derekmead writes "Data from the enormous Green Bank Telescope at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory has been used to test some of Einstein's theories, discover new molecules in space, and find evidence of the building blocks of life and of the origins of galaxies. With 6,600 hours of observation time a year, the GBT produces massive amounts of data on the makeup of space, and any researchers with reason to use the data are welcome to do so. The eleven-year-old GBT stands as one of the crowning achievements of American big science. But with the National Science Foundation strapped for cash like most other science-minded government agencies, the NRAO's funding is threatened. In August of this year, the Astronomy Portfolio Review, a committee appointed by the NSF, recommended that the GBT be defunded over the next five years. Researchers, along with locals and West Virginia congressmen, are fighting the decision, which puts the nearly $100 million telescope at risk. Unless they succeed, America's giant dish will go silent."
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J053 sends word that California has passed legislation making it illegal for both colleges and employers to request social media account access from students, employees, and prospective hires. "Assemblymember Nora Campos, who authored the bill, called AB 1844 a 'preemptive measure' that will offer guidelines to the accessibility of private information behind what she calls the 'social media wall.' ... According to Campos' office, more than 100 cases currently before the National Labor Relations Board involve employer workplace policies around social media. Facebook has also said it has experienced an increase in reports of employers seeking to gain 'inappropriate access' to people's Facebook profiles or private information."
Barence writes "A British man was jailed for 18 months for accidentally sending an explicit text message to his entire address book. 24-year-old swimming coach Craig Evans intended to send a text message to his girlfriend asking her for sex. Instead, the message was accidentally sent to his entire BlackBerry address book, including two girls, aged 13 and 14, from his swimming class. He was subsequently arrested and charged with 'causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity,' and – incredibly – jailed for 18 months at Birmingham Crown Court in July. Yesterday, an appeal's court freed Evans, although he wasn't cleared — the sentence was merely reduced to a nine-month suspended jail term."
hypnosec writes "According to data obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), surveillance of emails and other forms of Internet communications without warrants has increased substantially over the last two years. Documents, obtained by the ACLU, reveal that there has been a 361% increase in 'pen register' and 'trap-and-trace' orders between 2009 and 2011. The ACLU has appealed to Congress to bring in more judicial oversight in these warrantless orders."
nemesisrocks writes "ASIC, Australia's version of the SEC, has called for phone call and internet data to be stored by Australian ISPs, in a submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry into mandatory data retention. Not only does the authority want the powers to intercept the times, dates and details of telecommunications information, it also wants access to the contents of emails, social media chats and text messages."
New submitter quippe writes in with some bad news for Microsoft. "Microsoft Corp will be charged for failing to comply with a 2009 ruling ordering it to offer a choice of web browsers, the European Union's antitrust chief said on Thursday, which could mean a hefty fine for the company. U.S.-based Microsoft's more than decade-long battle with the European Commission has already landed it with fines totaling more than a billion euros ($1.28 billion). The Commission, which opened an investigation into the issue in July, is now preparing formal charges against the company, EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said."
coondoggie writes "The U.S. Department of Homeland Security this week issued a call for unmanned systems makers to participate in a program that will ultimately determine their safety and performance for use in first responder, law enforcement and border security situations. In a twist that will certainly raise some eyebrows, the results of the program — called the Robotic Aircraft for Public Safety (RAPS) — will remain unavailable to the public, which, considering how involved the actual public may be with these drones is unfortunate."
New submitter M0j0_j0j0 writes "After receiving 2000 complaints regarding 'illegal file sharing' from ACAPOR regarding P2P networks, the Portuguese prosecutor refused to take the case into court on the premise that file sharing is not illegal in the territory if files are for personal and not commercial use. The court also stated that the complaints had, as sole evidence, the IP address of users, and that it is a wrong statement to assume an IP address is directly related to one individual. TorrentFreak has a piece in English with more details (original source in Portuguese)."
angry tapir writes "Bitcoin exchanges generally don't seem to recover that easily after security breaches. However, BitFloor, which was hacked and had 24,000 Bitcoins stolen in early September, is coming back online, refunding account holders whose coins were stolen and implementing new security measures, including cold storage for private keys." The key word is "intends" — but I hope it happens as promised.
Mad Hamster writes "In the latest installment of the megaupload saga, an official study has determined that New Zealand's Government Communications and Security Bureau broke NZ law by spying on Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom. NZ Prime Minister John Key has apologised to Dotcom and all New Zealanders for this, saying they were entitled to be protected by the law but it had failed them. Link is to writeup in The Guardian." Lots of outlets are reporting this, based on TorrentFreak's report.
silentbrad writes "The CBC (among others) reports: "A Facebook spokesperson is denying reports that private messages sent by users on the social networking site have become public. The purported glitch began generating attention Monday after French newspaper Metro reported that private messages dating from 2007 to 2009 had become accessible to friends and acquaintances on their profile pages. Other newspapers across the country began reporting similar incidences, citing reports from the site's users. The issue may be related to Facebook moving to its Timeline layout worldwide. ... The company issued a statement in response, saying: 'A small number of users raised concerns after what they believed to be private messages appeared on their timeline. Our engineers investigated these reports and found that the messages were older wall posts that had always been visible on the users' profile pages. Facebook is satisfied that there has been no breach of user privacy.' TechCrunch.com wrote that there was no evidence the messages in question had been private, and posted an explanation from a company spokesperson. 'Every report we've seen, we've gone back and checked. We haven't seen one report that's been confirmed [of a private message being exposed]. A lot of the confusion is because before 2009 there were no likes and no comments on wall posts. People went back and forth with wall posts instead of having a conversation [in the comments of single wall post.]'"
chicksdaddy writes "File this one under 'proof of the obvious,' but researchers at the recent 4th International Workshop on Location Based Social Networks presented a paper proving that your activity on Foursquare can be used to reliably determine your hometown. A study of data on 13 million Foursquare accounts showed that researchers could infer 'with high accuracy' where a particular user lives based on their accumulation of mayorships, check-ins and tips. Specifically: the researchers could correctly infer the home town of the Foursquare users 78% of the time, within an accuracy of about 50 kilometers."
First time accepted submitter Cute and Cuddly writes in with some new Julian Assange news. "The U.S. military has designated Julian Assange and WikiLeaks as enemies of the United States — the same legal category as the al-Qaeda terrorist network and the Taliban insurgency. Declassified US Air Force counter-intelligence documents, released under US freedom-of-information laws, reveal that military personnel who contact WikiLeaks or WikiLeaks supporters may be at risk of being charged with 'communicating with the enemy.'"
h00manist writes that, as promised, "The police executed an order to detain Google's top executive in Brazil (Original in Portuguese), Fábio José Silva Coelho. Google refused an order to remove a YouTube video which accused a mayoral candidate of several crimes. Police say he will be released today; Brazilian law for the case allows for a one-year max sentence. Streisand Effect, anyone?"
An anonymous reader writes "In an apparent reaction to the security vulnerabilities demonstrated by The H's associates at heise Security, the company behind WhatsApp Messenger is taking action against the developers of a library of functions for using the WhatsApp service via a PC. The developers have responded by removing the source code from the web. However, the popular texting alternative WhatsApp still has a major security problem. Attackers can compromise other users' accounts with relative ease, and send and receive messages from another user's account. Forked versions of the code are still available on Github."