ebh writes "Noted in an AP story about how fees make it difficult to compare air travel costs, is how the airline industry is moving toward tailoring offer packages (and presumably, fares) for individuals based on their personal information. Worse, 'The airline association said consumers who choose not to supply personal information would still be able to see fares and purchase tickets, though consumer advocates said those fares would probably be at the "rack rate" — the travel industry's term for full price, before any discounts.'"
cstacy writes "Tatu Yionen, inventor of SSH, says he feels 'a moral responsibility' to come out of retirement and warn that a 'little-noticed problem' could jeopardize the security of much of the world's confidential data. He is referring to the management (or lack thereof) of SSH keys (i.e. 'authorized_keys') files. He suggests that most organizations simply allow the SSH key files to be created, copied, accumulated, and abandoned, all over their network, making easy pickings for intruders to gain access. Do you think this is a widespread problem? How does your company manage SSH keys?" cstacy's summary here is accurate, but as charlesTheLurker notes, the article is a bit over the top: "The Washington Times claims that there's a huge vulnerability in ssh. It turns out that some reporter there has discovered that you can do passwordless login with the software, and has spun this into a story of a dangerous vulnerability. Sigh."
As part of their 2012 in review series, the EFF takes a look at how blasphemy laws have chilled online speech this year. A "dishonorable mention" goes to YouTube this year: "A dishonorable mention goes to YouTube, which blocked access to the controversial 'Innocence of Muslims' video in Egypt and Libya without government prompting. The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, a group based in Egypt, condemned YouTube's decision."
The Electronic Frontier Foundation recaps two court cases pending in the U.S. which will decide whether you're allowed to re-sell the things you purchase. The first case deals with items bought in other countries for resale in the U.S., such as textbooks. An unfavorable decision there would mean "anything that is made in a foreign country and contains copies of copyrighted material – from the textbooks at issue in the Kirtsaeng case to shampoo bottles with copyrighted labels – could be blocked from resale, lending, or gifting without the permission of the copyright owner. That would create a nightmare for consumers and businesses, upending used goods markets and undermining what it really means to 'buy' and 'own' physical goods. The ruling also creates a perverse incentive for U.S. businesses to move their manufacturing operations abroad. It is difficult for us to imagine this is the outcome Congress intended." The second case is about whether music purchased on services like iTunes can be resold to other people. "Not only does big content deny that first sale doctrine applies to digital goods, but they are also trying to undermine the first sale rights we do have by forcing users to license items they would rather buy. The copyright industry wants you to "license" all your music, your movies, your games — and lose your rights to sell them or modify them as you see fit."
New submitter Isaac-1 writes "First it was the sex offenders being mapped using public records, now it seems to be gun owners — I wonder who will be next? It seems a newspaper in New York has published an interactive map with the names and addresses of people with [handguns]." It's happened before: In 2007, Virginia's Roanoke Times raised the ire of many gun owners by publishing a database of Virginia's gun permit holders that it assembled based on public records inquiries. (The paper later withdrew that database.) Similarly, WRAL-TV in North Carolina published a database earlier this year with searchable map of (partially redacted) information about permit holders in that state, and Philadelphia made the news for a similar disclosure — complete with interactive map and addresses — of hundreds of gun permit applicants and holders.
New submitter Alex Belits writes "Users of the Instagram image sharing service owned by Facebook filed a class action against Facebook for the recent change in Terms of Service." The changes that were supposed to take effect on January 16, 2013 declared for Facebook an unlimited right to use and license users' photos, added an arbitration requirement for legal disputes, and more. Guess the lawyers involved here weren't impressed enough by Facebook's hasty back-pedaling on this front; the company did explicitly disclaim ownership interest in the uploaded photos after a wave of complaints, but left in place certain other clauses in the new terms.
Dupple writes with news of another tech patent thrown out for obviousness. From the article: "On Friday, the High Court of London issued a ruling that said that one of Motorola's patents covering technology to synchronize messages across several devices should be invalidated. Originally, the patent covered the synching of messages across multiple pagers, but recently Motorola has used the patent in lawsuits against Apple and Microsoft for using similar message-syncing services in iCloud and on the Xbox, respectively. The presiding Judge Richard Arnold declared Motorola's patent invalid and said it should be revoked because the patent (which has a priority date from 1995, but was issued in 2002) contained technology that 'was obvious to experts in the field at the time.'"
alphadogg writes "As a new session of Congress convenes in early 2013, don't expect lawmakers to rush out a new version of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) or the Protect IP Act (PIPA). While some groups representing copyright holders still want to see stronger online enforcement, U.S. lawmakers don't seem to have the collective will to reintroduce similar bills and potentially face another massive online protest. In January 2012, more than 10 million Web users signed petitions, 8 million attempted calls to Congress and 4 million sent email messages, and more than 100,000 websites went dark in protest as the Senate scheduled a vote on PIPA. Lawmakers supporting the two bills baled out in droves, Senate leaders cancelled the PIPA vote, and SOPA's sponsor in the House of Representatives withdrew his legislation. 'That was an avalanche they've never seen,' said Ed Black, head of the Computer and Communications Industry Association. 'They're going to tiptoe in this area very carefully.'"
