Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
First time accepted submitter AlphaWolf_HK writes "Ars Technica has a story about a 52 year old man who was arrested and sentenced to three years in jail for shining a high powered green laser at a helicopter along with an interesting video showing how he was tracked down. The FBI says that laser strikes are becoming epidemic, saying that they expect to see reports of 3,700 of them this year."
another random user writes "Kim Dotcom's internet connection was being diverted inside New Zealand weeks before the Government Communications Security Bureau says it started spying on him. The New Zealand Herald has obtained details showing Telecom engineers and staff at its technology services company Gen-I were investigating irregularities with his internet connection in November. The revelation has raised suspicion that Mr Dotcom was victim to earlier spying than the GCSB has admitted. It has brought fresh calls for an inquiry amid claims of the spy agency's role in the international 'Five Eyes' Echelon Network."
First time accepted submitter Bruce66423 writes "As a sometime computer programmer who was always very sniffy about the quality of the stuff being knocked up by amateurs aka power users, the current claim that it was a messed up spreadsheet that caused a multi-million pound fiasco is very satisfying. 'The key mechanism... mixed up real and inflated financial figures and contained elements of double counting.'"
Penurious Penguin writes "On October 2, City Commissioners of Delray Beach finalized a policy which prohibits agencies from hiring employees who use tobacco products. Delray Beach isn't alone though; other Florida cities such as Hollywood and Hallandale Beach, require prospective employees to sign affidavits declaring themselves tobacco-free for 12 months prior to the date of application. Throughout the states, both government and businesses are moving to ban tobacco-use beyond working hours. Many medical facilities, e.g. hospitals, have implemented or intend to implement similar policies. In some more-aggressive environments referred to as nicotine-free, employee urine-samples can be taken and tested for any presence of nicotine, not excluding that from gum or patches. Employees testing positive can be terminated. Times do change, and adaptation is often a necessary burden. But have they changed so much that we'd now postpone the Manhattan project for 12 months because Oppenheimer had toked his pipe? Would we confine our vision to the Milky Way or snub the 1373 Cincinnati because Hubble smoked his? Would we shun relativity, or shelve the works of Tolkien because he and C. S. Lewis had done the same? If so, then where will it stop?"
Trailrunner7 writes "RSA's FraudAction research team has been monitoring underground chatter and has put together various clues to deduce that a cybercrime gang is actively recruiting up to 100 botmasters to participate in a complicated man-in-the-middle hijacking scam using a variant of the proprietary Gozi Trojan. This is the first time a private cybercrime organization has recruited outsiders to participate in a financially motivated attack, said Mor Ahuvia, cybercrime communications specialist for RSA FraudAction. The attackers are promising their recruits a cut of the profits, and are requiring an initial investment in hardware and training in how to deploy the Gozi Prinimalka Trojan, Ahuvia added. Also, the gang will only share executable files with their partners, and will not give up the Trojan's compilers, keeping the recruits dependent on the gang for updates."
itwbennett writes "That army of robotic assembly line workers we mentioned yesterday apparently can't get started soon enough. As many as 3,000-4,000 workers are on strike at Foxconn's Zhengzhou factory, upset at stricter quality control requirements with the iPhone 5 and having to work through a national holiday this week. 'According to workers, multiple iPhone 5 production lines from various factory buildings were in a state of paralysis for the entire day,' China Labor Watch said. Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo are both blocking searches in Chinese for 'Foxconn strikes.'"
snydeq writes "First, it was data caps on cellular, and now caps on wired broadband — welcome to the end of the rich Internet, writes Galen Gruman. 'People are still getting used to the notion that unlimited data plans are dead and gone for their smartphones. The option wasn't even offered for tablets. Now, we're beginning to see the eradication of the unlimited data plan in our broadband lines, such as cable and DSL connections. It's a dangerous trend that will threaten the budding Internet-based video business — whether from Netflix, Hulu, iTunes, Windows Store, or Google Play — then jeopardize Internet services of all sorts. It's a complex issue, and though the villains are obvious — the telecom carriers and cable providers — the solutions are not. The result will be a metered Internet that discourages use of the services so valuable for work and play.'"
