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Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

Canada

DHS Will Now Vet UK Air Passengers To Mexico, Canada, Cuba 417

Posted by timothy
from the so-very-giving-of-them dept.
First time accepted submitter illtud writes "From April, UK passengers flying to Mexico, Eastern Canada or Cuba will have to submit their details at least 72 hours before boarding to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for pre-flight vetting (as all passengers to the U.S. itself have had to do for a while). If they find against you, you're not getting on the plane, even though you're not going to the U.S. The Independent (UK quality newspaper) has the story."
America Online

NY District Judge Dismisses Blogger Suit Against Huffington Post 94

Posted by timothy
from the you'll-write-this-and-like-it dept.
The Chicago Tribute reports on a ruling announced Friday that the Huffington Post violated no law in profiting enormously from the unpaid contributions of bloggers who wrote much of the content that has spurred the site's success. Says the article: "John E. Koeltel, a district court judge in New York, dismissed a class action sought brought against the Huffington Post by unpaid bloggers seeking $105 million from AOL and Arianna Huffington's media empire. The bloggers argued that though they initially agreed to do the work for free, the Huffington Post was 'unjustly enriched as a result of this practice,' violating New York state law. Koeltel disagreed. 'There is no question that the plaintiffs submitted their materials to The Huffington Post with no expectation of monetary compensation and that they got what they paid for -- exposure in The Huffington Post,' Koeltel wrote."
Input Devices

Samsung Says Their TVs Aren't Really Spying On You 171

Posted by timothy
from the jeesh-you-guys-are-so-paranoid dept.
lightbox32 writes "Samsung has finally responded to an article recently published by HD Guru titled 'Is your TV watching you?' [See this related Slashdot post] which discussed the fact that new features in Samsung's top 2012 models — including built-in microphones, HDTV camera, wireless and wired Internet connection, built-in browser with voice to text conversion, face recognition and more — could be used to collect unprecedented personal information and invade our privacy. Samsung has now provided their privacy policy, which may or may not lay the issue to rest." I vote for "not" — conspiracy theories about mandatory (or just secret) surveillance equipment in consumer electronics is just too persistent, even when the technical capabilities turn out to be a hoax; when the equipment is actually all in place and the user is protected only by a corporate honor policy, it's hard to be sanguine. (I recall there was a much rumored secret capability for law enforcement agencies to secretly and remotely turn on the internal microphones in PCs meeting the PC 97 spec, and this was an integral part of the plan. Since the government insists that telecom equipment have built-in backdoors, why should that sound all that crazy?)
Data Storage

Nano-SIM Decision Delayed 117

Posted by timothy
from the sir-the-nano-decision-is-huge dept.
judgecorp writes "The decision on the next generation of even-smaller SIM cards for phones and other devices has been delayed by standards body ETSI, and the issue (which should have been settled this week) is nowhere near resolution. Apple wants to trim the existing micro-SIM further, Nokia wants to move to something like a micro-SD card which may involve patents. Meanwhile RIM has complained about Apple's approach."
Google

The Phantoms of Google+ 214

Posted by timothy
from the you-who-are-not-are dept.
theodp writes "Engadget reports that Google wants a patent on its System and Method for Generating a Ghost Profile for a Social Network. The brainchild of five Googlers, the invention is designed to convert anti-social-networking types to the joys of Google+ and its ilk. From the patent: 'A problem arises when users of social networks are friends with people that are opposed to social networks. The second group misses out on an important social component. For example, many users only share their photos on a social networking site. As a result, users that do not want to join the social network are forced to either join with reservations or miss out on the social component, such as viewing pictures.' By generating an unsearchable 'ghost profile' when a member of the social network invites a Google+ adverse friend to join, Google explains, non-believers get to participate in social networking activities without providing user information."
China

Chinese Internet Firms Punished For Permitting Spread Of Political Rumors 75

Posted by timothy
from the everyone's-best-interest-at-heart dept.
First time accepted submitter rover42 writes "Major Chinese sites Sina and Webo 'have been legally punished for permitting the spread of unfounded rumors. Specifically, the report cites unfounded rumors that were spreading like wildfire on Sina Weibo of an attempted coup d'etat happening in Beijing.' The source is the state-run Xinhua." Sadly for the people of China (even if they like it this way), this seems to be in line with the Chinese government's general attitude toward the Internet.
The Courts

German Court Rules Rapidshare Is Legal, But Must Adjust Content Policies 73

Posted by timothy
from the some-zwiespältigkeit-with-that? dept.
New submitter loosescrews writes "Online file locker Rapidshare is legal in Germany, but has to adjust its policy regarding infringing content, the Higher Regional Court in Hamburg has ruled. Rapidshare plans to appeal. Rapidshare was sued by the German copyright organization Gema which represents 64.000 copyright holders. After reading the verdict, both parties claim they are victorious."
Crime

Hackers Can Easily Lift Credit Card Info From a Used Xbox 106

Posted by timothy
from the extra-sensitive-data dept.
zacharye writes "Using nothing more than a few common tools, hackers can reportedly recover credit card numbers and other personal information from used Xbox 360 consoles even after they have been restored to factory settings. Researchers at Drexel University say they have successfully recovered sensitive personal data from a used Xbox console, and they claim Microsoft is doing a disservice to users by not taking precautions to secure their data. 'Microsoft does a great job of protecting their proprietary information,' researcher Ashley Podhradsky said."
Government

