inode_buddha writes "Randall Long, a senior attorney who led several antitrust investigations against Google, has been hired by Microsoft. From the article: 'The software giant told the Wall Street Journal yesterday that it hired Randall Long, an official at the FTC's Bureau of Competition. When he joins the software giant at the end of the month, Long will head up Microsoft's regulatory affairs division in Washington. Long was involved in FTC reviews of Google's acquisitions of both DoubleClick and AdMob. According to the Journal's unnamed sources, Long was especially outspoken about Google's AdMob acquisition, saying that the FTC should challenge the deal. His reservations were eventually set aside and the deal was approved in 2010.'"
Slashdot stories can be listened to in audio form via an RSS feed, as read by our own robotic overlord.
An anonymous reader writes "An article in the Guardian, penned by Joss Wright and Tom Chatfield, discusses whether we — as in Internet users in general — are, or indeed are not, giving away way too much information about ourselves to large Corporations that profit handsomely from mining the info. The article talks about how contemporary internet companies — perhaps predictably — are run with a 'privacy is dead' motto. It considers what implications having all your private data out on the internet — where it can be seen, searched, shared, retransmitted, perhaps archived forever without your consent — has for the 'future of our society' (by which the authors presumably mean the society of the UK). The (rather long) article ends by mentioning that Gmail scans your email, that Facebook apps frequently send your private data right to the app developer, that iPhones are known to log your geographic location, and that some smartphone apps read your address book and messages, then dial home to transmit this info to the company that developed the app."
An anonymous reader writes "I'm starting a new job soon, and I will be issued a work laptop. For obvious reasons I cannot name any names, but I can state that I do expect my employer to have tracking software on the laptop, and I expect to not be the administrator on the device. That being said, I am not the kind of person who can just 'not browse the internet.' If I ever have to travel with this laptop, I may want to read an ebook or watch a movie or maybe even play a game. I can make an image of the drive, then wipe the machine, and restore it back to its former state if I ever have to return it. I can use portable apps off a usb key and browse in private mode. The machine will be encrypted, but I can also make myself my own little encrypted folder or partition perhaps. Are there any other precautions I could or should take?"
First time accepted submitter InsertCleverUsername writes "The Department of Commerce has announced a $10,000 contest for developers making apps to utilize Commerce and other publicly available data and information to support American businesses. Developers must use at least one Department of Commerce dataset to create an application that assists businesses and/or improves the service delivery of Business.USA.gov to the business community. Developers may choose any platform. A list of developer-friendly data sets can be found on the Business Data and Tools page of Data.gov."
theodp writes "Over at Salon, Annie Keeghan does an Upton Sinclair number on the math textbook industry. In recent years, Keeghan explains, math has become the subject du jour due to government initiatives and efforts to raise the rankings of lagging U.S. students. But with state and local budgets constrained, math textbook publishers competing for fewer available dollars are rushing their products to market before their competitors, resulting in product that in many instances is inherently, tragically flawed. Keeghan writes: 'There may be a reason you can't figure out some of those math problems in your son or daughter's math text and it might have nothing at all to do with you. That math homework you're trying to help your child muddle through might include problems with no possible solution. It could be that key information or steps are missing, that the problem involves a concept your child hasn't yet been introduced to, or that the math problem is structurally unsound for a host of other reasons.' The comments on Keeghan's article are also an eye-opener — here's a sample: 'Sales and marketing budgets are astronomical because the expenses pay off more than investments in product. Sadly, most teachers are not curriculum experts and are swayed by the surface pitches. Teachers make the decisions, but are not the users (students) nor are they spending their own money. As a result, products that make their lives easier and that come with free meals and gifts are the most successful.' So, can open source or competitions build better math textbooks?"
Zordak writes "Patent blogger Dennis Crouch writes on Patently-O of a catch-22 for attorneys. Patent attorneys are required to submit all prior art that they know of to the patent office. Failing to do so is an ethical violation, and can result in a patent being invalidated. But now the Hoboken Publishing Company and the American Institute of Physics are suing a major patent firm for copyright infringement, because they submit articles to the patent office without paying a separate royalty."
