Dupple writes with news that the British government is considering restrictions for ISPs that would block by default anything considered "adult content." From the article: "Ministers are suggesting that people should automatically be barred from accessing unsuitable adult material unless they actually choose to view it. It is one of several suggestions being put out for a consultation on how to shield children from pornography. Websites promoting suicide, anorexia and self-harm are also being targeted. The discussion paper asks for views on three broad options for the best approach to keeping children safe online, in a rapidly changing digital industry. ... The latest system, called 'active choice-plus,' is aimed at reaching a compromise. It would automatically block adult content, but would set users a question, along the lines of whether they want to change this to gain access to sites promoting pornography, violence and other adult-only themes. This is partly based on 'Nudge' theory, a U.S. concept which states that persuasion, rather than enforcement, can be an effective way of changing behavior."
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This morning the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional. The health insurance mandate, also known as "Obamacare" was found to be "permissible under Congress's taxing authority." The full ruling (PDF) is now available, and the court's opinion begins on page 7. Amy Howe from SCOTUSblog summarized the ruling thus: "The Affordable Care Act, including its individual mandate that virtually all Americans buy health insurance, is constitutional. There were not five votes to uphold it on the ground that Congress could use its power to regulate commerce between the states to require everyone to buy health insurance. However, five Justices agreed that the penalty that someone must pay if he refuses to buy insurance is a kind of tax that Congress can impose using its taxing power. That is all that matters. Because the mandate survives, the Court did not need to decide what other parts of the statute were constitutional, except for a provision that required states to comply with new eligibility requirements for Medicaid or risk losing their funding. On that question, the Court held that the provision is constitutional as long as states would only lose new funds if they didn't comply with the new requirements, rather than all of their funding." Further coverage is available from CNN, the NY Times, and Fox.
New submitter StueyNZ writes "Justice Helen Winkelmann of New Zealand's High Court (non-appellate court) has ruled that the search warrants used to search and seize property from Kim Dotcom's Coatsville residence did not properly describe the offenses under which the search was being made. In particular, warrants did not make it clear that the breach of copyright law and money laundering offenses were U.S. federal offenses rather than NZ offenses. Therefore the search and seizure was illegal. I hope this means Mr. Dotcom gets his security footage back, which should shed some light on how many tourists from the FBI were present at the NZ police raid, and how many firearms those tourists were waving around as they joined in."
An anonymous reader writes "The BBC reports that RLP, a legal firm that sues shoplifters on behalf of retail groups, has shown its ignorance of the Streisand Effect by attempting to censor The Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) and other consumer websites. RLP has accused CAB of harassment and is demanding that they and other consumer websites remove all 'defamatory posts' and publications. This is the latest salvo in a long running battle and although organizations like CAG (Consumer Action Group) have removed some offending posts, CAB and the Legal Beagles website are refusing to remove content and have accused RLP of trying to stifle reporting of adverse court judgments against them."
mk1004 writes "Computerworld says that the industry lobbying group TechNet is calling on Congress to eliminate the per-country cap on H-1B workers. Last year a bill was passed in the house, 389-to-15, to remove the cap. Grassley put a hold on the bill in the Senate, indicating that he would be willing to lift the cap if companies faced an annual audit. The US currently allows 140K H-1B workers, but allows only 7% of those to come from any one country."
First time accepted submitter vu1986 writes "The Federal Communications Commission has settled with Comcast over charges that the cable company made it hard for consumers to find stand-alone broadband packages that don't cost an arm and leg. As part of the settlement Comcast paid the U.S. Treasury $800,000 and the FCC extended the length of time Comcast had to provide such a service."
Dupple writes with this quote from a Reuters report: "Hewlett-Packard Co told a judge on Tuesday that Oracle Corp should be ordered to make its software available on HP's Itanium-based servers for as long as HP sells them. Lawyers for HP and Oracle presented closing arguments in a California state court for the first phase in a bitter lawsuit between the two tech giants. ... Oracle decided to stop developing software for use with Itanium last year, saying Intel made it clear that the chip was nearing the end of its life and was shifting its focus to its x86 microprocessor. But HP said it had an agreement with Oracle that support for Itanium would continue, without which the equipment using the chip would become obsolete. HP said that commitment was affirmed when it settled a lawsuit over Oracle's hiring of ousted HP chief executive Mark Hurd. HP seeks up to $4 billion in damages."
