Hugh Pickens writes "The WSJ reports that widespread disruptions to Google in China over the weekend, halting use of everything from Google's search engine to its Gmail email service to its Google Play mobile-applications store, underscore the uncertainty surrounding Beijing's effort to control the flow of information into the country, as well as the risks that effort poses to the government's efforts to draw global businesses. The source of the disruptions couldn't be determined, but Internet experts pointed to China's Internet censorship efforts, which have been ratcheted up ahead of the 18th Party Congress. 'There appears to be a throttling under way of Web access,' says David Wolf, citing recent articles in foreign media about corruption and wealth in China spurred by the party congress and the fall of former party star Bo Xilai, 'that's their primary concern, people getting news either through Google or through its services.' Beijing risks a backlash if it were to block Google outright on a long-term basis, says Wolf and such a move could put Beijing in violation of its free-trade commitment under the World Trade Organization and make China a less-attractive place to do business. 'If China insists in the medium and long term of creating another Great Firewall between the China cloud and the rest of the world, China will be an increasingly untenable place to do business.'"
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Barence writes "A British man has been arrested for posting a picture of a burning poppy on Facebook. The poppy is a symbol of remembrance for those who died in war, and the arrest was made on Remembrance Sunday. 'A man from Aylesham has tonight been arrested on suspicion of malicious telecommunications,' Kent police said in a statement after the arrest. 'This follows a posting on a social network site of a burning poppy. He is currently in police custody awaiting interview.' The arrest has been criticized by legal experts. 'What was the point of winning either World War if, in 2012, someone can be casually arrested by @Kent_police for burning a poppy?' tweeted David Allen Green, who helped clear the British man who was prosecuted for a joke tweet threatening to blow up an airport."
Sparrowvsrevolution writes "Since 2008, Dallas, Texas attorney Erich Spangenberg and his company TQP have been launching suits against hundreds of firms, claiming that merely by using SSL, they've violated a patent TQP acquired in 2006. Nevermind that the patent was actually filed in 1989, long before the World Wide Web was even invented. So far Spangenberg's targets have included Apple, Google, Intel, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, every major bank and credit card company, and scores of web startups and online retailers, practically anyone who encrypts pages of a web sites to protect users' privacy. And while most of those lawsuits are ongoing, many companies have already settled with TQP rather than take the case to trial, including Apple, Amazon, Dell, and Exxon Mobil. The patent has expired now, but Spangenberg can continue to sue users of SSL for six more years and seems determined to do so as much as possible. 'When the government grants you the right to a patent, they grant you the right to exclude others from using it,' says Spangenberg. 'I don't understand why just because [SSL is] prevalent, it should be free.'"
jjp9999 writes "Nextgov reports, 'The Homeland Security Department has commissioned Accenture to test technology that mines open social networks for indications of pandemics, according to the vendor.' This will kick off a year-long biosurveillance program, costing $3 million, that will log trends in public health by looking through public posts. This ties back to White House guidelines released in July that ask federal agencies to 'Consider social media as a force multiplier that can empower individuals and communities to provide early warning and global situational awareness.'"
chicksdaddy writes "We hear a lot about vulnerabilities in industrial control system (ICS) software. But what about real evidence of compromised SCADA and industrial control systems? According to security researcher Michael Toecker, a consultant at the firm Digital Bond, the evidence for infected systems with links to industrial automation and control systems is right under our eyes: buried in public support forums. Toecker audited support sites like bleepingcomputer.com, picking through data dumps from free malware scanning tools like HijackThis and DDS. He found scans of infected systems that were running specialized ICS software like Schweitzer Engineering Labs (SEL) AcSELerator Software and GE Power's EnerVista Software (used to configure GE electric power protection products). The infected end user systems could be the pathway to compromising critical infrastructure, including electrical infrastructure. 'With access to a protection relay through a laptop, a malicious program could alter settings in the configuration file, inject bad data designed to halt the relay, or even send commands directly to the relay when a connection was made,' Toecker wrote."
An anonymous reader writes "HTC and Apple have reached a global settlement that includes the dismissal of all current lawsuits and a ten-year license agreement. The license extends to current and future patents held by both parties. The terms of the settlement are confidential. From the article: '"HTC is pleased to have resolved its dispute with Apple, so HTC can focus on innovation instead of litigation," Peter Chou, HTC's chief executive, said in a statement. Tim Cook, Apple's chief executive, also expressed relief in a statement. "We will continue to stay laser focused on product innovation," he said.'"
