NeutronCowboy writes with news that a majority of top staff members from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission have become convinced that Google "illegally used its dominance of the search market to hurt its rivals." The FTC is now drafting a memo that recommends the U.S. government begin an antitrust case against Google. "The agency’s central focus is whether Google manipulates search results to favor its own products, and makes it harder for competitors and their products to appear prominently on a results page. ... The memo is still being edited and changes could be made, but these are mostly fine-tuning and will not alter the broad conclusions reached after an inquiry that began more than a year ago, said these people, who spoke on the condition that they not be identified. ... The FTC staff memo does not mean that the government will sue Google for antitrust violations. Next, the vote of three of the five FTC commissioners would be required. And each step is a further prod for Google to make concessions to reach a settlement before going to court. Last month, Jon Leibowitz, chairman of the FTC, said a final decision on whether to sue Google would be made before the end of this year.
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×
theodp writes "In Ken Kesey's 1962 novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Nurse Ratched maintained order in the mental institution by dispensing antipsychotic and anticonvulsant drugs to the patients. Fifty years later, the NY Times reports that some physicians are prescribing stimulants to struggling students in schools starved of extra money, not to treat ADHD, necessarily, but to boost their academic performance. 'We as a society have been unwilling to invest in very effective nonpharmaceutical interventions for these children and their families,' said Dr. Ramesh Raghavan, an expert in prescription drug use among low-income children. 'We are effectively forcing local community psychiatrists to use the only tool at their disposal, which is psychotropic medications.'"
hypnosec writes "Raynaldo Rivera has pleaded guilty at the US District Court for the Central District of California to hacking the Sony Pictures Entertainment website in May 2011. The 20-year-old in his plea agreement revealed that he joined Lulzsec in May of last year in a bid to help the hacking collective carry out cyberattacks on governments and businesses. Rivera, who surrendered to the FBI on August 28 this year, admitted that he was the one who launched an SQL injection attack against sonypictures.com that enabled him to extract confidential information from the website's database."
v3rgEz writes "The Seattle Police Department is seeking to buy more unmanned aerial vehicles (a.k.a. drones) even as the two it currently owns site warehoused until the city develops a policy for their use, documents released as part of the EFF and MuckRock's Drone Census show. More frightening than the $150,000 price tag? The fact that the drone vendors market the fact that these lease agreements do 'not require voter approval.'" Does your city or town use drones?
RocketAcademy writes "New regulations by the Federal government define asteroidal material to be an antiquity, like arrowheads and pottery, rather than a mineral — and, therefore, not subject to U.S. mining law or eligible for mining claims. At the moment, these regulations only apply to asteroidal materials that have fallen to Earth as meteorites. However, they create a precedent that could adversely affect the plans of companies such as Planetary Resources, who intend to mine asteroids in space."
jonathanmayer writes "The Verge is carrying an accurate and accessible overview of the Do Not Track debate. Quoting: 'With the fate of our beloved internet economy allegedly at stake, perhaps it's a good time to examine what Do Not Track is. How did the standard come to be, what does it do, and how does it stand to change online advertising? Is it as innocuous as privacy advocates make it sound, or does it stand to jeopardize the free, ad-supported internet we've all come to rely on?' The issues surrounding Do Not Track can be difficult to understand, owing to rampant rhetoric and spin. This article unpacks the tracking technology, privacy concerns, economic questions, and political outlook. Full disclosure: I'm quoted."
fishdan writes "I'm a long time Slashdot member with excellent karma. I am also the Libertarian candidate for U.S. Congress in the Massachusetts 6th District. I am on the ballot. I polled 7% in the only poll that included me, which was taken six weeks ago, before I had done any advertising, been in any debates or been on television. In the most recent debate, the general consensus was that I moved a very partisan crowd in my favor. In the two days since that debate, donations and page views are up significantly. Yesterday I received a stunning email from the local ABC affiliate telling me they were going to exclude me from their televised debate because I did not have $50,000 in campaign contributions, even though during my entire campaign I have pointedly and publicly refused corporate donations. They cited several other trumped up reasons, including polling at 10%, but there has not been a poll that included me since the one six weeks ago — and I meet their other requirements."
New submitter Ibhuk writes "I leave my email stored online, as do many modern email users, particularly for services like Gmail with its ever-expanding storage limit. I don't bother downloading every email I receive. According to the South Carolina Supreme Court, this doesn't qualify as electronic storage. This means most email users are not protected by the Stored Communications Act. All your emails are fair game, so be careful what you write. From the article: 'This new decision creates a split with existing case law (Theofel v. Farey-Jones) as decided in a 2004 case decided by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. That decision found that an e-mail message that was received, read, and left on a server (rather than being deleted) did constitute storage "for purposes of backup protection," and therefore was also defined as being kept in "electronic storage." Legal scholars point to this judicial split as yet another reason why the Supreme Court (and/or Congress) should take up the issue of the Stored Communications Act.'"
