ChromeAeonium writes "Shortly after the events in Rothamsted Research in the UK, where a publicly funded trial of wheat genetically engineered to repel aphids was threatened by activists with destruction and required police protection, another publicly funded experiment involving genetically engineered crops faces possible destruction (original in Italian). The trial, which is being conducted by researchers at the University of Tuscia in Italy on cherries, olives, and kiwis genetically engineered to have traits such as fungal disease resistance, started three decades ago. When field research of GE plants was banned in Italy in 2002, the trial received an extension to avoid being declared illegal, but was denied another in 2008, and following a complaint from the Genetic Rights Foundation, now faces destruction on June 12th, despite appeals from scientists. The researchers claim that the destruction is scientifically unjustifiable (only the male kiwis produce transgenic pollen and their flowers are removed) and wish to gather more information from the long running experiment."
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
First time accepted submitter WindyWonka writes "Google and AOL were sued for patent infringement Thursday, accused of violating two former British Telecom patents via Google's search 'snippets' and by Google AdSense and Advertising.com ad serving technology. Incredibly, the lawsuit by apparent patent troll Suffolk Technologies asserts that every Google search result 'snippet' display violates one patent, and that another really broad server patent is violated every time Google and AOL serve up ads."
theodp writes "GeekWire reports on a newly-surfaced Microsoft patent application for 'Targeting Advertisements Based on Emotion', which describes how information gleaned from Kinects, webcams, online games, IMs, email, searches, webpage content, and browsers could be used to build an 'Emotional State Database' of individuals' emotions over time for advertisers to tap into. From the patent application: 'Weight-loss product advertisers may not want their advertisement to appear to users that are very happy. Because, a person that is really happy, is less likely to purchase a self-investment product that leverages on his or her shortcomings. But a really happy person may purchase electronic products or vacation packages. No club or party advertisers want to appear when the user is sad or crying. When the user is emotionally sad, advertisements about club parties would not be appropriate and may seem annoying or negative to the user. Online help or technical support advertisers want their advertisements to appear when the user is demonstrating a confused or frustrated emotional state.'"
New submitter Progman3K writes "Richard Stallman, father of the FSF, had his bag containing his laptop, medicine, money and passport stolen after his talk at the University of Buenos Aires on Friday, June 8." Adds reader jones_supa, excerpting from the same linked story: "As a result of this occurrence, he was forced to cancel his talk in Cordoba, and it's still unknown how this will impact the rest of his speaking engagements throughout the world."
New submitter Tryfen writes "UK ISPs are being forced to block The Pirate Bay. One is using 'HTTP 403 Forbidden' to tell users that they cannot access the site. From the article: 'However, chief among my concerns is the technical way this censorship is implemented. At the moment, my ISP serves up an HTTP 403 error.' ... As far as I am concerned, this response is factually incorrect. According to the W3C Specifications: "The 4xx class of status code is intended for cases in which the client seems to have erred."' So, should there be a specific HTTP status code to tell a user they are being censored?"
An anonymous reader writes "JEDEC hasn't finalized the upcoming DDR4 standard yet, but it seems they left out licensing some crucial IP for (the already finalized and shipping) LRDIMMs (for use on data center servers). As a result they are only produced by one source which is facing some hurdles justifying their copying of IP. This article discusses how DDR4 is based on LRDIMMs and the future of memory. Quoting: 'JEDEC finalized the LRDIMM standard without securing licensing on load reduction and rank multiplication. Inphi, currently the only maker of LRDIMM buffer chipsets – others have backed off – lost a challenge of Netlist IP at the USPTO. As a result the Netlist patents have become stronger and are going to come back and bite Inphi in Netlist vs. Inphi, which was stayed pending these patent reexaminations – patents which survive re-examination can never again be challenged in court. NLST patents ’537 and ’274 survived with all claims intact, which is a powerful statement on the strength of their IP – Inphi has appealed to the BPAI, but the USPTO decision is telling.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Since Google began collecting Street View data in Europe a few years ago, many countries have taken it the company to court in order to settle privacy concerns. The NY Times reports that the last challenge to Street View's basic legality has been resolved. Switzerland's top court accepted that Google could only guarantee they would blur out 99% of faces, license plates, and other identifying markers, but also imposed some additional restrictions. 'Those conditions would require Google to lower the height of its Street View cameras so they would not peer over garden walls and hedges, to completely blur out sensitive facilities like women's shelters, prisons, retirement homes and schools, and to advise communities in advance of scheduled tapings.'"