New submitter DeeEff writes "The first report in the University of California, Berkeley Law School's quarterly Web Privacy Census was released on Tuesday, and it shows that popular Web sites are far more aggressive in their consumer tracking practices than most people suspect, and that consumers are trapped in an escalating privacy crisis with limited control over their personal information. Most interestingly noted in the article is that twice the amount of sites are using HTML5 storage as opposed to last year, while Flash Cookies are dying down, as we should expect. It also appears that third-party tracking seems to dominate most sites, such as from Google, Facebook, and other large players."
bzzfzz writes "In a case with parallels to the Diebold Voting Machine fiasco, Minnesota's Supreme Court upheld the reliability of the Intoxilyzer 5000EN breath testing machine on a narrow 4-3 vote. Source code analysis during the six-year legal battle revealed a number of bugs that could potentially affect test results. Several thousand DUI cases that were waiting on the results of this appeal will now proceed. The ruling is one in a series of DUI-related court victories for police and prosecutors. Other recent cases upheld a conviction of a person with no evidence that the vehicle had been driven and convictions based solely on urine samples that may only show impairment hours before driving. The Intoxilyzer 5000EN is now considered obsolete, and replacement devices are being rolled out, with the last jurisdictions in the state scheduled to retire their 5000ENs by the end of the year."
tekgoblin writes with an excerpt from TekGoblin: "The founders of The Pirate Bay have been hit with a bunch of punishments and other measures to prevent them from continuing. However Fredrik Neij was just fined by the Stockholm District court another 500,000 Swedish kronor ($70,690 US). Fredrik Neij and Gorrfrid Scatholm both had been banned from operating the site but Neij had been recently found still involved with the site. Neij already owes around 10.6 million."
tsu doh nimh writes in with news of a major sting operation against carders. From the article: "The U.S. Justice Department today unveiled the results of a two-year international cybercrime sting that culminated in the arrest of 26 people accused of trafficking in hundreds of thousands of stolen credit and debit card accounts. Among those arrested was an alleged core member of 'UGNazi,' a malicious hacking group that has claimed responsibility for a flood of recent attacks on Internet businesses." The trick: the FBI ran a carding forum as a honeypot.
New submitter Bismillah writes "This piece of research from Boston University seems to put an end to claims that patent trolling is 'socially valuable,' and instead is a social loss. 'We estimate that firms accrued $29 billion of direct costs in 2011. Moreover, although large firms accrued over half of direct costs, most of the defendants were small or medium-sized firms, indicating that [non-practicing entities] are not just a problem for large firms.' The total cost to society could be around $80 billion, according to the researchers. What's more, the costs have gone up fourfold since 2005."
stevegee58 writes "In a sudden outbreak of common sense, Rhode Island repealed an obscure law enacted in 1989 that made it a crime to lie in online postings. Violations of this law carried a maximum penalty of $500 and up to a year in prison. From the article: '"This law made virtually the entire population of Rhode Island a criminal," said Steven Brown, executive director of the Rhode Island American Civil Liberties Union. "When this bill was enacted nobody had any idea what its ramifications were. Telling fibs may be wrong, but it shouldn't be criminal activity." The law aimed to stop fraud, con artists and scammers, but also outlawed the "transmission of false data" regardless of whether liars stood to profit from their deception or not.'"
Twisted64 writes "Australia's largest telco, Telstra, has been frightening users of its mobile data services for the last week. Logging revealed that HTTP requests from a mobile device on Telstra's network were duplicated with a request from another server, located in Chicago. Eyebrows were raised on the Whirlpool forums, with fears that Telstra was giving up Australian browsing data to a U.S. company and therefore the U.S. government. Following a well-worded letter, Telstra revealed today that the reason for this behavior is that the company is preparing an opt-in web filter. Personally, while the idea of my browsing data being logged anywhere does not fill me with joy, the idea of the U.S. government having access to it (randomized or not) is probably going to be enough to make me switch to an inferior carrier once my current plan ends."
Bill Dimm writes "Apple scores a win against Samsung over a design patent. U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh issued a ruling granting Apple's request for a preliminary injunction preventing Samsung from selling its Galaxy Tab 10.1 in the United States. She wrote, 'Although Samsung has a right to compete, it does not have a right to compete unfairly by flooding the market with infringing products. ... While Samsung will certainly suffer lost sales from the issuance of an injunction, the hardship to Apple of having to directly compete with Samsung’s infringing products outweighs Samsung’s harm in light of the previous findings by the Court."