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Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

AI

Mannequins That Watch Shoppers 97

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the feel-my-stare dept.
SternisheFan writes with news of a creepy mannequin that watches you as you shop. From the article: "Benetton Group SpA is among fashion brands deploying mannequins equipped with technology used to identify criminals at airports to watch over shoppers in their stores. Retailers are introducing the EyeSee ... The 4,000-euro ($5,072) device has spurred shops to adjust window displays, store layouts and promotions to keep consumers walking in the door and spending. The EyeSee looks ordinary enough on the outside ... Inside, it's no dummy. A camera embedded in one eye feeds data into facial-recognition software like that used by police. It logs the age, gender, and race of passers-by. Demand for the device shows how retailers are turning to technology to help personalize their offers as growth slows in the $245 billion luxury goods industry. Bain & Co. predicts the luxury market will expand 5 percent in 2012, less than half last year's rate. 'It's a changing landscape but we're always going to be sensitive about respecting the customer's boundaries,' said spokesman Colin Johnson. ... Since the EyeSee doesn't store any images, retailers can use it as long as they have a closed-circuit television license."
Piracy

Media Center Key Accidentally Gives Pirates Free Windows 8 Pro License 255

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the side-effects-include dept.
MrSeb writes "In an amusing twist that undoubtedly spells the end of some hapless manager's career, Microsoft has accidentally gifted pirates with a free, fully-functioning Windows 8 license key. As you have probably surmised, this isn't intentional — Microsoft hasn't suddenly decided to give pirates an early Christmas present (though the $40 upgrade deal from Windows 8 Release Preview is something of a pirate amnesty). ... The bug involves the Key Management Service, which is part of Microsoft's Volume Licensing system. Pirates have already hacked the KMS to activate Windows 8 for 180 days — but this is just a partial activation. Now it turns out that the free Media Center Pack license keys that Microsoft is giving out until January 31 2013 can be used on a KMS-activated copy of Windows 8 to turn it into a fully licensed copy of Windows 8 Pro. "
Patents

Form1 3D Printer and Kickstarter Get Sued For Patent Infringment 211

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the thus-began-the-printing-wars dept.
An anonymous reader writes "3D Systems, one of the big fish in 3D printer manufacturing, filed a suit against Formlabs's hugely popular Form1 printer put forth on Kickstarter. The crowdfunding effort has amassed close to 3M US Dollars, of an initial 100K requested. 3D Systems accuses Formlabs and Kickstarter of knowingly infringing one of its still valid blanket patents on stereolithography and cross-sectional printing of 3D objects. The company is probably going to go for the kill, as one can deduce from the demands on their complaint." In "The State of Community Fabrication" presentation at HOPE9, Far McKon noted that no one had yet filed a patent lawsuit against a 3D printing company, but it looks like his fears have come true.
Education

Student Refusing RFID Badge Now Fights Expulsion Order 743

Posted by Soulskill
from the had-me-until-mark-of-the-beast dept.
BeatTheChip writes "Lawyers representing Andrea Hernandez, a science and engineering student at John Jay High School, are fighting an expulsion notice issued a week ago for refusing to wear a Smart ID badge. To represent her, lawyers filed a preliminary court injunction, seeking legal restraints on the school. She maintains stance of refusal to wear any badge containing an RFID tag for reasons of basic privacy and conflicts with her belief system. The controversial decision for her school to adopt the NFC badges is part of the Student Locator Project, tracking attendance. Local schools started issuing the lanyard badges this fall despite parental outcry at NISD school board meetings."
Privacy

Why Big Data Could Sink Europe's 'Right To Be Forgotten' 128

Posted by Soulskill
from the internets-never-forget dept.
concealment tips this news from GigaOm: "Europe's proposed 'right to be forgotten' has been the subject of intense debate, with many people arguing it's simply not practical in the age of the internet for any data to be reliably expunged from history. Well, add another voice to that mix. The European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA) has published its assessment of the proposals (PDF), and the tone is skeptical to say the least. And, interestingly, one of the biggest problems ENISA has found has to do with big data. They say, 'Removing forgotten information from all aggregated or derived forms may present a significant technical challenge. On the other hand, not removing such information from aggregated forms is risky, because it may be possible to infer the forgotten raw information by correlating different aggregated forms.'"
Earth

Climate Contrarians Seek Leadership of House Science Committee 518

Posted by Soulskill
from the wouldn't-want-to-get-any-science-in-it dept.
An article at Ars examines three members of the U.S. House of Representatives who are seeking chairmanship of its Committee on Space, Science, and Technology. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) said in an interview, "My analysis is that in the global warming debate, we won. There were a lot of scientists who were just going along with the flow on the idea that mankind was causing a change in the world's climate. I think that after 10 years of debate, we can show that that there are hundreds if not thousands of scientists who have come over to being skeptics, and I don't know anyone [who was a skeptic] who became a believer in global warming." James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) has a similar record of opposing climate change, as does Lamar Smith (R-TX). Relatedly, Phil Plait, a.k.a. The Bad Astronomer, has posted an article highlighting how U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), a member of the Senate's Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, has declined to answer a question about how old the Earth is, calling it "one of the great mysteries."
Lord of the Rings