New submitter wilbrod writes "A Quebec special effects artist charged with corrupting morals has been found not guilty in a case that tested the boundaries of creative expression and Canadian obscenity laws. He was charged with three counts of corrupting morals by distributing, possessing and producing obscene material. During the trial, Couture argued his gory works, roughly a thousand images and two short videos that appeared on Couture's website, Inner Depravity, should be considered art. The material in question depicts gruesome murders, torture, sexual abuse, assaults and necrophilia — all with young female victims."
theodp writes "'It can be tough to stay connected over long distances,' writes GeekWire's Todd Bishop. 'Yes, there's phone calls, texting, Facebook, Twitter, IM, video chatting and everything else. But what if you could give virtual hugs to each other using battery-powered, Internet-enabled pillows?' That — and more — is covered by Microsoft's newly-awarded patent on Force-Feedback Within Telepresence, the idea of using interactive, connected devices to bring physical interactions to long-distance communications. Readers of Ted Nelson's 1975 Computer Lib/Dream Machines can only imagine the interesting possibilities for Skype!"
The NSA was originally supposed to handle foreign intelligence, and leave the domestic spying to other agencies, but Presto Vivace writes with this bit from CNET: "'The National Security Agency's Perfect Citizen program hunts for vulnerabilities in 'large-scale' utilities, including power grid and gas pipeline controllers, new documents from EPIC show.' 'Perfect Citizen?' Who thinks up these names?" "The program is scheduled to continue through at least September 2014," says the article.
Techmeology writes "Just days after the UK Pirate Party was forced to kill its proxy service Pirate Parties in Argentina and Luxembourg have created their own proxies. In a statement, the Pirate Party in Argentina said: 'We wish the UK Pirate Party best of luck in their continued fight for free access to culture and knowledge. We have put up our own Pirate Bay proxy which is accessible from anywhere in the world, including the UK and other places where it has been censored.'"
An anonymous reader writes "2 Player Productions, the producers of Minecraft: The Story of Mojang, on Saturday uploaded the documentary to The Pirate Bay. The news comes as a surprise move after an announcement earlier this week that the film is premiering today for free on Xbox Live to Gold subscribers. You can download it here."
An anonymous reader writes "After the rubber-banding, 'Steve Jobs' heuristics and pinch-to-zoom patents, another Apple patent in use against Samsung comes under pressure. An anonymous filer, most likely Samsung, has filed a reexamination request against Apple's RE41,922 patent on a 'method and apparatus for providing translucent images on a computer display.' It's not among the patents a California jury evaluated this summer, but one of four patents an ITC judge preliminarily found Samsung to infringe. The reexamination request features five new pieces of prior art (three U.S. patents from the early 1990s and two Japanese patents), all of which dealt with translucent images. The patent office will decide next year whether to grant or deny the request for reexamination. Expect more such petitions targeting Apple patents."
jonklinger writes with the lead from his report on a move to hamper internet freedom in Israel: "Israel is to attempt, again, to pass a bill that authorizes police officers to issue warrants to Internet service providers to block or restrict access to specific websites involved either in gambling, child pornography or copyright infringement. The bill itself proposes that such administrative procedures shall be clandestine and that court decisions shall be made ex-parte, where some of the court's ruling will not be even dislosed to the owner of the website, and the court may hear and use inadmissible evidence."
Hugh Pickens writes "Michael Wilson writes in the NY Times that top intelligence officials in the New York Police Department are looking for ways to target 'apolitical or deranged killers before they become active shooters' using techniques similar to those being used to spot terrorists' chatter online. The techniques would include 'cyber-searches of language that mass-casualty shooters have used in e-mails and Internet postings,' says Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly. 'The goal would be to identify the shooter in cyberspace, engage him there and intervene, possibly using an undercover to get close, and take him into custody or otherwise disrupt his plans.' There are also plans to send officers to Newtown and to scenes of other mass shootings to collect information says the department's chief spokesman Paul. J. Browne adding that potential tactics include creating an algorithm that would search online 'for terms used by active shooters in the past that may be an indicator of future intentions.' The NYPD's counter-terrorism division released a report last year, 'Active Shooter (PDF),' after studying 202 mass shooting incidents. 'So, we think this is another logical step,' says Kelly."
First time accepted submitter gannebraemorr writes with this news, snipped from a CBS News report out of New Jersey:"'The Superintendent of the Greater Egg Harbor Regional High School District said around 2 pm Tuesday, a 16 year old student demonstrated behavior that caused concern. A teacher noticed drawings of what appeared to be weapons in his notebook. School officials made the decision to contact authorities. Police removed the 16-year-old boy from Cedar Creek High School in Galloway Township Tuesday afternoon after school officials became concerned about his behavior. The student was taken to the Galloway Township Police Department. Police then searched the boy's home on the 300 block of East Spencer Lane and found several electronic parts and several types of chemicals that when mixed together, could cause an explosion, police say. The unidentified teen was charged with possession of a weapon an [sic] explosive device and the juvenile was placed in Harbor Fields.' If 'chemicals that when mixed together, could cause an explosion' is a crime, I'm pretty sure everyone's cleaning cabinets are evidence just waiting to be found. Bottle of Coke and Mentos... BRB, someone knocking at the door."
mbstone writes "The Air Force has a problem: Its drones generate thousands of hours of video (I almost said 'footage.') And most of it is miles of endless desert. USAF needs to distill the highlights, if you will, and nobody does it better than ESPN, the TV sports network. Air Force officials have asked ESPN for help in analyzing the 327,384 hours collected just this year. What we really need in times like these is sportscaster Warner Wolf. 'Let's go to the videotape, pick it up right here, Taliban in the home black.'"
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."