itwbennett writes "On Thursday, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski laid out plans to make 300MHz more spectrum available by 2015. Among the blocks that will be auctioned in the AWS (Advanced Wireless Services) band is a band between 1755MHz and 1780MHz, where a commercial user would share the spectrum with current government users." Genachowski's full speech (PDF) is available online.
chicksdaddy writes "Google could tell you about its privacy practices except, well....they're private. That's the conclusion privacy advocates are drawing after the Federal Trade Commission took a black marker to an independent audit of the company's privacy practices before releasing it to the group EPIC in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. Security Ledger is reporting that the FTC released a copy of a Price Waterhouse Coopers audit of Google that was mandated as part of a settlement with the FTC over complaints following a 2010 complaint by EPIC over privacy violations in Google Buzz, a now-defunct social networking experiment. However, the agency acceded to Google requests to redact descriptions of the search giant's internal procedures and the design of its privacy program."
An anonymous reader writes "The CIA's investment fund, In-Q-Tel, and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos have invested $30 million in a Canadian company that claims to build quantum computers, reports Technology Review in a detailed story on why that startup, D-Wave, appears to be attracting serious interest after years of skepticism from experts. A spokesman for In-Q-Tel says that intelligence agencies 'have many complex problems that tax classical computing architecture,' a feeling apparently strong enough to justify a bet on a radically different, and largely unproven, approach to computing."
thomst writes "David Kravets of Wired's Threat Level blog reports that Google's Thabet Alfishawi has announced YouTube will alter its algorithms 'that identify potentially invalid claims. We stop these claims from automatically affecting user videos and place them in a queue to be manually reviewed.' YouTube's Content ID algorithms have notably misfired in recent months, resulting in video streams as disparate as Curiosity's Mars landing and Michelle Obama's Democratic Convention speech being taken offline on specious copyright infringement grounds. Kravets states, 'Under the new rules announced Wednesday, however, if the uploader challenges the match, the alleged rights holder must abandon the claim or file an official takedown notice under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.' (A false takedown claim under the DMCA can result in non-trivial legal liability.)" Update: 10/05 11:24 GMT by S : Google has clarified its earlier comments. The user videos will be placed in a queue for manual review not by Google, but by the content owners.
An anonymous reader writes "Just yesterday, the FTC, in conjunction with other government agencies, shut down an international telemarketing scam. A recent video has surfaced showing them in action, trying to scam one of the principals of a Canadian web start-up. Watch the scammers lie through their teeth to convince their 'victim' that he needs to buy a lifetime subscription to their anti-virus product."
McGruber writes "Michael Baxter, the network engineer at the southeastern regional headquarters of Verizon Wireless who submitted hundreds of fraudulent service requests to Cisco, has been sentenced to four years in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release. Baxter was also ordered to pay $2.3 million in restitution to Cisco Systems, and $462,828 in restitution to Verizon. Instead of placing the replacement parts into service in the Verizon Wireless network, Baxter took the parts home and sold them to third-party re-sellers for his own profit. He used the money to buy cars, jewelry and multiple cosmetic surgeries for his girlfriend."
redletterdave writes "After seven long years of litigation, Google Inc. and the Association of American Publishers have reached an agreement to settle over the search giant's book-scanning project, which will allow publishers to choose whether or not they want their books, journals and publications digitized by Google and accessed via its Google Library Project. The agreement, according to the two companies, acknowledges the rights and interests of copyright holders, so U.S. publishers can choose to remove their books and journals digitized by Google for its Library Project, or choose to keep their publications available. For those that keep their works online with Google, those publishers will be able to keep a digital copy for their own use and sell their publications via the Google Play marketplace." Also reported by Reuters, as carried by the Chicago Tribune, and the BBC.
