judgecorp writes "Paul Chambers, the Briton whose joke on Twitter backfired, will be back in court following a legal stalemate, after more than two years. Chambers joked about blowing up South Yorkshire's Robin Hood airport in January 2010, and was arrested and fined for 'sending a public electronic message that was grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character.' His resultant criminal record lost him his job as an accountant. Now his appeal has been heard, but the two judges disagreed with each other, so Chambers will be back in court again."
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New submitter nicoles writes with this quote from an AP report: "The Romney and Obama campaigns are spending heavily on television ads and other traditional tools to convey their messages. But strategists say the most important breakthrough this year is the campaigns' use of online data to raise money, share information and persuade supporters to vote. The practice, known as 'microtargeting,' has been a staple of product marketing. Now it's facing the greatest test of its political impact in the race for the White House. ... The Romney team spent nearly $1 million on digital consulting in April and Obama at least $300,000. ... Campaigns use microtargeting to identify potential supporters or donors using data gleaned from a range of sources, especially their Internet browsing history. A digital profile of each person is then created, allowing the campaigns to find them online and solicit them for money and support."
Cynic writes "Having read pretty heavily on the topic, weighed the pros and cons, and seen a few relevant slashdot articles, I wondered why an elected representative couldn't use online and in-person polling of constituents to decide the way he or she votes. Though we are living in the 'information age' and have rich communications media and opportunities for deep and accessible deliberation, we are getting by (poorly) with horse-and-buggy-era representation. In the spirit of science and because I think it's legitimately a better way of doing things, I recently announced my candidacy for Vermont's State Senate in Washington County." How do you think such polling could be best accomplished? Do you think it's worth trying? Whether or not you buy into it, it's something that's only been made feasible in recent times with modern technology.
New submitter Peetke writes "The Dutch House of Representatives unanimously accepted a motion to urge the Cabinet to reject ACTA [Dutch original] (if they ever get the change to do so; it may already end in the European Parliament). Additionally, an even stronger motion was accepted to reject any future treaty that may harm a free and open Internet. This is a good day for the Internet."
New submitter groovethefish writes "This NYT article highlights the use of electronic listening devices installed on utility poles, buildings, and other structures, then centrally monitored for gunshots. The company SureSpotter claims it helps reduce time wasted by police searching for the source of gunfire in their patrol areas, but the privacy implications are just hitting the courts. If they are monitoring 24/7 and also pickup conversations along with gunshots, can that be used against the people who are recorded?" Evidently, Yes: the linked article describes just such a case. Continues groovethefish: "The company line, from the article: 'James G. Beldock, a vice president at ShotSpotter, said that the system was not intended to record anything except gunshots and that cases like New Bedford's were extremely rare. "There are people who perceive that these sensors are triggered by conversations, but that is just patently not true," he said. "They don't turn on unless they hear a gunshot."'"
jones_supa writes "Last week The Pirate Bay added a new IP address which allows users to circumvent the many court-ordered blockades against the site. While this proved to be quite effective, the Hollywood backed anti-piracy group BREIN has already been to court to demand a block against this new address. But that won't deter The Pirate Bay, who say they are fully prepared for an extended game of whac-a-mole using the hundreds of IP addresses they have available. Courts all around the world have ordered Internet providers to block subscriber access to the torrent site, and the end is still not in sight."
judgecorp writes "Privacy watchdog, the Information Commissioner's Office, has already received 64 complaints under the UK's Cookie Law, which requires sites to get permission to track users with cookies. The law only came into effect on Saturday, and many sites do not expect to comply soon. To make life more complicated, the ICO has updated its advice, apparently allowing 'implied consent' instead of actually making a user click a box to give permission for cookies."
angry tapir writes "The Australian federal government is pushing ahead with reforms that could see consumers' information kept on file for up to two years by ISPs. This could include the data retention of personal Internet browsing information which intelligence agencies could access in the event of criminal activities by individuals or organizations."
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."
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?"