New submitter Mystakaphoros writes "Musician David Lowery (of Cracker fame) takes NPR intern Emily White to task for her stance on paying for (or failing to pay for) music. Quoting: 'By allowing the artist to treat his/her work as actual property, the artist can decide how to monetize his or her work. This system has worked very well for fans and artists. Now we are being asked to undo this not because we think this is a bad or unfair way to compensate artists but simply because it is technologically possible for corporations or individuals to exploit artists work without their permission on a massive scale and globally. We are being asked to continue to let these companies violate the law without being punished or prosecuted. We are being asked to change our morality and principals to match what I think are immoral and unethical business models.'"
ananyo writes "In a revelation that could bring down the country's government, Romania's Prime Minister, Victor Ponta, stands accused of copying large sections of his 2003 PhD thesis in law from previous publications, without proper reference. Documents compiled by an anonymous whistle-blower indicate more than half of Ponta's 432-page, Romanian-language thesis on the functioning of the International Criminal Court consists of duplicated text. Last month, the country's education and research minister, computer scientist Ioan Mang, resigned following accusations of plagiarism in at least eight papers." Looks like it's contagious.
chiguy writes "The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau begins releasing detailed information on Americans' complaints about their credit cards online. From The Washington Post: 'The CFPB said it will only publish complaints after it has verified the consumer's relationship with the company. The new database will include not only the name of the company involved, but also the nature of the complaint and the consumer's Zip code. It will also report whether the firm responded in a timely manner, how the matter was resolved and any disputes. The CFPB said it has received more than 45,000 in the year since the bureau was launched.' Complaints about mortgages, student loans, and checking accounts will be added later. Financial institutions are complaining loudly, decrying the enforcement of one of the main tenets of the free market: transparency."
theodp writes "On Tuesday, the USPTO granted Apple an odd patent on Techniques to Pollute Electronic Profiling, which presumably might concern the targeted ad revenue-hungry folks at Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn (and their investors). The patent, apparently assigned to Apple from Novell, is designed to thwart 'dataveillance techniques from automated Litter Brothers,' including lawful targeted and aggressive marketing tactics. Creating cloned identities that are 'intentionally populated with divergent information [e,g., fake phone numbers, email accounts, credit or debit card accounts],' explains the patent, 'circumvents the reliability and usefulness of dataveillance used by network eavesdroppers and effectively provides greater privacy over the network to principals.'"
alphadogg writes "Revelations by The New York Times that President Barack Obama in his role as commander in chief ordered the Stuxnet cyberattack against Iran's uranium-enrichment facility two years ago in cahoots with Israel is generating controversy, with Washington in an uproar over national-security leaks. But the important question is whether this covert action of sabotage against Iran, the first known major cyberattack authorized by a U.S. president, is the right course for the country to take. Are secret cyberattacks helping the U.S. solve geopolitical problems or actually making things worse? Bruce Schneier, whose most recent book is 'Liars and Outliers,' argues the U.S. made a mistake with Stuxnet, and he discusses why it's important for the world to tackle cyber-arms control now."
coondoggie writes "The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and NASA today said they signed an agreement to coordinate standards for commercial space travel of government and non-government astronauts to and from low-Earth orbit and the International Space Station (ISS). The main goals of the agreement are to establish a framework for the emerging commercial US space industry to help streamline requirements and multiple sets of standards and ultimately to regulate public and crew safety."
AZA43 writes "Tokyo police have arrested six men, including two IT executives and one former tech exec, in connection with an Android malware campaign that netted $265,000. The men created a piece of Android malware that they disguised as a video player and distributed through an adult website. The app stole personal information and attempted to extort money for data 'protection services.' The malware doesn't appear to be particularly sophisticated, but it convinced more than 200 horny Japanese dudes to shell out $1200 each. And the arrests are one of, if not the, first time a major police force brought down criminals who used Android malware to extort a significant chunk of cash."
Dexter Herbivore writes "A lot of Australian gamers are saying, 'finally' as legislation passed parliament to support the introduction of a R-18+ category for games. From the article: 'Jason Clare, the Minister for Home Affairs has just announced that R18+ for games is set to become a reality, after legislation successfully passing through the Federal Parliament, having just gone through the Senate without amendment.'"
