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Businesses

When Kickstarter Projects Go Missing 86

Posted by timothy
from the 404-error-is-not-a-beach-boys-song dept.
On Friday, we posted about Kickstarter's new rules of engagement, including some new rules under which some of the most popular Kickstarter projects to date might never have surfaced. But what about ones that make it to the site, then disappear? Wired takes a look at what happens to those Kickstarter projects that for one reason or another get yanked from the site. (DMCA complaints apparently are often that one reason.)
Piracy

The Swiss Pirate Party Has Its First Mayor 110

Posted by timothy
from the mayor-mc-swiss-cheese dept.
bs0d3 writes "Alex Arnold from the Pirate Party Switzerland has been elected mayor of Eichberg. This is the first mayoral win for the pirates in Switzerland, and hopefully just the begining of things to come. Thomas Bruderer, president of the Pirate Party Switzerland, is delighted: 'This result is for our young party is an important milestone. To win a majority vote shows that our members are not just a marginal phenomenon; but are in the midst of society.'"
Privacy

Advertisers Never Intended To Honor DNT 308

Posted by timothy
from the creative-interpretation dept.
First time accepted submitter oldlurker writes "After much discussion where many hoped a voluntary Do Not Track standard was agreed with advertisers, it turns out the advertisers already had a very different interpretation than most of us on how to practice it: 'Two big associations, the Interactive Advertising Bureau and the Digital Advertising Alliance, represent 90% of advertisers. Downey says those big groups have devised their own interpretation of Do Not Track. When the servers controlled by those big companies encounter a DNT=1 header, says Downey, "They have said they will stop serving targeted ads but will still collect and store and monetize data."'"
Education

Gates and Others Offer $150k For Open Source School Software 151

Posted by timothy
from the what's-the-noodling-to-useful-ratio? dept.
WebMink writes "With an impending deadline for America's schools to satisfy new federal reporting requirements on academic achievement, a new alliance of state educators is creating a system of open source software to help schools gather and submit the data that the rules require. To get the whole thing started, the Gates Foundation and Carnegie are funding two $75,000 awards for the open source developers who create the in-school software. The winners could also become the linchpins of a new industry in academic software."
Privacy

W3C Group Proposed To Safeguard User Agent State Privacy 76

Posted by timothy
from the dry-title-but-juicy-facts dept.
First time accepted submitter FredAndrews writes "A Private User Agent W3C Community Group has been proposed to tackle the privacy of the web browser by developing technical solutions to close the leaks. Current Javascript APIs are capable of leaking a lot of information as we browse the Internet, such as details of our browser that can be used to identify and track our online presence, and the content on the page (including any private customizations and the effects of extensions), and can monitor and leak our usage on the page such a mouse movements and interactions on the page. This problem is compounded by the increased use of the web browser as a platform for delivering software. While the community ignores the issue, solutions are being developed commercially and patented — we run the risk of ending up unable to have privacy because the solutions are patented. The proposed W3C PUA CG proposes to address the problem with technical solutions at the web browser, such as restricting the back channels available to Javascript, and also by proposing HTML extensions to mitigate lost functionality. Note, this work cannot address the privacy of information that we overtly share, and there are other current W3C initiatives working on this, such as DNT."
Australia

Australian Smart Meter Data Shared Far and Wide 172

Posted by timothy
from the all-in-best-interest dept.
New submitter ferrisoxide.com writes "In Victoria (Australia), detailed information about electricity customers' power usage, which gives insights into when a house is occupied, is being shared with third parties including mail houses, debt collectors, data processing analysts and government agencies."
Government

Medicare Bills Rise As Records Turn Electronic 294

Posted by timothy
from the wealthy-donors-doing-just-fine dept.
theodp writes "As part of the economic stimulus program, the Obama administration put into effect a Bush-era incentive program that provides tens of billions of dollars for physicians and hospitals that make the switch to electronic records, using systems like Athenahealth [note: video advertisement] (which made U.S. CTO Todd Park a wealthy man). The goal was not only to improve efficiency and patient safety, but also to reduce health care costs. But, in reality, the move to electronic health records may be contributing to billions of dollars in higher costs for Medicare, private insurers and patients by making it easier for hospitals and physicians to bill more for their services, whether or not they provide additional care. Hospitals received $1 billion more in Medicare reimbursements in 2010 than they did five years earlier, at least in part by changing the billing codes they assign to patients in emergency rooms, according to a NY Times analysis. There are also fears that features which can be used to automatically generate detailed patient histories and clone examination findings for multiple patients make it too easy to give the appearance that more thorough exams were conducted than perhaps were. Critics say the abuses are widespread. 'It's like doping and bicycling,' said Dr. Donald W. Simborg. 'Everybody knows it's going on.'"
China

