An anonymous reader writes "Has Immigration Minister Jason Kenney been emailing you? Maybe it's because you're gay. The minister sent out an email on Sept 24 lauding the government's efforts to protect and promote queer rights abroad. It highlights the 'emphasis . . . on gay and lesbian refugee protection, which is without precedent in Canada's immigration history.' The Ottawa Citizen's Glen McGregor broke the story, complete with reaction over the 'creepy' letter. For many who received an email from Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney about gay refugees on Friday, the message raised one important question: How did he know I'm gay? The Conservatives have targeted written messages at minority communities in the past, most notably using direct mail lists to send out greetings to Jewish voters on religious holidays. Some recipients were alarmed by the prospect of the government assembling lists based on ethnicity or religious beliefs. Surely creating such a list will become easier when you are forced to use your real identities on social sites."
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Trailrunner7 writes with this excerpt from Threatpost: "For the last five years, NIST, the government body charged with developing new standards for computer security, among other things, has been searching for a new hash function to replace the aging SHA-2 function. Five years is a long time, but this is the federal government and things move at their own pace in Washington, but NIST soon will be announcing the winner from the five finalists that were chosen last year. Despite the problems that have cropped up with some versions of SHA-2 in the past and the long wait for the new function, there doesn't seem to be much in the way of breathless anticipation for this announcement. So much so, in fact, that Bruce Schneier, a co-author of one of the finalists not only isn't hoping that his entry wins, he's hoping that none of them wins. ... It's not because Schneier doesn't think the finalists are worthy of winning. In fact, he says, they're all good and fast and perfectly capable. The problem is, he doesn't think that the world needs a new hash function standard at all. SHA-512, the stronger version of the SHA-2 function that's been in use for more than a decade, is still holding up fine, Schneier said, which was not what cryptographers anticipated would be the case when the SHA-3 competition was conceived. 'I expect SHA-2 to be still acceptable for the foreseeable future. That's the problem. It's not like AES. Everyone knew that DES was dead — and triple-DES was too slow and clunky — and we needed something new. So when AES appeared, people switched as soon as they could. This will be different,' Schneier said via email."
curtwoodward writes "Intellectual Ventures, the controversial patent middleman company headed by former Microsoft CTO Nathan Myhrvold, has settled one of the first lawsuits it ever filed. This legal spat was with two Asian firms: South Korea-based Hynix and Japan-based Elpida. It also involved a complaint to the International Trade Commission, which roped in downstream customers including Dell and H-P because they used components from the two manufacturers. The terms weren't disclosed, but it seems quite likely that Intellectual Ventures was able to get the licensing fees it always wanted: The company's head lawyer is quoted praising the two former adversaries, and explaining once again that the company wants to license its patents instead of heading to court."
hlovy writes "Iran moved forward with their previously discussed plans for a domestic version of the Internet over the weekend, as government officials announced that Google would be one of the first websites to be filtered through their state-controlled information network. According to Reuters, officials are claiming that the country's self-contained version of the World Wide Web, which was first announced last week, is part of an initiative to improve cyber security. However, it will reportedly also give the country the ability to better control the type of information that users can access online."
An anonymous reader writes "In a blog post responding to the latest controversy over Ubuntu, Mark Shuttleworth says 'integrating online scope results' are 'not putting ads in Ubuntu' because the shopping results 'are not paid placement', but 'straightforward search results'. He goes on to explain his plans to make the Home Lens of the Dash a place to find 'anything anywhere'. Like a cross between Chrome OS's new app launcher, Siri and Google Now 'it will get smarter and smarter' so you can 'ask for whatever you want' it 'just works'."
eldavojohn writes "An article published in Pakistan's Daily Times contains several quotes from Pakistan's Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf indicating his intent to push for international blasphemy laws in both the United Nations and the Organization of Islamic Co-operation (57 countries). These comments came shortly after Pakistan's 'Day of Love for the Prophet' turned into riots that left 19 people dead and, of course, this all follows the extended trailers of 'Innocence of Muslims' being translated. Questionable circumstances surround who is prosecuted under these 'blasphemy laws' and what kind of fear they instill in Pakistan's minorities. The UN's Human Rights Charter mentions protection from 'religious intolerance' but also in the same sentence 'freedom of opinion and expression.'"
An anonymous reader writes "While there's much talk of Apple asking for more money from Samsung, there's less talk of the likelihood that the verdict will be overturned completely. Based on voir dire, and the foreman's subsequent statements to the press, it seems he failed to follow the law."
First time accepted submitter startling writes "Members of the public are being asked by the US Patent Office to help weed out bogus patent applications. It wants the public to contribute to a website that will spot applications for patents on technologies that have already been invented. The website, called Ask Patents, will be run by US firm Stack Exchange that has a track record of operating Q&A websites."
angry tapir writes "A California jury may have awarded Apple more than US$1 billion in damages in late August when it triumphed over Samsung in a hard-fought case over smartphone and tablet patents, but the iPhone maker is coming back for more: late last week it asked for additional damages of $707 million. The request includes an enhanced award of $535 million for willful violation of Apple's designs and patents, as well as about $172 million in supplemental damages based on the fact that the original damages were calculated on Samsung's sales through June 30."
