Fluffeh writes "Can a farmer commit patent infringement just by planting soybeans he bought on the open market? This week, the Supreme Court asked the Obama administration to weigh in on the question. The Court is pondering an appeals court decision saying that such planting can, in fact, infringe patents. Last year, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled, as it had on several previous occasions, that patent exhaustion did not cover second-generation seeds. The Supreme Court has now asked the Solicitor General, the official in charge of representing the Obama administration before the Court, to weigh in on the case."
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An anonymous reader writes "A 28-year-old woman was recently accused of assault and arrested based on a thumbnail photo from her profile pic on Facebook. Artist Lizz Aston was identified in a lineup after police used a picture from her Facebook profile. From the article: 'In an interview she said, "I told the officer I was at an art opening for a friend, then went home with my boyfriend because he injured his knee. We stayed in for the rest of the night and I did research on the computer for an art installation I was working on. The officer didn't care ... I don't think the police looked into it further." Aston said, the officer "read me my rights. I was searched, finger printed and processed."'"
LordofEntropy writes "Though unlikely to pass any First Amendment test. Arizona's Gov. Jan Brewer has a bill on her desk that would in essence make 'trolling' illegal. The law states 'It is unlawful for any person, with intent to terrify, intimidate, threaten, harass, annoy or offend, to use any electronic or digital device and use any obscene, lewd or profane language or suggest any lewd or lascivious act, or threaten to inflict physical harm to the person or property of any person.'" This did indeed manage to pass through both houses of legislature and only needs a signature to become law.
Hkibtimes writes, quoting the International Business Times: "The Anonymous hacking collective has landed in China, home of some of the most tightly controlled Internet access in the world, and defaced hundreds of government websites in what appears to be a massive online operation against Beijing. Anonymous listed its intended institutional targets on Pastebin and has now attacked them."
New submitter CAPSLOCK2000 writes "The Dutch Pirateparty has refused an order from BREIN to take down a proxy to The Pirate Bay. Last month BREIN (the distribution-industries paralegal outfit) forced a number of ISPs to block The Pirate Bay; the first site ever blocked in the Netherlands. Immediately people started using proxies at other ISPs to get to TPB. BREIN then threatened a number of those proxies with legal action. As most of these are run by hobbyists without legal or financial means there was little resistance. Now the Dutch Pirateparty has decided to stand up to the intimidation and refuses to take down its proxy. Today they sent their response in style: by uploading it to The Pirate Bay. In translation: 'The Pirateparty disputes your claim and will not comply with your request.'" Via Torrentfreak, Pirate Party chairman Dirk Poot: "There are a plethora of proxy sites on the internet. On almost any them TPB can by reached, even with a single URL. That's not even mentioning the ways you can get to TPB if you're willing to put in more effort than saving a single URL. If this keeps going there will be no Internet left by the time BREIN has achieved its goal of making TPB inaccessible. ... In their self-righteous zealousness they have brought substantial damage to the free and open Internet."
suraj.sun writes, quoting the Denver Post: "A federal court has thrown out a 2010 Colorado law, which had already been temporarily blocked in federal court last year, meant to spur online retailers like Amazon to collect state sales tax. 'I conclude that the veil provided by the words of the act and the regulations is too thin to support the conclusion that the act and the regulations regulate in-state and out-of-state retailers even-handedly,' U.S. District Judge Robert Blackburn wrote in his opinion. The law and the rules to carry it out 'impose an undue burden on interstate commerce' and are unconstitutional, the judge wrote. The tax mainly affected online sales of out-of-state companies that have in-state affiliates, usually generating sales through links on their websites." I wonder what this means for the plethora of similar bills in other states. Will Amazon continue to call for a national Internet sales tax if they are all struck down?
Fluffeh writes "In the ongoing Megaupload saga, Carpathia, the company that hosted Megaupload, is in a tough pickle. The EFF wants the data to remain on the servers so that users can get legitimate data back, the MPAA doesn't want the servers back, because it will lead to piracy. Megaupload wants to buy the servers to get all the data, but isn't allowed to as that would have the servers leaving the court's jurisdiction. The U.S .Government won't pay Carpathia for the time that the servers are sitting idle and has a new song in its repertoire by announcing yesterday that the servers 'may contain child pornography,' which would render them 'contraband' and limit Carpathia's options for dealing with them."
