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Transportation

Maybe the FAA Gadget Ban On Liftoff and Landing Isn't So Bad 414

Posted by timothy
from the you-have-your-opinion-I-have-mine dept.
First time accepted submitter oyenamit writes "Ars Technica reported a while back that FAA is going to reconsider the ban on use of electronic gadgets during take-off and landing. If this ban is revoked, you will be free to use your gizmos for an additional 30 minutes or so. Peter Bright has an interesting take on why lifting of the ban may not be such a good idea."
Patents

Software Patents Not So Abstract When the Lawsuits Hit Home 180

Posted by timothy
from the complaints-department dept.
no_such_user writes "It's easy to ignore the controversy surrounding software patents, especially if you don't have the passion for technology which Slashdot readers do. But as Dana Nieder discovered, it's not all about major corporations and obscure patent trolls. Her daughter uses a comparatively inexpensive assistive communication app on their iPad, which is being threatened by the makers of a multi-thousand-dollar hardware device."
China

China Plans To End Executed Prisoner Organ Donations Within 5 Years 214

Posted by timothy
from the have-you-considered-the-patch? dept.
An anonymous reader writes "China said that it planned to end the practice of taking organs from executed prisoners within five years, according to the state media report on Friday. Instead, China's vice minister of health Dr. Huang Jiefu said that the country will rely on a new national donation system for organ transplants at a conference in the city of Hangzhou on Thursday."
Government

NHTSA Suggestion Would Cripple In-Car GPS Displays 516

Posted by timothy
from the this-must-just-be-a-bad-dream dept.
bricko writes "The recently issued National Highway Transportation Safety Agency guidelines for automakers to minimize distraction for in-vehicle electronics included a proposal to freeze maps on navigation systems. No more scrolling maps...just static pictures. 'Every current installed navigation system uses the car as a fixed point, and shows the map moving around it. NHTSA wants that changed so as to keep the map fixed. Even showing the position of the car moving on the map could be considered a dynamic image. The recommendation seems to suggest that the position of the car could only be updated every couple of seconds. Likewise, the map could be refreshed once the car has left the currently displayed area. This recommendation would essentially make navigation unusable. The system could still give an auditory warning for the next turn, but without being able to glance down at the map and see how close the next street is would likely lead to a lot of missed turns and resultant frustration.'"
Government

US Congress Probes iOS App Developers On Privacy 52

Posted by timothy
from the they're-looking-for-tips dept.
hypnosec writes with the arguably welcome news that "[The U.S.] Congress is gathering further information on iOS developers and how they deal with and implement privacy policies. The Next Web got hold of a letter from Congress which had been sent out to Tapbots, along with some 32 other iOS developers, including both Twitter and Facebook, and the devs of Path, SoundCloud, Foodspotting and Turntable.fm. The apps were picked because they come under the social networking umbrella in the 'essentials' area of the App Store. The letter begins: 'We are writing to you because we want to better understand the information collection and use policies and practices of apps for Apple's mobile devices with a social element.' What follows is a series of eight questions designed to gather more details regarding the popularity of the app in question, and the privacy policy to which it holds (and how it's made known to users)."
Privacy

Brazilian Schoolchildren Tagged By Computer Chips 288

Posted by timothy
from the combine-two-fetishes-into-one dept.
New submitter smi.james.th writes with an AP story, and extracts from it: "'Grade-school students in a northeastern Brazilian city are using uniforms embedded with computer chips that alert parents if they are cutting classes, the city's education secretary, Coriolano Moraes, said Thursday.' Personally I don't find this too inspiring. Mr. Orwell certainly has warned the world about this."
Censorship

China Unblocks Sensitive Keywords 101

Posted by timothy
from the ip-traps-ready dept.
hackingbear writes "Reports from overseas (in Chinese) [Google translation] and Hong Kong-based Chinese media report that China appears to have unblocked several sensitive political keywords. Using Baidu.com, the country's leading search engine, users within the mainland border find, in Chinese, uncensored web page links and images using keywords like Tiananmen and 'June 4'. (Readers can click on the first one to view the images.) Given that the unblocking of these sensitive keywords comes one week after Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao publicly denounced left-wing leader Bo Xilai's movement of 'striking down the ganster while reviving the red culture' as going down the path of Cultural Revolution, it could signal the silent start of a major political change."
Privacy

Japanese CCTV Camera Can Scan 36 Million Faces/Second 115

Posted by timothy
from the once-met-alex-jones-at-mt-carmel-compound dept.
An of-course anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from the always-fun Infowars.com: "A new camera technology from Hitachi Hokusai Electric can scan days of camera footage instantly, and find any face which has EVER walked past it. Its makers boast that it can scan 36 million faces per second. The technology raises the spectre of governments – or other organisations – being able to 'find' anyone instantly simply using a passport photo or a Facebook profile. The 'trick' is that the camera 'processes' faces as it records, so that all faces which pass in front of it are recorded and stored instantly. Faces are stored as a searchable 'biometric' record, placing the unique mathematical 'faceprint' of anyone who has ever walked past the camera in a database."
Security

