holy_calamity writes "Technology Review has an in depth profile of the team at Facebook tasked with figuring out what can be learned from all our data. The Data Science Team mine that information trove both in the name of scientific research into the patterns of human behavior and to advance Facebook's understanding of its users. Facebook's ad business gets the most public attention, but the company's data mining technology may have a greater effect on its destiny — and users lives."
New submitter robkeeney writes "Legislators in several states are working on laws that would require certain gun manufacturers to implement 'microstamping' to help law enforcement solve gun crimes. 'Lasers engrave a unique microscopic numeric code on the tip of a gun’s firing pin and breech face. When the gun is fired, the pressure transfers markings to the shell casing and the primer. By reading the code imprinted on casings found at a crime scene, police officers can identify the gun and track it to the purchaser, even when the weapon is not recovered.' As with any gun-related legislation, many people oppose these new laws. In California, a law passed in 2007 requires that when microstamping (which is easily defeat-able) is no longer patent encumbered, all new guns in CA must use it. To fight it, an organization called the Calguns Foundation paid a fee to extend the patent in order to prevent the law from going into effect."
New submitter nbacon writes with news that Comcast, apparently tired of the endless BitTorrent-related piracy lawsuits, has stopped complying with subpoena requests, much to the chagrin of rightsholders. From the article: "Initially Comcast complied with these subpoenas, but an ongoing battle in the Illinois District Court shows that the company changed its tune recently. Instead of handing over subscriber info, Comcast asked the court to quash the subpoenas. Among other things, the ISP argued that the court doesn’t have jurisdiction over all defendants, because many don’t live in the district in which they are being sued. The company also argues that the copyright holders have no grounds to join this many defendants in one lawsuit. The real kicker, however, comes with the third argument. Here, Comcast accuses the copyright holders of a copyright shakedown, exploiting the court to coerce defendants into paying settlements."
capedgirardeau writes "Via Cory Doctorow at BoingBoing:: 'Ars Technica's Jon Brodkin has an in-depth look at the "Defensive Patent License," a kind of judo for the patent system created by ... EFF's Jason Schultz (who started EFF's Patent Busting Project) and ... Jen Urban (who co-created the ChillingEffects clearinghouse). As you'd expect from two such killer legal freedom fighters, the DPL is audacious, exciting, and wicked cool. It's a license pool that companies opt into, and members of the pool pledge not to sue one another for infringement. If you're ever being sued for patent infringement, you can get an automatic license to a conflicting patent just by throwing your patents into the pool. The more patent trolls threaten people, the more incentive there is to join the league of Internet patent freedom fighters."
theodp writes "TIME reports that four-year-old Maya Nieder's speech-enabling 'Speak for Yourself' app was yanked from the App Store by Apple due to an unresolved patent dispute at the behest of Prentke Romich Company (PRC) and Semantic Compaction Systems (SCS), makers of designated communication devices (not iPad apps). 'The issue of whether or not Apple should have pulled Speak for Yourself from the App Store before the case was decided is trickier. Obviously, Apple would rather be safe than sorry and remove a potentially problematic app instead of risking legal action. The problem, however, is that this isn’t some counterfeit version of Angry Birds.' 'My daughter cannot speak without this app,' writes Maya's mom, Dana. 'She cannot ask us questions. She cannot tell us that she's tired, or that she wants yogurt for lunch. She cannot tell her daddy that she loves him.' If you're so inclined, Dana suggests you drop a note to email@example.com."
angry tapir writes "U.S. federal prosecutors are fine with Megaupload users recovering their data — as long as they pay for it. The government's position was explained in a court filing on Friday concerning one of the many interesting side issues that has emerged from the shutdown of Megaupload, formerly one of the most highly trafficked file-sharing sites. Prosecutors were responding to a motion filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation in late March on behalf of Kyle Goodwin, an Ohio-based sports reporter who used Megaupload legitimately for storing videos. The government argues that it only copied part of the Megaupload data and the physical servers were never seized. Megaupload's 1,103 servers — which hold upwards of 28 petabytes of data — are still held by Carpathia Hosting. Goodwin's options, prosecutors said, are either pay — or sue — Carpathia, or sue Megaupload."