lightbox32 writes "The New York Civil Liberties Union released a free smartphone application on Wednesday that allows people to record videos of and report police 'stop and frisk' activity, a practice widely denounced by civil rights groups as mostly targeting minorities and almost never resulting in arrests. The app was thoroughly criticized by the New York Police Department, which said that the tool might prove useful for criminals."
Whiney Mac Fanboy writes "Apple has agreed to pay a $2.25 million (AUD) fine (along with 300k legal costs) to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission for misleading advertising. Apple misrepresented their iPad product as being a '4G' device, when in fact they're only compatible with a very small percentage of 4G networks around the world. The Age online has the full story."
reebmmm writes "Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Richard Posner, voluntarily sitting as a district court judge, in the patent infringement dispute between Apple and Motorola has, tentatively, dismissed the case on the eve of trial. In this hilariously short order, Judge Posner states, 'I have tentatively decided that the case should be dismissed with prejudice because neither party can establish a right to relief.' Because it is 'with prejudice' the parties cannot refile their case. The parties are likely to appeal the order (when it's finalized)."
TheGift73 sends this excerpt from TorrentFreak: "With nearly 4 million downloads per episode, the HBO hit series Game of Thrones is the most pirated TV-show of the season. Worldwide hype combined with restricted availability are the key ingredients for the staggering number of unauthorized downloads. How I Met Your Mother and The Big Bang Theory complete the top three, albeit with significantly fewer downloads than the chart topper. ... While there are many reasons for people to download TV-shows through BitTorrent, airing delays and HBO's choice not to make it widely available online are two of the top reasons."
Harperdog writes "Scott Kemp writes about the similarities between the nuclear arms race and the use of cyberweaponry for offensive purposes. As the article points out, offensive cyberwarfare leaves a nation's own citizenry vulnerable to attack as government agencies seek to keep weaknesses in operating systems (such as Windows) secret. Quoting: 'In the world of armaments, cyber weapons may require the fewest national resources to build. That is not to say that highly developed nations are not without their advantages during early stages. Countries like Israel and the United States may have more money and more talented hackers. Their software engineers may be more skilled and exhibit more creativity and critical thinking owing to better training and education. However, each new cyberattack becomes a template for other nations — or sub-national actors — looking for ideas.'"
An anonymous reader writes "The Canadian intellectual property's lead lobby group, the Canadian IP Council (which represent the music, movie, software and pharma industries) released a new policy document (PDF) yesterday that identifies its legislative priorities for the coming years. Anyone hoping that the SOPA protests, the European backlash against ACTA, and the imminent passage of Canadian copyright reform might moderate the lobby group demands will be sorely disappointed. Michael Geist says it is the most extremist IP policy document ever released in Canada, calling for the implementation of ACTA, SOPA-style rules including website blocking and stopping search queries from resolving, liability for advertisers and payment companies, massive surveillance at the border and through delivery channels including searching through individual packages without court oversight, and spending hundreds of millions of tax dollars on private enforcement." Reader Bloozguy adds more legislative bad news for Canadians: Bill C30, the country's much-maligned warrantless internet surveillance bill, is coming back with new provisions that would give the U.S. government access to Canadian citizens' private data.
Wowsers writes "In an effort to get ever more taxes for doing absolutely nothing, the United Nations will consider a European proposal to tax the internet based on data that gets sent. The proposal is designed to get money from large bandwidth users like Google, Facebook, Apple, and Netflix. Smaller companies that have high bandwidth requirements could be forced off the internet due to the taxes. 'The sender-pays framework would likely prompt U.S.-based Internet services to reject connections from users in developing countries, who would become unaffordably expensive to communicate with, predicts Robert Pepper, Cisco's vice president for global technology policy.'"