McGruber writes "Gigaom's Jeff John Roberts reports that Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. (MSLO) has filed a lawsuit against Lodsys, a shell company that gained infamy two years ago by launching a wave of legal threats against small app makers, demanding they pay for using basic internet technology like in-app purchases or feedback surveys. In the complaint filed this week in federal court in Wisconsin, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia asked a judge to declare that four magazine iPad apps are not infringing Lodsys' patents, and that the patents are invalid because the so-called inventions are not new. The complaint explained how Lodsys invited the company to 'take advantage of our program' by buying licenses at $5,000 apiece. It also calls the Wisconsin court's attention to Lodsys' involvement in more than 150 Texas lawsuits. In choosing to sue Lodsys and hopefully crush its patents, Martha Stewart is choosing a far more expensive option than simply paying Lodsys to go away."
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
AHuxley writes "With the U.S. trying to understand the domestic role of their foreign intelligence and counterintelligence services in 2013, what can a declassified look back into the 1960s and 1970s add to the ongoing legal debate? Welcome to the world of Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel and the work done by the National Security Archive at George Washington University. Read how prominent anti-war critics and U.S. senators were tracked, and who was on the late-1960s NSA watch list, from Rev. Martin Luther King to civil rights leader Whitney Young, boxer Muhammad Ali, Tom Wicker, the Washington bureau chief and Washington Post columnist Art Buchwald, and Sen. Howard Baker (R-Tenn.). The NSA was aware of the legality of its work and removed all logos or classification markings, using the term 'For Background Use Only.' Even back then, NSA director at the time, Lew Allen noted: "appeared to be a possible violation of constitutional guarantees" (from page 86 of this PDF). What did the NSA think about signals intelligence sites in your country? See if your country makes the 'indefinite' list on page 392."
Lasrick writes "Motherboard's Africa correspondent, Amanda Sperber, has a great piece on how protesters in Sudan are getting around the government's shutdown of the internet. Quoting: 'Since Wednesday afternoon, Sudan's internet has been sporadically shut off amid a fifth day of protests against President Omar al Bashir's regime. Despite the attempt to cut off communications and limit organization and reporting on the ground, a group of tech-savvy people based in Khartoum have developed a map for recording key data about the protests that's powered by cell networks. '"
bednarz writes "In four days, the health insurance marketplaces mandated by the Obama administration's Affordable Care Act are scheduled to open for business. Yet even before the sites launch, problems are emerging. Final security testing of the federal data hub isn't slated to happen until Sept. 30, one day before the rollout. Lawmakers have raised significant concerns about the ability of the system to protect personal health records and other private information. 'Lots and lots of late nights and weekends as people get ready for go-live,' says Patrick Howard, who leads Deloitte Consulting's public sector state health care practice."
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "CNN reports that Jared James Abrahams, a 19-year-old computer science student, has been arrested for allegedly hijacking the webcams of young women — among them reigning Miss Teen USA Cassidy Wolf — taking nude images, then blackmailing his victims to send him more explicit material or else be exposed. Abrahams admitted he had 30 to 40 'slave computers' — or other people's electronic devices he controlled — and has had as many as 150 total. His arrest came six months after a teenager identified in court documents as C.W. alerted authorities. She has since publicly identified herself as Cassidy Wolf, the recently crowned Miss Teen USA. Wolf received messages featuring pictures of her at her Riverside County address and others apparently taken months earlier when she lived in Orange County, says the criminal complaint (PDF). The message explained 'what's going to happen' if Wolf didn't send pictures or videos or 'do what I tell you to do' in a five-minute Skype videoconference, according to the criminal complaint. 'Either you do one of the things listed below or I upload these pics and a lot more (I have a LOT more and those are better quality) on all your accounts for everybody to see and your dream of being a model will be transformed into a pornstar (sic),' wrote Abrahams. FBI agents raided Abrahams' Temecula home in June and seized computers and hardware, cellphones and hacking software, court records show. Outside the court, Abrahams' lawyer, Alan Eisner, said that his client's family feels 'profound regret and remorse' over what happened. Eisner told CNN affiliate KTLA that Abrahams is autistic. 'The family wants to apologize for the consequences of his behavior to the families who were affected.'"
cold fjord writes "The New York times reports that the Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Vice Chairman, Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), are moving a bill forward that would 'change but preserve' the controversial NSA phone log program. Senator Feinstein believes the program is legal, but wants to improve public confidence. The bill would reduce the time the logs could be kept, require public reports on how often it is used, and require FISA court review of the numbers searched. The bill would require Senate confirmation of the NSA director. It would also give the NSA a one week grace period in applying for permission from a court to continue surveillance of someone that travels from overseas to the United States. The situation created by someone traveling from overseas to the United States has been the source of the largest number of incidents in the US in which NSA's surveillance rules were not properly complied with. The rival bill offered by Senators Wyden (D-OR) and Udall (D-CO) which imposes tougher restrictions is considered less likely to pass."
