Bismillah writes "The 'Skynet' copyright act has been in effect for six months in New Zealand and rights holders reckon it halved the number of infringements in the first month. Even so, they're not happy and say over forty per cent of Kiwis continue to infringe online. The fix? Rightsholders want the current NZ$25 infringement notice processing fee payable to ISPs to be dropped to just a few dollars or even pennies, so that they can send out thousands of notices a month. ISPs want the fee to increase four times instead, to cover their costs. Unfortunately, the submissions for the review of the infringement notice fees are kept secret by the government."
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theodp writes "Apple may have killed off Ping, its attempt at a music social network, but the USPTO on Thursday disclosed that Apple has patent-pending plans for a hearing aid-based social network. So, if Apple's granted patents covering its Social Network for Sharing a Hearing Aid Setting and method of Remotely Updating a Hearing Aid Profile, will it use them to 'go thermonuclear' on Google when the search giant gets around to improving its current offerings for the hard of hearing?"
Modellismo writes "Last week four journalists from Sansai Books were arrested for selling, through the company website, a copy of a magazine published last year (with a free cover mounted disc) focused on how to backup/rip DVDs. They violated Japan's Unfair Competition Prevention Law that recently has been revised to make illegal the sale of any DRM circumvention device or software. It's interesting to note that Japanese cyber police could arrest the Amazon Japan CEO, too, as the online giant is selling a lot of magazines, books and software packages for DVD copy and ripping: exactly what put Sansai Books' staff in trouble."
First time accepted submitter ubrgeek writes "Popular game Minecraft has hit the big time: It's being sued for infringement by patent troll Uniloc who claims the game infringes a patent it holds on copy protection software. Developer Markus 'Notch' Persson sounds like he's up for the challenge: 'Unfortunately for them, they're suing us over a software patent. If needed, I will throw piles of money at making sure they don't get a cent.'"
The Seattle Times reports that Dmitry Olegovick Zubakha, "A Russian man believed to be behind cyberattacks on Seattle-based Amazon.com and other online retailers in June, 2008 has been arrested in Cyprus, says U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan." Along with a partner, Sergey Vioktorovich Logashov (still at large), Zubakha apparently also undertook, and later bragged about, attacks on Priceline and Ebay. After extradition, he's expected to face trial in the U.S. for possession of illegal access devices, conspiracy, and aggravated identity theft.
An anonymous reader writes "In attempting to fend off Apple's suit against Motorola Mobility and advancing its own patent litigation against Apple, Google, which is facing a lot of regulatory scrutiny in the U.S. and abroad over what some allege is abuse of standard essential patents, has been arguing that proprietary non-standardized technologies that become ubiquitous due to their popularity with consumers should be considered de facto standards."
New submitter niftydude writes "Australian newspaper The Age is carrying the story: The Australian Sex Party has threatened Google with legal action after the search engine refused to run its ads on the eve of tomorrow's Melbourne by-election. It comes after Sex Party ads were blocked by Google at the last federal election because the company — which is typically opposed to censorship — perceived the text as too racy (the ads were reinstated by Google the day before the election). Sex Party candidate Fiona Patten said this time the search giant said it would not approve her ads 'because we have a donate button on our page and we're not a charity.' Don't all political parties allow donations? Is google imposing its own sense of morality onto Australian politics?"
An anonymous reader writes "The Indonesian government has blocked access to 1 million pornographic websites in advance of Ramadan, the country's holy month. Internet censorship is nothing new in Indonesia, but the scale of this particular restriction is unprecedented. Apparently this is only the beginning. Minister Tifatul Sembiring said Wednesday his office would target more sites through the country's holy month, and beyond."
Nerval's Lobster writes with news that U.S. federal agencies are falling behind in their efforts to consolidate government data centers. Current plans call for a savings of $2.4 billion and the closing of over a thousand data centers, but 17 of 24 agencies still haven't provided details on their IT infrastructure and usage. A new report from the Government Accountability Office highlights the problems with this consolidation effort. "Data centers represent a significant cost to the federal government. Electricity to operate federal servers and data centers costs around $450 million a year, according to an EPA estimate cited in the report. Moreover, federal agencies reported limited reuse of data centers, along with server utilization rates dipping as low as 5 percent. The GAO report features agencies claiming several challenges on the way to data-center consolidation. These included accepting cultural change as part of the consolidation; funding the consolidation and identifying the resulting cost savings; operational challenges including procurement and resource constraints; and difficulties in planning a migration strategy."
