An anonymous reader writes with this IDG News report: "Samsung dropped all claims pending in European courts in which it asserted patents that are essential for mobile communication devices to prevent the sales of Apple products in Europe. The injunction requests against Apple, which aimed to get courts to impose sales bans on infringing products, were withdrawn in the U.K., France, the Netherlands, Germany and Italy. Samsung only withdrew the injunctions requests — other litigation against Apple in Europe continues, Anne ter Braak, a spokeswoman for Samsung in the Netherlands, said in an email on Tuesday. While Samsung said it withdrew its claims in the interest of protecting consumer choice, it could have to do with a European antitrust investigation."
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wiredmikey writes "A U.S. judge sentenced a computer hacker to 10 years in prison on Monday for breaking into the email accounts of celebrities and stealing private photos. The hacker accessed the personal email accounts and devices of stars including Scarlett Johansson, Christina Aguilera and Renee Olstead, among dozens of other people he hacked. The hackers arrest in October 2011 stemmed from an 11-month investigation into the hacking of over 50 entertainment industry names, many of them young female stars. Hacked pictures of Johansson showed her in a state of undress in a domestic setting. Aguilera's computer was hacked in December 2010, when racy photos of her also hit the Internet. Mila Kunis' cell phone was hacked in September that year with photos of her, including one in a bathtub, spread online. According to the FBI, the hacker used open-source, public information to try to guess a celebrity's email password, and then would breach the account."
An anonymous reader writes "A 2011 ProPublica series found that the TSA had glossed over the small cancer risk posed by its X-ray body scanners at airports across the country. While countries in Europe have long prohibited the scanners, the TSA is just now getting around to studying the health effects." I'm not worried; the posters and recorded announcements at the airport say these scanners raise no health concerns.
SternisheFan writes with this news from the Register: "Apple has failed in its attempt to obtain a permanent ban on several Samsung products in the U.S., but Samsung's accusations of jury misconduct have also been rejected. As she has so many times before, Judge Lucy Koh kept things even between Apple and Samsung by rejecting most of their requests. After Apple won $1bn in its patent infringement case against the Korean firm, it set about pursuing another win in the form of permanent injunctions on the products in the case. The fruity firm wanted a California court to stop sales of the Sammy mobile phones and tablets in the U.S., but the judge said the company hadn't done enough to legally support such a ban." More details at Groklaw.
GovTechGuy writes "Rep. Zoe Lofgren sat down with Roll Call to discuss her proposal to slow down the seizure of domain names accused of piracy by the federal government. Lofgren turned to Reddit for help formulating the bill, and also discussed whether her colleagues in Congress know enough about technology to make informed decisions on tech policy."
DavidGilbert99 writes "Many Instagram users have reacted angrily to a proposed change to the apps terms of service by owner Facebook, which would give the social network 'perpetual' rights to all photos on Instagram, allowing it to sell the photos to advertisers without notice — or payment to the user. The new policy will come into effect on 16 January, just four months after Facebook completed its $1bn acquisition of Instagram. It states that Facebook has a right to distribute any content posted on Instagram without paying the user royalties:" Also worth reading Declan McCullagh's take on it.
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from Torrent Freak: "A leading Australian Internet service provider has pulled out of negotiations to create a warning notice scheme aimed at reducing online piracy. iiNet, the ISP that was sued by Hollywood after refusing to help chase down alleged infringers, said that it can't make any progress with rightsholders if they don't make their content freely available at a reasonable price. The ISP adds that holding extra data on customers' habits is inappropriate and not their responsibility."
An anonymous reader writes with a blow to Facebook's policy banning accounts under pseudonyms. From the article: "A German privacy regulator ordered Facebook to stop enforcing its real name policy because it violates a German law that gives users the right to use nicknames online. 'We believe the orders are without merit, a waste of German taxpayers' money and we will fight it vigorously,' a Facebook spokeswoman said in an emailed statement."
Hugh Pickens writes writes "Here's some breaking news I saw MSNBC this morning that I haven't seen reported anywhere in the print media yet. NBC reporter Pete Williams reported on Chuck Todd's The Daily Rundown that (police) 'had been hopeful that they could extract some information from the computer at (Lanza's) home. He was very into computers. Before he left his mother's house on the morning that he shot his mother while she was sleeping, he damaged extensively his computer. He took the hard drive out, pulled the disk out, and did a lot of damage to it,' said Williams. 'It's not clear that (police) are going to be able to extract any information or not.' It has previously been reported that Lanza left no online footprint. Police had been eager to examine Lanza's computer in hopes of determining a motive in his killings or finding records of purchases of firearms and ammunition. 'If he visited certain websites, they are going to glean whatever information they can from that and see what it means,' said the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly. 'Does he have friends he communicates with online? Was there a fight with somebody?'"
mikejuk writes "As 2012, Alan Turing Year, draws to close a group of highly regarded UK scientists, including Professor Stephen Hawking, have repeated the call for a posthumous pardon for Turing's criminal conviction in a letter to the Telegraph. The letter has re-opened the debate, which is controversial even for those who support the idea that Turing was treated in an unfair and appalling way, was formally acknowledged by the UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown in 2009 when he apologized for the treatment Turing had received. In February Justice Minister Lord McNally rebuffed a 23,000 signature petition for a pardon saying: 'A posthumous pardon was not considered appropriate as Alan Turing was properly convicted of what at the time was a criminal offense.'"
judgecorp writes "Twitter has delivered on a long-promised feature which allows some users to download their entire Tweet history. The service was promised months ago by CEO Dick Costolo and equivalent features are already available at Facebook. At this stage, only some users can download their archive, and it's not clear how it will be rolled out to all users."