PatPending writes with this excerpt from TorrentFreak: "The RetroShare network allows people to create a private and encrypted file-sharing network. Users add friends by exchanging PGP certificates with people they trust. All the communication is encrypted using OpenSSL and files that are downloaded from strangers always go through a trusted friend. In other words, it's a true Darknet and virtually impossible to monitor by outsiders. RetroShare founder DrBob told us that while the software has been around since 2006, all of a sudden there's been a surge in downloads. 'The interest in RetroShare has massively shot up over the last two months,' he said."
theodp writes "Apple, which is currently waging IP war on Android vendors, is no stranger to patent trolling. Citing the Steve Jobs bio, Forbes' Eric Jackson recalls how Steve Jobs used patents to get Bill Gates to make a 1997 investment in Apple. Recalled Jobs: 'Microsoft was walking over Apple's patents. I said [to Gates], "If we kept up our lawsuits, a few years from now we could win a billion-dollar patent suit. You know it, and I know it. But Apple's not going to survive that long if we're at war. I know that. So let's figure out how to settle this right away. All I need is a commitment that Microsoft will keep developing for the Mac and an investment by Microsoft in Apple so it has a stake in our success.' Next thing you know, BillG was lording over Jobs at Macworld Boston, as the pair announced the $150 million investment that breathed new life into then-struggling Apple. So, does Gates deserve any credit for helping create the world's most valuable company?"
An anonymous reader writes "'Private companies could take responsibility for investigating crimes, patrolling neighborhoods and even detaining suspects under a radical privatization plan,' The Guardian reports. 'The contract is the largest on police privatization so far, with a potential value of £1.5bn over seven years, rising to a possible £3.5bn depending on how many other forces get involved.' A worrying development in a country with an ever-increasing culture of surveillance and intrusive policing."
ananyo writes "The Virgina Supreme Court on Friday tossed out an investigation by the state's conservative attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli, into Michael Mann, the former University of Virginia climatologist whose work on the now-famous hockey-stick graph has become a lightning rod for climate skeptics. 'In a dense and conflicted 26-page ruling (PDF) covering a century and a half of case law — including references to kings as well as modern "functional incongruities" that divided the judges themselves — Virginia’s high court ruled that the university is not a "person" and thus is not subject to Cuccinelli’s demands under the state’s Fraud Against Taxpayers Act.' The 'climategate' scientist has been cleared of wrongdoing by a number of investigations."
schwit1 writes "A Cook County judge Friday ruled the state's controversial eavesdropping law unconstitutional. The law makes it a felony offense to make audio recordings of police officers without their consent even when they're performing their public duties. Judge Stanley Sacks, who is assigned to the Criminal Courts Building, found the eavesdropping law unconstitutional because it potentially criminalizes 'wholly innocent conduct.' The decision came in the case of Christopher Drew, an artist who was arrested in December 2009 for selling art on a Loop street without a permit. Drew was charged with a felony violation of the eavesdropping law after he used an audio recorder in his pocket to capture his conversations with police during his arrest."
New submitter DnaK writes "The Federal Communications Commission is reviewing whether or when the police and other government officials can intentionally interrupt cellphone and Internet service to protect public safety. A scary proposition which will easily become a First Amendment issue. Does the FCC have the authority to [regulate local or state authorities' decision to] take down cellular networks if they determine there is an imminent threat? The FCC is currently asking for public input (PDF) on this decision." According to the article, "among the issues on which the F.C.C. is seeking comment is whether it even has authority over the issue. The public notice asks for comment on whether the F.C.C. itself has legal authority over shutdowns of wireless service and whether it can pre-empt local, state or federal laws that prohibit or constrain the ability of anyone to interrupt service." Maybe they just don't like being upstaged by BART.
waderoush writes "In March 2011, personalized-magazine startup Zite got a cease-and-desist letter from a group of 11 media giants outraged by the way Zite's popular iPad app 'misappropriated' their news articles. By August 2011, Zite had become part of CNN, which is owned by Time Warner, one of the organizations behind the C&D letter. Zite's brief clash with the media establishment, followed by its swift assimilation into the same establishment, is emblematic of a larger story unfolding in the media business: the grudging acknowledgement by publishers that readers want to access their content in new ways. In this article Zite CEO Mark Johnson explains how the startup mollified publishers (by presenting articles in 'Web view' mode rather than a stripped-down 'reader mode'), why CNN bought the company, and how it strives to make reading more enjoyable while still respecting publishers' business models."
smoothjazz writes "Governments are justified to prevent very skinny models from walking the catwalk and ban photographs and advertisements suggesting that extreme thinness is attractive, according to a group of researchers who found that social and cultural environment influences on young women is largely responsible for the spread of chronic eating disorder."
Pat Attack writes "I think most of the people who read Slashdot know that if it has circuitry, it can be hacked. Well, the good folks over at CNN have an article about the potential for your car to be hacked. This article lists the potential damage that could be done, proof of concept work, as well as a few scary scenarios. 'With vehicles taking up to three years to develop, [security strategist Brian Contos] says manufacturers will struggle to keep abreast of rapidly-evolving threats unless they organize regular software updates. Instead, he says, any installed technology should be given a so-called "white list" of permissible activities beyond which any procedures are blocked.' My mom reads CNN and is a Luddite. I expect to hear from her today. She'll probably tell me my new car with bluetooth is unsafe."