Zothecula writes "Earlier this year, we heard about a gun and a fogging system, both of which tag criminals with synthesized DNA. The idea is that when those people are apprehended later, they can be linked to the crime by analyzing the location- or event-specific DNA still on their skin or clothing. Now, scientists at the Technology Transfer Unit of Portugal's University of Aveiro are developing something similar – 'DNA barcodes' that can be applied to products, then subsequently read as a means of identification."
PCWorld reports that "[A] U.S. surveillance court has given the National Security Agency no limit on the number of U.S. telephone records it collects in the name of fighting terrorism, the NSA director said Thursday. The NSA intends to collect all U.S. telephone records and put them in a searchable 'lock box' in the interest of national security, General Keith Alexander, the NSA's director, told U.S. senators." But don't worry; it's just metadata, until it isn't. (Your row in the NSA database may already be getting cozy in its nice new home in Utah.)
An anonymous reader writes "Today the Federal Patent Court of Germany shot down an Apple photo gallery bounce-back patent over which Cupertino was/is suing Samsung and Motorola. A panel of five judges found the patent invalid because the relevant patent application was filed only in June 2007 but Steve Jobs already demoed the feature in January 2007 (video). While this wouldn't matter in the U.S., it's a reason for a patent to be invalidated in Europe. For different reasons someone thought the iPhone presentation was a mistake. It now turns out that when Steve Jobs said "Boy have we patented it!" his company forgot that public disclosure, even by an inventor, must not take place before a European patent application is filed. But Apple can still sue companies over the Android photo gallery: in addition to this patent it owns a utility model, a special German intellectual property right that has a shorter term (10 years) and a six-month grace period, which is just enough to make sure that history-making Steve Jobs video won't count as prior art."
mystikkman writes "In what is a serious bug, GMail Chat/GTalk/Google Hangouts is sending messages to unintended recipients. ZDNet has confirmed first-hand that the glitch is present within Google Apps for Business accounts, including those that have not yet switched over to Google's new Hangouts platform. Messages appear to be visible on the mobile version of Hangouts. There are multiple reports of this issue."
nk497 writes "If Google can block child abuse images, it can also block piracy sites, according to a report from MPs, who said they were 'unimpressed' by Google's 'derisorily ineffective' efforts to battle online piracy, according to a Commons Select Committee report looking into protecting creative industries. John Whittingdale MP, the chair of the Committee — and also a non-executive director at Audio Network, an online music catalogue — noted that Google manages to remove other illegal content. 'Google and others already work with international law enforcement to block for example child porn from search results and it has provided no coherent, responsible reason why it can't do the same for illegal, pirated content,' he said."
netbuzz writes "Judge William Alsup of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California has no problem calling Network Protection Sciences (NPS) a patent troll. What he does have a problem with is NPS telling a Texas court that NPS had an 'ongoing business concern' in that state run by a 'director of business development' when all it really had was a rented file-cabinet room and the 'director' was actually the building landlord who merely signed legal papers when NPS told him to do so. Judge Alsup calls the alleged business a 'sham' and the non-employee 'Mr. Sham,' yet he declined to dismiss the patent infringement lawsuit filed by NPS against Fortinet from which this information emerged. Instead, he told NPS, 'this jury is going to hear all of this stuff about the closet. And you're going to have to explain why "Mr. Sham" was signing these documents.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Three to seven milliseconds before the fed moved interest rates, billions of dollars of trades were input that took advantage of the changed rates, reaping huge profits. According to a report at Mother Jones, 'Last Wednesday, the Fed announced that it would not be tapering its bond buying program. This news was released at precisely 2 pm in Washington 'as measured by the national atomic clock.' It takes 7 milliseconds for this information to get to Chicago. However, several huge orders that were based on the Fed's decision were placed on Chicago exchanges 2-3 milliseconds after 2 pm. How did this happen?'"
gewalker writes "Have we reached the point where it is time to admit that the ID thieves are winning and will continue to win as long as their incentives are sufficient to make it lucrative for them? According to Krebs On Security an analysis of a database pilfered from commercial identity thieves identified breaches in 25 data brokers including the heavyweights Dun and Bradstreet and LexisNexis." And they had access for months to most of them. From the article: The botnet’s online dashboard for the LexisNexis systems shows that a tiny unauthorized program called nbc.exe was placed on the servers as far back as April 10, 2013, suggesting the intruders have had access to the company’s internal networks for at least the past five months. The program was designed to open an encrypted channel of communications from within LexisNexis’s internal systems to the botnet controller on the public Internet." The companies compromised aggregated data for things like "credit decisions, business-to-business marketing and supply chain management. ... employment background, drug and health screening."