Google Stops Offering Free Music Service In China 67

Posted by timothy
from the cows-go-begging-milk-is-free dept.
SquarePixel writes "Google has yanked its free music service in China after being unable to make it popular enough. The service offered Chinese people free licensed music downloads and was launched in 2009 to compete with the rival search engine Baidu. 'Once China's second largest search provider, Google has now fallen to fourth place, overtaken by other local companies. — Google's popularity in the country has waned ever since 2010, when the company pulled the plug on its China-based search engine following disputes with the government over censorship and hacking concerns. Google's market share is at 5 percent, while Baidu's is 74 percent.'"
Government

Federal Judge Says No Right To Secret Ballot, OKs Barcoded Ballots 584

Posted by timothy
from the it's-the-little-things dept.
doug141 writes "A Colorado county put bar codes on printed ballots in a last minute effort to comply with a rule about eliminating identifying markings. Citizens sued, because the bar codes can still be traced back to individual voters. In a surprise ruling, Denver U.S. District Judge Christine Arguello said the U.S. Constitution did not contain a 'fundamental right' to secret ballots, and that the citizens could not show their voting rights had been violated, nor that they might suffer any specific injury from the bar codes."
Privacy

Ubuntu Will Now Have Amazon Ads Pre-Installed 646

Posted by timothy
from the not-what-I-want-by-default dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Scheduled to be released next month, Ubuntu 12.10 now includes both Amazon ads in the user's dash and by default an Amazon store in the user's launcher. The reason for these 'features'? Affiliate revenue. Despite previous controversies with Banshee and Yahoo, Canonical is 'confident it will be an interesting and useful feature for our 12.10 users.' But are the 'users' becoming products?" Update: 09/22 19:35 GMT by T : Reader bkerensa scoffs, calling the Amazon integration unobtrusive, and says objections to its inclusion in the OS should be ignored, "because in reality ads will not be found in 12.10 unless you are seeing them on a third party website you go to in a web browser." He's got screenshots.
NASA

Space Shuttle Items For Sale Soon VIa GSA Auction 59

Posted by timothy
from the prepare-the-sniping-software dept.
shortyadamk writes "According to the Government Services Administration auction page: 'Attention GSA Auctions bidders and interested participants. NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) Space Shuttle Program has retired and NASA has partnered with GSA Auctions to sell the many shuttle related items through a series of auctions in 2012.' The only catch is that you must be a U.S. Citizen and schedule a visit 48 hours ahead of time to pick up your item. I'm not really sure which piece of the shuttle I'd want the most... Those robotic arms are pretty sweet."
Operating Systems

GPL Kerfuffle Takes Xbian For Raspberry Pi Offline 154

Posted by timothy
from the oh-you-mean-that-was-a-license dept.
tetrahedrassface writes "Rasbmc developer Sam Nazarko is reporting that Xbian had violated the GPL and stolen his installer code without providing attribution and not releasing their source. His breakdown of events is interesting, and currently the Xbian project has been taken offline with several tweets saying Xbian development is terminated."
Microsoft

Hotmail No Longer Accepts Long Passwords, Shortens Them For You 497

Posted by timothy
from the isn't-that-handy? dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft doesn't like long passwords. In fact, the software giant not only won't let you use a really long one in Hotmail, but the company recently started prompting users to only enter the first 16 characters of their password. Let me rephrase that: if you have a password that has more than 16 characters, it will no longer work. Microsoft is making your life easier! You no longer have to input your whole password! Just put in the first 16 characters!" At least they warn you; I've run into some sites over the years that silently drop characters after an arbitrary limit.
Facebook