Tolkien Estate Sues Over Lord of the Rings Slot Machines 211

Posted by Soulskill
from the tricksy-hobbitses dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Tolkien Estate has filed an $80 million copyright infringement lawsuit in U.S. District Court over the use of Lord of the Rings slot machines. The complaint hinges on a contract between the estate and Warner Bros. which allows the creation of LotR merchandise but not LotR 'intangibles,' like the experience of playing a slot machine game. According to the estate (PDF), 'Not only does the production of gambling games patently exceed the scope of defendants' rights, but this infringing conduct has outraged Tolkien's devoted fan base, causing irreparable harm to Tolkien's legacy and reputation and the valuable goodwill generated by his works.'"
Privacy

That Was Fast: Leahy Drops Warrantless E-mail Surveillance Bill 107

Posted by Soulskill
from the sees-which-way-the-wind-is-blowing dept.
Presto Vivace writes "Under the right conditions, online activism can be very effective. U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy has already abandoned his warrantless e-mail surveillance bill we discussed this morning. 'The Vermont Democrat said today on Twitter that he would "not support such an exception" for warrantless access. ... A vote on the proposal in the Senate Judiciary committee, which Leahy chairs, is scheduled for next Thursday. The amendments were due to be glued onto a substitute (PDF) to H.R. 2471, which the House of Representatives already has approved. Leahy's about-face comes in response to a deluge of criticism today, including the ACLU saying that warrants should be required, and the conservative group FreedomWorks launching a petition to Congress -- with over 2,300 messages sent so far -- titled: "Tell Congress: Stay Out of My Email!""
Government

Jail Looms For Man Who Revealed AT&T Leaked iPad User E-Mails 124

Posted by Soulskill
from the doing-it-wrong dept.
concealment sends this quote from MIT's Technology Review: "AT&T screwed up in 2010, serving up the e-mail addresses of over 110,000 of its iPad 3G customers online for anyone to find. But Andrew Auernheimer, an online activist who pointed out AT&T's blunder to Gawker Media, which went on to publicize the breach of private information, is the one in federal court this week. Groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation worry that should that charge succeed it will become easy to criminalize many online activities, including work by well-intentioned activists looking for leaks of private information or other online security holes. [Auernheimer's] case hasn't received much attention so far, but should he be found guilty this week it will likely become well known, fast."
Patents

USPTO Head: Current Patent Litigation Is 'Reasonable' 153

Posted by Soulskill
from the patent-lawyers-everywhere-agree dept.
elashish14 writes "David Kappos, head of the USPTO, today provided a strong defense of the patent system, particularly in the mobile industry. In his address, he implored critics, 'Give the [America Invents Act] a chance to work.' He then went on to proclaim the 'absolutely breakneck pace' of innovation in the smartphone industry and that the U.S. patent system is 'the envy of the world,' though he was likely only referring to the envy of the world's lawyers. Perhaps the most laughable quote from his address: 'The explosion of litigation we are seeing is a reflection of how the patent system wires us for innovation.'"
HP

Meg Whitman Says HP Was Defrauded By Autonomy; HP Stock Plunges 237

Posted by timothy
from the damn-english-ravines dept.
McGruber writes "CNBC is reporting that Meg Whitman claims HP was defrauded in its purchase of Autonomy. 'We believed there is a willful effort on the part of certain members of Autonomy management to mislead shareholders when Autonomy was a publicly traded company, and to mislead potential buyers including HP,' Whitman said. 'We stand by the forensic review that we've seen,' she added. I wish her the same level of success I had when I filed an eBay claim." Also covered at SlashBI, which names the write-down damage: $8.8 billion.
EU

Pirate Party MEP Helps Draft New Credit Card Company Controls 129

Posted by timothy
from the common-carrier-of-currency dept.
Dupple writes with this excerpt: "It has become an increasingly large problem that Visa, MasterCard, and Paypal control the valve to any money flow on the planet. Today, the European Parliament established this as a clear problem, and initiated regulation of the companies, limiting and strictly regulating their right to refuse service. The Pirate Party was the initiator of this regulation, following the damaging cutoff of donations to WikiLeaks, after said organization had performed journalism that was embarrassing to certain governments."
Government

Senate Bill Rewrite Lets Feds Read Your E-mail Without Warrants 403

Posted by timothy
from the as-if-they-wouldn't-otherwise dept.
concealment writes "A Senate proposal touted as protecting Americans' e-mail privacy has been quietly rewritten, giving government agencies more surveillance power than they possess under current law. [Sen. Patrick] Leahy's rewritten bill would allow more than 22 agencies — including the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Communications Commission — to access Americans' e-mail, Google Docs files, Facebook wall posts, and Twitter direct messages without a search warrant. It also would give the FBI and Homeland Security more authority, in some circumstances, to gain full access to Internet accounts without notifying either the owner or a judge."
Music

