suraj.sun writes "Bloomberg is reporting on Google's negotiation with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission over 'how big a fine, which could amount to more than $10 million, it will have to pay for its breach of Apple's Safari browser. The fine would be the first by the FTC for a violation of Internet privacy as the agency steps up enforcement of the Web.' Last year, Google agreed to a settlement in which the FTC would monitor Google's privacy practices for an extended period of time. 'The 20-year settlement bars Google from misrepresenting how it handles user information and requires the company to follow policies that protect consumer data in new products.' This February, Google was found to be bypassing privacy controls in Safari by making the browser think a user was submitting a form, when they actually weren't. '(The code used by Google was part of its program to place the "+1" button in advertisements.) At the time, the company issued a statement saying that the circumvention wasn't intentional, but privacy groups were still quick to file complaints with the FTC over Google's actions. That was quickly followed by a class-action lawsuit and an investigation by European regulators.'"
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
Overly Critical Guy writes "British Prime Minister David Cameron will announce network-filtering plans targeted at porn websites, possibly requiring users to 'opt-in' with their ISP to access such content. The idea has support from MP Claire Perry, who said, 'There is a "hands off our internet" movement that sees any change in how access is delivered as censorship.'"
bonch writes "U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement seized a hip-hop website based on RIAA claims of copyright infringement for prerelease music tracks. They held it for a year before giving it back due to lack of evidence. Unsealed court records (PDF) show that the government was repeatedly given time extensions to build a case against Dajaz1.com, but the RIAA's evidence never came. The RIAA has declined to comment."
An anonymous reader sends this followup to news we discussed in 2009 of a CERN physicist who was arrested for allegedly being in contact with al-Qaeda. The physicist, Adlene Hicheur, has now been sentenced to five years in prison. "He came under suspicion when threatening messages were sent to President Sarkozy in early 2008. The security services uncovered a series of email exchanges between Hicheur and an alleged al-Qaeda member called Mustapha Debchi. After his arrest in 2009 police found a large quantity of Islamist literature at his parents' home. At the start of his trial the 35-year-old scientist admitted that he had been going through a psychologically 'turbulent' time in his life when he wrote the emails. He had suffered a serious back injury, for which he had been taking morphine. But he always denied he intended to carry out any attacks."
TheGift73 writes with news that the FBI is pushing a proposal to update old wiretap legislation so that modern web firms would be forced to build in backdoors to facilitate government surveillance. Quoting CNET: "In meetings with industry representatives, the White House, and U.S. senators, senior FBI officials argue the dramatic shift in communication from the telephone system to the Internet has made it far more difficult for agents to wiretap Americans suspected of illegal activities, CNET has learned. The FBI general counsel's office has drafted a proposed law that the bureau claims is the best solution: requiring that social-networking Web sites and providers of VoIP, instant messaging, and Web e-mail alter their code to ensure their products are wiretap-friendly. ... The FBI's proposal would amend a 1994 law, called the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, or CALEA, that currently applies only to telecommunications providers, not Web companies. The Federal Communications Commission extended CALEA in 2004 to apply to broadband networks."
angry tapir writes "The jury may have reached a deadlock in the copyright phase of Oracle's intellectual property lawsuit against Google, although the judge cautioned against jumping to any conclusions. 'What happens if we can't reach a unanimous decision and people are not budging?' one of the jurors asked in a written note sent to the judge. The 12 jurors have been deliberating the copyright phase of Oracle's lawsuit against Google since Monday, and they need to be unanimous in any verdict they reach." According to Groklaw, Judge Alsup raised the possibility of a partial verdict — accepting the issues the jury can agree on and then retrying the rest. Google was less amenable to that than Oracle. Update: 05/04 21:05 GMT by S : The jury has reached a verdict on all claims but one. However, the judge sent them home for the weekend. On Monday they'll vote again and see if they can resolve the last claim.
suraj.sun quotes from Politico: "Rand Paul has a reform plan for the Transportation Security Administration: Scrap the whole thing. A personal message from Paul (R-Ky.) came atop emails this week from the Campaign for Liberty Vice President Matt Hawes, asking for readers to sign a petition in support of Paul's 'End the TSA' bill. A Paul spokeswoman said that legislation is being finalized next week. 'Every inch of our person has become fair game for government thugs posing as "security" as we travel around the country. Senator Rand Paul has a plan to do away with the TSA for good, but he needs our help,' reads the petition, which also asks signers to 'chip in a contribution to help C4L mobilize liberty activists across America to turn the heat up on Congress and end the TSA's abuse of our rights.' 'The American people shouldn't be subjected to harassment, groping, and other public humiliation simply to board an airplane. As you may have heard, I have some personal experience with this, and I've vowed to lead the charge to fight back,' Paul wrote at the top of a C4L fundraising pitch, according to blogs that received the email. 'Campaign for Liberty is leading the fight to pressure Congress to act now and restore our liberty. It's time to END the TSA and get the government's hands back to only stealing our wallets instead of groping toddlers and grandmothers.'"
