NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has upheld sanctions awarded by a District Court against one of the lawyers bringing copyright infringement cases against individuals for BitTorrent movie downloads, in Mick Haig Productions v. Does 1-670. The Court's opinion (PDF) described the lawyer's 'strategy' as 'suing anonymous internet users for allegedly downloading pornography illegally using the powers of the court to find their identity, then shaming or intimidating them into settling for thousands of dollars — a tactic that he has employed all across the state and that has been replicated by others across the country.'"
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
Maximum Prophet writes "A while ago, Amazon caved on paying individual states sales taxes. Now we know why. Amazon is setting up same-day delivery warehouses everywhere. They will put most normal retailers out of business." If that's a bet, I'll take it.
whitroth writes "The judge who just dismissed the lawsuit between Apple and Motorola writes a column explaining what he considers to be reasonable uses of patents, and unreasonable ones. One of his thoughts would be to require a patent holder to produce the patented item within a certain time, to cut out patent trolls."
An anonymous reader writes "Spammers used to depend on email recipients to tie the noose around their own necks by inputing their personal and financial information in credible spoofs of legitimate websites, but with the advent of exploit kits, that technique is slowly getting sidelined. Prompted by the rise in numbers of spam runs leading to pages hosting exploit kits, Trend Micro researchers have recently been investigating a number of high-volume spam runs using the Blackhole exploit kit. According to them, the phishing messages of today have far less urgency and the message is implicit: 'Your statement is available online'; or 'Incoming payment received'; or 'Password reset notification.'" One thing that's long worried me is that the bulk of spammers and malware writers may hire copywriters with a better grasp of English than most of the ones I see now. "I send you this file in order to have your advice" was funny, because it stuck out.
An anonymous reader writes "Quick submission for all us Canadians: looks like the Supreme Court finally decided to rule on various copyright issues. No more fees to 'preview' a song. Another of these rule changes could save our schools a lot of money: no more fees required to photocopy material for students."
An anonymous reader writes "I am a systems administrator for a mid size state agency. We currently offer Blackberries to our staff, but we are migrating to Android devices in the near future. Since phones have sensative data (email, documents, etc.), what is a good choice for encrypting that data? Options abound, like OS-level encryption from Motorola and Samsung, 3rd party apps from GoTrusted and even a LUKS port for Android. Does anyone have experience managing encrypted Android devices? What are the important features I should be looking at? Many thanks in advance." (And, for that matter, are there good options for doing the same with iPhones? Other options to consider?)
Payphones have been famously disappearing from public life; cell phones and other means of communication have made them ever less important in many contexts (and for most people). Some places, it's hard to find not only payphones, but usable wireless signal as well. Still, there are a lot of payphones left in the wild (though the enclosed kind seem to be disappearing faster than on-premises ones), and now there's a plan in New York City to extend payphones' useful life by outfitting them as public Wi-Fi hotspots, beginning with a 10-phone trial already underway. It's not the first such project; we mentioned a similar multi-city wi-phone deployment in Canada 10 years ago. And in Austin, I've spotted at least one payphone fitted out as a solar-powered charging station for cellphones; probably not enough to get much charge, but at least it lets users place an emergency call with a flagging or dead battery. Covering Manhattan and the other boroughs with overlapping free Wi-Fi nodes, though, is a different beast entirely.
New submitter mordur writes "An Icelandic District Court has ordered the payment processing company Valitor to immediately reopen the merchant account (Icelandic original) of DataCell and start processing credit card payments for the Wikileaks organization. Noncompliance on behalf of Valitor will result in daily fines of ISK 800.000 (approx. USD 60.000). Under pressure from the USA based international credit card companies, Valitor stopped all service to DataCell, and thus to Wikileaks, just hours after having started processing payment in July 2011. The court found that Valitor had failed to prove that the processing of payments for Wikileaks was contrary to the business policies of the international credit card companies, nor had the company proved that DataCell was in breach of the service agreement between the companies by serving Wikileaks."
