EU

Europe's Top Court To Decide If Uber Is Tech Firm Or Taxi Company 193 193

An anonymous reader writes: A Spanish judge has requested that the European Court of Justice determine whether or not Uber is a generic "digital service," as it claims, or a "mere transport activity." If the court rules that Uber is a transportation firm the company may have to follow the same licensing and safety rules as taxis and other hired vehicles. "Today's news means that the European Court of Justice will now determine if the national rules currently being applied to digital services like Uber are legal and appropriate under European law," said Mark MacGann, Uber's Head of Public Policy for EMEA, on a conference call with journalists.
Youtube

There Is No "Next Great Copyright Act", Remain Calm 93 93

Lirodon writes: A YouTube video has gone viral, particularly around the art community (and the subsection of the art community populated by the same type of people who tend to spread these around to begin with), making bold claims that a revision to U.S. copyright law is being considered, with a particular focus on orphan works. Among other things, this video claims that it would require all works to be registered with a for-profit registry to be protected, that unregistered works would be "orphaned" and be usable by "good faith infringers" and allow others to make derivative works that they would own entirely. Thankfully, this is all just hyperbole proliferated by a misinterpretation of a report on orphan works by the U.S. Copyright Office, as Graphic Policy explains.
Security

Netragard Ends Exploit Acquisition Program After Hacking Team Breach 48 48

Trailrunner7 writes: After the fallout from the HackingTeam breach, Netragard, a company that buys and sells exploits, has decided to shut down its exploit acquisition program. Leaked documents show that Natragard was selling exploits to the Italian maker of intrusion and surveillance software. In addition, documents further showed that the company sold its products to a variety of oppressive regimes, including Egypt and Ethiopia. A company statement reads in part: "We’ve decided to terminate our Exploit Acquisition Program (again). Our motivation for termination revolves around ethics, politics, and our primary business focus. The HackingTeam breach proved that we could not sufficiently vet the ethics and intentions of new buyers. HackingTeam unbeknownst to us until after their breach was clearly selling their technology to questionable parties, including but not limited to parties known for human rights violations. While it is not a vendors responsibility to control what a buyer does with the acquired product, HackingTeam’s exposed customer list is unacceptable to us. The ethics of that are appalling and we want nothing to do with it."
The Military

Report: US Military Is Wasting Millions On Satellite Comms 154 154

An anonymous reader writes: Fast information exchange is the key to a powerful military, and satellites have been an incredible boon to the commanders of modern fighting forces. But a new report from the Government Accountability Office says the U.S. military is vastly overpaying for its satellite communications, to the tune of tens of millions of dollars. They say the Department of Defense "has become increasingly reliant on commercial SATCOM to support ongoing U.S. military operations." You see, every part of the DoD is required to go through the Defense Information Systems Agency when procuring SATCOM equipment. The problem is that this process is incredibly slow, and fraught with red tape. Because of this, many in the military skip DISA and go straight to commercial providers — at a steep markup. The GAO estimates that this cost taxpayers around $45 million extra in a single year.
Privacy

Affair Site Hackers Threaten Release of All User Data Unless It Closes 446 446

heretic108 writes: According to KrebsOnSecurity, the infamous Ashley Madison affairs hookup website has been hacked by a group calling itself The Impact Team. This group is demanding the immediate and permanent shutdown of Ashley Madison, as well as similar sites Cougar Life and Established Man, owned by the same company: Avid Life Media. If the sites aren't shut down, the hackers are threatening to publicly release personal data for 37 million users. ALM has confirmed that a hack took place, and the hackers posted snippets of account data, as well as bank and salary information from the company itself.
The Courts

Class Action Filed Against Sling Media 112 112

New submitter DewDude writes: In case you missed it; Sling Media has been forcing advertisements into video streams from Slingbox devices unless you pay for a client application, which is only an option for Apple, Android, and Windows 8 devices. The issue will now head to the courts, as two plaintiffs have filed a class action suit against Sling Media, claiming the company participated in 'bait-and-switch' tactics by charging users for the hardware, then monetizing the streaming of content. The suit notes that Sling does not own the rights to the programming into which they are inserting advertisements.
The Internet

