another random user writes with this excerpt from the BBC: "A row over a web article posted five years ago has led to 1.5 million educational blogs going offline. The Edublogs site went dark for about an hour after its hosting company, ServerBeach, pulled the plug. The hosting firm was responding to a copyright claim from publisher Pearson, which said one blog had been illegally sharing information it owned. ... The offending article was first published in November 2007 and made available a copy of a questionnaire, known as the Beck Hopelessness Scale, to a group of students. The copyright for the questionnaire is owned by Pearson, which asked ServerBeach to remove the content in late September."
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
concealment writes with this selection from Ars Technica: "A Democratic congressman who played a leading role in the fight against the Stop Online Piracy Act earlier this year has taken up a new cause: shielding Google from antitrust scrutiny. In a strongly worded letter to Federal Trade Commission chairman Jon Leibowitz, Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) praised Google's contribution to the nation's economy. He warned Leibowitz that if the FTC does choose to initiate an antitrust case against Google, Congress might react by curtailing its regulatory authority."
RockDoctor writes "BBC radio news (2012-10-16 GMT 13:00) is reporting that the Home Secretary has blocked the extradition of Gary MacKinnon to the U.S. for (alleged) computer hacking crimes. Paraphrasing: the Director of Public Prosecutions is going to have to decide if there is sufficient evidence for him to be tried in the UK for crimes committed in (or from) the UK. " (Also at The Independent.)
judgecorp writes "Google's privacy mechanism, which combines personal data from around 60 products, and gives users only one opportunity to opt out, was rolled out in March against requests from privacy regulators in Europe. Now they want the policy reversed, and user data from the different Google products, including Gmail, Search and YouTube, to be separated. The EU attack is lead by French regulator CNIL, which has historically taken a tough line on privacy matters."
rrohbeck writes "From eff.org: 'The shadow of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is back in Europe. It is disguised as CETA, the Canada-European Union and Trade Agreement. A comparison of the leaked draft Canada-EU agreement shows the treaty includes a number of the same controversial provisions, specifically concerning criminal enforcement, private enforcement by Internet Service Providers (ISPs), and harsh damages.'"
alen writes "The FCC is now allowing cable companies to encrypt free OTA channels that they also rebroadcast over their networks. 'The days of plugging a TV into the wall and getting cable are coming to an end. After a lengthy review process, the FCC has granted cable operators permission to encrypt their most basic cable programming.' Soon the only way to receive free OTA channels via your cable company will involve renting yet another box or buying something like Boxee."
coondoggie writes "This had to be one hell of a ride. The CIA today said it added a pretty cool item to its museum archives — the instruction card for officers being plucked off the ground by a contraption that would allow a person to be snatched off the ground by a flying aircraft without the plane actually landing."
another random user writes "The United Arab Emirates holds the largest biometric database in the world, the Emirates Identity Authority has announced. The population register of Emirates ID has over 103 million digital fingerprints and over 15 million digital facial recognition records, which includes multiple records of each UAE resident, and digital signatures as of October 11, senior officials said. Dr. Ali Al Khoury, Director General of Emirates ID, said the authority has submitted an official application to the World Record Academy to recognize this record. Asked about the confirmation of the authority's claims about the world record, an official spokesman of the authority told Gulf News on Sunday: 'We have made worldwide surveys and inquiries with the similar official authorities and agencies of the world governments holding such databases and confirmed that our database is the largest. The World Record Academy also confirmed to us that no other government or authority has made a similar claim for such a record,' he said."
Gunkerty Jeb writes "Initially thought to be merely a module of the now-infamous Flame malware, MiniFlame, or SPE is, in reality, a secondary surveillance tool deployed against specially identified targets following an initial Flame or Gauss compromise. MiniFlame/SPE was one of three previously unseen pieces of malware discovered during a forensic analysis of Flame's command and control servers. Researchers at Kaspersky Lab and CERT-Bund/BSI determined that the program, which has compromised somewhere between 10 and 20 machines, can stand alone as an independent piece of malware or run as a plug-in for both Flame and Gauss."
concealment writes "In the face of the violence that frequently results from anti-religious expression, some world leaders seem to be losing their patience with free speech. After a video called 'Innocence of Muslims' appeared on YouTube and sparked violent protests in several Muslim nations last month, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned that 'when some people use this freedom of expression to provoke or humiliate some others' values and beliefs, then this cannot be protected.' It appears that the one thing modern society can no longer tolerate is intolerance. As Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard put it in her recent speech before the United Nations, 'Our tolerance must never extend to tolerating religious hatred.'"
McGruber writes "The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Facebook revealed the sexual preferences of users despite those users have chosen 'privacy lock-down' settings on Facebook. The article describes two students who were casualties of a privacy loophole on Facebook—the fact that anyone can be added to a group by a friend without their approval. As a result, the two lost control over their secrets, even though both students were sophisticated users who had attempted to use Facebook's privacy settings to shield some of their activities from their parents. Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes responded with a statement blaming the users: 'Our hearts go out to these young people. Their unfortunate experience reminds us that we must continue our work to empower and educate users about our robust privacy controls.'"