judgecorp writes "The Syrian government is using Skype as a channel to infect activists' systems with malware, installing Trojans and backdoors, according to security firm F-Secure. The evidence comes from a hard drive sent for analysis. 'The activist's system had become infected as a result of a Skype chat. The chat request came from a fellow activist. The problem was that the fellow activist had already been arrested and could not have started the chat. Initial infection occurred when the activist accepted a file called MACAddressChanger.exe over the chat. This utility was supposed to change the hardware MAC address of the system in order to bypass some monitoring tools. Instead, it dropped a file called silvia.exe which was a backdoor — a backdoor called "Xtreme RAT." Xtreme Rat is a full-blown malicious Remote Access Tool.'"
nk497 writes "Nokia has been hit with a class-action suit, with the claimant accusing the company of making 'false and misleading' statements about the ability of its deal with Microsoft to revive the struggling mobile maker. 'The complaint alleges that during the Class Period, defendants told investors that Nokia's conversion to a Windows platform would halt its deteriorating position in the smartphone market,' read a statement (PDF) from the law firm Robbins Geller Rudman and Dowd. 'It did not.'"
gbjbaanb writes in with a story about plans to introduce an electronic identity system in Europe. "On Wednesday, the European Commission published a strategy document aimed at setting up systems to protect children online. In the document — but not in the accompanying press release nor the citizens' summary — the Commission mentioned that it will soon propose a 'pan-European framework for electronic authentication,' full details will be announced on 30th May. The launch of the strategy follows a push to strengthen internet security in the EU. It also outlined legal measures to make it easier for people to use a single e-ID for online services across borders, which would underpin a move toward a pan-European framework for electronic identification, authentication and signature (Pefias) framework."
judgecorp writes "A report from the London School of Economics says that funding for superfast broadband in Britain faces a £1.1 billion shortfall. It's a government priority, but rural areas are uneconomic to cable up. From the article: 'Britain is in danger of missing out on the economic and social benefits of superfast broadband due to a lack of government funding and e-skills, according to a new report. Research by the London School of Economics (LSE) and Convergys claims a funding gap of £1.1 billion could cause the government to miss its target of having the “best superfast broadband network” in Europe by 2015.'"
jfruh writes "Even as an EU court rules that APIs can't be copyrighted, tech observers are waiting for the Oracle v. Google trial jury to rule on the same question under U.S. law. Blogger Brian Proffitt spoke with Groklaw's Pamela Jones on the issue, and her take is that a victory for Oracle would be bad news for developers. Essentially, Oracle is claiming that, while an individual API might not be copyrightable, the collection of APIs needed to use a language is. Such a decision would, among other things, make Java's open source nature essentially meaningless, and would have lots of implications for any programming language you can name."
milbournosphere writes "New York Judge Gary Brown has found that IP addresses don't provide enough evidence to identify pirates, and wrote an extensive argument explaining his reasoning. A quote from the judge's order: 'While a decade ago, home wireless networks were nearly non-existent, 61% of U.S. homes now have wireless access. As a result, a single IP address usually supports multiple computer devices – which unlike traditional telephones can be operated simultaneously by different individuals. Different family members, or even visitors, could have performed the alleged downloads. Unless the wireless router has been appropriately secured (and in some cases, even if it has been secured), neighbors or passersby could access the Internet using the IP address assigned to a particular subscriber and download the plaintiff's film.' Perhaps this will help to stem the tide of frivolous mass lawsuits being brought by the RIAA and other rights-holders where IP addresses are the bulk of the 'evidence' suggested."
sunbird writes "As previously covered on Slashdot, on April 18th the FBI seized a server located in a New York colocation facility shared by May First / People Link and Riseup.net. The server, which was operated by the European Counter Network ('ECN'), the oldest independent internet service provider in Europe, was seized in relation to bomb threats sent to the University of Pittsburgh using a Mixmaster anonymous remailer hosted on the server (search warrant). The FBI's action has been criticized by the EFF. Predictably, the threats continued even after the server seizure. On April 24th, the FBI quietly returned the server, without notifying either Mayfirst / People Link or riseup, and were caught on video doing it."
ananyo writes "The head of NASA Ames Research Center may have fallen victim to restrictive arms regulations — just as a US government report recommends changing them to help the space industry. Simon 'Pete' Worden, who recently announced that Mars exploration would be done by private companies, has been accused of giving foreign citizens access to information that falls under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). ITAR has hampered U.S. firms seeking to export satellite technology. The allegations against Worden come just as the new report recommends moving oversight of many commercial satellites and related activities from the State department to the Commerce department, and some fear they could provide lawmakers with reasons to not ease export controls."