Internet Dating Scams Target Older American Women 176 176

HughPickens.com writes: The NYT reports: "Janet N. Cook, a church secretary in Virginia, had been a widow for a decade when she joined an Internet dating site and was quickly overcome by a rush of emails, phone calls and plans for a face-to-face visit. "I'm not stupid, but I was totally naïve," says Cook, now 76, who was swept off her feet by a man who called himself Kelvin Wells and described himself as a middle-aged German businessman looking for someone "confident" and "outspoken" to travel with him to places like Italy, his "dream destination." But very soon he began describing various troubles, including being hospitalized in Ghana, where he had gone on business, and asked Cook to bail him out. In all, she sent him nearly $300,000, as he apparently followed a well-honed script that online criminals use to bilk members of dating sites out of tens of millions of dollars a year."

According to the Times internet scammers are targeting women in their 50s and 60s, often retired and living alone, who say that the email and phone wooing forms a bond that may not be physical but that is intense and enveloping. Between July 1 and Dec. 31, 2014, nearly 6,000 people registered complaints of such confidence fraud with losses of $82.3 million, according to the federal Internet Crime Complaint Center. Older people are ideal targets because they often have accumulated savings over a lifetime, own their homes and are susceptible to being deceived by someone intent on fraud. The digital version of the romance con is now sufficiently widespread that AARP's Fraud Watch Network has urged online dating sites to institute more safeguards to protect against such fraud. The AARP network recommends that dating site members use Google's "search by image" to see if the suitor's picture appears on other sites with different names. If an email from "a potential suitor seems suspicious, cut and paste it into Google and see if the words pop up on any romance scam sites," the network advised. The website romancescams.org lists red flags to look for to identify such predators, who urgently appeal to victims for money to cover financial setbacks like unexpected fines, money lost to robbery or unpaid wages. Most victims say they are embarrassed to admit what happened, and they fear that revealing it will bring derision from their family and friends, who will question their judgment and even their ability to handle their own financial affairs."It makes me sound so stupid, but he would be calling me in the evening and at night. It felt so real. We had plans to go to the Bahamas and to Bermuda together," says Louise Brown. "When I found out it was a scam, I felt so betrayed. I kept it secret from my family for two years, but it's an awful thing to carry around. But later I sent him a message and said I forgave him."
EU

Bitcoin Exempt From VAT Says European Court of Justice 72 72

An anonymous reader writes: The European Court of Justice (ECJ) proposes that Bitcoin should be exempt from Value Added Tax (VAT). This news has been positively received by the Bitcoin community in the EU, as member states are not likely going to apply VAT to purchases and sales of Bitcoin. A clear cut argument brought up by Advocate General Juliane Kokott, was that VAT is commonly applied to goods and services which have an end consumer. Bitcoin is neither a good, nor a service and has no end consumer, as Bitcoins are eternally transferable just like normal currency. Bitcoin exchanges such as Coinbase, Kraken, Bitstamp, and Bitfinex will all benefit from this ruling, which may lead to other countries across the globe to follow a similar approach.
Patents

Apple Patents Bank Account Balance Snooping Tech 133 133

An anonymous reader writes: Apple's latest patent filings shows that the company is looking into displaying advertising based on your available bank balance. If Apple moves forward with this type of technology it would be a complete 360 on its previous direction to not monetize everything they know about customers. Tim Cook has even said multiple times that companies are targeting consumers on multiple fronts and that he's completely against using customer information in this manner and it's not the kind of company he wants Apple to be.
Government

Despite Triage, US Federal Cybersecurity Still Lags Behind 36 36

An anonymous reader writes: According to the NY Times, U.S. government officials will soon announce all the improvements their IT security teams have made to federal systems in response to the OPM breach. Unfortunately, says the Times, these updates only just scratch the surface, and are more to show that the government is "doing something" than to fix the long-standing problems with how it handles security. "After neglect that has been documented in dozens of audits for nearly two decades, the federal government is still far behind its adversaries. And it is still struggling to procure the latest technological defenses or attract the kind of digital security expertise necessary to secure its networks."

