New submitter fish waffle writes "The universities of Western Ontario and Toronto have signed a deal with Access Copyright that allows for surveillance of faculty correspondence, defines e-mailing hyperlinks as equivalent to photocopying a document, and imposes an annual $27.50 fee for every full-time equivalent student to pay for it all. Access Copyright is a licensing agency historically used by most universities in Canada to give them blanket permission to reproduce copyrighted works, largely to address photocopying concerns that may extend beyond basic fair-use. Since the expiration of this agreement, and with recognition that many academic uses do not require copyright permissions or payments or are already covered under vendor-specific agreements, Canadian academic institutions have been united in opposing continuation of the agreement with the agency. Access Copyright has countered with a proposal for increased fees, and expansion of the definition of copyright to include linking and the need for online surveillance. In a strange breaking of ranks, the University of Western Ontario and the University of Toronto have capitulated and signed agreements that basically accede to the licensing agency's demands. The Canadian Association of University Teachers bulletin provides detailed background on the issue (PDF)."
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PolygamousRanchKid writes with this quote from CNN: "A Kenyan chief in a town far from the bustling capital foiled a predawn robbery recently using Twitter, highlighting the far-reaching effects of social media in areas that don't have access to the Internet. Chief Francis Kariuki said he got a call in the dead of the night that thieves had broken into a neighbor's house. Local residents, who subscribe to his tweets through a free text messaging service, jumped into action. They surrounded the house, sending the thugs fleeing into the night. In the town 100 miles from Nairobi, a majority of residents don't have access to computers, the Internet or smart phones. The sporadic cyber cafes strewn across the landscape charge for Internet access. However, almost every household has a cell phone and text messages are a major form of communication in the nation."
Diamonddavej writes "The BBC reports that software development student Glenn Mangham, a 26-year-old from the UK, was jailed 17 February 2012 for eight months for computer misuse, after he discovered serious Facebook security vulnerabilities. Hacking from his bedroom, Mangham gained access to three of Facebook's servers and was able to download to an external hard drive the social network's 'invaluable' intellectual property (source code). Mangham's defense lawyer, Mr. Ventham, pointed out that Mangham is an 'ethical hacker' and runs a tax registered security company. The court heard Mangham previously breached Yahoo's security, compiled a vulnerability report and passed on to Yahoo. He was paid '$7000 for this achievement,' and claims he was merely trying to repeat the same routine with Facebook. But in passing sentence, Judge Alistair McCreath said despite the fact he did not intend to pass on the information gathered, his actions were not harmless and had 'real consequences and very serious potential consequences' for Facebook. The case's prosecutor, Mr. Patel, said Facebook spent '$200,000 (£126,400) dealing with Mangham's crime.'"
An anonymous reader sends this excerpt from the NY Times: "A new federal law, signed by the president on Tuesday, compels the Federal Aviation Administration to allow drones to be used for all sorts of commercial endeavors — from selling real estate and dusting crops, to monitoring oil spills and wildlife, even shooting Hollywood films. Local police and emergency services will also be freer to send up their own drones. But while businesses, and drone manufacturers especially, are celebrating the opening of the skies to these unmanned aerial vehicles, the law raises new worries about how much detail the drones will capture about lives down below — and what will be done with that information. Safety concerns like midair collisions and property damage on the ground are also an issue."
An anonymous reader writes "A preliminary settlement has been reached in the class-action lawsuit brought against Apple in June 2010 over the 'Antennagate' fiasco. Ira Rothken, co-lead counsel for the case, says there are 21 million people entitled to either $15 or a free bumper. 'The settlement comes from 18 separate lawsuits that were consolidated into one. All share the claim that Apple was "misrepresenting and concealing material information in the marketing, advertising, sale, and servicing of its iPhone 4 — particularly as it relates to the quality of the mobile phone antenna and reception and related software." The settlement has its own Web site, www.iPhone4Settlement.com, which will be up in the coming weeks (the site doesn't go anywhere right now). There, customers will be able to get information about the settlement and how to make a claim. As part of the arrangement, e-mails will also be sent alerting original buyers to the settlement before April 30, 2012. The claims period is then open for 120 days.'"
New submitter i-reek writes "Australian police, along with government agencies, are accessing phone and internet account information, outward and inward call details, phone and internet access location data, and details of IP addresses visited of Australian citizens, all without judicial warrants . In the last two years, some states have shown an increase of more than 50 per cent in these surveillance authorizations, which can be granted by senior police officers and officials instead of a magistrate or judge."
suraj.sun sends this quote from an article at Techdirt: "The federal government has been paying lip service to the idea that it wants to encourage new businesses and startups in the U.S. And this is truly important to the economy, as studies have shown that almost all of the net job growth in this country is coming from internet startups. ... With the JotForm situation unfolding, where the U.S. government shut down an entire website with no notice or explanation, people are beginning to recognize that the U.S is not safe for internet startups. Lots of folks have been passing around [a] rather reasonable list of activities for U.S.-based websites."
