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."
Qedward writes "A high court judge has ruled that companies do not have a general claim of ownership of the content contained in staff emails. The decision creates a potential legal minefield for the terms of staff contracts and an administrative nightmare for IT teams running email servers, back up and storage. The judge ruled businesses do not have an 'enforceable proprietary claim' to staff email content unless that content can be considered to be confidential information belonging to a business, unless business copyright applies to the content, or unless the business has a contractual right of ownership over the content. Justice Edwards-Stuart added it was 'quite impractical and unrealistic' to determine that ownership of the content of emails either belongs exclusively to the creator or the recipient of an email."
Freshly Exhumed writes "In a 7-to-0 decision, the Supreme Court Of Canada has ruled that Pfizer Canada Inc.'s patent on well-known erectile dysfunction remedy Viagra is now invalid due to insufficient information in Pfizer's patent application. The upshot is that competitors can now manufacture cheaper, generic versions of Viagra for sale in Canada."
another random user writes that Fox's preliminary attempt to stop Dish Network's Autohop feature has failed in court. "A bid to block a TV service that allows viewers to automatically skip adverts on recorded shows has been rejected. Fox had called for a preliminary injunction on Dish Network's Autohop ahead of a copyright ruling. Broadcasters Fox, Comcast, NBC and CBS have each sued Dish Networks, saying the show recordings are unauthorized. Fox said it would appeal against the ruling. It says Autohop is 'destroying the fundamental underpinnings of the broadcast television ecosystem.' But Dish called the decision not to grant a preliminary injunction a 'victory for common sense.' Its Hopper digital video recorder can record and store prime-time content from the four major networks for up to eight days. And the Autohop feature lets viewers skip advertisements completely — rather than fast-forwarding through them — at the press of a button."
schliz writes "Australia's UBank has put a billion real-world transaction records behind a website that allows users to compare their spending habits with others of the same gender, in the same age/income range, neighborhood and living situation. The 'PeopleLikeU' tool surfaces favorite shops and restaurants surprisingly accurately — because it's based on real customers' transactions, it lists places like good takeout joints that wouldn't normally come to mind when you think of a favorite place to eat. The bank says all data was 'deidentified' and it consulted with privacy authorities."
stevegee58 writes "The Mitt Romney presidential campaign accidentally launched a transition website the day after the election. Sporting a 'President Elect' seal and a catchy new tagline ('Smaller, Simpler, Smarter') , the site was up briefly before the gaffe was discovered and the site taken down. Fortunately an alert blogger, Taegan Goddard, found the errant site and published some screen shots."
TheSync writes "In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the New York State Attorney General has subpoenaed Craigslist, demanding that the site identify more than 100 sellers whose prices on post-Sandy gas, generators and other supplies were of an 'unconscionably excessive price' during an emergency. AG Eric Schneiderman said: 'Our office has zero tolerance for price gouging [and] will do everything we can to stop unscrupulous individuals from taking advantage of New Yorkers trying to rebuild their lives.'"
kkleiner writes "For the last few months, the political pundit class has been at war with NYT/FiveThirtyEight blogger Nate Silver. Joe Scarborough of MSNBC called him a "joke," while an op-ed in the LA Times accused him of running a "numbers racket." But last night, Silver triumphed: every one of his state-level presidential predictions proved true. "
littlekorea writes "The Australian Government has officially abandoned plans to legislate a mandatory internet filter. The news ends a four-year campaign by the ruling party to implement legislation that would have compelled ISPs to block a list of URLs dictated by Australia's telecommunications regulator, the ACMA. ISPs have instead been told to block a list of known child pornography sites maintained by INTERPOL." Also at ZDnet.
concealment writes "During a pre-trial hearing in military court today, [alleged Wikileaks source Bradley] Manning's attorney, David Coombs, proposed a partial guilty plea covering a subset of the slew of criminal charges that the U.S. Army has lodged against him. "Manning is attempting to accept responsibility for offenses that are encapsulated within, or are a subset of, the charged offenses," Coombs wrote on his blog this evening. "The court will consider whether this is a permissible plea.""
Bobfrankly1 writes "The EFF sued to block portions of the approved Prop 35 today. Prop 35 requires sex offenders (including indecent exposure and non-internet offenses) to provide all of their online aliases to law enforcement. This would include e-mail addresses, screen and user names, and other identifiers used on the internet. The heart of the matter as the EFF sees it, would be not only the chilling effect it would have on free speech, but also the propensity of these kind of laws to be applied to other (non-sex offending) people as well."
beeudoublez writes "Apple was ordered to pay $368 million today to a software company named VirnetX over patents related to Apple's FaceTime technology. Apple engineers testified they didn't pay attention to any patents when building FaceTime. 'The jury, which had sat through the five-day trial, ruled that Apple infringed two patents: one for a method of creating a virtual private network (VPN) between computers, and another for solving DNS security issues. ... It's not the first time VirnetX has won a payout from a major tech firm: the company bagged $105.7m from Microsoft two years ago, and it may not be the last either. VirnetX has a separate case against Apple pending with the International Trade Commission and it has court cases against Cisco, Avaya and Siemens scheduled for trial next year.'" It's not all bad news for Apple today, though — according to Ars, they've won a new patent for a rounded rectangle (D670,286).