It seems each agency has to be hit by a cyberattack, causing it to go into panic-mode independently, before learning to properly safeguard its systems. Officials say far too much money is wasted on figuring out who and what to blame, rather than on ameliorating the problem. "At the Internal Revenue Service, auditors identified 69 vulnerabilities in the agency's networks last year, but when officials there told Government Accountability Office auditors this year that they had fixed 24 of those problems, investigators found only 14 had been resolved."
Businesses

IT Workers Training Their Foreign Replacements 'Troubling,' Says White House 305 305

dcblogs writes: A top White House official told House lawmakers this week that the replacement of U.S. workers by H-1B visa holders is 'troubling' and not supposed to happen. That answer came in response to a question from U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) that referenced Disney workers who had to train their temporary visa holding replacements (the layoffs were later canceled. Jeh Johnson, the secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, said if H-1B workers are being used to replace U.S. workers, then "it's a very serious failing of the H-1B program." But Johnson also told lawmakers that they may not be able to stop it, based on current law. Ron Hira, an associate professor of public policy at Howard University who has testified before Congress multiple times on H-1B visa use, sees that as a "bizarre interpretation" of the law.
Piracy

Popular Torrent Site Disappears From Google After Penalty 165 165

An anonymous reader writes: Following what appears to be a severe penalty, the popular torrent site KickassTorrents has become pretty much unfindable in Google. Meanwhile, the top search result in many locations points to a scam site that's serving malware to its visitors. For now, only DuckDuckGo presents the real site as a main result. With millions of visitors per day, KickassTorrents is arguably the most visited torrent site on the Internet, and has gained new users during the moments when the notorious Pirate Bay has been offline.
Government

Antineutrino Detectors Could Be Key To Monitoring Iran's Nuclear Program 79 79

agent elevator writes: Tech that analyzes antineutrinos might be the best way to keep tabs on Iran's nuclear program. The technology, which can tell how much of and what kind of plutonium and uranium are nearby, should be ready to serve as a nuclear safeguard in less than two years, according to IEEE Spectrum. In a simulation of the Arak nuclear plant, which the Iran deal requires be redesigned to make less plutonium, a detector parked outside in a shipping container could do the job.
Piracy

UK Government Proposes 10-Year Copyright Infringement Jail Term 267 267

An anonymous reader writes: According to a BBC report, the UK government is proposing increasing the jail term for copyright infringement from the current two years to 10 years, which they say would "act as a significant deterrent." "The proposed measures are mainly targeted at the distributors of pirated content — the people creating copies of movies, sometimes before release, and uploading them to be downloaded by thousands upon thousands." Another reader notes a related court ruling in the UK which has once again made it illegal to rip lawfully-acquired CDs and DVDs for personal use. "A judge ruled that the government was wrong legally when it decided not to introduce a compensation scheme for songwriters, musicians, and other rights holders who face losses as a result of their copyright being infringed."
EU

Data Store and Spying Laws Found Illegal By EU Court 64 64

WillAffleckUW writes: The EU High Court found the United Kingdom's data retention (and subsequent storage and analysis) and surveillance laws to be illegal throughout the EU, which subsequently would be an argument in courts in Australia and Canada against their own spy laws. This effectively brings back the rule of law that all EU citizens have a right to privacy that is at the Bill of Rights level, not an easily short-circuited legal basis.

