benfrog writes with a piece that appeared in yesterday's Wall Street Journal about the in-progress legal battle between Oracle and Google over Java: "Ex-Sun and current Google employee Tim Lindholm testified that it was "not what he meant" when asked about the smoking gun email (included here (PDF)) that essentially said that Google needed to get a license for Java because all the alternatives 'suck[ed].' He went on in 'brief but tense testimony' to claim that his day-to-day involvement with Android was limited."
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Saint Aardvark writes "It seemed like a pretty simple question about a pretty cool topic: an Ottawa newspaper wanted to ask Canada's National Research Council about a joint study with NASA on tracking falling snow in Canada. Conventional radar can see where it's falling, but not the amount — so NASA, in collaboration with the NRC, Environment Canada and a few universities, arranged flights through falling snow to analyse readings with different instruments. But when they contacted the NRC to get the Canadian angle, "it took a small army of staffers— 11 of them by our count — to decide how to answer, and dozens of emails back and forth to circulate the Citizen's request, discuss its motivation, develop their response, and "massage" its text." No interview was given: "I am not convinced we need an interview. A few lines are fine. Please let me see them first," says one civil servant in the NRC emails obtained by the newspaper under the Access to Information act. By the time the NRC finally sorted out a boring, technical response, the newspaper had already called up a NASA scientist and got all the info they asked for; it took about 15 minutes."
itwbennett writes "Your browsing behavior may reveal more personal information than you'd tell your own mother. Which is why Tim Berners-Lee is urging technology companies to 'show more restraint' in how they use the information they hoover up. 'We're moving towards a world in which people agree not to use information for particular purposes. It's not whether you can get my information, it's when you've got it, what you promise not to do with it,' said Berners-Lee, speaking out against the U.K.'s proposal to allow government intelligence to monitor digital communications."
suraj.sun sends this excerpt from Deutsche Welle: "YouTube was told by a regional court in Hamburg on Friday not to display seven out of 12 contested clips without permission from the German copyright fee collecting society Gema. Gema claimed that its members were losing money every time their music was being displayed on YouTube. A proper licensing fee between the two sides expired in 2009. The Hamburg State Court ruled YouTube would in future have to install an efficient mechanism to filter out such content uploaded by users or face a fine of up to 250,000 euros ($330,000) for each case, or up to six months imprisonment. Knowing that a foolproof filter system looks next to impossible, Gema is now hoping that Google will finally agree to a new bilateral licensing treaty whereby the collecting society would not get an annual lump sum for the contested videos, but a fixed fee each time copyright-protected videos are watched."
Fluffeh writes "The EU Commissioner for the Digital Agenda, Neelie Kroes, has been making some interesting comments about privacy, copyright and many aspects of the digital age. Going so far as to quote the Free Software Foundation and Yochai Benkler, she says: 'Openness is also complex because sometimes it's unclear what it means. ... In the Arab Spring, many brave activists successfully used the open Internet to coordinate peaceful protests. In response, despotic governments sought to control or close down Internet access; and also used ICT tools as a tool of surveillance and repression. We cannot allow democratic voices to be silenced in that way. And I am committed to ensuring "No Disconnect" in countries that struggle for democracy. We must help such activists get around arbitrary disruptions to their basic freedoms.'"
MikeatWired writes "In a somewhat startling decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has ruled that several employees at an executive recruitment firm did not exceed their authorized access to their company's database when they logged into the system and stole confidential data from it. The appellate court's decision affirms a previous ruling made by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The government must now decide if it wants to take the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The judge wrote that the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, under which they were charged, applies primarily to unauthorized access involving external hackers. The definition of 'exceeds authorized access' under the CFAA applies mainly to people who have no authorized access to the computer at all, the judge wrote. The term would also apply to insiders who might have legitimate access to a system but not to specific information or files on the system Applying the language in the CFAA any other way would turn it into a 'sweeping Internet-policing mandate,' he wrote."
