Fluffeh writes "The British Gov might have more cameras up on street corners than just about anywhere else in the world, but it seems that the Gov doesn't want anyone else stepping on the privacy of their folks. In what the media have dubbed the 'Cookie Law' all operators of websites in Britain must notify users of the tracking that the website does. This doesn't only cover cookies, but all forms of tracking and analytics performed on visitors. While there are potential fines up up to 500,000 pounds (Over US$750,000) for websites not following these new rules, the BBC announced that very few websites are ready, even most of its own sites aren't up to speed — and amusingly even the governments own websites aren't ready."
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CIStud writes "The IT industry is hurting for women. Currently only 11% of IT companies are owned by women. The Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Federal Contract program requires 5% of all IT jobs to go to female-owned integration companies, but there must be at least 2 female bidders. There are so few female bidders that women-owned IT firms are ineligible for the contracts. From the article: 'Wendy Frank, founder of Accell Security Inc. in Birdsboro, Pa., wishes she had more competitors. It's not often you hear any integrator say that, but in Frank's case, she has good reason. The current Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Federal Contract program authorizes five percent of Federal prime and subcontracts to be set aside for WOSBs. While that might sound fair on the surface, in order to invoke the money set aside for this program, the contracting officer at an agency has to have a reasonable expectation that two or more WOSBs will submit offers for the job. “We could not participate in the government’s Women-Owned Small Business program unless there was another female competitor,” says Frank. “Procurement officers required that at least two women-owned small businesses compete for the contracts, even in the IT field, where women-owned businesses are underrepresented.”'"
dgharmon writes in with a story about the final outcome of thousands of Nortel patents that were bought last July. "You may recall last summer that Apple, Microsoft, EMC, RIM, Ericsson and Sony all teamed up to buy Nortel's patents for $4.5 billion. They beat out a team of Google and Intel who bid a bit less. While there was some antitrust scrutiny over the deal, it was dropped and the purchase went through. Apparently, the new owners picked off a bunch of patents to transfer to themselves... and then all (minus EMC, who, one hopes, was horrified by the plans) decided to support a massive new patent troll armed with the remaining 4,000 patents. The company is called Rockstar Consortium, and it's run by the folks who used to run Nortel's patent licensing program anyway — but now employs people whose job it is to just find other companies to threaten." On a semi-related note, there is a new petition to the White House to make a law that patent lawsuits that find for the defendant automatically fine the plaintiff three times the damages they were seeking."
An anonymous reader writes "The Malaysian Government has recently passed an amendment to their Evidence Act that has been designed to hold cyber bullies accountable for their malicious tirades on blogs or Facebook Walls. Unfortunately, the amendment has been worded such that 'If your name, photograph or pseudonym appears on any publication depicting yourself as the author, you are deemed to have published the content' and 'If a posting comes from your Internet or phone account, you are deemed to be the publisher unless the contrary is proved.' What these raft of amendments have done is shifted the burden of proof to the accused. One is considered guilty until proven innocent. Even the simple act of posting an offending message on a friend's Facebook Wall could get that friend, and not the original poster, into trouble with this law. Although the amendments were initiated by good intentions, a conspiracist can see how easily this law can be misused to curb dissent in Malaysia."
An anonymous reader writes "CNN takes a look at Apple's response to the Department of Justice's investigation into eBook price fixing. The filing 'cuts the government's case to shreds' while at the same time not bothering to defend the five publishers also under investigation. Apple said, 'The Government starts from the false premise (PDF) that an eBooks "market" was characterized by "robust price competition" prior to Apple's entry. This ignores a simple and incontrovertible fact: before 2010, there was no real competition, there was only Amazon. At the time Apple entered the market, Amazon sold nearly nine out of every ten eBooks, and its power over price and product selection was nearly absolute.'"
mikejuk writes "Following the successful defense of the Internet against SOPA, website owners are being invited to sign up to a project that will enable them to participate in future protest campaign, the Internet Defense League. The banner logo for the 'bat-signal' site is a cat, a reference to Ethan Zuckerman's cute cat theory of digital activism. The idea is that sites would respond to the call to "defend the Internet" by joining a group blackout or getting users to sign petitions. From the article: 'Website owners can sign up on the IDL website to add a bit of code to their sites (or receive code by email at the time of a campaign) that can be triggered in the case of a crisis like SOPA. This would add an "activist call-to-action" to all participating sites - such as a banner asking users to sign petitions, or in extreme cases blackout the site, as proved effective in the SOPA/PIPA protest of January 2012.'"
