An anonymous reader writes "The Pirate Party of New Zealand has issued a strongly-worded (yet satirical) press release, decrying a recently-launched pro Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) website, stating, among other things: 'The use of a masted sailing ship is the most glaring example of the satirical nature of this website and one of our main grounds for offence. The Pirate Ship and all its related depictions are clearly intellectual property of the Pirate Party or at least if not the Party then The Pirate Bay which the Party shares a mutual affinity with for a free and open Internet. In these heady days of lawsuits over patents for rounded corners we can not stand by on the decks of the Internet and allow these cannon shots to go unanswered!'"
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MojoKid writes with news of the latest and greatest idea brought to you by a marketing department. From the article: "It's a patent that sounds like a plot description for a science-fiction movie or the result of Apple's Siri and Google's AdSense mating. With it, Verizon could program its set-top boxes to survey a room to determine relevant ads to display either on your television or mobile phone. Sound a bit scary? It kind of is. Verizon's new technology can work a variety of ways. For starters, it can listen in on conversations — whether it be with someone else in the room or on the phone — and pick out keywords that would aid it in its duties. In reality, it's simple stuff in this day and age, but that doesn't make it any less off-putting. Imagine arguing with your significant other and then seeing marriage counseling ads on the TV — or better, cuddling and then seeing ads for contraceptives."
An anonymous reader writes "U.S. law enforcement and intelligence services can use the PATRIOT Act/FISA to 'obtain' EU-stored data for snooping, mining and analysis, despite strong EU data and privacy laws, according to a recent research paper. One of the paper's authors, Axel Arnbak, said, 'Most cloud providers, and certainly the market leaders, fall within the U.S. jurisdiction either because they are U.S. companies or conduct systematic business in the U.S. In particular, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments (FISA) Act makes it easy for U.S. authorities to circumvent local government institutions and mandate direct and easy access to cloud data belonging to non-Americans living outside the U.S., with little or no transparency obligations for such practices -- not even the number of actual requests.' Arnback added, 'These laws, including the Patriot Act, apply as soon as a cloud service conducts systematic business in the United States. It's a widely held misconception that data actually has to be stored on servers physically located in the U.S.'"
angry tapir writes "Hewlett-Packard has filed a complaint against display manufacturers Chunghwa Picture Tubes and Tatung Company of America, seeking to recover damages it claims it suffered as a result of their involvement in a price fixing scheme. In November 2008, Chunghwa pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy together with other display manufacturers, including LG Display and Sharp, to set the prices of Thin-Film Transistor-Liquid Crystal Display (TFT-LCD) panels to predetermined levels. The company agreed to pay a US$65 million criminal fine at the time. A jury found AU Optronics, another display manufacturer, guilty of participating in the same conspiracy and was fined US$500 million in September by a judge of the U.S District Court for the Northern District of California. In October last year, 10 LCD makers, including Chunghwa Picture Tubes, were fined $176 million in South Korea for allegedly holding secret meetings to keep the prices for flat screen displays artificially high."
dsinc sends this quote from Techdirt about the International Telecommunications Union's ongoing conference in Dubai that will have an effect on the internet everywhere: "One of the concerns is that decisions taken there may make the Internet less a medium that can be used to enhance personal freedom than a tool for state surveillance and oppression. The new Y.2770 standard is entitled 'Requirements for deep packet inspection in Next Generation Networks', and seeks to define an international standard for deep packet inspection (DPI). As the Center for Democracy & Technology points out, it is thoroughgoing in its desire to specify technologies that can be used to spy on people. One of the big issues surrounding WCIT and the ITU has been the lack of transparency — or even understanding what real transparency might be. So it will comes as no surprise that the new DPI standard was negotiated behind closed doors, with no drafts being made available."
An anonymous reader writes "Several large movie studios have asked Google to take down legitimate pages related to their own films, including sites legally hosting, promoting, or discussing them. Victims of the takedown requests include sites where the content is hosted legally (Amazon, CBS, iTunes, Blockbuster, Verizon on demand, and Xfinity), newspapers discussing the content in question (the BBC, CNET, Forbes, The Huffington Post, The Guardian, The Independent, The Mirror, The Daily Mail, and Wired) as well as official Facebook Pages for the movies and TV shows and even their Wikipedia entries. There are also a number of legitimate links that appear to be completely unrelated to the content that is supposedly being protected. The good news is that Google has so far left many of the links up."
Dainsanefh tips a CNET report about a number of law enforcement groups who have put forth a proposal to the U.S. Senate to require wireless providers to keep logs of subscriber text messages for a minimum of two years. "As the popularity of text messages has exploded in recent years, so has their use in criminal investigations and civil lawsuits. They have been introduced as evidence in armed robbery, cocaine distribution, and wire fraud prosecutions. In one 2009 case in Michigan, wireless provider SkyTel turned over the contents of 626,638 SMS messages, a figure described by a federal judge as 'staggering.' Chuck DeWitt, a spokesman for the Major Cities Chiefs Police Association, which represents the 63 largest U.S. police forces including New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, and Chicago, said 'all such records should be retained for two years.' Some providers, like Verizon, retain the contents of SMS messages for a brief period of time, while others like T-Mobile do not store them at all. Along with the police association, other law enforcement groups making the request to the Senate include the National District Attorneys' Association, the National Sheriffs' Association, and the Association of State Criminal Investigative Agencies, DeWitt said."
