Dupple sends this news from Reuters: "The European Commission charged Samsung Electronics on Friday with abusing its dominant position in seeking to bar rival Apple from using a patent deemed essential to mobile phone use. The Commission sent a 'statement of objections' to the South Korean group, with its preliminary view that Samsung was not acting fairly. 'Intellectual property rights are an important cornerstone of the single market. However, such rights should not be misused when they are essential to implement industry standards, which bring huge benefits to businesses and consumers alike,' Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in statement."
Today Nokia announced an agreement with Research In Motion to resolve all patent legislation between the two. The companies have been fighting over patents for almost a decade, most recently over devices with wireless LAN capabilities. The terms of today's agreement were not disclosed but it involved a one-time payment from RIM as well as ongoing payments. This agreement comes shortly after RIM's announcement that it pulled in $9 million in profit last quarter, down 97% from the $265 million they earned in the same quarter the year before. The company has pinned its hopes on BlackBerry 10, scheduled to launch next month: "So this is RIM at the end of 2012: losing subscribers and revenue, facing significant opponents, but with more cash on hand and at least one long-running lawsuit settled. If nothing else, it means the way is clear for RIM to launch its Hail Mary pass: BlackBerry 10."
Lasrick writes "For the first time since 1946, Congress is seriously debating whether the U.S. nuclear weapons complex should be under civilian or military control. That the article is in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists is significant, as it was many of the scientists who founded BAS who argued for civilian control in the wake of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. They believed that atomic energy was too destructive, and the military too secretive, which would possibly thwart scientific discovery and erect a major obstacle to international control and cooperation. The article talks about how management has changed over the decades and explains the discussion that needs to happen before Congress acts."
New submitter Likes Microsoft writes "Yesterday, Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) introduced a Net Neutrality bill aimed at ISPs using data caps soley for profiteering purposes, rather than the 'traffic management' purpose they often claim. The text of the bill is available at Wyden's Senate page. It would require ISPs to be certified by the FCC before implementing data caps. It says, in part, 'The [FCC] shall evaluate a data cap proposed by an Internet service provider to determine whether the data cap functions to reasonably limit network congestion in a manner that does not unnecessarily discourage use of the Internet.' In a statement, Wyden said, 'Americans are increasingly tethered to the Internet and connecting more devices to it, but they don’t really have the tools to effectively manage data consumption across their networks. Data caps create challenges for consumers and run the risk of undermining innovation in the digital economy if they are imposed bluntly and not designed to truly manage network congestion.'"
First time accepted submitter Seeteufel writes "The controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement is now officially pronounced dead in the E.U. The European Parliament broadly rejected the Anti-Counterfeiting Agreement a while ago, but there was still a court case pending at the European Court of Justice about the legality of ACTA. The Commission was open about its intent to reintroduce ACTA ratification to the Parliament after a positive Court decision. Now we learn the Commission has withdrawn its questions to the Court."
An anonymous reader writes "Jobseekers will be offered the chance to look for work through the new Universal Jobmatch website, which automatically pairs them up with opportunities that suit their skills after scanning their CVs. It will also allow employers to search for new workers among the unemployed and send messages inviting them to interviews. However, their activities may also be tracked using cookies, so their Job Centre advisers know how many searches they have been doing and whether they are turning down viable opportunities. Iain Duncan-Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, said the scheme would 'revolutionize' the process of looking for work. He said anyone without a job after signing up to the scheme would be lacking 'imagination.'"
identity0 writes "According to Japan Probe, Hiroyuki Nishimura, the founder of 2ch.net, has been charged with drug offenses by Japanese police over a forum post made on 2ch in 2010. He is not even accused of making the post, but of failure to have moderators delete it. The post apparently discussed drugs. 2ch.net (also called 2channel) is Japan's biggest forum, with over a million posts a day, of which the post in question was one. The site inspired image board 2chan.net (but is not directly related to it), which spawned copycat English site 4chan.net. More info at Slashdot Japan, if you can read Japanese."
