks, Culminating In Conflict 65

Posted by Soulskill
from the won't-somebody-think-of-the-children dept.
NotSanguine writes "Technology companies are up in arms about the FTC's pending rules change which would require explicit parental permission to allow websites to gather a wide range of data on children 13 and under. From the NYT Article: '"If adopted, the effect of these new rules would be to slow the deployment of applications that provide tremendous benefits to children, and to slow the economic growth and job creation generated by the app economy," Catherine A. Novelli, vice president of worldwide government affairs at Apple, wrote in comments to the agency (PDF).' But would that be a bad thing? As reported in the Times last week, Matt Richtel writes, 'There is a widespread belief among teachers that students' constant use of digital technology is hampering their attention spans and ability to persevere in the face of challenging tasks, according to two surveys of teachers being released on Thursday.' So, will the new FTC rules end up helping children (by enhancing their privacy and, if industry pundits are right, reducing the amount of content available online for children — thus enhancing their attention spans), or will the negative effects on corporations have as deleterious an effect on the economy as to measurably reduce the quality of education?"
Government

U.S. Election Day In Progress: What's Been Your Experience? 821

Posted by timothy
from the meet-the-new-boss dept.
Today is Election Day in the U.S., and polls are open even in Hawaii now. The current Slashdot poll gives a snapshot of how many readers have voted or plan to vote; more rigorous and wide-based polls are easy to find. If you're taking part in today's election, what have you found? Did you or will you vote electronically, or on paper? How long did you wait to vote? Did you vote weeks ago by mail? How much time did you put into making your choices? It would be helpful if in comments you start the subject of your post with your 2-letter state abbreviation, like this: "TX - About to go get in line to push some buttons."
Government

Ask Slashdot: How To Become Informed In Judicial Elections? 153

Posted by timothy
from the today's-the-day dept.
First time accepted submitter yincrash writes "Today I've been looking up information on local elections and have found it virtually impossible to determine information on judicial elections, both with regards to information on the candidate, and what makes a good judge. Is there a good way to find information on these candidates? chooseyourjudges.org seems to agree that this is basically an impossible task. What do slashdotters do in an information vacuum? Just abstain from voting? Write-in something in protest?"
Privacy

Skype Hands Teenager's Information To Private Firm 214

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the but-we-were-friends dept.
New submitter andrew3 writes "Skype has allegedly handed the information of a 16-year-old boy to a security firm. The information was later handed over to Dutch law enforcement. No court order was served for the disclosure. The teenager was suspected of being part of a DDoS packet flood as a part of the Anonymous 'Operation Payback'." According to the article, Skype voluntarily disclosed the information to the third party firm without any kind of police order, possibly violating a few privacy laws and their own policies.
The Courts

Apple Suit Against Motorola Over FRAND Licensing Rates Dismissed 249

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the stop-wasting-our-time dept.
chill writes "A suit by Apple claiming that Motorola Mobility, now owned by Google, is seeking unreasonably high license fees for the use of patents on wireless technology has been thrown out by a judge in Madison, Wisconsin. Last week, Apple told the court it would pay up to $1 per device for a license to Motorola patents covering cellular and Wi-Fi technologies. Motorola Mobility was arguing for a royalty payment of 2.25 percent on each device." From the article: "'At the final pretrial conference, I asked Apple to explain why it believed the court should determine a FRAND rate even though the rate may not resolve the parties' licensing or infringement disputes,' Crabb wrote in an order on Friday. 'I questioned whether it was appropriate for a court to undertake the complex task of determining a FRAND rate if the end result would be simply a suggestion that could be used later as a bargaining chip between the parties.'"
Privacy

Some Smart Meters Broadcast Readings in the Clear 138

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the find-out-who-hates-the-planet dept.
alphadogg writes "University of South Carolina have discovered that some types of electricity meter are broadcasting unencrypted information that, with the right software, would enable eavesdroppers to determine whether you're at home. The meters, called AMR (automatic meter reading) in the utility industry, are a first-generation smart meter technology and they are installed in one third of American homes and businesses. They are intended to make it easy for utilities to collect meter readings. Instead of requiring access to your home, workers need simply drive or walk by a house with a handheld terminal and the current meter reading can be received." Perhaps more distressing, given trends in 4th amendment interpretation, I bet the transmissions are open game for law enforcement.
Businesses