An anonymous reader writes "An interesting case touching on privacy in the Internet age has erupted in Kennebunk, Maine, the coastal town where the Bush family has a vacation home. When a fitness instructor who maintained a private studio was arrested for prostitution, she turned out to have maintained meticulous billing records on some 150 clients, and had secretly recorded the proceedings on video files stored in her computer. Local police have begun issuing summons to her alleged johns, and have announced intentions to publish the list, as is customary in such cases. Police believe such publication has a deterrent effect on future incidents of the kind. However, the notoriety of the case has some, including newspaper editors, wondering whether the lives of the accused johns may be disproportionately scarred (obtaining or keeping a job, treatment of members of their families within the community) for a the mere accusation of having committed a misdemeanor. Also, the list of names will be permanently archived and indexed by search engines essentially forever."
hypnosec writes "Amazon, in an email to Kindle owners, has a revealed that following the settlement in the eBook price fixing lawsuit customers will be entitled to refunds between 30 cents and $1.32 on each book purchased. If the $69 million settlement is approved, the funds will be provided as credits to customers directly in their accounts. Users may request checks for the amount of credit that has been applied to their accounts. 'If the Court approves the settlements, the account credit will appear automatically and can be used to purchase Kindle books or print books,' wrote Amazon in the email."
An anonymous reader writes "Internet censorship is common in conservative majority-Muslim countries, but it may have more to do with politics and technology than with religion. I.e., Iran is not so different from Cuba and China. From the article: 'in an attempt to uncover the various reasons — and ways — that countries clamp down on Internet freedoms, the U.S.-based watchdog Freedom House investigated the issue in 47 nations and released a study of its findings this year. Employing a number of factors ranging from blogger arrests to politically motivated website blockades, the study ranked each country according to its degree of online freedom. And, as it happens, Islamic countries do not stand out for their degree of censorship.'"
PolygamousRanchKid writes with this news from MotherJones: "Last year, when Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett suggested offsetting college tuition fees by leasing parts of state-owned college campuses to natural gas drillers, more than a few Pennsylvanians were left blinking and rubbing their eyes. But it was no idle threat: After quietly moving through the state Senate and House, this week the governor signed into law a bill that opens up 14 of the state's public universities to fracking, oil drilling, and coal mining on campus. Environmentalists and educators are concerned that fracking and other resource exploitation on campus could leave students directly exposed to harms like explosions, water contamination, and air pollution."
An anonymous reader writes "Soda makers, along with other trade organizations, filed a lawsuit Friday challenging the New York soda ban that is about to be implemented in the city. 'Last month, the board voted eight to zero, with one abstention, to ban restaurants, mobile food carts, delis and concessions at movie theaters, stadiums and arenas from selling sugary drinks in cups or containers larger than 16 ounces. The ban, designed to reduce obesity, is slated to begin March 12. ... The lawsuit also claims that new regulations are “arbitrary and capricious,” violating a section of the New York Civil Laws and Rules. Opponents have specifically said it’s unfair that convenience stores, including 7-Eleven and its famous Big Gulp drink, would be exempt.'"
Giorgio Maone writes "Ubuntu developer and fellow Mozillian Benjamin Kerensa chatted with various people about the new Amazon Product Results in the Ubuntu 12.10 Unity Dash. Among them, Richard Stallman told him that this feature is bad because: 1. 'If Canonical gets this data, it will be forced to hand it over to various governments.'; 2. Amazon is bad. Concerned people can disable remote data retrieval for any lens and scopes or, more surgically, use sudo apt-get remove unity-lens-shopping."
SpzToid writes "U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta has warned that the country is 'facing the possibility of a "cyber-Pearl Harbor" and [is] increasingly vulnerable to foreign computer hackers who could dismantle the nation's power grid, transportation system, financial networks and government.' Countries such as Iran, China, and Russia are claimed to be motivated to conduct such attacks (though in at least Iran's case, it could be retaliation). Perhaps this is old news around here, even though Panetta is requesting new legislation from Congress. I think the following message from Richard Bejtlich is more wise and current: 'We would be much better served if we accepted that prevention eventually fails, so we need detection, response, and containment for the incidents that will occur.' Times do changes, even in the technology sector. Currently Congress is preoccupied with the failure of U.S. security threats in Benghazi, while maybe Leon isn't getting the press his recent message deserves?"
NeutronCowboy writes with news that a majority of top staff members from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission have become convinced that Google "illegally used its dominance of the search market to hurt its rivals." The FTC is now drafting a memo that recommends the U.S. government begin an antitrust case against Google. "The agency’s central focus is whether Google manipulates search results to favor its own products, and makes it harder for competitors and their products to appear prominently on a results page. ... The memo is still being edited and changes could be made, but these are mostly fine-tuning and will not alter the broad conclusions reached after an inquiry that began more than a year ago, said these people, who spoke on the condition that they not be identified. ... The FTC staff memo does not mean that the government will sue Google for antitrust violations. Next, the vote of three of the five FTC commissioners would be required. And each step is a further prod for Google to make concessions to reach a settlement before going to court. Last month, Jon Leibowitz, chairman of the FTC, said a final decision on whether to sue Google would be made before the end of this year.
theodp writes "In Ken Kesey's 1962 novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Nurse Ratched maintained order in the mental institution by dispensing antipsychotic and anticonvulsant drugs to the patients. Fifty years later, the NY Times reports that some physicians are prescribing stimulants to struggling students in schools starved of extra money, not to treat ADHD, necessarily, but to boost their academic performance. 'We as a society have been unwilling to invest in very effective nonpharmaceutical interventions for these children and their families,' said Dr. Ramesh Raghavan, an expert in prescription drug use among low-income children. 'We are effectively forcing local community psychiatrists to use the only tool at their disposal, which is psychotropic medications.'"