OverTheGeicoE writes "TSA gets discussed on Slashdot from time to time, usually negatively. Have you ever wondered about the TSA screeners' perspective? Taking Sense Away is a blog, allegedly written by a former TSA screener, offering insider perspectives on TSA topics. For example, there's the Insider's TSA Dictionary, whose entries are frequently about the code screeners use to discuss attractive female passengers (like 'Code Red,' 'Fanny Pack,' and 'Hotel Bravo'). Another posting explains what goes on in private screening rooms, which the author claims is nothing compared to screener conduct in backscatter image operator rooms. Apparently what happens in the IO room stays in the IO room. Today's posting covers how TSA employees feel about working for 'a despised agency'. For many the answer is that they hate working for 'the laughing stock of America's security apparatus,' try to hide that they work for TSA, and want to transfer almost anywhere else ASAP."
An anonymous reader writes "Russian firm ElcomSoft on Thursday announced the release of Elcomsoft Forensic Disk Decryptor (EFDD), a new forensic tool that can reportedly access information stored in disks and volumes encrypted with desktop and portable versions of BitLocker, PGP, and TrueCrypt. EFDD runs on all 32-bit and 64-bit editions of Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7, as well as Windows 2003 and Windows Server 2008." All that for $300.
SternisheFan writes with a story at PC Mag that New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has announced that more than 2000 registered sex offenders have been kicked off various online gaming platforms, in an cooperative effort involving both the state and various gaming companies. From that article: "Earlier this year, the accounts of 3,500 additional offenders were removed from platforms operated by Microsoft, Apple, Blizzard Entertainment, Electronic Arts, Disney Interactive Media Group, and Warner Brothers. New York State's Electronic Securing and Targeting of Online Predators Act (e-STOP) law requires convicted sex offenders to register all of their email addresses, screen names, and other Internet identifiers with the state. Schneiderman's office then makes that information available to certain websites so they can make sure that their communities were not being used by predators. Operation: Game Over, however, is the first time e-STOP has been applied to online gaming platforms, he said. Since many online gaming platforms let users send messages to other players anonymously, it's unsafe to have convicted offenders using these services, Schneiderman said."
nk497 writes "Earlier this year, the UK's data watchdog the ICO started enforcing an EU rule that means websites must ask visitors before dropping cookies onto their computers. However, it was willing to accept 'implied consent' — telling visitors that cookies are used on the site, and assuming they were fine with that if they keep using the site. That led to banners popping up on every major website, including the ICO's site, warning users about cookies. Now, the ICO has revealed that many of the cookie-related complaints it's received in the past six months are actually about those banners — and the law itself. The ICO said people 'are unhappy with implied consent mechanisms, especially where cookies are placed immediately on entry to the site,' adding 'a significant number of people also raised concerns about the new rules themselves and the effect of usability of websites.'"
An anonymous reader writes "The internet control in China seems to have been tightened recently, according to the Guardian. Several VPN providers claimed that the censorship system can 'learn, discover and block' encrypted VPN protocols. Using machine learning algorithms in protocol classification is not exactly a new topic in the field. And given the fact that even the founding father of the 'Great Firewall,' Fan Bingxing himself, has also written a paper about utilizing machine learning algorithm in encrypted traffic analysis, it would be not surprising at all if they are now starting to identify suspicious encrypted traffic using numerically efficient classifiers. So the arm race between anti-censorship and surveillance technology goes on."
judgecorp writes "British Prime Minister David Cameron is set to reverse a policy announced last week, and demand that ISPs filter adult content by default. This system would require users to actively opt out of a filter designed to block adult content and material about self-harm. Last week, after consultation with parents, the Department for Education had said that an opt-in system would be sufficient and no default porn block would be required, but the Daily Mail has announced triumphantly that Cameron will be presenting the policy in the paper. MP Claire Perry, who has argued for the block, will be in charge — and freedom of speech campaigners have branded the sudden change of mind as 'chaotic.'"
wiredmikey writes "President Obama on Wednesday released a national strategy designed to balance the sharing of information with those who need it to keep the country safe, while protecting the same data from those who would use it to cause harm. 'The National Strategy for Information Sharing and Safeguarding' outlines how the government will attempt to responsibly share and protect data that enhances national security and protects the American people. The national strategy will define how the federal government and its assorted departments and agencies share their data. Agencies can also share services and work towards data and network interoperability to be more efficient, the President said. The President aimed to address concerns over Privacy by noting, 'This strategy makes it clear that the individual privacy, civil rights and civil liberties of United States persons must be — and will be — protected.' The full document is available here in PDF format from the White House website."