First time accepted submitter karit writes with this excerpt from Scoop News: "Prime Minister John Key today announced he has requested an inquiry by the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security into the circumstances of unlawful interception of communications of certain individuals by the Government Communications Security Bureau. Mr Key says the Crown has filed a memorandum in the High Court in the Megaupload case advising the Court and affected parties that the GCSB had acted unlawfully while assisting the Police to locate certain individuals subject to arrest warrants issued in the case. The Bureau had acquired communications in some instances without statutory authority."
legolas writes "The official state online censorship body in Iran has reported that Google and Gmail are going to be blocked effective immediately, ostensibly in response to the contentious videos that YouTube is hosting. This comes as Iran is preparing the launch of their 'Halal' intranet to replace the current direct (albeit highly censored) access to the global Internet. While there have been several state-organized protests for the film 'Innocence Of Muslims' in Iran, the public in general doesn't seem bothered by it."
SquarePixel writes "Europe's competition watchdog is considering formal proceedings against Google over antitrust complaints about the way it promotes its own services in search results, potentially exposing the company to a fine of 10 percent of its global turnover. Google is accused of using its search service to direct users to its own services and to reduce the visibility of competing websites and services. If the Commission found Google guilty of breaking E.U. competition rules, it could restrict Google's business activities in Europe and fine the company up to 10 percent of its annual global revenue (US$37.9 billion last year)."
szyzyg writes "I've created some popular science videos showing how asteroid discoveries have happened over the last few decades. However I've run into a problem with a religious organization which borrowed my video and redubbed it to promote their religious message. Ultimately I filed a DMCA takedown request via YouTube's site, it's as easy as filling in a form and the video was removed. But this organization has since submitted a counterclaim claiming 'under penalty of perjury' that they do in fact have the rights to this work, and YouTube has reinstated the video. It looks like the only way I can pursue this further is to spend the money to take the organization to court and get an injunction, but even if I did so I'd have to pay court costs up front and since they're based in another country I'd have a difficult time actually collecting any money from the other party. It feels like this other group is simply gambling that I won't spend the time and resources to take further legal action, the DMCA is supposed to provide equal protection but the more lawyer you have the more 'equal' you are. So does anyone have any suggestions for how I should proceed here?"
On Friday, we posted about Kickstarter's new rules of engagement, including some new rules under which some of the most popular Kickstarter projects to date might never have surfaced. But what about ones that make it to the site, then disappear? Wired takes a look at what happens to those Kickstarter projects that for one reason or another get yanked from the site. (DMCA complaints apparently are often that one reason.)
bs0d3 writes "Alex Arnold from the Pirate Party Switzerland has been elected mayor of Eichberg. This is the first mayoral win for the pirates in Switzerland, and hopefully just the begining of things to come. Thomas Bruderer, president of the Pirate Party Switzerland, is delighted: 'This result is for our young party is an important milestone. To win a majority vote shows that our members are not just a marginal phenomenon; but are in the midst of society.'"
First time accepted submitter oldlurker writes "After much discussion where many hoped a voluntary Do Not Track standard was agreed with advertisers, it turns out the advertisers already had a very different interpretation than most of us on how to practice it: 'Two big associations, the Interactive Advertising Bureau and the Digital Advertising Alliance, represent 90% of advertisers. Downey says those big groups have devised their own interpretation of Do Not Track. When the servers controlled by those big companies encounter a DNT=1 header, says Downey, "They have said they will stop serving targeted ads but will still collect and store and monetize data."'"
WebMink writes "With an impending deadline for America's schools to satisfy new federal reporting requirements on academic achievement, a new alliance of state educators is creating a system of open source software to help schools gather and submit the data that the rules require. To get the whole thing started, the Gates Foundation and Carnegie are funding two $75,000 awards for the open source developers who create the in-school software. The winners could also become the linchpins of a new industry in academic software."
New submitter ferrisoxide.com writes "In Victoria (Australia), detailed information about electricity customers' power usage, which gives insights into when a house is occupied, is being shared with third parties including mail houses, debt collectors, data processing analysts and government agencies."
theodp writes "As part of the economic stimulus program, the Obama administration put into effect a Bush-era incentive program that provides tens of billions of dollars for physicians and hospitals that make the switch to electronic records, using systems like Athenahealth [note: video advertisement] (which made U.S. CTO Todd Park a wealthy man). The goal was not only to improve efficiency and patient safety, but also to reduce health care costs. But, in reality, the move to electronic health records may be contributing to billions of dollars in higher costs for Medicare, private insurers and patients by making it easier for hospitals and physicians to bill more for their services, whether or not they provide additional care. Hospitals received $1 billion more in Medicare reimbursements in 2010 than they did five years earlier, at least in part by changing the billing codes they assign to patients in emergency rooms, according to a NY Times analysis. There are also fears that features which can be used to automatically generate detailed patient histories and clone examination findings for multiple patients make it too easy to give the appearance that more thorough exams were conducted than perhaps were. Critics say the abuses are widespread. 'It's like doping and bicycling,' said Dr. Donald W. Simborg. 'Everybody knows it's going on.'"