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China

China's Yearly Budget For High-Speed Rail: $100 Billion 230

Posted by timothy
from the just-your-opinion-man dept.
An anonymous reader writes "For all of those wondering about China's massive high speed rail network, it costs some serious cash. Running high speed lines across the nation is expensive — to the tune of $100 billion dollars a year. This covers the cost to maintain the network, build it, and pay all of the staff. The problem is, corruption has reared its ugly head. The network itself has had its share of problems, with people dying as a result. There is also the problem that many of Chinese poor make so little money they can't afford to ride it. The sad fact is that so much money is being spent, no one can even keep count."
Government

Dutch Ministry Proposes Powers For Police To Hack Computers, Install Spyware 130

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-can-trust-us dept.
hypnosec writes "The Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security has proposed some rather over the line measures and wants to extend such powers to the police that would allow them to break into computers and mobile phones in any part of the world. According to the proposal (PDF in Dutch), dated October 15, the ministry has asked for powers that would allow police to not only break into computers, but also allow them to install spyware, search for data in those computers, and destroy data. As explained by digital rights group 'Bits of Freedom,' which obtained the copy of the proposal, if the Dutch police get such powers, the security of computer users would be lessened and there will be a 'perverse incentive to keep information security weak.'"
Transportation

TSA Moving X-ray Body Scanners To Smaller Airports 168

Posted by Soulskill
from the shuffle-it-around-so-it-looks-like-we're-doing-something dept.
OverTheGeicoE writes "If you're concerned about possible health effects from TSA's X-ray body scanners, you might be pleased to learn that TSA is making changes. TSA is removing X-ray body scanners from major airports including Los Angeles International, Boston's Logan, Chicago's O'Hare, and New York City's JFK. Then again, these changes might not please you at all, because they are not mothballing the offending devices. No, they are instead moving them to smaller airports like the one in Mesa, AZ. Is this progress, or is TSA just moving potentially dangerous scanners from 'Blue' areas to 'Red' ones right before a presidential election?"
Privacy

Eben Moglen Talks About Free Software in the Second of Two Video Interviews 40

Posted by Roblimo
from the second-time's-a-charm dept.
Yesterday we ran a video interview with Eben Moglen, who according to Wikipedia, "is a professor of law and legal history at Columbia University, and is the founder, Director-Counsel and Chairman of [the] Software Freedom Law Center." And as we also said yesterday, since 2011 he's been working with FreedomBox, a project working toward "a personal server running a free software operating system, with free applications designed to create and preserve personal privacy." Prof. Moglen is also one of the most polished speakers anywhere, on any topic, in our opinion. So please enjoy this second video of him speaking to (and answering questions from) Slashdot readers.
Education

Free Online Education Unwelcome In Minnesota 240

Posted by Soulskill
from the are-you-familiar-with-the-internet dept.
An anonymous reader sends this quote from the Chronicle of Higher Education: "[Minnesota's] Office of Higher Education has informed the popular provider of massive open online courses, or MOOC's, that Coursera is unwelcome in the state because it never got permission to operate there. It's unclear how the law could be enforced when the content is freely available on the Web, but Coursera updated its Terms of Service to include the following caution: 'Notice for Minnesota Users: Coursera has been informed by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education that under Minnesota Statutes (136A.61 to 136A.71), a university cannot offer online courses to Minnesota residents unless the university has received authorization from the State of Minnesota to do so. If you are a resident of Minnesota, you agree that either (1) you will not take courses on Coursera, or (2) for each class that you take, the majority of work you do for the class will be done from outside the State of Minnesota.' Tricia Grimes, a policy analyst for the state's Office of Higher Education, said letters had been sent to all postsecondary institutions known to be offering courses in Minnesota."
Government

FTC Offers $50,000 For Best Way To Stop Robocalls 614

Posted by samzenpus
from the dial-A-for-annoying dept.
coondoggie writes "It's not clear if the Federal Trade Commission is throwing up its hands at the problem or just wants some new ideas about how to combat it, but the agency is now offering $50,000 to anyone who can create what it calls an innovative way to block illegal commercial robocalls on landlines and mobile phones."
Australia

Privacy Advocates Oppose Aussie Data Breach Laws 25

Posted by samzenpus
from the letting-them-know dept.
schliz writes "This week, Australia's Attorney-General released a discussion paper about introducing laws that would force companies to notify members of the public any time personal information about that customer falls into the wrong hands. California introduced similar mandatory data breach notification laws in 2003, but Australian privacy advocates are now opposing the move, saying it's a decade too late."
Google

Google Threatens French Media Ban 419

Posted by samzenpus
from the look-somewhere-else dept.
another random user writes in with a BBC story about Google's displeasure with proposed French plans to make search engines pay for content. "Google has threatened to exclude French media sites from search results if France goes ahead with plans to make search engines pay for content. In a letter sent to several ministerial offices, Google said such a law 'would threaten its very existence.' French newspaper publishers have been pushing for the law, saying it is unfair that Google receives advertising revenue from searches for news. French Culture Minister Aurelie Filippetti also favors the idea. She told a parliamentary commission it was 'a tool that it seems important to me to develop.'"
Privacy