An anonymous reader writes in with a story about the Constitutional Court of Austria objecting to the EU's data retention law. "The European Union's data retention law could breach fundamental E.U. law because its requirements result in an invasion of citizens' privacy, according to the Constitutional Court of Austria, which has asked the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to determine the directive's validity. The primary problem with the data retention law is that it almost exclusively affects people in whom government or law enforcement have no prior interest. But authorities use the data for investigations and are informed about people's personal lives, the court said, and there is a risk that the data can be abused. 'We doubt that the E.U. Data Retention Directive is really compatible with the rights that are guaranteed by the E.U. Charter of Fundamental Rights,' Gerhart Holzinger, president of the Constitutional Court of Austria said in a statement."
l2718 writes "The Electronic Frontier Foundation announced today a large donation by Mark Cuban and Markus 'Notch' Persson to the EFF Patent Project. Notably, part of Cuban's donation is for the creation of the 'Mark Cuban Chair to Eliminate Stupid Patents' (the first holder is current staff attorney Julie Samuels). Time will tell if the new title will help her advocacy work. Cuban said, 'The current state of patents and patent litigation in this country is shameful," said Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks. "Silly patent lawsuits force prices to go up while competition and innovation suffer. That's bad for consumers and bad for business. It's time to fix our broken system, and EFF can help.' Notch added, 'New games and other technological tools come from improving on old things and making them better – an iterative process that the current patent environment could shut down entirely. '"
An anonymous reader writes "The U.S. Federal Trade Commission today updated the privacy standards that protect children's privacy online. The new rules say companies must gain parental consent before collecting a kid's geolocation data, photos, and videos. It also broadened existing language to include third parties and companies that collect data on users across multiple websites. 'While the new rule strengthens such safeguards, it could also disrupt online advertising. Web sites and online advertising networks often use persistent identification systems — like a customer code number in a cookie in a person's browser — to collect information about a user's online activities and tailor ads for that person. But the new rule expands the definition of personal information to include persistent IDs — such as a customer code number, the unique serial number on a mobile phone, or the I.P. address of a browser — if they are used to show a child behavior-based ads.'"
New submitter seepho writes "Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) has introduced a bill directing the National Academy of Sciences to lead an investigation to determine what impact violent video games have on children. Senator Rockefeller commented, 'Recent court decisions demonstrate that some people still do not get it. They believe that violent video games are no more dangerous to young minds than classic literature or Saturday morning cartoons. Parents, pediatricians, and psychologists know better. These court decisions show we need to do more and explore ways Congress can lay additional groundwork on this issue. This report will be a critical resource in this process.'" This legislation was prompted by reports that Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza was a gamer. A draft of the bill is available online.
An anonymous reader writes "Intellectual Ventures and RPX Rational Patent, two companies frequently referred to as patent trolls, have snapped up the troubled Kodak company's imaging patents. Bloomberg reports that Kodak has agreed to sell the patent portfolio for $525 million, despite previous valuations of over $2 billion." New submitter speedplane adds "How many stories have we read hating on the biggest patent troll of them all? Finally we see Intellectual Ventures making their case in a Wired op-ed, filled with everything you would would expect from a company suing the tech world on thousands of dubious patents: '...the system needs intermediaries within the market — companies like Intellectual Ventures — to help sift through and navigate the published landscape. By developing focused expertise, these patent licensing entities and intermediaries can function as patent aggregators, assembling portfolios of relevant inventions and providing access through licensing.' And my favorite gem: 'Ultimately, the users of those products — you — are the ones who benefit.'"