Should Hacked Companies Disclose Their Losses? 68

Posted by samzenpus
from the what-did-you-lose? dept.
derekmead writes "By law, US companies don't have to say a word about hacker attacks, regardless of how much it might've cost their bottom line. Comment, the group of Chinese hackers suspected in the recent-reported Coke breach, also broke into the computers of the world's largest steel company, ArcelorMittal. ArcelorMittal doesn't know exactly how much was stolen and didn't think it was relevant to share news of the attack with its shareholders. Same goes for Lockheed Martin who fended off a 'significant and tenacious' attack last May but failed to disclose the details to investors and the Securities Exchange Commission. Dupont got hit twice by Chinese hackers in 2009 and 2010 and didn't say a word. Former U.S. counterintelligence chief Joel Brenner recently said that over 2,000 companies, ISPs and research centers had been hit by Chinese hackers in the past decade and few of them told their shareholders about it. This is even after the SEC has made multiple requests for companies to come clean about cyber security breaches in their quarterly or annual earnings reports. Because the potential losses, do hacked companies have a responsibility to report security breaches to investors?"
Transportation

Massachusetts "Right To Repair" Initiative On Ballot, May Override Compromise 238

Posted by samzenpus
from the fix-it-yourself dept.
skids writes "MA voters face a complex technical and economic question Tuesday about just how open automobile makers should be with their repair and diagnostic interfaces. A legislative compromise struck in July may not be strong enough for consumer's tastes. Proponents of the measure had joined opponents in asking voters to skip the question once the legislature, seeking to avoid legislation by ballot, struck the deal. Weeks before the election they have reversed course and are again urging voters to pass the measure. Now voters have to decide whether the differences between the ballot language and the new law are too hard on manufacturers, or essential consumer protections. At stake is a mandated standard for diagnostic channels in a significant market."
Piracy

Twitter Starts Withholding Rather Than Deleting Copyright-Infringing Tweets 39

Posted by samzenpus
from the for-our-eyes-only dept.
SternisheFan writes "Twitter is now withholding tweets when people complain they contain or link to copyright-infringing material, rather than deleting them. The company's legal policy manager, Jeremy Kessel, said in a tweet on Saturday that the shift offers Twitter users 'more transparency' in the way the service processes copyright reports. This is because other users can now see what was removed and why, rather than just not being able to see the message. The copyright notices that Twitter receives can be seen on the Chilling Effects website, where the firm posts all such messages with personal details excised. Some call for messages to be axed because they contain a copyrighted image, while others note that certain tweets contain links to unlawful copies of games and other media on the web. Other types of censorship can also be seen on Twitter's Chilling Effects page, notably instances where certain messages had to be withheld in certain countries due to local laws regarding privacy or political freedom."
Microsoft

Will Microsoft Dis-Kinect Freeloading TV Viewers? 478

Posted by samzenpus
from the watching-the-watchers dept.
theodp writes "Just when you think the cable TV viewing experience couldn't get any worse, GeekWire reports on the Microsoft Xbox Incubation team's patent-pending Consumer Detector, which uses cameras and sensors like those in the Xbox 360 Kinect controller to monitor, count and in some cases identify the people in a room watching television, movies and other content. Should the number of viewers detected exceed the limits of a particular content license, the system would halt playback unless additional viewing rights were purchased."
Businesses

Amazon Charges Sales Tax On "Shipping and Handling" 330

Posted by timothy
from the not-just-shipping-mind-you dept.
You may have noticed that retailers like Amazon are charging tax, in compliance with state laws, on not just the price of goods, but on the "shipping and handling" fees they charge. An anonymous reader writes "By coincidence I noticed this myself the other night, and ended up ordering something from a supplier in Arizona, rather than Amazon, to avoid the sales tax. Now here is an article about it in the Los Angeles Times."
Businesses

Apple Pays Only 2% Corporate Tax Outside US 432

Posted by timothy
from the villagers-with-pitchforks dept.
New submitter dryriver writes with this snippet from the BBC: "Apple paid only $713m (£445m) Tax in the year to 29 September on foreign pre-tax profits of $36.8bn (£23.0bn), a remarkably low rate of 1.9%. Apple channels much of its business in Europe through a subsidiary in the Republic of Ireland, which has lower corporation tax than Britain. But even Ireland charges 12.5%, compared with Britain's 24%. Apple is the latest company to be identified as paying low rates of overseas tax, following Starbucks, Facebook and Google in recent weeks. It has not been suggested that any of their tax avoidance schemes are illegal. Many multinational companies manage to pay substantially below the official corporation tax rates by using tax havens such as the Caribbean islands."

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