Glyn Moody writes "We hear a lot about politicians and countries rejecting ACTA, but not so much from the treaty's supporters. Here's a new site, called 'ACTA Facts,' which invites Europeans to 'get the facts' on how wonderful ACTA really is. Judging by its content, this one will be about as successful as Microsoft's 'Get the Facts' campaign a few years ago, which tried to dissuade people from using GNU/Linux. For example, a new report linked to by the site claims that ACTA could 'boost European output by a total of €50 billion, and create as many as 960,000 new jobs.' Unfortunately, that's based on numerous flawed assumptions, including the idea that countries like China and India are going to rush to join ACTA, when the treaty is actually designed as a weapon against them, as they have already noticed."
stevegee58 writes "Posting videos to YouTube allegedly showing police misconduct has become commonplace these days. Now police themselves are posting their own videos to refute misconduct claims. 'After a dozen Occupy Minnesota protesters were arrested at a downtown demonstration, the group quickly took to the Internet, posting video that activists said showed police treating them roughly and never warning them to leave. But Minneapolis police knew warnings had been given. And they had their own video to prove it. So they posted the footage on YouTube, an example of how law enforcement agencies nationwide are embracing online video to cast doubt on false claims and offer their own perspective to the public.'"
nonprofiteer writes "Spokeo was one of the first public-facing person-profiling companies to attract the ire of those profiled. Taglined 'not your grandmother's phonebook,' it offers up profiles pulled from public records, social networking sites, etc, including your address, worth of your home, who's in your family, your estimated wealth, your hobbies and interests, and more. People freaked out when they first discovered it. Apparently, the company was selling reports to employers, but not following principles set forth by the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The Federal Trade Commission is fining them $800,000. FTC also chastises them for writing fake positive reviews around the Web."
Rick Zeman writes "According to the normally geek-friendly online store Newegg , installing Linux Mint is tantamount to breaking your new Lenovo laptop. Is it the purchaser's fault for not restoring the laptop to its original state of Windows-y goodness, or is NewEgg being too dogmatic trying to enforce a term that doesn't seem to exist?"
concertina226 writes with this news snipped from Techworld UK: "Websites such as Facebook and Twitter could be forced to unmask so-called internet trolls, under new government proposals in the Defamation Bill. The move comes after a British woman won a landmark case to force Facebook to reveal the identities of internet trolls. On 30 May, Nicola Brookes from Brighton was granted a High Court order after receiving 'vicious and depraved' taunts on Facebook. The bill, which is being debated in the House of Commons [Tuesday], will allow victims of online abuse to discover the identity of their persecutors and bring a case against them. The move also aims to protect websites from threats of litigation for inadvertently displaying defamatory comments."
An anonymous reader writes "Funny as it might sound, FunnyJunk's threat of litigation against The Oatmeal raises a very important issue: the extent to which artists can complain in public about perceived or actual infringement of their works by user-generated content websites. Does it matter if the content creator accused the website of condoning or participating in the infringement?" The short story is this: Numerous Oatmeal comics were posted without permission to FunnyJunk; Oatmeal creator Matthew Inman lambasted FunnyJunk in the form of a blog post. FunnyJunk responded with a suit (or rather the threat of a suit) accusing Inman of willful defamation, unless he ponies up $20,000, which he doesn't plan to do.
v3rgEz writes "Documents released by the FBI provide an unusual inside look at how the agency is struggling to penetrate 'darknet' Onion sites routed through Tor, the online privacy tool funded in part by government grants to help global activists. In this case, agents were unable to pursue specific leads about an easily available child pornography site, while files withheld indicate that the FBI has ongoing investigations tied to the Silk Road marketplace, a popular, anonymous Tor site for buying and selling drugs and other illegal materials." Sounds similar to the problems that plagued freenet.
First time accepted submitter discussM tipped us to a story about a recently granted patent in which "a system and method preventing unauthorized access to copyrighted academic texts is provided in which trademark licenses, discussion boards, and grade content are integrated into a web-based system that aligns the interests of teaching professionals, students, and publishers while also enhancing the overarching academic mission to create and disseminate knowledge." Quoting Torrent Freak: "As part of a course, students will have to participate in a web-based discussion board, an activity which counts towards their final grade. To gain access to the board students need a special code, which they get by buying the associated textbook." But don't worry too much, from Ars: "Beyond the legal questions, other experts suggested forcing students to buy texts through such a system is unlikely to be implemented. Professors have few incentives to make it more difficult and to compel students even more than they already are to buy textbooks, digital or analog. (A 2011 survey from UC Riverside found that 78 percent of undergraduates 'bought fewer books, bought cheaper books or read books on reserve to help meet expenses.')"
zer0point writes "The law lets U.S. agencies monitor the communications of foreigners outside the U.S. But two senators are questioning whether a loophole allows the storage and search of messages from Americans that are picked up inadvertently while foreigners are being monitored. The intelligence community has repeatedly said it takes steps to minimize the data collected on Americans. Among the senators’ concerns: that the administration hasn’t been able to estimate how many people in the U.S. have had their information reviewed under the program."