Lucas123 writes "Over the past three years, about 21 million patients have had their unencrypted medical records exposed in data security breaches that were big enough to require they be reported to the federal government. Each of the 477 breaches that were reported to the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) involved 500 or more patients, which the government posts on what the industry calls 'The Wall of Shame.' About 55,000 other breach reports involving fewer than 500 records where also reported to the OCR. Among the largest breaches reported was TRICARE Management Activity, the Department of Defense's health care program, which reported 4.9 million records lost when backup tapes went missing. Another five breaches involved 1 million or more records each. Yet, only two of the organizations involved in the breaches have been fined by the federal government."
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New submitter rkhalloran writes "The remnants of the failed litigation engine that was the SCO Group has finally filed for liquidation under Chapter 7 of the bankruptcy code. 'There is no reasonable chance of "rehabilitation."' Groklaw describes the recent filing (PDF) thus: 'I will try my best to translate the legalese for you: the money is almost all gone, so it's not fun any more. SCO can't afford Chapter 11. We want to shut the costs down, because we'll never get paid. But it'd look stupid to admit the whole thing was ridiculous and SCO never had a chance to reorganize through its fantasy litigation hustle. Besides, Ralph Yarro and the other shareholders might sue. So they want the litigation to continue to swing in the breeze, just in case. But SCO has no money coming in and no other prospects, so they want to proceed in a cheaper way and shut this down in respects to everything else.' I guess that means the lawyers will suck the marrow from the carcass and leave the bones to bleach out in the sun."
Wired has an article about a ruling from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals saying the government can't be sued over intercepting phone calls without a warrant. The decision (PDF) vacated an earlier ruling which allowed a case to be brought against the government. The plaintiffs in the case argued that the government had implicitly waived sovereign immunity, but today's ruling points out that it can only be waived explicitly. Judge McKeown wrote, "This case effectively brings to an end the plaintiffs’ ongoing attempts to hold the Executive Branch responsible for intercepting telephone conversations without judicial authorization." The ruling does, however, take time to knock down the government's claim that the case was brought frivolously: "In light of the complex, ever-evolving nature of this litigation, and considering the significant infringement on individual liberties that would occur if the Executive Branch were to disregard congressionally-mandated procedures for obtaining judicial authorization of international wiretaps, the charge of 'game-playing' lobbed by the government is as careless as it is inaccurate. Throughout, the plaintiffs have proposed ways of advancing their lawsuit without jeopardizing national security, ultimately going so far as to disclaim any reliance whatsoever on the Sealed Document. That their suit has ultimately failed does not in any way call into question the integrity with which they pursued it."
jfruh writes "One of the odder moments during the Oracle v. Google trial over Java patents came when patent blogger Florian Mueller disclosed that he had a 'consulting relationship' with Oracle. Now it looks like we're going to find out which other tech bloggers and journalists were on the payroll of one of the two sides in this epic fight. Judge William Alsup has ordered (PDF) that both parties disclose 'all authors, journalists, commentators or bloggers who have reported or commented on any issues in this case and who have received money (other than normal subscription fees) from the party or its counsel during the pendency of this action.'"
An anonymous reader writes "In a new study, Barracuda Labs analyzed a random sampling of more than 70,000 fake Twitter accounts that are being used to sell fake Twitter followers. They also analyzed some of the people that are using such fake followers including the recent example of U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney's Twitter account. Between Facebook's 10-Q filing stating that 83 million of its accounts are fake, to Mitt Romney's Twitter account recently falling under scrutiny for suspicious followings, fake social network profiles are a hot topic at the moment. And these fake profiles are at the center of a very vibrant and growing underground economy. This underground economy consists of dealers who create and sell the use of thousands of fake social accounts, and abusers who buy follows or likes from these fake accounts to boost their perceived popularity, sell advertising based on their now large social audience or conduct other malicious activity."
Nerval's Lobster writes "Between 4:52 and 5:12 on August 3, attackers used Wired writer Mat Honan's Apple ID to wipe his MacBook, before seizing control of his Gmail and other online identities ('My accounts were daisy-chained together,' he wrote in an Aug. 6 postmortem on Wired), and posting a message on Twitter for all to see: 'Clan Vv3 and Phobia hacked this twitter.' In the wake of Honan's high-profile hack, there are some key takeaways. Even if a typical user can't prevent a social-engineering attack on the company hosting their cloud account, they can armor their online life in ways that make attacks more difficult. First, two-factor authentication can prevent an attacker from seizing control of those vital 'hub' accounts (such as Gmail) where users tend to store much of their most vital information. Google offers two-step verification for signing in, as does Facebook. The truly security-conscious can also uncouple their cloud accounts; for example, making sure that iCloud and iTunes use two different sets of credentials. That might rob daily life in the cloud of some of its convenience, but it could also make you a harder target." Update: 08/08 01:17 GMT by S : This high-profile security breach has had an impact already: Apple has suspended password resets through customer support, and Amazon no longer lets users call in to change account settings.