Aryden writes with news of a recent court decision in which a judge ruled it was acceptable for police to impersonate the owner of a cell phone they had seized, in order to extract information from the owner's friends. The ruling stems from an incident in 2009 when police officers seized the iPhone of a suspected drug dealer, then used text messages to set up a meeting with another person seeking drugs. "'There is no long history and tradition of strict legislative protection of a text message sent to, displayed, and received from its intended destination, another person's iPhone,' Penoyar wrote in his decision. He pointed to a 1990 case in which the police seized a suspected drug dealer's pager as an example. The officers observed which phone numbers appeared on the pager, called those numbers back, and arranged fake drug purchases with the people on the other end of the line. A federal appeals court held that the pager owner's Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure were not violated because the pager is 'nothing more than a contemporary receptacle for telephone numbers,' akin to an address book. The court also held that someone who sends his phone number to a pager has no reasonable expectation of privacy because he can't be sure that the pager will be in the hands of its owner. Judge Penoyar said that the same reasoning applies to text messages sent to an iPhone. While text messages may be legally protected in transit, he argued that they lose privacy protections once they have been delivered to a target device in the hands of the police."
An anonymous reader writes "Elections Ontario, an agency tasked with the organization and conduct of general elections and by-elections in Canada's Ontario region, is warning voters about the loss and potential theft of two USB sticks containing private information of 2.4 million voters from approximately 20–25 electoral districts. The information at issue is limited to full name, gender, birth date, address, whether or not an elector voted in the last provincial election and any other personal information updates provided by voters to Elections Ontario during that time, as well as administrative codes used solely for election purposes. The information does not include how an individual voted."
sunbird writes "The Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court in San Francisco on behalf of an anonymous petitioner seeking to challenge a National Security Letter (NSL) the petitioner had received. NSLs are issued by law enforcement with neither judicial oversight nor probable cause, and have been discussed on Slashdot before. In response to the lawsuit, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a separate lawsuit against the individual who had received the NSL, requesting that the court order the recipient to comply with the NSL and asking the court to find that the 'failure to comply with a lawfully issued National Security Letter interferes with the United States' vindication of its sovereign interests in law enforcement, counterintelligence, and protecting national security.' Both cases are filed under seal, but heavily-redacted filings are available. The cases remain pending."
Jeremiah Cornelius writes "Wal-Mart — the retail king of Big Data analytics — will be meeting Mark Zuckerberg for two days in Bentonville, to 'deepen' their relationship with Facebook. The CEO-level strategy summit is intended to bolster the relationship between the world's No. 1 social network and the world's largest retailer. Wal-Mart has been left in the dust online by the behemoth Amazon. An alliance may be poised to challenge this dominance, particularly in light of Amazon's planned foray into same-day delivery nationwide. The companies share James Breyer, who sits on the boards of both Facebook and Wal-Mart. Adding another angle to this, Yahoo's new CEO, Marissa Mayer, was elected to Wal-Mart's board in early June, while she was still at Google. Earlier this month, Facebook and Yahoo settled a patent dispute and announced plans to form another 'strategic alliance' involving advertising and distribution. The implications for online privacy in this series of relationships are uncertain."
beaverdownunder sends the sad news that a gunman opened fire on an audience watching the new Batman movie early this morning, killing 12 and wounding 50 others. The shooting took place in Aurora, Colorado, and the suspect was arrested by police. "Witnesses told KUSA that the gunman kicked in an emergency exit door and threw a smoke bomb into the darkened theater before opening fire. One movie-goer, who was not identified, told KUSA the gunman was wearing a gas mask. Some people in the audience thought the thick smoke and gunfire was a special effect accompanying the movie, police and witnesses said."
angry tapir writes "Twitter plans to appeal a ruling to turn over the once-public tweets of an Occupy Wall Street protester charged with disorderly conduct, a case the company says threatens the First Amendment rights of its users. A New York Criminal Court judge ruled last month that Twitter should turn over the tweets of Malcolm Harris, since his messages were public and are not the same as an email or a private chat, which would require a search warrant."