coondoggie writes "The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and NASA today said they signed an agreement to coordinate standards for commercial space travel of government and non-government astronauts to and from low-Earth orbit and the International Space Station (ISS). The main goals of the agreement are to establish a framework for the emerging commercial US space industry to help streamline requirements and multiple sets of standards and ultimately to regulate public and crew safety."
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AZA43 writes "Tokyo police have arrested six men, including two IT executives and one former tech exec, in connection with an Android malware campaign that netted $265,000. The men created a piece of Android malware that they disguised as a video player and distributed through an adult website. The app stole personal information and attempted to extort money for data 'protection services.' The malware doesn't appear to be particularly sophisticated, but it convinced more than 200 horny Japanese dudes to shell out $1200 each. And the arrests are one of, if not the, first time a major police force brought down criminals who used Android malware to extort a significant chunk of cash."
Dexter Herbivore writes "A lot of Australian gamers are saying, 'finally' as legislation passed parliament to support the introduction of a R-18+ category for games. From the article: 'Jason Clare, the Minister for Home Affairs has just announced that R18+ for games is set to become a reality, after legislation successfully passing through the Federal Parliament, having just gone through the Senate without amendment.'"
Omnifarious writes "China (along with other member nations) is trying to push a proposal through a little known UN agency called the International Telecommunications Union (aka ITU). This proposal contains a wide variety of problematic provisions that represent a huge power grab on the part of the UN, and a severe threat to a continued global and open Internet. From the article: 'Several proposals would give the U.N. power to regulate online content for the first time, under the guise of protecting against computer malware or spam. Russia and some Arab countries want to be able to inspect private communications such as email. Russia and Iran propose new rules to measure Internet traffic along national borders and bill the originator of the traffic, as with international phone calls. That would result in new fees to local governments and less access to traffic from U.S. "originating" companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple. A similar idea has the support of European telecommunications companies, even though the Internet's global packet switching makes national tolls an anachronistic idea.'"
jones_supa writes "Google has revealed it removed about 640 videos from YouTube that allegedly promoted terrorism over the second half of 2011 after complaints from the UK's Association of Chief Police Officers. The news was contained in its latest Transparency Report which discloses requests by international authorities to remove or hand over material. YouTube had also rejected many other state's requests for action. Overall, Google summed it had received 461 court orders covering a total of 6,989 items between July and December 2011. From those, it said 68% of the orders were complied with. Google added that it had received a further 546 informal requests covering 4,925 items, of which it had agreed to 43% of the cases."
An anonymous reader writes "Nearly 15 years of debate over digital copyright reform will come to an end today as Bill C-11, the fourth legislative attempt at Canadian copyright reform, passes in the House of Commons. Many participants in the copyright debate view the bill with great disappointment, pointing to the government's decision to adopt restrictive digital lock rules as a signal that their views were ignored. Despite the loss on digital locks, the "Canadian copyright" led to some dramatic changes to Canadian copyright with some important wins for Canadians who spoke out on copyright. The government expanded fair dealing and added provisions on time shifting, format shifting, backup copies, and user generated content in response to public pressure. It also included a cap on statutory damages, expanded education exceptions, and rejected SOPA-style amendments."
eldavojohn writes "You may recall from last week the news item concerning FunnyJunk's extortion ... er ... threat of defamation lawsuit against The Oatmeal highlighting a fairly pervasive problem of rehosting content — in this case web comics. Instead of expediting a payment of $20,000 to FunnyJunk, Matthew Inman of The Oatmeal decided to crowd source the money (with 8 days left he has only garnered 900% of his goal) and donate it to charity after sending a picture of it to FunnyJunk. Charles Carreon (the man who has FunnyJunk) has made statements of Inman saying 'I really did not expect that he would marshal an army of people who would besiege my website and send me a string of obscene emails.' In an interview Carreon says 'So someone takes one of my letters and takes it apart. That doesn't mean you can just declare netwar, that doesn't mean you can encourage people to hack my website, to brute force my WordPress installation so I have to change my password. You can't encourage people to violate my trademark and violate my twitter name and associate me with incompetence with stupidity, and douchebaggery. And if that's where the world is going I will fight with every ounce of force in this 5'11 180 pound frame against it. I've got the energy, and I've got the time.' Well it appears that Carreon has filed suit over these matters alleging 'trademark infringement and incitement to cyber-vandalism.' Speaking of douchebaggery, Charles Carreon curiously fails to mention that he first incited all of his users to harass The Oatmeal anyway they can which they dutifully did. One last juicy detail is that Carreon is also suing the National Wildlife Federation and the American Cancer Society to which Inman's crowd sourced money is going. Luckily, Inman's lawyer appears to be fully competent and able to address Carreon's complaints."