silentbrad writes with this report from Forbes: "The dark days of SOPA and PIPA are behind the U.S., at least temporarily, as copyright tycoons reground and restrategize, attempting to come up with measures that don't cause the entire internet to shut down in protest. But one country has already moved ahead with similar legislation. The government of the Philippines has passed the Cybercrime Prevention Act, which on the surface, as usual, sounds perfectly well-intentioned. But when you read the actual contents of what's been deemed 'cybercrime,' SOPA's proposed censorship sounds downright lax by comparison. Yes, there's the usual hacking, cracking, identity theft and spamming, which most of us can agree should be illegal. But there's also cybersex, pornography, file-sharing (SOPA's main target), and the most controversial provision, online libel." At least it doesn't mention blasphemy.
judgecorp writes "Claims that old private Facebook messages have been leaking onto people's Timelines have been dismissed by the French privacy watchdog, CNIL. Apparently, as many concluded early on, the "leaked" messages were just old Wall-to-Wall posts, that users had mistakenly believed were private. Given the lack of user understanding, now is a good time for Facebook to revamp its privacy help pages. Let's hope users pay attention, and Facebook genuinely resists exploiting their naivety." Update: 10/04 17:42 GMT by T : Maybe we shouldn't be so hard on Facebook; Mark Zuckerberg says keeping up with a billion users makes it tough to follow all that data.
First time accepted submitter evrybodygonsurfin writes "The UK Government will announce details this month of a controversial national identity scheme which will allow people to use their mobile phones and social media profiles as official identification documents for accessing public services. People wishing to apply for services ranging from tax credits to fishing licences and passports will be asked to choose from a list of familiar online log-ins, including those they already use on social media sites, banks, and large retailers such as supermarkets, to prove their identity." I can't wait until carrying a telephone is mandatory. In the U.S. at least, how else will the government send you important messages?
Penurious Penguin writes "Millionaire Alexander Fishenko, owner of US-based Arc Electronics Inc, and seven others have been arrested in Houston Texas, with a total of 11 indicted in a conspiracy to smuggle advanced microelectronics from the U.S. to Russia. The technology allegedly involves components of radar, weapons guidance, and detonators. Amongst the evidence are accounting records indicating notable similarity between the revenue of Arc Electronics and the Russian Federation's defense spending; intercepted phone calls and emails; and a letter to Arc Electronics from a Russian domestic intelligence lab complaining of defective microchips . A Russian foreign ministry spokesman has denied there were any intelligence connections in the affair."
theodp writes "GeekWire reports that Microsoft is sticking to its decision to implement 'Do-Not-Track' as the default for IE 10, despite drawing the ire of corporate America, the Apache Software Foundation, and the FTC Chairman. Representatives of a veritable Who's Who of Corporate America — e.g., GM, IBM, BofA, Walmart, Merck, Allstate, AT&T, Motorola — signed off on a letter blasting Microsoft for its choice. 'By presenting Do Not Track with a default on,' the alliance argues, 'Microsoft is making the wrong choice for consumers.' The group reminds Microsoft that Apache — whose Platinum Sponsors have branded Microsoft's actions a deliberate abuse of open standards and designed its software to ignore the 'do-not-track' setting if the browser reaching it is IE 10. It also claims that the FTC Chairman, formerly supportive of Microsoft's privacy efforts, now recognizes 'the harm to consumers that Microsoft's decision could create.'"
First time accepted submitter unjedai writes "A company is putting horrible reviews of small business online, and then offering to improve the company's reputation and take the reviews off for a fraction of the cost that a real reputation improvement company would charge. Sierra West received a call from a 'reputation improvement company' telling them they had a negative review online and that the company would take the review offline if Sierra West paid $500. 'Of course when someone is offering $500 the day (the bad review) goes up seemed not legitimate.'"