1.9 Billion Digits: Brazil's Bid For Biometric Voting 140

Posted by timothy
from the countrymen-lend-me-your-fingers dept.
MatthewVD writes "Brazil is on a massive fingerprinting spree, with the goal of collecting biometric information from each of its 190 million citizens and identifying all voters by their biological signatures by 2018. The country already has a fully electronic voting system and now officials are trying to end fraud, which was rampant after the military dictatorship ended. Dissenters complain that recounts could be impossible and this opens the door for new kinds of fraud. Imagine this happening in the U.S."
Privacy

Aviation Security Debate: Bruce Schneier V. Kip Hawley (Former TSA Boss) 291

Posted by Soulskill
from the rumble-in-the-terminal dept.
Fluffeh writes "A nice summary at TechDirt brings word that Bruce Schneier has been debating Kip Hawley, former boss of the TSA, over at the Economist. Bruce has been providing facts, analysis and some amazing statistics throughout the debate, and it makes for very educational reading. Because of the format, the former TSA administrator is compelled to respond. Quoting: 'He wants us to trust that a 400-ml bottle of liquid is dangerous, but transferring it to four 100-ml bottles magically makes it safe. He wants us to trust that the butter knives given to first-class passengers are nevertheless too dangerous to be taken through a security checkpoint. He wants us to trust that there's a reason to confiscate a cupcake (Las Vegas), a 3-inch plastic toy gun (London Gatwick), a purse with an embroidered gun on it (Norfolk, VA), a T-shirt with a picture of a gun on it (London Heathrow) and a plastic lightsaber that's really a flashlight with a long cone on top (Dallas/Fort Worth).""
Censorship

Global Online Freedom Act Approved By House Committee 55

Posted by Soulskill
from the who-watches-the-watchers dept.
Fluffeh writes "While it is a bit disappointing that companies might need a law to avoid providing tools that censor free speech to overseas regimes, an updated version of a bill that's been floating around for a few years — the Global Online Freedom Act — has passed out of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights. The version that made it out of committee took out some controversial earlier provisions that had potential criminal penalties for those who failed to report information to the Justice Department. However, the Center for Democracy and Technology has raised some concerns: 'While some companies – such as GNI members Google, Microsoft, Websense, and Yahoo! – have stepped up and acknowledged these responsibilities in an accountable way, other companies have not been so forthright. GOFA, however, is a complex bill. While it presents a number of sensible and innovative mechanisms for mitigating the negative impact of surveillance and censorship technologies, it also raises some difficult questions: can export controls be meaningfully extended in ways that reduce the spread of (to borrow words from Chairman Smith) "weapons of mass surveillance" without diminishing the ability of dissidents to connect and communicate? How can – and should – U.S. companies engage with so-called "Internet-restricting" countries?'"
Crime

VISA, MasterCard Warn of 'Massive' Breach At Credit Card Processor 164

Posted by Soulskill
from the your-security:-priceless dept.
concealment writes with news that VISA and MasterCard have been warning banks of an incident at a U.S. card processor that may have compromised as many as 10 million credit card numbers. From the article: "Neither VISA nor MasterCard have said which U.S.-based processor was the source of the breach. But affected banks are now starting to analyze transaction data on the compromised cards, in hopes of finding a common point of purchase. Sources at two different major financial institutions said the transactions that most of the cards they analyzed seem to have in common are that they were used in parking garages in and around the New York City area." According to the Wall Street Journal, the breached company is Global Payments Inc.
Australia

Australian Federal Court Awards Damages To Artist For False Copyright Claim 77

Posted by Soulskill
from the it's-a-start dept.
New submitter BarryHaworth writes "In a decision handed down earlier this month, the Australian Federal Court awarded damages to Aboriginal artist Richard Bell over a false claim of copyright infringement. The claim related to a take-down notice claiming copyright infringement from film footage used in a trailer for a film being made by the artist. The court declared Mr. Bell the owner of the copyright and awarded him $147,000 in damages for lost sales of paintings and catalogues. At time of writing, YouTube does not appear to have caught up with the decision."
Australia

Australian National Broadband Network Releases 3-Year Plan 121

Posted by samzenpus
from the internet-to-the-people dept.
New submitter pcritter writes "The Australian Government has just announced the 3-year roll-out plan for its ambitious National Broadband Network. The plan details 3.5 million premises (30%) across the country to be connected to the NBN by mid-2015. A map is available showing coverage areas. The plan represents a major milestone in the NBN project, which aims to connect all of Australia with high speed broadband by 2021, with the 93% of the population on fiber to the premises (FTTP) of speeds up to 1000Mbits, and the rest on fixed wireless or satellite."
Businesses

Swedish Teleco Firms Looking Into Block VoIP Claiming Losses In Earnings 151

Posted by samzenpus
from the too-cheap-calls dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Telia, a Swedish telecommunications company, is now looking into possible solutions to block free VoIP services like Skype and Vibr, claiming the losses are beginning to take its toll on the total earnings. Critics are saying the companies have wrongly implemented outdated pricing models, and the act could threaten net transparency and Independence. A new report from regulators of the European phone market shows that more and more telecommunications companies will block their subscribers from using free services. The European Commission is investigating whether it is possible to prohibit the blocking of legal services online."

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