Eben Moglen Explains Freedom and Free Software in Two Video Interviews 78

Posted by Roblimo
from the wise-students-listen-carefully-when-the-master-speaks dept.
Eben Moglen, says Wikipedia, "is a professor of law and legal history at Columbia University, and is the founder, Director-Counsel and Chairman of [the] Software Freedom Law Center, whose client list includes numerous pro bono clients, such as the Free Software Foundation." And if that wasn't enough, since 2011 he's been working with FreedomBox, a project working toward "a personal server running a free software operating system, with free applications designed to create and preserve personal privacy." Prof. Moglen is also one of the most polished speakers anywhere, on any topic, ever. That's why, instead of editing this interview Timothy Lord did with him, we simply cut it in half, removed a little introductory and end conversation, and let the Professor roll on. The second half of this interview will run tomorrow. It's at least as worthwhile as the first half, especially if you are interested in Free Software.
IOS

User Tracking Back On iOS 6 188

Posted by timothy
from the stephen-king-needs-to-get-on-this dept.
First time accepted submitter connor4312 writes "Apple got caught with its hand in the cookie jar when privacy experts protested the use of a universal device identifier, or UDID, to track the online preferences of iPhone and iPad users. Enough is enough, right? Well, maybe not. It looks like device tracking is back with iOS 6, courtesy of a new tracking technology: IDFA, or identifier for advertisers."
Businesses

Paypal Slips 'No Class Action' Clause Into Policy Update 294

Posted by timothy
from the real-class-actiony-paypal-real-class-actiony dept.
First time accepted submitter Guru80 writes "PayPal recently posted a new Policy Update which includes changes to the PayPal User Agreement. The update to the User Agreement is effective November 1, 2012 and contains several changes, including changes that affect how claims you and PayPal have against each other are resolved. You will, with limited exception, be required to submit claims you have against PayPal to binding and final arbitration, unless you opt out of the Agreement to Arbitrate (Section 14.3) by December 1, 2012. Unless you opt out: (1) you will only be permitted to pursue claims against PayPal on an individual basis, not as a plaintiff or class member in any class or representative action or proceeding and (2) you will only be permitted to seek relief (including monetary, injunctive, and declaratory relief) on an individual basis. With so many privacy policies changing to include such wording, does it really hold any weight if some obscure and buried opt-out option isn't checked?"
Censorship

Twitter Censors German Neo-Nazi Group, Within Germany 227

Posted by timothy
from the they-must-hate-speech dept.
judgecorp writes "Twitter has censored a neo-Nazi group, blocking Besseres Hannover (Better Hannover), a group accused of promoting race hate. This is the first time Twitter has used its power of blocking users in specific countries, announced back in January. Although blocked in Germany, the group is visible to the rest of the world." Update: 10/18 14:46 GMT by T : Note, that's Twitter doing the blocking, not Google, as it appeared originally. HT to reader eldavojohn.
Advertising

In UK, Apple Must Run Ad Apologizing to Samsung 190

Posted by timothy
from the grovel-different dept.
sfcrazy writes "Apple has lost is appeal in a UK court against Samsung's Galaxy Tab. The court of appeals has upheld its previous judgment that Samsung did not infringe on any Apple design. According to the order Apple will have to run an ads in leading UK newspapers as well its own website stating that Samsung did not infringes its products. To ensure that the ad is visible the court also ordered that the text of the ad must not be in a font size smaller than Ariel 14. Apple will have to run the ad on its site for a period of one month."
Censorship

"New Statesman" Pirates Its Own Magazine 117

Posted by timothy
from the anticipation-defuses-censorship dept.
WebMink writes "Knowing that its explosive special edition on China this week will be blocked by censorship, UK political magazine 'New Statesmen' has taken the unusual step of posting its own torrents of the PDF of the Mandarin edition on the magazine. Looking at the content of the issue they are probably right to expect censorship — there's an article from the former newspaper editor Cheng Yizhong about media censorship, and Ai Weiwei interviews a member of the '50 cent party' — a commenter paid half a dollar every time he derails an online debate in China. 'Essentially, these people are paid internet trolls; their job is to stop any meaningful discussion online about the government.'" Specifically, the magazine has made available this issue as a PDF and also as a torrent (magnet link).
Electronic Frontier Foundation

Verizon Draws Fire For Monitoring App Usage, Browsing Habits 136

Posted by samzenpus
from the stop-selling-my-info-bro dept.
An anonymous reader writes "'We're able to view just everything that they do,' Bill Diggins, U.S. chief for the Verizon Wireless marketing initiative, told an industry conference earlier this year. 'And that's really where data is going today. Data is the new oil.' From the article: 'The company this month began offering reports to marketers showing what Verizon subscribers are doing on their phones and other mobile devices, including what iOS and Android apps are in use in which locations. Verizon says it may link the data to third-party databases with information about customers' gender, age, and even details such as "sports enthusiast, frequent diner or pet owner."'"

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