bs0d3 writes "For the third consecutive regional election, The German Pirate Party has breached the five-percent mark needed to enter the state parliament, winning 8.2 percent of the vote in state of Schleswig-Holstein. From the article: 'The big winners on the night were the Pirates, an upstart party that has shaken up the staid world of German politics with a campaign based on more transparency in the political process and internet freedom.'"
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TheGift73 writes in with a link for those of you who like to do things the hard way. "Now that The Pirate Bay is being blocked by ISPs in the UK, millions of people have a new interest in accessing the site, even if they didn't before. The reasons for this are simple. Not only do people hate being told what they can and can't do, people – especially geeks – love solving problems and puzzles. Unlocking The Pirate Bay with a straightforward proxy is just too boring, so just for fun let's go the hard way round."
bhagwad writes "Apparently Robert Scoble tried to post a long comment on Facebook only to have a message pop up saying 'This comment seems irrelevant or inappropriate and can't be posted. To avoid having your comments blocked, please make sure they contribute to the post in a positive way.' If true, this is huge. For one the self-moderating system of comments has always been the rule so far. And with countries like India rooting for the pre-screening of content and comments, is Facebook thinking of caving into these demands?" Facebook says there's a more innocuous explanation: namely, that the comment triggered a spam filter.
Hentes writes "The internet has made many things easier, but unfortunately this also includes crime: it seems that nowadays not even people wanting to know their future are safe from fraud. Two fortune tellers are being investigated, after the Romanian police uncovered that they have utilized some extraordinary help in their clairvoyant acts. The pair used information collected from internet search and social networks to gain the trust of their customers, claiming that they could see their personal data through their crystal ball. In some cases, they also used high-tech surveillance techniques such as hidden cameras and phone tapping. But they didn't stop at merely spying on their victims: their most bizarre case involved a scuba diver dressed as a monster." Nice to know that internet-based fraud isn't limited to motivational speakers with real-estate seminars and other get-rich-quick flim-flam.
TheGift73 writes with a link to (and this excerpt from the beginning of) a brief description at TorrentFreak of recently signed agreements between the U.S. and Australia: "Figures.... File-sharing was firmly on the agenda when the head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security touched down in the Australian capital last week. The four new agreements – promptly signed before Secretary Janet Napolitano flew back out of Canberra – were less about sharing season two of Game of Thrones and more about sharing the private, government held information of Australian citizens with U.S. authorities."
longacre writes "Suzy Harriston wanted to be friends on Facebook. The profile said she was from Clayton [Missouri] and had more than 300 friends, many of them from Clayton High School. No one seemed to question who Harriston was. That is, until the night of April 5, when a 2011 grad and former Clayton quarterback posted a public accusation. '"Whoever is friends with Suzy Harriston on Facebook needs to drop them. It is the Clayton Principal," wrote Chase Haslett.' Suzy Harriston quickly disappeared from Facebook, and Louise Losos, the principal, subsequently took a leave of absence, and then resigned."
choongiri writes "Canada's election fraud scandal continues to unfold. Elections Canada just matched the IP address used to set up thousands of voter suppression robocalls to one used by a Conservative Party operative, and a comparison of call records found a perfect match between the illegal calls, and records of non-supporters in the Conservative Party's CIMS voter tracking database, as well as evidence access logs may have been tampered with. Meanwhile, legal challenges to election results are underway in seven ridings, and an online petition calling for an independent public inquiry into the crisis has amassed over 44,000 signatures. The Conservative Party still maintains their innocence, calling it a baseless smear campaign."
skipkent writes "Defense Secretary Leon Panetta declared global warming a national security threat [Wednesday] during a speech before an environmentalist group in Washington, D.C. 'The area of climate change has a dramatic impact on national security,' Panetta told the Environmental Defense Fund last night. 'Rising sea levels, severe droughts, the melting of the polar caps, the more frequent and devastating natural disasters all raise demand for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.'"