schwit1 writes "Like emails and documents stored in the cloud, your prescription medical records may have a tenuous right to privacy. In response to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) over the privacy of certain medical records, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is arguing (ACLU response) that citizens whose medical records are handed over to a pharmacy — or any other third-party — have 'no expectation of privacy' for that information." Oregon mandates that pharmacies report information on people receiving certain drugs to a centralized database (ostensibly to "...help people work with their health care providers and pharmacists to know what medications are best for them."). State law does allow law enforcement to access the records, but only with a warrant. The DEA, however, thinks that, because the program is public, a citizen is knowingly disclosing that information to a third party thus losing all of their privacy rights (since you can always just opt out of receiving medical care) thanks to the Controlled Substances Act. The ACLU and medical professionals (PDF) don't think there's anything voluntary about receiving medical treatment, and that medical ethics override other concerns.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "The Guardian reports that Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff launched a blistering attack on US espionage at the UN general assembly, accusing the NSA of violating international law by its indiscriminate collection of personal information of Brazilian citizens and economic espionage targeted on the country's strategic industries. 'Personal data of citizens was intercepted indiscriminately. Corporate information – often of high economic and even strategic value – was at the center of espionage activity,' said Rousseff. 'Brazilian diplomatic missions, among them the permanent mission to the UN and the office of the president of the republic itself, had their communications intercepted.' Rousseff's angry speech was a direct challenge to President Barack Obama, who was waiting in the wings to deliver his own address to the UN general assembly, and represented the most serious diplomatic fallout to date from the revelations by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Washington's efforts to smooth over Brazilian outrage over NSA espionage have so far been rebuffed by Rousseff, who has proposed that Brazil build its own internet infrastructure. 'Friendly governments and societies that seek to build a true strategic partnership, as in our case, cannot allow recurring illegal actions to take place as if they were normal. They are unacceptable.'"
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Danny Sullivan reports that in the past month, Google has quietly made a change aimed at encrypting all search activity to provide 'extra protection' for searchers, and possibly to block NSA spying activity. In October 2011, Google began encrypting searches for anyone who was logged into Google. The reason given was privacy. Now, Google has flipped on encryption for people who aren't even signed-in. In June, Google was accused of cooperating with the NSA to give the agency instant and direct access to its search data through the PRISM spying program, something the company has strongly denied. 'I suspect the increased encryption is related to Google's NSA-pushback,' writes Sullivan. 'It may also help ease pressure Google's feeling from tiny players like Duck Duck Go making a "secure search" growth pitch to the media.'"
chicksdaddy writes "In an important move, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has released final guidance to mobile application developers that are creating medical applications to run on mobile devices. Some applications, it said, will be treated with the same scrutiny as traditional medical devices. The agency said on Monday that, while it doesn't see the need to vet 'the majority of mobile apps,' because they pose 'minimal risk to consumers,' it will exercise oversight of mobile medical applications that are accessories to regulated medical devices, or that transform a mobile device into a regulated medical device. In those cases, the FDA said that mobile applications will be assessed 'using the same regulatory standards and risk-based approach that the agency applies to other medical device.' The line between a mere 'app' and a 'medical device' is fuzzy. The FDA said it will look to the 'intended use of a mobile app' when determining whether it meets the definition of a medical 'device.' The Agency may study the labeling or advertising claims used to market it, or statements by the device maker and its representatives. In general, 'when the intended use of a mobile app is for the diagnosis of disease or other conditions, or the cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease, or it is intended to affect the structure of any function of the body of man, the mobile app is a device.'"
On September 9, The Internet Society issued a position paper in which it said the group "...is alarmed by continuing reports alleging systematic United States government efforts to circumvent Internet security mechanisms," and went on to say, "The Internet Society President and CEO, Lynn St. Amour, said, 'If true, these reports describe government programmes that undermine the technical foundations of the Internet and are a fundamental threat to the Internet’s economic, innovative, and social potential. Any systematic, state-level attack on Internet security and privacy is a rejection of the global, collaborative fabric that has enabled the Internet's growth to extend beyond the interests of any one country.'" Those are tough words from an international organization that usually spends its time bringing the Internet to people in out-of-the-way villages and sponsoring the Internet Engineering Task Force. You can join the Internet Society for as little as $0 per year, and possibly help beat back some of the U.S. government eavesdropping and encryption circumvention efforts. And if you can make it to San Francisco on October 2, you can attend a (free) Internet Society discussion. Meanwhile, today's Slashdot interviewee is Paul Brigner, the Internet Society Regional Bureau Director for North America, who talks about the Internet Society in general, as well as the group's reaction to the U.S. government's online surveillance.