MojoKid writes "Nike+ FuelBand is a $149 wristband with LED display that tracks your daily activity, tells you how many calories you've burned, lets you know how much fuel you have left in the tank, and basically keeps track of 'every move you make.' If you think that sounds like a privacy nightmare waiting to happen, it pretty much is. A source directly connected to Nike reported an amusing, albeit startling anecdote about a guy who got caught cheating on his girlfriend because of the Nike+ FuelBand. 'They shared their activity between each other and she noticed he was active at 1-2AM, when he was supposed to be home.' That's just one scenario. What if the wristband gets lost or stolen? How much data is actually stored on these sorts of devices? And remember, you're syncing it to the cloud with an iOS or Android app."
An anonymous reader writes "A man has initiated a class-action suit against Blizzard over a product used to shore up Battle.net security. Benjamin Bell alleges that Blizzard's sale of Authenticators — devices that enable basic two-tier authentication — represents deceptive and unfair additional costs to their basic games. (Blizzard sells the key fob versions for $6.50, and provides a free mobile app as an alternative. Neither are mandatory.) The complaint accuses Blizzard of making $26 million in Authenticator sales. In response, Blizzard made a statement refuting some of the complaint's claims and voicing their intention to 'vigorously defend' themselves."
WOOFYGOOFY writes "The NY Times and Voice Of America are reporting on a study by the U.S. National Research Council (PDF) which was released Friday linking global climate change to national security. The report, which was developed at the request of the C.I.A., characterizes the threats posed by climate change as 'similar to and in many cases greater than those posed by terrorist attacks. 'Climate-driven crises could lead to internal instability or international conflict and might force the United States to provide humanitarian assistance or, in some cases, military force to protect vital energy, economic or other interests, the study said.' If the effect of unaddressed climate change is the functional equivalent of terrorist attacks on the nation, does the Executive Branch, as a matter of national security, have a duty and a right to begin to act unilaterally against climate change irrespective of what Congress currently believes?"
An anonymous reader writes "Car dealers in New York and Massachusetts have filed a lawsuit that seeks to block Tesla from selling its pricey electric vehicles in those states. The dealers say they are defending state franchise laws, which require manufacturers to sell cars through dealers they do not own. Robert O'Koniewski of the Massachusetts State Automobile Dealers Association says, 'Those dealers are investing millions of dollars in their franchises to make sure they comply with their franchise agreements with the manufacturers. Tesla is choosing to ignore the law and then is choosing to play outside that system.'"
drinkypoo writes "We've been following the story that Apple was ordered by a UK court to post an apology to Samsung both in newspapers and on Apple's UK website. After originally posting a non-apology and then hiding a real one, Apple finally complied. Now, PJ over at Groklaw reports on the ruling from the UK court itself, which condemns Apple's conduct in this matter. 'Since Apple did not comply with the order in its estimation, adding materials that were not ordered and in addition were "false," the judges ordered Apple to pay Samsung's lawyers' fees on an indemnity basis, and they add some public humiliation.' The judge wrote, 'Finally I should mention the time for compliance. Mr Beloff, on instructions (presumably given with the authority of Apple) told us that "for technical reasons" Apple needed fourteen days to comply. I found that very disturbing: that it was beyond the technical abilities of Apple to make the minor changes required to own website in less time beggared belief. ... I hope that the lack of integrity involved in this incident is entirely atypical of Apple.'"
An anonymous reader writes "I'm sure most Slashdot readers have had occasion to suffer through a hardware manufacturer's terrible website in search of product documentation. It's often hidden away in submenus of submenus, and if your product is more than a couple years old, you probably have to wade through broken links. One guy has been helping to change that; he runs a site called Tim's Laptop Service Manuals, where he collects by hand materials from many different companies and hosts them together in one spot. Now Toshiba has become aware of his project, and helpfully forced him to remove all of their manuals under a copyright claim."
jfruh writes "In the mid-00s, more and more people started learning about Android, a Linux-based smartphone OS. Open source advocates in particular thought they could be seeing the mobile equivalent of Linux — something you could download, tinker with, and sell. Today, though, the Android market is dominated by Google and the usual suspects in the handset business. The reason nobody's been able to launch an Android empire from the garage is fairly straightforward: the average smartphone is covered by over 250,000 patents."
schliz writes "Amazon Web Services will unveil its first Australian data centers on Tuesday, ending more than a year of speculation. The move is expected to address enterprises' data soverignty and latency concerns, although local cloud providers argue that data held by U.S. company Amazon would still be subject to the Patriot Act."
