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The Courts

Federal Judge Rules P2P Users Aren't In a Conspiracy 66

Fluffeh writes "Judge Holderman ruled against copyright holders who were trying to paint a rather distorted picture. They sue just one Internet user, but use that lawsuit as a pretext to subpoena other defendants who had participated in the same BitTorrent swarm. The plaintiffs in these lawsuits claim that the other users had participated in a "conspiracy" to assist one another in distributing particular copyrighted works. Because the copyright holder's threat is based on the cost of litigation (and risk of public embarrassment — as this is a tactic used increasingly by the pron industry) more so than the damages a defendant would face in the event of a loss, innocent defendants have virtually as much incentive to settle as guilty ones do. That's not how things are supposed to work, and more and more judges are refusing to play along. Coupled with recent rulings in Florida, the copyright holders seem to be finding less and less favor with judges."
Electronic Frontier Foundation

EFF Files Brief To Allow Users Access To Their MegaUpload Files 60

Fluffeh writes "The EFF has filed a brief in Federal Court on behalf of Kyle Goodwin (and potentially millions of other users) so that he can access his legally sound backup files. 'Goodwin is a local high school sports reporter and the sole proprietor of the company OhioSportsNet, who stored his video footage on as a backup to his video library on his hard drive. He had paid €79.99 (about $107) for a two-year premium membership. Just days before the government seized the site, Goodwin's hard drive crashed. The brief states that his lost videos include footage to make highlight reels for parents to send to their children's prospective colleges, and an unfinished full-length documentary about the Strongsville girls soccer team's season.' According to the EFF, authorities told Carpathia (the hosting company that MegaUpload was using to host their content to the tune of $9,000 a day) that after it was done examining the servers and had copied portions of the data, the hosting company could delete the files and re-purpose its servers. Carpathia noted in a statement last week that it would like to allow Megaupload users to recover their data, but has struggled to find a way to do so."

ACLU Obtains Cell Phone Tracking Training Materials 33

guttentag writes "The New York Times has published a large collection of law enforcement training documents obtained by the ACLU. The documents describe in detail what kind of information can be obtained from cell phones and cell phone carriers, and how to obtain it. The 189-page PDF also contains dozens of invoices from the major carriers for their services to law enforcement that describe the fees for those services."

Forensic Experts Say Screams Were Not Zimmerman's 1046

Hugh Pickens writes "As the Trayvon Martin controversy splinters into a debate about self-defense, a central question remains: Who was heard crying for help on a 911 call in the moments before the teen was shot? Now the Orlando Sentinel reports that Tom Owen, a leading expert in the field of forensic voice identification sought to answer that question by analyzing the recordings. His result: It was not George Zimmerman who called for help. Owen, forensic consultant for Owen Forensic Services LLC and chair emeritus for the American Board of Recorded Evidence, used voice identification software to rule out Zimmerman. Another expert contacted by the Sentinel, utilizing different techniques, came to the same conclusion. Owen used software called Easy Voice Biometrics to compare Zimmerman's voice to the 911 call screams. 'I took all of the screams and put those together, and cut out everything else,' says Owen. The software compared that audio to Zimmerman's voice and returned a 48 percent match. Owen says to reach a positive match with audio of this quality, he'd expect higher than 90 percent. Owen cannot confirm the voice as Trayvon's, because he didn't have a sample of the teen's voice to compare however 'you can say with reasonable scientific certainty that it's not Zimmerman.'"

Exclusive Look at FBI's New Sentinel System 27

gManZboy writes "Six years and $450 million into the project, the FBI's Sentinel case-management system appears to be almost ready for deployment. Sentinel aims to replace a hodge-podge of digital and paper processes with purely digital workflows, helping FBI agents collaborate and "connect the dots" on investigations. The question now is how well the problem-plagued system will live up to those expectations. FBI CIO Chad Fulgham demonstrated Sentinel for InformationWeek on March 28, the first time the agency has shown its new case-management system to an outsider. 'This isn't just a case-management system. It's a great platform to grow on,' Fulgham said during the demo at FBI headquarters. The agency's IT team plans to move other apps over to Sentinel, giving them a similar look and feel on the same underlying hardware."

Teacher's Aide Fired For Refusing To Hand Over Facebook Password 407

An anonymous reader writes "You can add this one to the short but growing list of employers demanding access to Facebook accounts. After refusing to give her Facebook password to her supervisors, Kimberly Hester was fired by Lewis Cass Intermediate School District from her job as an aide to Frank Squires Elementary in Cassopolis, Michigan. She is now fighting a legal battle with the school district."

British Government To Grant Warrantless Trawl of Communications Data 82

First time accepted submitter cardpuncher writes "Having opposed the previous government's attempts to introduce mass surveillance of Internet communications, the Conservatives are planning to introduce the very same policy they previously described as a 'culture of surveillance which goes far beyond counter terrorism and serious crime.' The plan is essentially to allow stored communication data to be trawled without the inconvenience of needing a warrant or even any reasonable suspicion."

Yahoo To Implement Do Not Track 40

Trailrunner7 writes "Yahoo has decided that it's now time to start implementing a Do Not Track system across its various Web properties. The company is one of the last large Web content providers to officially commit to using a DNT technology, and Yahoo said that it plans to have the system implemented by early summer. Yahoo officials said that their Do Not Track implementation has been in development since 2011 and that it will be a simple way for consumers to turn on the DNT option."

A 'Radical Manifesto' For Computer Teaching In English Schools 108

00_NOP writes "Everybody (or almost everybody) in England agrees that computing teaching to kids in high school is broken. In response the government promised a radical overhaul and a new curriculum. But then last week it was discovered the government had scrapped the bit of the education department that would develop any such curriculum. Not to be deterred, John Naughton, the Cambridge University academic who wrote the Short History of the Future, has now published his own 'radical' manifesto on how computing should be taught."
The Courts

After Megaupload, MPAA Targets Other File Sharing Services 214

An anonymous reader writes "It is no secret that the MPAA was a main facilitator of the criminal investigation against Megaupload. While the movie studios have praised the actions of the U.S. Government, they are not satisfied yet. Paramount Pictures' vice president for worldwide content protection identified Fileserve, MediaFire, Wupload, Putlocker and Depositfiles as prime targets that should be shuttered next."

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

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

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

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

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."

The Phantoms of Google+ 214

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."