New submitter Dave_Minsky writes "The U.S. Secret Service responded to a FOIA request on Monday that reveals the names of the printer companies that cooperate with the government to identify and track potential counterfeiters. The Electronic Frontier Foundation revealed in 2005 that the U.S. Secret Service was in cahoots with selected laser printer companies to identify and track printer paper using tiny microscopic dots encoded into the paper. The tiny, yellow dots — less than a millimeter each — are printed in a pattern over each page and are only viewable with a blue light, a magnifying glass or a microscope. The pattern of dots is encodes identifiable information including printer model, and time and location where the document was printed." Easy enough to avoid government dots; just don't buy printers from Canon, Brother, Casio, HP, Konica, Minolta, Mita, Ricoh, Sharp, or Xerox.
einhverfr writes "Eugene Volokh has posted an interesting discussion of a bill that has been introduced in Arizona, which would tie public school educator conduct to the FCC standards for decency for radio and television. The bill is essentially a three strikes system, firing teachers if they violate FCC standards three times. While the goal of the bill may seem reasonable, the details strike me as silly."
ackthpt writes "If you're going to steal, steal big, right? Italian anti-mafia prosecutors have announced the seizure of $6 trillion of allegedly fake U.S. Treasury bonds, an amount that's almost half of the U.S.'s public debt. The probe focusing upon money laundering has also include financial dealings alleged to direct money to Nigerian sources to buy plutonium. Sound like a movie plot, yet? $6 Trillion, that's a lot of lettuce."
First time accepted submitter core_tripper writes "Students at the University of Twente have stolen thirty laptops from various members of the university's staff. They were not prosecuted for this, so they could just get on with their studies. Indeed, these students even received ECTS credits for these thefts. UT researcher Trajce Dimkov asked the students to steal the machines as part of a scientific experiment. Stealing these laptops turned out to be a pretty simple matter."
First time accepted submitter beerdragoon writes "In order to protest the government's new Internet snooping legislation, some Canadians have started a somewhat unorthodox protest. Vic Toews, the minister responsible for tabling the legislation, has had his twitter account bombarded with tweets regarding the boring, banal aspects of regular Canadians' lives. The idea is that since Toews wants to know everything about your personal life, we should oblige him and #TellVicEverything."
An anonymous reader writes "There is a bill pending in the Kentucky State Senate that would eliminate almost all Public Service Commission oversight over local phone companies. Written by AT&T lobbyists, SB135 is being pushed by the phone companies as a 'modernization' of rules. It would keep the PSC from investigating phone service on its own and eliminate rules concerning price discrimination, price increases, required published rates, and performance objectives. It also will prevent any state agency from imposing net neutrality, and will enable phone companies to use the fact that there are cell phones to refuse to run a land line. The text of the bill is available online."
arnodf writes "According to EU Observer, 'The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has struck the latest blow in the debate over internet policing, ruling on Thursday (16 February) that online social network sites cannot be forced to construct measures to prevent users from downloading songs illegally. The court, which is the highest judicial authority in the EU, stated that installing general filters would infringe on the freedom to conduct business and on data privacy. ... The case was brought before the ECJ by Sabam, the Belgian national music royalty collecting society, against social network site Netlog. In 2009, Sabam went to the Belgian Court of First Instance to demand that Netlog take action to prevent site-users from illegally downloading songs from its portfolio. It also insisted that Netlog pay a €1,000 fine for every day of delaying in compliance. Netlog legal submission argued that granting Sabam's injunction would be imposing a general obligation to monitor on Netlog, which is prohibited by the e-commerce directive.' In related news, Sabam is going to be prosecuted (Google translation of Dutch original) for 'forging accounts, abuse of trust, bribery, money laundering and forgery,' which took place from the early 90's till 2007"
i_want_you_to_throw_ writes "The legal woes will soon be over for Sergey Aleynikov, a former Goldman Sachs Group computer programmer who had been convicted of stealing part of the Wall Street bank's high-frequency trading code. A federal appeals court overturned his conviction and recommended acquittal. We previously discussed this story when he was sentenced to 97 months in prison. It will be interesting to see their reasoning (an opinion is to be released) as well as what this may mean for other programmers developing high frequency trading code."