An anonymous reader writes "The story behind the hacking of Mat Honan's multiple accounts has been revealed and points to massive failures in how Amazon and Apple handle password recovery. Accounts for both sites can be easily accessed with simple to find publicly available information. If you ask me, both companies should be liable for violating privacy laws."
hypnosec writes "After a prolonged outage that lasted for nearly a week Demonoid has reportedly been audited and closed down by the Ukrainian law enforcement agency. According to reports the Ukrainian anti-cybercrime police division carried out an investigation of ColoCall – the hosting service provider for Demonoid. Servers were sealed after all the data on the servers was copied. According to ColoCall the servers haven't been seized but, they are not operational any more. The hosting service provider is going to end the agreement with Demonoid. 'Investigators have copied all the information from the Demonoid servers and sealed them.' a manager from ColoCall, wishing to stay anonymous, said."
twoheadedboy writes "Three employees of Baidu, China's most popular search engine, have been arrested under suspicion of taking bribes. It is alleged that the employees accepted money in exchange for removing negative feedback left on Baidu's forum service. The company had already fired four people for misconduct before three of them were arrested. This so-called 'post-deleting' business is believed to be big in China, even though it is illegal."
derekmead writes "NASA's livestream coverage of the Curiosity rover's landing on Mars was practically as flawless as the landing itself. But NASA couldn't prepare for everything. An hour or so after Curiosity's 1.31 a.m. EST landing in Gale Crater,the space agency's main YouTube channel had posted a 13-minute excerpt of the stream. Ten minutes later, the video was gone, replaced with the message: 'This video contains content from Scripps Local News, who has blocked it on copyright grounds. Sorry about that.' That is to say, a NASA-made video posted on NASA's official YouTube channel, documenting the landing of a $2.5 billion Mars rover mission paid for with public taxpayer money, was blocked by YouTube because of a copyright claim by a private news service."
jibjibjib writes "The Australian reports that brands in Australia could be forced to abandon their social media campaigns, after the Advertising Standards Bureau ruled that they were responsible for comments posted on their pages. According to the article, the ASB is poised to release a report attacking Carlton & United Breweries for derogatory comments posted on one of their official Facebook pages, despite CUB monitoring and removing those comments twice daily. Legal expert John Swinson commented on the decision, saying 'You simply can no longer have two-way conversations with your customers.'"
theodp writes "ProPublica's Lois Beckett reports that the Obama for America campaign's new mobile app is raising privacy concerns with its Google map that recognizes one's current location, marks nearby Democratic households with small blue flags, and displays the first name, age and gender of the voter or voters who live there (e.g.,'Lori C., 58 F, Democrat'). Asked about the privacy aspects of the new app, a spokesperson for the Obama campaign wrote that 'anyone familiar with the political process in America knows this information about registered voters is available and easily accessible to the public.' Harvard law prof Jonathan Zittrain said the Obama app does represent a significant shift. While voter data has been 'technically public,' it is usually accessed only by political campaigns and companies that sell consumer data. 'Much of our feelings around privacy are driven by what you might call status-quo-ism,' Zittrain added, 'so many people may feel that the app is creepy simply because it represents something new.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Apple, by going to a jury trial to defend the patents of its most prized products, is allowing competitors and the public to see inside one of the most secretive companies in the world. From the article: 'While in court on Friday, Philip W. Schiller, Apple's senior vice president for worldwide product marketing, pulled the curtain further back when he divulged the company's advertising budgets — often more than $100 million a year for the iPhone alone. Also at the hearing, Scott Forstall, senior vice president for iPhone software, explained that the early iPhone was called "Project Purple." Mr. Forstall said it was built in a highly secure building on Apple's campus. A sign on the back of the building read "Fight Club." Behind the security cameras and locked doors, most employees on the project did not even know what they were working on.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Nick Bilton writes in the NY Times about how the fight against online piracy is 'like playing the world's largest game of Whac-A-Mole.' While this will come as no surprise to Slashdot readers, it's interesting to see how mainstream sources are starting to realize how pointless and ineffective the war on piracy actually is. Bilton writes, 'The copyright holders believe new laws will stop this type of piracy. But many others believe any laws will just push people to find creative new ways of getting the content they want. "There's a clearly established relationship between the legal availability of material online and copyright infringement; it's an inverse relationship," said Holmes Wilson, co-director of Fight for the Future, a nonprofit technology organization that is trying to stop new piracy laws from disrupting the Internet. "The most downloaded television shows on the Pirate Bay are the ones that are not legally available online." The hit HBO show Game of Thrones is a quintessential example of this. The show is sometimes downloaded illegally more times each week than it is watched on cable television. But even if HBO put the shows online, the price it could charge would still pale in comparison to the money it makes through cable operators. Mr. Wilson believes that the big media companies don't really want to solve the piracy problem.'"
theodp writes "In 2005, Microsoft came under fire after withdrawing support for an anti-gay-discrimination bill. 'I don't want the company to be in the position of appearing to dismiss the deeply-held beliefs of any employee, by picking sides on social policy issues,' explained CEO Steve Ballmer. That was then. Microsoft — like Google and Amazon — has since very publicly declared its support for gay-marriage legislation, which means it — unlike Chick-fil-A — needn't worry about the 'deeply-held beliefs of any employee' causing it to be blocked from doing business by the mayors of Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco. I guess we'll never know what Microsoft versions of 'Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day' or 'National Same-Sex Kiss Day' would have looked like."