New Cyber Security Bills Open Door To Gov't, Corporate Abuse 93

Posted by timothy
from the concentrated-incentives-diffuse-objections dept.
Gunkerty Jeb writes with a selection from Threatpost about upcoming legislation to watch out for: "EFF looked at two bills making their way through Congress: The Cybersecurity Act of 2012 (S. 2105), sponsored by Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) of Connecticut and the Secure IT Act (S. 2151), sponsored by Senator John McCain (R-AZ). The digital rights group claims that the quality of both bills ranges from 'downright terrible' to 'appropriately intentioned.' Each, however, is conceptually similar and flawed, EFF said."
China

US Puts Tariff On Chinese Solar Panels 311

Posted by timothy
from the why-not-just-sink-5%-of-the-ships? dept.
retroworks writes "Two stories in Digitimes make a puzzle of economic policy. U.S. and European tax incentives and stimulus increase steady demand for solar panels. The Chinese government subsidizes production of solar panels to meet this growing demand. The U.S. and EU complain, and place tariffs on Chinese solar panels. Do allegations that China has used government funding to subsidize the production trump our desire for cheaper solar power? Subsidizing demand led to subsidized production. In other words, one market interference (subsidized demand for solar) leads to its counterpoint, government tariff and taxation of the same product."
Cloud

Can Translucency Save Privacy In the Cloud? 86

Posted by timothy
from the big-ol'-cumulus-clouds-maybe dept.
MikeatWired writes "Jon Udell writes that when it was recently discovered that some iPhone apps were uploading users' contacts to the cloud, one proposed remedy was to modify iOS to require explicit user approval. But in one typical scenario that's not a choice a user should have to make. A social service that uses contacts to find which of a new user's friends are already members doesn't need cleartext email addresses. If I upload hashes of my contacts, and you upload hashes of yours, the service can match hashes without knowing the email addresses from which they're derived. In the post Hashing for privacy in social apps, Matt Gemmell shows how it can be done." (Read more, below.)
Censorship

T-Mobile's Optional Censorship Falls Down 67

Posted by timothy
from the at-least-they're-asking-first dept.
An anonymous reader writes "T-Mobile USA offers a 'feature' to restrict access to certain kinds of content. This is called Web Guard. Supposedly Web Guard is supposed to inhibit access to content that falls under certain categories. The Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI), developed a tool to detect what sites were being censored. Amongst them were political news sites, foreign sports news sites and other sites that should not have been censored." It's quite an eclectic bunch of sites that are blocked, but then censorware tends to break in interesting ways, even when it's not by design.
Government

Congress Wants Your TSA Stories 328

Posted by timothy
from the and-so-do-I dept.
McGruber writes "Transportation Security Administration (TSA) program challenges and failures will be the focus of a joint hearing of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, on Monday, March 26, 2012. The Hearing is titled 'TSA Oversight Part III: Effective Security or Security Theater?' Bruce Schneier is scheduled to be a witness at this hearing. Additional information on the hearing is posted on the oversight committee's website. The Congressmen who serve on these committees are soliciting questions from the public to ask TSA officials at the hearing ... provided the public is willing to submit their questions via Facebook."
Businesses

Facebook Buys 750 IBM Patents 46

Posted by Soulskill
from the business-imitates-black-market-weapon-deals dept.
eldavojohn writes "Considering IBM's portfolio gained 6,180 last year alone, it's not a huge number. But after a dispute with Yahoo a couple weeks ago, Facebook has purchased 750 patents from IBM. That's over thirteen times the 56 they were reportedly holding. The humorous rumor is that Yahoo might have been licensing these patents from IBM. If you can't beat 'em, buy the patents they're licensing from another company. Another rumor is that Facebook might be just getting started in their bid to expand their patent portfolio (video). No word yet whether the purchased patents directly pertain to Yahoo's infringement claims on messaging, privacy controls, advertising, customization and social networking."
Cellphones

US Mobile Carriers Won't Brick Stolen Phones 269

Posted by Soulskill
from the unfriendly-balancing-acts dept.
WheezyJoe writes "NBC News has some disturbing security video of people getting assaulted for their smartphones. Such offenses are on the rise. Police chiefs like D.C.'s Cathy Lanier are asking U.S. mobile carriers to brick phones that are reported stolen, in order to dry up what must be a big underground market for your favorite Android device or iPhone — but right now the carriers won't do it. Such an approach has had success in Australia and the U.K."

It is wrong always, everywhere and for everyone to believe anything upon insufficient evidence. - W. K. Clifford, British philosopher, circa 1876

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