Facebook Wants You To Snitch On Friends Not Using Their Real Name 304

Posted by Soulskill
from the anonymous-cowards-welcome-here dept.
Qedward writes "Freedom to go under a pseudonym is, miraculously, one freedom to survive the security lock-down of the previous decade. Now Facebook wants to change this. James Firth shows Facebook is clamping down on pseudonyms, with an interesting screenshot of being asked whether a friend is using their real name."
The Courts

Chemist Jailed In Russia For Giving Expert Opinion In Court 232

Posted by Soulskill
from the science-will-rise-up-against-you dept.
scibri writes "Think the imprisonment of Pussy Riot is a miscarriage of justice? Check out the story of their cellmate: Chemist Olga Nikolaevna Zelenina heads a laboratory at the Penza Agricultural Institute. She is an expert in the biology of hemp and poppy, and is a sought-after expert in legal cases involving narcotics produced from these plants. Last year, she was asked by defense lawyers to give her opinion in a case involving imported poppy seeds. The prosecutors didn't like her evidence though, and now she's in prison accused of complicity in organized drug trafficking."
Facebook

Facebook Disables Face Recognition In EU 96

Posted by Soulskill
from the privacy-on-demand dept.
SquarePixel writes "Facebook has disabled face recognition features on its site for all new European users. The move follows privacy recommendations made by the Irish Data Protection Commissioner. Tag Suggest information has been turned off for new users, and Facebook plans to delete the information for existing EU users by October 15th. 'The DPC says today’s report (PDF) is the result of evaluations it made through the first half of 2012 and on-site at Facebook’s HQ in Dublin over the course of two days in May and four in July. The DPC says FB has made just about all of the improvements it requested in five key areas: better transparency for the user in how their data is handled; user control over settings; more clarity on the retention periods for the deletion of personal data, and users getting more control over deleting things; an improvement in how users can access their personal data; and the ability of Facebook to be able to better track how they are complying with data protection requirements.'"
Government

US House STEM Visa Bill Fails 133

Posted by samzenpus
from the go-back-home dept.
dcblogs writes "A Republican-led effort to issue up to 55,000 STEM visas a year to students who earn advanced degrees at U.S. universities was defeated in a House vote. It needed a two-thirds vote, or about 290 ayes, for approval. Its supporters came up short, 257 to 158. Both parties support green cards for science, technology, engineering and math advanced degree grads, but can't agree on legislation. U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who has introduced his own STEM bill, urged House leaders to seek new negotiations: 'A bipartisan compromise can easily be ready for the lame duck session. There is too broad a consensus in favor of this policy to settle for gridlock.'"
Beer

US Military Tested the Effects of a Nuclear Holocaust On Beer 215

Posted by samzenpus
from the money-well-spent dept.
pigrabbitbear writes "Is bottled beer nuclear bombproof? The United States government conducted a couple tests in the 1950s to find out—it exploded nuclear bombs with 'packaged commercial beverages' deposited at varying distances from the blast center to see if beer and soda would be safe to drink afterwards. The finding? Yep, surviving bottled and canned drinks can be consumed in the event of a nuclear holocaust, without major health risks."
Privacy

The Case For Targeted Ads 290

Posted by samzenpus
from the sell-it-to-me dept.
Nofsck Ingcloo writes "CNet has published a guest column by Eric Wheeler warning the world of the evil consequences of Do Not Track. In it he makes strong (I would claim exaggerated) arguments in favor of targeted advertising. He claims the threat of political action on Do Not Track should, 'strike fear into the hearts of every company that does business online....' He speaks of compromising a $300 billion industry, which I read as being the industry composed of online advertisers and all their clients. He clearly thinks the trade off between freedom from snooping and free access to web content always favors free access. He concludes his arguments by saying, 'Taken as a whole, the potentially dire impact of Do Not Track is clear: the end of the free internet and a crippling blow to the technology industry.' He then goes on to advocate contacting legislators and the FTC in opposition to Do Not Track."
Government

No Smiles At NJ Motor Vehicle Commission 265

Posted by timothy
from the when-instructions-are-redundant dept.
Reader Presto Vivace blesses us with news that the state of New Jersey "has banned motorists from making big smiles [for their license pictures] because such expressions don't work with facial recognition software." Now that passports are by decree grim and glasses-free, I'm expecting the next phase to involve the banning of facial hair, lips, and any hair that blocks the ears.

The universe seems neither benign nor hostile, merely indifferent. -- Sagan

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