New submitter unmole writes "It seems that India's Department of Telecom has instructed ISPs to block popular torrent trackers like the Pirate Bay and IsoHunt. Visitors now see a page (Screenshot) informing them that 'This site has been blocked as per instructions from Department of Telecom (DOT),' with no additional details. The Department of Telecom has not made any public announcement to this effect. This comes months after an Indian court gave the green signal for prosecuting social networking sites."
daria42 writes "Looks like Apple isn't the only company with interesting offshore taxation practices. The financial statements for Google's Australian subsidiary show the company told the Australian Government it made just $200 million in revenue in 2011 in Australia, despite local industry estimating it actually brought in closer to $1 billion. The rest was funnelled through Google's Irish subsidiary and not disclosed in Australia. Consequently the company only disclosed taxation costs in Australia of $74,000. Not bad work if you can get it — which Google apparently can."
suraj.sun writes "Bloomberg is reporting on Google's negotiation with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission over 'how big a fine, which could amount to more than $10 million, it will have to pay for its breach of Apple's Safari browser. The fine would be the first by the FTC for a violation of Internet privacy as the agency steps up enforcement of the Web.' Last year, Google agreed to a settlement in which the FTC would monitor Google's privacy practices for an extended period of time. 'The 20-year settlement bars Google from misrepresenting how it handles user information and requires the company to follow policies that protect consumer data in new products.' This February, Google was found to be bypassing privacy controls in Safari by making the browser think a user was submitting a form, when they actually weren't. '(The code used by Google was part of its program to place the "+1" button in advertisements.) At the time, the company issued a statement saying that the circumvention wasn't intentional, but privacy groups were still quick to file complaints with the FTC over Google's actions. That was quickly followed by a class-action lawsuit and an investigation by European regulators.'"
Overly Critical Guy writes "British Prime Minister David Cameron will announce network-filtering plans targeted at porn websites, possibly requiring users to 'opt-in' with their ISP to access such content. The idea has support from MP Claire Perry, who said, 'There is a "hands off our internet" movement that sees any change in how access is delivered as censorship.'"
bonch writes "U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement seized a hip-hop website based on RIAA claims of copyright infringement for prerelease music tracks. They held it for a year before giving it back due to lack of evidence. Unsealed court records (PDF) show that the government was repeatedly given time extensions to build a case against Dajaz1.com, but the RIAA's evidence never came. The RIAA has declined to comment."
An anonymous reader sends this followup to news we discussed in 2009 of a CERN physicist who was arrested for allegedly being in contact with al-Qaeda. The physicist, Adlene Hicheur, has now been sentenced to five years in prison. "He came under suspicion when threatening messages were sent to President Sarkozy in early 2008. The security services uncovered a series of email exchanges between Hicheur and an alleged al-Qaeda member called Mustapha Debchi. After his arrest in 2009 police found a large quantity of Islamist literature at his parents' home. At the start of his trial the 35-year-old scientist admitted that he had been going through a psychologically 'turbulent' time in his life when he wrote the emails. He had suffered a serious back injury, for which he had been taking morphine. But he always denied he intended to carry out any attacks."
TheGift73 writes with news that the FBI is pushing a proposal to update old wiretap legislation so that modern web firms would be forced to build in backdoors to facilitate government surveillance. Quoting CNET: "In meetings with industry representatives, the White House, and U.S. senators, senior FBI officials argue the dramatic shift in communication from the telephone system to the Internet has made it far more difficult for agents to wiretap Americans suspected of illegal activities, CNET has learned. The FBI general counsel's office has drafted a proposed law that the bureau claims is the best solution: requiring that social-networking Web sites and providers of VoIP, instant messaging, and Web e-mail alter their code to ensure their products are wiretap-friendly. ... The FBI's proposal would amend a 1994 law, called the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, or CALEA, that currently applies only to telecommunications providers, not Web companies. The Federal Communications Commission extended CALEA in 2004 to apply to broadband networks."