netbuzz writes "Marking the latest escalation in the technology industry's intellectual-property arms race, Microsoft is paying AOL a shade over $1 billion for 800 patents, the cream of which AOL CEO Tim Armstrong has described as 'beachfront property in East Hampton.' Armstrong insists they haven't left the cupboard bare: 'We continue to hold a valuable patent portfolio as highlighted by the license we entered into with Microsoft. The combined sale and licensing arrangement unlocks current dollar value for our shareholders and enables AOL to continue to aggressively execute on our strategy to create long-term shareholder value.'"
Taco Cowboy writes "Here comes a chip that can pinpoint you in-door and out, it can even tell others on which floor of a building you are located. It's the Broadcom 4752 chip. It takes signals from global navigation satellites, cell phone towers, and Wi-Fi hot spots, coupled with input from gyroscopes, accelerometers, step counters, and altimeters The company calls abilities like this 'ubiquitous navigation,' and the idea is that it will enable a new kind of e-commerce predicated on the fact that shopkeepers will know the moment you walk by their front door, or when you are looking at a particular product, and can offer you coupons at that instant."
New submitter Cazekiel writes "If you think your boss is a fearless, miserable beast whose only worries lie in how well his company or business competes, think again. The 'Business Video Behavior Project' survey conducted by Qumu reveals that those in-charge are growing more and more paranoid about something the Average Joe fears just walking down the street nowadays: employees who will 'secretly film him with his metaphorical pants down and then post the footage for public delectation.' It would seem that it doesn't matter if you're powerful, wealthy and lording over hundreds of cubicles; they know the internet exists, everyone has a cell phone camera and thick wallets don't make discarded banana peels magically move out of their path." The company that paid for the study, note, promises to "securely distribute business video simultaneously over multiple Edge routes," so they probably don't mind some workplace paranoia.
An anonymous reader writes "The Utah Department of Health has been hacked. 181,604 Medicaid and CHIP recipients have had their personal information stolen. 25,096 had their Social Security numbers (SSNs) compromised. The agency is cooperating with law enforcement in a criminal investigation. The hackers, who are believed to be located in Eastern Europe, breached the server in question on March 30, 2012."
Presto Vivace writes "When the Australian Financial Review published its series on News Corp's pay TV pirates, it asked DocumentCloud to host the internal NDS emails which documented the allegations. Last week DocumentCloud was forced to take down the emails when NDS threatened legal action and the Financial Review declined to indemnify it. The Financial Review reports that: 'DocumentCloud is a free service operated by journalism organization Investigative Reporters and Editors at the University of Missouri. It aims to enable newspapers, websites and broadcasters to host documents supporting investigative reports. The website uses open source – or community developed – technologies to scan and index information, allowing users to quickly search hundreds or even thousands of pages for references to people, places, dates,company names and key terms.' The NDS emails are available as zip files at the Financial Review's server. Because DocumentCloud uses open source software, 'any news organization — or anyone else — is free to use DocumentCloud's code to build its own hosted version, on its own secure server, with many of the same capabilities, Aron Pilhofer, DocumentCloud's co-founder told me. Pilhofer, who is also interactive news editor at The New York Times, said that provides a little bit of breathing room for news organizations whose lawyers may be wary of exposing newspapers to risk through partnering with a third-party.'"
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from Wired: "Under construction by contractors with top-secret clearances, the blandly named Utah Data Center is being built for the National Security Agency. A project of immense secrecy, it is the final piece in a complex puzzle assembled over the past decade. Its purpose: to intercept, decipher, analyze, and store vast swaths of the world's communications as they zap down from satellites and zip through the underground and undersea cables of international, foreign, and domestic networks. The heavily fortified $2 billion center should be up and running in September 2013. Flowing through its servers and routers and stored in near-bottomless databases will be all forms of communication, including the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls, and Google searches, as well as all sorts of personal data trails — parking receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases, and other digital 'pocket litter.' It is, in some measure, the realization of the 'total information awareness' program created during the first term of the Bush administration — an effort that was killed by Congress in 2003 after it caused an outcry over its potential for invading Americans' privacy."
An anonymous reader writes "The U.S. Navy is paying a company six figures to hack into used video game consoles and extract sensitive information. The tasks to be completed are for both offline and online data. The organization says it will only use the technology on consoles belonging to nations overseas, because the law doesn't allow it to be used on any 'U.S. persons.'" Should be a doddle.
Krystalo writes "The hacktivist group Anonymous today hacked multiple UK government websites over the country's 'draconian surveillance proposals' and 'derogation of civil rights.' At the time of writing, the following websites were taken down: homeoffice.gov.uk, number10.gov.uk, and justice.gov.uk. The group is not pleased with the UK government's plans to monitor Internet users."