MrSeb writes "In its continuing mission to build a 'Wiki Weapon,' Defense Distributed has 3D printed the lower receiver of an AR-15 and tested it to failure. The printed part only survives the firing of six shots, but for a first attempt that's quite impressive. And hey, it's a plastic gun. Slashdot first covered 3D-printed guns back in July. The Defense Distributed group sprung up soon after, with the purpose of creating an open-source gun — a Wiki Weapon — that can be downloaded from the internet and printed out. The Defense Distributed manifesto mainly quotes a bunch of historical figures who supported the right to bear arms. DefDist (its nickname) is seeking a gun manufacturing license from the ATF, but so far the feds haven't responded. Unperturbed, DefDist started down the road by renting an advanced 3D printing machine from Stratasys — but when the company found out what its machine was being used for, it was repossessed. DefDist has now obtained a 3D printer from Objet, which seemingly has a more libertarian mindset. The group then downloaded HaveBlue's original AR-15 lower receiver from Thingiverse, printed it out on the Objet printer using ABS-like Digital Material, screwed it into an AR-57 upper receiver, loaded up some FN 5.7x28mm ammo, and headed to the range. The DefDist team will now make various modifications to HaveBlue's design, such as making it more rugged and improving the trigger guard, and then upload the new design to Thingiverse." Sensible ammo choice; 5.7x28mm produces less recoil than the AR-15's conventional 5.56mm. I wonder how many of the upper's components, too, can one day be readily replaced with home-printable parts — for AR-15 style rifles, the upper assembly is where the gun's barrel lives, while the lower assembly (the part printed and tested here) is the legally controlled part of the firearm.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Facebook is letting users vote on changes to its Data Use Policy and Statement of Rights and Responsibilities (Facebook users can vote via this link). The company will also host a live Webcast to answer questions at 9:30 AM PST. One section of Facebook's revamped policies insists that the network can share information with its family of companies. This apparently applies to Instagram, the photo-sharing service acquired by Facebook earlier this year. Under the terms of the provision, Facebook can store 'Instagram's server logs and administrative records in a way that is more efficient than maintaining totally separate storage systems.' Facebook is also clarifying its language surrounding affiliates, as well. As long as Facebook continues to exist in its current form, these debates over its privacy rules will almost certainly continue to crop up on a semi-regular basis. The challenge for Facebook executives is how to best maintain that delicate dance between their need for revenue, advertising firms' desire for effective marketing campaigns, and users' rights to privacy. They run a corporation — but at moments, it also starts to resemble a messy democracy."
sciencehabit writes "Despite long experience with the ways of the world, older people are especially vulnerable to fraud. According to the Federal Trade Commission, up to 80% of scam victims are over 65. One explanation may lie in a brain region that serves as a built-in crook detector. Called the anterior insula, this structure — which fires up in response to the face of an unsavory character — is less active in older people, possibly making them less cagey than younger folks, a new study finds."
jfruh writes "A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators are working hard to make it legal for U.S. states to collect sales tax on any sales made to their residents, even if the sellers live elsewhere. They tried to add an amendment making the change to an unrelated defense appropriations bill, but the attempt was defeated. They have vowed to try again."
An anonymous reader writes "CNN reports that a Mexico City court has ordered Yahoo to pay $2.7 billion to Worldwide Directories and Ideas Interactivas. The classified directory publisher sued Yahoo, claiming various losses and breaches involving 'contracts related to a yellow pages listings service.' Yahoo announced its intention to appeal but is saying little else about the case."
GabriellaKat writes "Via El Reg: 'Apple is trying to patent wireless charging, claiming its magnetic resonance tech is new and that it can do it better than anyone else. This would be cool if its assertions were true. Apple's application, numbered 20120303980, makes much of its ability to charge a device over the air at a distance of up to a meter, rather than requiring close proximity. The Alliance For Wireless Power, which also touts long-range juicing, will no doubt be comparing Apple's designs to its own blueprints.'"
angry tapir writes "Just a few days after Ericsson filed several patent-infringement lawsuits against Samsung in the U.S., the Swedish mobile phone company also filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), asking for an import ban of a wide range of Samsung products, including the Galaxy S III and the Galaxy Note. Ericsson alleges that Samsung violates Section 337 of the Tariff Act by importing patent-infringing products into the U.S and selling them."
wiredmikey writes "The head of the UN telecommunications body, Hamadoun Toure, told an audience at the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT-12) in Dubai on Monday that Internet freedom will not be curbed or controlled. 'Nothing can stop the freedom of expression in the world today, and nothing in this conference will be about it,' he said. Such claims are 'completely (unfounded),' Toure, secretary general of the International Telecommunication Union, told AFP. 'We must continue to work together and find a consensus on how to most effectively keep cyberspace open, accessible, affordable and secure,' UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said. Google has been vocal in warning of serious repercussions, saying that 'Some proposals could permit governments to censor legitimate speech — or even cut off Internet access,' noted Google's Vint Cerf in a blog post."