Omnifarious writes "China (along with other member nations) is trying to push a proposal through a little known UN agency called the International Telecommunications Union (aka ITU). This proposal contains a wide variety of problematic provisions that represent a huge power grab on the part of the UN, and a severe threat to a continued global and open Internet. From the article: 'Several proposals would give the U.N. power to regulate online content for the first time, under the guise of protecting against computer malware or spam. Russia and some Arab countries want to be able to inspect private communications such as email. Russia and Iran propose new rules to measure Internet traffic along national borders and bill the originator of the traffic, as with international phone calls. That would result in new fees to local governments and less access to traffic from U.S. "originating" companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple. A similar idea has the support of European telecommunications companies, even though the Internet's global packet switching makes national tolls an anachronistic idea.'"
jones_supa writes "Google has revealed it removed about 640 videos from YouTube that allegedly promoted terrorism over the second half of 2011 after complaints from the UK's Association of Chief Police Officers. The news was contained in its latest Transparency Report which discloses requests by international authorities to remove or hand over material. YouTube had also rejected many other state's requests for action. Overall, Google summed it had received 461 court orders covering a total of 6,989 items between July and December 2011. From those, it said 68% of the orders were complied with. Google added that it had received a further 546 informal requests covering 4,925 items, of which it had agreed to 43% of the cases."
An anonymous reader writes "Nearly 15 years of debate over digital copyright reform will come to an end today as Bill C-11, the fourth legislative attempt at Canadian copyright reform, passes in the House of Commons. Many participants in the copyright debate view the bill with great disappointment, pointing to the government's decision to adopt restrictive digital lock rules as a signal that their views were ignored. Despite the loss on digital locks, the "Canadian copyright" led to some dramatic changes to Canadian copyright with some important wins for Canadians who spoke out on copyright. The government expanded fair dealing and added provisions on time shifting, format shifting, backup copies, and user generated content in response to public pressure. It also included a cap on statutory damages, expanded education exceptions, and rejected SOPA-style amendments."
eldavojohn writes "You may recall from last week the news item concerning FunnyJunk's extortion ... er ... threat of defamation lawsuit against The Oatmeal highlighting a fairly pervasive problem of rehosting content — in this case web comics. Instead of expediting a payment of $20,000 to FunnyJunk, Matthew Inman of The Oatmeal decided to crowd source the money (with 8 days left he has only garnered 900% of his goal) and donate it to charity after sending a picture of it to FunnyJunk. Charles Carreon (the man who has FunnyJunk) has made statements of Inman saying 'I really did not expect that he would marshal an army of people who would besiege my website and send me a string of obscene emails.' In an interview Carreon says 'So someone takes one of my letters and takes it apart. That doesn't mean you can just declare netwar, that doesn't mean you can encourage people to hack my website, to brute force my WordPress installation so I have to change my password. You can't encourage people to violate my trademark and violate my twitter name and associate me with incompetence with stupidity, and douchebaggery. And if that's where the world is going I will fight with every ounce of force in this 5'11 180 pound frame against it. I've got the energy, and I've got the time.' Well it appears that Carreon has filed suit over these matters alleging 'trademark infringement and incitement to cyber-vandalism.' Speaking of douchebaggery, Charles Carreon curiously fails to mention that he first incited all of his users to harass The Oatmeal anyway they can which they dutifully did. One last juicy detail is that Carreon is also suing the National Wildlife Federation and the American Cancer Society to which Inman's crowd sourced money is going. Luckily, Inman's lawyer appears to be fully competent and able to address Carreon's complaints."
Sparrowvsrevolution writes "Governments are sticking their noses into Google's servers more than ever before. In the second half of 2011, Google received 6,321 requests that it hand over its users' private data to U.S. government agencies including law enforcement, and complied at least partially with those requests in 93% of cases, according to the latest update to the company's bi-annual Transparency Report. That's up from 5,950 requests in the first half of 2011, and marks a 37% increase in the number of requests over the same period the year before. Compared with the second half of 2009, the first time Google released the government request numbers, the latest figures represent a 76% spike. Data demands from foreign governments have increased even more quickly than those from the U.S., up to 11,936 in the second half of 2011 compared with 9,600 in the same period the year before, though Google was much less likely to comply with those non-U.S. government requests."
PatPending writes with this report on companies taking aggressive steps to deal with electronic attacks: "Known in the cyber security industry as "active defense" or "strike-back" technology, the reprisals range from modest steps to distract and delay a hacker to more controversial measures. Security experts say they even know of some cases where companies have taken action that could violate laws in the United States or other countries, such as hiring contractors to hack the assailant's own systems. Other security experts say a more aggressive posture is unlikely to have a significant impact in the near term in the overall fight against cybercriminals and Internet espionage. Veteran government and private officials warn that much of the activity is too risky to make sense, citing the chances for escalation and collateral damage." If you've been involved in such an action, how did it work out for you?