Sparrowvsrevolution writes "Governments are sticking their noses into Google's servers more than ever before. In the second half of 2011, Google received 6,321 requests that it hand over its users' private data to U.S. government agencies including law enforcement, and complied at least partially with those requests in 93% of cases, according to the latest update to the company's bi-annual Transparency Report. That's up from 5,950 requests in the first half of 2011, and marks a 37% increase in the number of requests over the same period the year before. Compared with the second half of 2009, the first time Google released the government request numbers, the latest figures represent a 76% spike. Data demands from foreign governments have increased even more quickly than those from the U.S., up to 11,936 in the second half of 2011 compared with 9,600 in the same period the year before, though Google was much less likely to comply with those non-U.S. government requests."
PatPending writes with this report on companies taking aggressive steps to deal with electronic attacks: "Known in the cyber security industry as "active defense" or "strike-back" technology, the reprisals range from modest steps to distract and delay a hacker to more controversial measures. Security experts say they even know of some cases where companies have taken action that could violate laws in the United States or other countries, such as hiring contractors to hack the assailant's own systems. Other security experts say a more aggressive posture is unlikely to have a significant impact in the near term in the overall fight against cybercriminals and Internet espionage. Veteran government and private officials warn that much of the activity is too risky to make sense, citing the chances for escalation and collateral damage." If you've been involved in such an action, how did it work out for you?
Reuters reports that Facebook has taken the face-saving move (and a cheap one, considering the company's market cap) of settling for $10 million — plus lawyers' fees — the lawsuit brought against it for appropriating users' names and pictures in deceptive ads. Says the linked story: "The lawsuit, brought by five Facebook members, alleged the social networking site violated California law by publicizing users' 'likes' of certain advertisers on its 'Sponsored Stories' feature without paying them or giving them a way to opt out, the documents said. A 'Sponsored Story' is an advertisement that appears on a member's Facebook page and generally consists of another friend's name, profile picture and an assertion that the person 'likes' the advertiser."
An anonymous reader writes "The BBC reports that the UK's Draft Communications Bill includes a provision which could be used to force the Royal Mail and other mail carriers to retain data on all physical mail passing through their networks. The law could be used to force carriers to maintain a database of any data written on the outside of an envelope or package which could be accessed by government bodies at will. Such data could include sender, recipient and type of mail (and, consequentially, the entire contents of a postcard). It would provide a physical analog of the recently proposed internet surveillance laws. The Home Office claims that it has no current plans to enforce the law."
New submitter quantic_oscillation7 writes with this excerpt from the Register: "Phil Zimmermann and some of the original PGP team have joined up with former U.S. Navy SEALs to build an encrypted communications platform that should be proof against any surveillance. The company, called Silent Circle, will launch later this year, when $20 a month will buy you encrypted email, text messages, phone calls, and videoconferencing in a package that looks to be strong enough to have the NSA seriously worried. ... While software can handle most of the work, there still needs to be a small backend of servers to handle traffic. The company surveyed the state of privacy laws around the world and found that the top three choices were Switzerland, Iceland, and Canada, so they went for the one within driving distance."
New Jazari writes "Careful what you say when traveling, since the authorities will soon be able to zoom in on your conversations and record them for an indefinite amount of time. The story is about Canada, but I see no reason to think that this capability will not soon be installed in most places (if it's not already)."
snydeq writes "While privacy groups are working to lock away your personal data, a better — or perhaps supplementary — option may be to let you sell it for what it's really worth. 'Whether it's Facebook, Twitter, Google Drive, or Pinterest, the truth is the product is you — all that data about you used to target ads and sales pitches. It's hardly a new business model — it's how trade publications have made their money for decades — but in the online world all that information is easily stolen, traded, and spread. ... If the data has value — and we know it does — its creators (you and me) should be paid for it. And if we take over the selling of our data, all those companies using it now have to respect us and abide by our standards.'"