Fluffeh writes "Motorola Mobility has found itself on the receiving end of an antitrust investigation by the European Commission due to its alleged abuse of standards-essential patents related to WiFi, H.264, and 3G wireless networking. The EC investigation comes shortly after it launched a similar investigation of Samsung, which has been attempting to leverage its 3G-related patents against Apple. The investigation could be especially worrisome for Google, which was recently granted approval of its planned merger with Motorola."
An anonymous reader writes "As expected, Facebook today filed its own patent infringement lawsuit against Yahoo. The social networking giant is claiming the online giant infringes on 10 of its patents. This is a countersuit and will likely lead to some sort of settlement between the two parties. Facebook says Yahoo is infringing on a wide range of its services, including its homepage, content optimization, relevance engine, Flickr photo-sharing service, and advertising throughout the service. Two months ago, Yahoo threatened Facebook with patent war. Last month, the online giant sued the social networking giant over 10 patents and the technology industry made sure to criticize Yahoo like never before."
An anonymous reader writes "You probably don't remember the RockYou fiasco as it happened in late 2009. In case you don't, social game developer RockYou suffered a serious SQL injection flaw on its flagship website. Worse, the company was storing user details in plain text. As a result, tens of millions of login details, including those belonging to minors, were stolen and published online. Now, RockYou has finally settled with the Federal Trade Commission."
retroworks writes "Crystal Cox, a Montana woman who calls herself an 'investigative journalist,' was slapped with a $2.5-million judgment last year for defaming an investment firm and one of its lead partners. Cox had taken control of the Google footprint of Obsidian Finance and its principal Kevin Padrick by writing hundreds of posts about them on dozens of websites she owned, inter-linking them in ways that made them rise up in Google search results; it ruined Obsidian's business due to prospective clients being put off by the firm's seemingly terrible online reputation. After Obsidian sued Cox, she contacted them offering her 'reputation services;' for $2,500 a month, she could 'fix' the firm's reputation and help promote its business. The Forbes Article goes on to describe how she tried to similarly leverage attorneys and journalists reputations. Finding some of her targets were too well established in google rank to pester or intimidate, Cox moved to family members, reserving domain names for one of her target's 3-year-old daughter. Forbes columnist Kashmir Hill makes the case that this clearly isn't journalism, and establishes a boundary for free speech online."
An anonymous reader writes "Researchers from the University of Lugano, Switzerland, and other universities from the U.S. and Europe organize a competition to automatically identify sexual predators in chat logs. The task is described as: 'The goal of this sub-task is to identify classes of authors, namely online predators. You will be given chat logs involving two (or more) people and have to determine who is the one trying to convince the other participants(s) to provide some sexual favor. You will also need to identify the particular conversation where the person exploits his bad behavior.' Their data set covers hundreds of chat logs with dozens of true positives (i.e., chats where one is trying to hit on another)."
A fight over posting calorie counts for popcorn is just one example of the clash between the White House and the agency charged with protecting public health. Dr. Margaret A. Hamburg, the F.D.A. commissioner, was forced to scrap plans to have calorie counts posted for foods served in movie theaters and on airplanes after a phone call from the White House deputy chief of staff in 2010. From the article: "White House officials describe their disagreements with the F.D.A. as part of the normal, constructive give-and-take over policy that has never undermined the agency’s mission. 'Under President Obama’s leadership, the Food and Drug Administration has new authority and resources to help stop kids from smoking, protect our food supply and approve more affordable prescription drugs,' said the White House press secretary, Jay Carney. The administration also views the agency’s hostility to its oversight as hopelessly naïve, given a 24-hour news cycle and a ferocious political environment that punishes any misstep. 'They want a world that doesn’t exist anymore,' an administration official said."
An anonymous reader writes "A pair of researchers at Karlstad University have been able to establish how the Great Firewall of China sets about blocking unpublished Tor bridges. The GFC inspects web traffic looking for potential bridges and then attempts 'to speak Tor' to the hosts. If they reply, they're deemed to be Tor bridges and blocked. While this looks like another example of the cat and mouse game between those wishing to surf the net anonymously and a government intent on curtailing online freedoms, the researchers suggest ways that the latest blocking techniques may be defeated."
sl4shd0rk writes "Taking a page out of the TSA handbook, the Supreme Court has voted to allow strip searches for any offense, no matter how minimal. The article cites these two tidbits from Justice Anthony Kennedy: 'Every detainee who will be admitted to the general [jail or prison] population may be required to undergo a close visual inspection while undressed,' and 'Maintaining safety and order at detention centers requires the expertise of correctional officials.'"