Qedward writes "The European Parliament has approved the controversial data transfer agreement, the bilateral PNR (passenger name register), with the US which requires European airlines to pass on passenger information, including name, contact details, payment data, itinerary, email and phone numbers to the Department of Homeland Security. Under the new agreement, PNR data will be 'depersonalized' after six months and would be moved into a 'dormant database' after five years. However the information would still be held for a further 15 years before being fully 'anonymized.'"
trawg writes "The Australian High Court has just dismissed an appeal by Australian and American media companies against ISP iiNet, in what will hopefully be the final step in an ongoing copyright lawsuit drama. The Court noted that 'iiNet had no direct technical power to prevent its customers from using the BitTorrent system to infringe copyright.' Ultimately, the court has held that iiNet's inactivity to act on infringement notices didn't imply any sort of authorization of that infringement by their customers. Good news for Australians as a clear line has been drawn that will help ensure ISPs don't have to bear the cost of policing their customers."
sunbird writes "At 16:00 ET on April 18, federal agents seized a server located in a New York colocation facility shared by May First / People Link and Riseup.net. The server was operated by the European Counter Network ("ECN"), the oldest independent internet service provider in Europe. The server was seized as a part of the investigation into bomb threats sent via the Mixmaster anonymous remailer received by the University of Pittsburgh that were previously discussed on Slashdot. As a result of the seizure, hundreds of unrelated people and organizations have been disrupted."
hypnosec writes "With London's summer 2012 games due to take place in the very near future, you'd think that organizers would make more of an effort and persuade people to show more of an interest — yet it appears the complete opposite has happened, with strict guidelines banning athletes from posting photos of themselves on Twitter with products that aren't official Olympics sponsors, as well as prohibiting videos or photos to be taken from the athlete's village. Oh and just for good measure, fans could find themselves barred from sharing videos and photos on Facebook and YouTube of themselves delighting in said Olympics action."
New submitter Kraftwerk writes "A bill already passed by the Senate and set to be rubber stamped by the House would make it mandatory for all new cars in the United States to be fitted with black box data recorders from 2015 onwards. Section 31406 of Senate Bill 1813 (known as MAP-21), calls for 'Mandatory Event Data Recorders' to be installed in all new automobiles and legislates for civil penalties to be imposed against individuals for failing to do so. 'Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall revise part 563 of title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, to require, beginning with model year 2015, that new passenger motor vehicles sold in the United States be equipped with an event data recorder that meets the requirements under that part,' states the bill."
An anonymous reader writes "This 'how-to' example of accessing demographic data from the U.S. Census 'American FactFinder' zooms down to the block level in Chicago to (possibly) find the Obama family in the year 2000."
nonprofiteer writes "A University of Texas-Dallas developmental psychology professor has used a $3.4 million NIH grant to purchase Blackberries for 175 Texas teens, capturing every text message, email, photo, and IM they've sent over the past 4 years.Half a million new messages pour into the database every month. The researchers don't 'directly ask' the teens about privacy issues because they don't want to remind them they're being monitored. So many legal and ethical issues here. I can't believe this is IRB-approved. Teens sending nude photos alone could make that database legally toxic. And then there's the ethical issue of monitoring those who have not consented to be part of the study, but are friends with those who have. When a friend texted one participant about selling drugs, he responded, 'Hey, be careful, the BlackBerry people are watching, but don't worry, they won't tell anyone.'" This sounds like an American version of the "Seven Up" series.
New submitter grzzld writes "I am a systems analyst for a County in New York. Last year I made a SharePoint site that manages grants and it was well received. So much so that it won a NACo award. Since then, there have been several requests from other municipalities from around the country who would like to get this SharePoint site. The county is trying to figure out how to protect ourselves from people making money from it and having people hold us liable if it they use it and something goes awry. I am afraid that ultimately nothing will be done and the site will not be shared since at the end of the day it is much easier to not do anything and just say no. I proposed that we license it under an Open Source agreement but I am not versed enough in the differences between all of them. It is also unclear to me if I could do this since the nature of the 'program' is a SharePoint site. It seemed like CodePlex would be a good place to put this since it is Microsoft centric and it an open source initiative. I just want to contribute my work to others who may find it useful. The county just wants to make sure they can't be held liable and have somebody turn my work around and make a buck. How can I release this to the world and make sure the county's concerns are addressed?"
Velcroman1 links to this coverage of Drew Curtis's explanation of how his company, Fark, managed to beat a patent troll's lawsuit alleging infringement of a patent on distribution of news releases by email. From the article: "It boils down to one thing: don't negotiate with terrorists," Curtis said during a talk at the TED 2012 conference in Long Beach, Calif."