ainandil writes "Facebook may have to alter its data use policy now that grassrooters have driven enough complaints about the company's proposed data usage policy to trigger a user vote on the matter. 'Facebook's proposed changes to its data use policy include new explanations of its data deletion practices as well as the controls that users have over the sharing of information with third-party applications. However, 47,824 users commented on the plans with many posting opposition to the planned new terms and instead calling for the chance to vote on the "demands" outlined by Europe-v-Facebook.' Does this mean the days of the man-in-the-middle attack as social media are numbered?"
theodp writes "If you're a COBOL programmer, you're apparently persona non grata in the eyes of the nation's Chief Information and Chief Technology Officers. Discussing new government technology initiatives at the TechCrunch Disrupt Conference, Federal CIO Steven VanRoekel quipped, 'I'm recruiting COBOL developers, any out there?,' sending Federal CTO Todd Park into fits of laughter (video). Lest anyone think he was serious about hiring the old fogies, VanRoekel added: 'Trust me, we still have it in the Federal government, which is quite, quite scary.' So what are VanRoekel and Park looking for? 'Bad a** innovators — the baddest a** of the bad a**es out there,' Park explained (video), 'to design, create, and kick a** for America.' Within 24 hours of VanRoekel's and Park's announcement, 600 people had applied to be Presidential Innovation Fellows."
New submitter wirelessduck writes "After some recent complaints from a Labor MP about price markups on software and technology devices in Australia, Federal Government agencies decided to look in to the matter and an official parliamentary inquiry into the issue was started. 'The Federal Parliament's inquiry into local price markups on technology goods and services has gotten under way, with the committee overseeing the initiative issuing its terms of reference and calling for submissions from the general public on the issue.'"
linuxwrangler writes "After mowing down a motorcycling couple while distracted by texting, Kyle Best received a slap on the wrist. The couple's attorney then sued Best's girlfriend, Shannon Colonna, for exchanging messages with him when he was driving. They argued that while she was not physically present, she was 'electronically present.' In good news for anyone who sends server-status, account-alerts or originates a call, text or email of any type that could be received by a mobile device, the judge dismissed the plantiff's claims against the woman."
New submitter JamieKitson writes "Photographer Jay Lee got more than he bargained for after sending some DMCA takedown notifications out to hosts of sites using one of his pictures. One Candice Shwagger accused him of everything from conspiracy over local sheriff elections to child abuse. Since Candice is now threatening legal action, Jay has said he'll take down the post, so here's a snap shot. After reading the story, I checked for use of my own pictures and found one of them being used on a review site without even a credit."
nk497 writes "Google has released details on the copyright takedown notices it's received over the past year, and the most requests by far have been from Microsoft. Over the past year, Google has received DMCA takedown notices for 2,544,209 URLs over Microsoft-related piracy, with NBC and the RIAA ranking second and third. Many of the reports do not come directly from companies such as Microsoft, but via firms set up only to chase copyright issues. The most popular targets appear to be file-sharing sites. 'These days it's not unusual for us to receive more than 250,000 requests each week, which is more than what copyright owners asked us to remove in all of 2009,' said Fred von Lohmann, Google senior copyright counsel, adding it takes on average 11 hours for Google to take action."
angry tapir writes "Two U.S. lawmakers have called on the U.S. Department of Justice to reopen its investigation into Google's snooping on Wi-Fi networks in 2010 after recent questions about the company's level of cooperation with federal inquiries. Representatives Frank Pallone Jr., a New Jersey Democrat, and John Barrow, a Georgia Democrat, called on the DOJ to fully investigate Google's actions for potential violations of federal wiretapping laws. In light of a recently released U.S. Federal Communications Commission report on Wi-Fi snooping by Google Street View cars, the DOJ should take a new look at the company's actions, wrote the lawmakers in a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder."
therealobsideus writes "Dish recently announced Auto Hop, giving its customers with the Hopper DVR the ability to 'hop' past commercial break on recordings. In response, Fox has filed suit against Dish in U.S. District Court, seeking to block the technology." The L.A. Times has coverage, too. Fox claims that giving viewers the ability to skip commercials on recorded television shows demonstrates the "clear goal of violating copyrights and destroying the fundamental underpinnings of the broadcast television ecosystem."
An anonymous reader writes with this snippet from CNET: "CNET has learned that the FBI has formed a Domestic Communications Assistance Center, which is tasked with developing new electronic surveillance technologies, including intercepting Internet, wireless, and VoIP communications. 'The big question for me is why there isn't more transparency about what's going on?' asks Jennifer Lynch, a staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a civil liberties group in San Francisco. 'We should know more about the program and what the FBI is doing. Which carriers they're working with — which carriers they're having problems with. They're doing the best they can to avoid being transparent.'"