One Musician's Demand From Pandora: Mandatory Analytics 227

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the stick-to-being-a-musician dept.
jfruh writes "Most Slashdotters have been following the debate among the various players in the music industry about how much money artists (and their labels) get from traditional music outlets like radio and newer services like Pandora or Spotify. But Zoë Keating, a professional cellist who has a professional interest in the outcome of this argument, thinks there's one thing missing from all the proposals: more data on who her audience is. Even digital services can't tell her how many people heard her songs or where they're most popular. 'How can I grow my business on this information?' she asks. 'How do I reach them? Do they know I'm performing nearby next month? How can I tell them I have a new album coming out?'" She proposes mandatory reporting of information on listeners as part of royalties.
Businesses

Unresolved Issues Swirl Around Securing Mobile Payments 44

Posted by samzenpus
from the at-your-own-risk dept.
CowboyRobot writes "While many mobile payments startups are using both traditional and nontraditional authentication methods, regulatory uncertainty still exists around liability for fraud attacks on customers using mobile payments. Although there haven't been any public attacks from fraudsters on alternative mobile payments providers such as Square, LevelUp or Dwolla, anecdotal stories are already circulating among security experts and regulators of such attacks. One thing that still has to be worked out in this area is regulatory oversight. 'The regulators are not yet clear who owns the regulatory oversight for these environments. These technologies tend to fall through the cracks even in terms of card-present or card-not-present.'"
Piracy

How RapidShare Plans To Avoid MegaUpload's Fate 97

Posted by samzenpus
from the easy-now dept.
concealment writes "On November 27, RapidShare will start putting a tight cap on outbound downloads for its free users. Paid members will still have 30 gigabytes in outbound downloads per day, but everybody else will be capped at one gigabyte. The change is expected to further deter pirates from using RapidShare to distribute copyright material on a large scale."
Crime

John McAfee Launches Blog, Offers $25K Reward For "Real Killers" 377

Posted by samzenpus
from the on-the-run dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The IT security pioneer John McAfee has launched a blog to document his life on the lam, as Belize police chase him down for suspicion of killing a neighbor. McAfee is using the blog to state his case, raise suspicions about Belize authorities and to offer a $25K reward to find the real killer or killers. From the article: 'McAfee writes that he is on run with a 20-year-old female named Sam, photos of whom are in the blog, along with a post from her. McAfee says a handful of friends and associates have been rounded up by police over the past week or so. His posts are filled with dramatic descriptions of his actions (including returning to his home in disguise to find police digging up his dead dogs and cutting off their heads) and lay bare his suspicions about Belize authorities. '"
Crime

Dutch Cold Case Murder Solved After 8000 People Gave Their DNA 513

Posted by samzenpus
from the check-me dept.
sciencewatcher writes "A 1999 cold case rape and murder in The Netherlands has been solved. Dutch police asked 8000+ men living within 5 kilometers of the crime scene to volunteer their DNA so that the murderer could be traced through (close or distant) family members sharing part of this DNA. As it turned out, the man now in custody turned in his own DNA, resulting in a 100% match. The request of the police was discussed here on Slashdot in September. The percentage of people participating was closing in on 90%; in the midsize town of the victim it was 96%."
Censorship

You Can't Say That On the Internet 432

Posted by samzenpus
from the watch-what-you-say dept.
hessian writes in with a story about the arbitrary and often outdated online decency standards being imposed by companies."A bastion of openness and counterculture, Silicon Valley imagines itself as the un-Chick-fil-A. But its hyper-tolerant facade often masks deeply conservative, outdated norms that digital culture discreetly imposes on billions of technology users worldwide. What is the vehicle for this new prudishness? Dour, one-dimensional algorithms, the mathematical constructs that automatically determine the limits of what is culturally acceptable. Consider just a few recent kerfuffles. In early September, The New Yorker found its Facebook page blocked for violating the site’s nudity and sex standards. Its offense: a cartoon of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Eve’s bared nipples failed Facebook’s decency test."
Businesses

Coffee and Intellectual Property 198

Posted by timothy
from the it-puts-the-coffee-lotion-(tm)-on-its-skin dept.
cervesaebraciator writes "A 'Coffee Branding Workshop,' sponsored by the World Intellectual Property Organization, was held recently in Arusha City, at which the Director General of the Tanzania Coffee Board presented a paper titled 'Supporting the Coffee Sector with added Value Products Through Intellectual Property and Branding.' The paper encouraged the use of intellectual property claims, including trademarks, copyrights, patents, and designs, as sources of income which can be used to support agriculture in Africa. The Director General claimed that '[Intellectual property rights] are the basis for today's knowledge based economy and international competitiveness.' This is no doubt related to a broader effort to advance western style intellectual property in Africa through claims of the benefits it offers agriculture. Promoting western style intellectual property law as a means of third world development is a popular strategy for WIPO, the only branch of the UN to have significant wealth deriving from contributions independent of Member States. On a related note of interest to Slashdotters, there is a history of tension between WIPO advocates and FOSS advocates." I hope they take advantage of the marketing possibilities offered by civet-processed coffee.

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