An anonymous reader writes "Facebook already shares its Law Enforcement Guidelines publicly, but we've never actually seen the data Menlo Park sends over to the cops when it gets a formal subpoena for your profile information. Now we know. This appears to be the first time we get to see what a Facebook account report looks like. The document was released by the The Boston Phoenix as part of a lengthy feature titled 'Hunting the Craigslist Killer,' which describes how an online investigation helped officials track down Philip Markoff. The man committed suicide, which meant the police didn't care if the Facebook document was published elsewhere, after robbing two women and murdering a third."
An anonymous reader writes "As congressmen in Washington consider how to handle the ongoing issue of cyberattacks, some legislators have lent their support to a new act that, if passed, would let the government pry into the personal correspondence of anyone of their choosing. This is SOPA being passed in smaller chunks... 'H.R. 3523, a piece of legislation dubbed the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (or CISPA for short) has vague definitions that could allow Congress to circumvent existing exemptions to online privacy laws and essentially monitor, censor and stop any online communication that it considers disruptive to the government or private parties.'"
New submitter BBCS writes "The National Copyright Administration of the People's Republic of China ('NCAC') is seeking public comments on a controversial draft amendment to China's copyright law. A number of recording artists and musicians have reacted strongly against this proposed amendment because it appears to encourage using others works without compensation. The amendments that have drawn particular ire are article 46 & 48. Per Article 46, one does not need consent to make recordings of another person's musical work if 3 months have passed since such work was published. Per Article 48, to use such person's musical work, one must contact the NCAC, identify the published material and its author, and within 1 month of use, submit a usage fee as per the NCAC, to facilitate the distribution of payment to applicable parties. I wonder what happens when someone applies to make use of Chinese Democracy by Guns N' Roses." What would you do, if copyright were so strongly time-limited?
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from the NYT's "Bits" column: "Justin Watt, a Web engineer, was browsing the Web in his room at the Courtyard Marriott in Midtown Manhattan this week when he saw something strange. On his personal blog, a mysterious gap was appearing at the top of the page. After some sleuthing, Mr. Watt, who has a background in developing Web advertising tools, realized that the quirk was not confined to his site. The hotel's Internet service was secretly injecting lines of code into every page he visited, code that could allow it to insert ads into any Web page without the knowledge of the site visitor or the page's creator."
Hugh Pickens writes "Innovation News reports that the U.S. Navy plans to upgrade its robotic Fire Scouts with electronic 'brains' that are able to automatically recognize small pirate boats spotted through 3D laser imaging by bouncing millions of laser pulses off distant objects to create a 3D 'radar' image of any boats on the high seas — a technology known as LIDAR or LADAR — so that their new software can automatically compare the 3D images to pirate boat profiles on record. Having smarter robotic helicopters could ease the workload strain for Navy sailors, who must otherwise eyeball the data coming from the new Multi-Mode Sensor Seeker (MMSS) — a sensor mix of high-definition cameras, mid-wave infrared sensors and the 3D LADAR technology. Meanwhile, the Navy has begun testing other new technologies to tackle the problem of piracy — an especially thorny issue because of Somali pirates attacking ships off the coast of East Africa. Its more forceful countermeasures include a combination of lasers and machine guns, as well as swarms of smart rockets capable of picking out their own small boat targets."
Fluffeh writes "Richard Bell, an Australian Film Maker, on a fellowship in New York, produced and directed approximately 18 hours of raw footage for a film with the help of an assistant called Tanya Steele and paid her for these services. Ms Steele, through her American lawyers, sent letters to Mr Bell and his agent claiming that she owned the copyright in the footage and demanding that the trailer be removed from the Internet. She also caused the Vimeo website to remove the trailer. In response, Bell went to the (Australian) courts, which declared him the owner of the copyright in the film, and deemed Steele's threats "unjustifiable". Bell then asked for damages. These were granted in the latest judgment because Bell had lost the opportunity to sell some of his works, which typically cost tens of thousands of dollars, as a result of Steels' threats. The Australian judge awarded over $150,000 in damages plus another $23,000 costs against her."
theodp writes "On April Fools' Day, Google joked it was partnering with NASCAR on self-driving cars. Google Racing, the search giant joshed, had its roots in Project Caddy, which demonstrated the viability of self-driving golf carts. And in the future, Google added tongue-in-cheek, your kids will travel unattended in driverless-car car pools. Funny stuff, huh? Only thing is, GeekWire reports the USPTO disclosed Thursday that Google actually has a patent pending for driverless golf carts, as well as cars that can autonomously pick up kids from school and be switched into 'sport mode,' where 'the vehicle may navigate through turns at the maximum speed that is safe.' In addition to cars, trucks and golf carts, Google's patent application calls dibs on autonomous busses, boats, airplanes, helicopters, lawnmowers, recreational vehicles, amusement park vehicles, trams, trains, and trolleys. Google also describes how its invention will enable autonomous police cars to conduct high speed chases and give law enforcement vehicles 'a limited amount of control over nearby vehicles.' So, is the patent application legit, or did Google team up with the USPTO on a belated April Fools' goof?"