An anonymous reader writes "Some 450,000 email addresses and associated unencrypted passwords have been dumped online by the hacking collective 'D33Ds Company' following the compromise of a Yahoo subdomain. The attackers said that they managed to access the subdomain by leveraging a union-based SQL injection attack, which made the site return more information that it should have. According to Ars Technica, the dump also includes over 2,700 database table or column names and 298 MySQL variables retrieved during the attack." Update: 07/12 20:03 GMT by T :Reader techfun89 adds this update: "Yahoo has confirmed that the usernames and passwords of more than 400,000 accounts were stolen from their servers earlier this week and that data was briefly posted online. The information has since been removed but it wasn't just credentials for Yahoo, but also Gmail, AOL, Comcast, Hotmail, MSN, SBC Global, BellSouth, Verizon and Live.com as well."
bs0d3 writes "Aereo, a company that offers live broadcast TV via the internet to New York City residents, has won a preliminary injunction hearing. A federal judge has rejected a bid by major U.S. broadcasters to stop Aereo from rebroadcasting some of their programming over the Internet. District Judge Alison Nathan said that while the broadcasters have shown that they faced irreparable financial damage if the venture were allowed to continue, Aereo also showed it would face severe harm if the requested preliminary injunction were granted. The full injunction denial ruling can be found here."
freddienumber13 writes "Following similar acts passed by foreign governments, the Australian government is now seeking feedback on its plans to bring into law the requirement for ISPs to retain user data for up to 2 years. They're also seeking changes to the law that would allow undercover ASIO agents and its sources to commit crimes which would include, for example, hacking into your computer."
itwbennett writes "Slashdot readers will remember the hullaballoo that arose yesterday over a leaked version of CETA containing key clauses that were 'nearly identical to ones found in ACTA.' Now the European Commission is saying you shouldn't believe every leak you see and that the 'language being negotiated on CETA regarding Internet is now totally different from ACTA.' Well, maybe with the exception of language that appears in both CETA and ACTA but didn't 'originate' in ACTA and therefore doesn't count."
OverTheGeicoE writes "About a year ago, the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on EPIC v. DHS, a lawsuit that sought to end TSA's use of body scanners. The Court found that DHS violated federal law by not seeking public comment before using body scanners as a primary search method. They ordered TSA to take public comment on its body scanning policy but did not require TSA to suspend its use of the scanners during the comment period. Several months later nothing had been done yet. One year later TSA has still done nothing, and even EPIC, the original plaintiff, seems to have given up. Others have apparently picked up the torch, however. Jim Harper, director of information policy studies at the libertarian think tank the Cato Institute, has posted a piece on Ars Technica about TSA's violation of the court order. He also started a petition on Whitehouse.gov asking TSA to comply with the order. An earlier petition ended with a non-response from TSA Administrator John Pistole. Will the latest petition fare any better, even in an election year?"
MrSeb writes "It seems like every time I set foot in an airport, there is some new machine I need to stand in, walk through, or put my shoes on. The argument can be made that much of this is security theater — an effort to just make things look safe. However, if a new kind of laser-based molecular scanner lives up to its promise and finds its way into airports as planned, it could actually make a difference. A company called Genia Photonics has developed a programmable picosecond laser that is capable of spotting trace amounts of a variety of substances. Genia claims that the system can detect explosives, chemical agents, and hazardous biological substances at up to 50 meters. This device relies on classic spectroscopy; just a very advanced form of it. In the case of Genia's scanner, it is using far-infrared radiation in the terahertz band. This is why the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is so keen on getting it into airports. Understandably, some are calling foul on the possible privacy concerns, but this technology is halfway to a Star Trek tricorder."
Barence writes "A British ISP is inviting religious groups to help set parental controls for its customers. Claranet says it is recruiting volunteer 'Guardians' from a number of different organizations — including religious organizations, schools and child safety experts. A press spokesman for the ISP said that an 'Islamic advisor' was among the first batch of Guardians, but refused to identify them. The Claranet Guardians will be asked to choose whether they think 140 different categories of internet content are appropriate. Within those categories, the Guardians can choose to add or remove individual websites from the blacklists, which are created by a third-party company that Claranet also refused to name."