"The judges identified two key problems with the law: that it does not provide for independent court or judicial scrutiny to ensure that only data deemed 'strictly necessary' is examined; and that there is no definition of what constitutes 'serious offenses' in relation to which material can be investigated." It is uncertain that this would apply to U.S. spy laws, as a right of privacy is only inferred by U.S. high courts and is not written into constitutions as it is in the EU, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
Spam

A Welcome Shift: Spam Now Constitutes Less Than Half of All Email 114 114

An anonymous reader writes: According to Symantec's latest Intelligence Report, spam has fallen to less than 50% of all email in June – a number we haven't seen in over a decade. Of all emails received by Symantec clients in June, junk emails only accounts for 49.7% down from 52.1% in April which shows a huge drop. Year over year, spam has decreased as well due to internet providers doing a better job at filtering and shutting down spam bots.
Government

Ask Slashdot: Opinions on the State Breaking Its Own Law Against Employee Misclassification? 165 165

An anonymous reader writes: I've had the privilege of developing software as an independent contractor for various agencies of a particular state for many years. These past few, however, have seen changes: now I, and almost every other contractor I know, are being managed very differently. This state is now making a widespread practice of using the businesses it awards contracts to as staffing agencies, knowing full well that the people coming in are 1099s and receive none of the benefits or protections of regular employees. These contractors are expected to be on site full-time, are not allowed to use their own hardware or software, and are managed alongside, and perform substantially the same work as other, regular employees. This is apparently done to cut costs.

The State has no legal risk here — that rests solely on the businesses it awards contracts to. But given that this particular state takes a hard line against misclassifying employees, this strikes me as profoundly hypocritical. I am not here to ask for legal advice. Indeed, I have already retained counsel in this matter. Considering additional detail that I won't get into here, Federal law is likely being broken. Since this is also one of the states that have the strict 'three prong' test for classifying employees, the State's own law is definitely being broken.

I thought, maybe somebody should say something. But my lawyer's reaction surprised me. He said — this isn't a big deal, you could just go find another client. And you know what? He's right. I could totally do that. Maybe since we in the IT industry tend to be well paid, nobody should care, and there's no reason complain. I'm not asking for legal advice or a recommendation as to what I should do personally; I'm still forming an opinion on the larger issue here, and I'd like you to share yours.
Privacy

ProxyGambit Replaces Defunct ProxyHam 26 26

msm1267 writes: Hardware hacker Samy Kamkar has picked up where anonymity device ProxyHam left off. After a DEF CON talk on ProxyHam was mysteriously called off, Kamkar went to work on developing ProxyGambit, a similar device that allows a user to access the Internet without revealing their physical location.

A description on Kamkar's site says ProxyGambit fractures traffic from the Internet through long distance radio links or reverse-tunneled GSM bridges that connect and exit the Internet through wireless networks far from the user's physical location. ProxyHam did not put as much distance between the user and device as ProxyGambit, and routed its signal over Wi-Fi and radio connections. Kamkar said his approach makes it several times more difficult to determine where the original traffic is coming from.
Government

Scientology Group Urged Veto of Mental Health Bill 265 265

An anonymous reader writes: According to records obtained by The Texas Tribune, Gov. Greg Abbott vetoed a bill that would have given doctors more power to detain mentally ill and potentially dangerous patients, after a Church of Scientology-backed group helped organize a campaign against it. "Medical staff should work closely with law enforcement to help protect mentally ill patients and the public," he said. "But just as law enforcement should not be asked to practice medicine, medical staff should not be asked to engage in law enforcement, especially when that means depriving a person of the liberty protected by the Constitution." The bill would have allowed doctors to put mentally ill patients on a four-hour hold if they were suspected of being a danger to themselves or others. The bill had the support of two of the nation's largest medical associations.
Crime

FBI, International Law Units Smash Infamous Hacker Bazaar Darkode 56 56

coondoggie writes: The FBI in concert with Interpol and other worldwide law enforcement teams say they have taken down the international cybercriminal site marketplace Darkode and arrested 70 people involved with the site. Darkode was an online, password-protected forum in which hackers and other cyber-criminals convened to buy, sell, trade and share malware, ransomware, information, ideas, and tools to facilitate unlawful intrusions on others’ computers and electronic devices, the FBI said.