At this summer's HOPE, Eben Moglen was one of the most incisive and entertaining speakers. But since only a small fraction of the Earth's population can fit into an aging hotel meeting room, you can watch his HOPE presentation via Archive.org on making the first law of robotics apply to cell phones. Besides being a professor at Columbia Law, former clerk in U.S. federal court as well as to Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, and a prolific writer, Moglen is founding director of the Software Freedom Law Center as well as the creator of the FreedomBox Foundation, and was for many years general counsel of the Free Software Foundation. Moglen has strong opinions, and a lot to say, about software licensing and freedom, copyright, patents, and (as you can see from the video linked above) about the privacy implications of always-on, always-on-us technology. Next week, I'll be meeting up with Moglen for a short interview. If you have a question for Eben, please post it below; I can't guarantee how many reader questions I'll have a chance to ask him, but the more, the merrier.
Maow writes with word that the U.S. Federal Appeals Court has reversed a sales ban on Samsung's Galaxy Nexus phone. According to the decision (PDF), "Regardless of the extent to which Apple may be injured by the sales of the Galaxy Nexus, there is not a sufficient showing that the harm flows from Samsung’s alleged infringement. ...the district court abused its discretion in enjoining the sales of the Galaxy Nexus." The ruling also said Apple didn't do a good enough job showing that the allegedly infringing features were "core" to the Nexus's operation. The case centered on what is called "unified search," a method for bringing together search results from multiple places, such as a device's internal memory and the internet at large (U.S. Patent #8,086,604). "Apple must show that consumers buy the Galaxy Nexus because it is equipped with the apparatus claimed in the ’604 patent—not because it can search in general, and not even because it has unified search."
xSander writes "The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) will urge a federal judge in San Jose, CA to rule that Universal abused the DMCA to take down a video of a toddler dancing to a Prince song. The case in question, whose oral argument will be Tuesday, October 16, is Stephanie Lenz vs. Universal, a case that began back in 2007. Lenz shared a video on YouTube of her son dancing to 'Let's Go Crazy' on a stereo in the background. After Universal took the video down, Lenz filed a suit with help of the EFF to hold Universal accountable for taking down her fair use. The court had already decided that content owners must consider fair use before sending copyright takedown notices."
Onymous Hero writes "Following the recent YouTube video 'The Innocence of Muslims' and the subsequent Muslim violence, Saudi Arabia has stated that there is a 'crying need for international collaboration to address "freedom of expression" which clearly disregards public order.' The World Telecommunications Policy Forum (a UN body) is the vehicle by which Saudi Arabia (and possibly other states) will try to use to implement a global set of internet content standards."
Qedward writes "Open source writer Glyn Moody discusses the Draft Communications Bill (aka Snooper's Charter) in the UK and how the Joint Parliamentary Committee that had been considering the bill received almost 19,000 emails during its consultation period. He notes: 'Out of 19,000 emails received by the Committee on the subject of the proposed Draft Communications Bill, not a single one was in favor of it, or even agreed with its premise. Has there ever been a bill so universally rejected by the public in a consultation? Clearly, it must be thrown out completely.'"
Tonight's debate between the two largest American political parties' candidates for vice president of the United States takes place at Danville, Kentucky's Centre College, starting at 9 p.m. Joe Biden and Paul Ryan will face each other on stage, and are expected to talk about issues "including the economy, foreign policy and the role of the Vice President," according to C-SPAN, which will feature a live streaming view of the event. (Criteria from the Commission on Presidential Debates means you won't hear tonight from other presidential candidates' running mates (like Cheri Honkala, Jim Clymer, and James Gray, of the Green, Constitution, and Libertarian party tickets, respectively). If you'll be watching the debate tonight, please add your commentary below. It would be helpful if you start your comment's title with a time-stamp (to the minute), too, for context. (Like this: "9:08: $Candidate just intentionally mis-repeated the Q on taxes.") And Yes, we're posting this here in a vain attempt to keep the political discussion out of other story threads tonight. Update: 10/12 01:18 GMT by U L : If you don't have flash, you can use rtmpdump and mplayer to watch (incantation duplicated below, in case the site is slashdotted).
concealment writes "A judge has ruled that the libraries who have provided Google with their books to scan are protected by copyright's fair use doctrine. While the decision doesn't guarantee that Google will win—that's still to be decided in a separate lawsuit—the reasoning of this week's decision bodes well for Google's case. Most of the books Google scans for its book program come from libraries. After Google scans each book, it provides a digital image and a text version of the book to the library that owns the original. The libraries then contribute the digital files to a repository called the Hathitrust Digital Library, which uses them for three purposes: preservation, a full-text search engine, and electronic access for disabled patrons who cannot read the print copies of the books."