nonprofiteer writes "Two years ago, Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, Western Union and Bank of America cut off all funding to WikiLeaks. A group of free information advocates wants to prevent a similar financial blockade on information from happening again. Daniel Ellsberg, John Perry Barlow, and EFF staffers are founding the Freedom of the Press Foundation, an org that will raise money and channel it to edgy media groups that might suffer from a WikiLeaks-style embargo. When donors give to the Foundation, they can choose to have their funding passed on to any media group under the Foundation's umbrella (currently WikiLeaks, Muckrock, The National Security Archives and UpTake). That strategy aims to make it harder to cut funding to any of those organizations, or any added in the future. And because the site is encrypted, donors who worry about being identified as giving to any particularly controversial group can do so without being identified. It's like Tor for charitable giving."
elashish14 writes "The Westboro Baptist Church stated earlier this week that they would be picketing the funerals of the victims of Newtown Connecticut's tragic shooting in an effort to bring awareness to their hate messages. In response, the Anonymous hacker collective has hacked their website and posted the personal information of all of its members."
An anonymous reader writes "Do you still think your online writing is, basically, anonymous? Think again! Research has it people put much of their personal traits into their writing, and computers may just be able to pick them up. That's at least what a recently announced competition on author identification (Given a document, who wrote it?) and author profiling (Given a document, what are its author's age and gender?) wants to find out. Alas, re-using other people's writing is no solution either; there's also a competition on plagiarism detection (Given a document, is it an original?). Wanna revisit your recent rants?"
Ars Technica reports that Google's map application for iOS, however popular it might be with users, raises red flags with European regulators, who maintain that it by default does not sufficiently safeguard user privacy as required by EU privacy rules. Ars quotes Marit Hansen of Germany's Independent Centre for Privacy Protection on why: "Hansen's main gripe is that Google's use of 'anonymous' is misleading. 'All available information points to having linkable identifiers per user," she told Computerworld. Hansen added this would allow Google to track several location entries, thus leading to her assumption that Google's 'anonymous location data' would be considered 'personal data' under the European law."
chicksdaddy writes "The newly discovered Dexter malware is one of the few examples of a malicious program that targets point of sale terminals, but also communicates, botnet-like, with a command and control infrastructure. According to an analysis by Seculert, the custom malware has infected 'hundreds POS systems' including those operated by 'big-name retailers, hotels, restaurants and even private parking providers.' Now a detailed analysis by Verizon's RISK team suggests that Dexter may be a creation of a group responsible for the ubiquitous Zeus banking Trojan. By analyzing early variants of Dexter discovered in the wild, Verizon determined that the IP addresses used for Dexter's command and control were also used to host Zeus-related domains and several domains for Vobfus, also known as 'the porn worm,' which has been used to deliver the Zeus malware. Verizon also produced some tantalizing clues as to the identity of one individual who may be a part of the crew responsible for the malware. The RISK team linked the domain registration for a Dexter C&C server to an unusual online handle, 'hgfrfv,' that was used to post a number of suggestive help requests ('need help with decrypting a table encrypted with EncryptByKey') in online technical forums, where a live.com e-mail address was also provided. The account name was also linked to a shell account on the outsourcing web site freelancer.com, which lists 'hgfrfv' as an individual residing in the Russian Federation."
An anonymous reader writes "Germany has pretty much become the new Eastern District of Texas, the world's most popular patent battleground. After Apple, Samsung and Motorola, the Chinese are now going to Germany as well to sort out their domestic patent squabbles. Huawei and ZTE, arguably the People's Republic's leading wireless tech companies, started suing each other in April last year. On Friday the Mannheim Regional Court held a Huawei vs. ZTE hearing, reports a local patent watcher. Huawei says ZTE infringes a 4G/LTE handover patent and wants its rival's base stations and USB modem sticks banned in Germany. More clashes between the two are coming up in the same court and in other places in Europe, including France."
First time accepted submitter veganboyjosh writes "I got an instant message from an uncle the other day, asking me what was in the link I sent him. I hadn't sent him a link so I figured that his account had been hacked and he'd received a malicious link from some bot address with my name in the 'From' box. This was confirmed when he told me the address the link had come from. When I tried explaining what the link was, that his account had been hacked, and that he should change the password to his @aol.com email account, his response was 'No, I think your account was hacked, since the email came from you.' I went over it again, with a real-life analog of someone calling him on the phone and pretending to be me, but I'm not sure if that sunk in or not. This uncle is far from tech savvy. He's in his 60s, and uses Facebook several times a week. He knows I'm online much more and kind of know my way around. After his initial response, I didn't have it in me to get into the whole 'Never click a link from an unfamiliar email address' bit; to him, this wasn't an unfamiliar email address, it was mine. How do I explain this to him, and what else should I feel responsible for telling him?"
An anonymous reader writes "Music industry group BPI has threatened legal action against six members of the UK Pirate Party, after the party refused to take its Pirate Bay proxy offline. BPI seems to want to hold the individual members of the party responsible for copyright infringements that may occur via the proxy, which puts them at risk of personal bankruptcy. Pirate Party leader Loz Kaye criticized the latest music industry threats and reiterated that blocking The Pirate Bay is a disproportionate measure."
Presto Vivace writes that the UK's Newcastle University is instituting a finger-print based attendance system. From the linked article: "University students may have to scan their fingerprints in future — to prove they are not bunking off lectures. ... Newcastle Free Education Network has organised protests against the plans, claiming the scanners would 'turn universities into border checkpoints' and 'reduce university to the attendance of lectures alone.'" The system is supposed to bring the university "in line with the UK Border Agency (UKBA) and clamp down on illegal immigrants."