aesoteric writes "Six weeks after Hollywood lost a landmark internet piracy case in Australia, it appears the film studios have gone cold on the idea of helping develop legal avenues to access copyrighted content as a way to combat piracy. Instead, they've produced research to show people will continue pirating even if there are legitimate content sources available. The results appear to support the studios' policy position that legislation is a preferable way of dealing with the issue." The industry-controlled kill switch is a popular idea all over the world.
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closer2it writes "At this week's All Things D conference, Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher invited Hollywood agent Ari Emanuel. He spoke about things like TV not dying, cord-cutting being some kind of myth, and that googlers are smart guys and they should do something about the stealing of content. Josh Topolsky, from The Verge, apparently challenged him (video) on this point, asking: 'Aren't you saying that the road is responsible for the fact that someone drove on it before they robbed my house?' Emanuel didn't like this analogy, and even ended the reply asking Topolsky where he works. Mike Masnick also wrote a piece about the interview. I guess that if the Internet has enemies, I'd say Emanuel gives them a face."
Bob the Super Hamste writes "The BBC is reporting on a new law in Venezuela that effectively bans the commercial sale of firearms and ammunition to private citizens. Previously anyone with a permit could purchase a firearm from any commercial vendor but now only the police, military, and security firms will be able to purchase firearms or ammunition from only state-owned manufactures or importers. Hugo Chavez's government states that the goal is to eventually disarm the citizenry. The law, which went into effect today, was passed on February 29th, and up to this point the government has been running an amnesty program allowing citizens to turn in their illegal firearms. Since the law was first passed, 805,000 rounds of ammunition have been recovered from gun dealers. The measure is intended to curb violent crime in Venezuela, where 78% of homicides are linked to firearms."
PerlJedi tips a story that highlights one of the downsides to ebooks. A blogger who recently read Tolstoy's War and Peace on his Nook stumbled upon some odd phases, such as: "It was as if a light had been Nookd in a carved and painted lantern..." After seeing the word 'Nookd' a few more times, he found a dead-tree version of the book and discovered that the word was supposed to be 'kindled.' Every instance of the word 'kindle' in the ebook had been replaced with 'Nook.' "The Superior Formatting Publishing version isn’t a Barnes and Noble book, so this isn’t the work of a rogue Nook marketer from B&N. Rather, it’s likely that Superior Formatting Publishing ported its Kindle version of War and Peace over to the Nook — doing a search and replace to make sure that any Kindle references they’d inserted, such as in the advertising at the end of the book about their fine Kindle products, were simply changed to Nook. The unwitting hilarity of a publisher doing a 'find and replace' and accidentally changing the text of a canonical work of Western thought is alarming. Many versions of e-books are from similar outfits, that distribute public domain works formatted for Kindle or Nook at the lowest possible prices. The great democratizing factor of the ebook formats – that anyone can easily distribute – can also mean that readers can never be quite sure that they are viewing the texts as the author intended."
An anonymous reader writes "As Microsoft released the preview of the next version of its Internet Explorer browser, news that in Windows 8 the browser will be sending a 'Do Not Track' signal to Web sites by default must have shaken online advertising giants. 'Consumers can change this default setting if they choose,' Microsoft noted, but added that this decision reflects their commitment to providing Windows customers an experience that is 'private by default' in an era when so much user data is collected online.' This step will make Internet Explorer 10 the first web browser with DNT on by default. And while the websites are not required to comply with the users' do-not-track request, the DNT initiative — started by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission — is making good progress."
itwbennett writes "Responding to complaints from Chinese Googlers that the search engine is 'inconsistent and unreliable,' Google has updated its service to help users steer clear of search queries that will result in page errors. Google will now highlight characters and phrases that are likely to 'break' a user's connection. 'By prompting people to revise their queries, we hope to reduce these disruptions and improve our user experience from mainland China,' the company said in a blog post."
x0d writes with news that Google filed an EU antitrust complaint against Microsoft and Nokia on Thursday, claiming they are using proxy companies to make smartphone-related patent claims in an attack on Google's Android business. From the article: "Google also plans to share its complaint about patent 'trolls' with U.S. competition regulators. The Internet-search giant alleges that Microsoft and Nokia have entered into agreements that enable entities such as Canada-based Mosaid Technologies Inc. to legally enforce their patent rights and share the resulting revenue. Google, which hasn't been sued by Mosaid or related firms, described its filing with European regulators as a pre-emptive measure against a developing legal hazard for Android partners. The threat is that if phone makers perceive a significant legal risk in using Android, they may opt instead for Microsoft's Windows Phone software."
diewlasing sends this excerpt from the NY Times: "From his first months in office, President Obama secretly ordered increasingly sophisticated attacks on the computer systems that run Iran's main nuclear enrichment facilities, significantly expanding America's first sustained use of cyberweapons, according to participants in the program. Mr. Obama decided to accelerate the attacks — begun in the Bush administration and code-named Olympic Games — even after an element of the program accidentally became public in the summer of 2010 because of a programming error that allowed it to escape Iran's Natanz plant and sent it around the world on the Internet. Computer security experts who began studying the worm, which had been developed by the United States and Israel, gave it a name: Stuxnet."