Penurious Penguin writes "After serving as Director of the CIA since September 2011, David Petraeus resigned from his position today, November 9. The retired four-star Army general has cited an extramarital affair as reason for the resignation. Michael Morell will now serve as Acting Director of the CIA."
New submitter TurinX writes "Unsurprisingly, IBM's Chief Patent Counsel, Manny Schecter, thinks the patent system isn't broken. He says, 'Patent disputes like [the Apple-Samsung case] are a natural characteristic of a vigorously competitive industry. And they're nothing new: Similar skirmishes have historically occurred in areas as diverse as sewing machines, winged flight, agriculture, and telegraph technology. Each marked the emergence of incredible technological advances, and each generated similar outcries about the patent system. We are actually witnessing fewer patent suits per patent issued today than the historical average.'" Regarding software patents, he argues, "If patent litigation caused by the U.S. patent system stifled innovation, U.S. software companies would not be the most successful in the world." His recommendation is that we should be patient and "let the system work." Schecter's editorial at Wired is one of a series of expert opinions on the patent system; we've already discussed Richard Stallman's contribution.
DavidGilbert99 writes "In an extraordinary move, the Chinese authorities have blocked access to Google.com, Gmail, Google Maps, Google Docs, and many more Google services as the Communist Party of China holds the 18th Party Congress. The blocking of these sites was reported by Chinese web monitoring site GreatFire.org, which said, 'Never before have so many people been affected by a decision to block a website.' The latest move in a long line of disputes between the Chinese government and Google, it is unclear yet whether this denial will be temporary (like a similar one in 2010) or permanent."
thomst writes "CNet's Greg Sandoval is reporting that Lucy Koh, the Federal judge in the Apple v. Samsung patent infringement case, is reviewing whether jury foreman Velvin Hogan failed to disclose his own patent suit v. Seagate during the jury selection process. Samsung, which lost the suit filed by Apple, has complained that Hogan's failure to disclose his own status as a former patent case plaintiff constituted misconduct serious enough to invalidate the jury's verdict in the case."
theodp writes "Guilt by association is defined as the attribution of guilt (without proof) to individuals because the people they associate with are guilty. It's also at the heart of U.S. Patent No. 8,306,922, which was awarded to Google on Tuesday for Detecting Content on a Social Network Using Links, the invention of three Googlers. In its patent application, Google argues that if an individual posts content to social networks such as Facebook, MySpace, Orkut, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc. 'that is illegal (e.g., content violating copyright law, content violating penal statutes, etc.), inappropriate for minors (e.g., pornography, "R" or "NC-17" rated videos, adult content, etc.), in contravention of an end user licensing agreement (EULA), etc.', then their friends 'may be likely to post content to their profile pages related to similar topics.' Google further explains: 'For instance, a first user and a second user that are designated as friends on a social network may be friends based upon a set of common interests (e.g., the first user and the second user are both interested in tennis). If the first user adds content to its profile page that is related to sports, then the friendship (link) between the first user and the second user can indicate that the profile page of the second user is likely to contain content related to sports as well.' By extension, the same holds true for porn, pirated videos and music, etc., right? So, would you feel comfortable being judged by the online company you keep?"
An anonymous reader writes "It seems cell phones and the internet have come to the reclusive nation of North Korea — albeit in a manner that you might not expect. North Korea now sports over a million cell phones, although calls are not allowed outside of the country and text messages come daily from North Korean authorities sporting government propaganda. The internet is not the global internet of Twitter and Facebook, but a government-crafted intranet that is restricted to just a tiny percentage of the population. The intranet is restricted to elites in North Korea with good standing. The intranet uses message boards, chat functions, and state sponsored messages; its use has also been encouraged among universities, technical professionals and scientists, and others to exchange info. An even smaller fraction can access the outside internet. All of this seems to be an effort to control the information revolution without losing authority."