Attila Dimedici writes "The House Appropriations Committee is considering a draft report that would forbid the Library of Congress to allow bulk downloads of bills pending before Congress. The Library of Congress currently has an online database called THOMAS (for Thomas Jefferson) that allows people to look up bills pending before Congress. The problem is that THOMAS is somewhat clunky and it is difficult to extract data from it. This draft report would forbid the Library of Congress from modernizing THOMAS until a task force reports back. I am pretty sure that the majority of people on Slashdot agree that being able to better understand how the various bills being considered by Congress interact would be good for this country."
concertina226 writes "The European Commission announced on Thursday that it has asked the European Court of Justice to impose fines on Belgium, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Slovenia for not transposing binding telecoms rules into their national laws. The official deadline for doing so was 25 May last year. These telecoms rules are aimed at protecting users' privacy online. They also require companies to notify users about any data breach without undue delay and to allow customers to switch fixed or mobile phone operators without changing their phone number, within one working day. But the main sticking point in the telecoms package appears to be the requirement for Web companies to obtain 'explicit consent' from Internet users before storing cookies."
benfrog writes "In a rare show of bipartisan agreement, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle warned this morning that a United Nations summit in December will lead to a virtual takeover of the Internet if proposals from China, Russia, Iran, and Saudi Arabia are adopted. Called the World Conference on International Telecommunications, the summit would consider proposals including '[using] international mandates to charge certain Web destinations on a "per-click" basis to fund the build-out of broadband infrastructure across the globe' and allowing 'governments to monitor and restrict content or impose economic costs upon international data flows.' Concerns regarding the possible proposals were both aired at a congressional hearing this morning and drafted in a congressional resolution (PDF)."
Asmodae writes "Judge Alsup in the Oracle vs Google case has finally issued his ruling on the issue of whether or not APIs can be copyrighted. That ruling is resounding no. In some fairly clear language the judge says: 'So long as the specific code used to implement a method is different, anyone is free under the Copyright Act to write his or her own code to carry out exactly the same function or specification of any methods used in the Java API.'"
benfrog writes "New York City comptroller John Liu has accused HP of overcharging New York City $163 million on upgrades to its 911 system. According to a statement put out by Liu, an audit of the project revealed that HP did not perform up to spec on the contract between April 2005 and April 2008 and did not bill the city correctly for time and materials on its portion of the contract to upgrade the 911 system. According to Liu's reading, the contract was supposed to cost no more than $378 million over five years, but in January the city projected it would have already spent $307m by mid-April and had to award Northrop-Grumman an additional $286m to do a second part of the original contract, ballooning the cost to $632m, and Liu's office is now estimating that cost overruns beyond this could be as high as an additional $362m. NYC's deputy mayor for operations was quoted defending the contract."
An anonymous reader writes "I'm in charge of getting some phones for my company to give to our mobile reps. Security is a major consideration for us, so I'm looking for the most secure off-the-shelf solution for this. I'd like to encrypt all data on the phone and use encryption for texting and phone calls. There are a number of apps in the android market that claim to do this, but how can I trust them? For example, I tested one, but it requires a lot of permissions such as internet access; how do I know it is not actually some kind of backdoor? I know that Boeing is producing a secure phone, which is no doubt good — but probably too expensive for us. I was thinking of maybe installing Cyanogenmod onto something, using a permissions management app to try and lock down some backdoors and searching out a trustworthy text and phone encryption app. Any good ideas out there?"
wiredmikey writes "Simurgh, a privacy tool used in Iran and Syria to bypass Internet censorship and governmental monitoring, is being circulated with a backdoor. The compromised version has been offered on P2P networks and via web searches. Research conducted by CitizenLab.org has shown that the malicious version isn't available from the original software source, only through third-party access, so it appears that Simurgh has been repackaged. The troubling aspect of the malicious version is that while it does install the proxy as expected, it then adds a keylogging component, and ships the recorded information off to a server hosted in the U.S. and registered to a person in Saudi Arabia. In response to this attack, the team that develops Simurgh has instituted a check that will warn the user if they are running a compromised version of the software. At present, it is unknown who developed the hijacked version of Simurgh, or why they did so."