Penurious Penguin writes "While not quite as epic or bitter as losing 600 barrels of maple syrup — in two separate heists, 80,000lbs of walnuts have been stolen in Northern California since last week. The heist was discovered after the walnuts failed to reach their destinations in Miami, FL and Dallas, TX. If you happen to see a large man (approximately 6' 2") driving a white semi-trailer and munching on $300,000 worth of walnuts, it may be the villain. Officers with highly trained squirrels have yet to be posted at interstate weigh-stations."
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kgeiger writes "Voting machine designs and data formats are a free-for-all. The result is poor validation and hence opportunity for fraud. An IEEE standards group wants all election computer systems to speak the same language. From the article: 'IEEE Standards Project 1622 is working on electronic data interchange for voting systems. The plan is to create a common format, based on the Election Markup Language (EML) already recommended for use in Europe. This is a subset of the popular XML (eXtensible Markup Language) that specifies particular fields and data structures for use in voting.'"
pigrabbitbear writes "Just three weeks after Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told an audience at the Sea, Air and Space Museum that the U.S. is on the brink of a 'cyber Pearl Harbor,' the government has decided it needs to beef up the ranks of its digital defenses. It's assembling a league of extraordinary computer geeks for what will be known as the 'Cyber Reserve.'"
Peter Eckersley writes "Stanford privacy researcher Jonathan Mayer has published new research showing that websites of both the Obama and Romney presidential campaigns, which are used to communicate with and coordinate their volunteers, leak large amounts of private information to third-party online tracking firms. The Obama campaign site leaked names, usernames, zip codes and street addresses to up to ten companies. The Romney campaign site leaked names, zip codes and partial email addresses to up to thirteen firms."
theodp writes "People seem to be okay with constant corporate or government video surveillance in public. Let a lone individual point a video camera their way, however, and tempers flare. GeekWire takes a look at the antics and videos of Seattle's mysterious Surveillance Camera Man, who walks up to people and records them for no apparent reason other than to make a point: How is what he's doing different than those stationary surveillance cameras tucked away in buildings and public places?" At least with Surveillance Camera Man, you specifically know that he's watching you — not always the case. (Not even when there's no warrant, on private property in the U.S.)
Velcroman1 writes "Slashdotters have been reading for months about the upcoming ITU conference next month in Dubai, which will propose new regulations and restrictions for the Internet that critics say could censor free speech, levy tariffs on e-commerce, and even force companies to clean up their 'e-waste' and make gadgets that are better for the environment. Concerns about the closed-door event have sparked a Wikileaks-style info-leaking site, and led the State Department on Wednesday to file a series of new proposals or tranches seeking to ensure 'competition and commercial agreements — and not regulation' as the meeting's main message. Terry Kramer, the chief U.S. envoy to the conference, says the United States is against sanctions. '[Doing nothing] would not be a terrible outcome at all,' Kramer said recently."
An anonymous reader writes "Motorola feels that Apple is infringing on several FRAND patents that have to do with how every smartphone in existence connects to WiFi and cellular networks. Since Apple makes smartphones, and Google is looking to use their newly acquired Motorola as a weapon, the two companies are only a few days away from the courtroom. Apple has conceded that the Moto patents are valid by offering to pay Google/Moto $1 per device, but only going forward. Motorola wants 2.25% per device and for it to cover all Apple devices (back dated). If Motorola pursues the case and the court issues a per device rate that is higher than Apple's offer, Apple promises to pursue all possible appeals to avoid paying more than $1. Motorola could end this quickly, or watch as Apple drags this out for what could be years."
coondoggie writes "Just two weeks after it challenged the public to come up with a better technological way to stop incessant robocalling, the Federal Trade Commission pulled the plug on five mass calling companies it said were allegedly responsible for millions of illegal pre-recorded calls from 'Rachel' and others from 'Cardholder Services.' 'At the FTC, Rachel from Cardholder Services is public enemy number one,' said FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz at the announcement of the cases."
another random user writes with this report from the BBC "A law that aims to protect children from harmful internet content by allowing the government to take sites offline has taken effect in Russia. The authorities are now able to blacklist and force offline certain websites without a trial. The law was approved by both houses of parliament and signed by President Vladimir Putin in July. If the websites themselves cannot be shut down, internet service providers (ISPs) and web hosting companies can be forced to block access to the offending material."
hypnosec writes "Kim Dotcom has let out more information about the launch of Megaupload's successor Mega, which he claims will be 'bigger, better, faster, stronger, [and] safer.' Mega is currently looking for partners willing to provide servers, support and connectivity to become 'Mega Storage Nodes.' The prime requirement, according to Dotcom, is that the servers should be located outside the U.S. and that the companies should also be based outside of the U.S. For this reason, Dotcom has decided that the new service will be launching with 'Me.ga' domain name."
Macthorpe writes "In the UK, Apple were previously ordered to add a statement to their website stating that Samsung did not copy their designs, following a previous case where this was ruled by the UK courts. However, today the same court revealed that Apple's statement is not good enough. From the article: 'The acknowledgement put up last week, linked from the home page by a tiny link, was deemed to be "non-compliant" with the order that the court had made in October. The court has now ordered it to correct the statement – and the judges, Lord Justice Longmore, Lord Justice Kitchin and Sir Robin Jacob, indicated that they were not pleased with Apple's failure to put a simpler statement on the site.' It appears the main objection is the statement is on a separate page and only linked from the hompage — and that the statement is buried in marketing blurb, and also put next to references to a case Apple won."
nk497 writes with this selection from PC Pro magazine: "Microsoft's failure to include the EU browser ballot in Windows 7 SP1 cost Mozilla as many as 9 million Firefox downloads, the organisation's head of business affairs revealed. Harvey Anderson said daily downloads of Firefox fell by 63% to a low of 20,000 before the ballot was reinstated, and after the fix, downloads jumped by 150% to 50,000 a day. Over the 18 months the ballot was missing, that adds up to six to nine million downloads — although it's tough to tell if the difference has more to do with Chrome's success or the lack of advertising on Windows systems. The EU is currently investigating the 'glitch,' and Microsoft faces a massive fine for failing to include the screen, which offers download details for different browsers to European Windows users, as part of measures ordered by the EU to balance IE's dominance." Reader Dupple points to coverage at ZDnet, too.
First time accepted submitter Andy Prough writes "A Kansas judge has ordered a Topeka newspaper to release the name of a commenter on one of its stories about the trial of Anceo D. Stovall for the murder of Natalie Gibson. Using the name 'BePrepared,' the commenter posted the following in response to a story about the ongoing trial on July 21 at 1:45pm: 'Trust me that's all they got in their little world, as you know, I have been there. Remember the pukes names they will do it for ever.' The problem? The court is convinced that 'BePrepared' was a juror, and was not supposed to be accessing news about the trial before it ended on July 24th. The court wants BePrepared's name, address and IP address. The jury was ultimately unable to find Stovall guilty of 10 of the 11 charges against him — including murder. Both defense and prosecution lawyers appear to want a new trial, and if it turns out that BePrepared was a juror, they are more likely to get their wish."
coondoggie writes "NASA today said it would work with a team of researchers on a three-year, $1.8 project to build gyroscope systems that are more than 1,000 times as sensitive as those in use today. The Fast Light Optical Gyroscope project will marry researchers from NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center; the US Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center and Northwestern University to develop gyroscopes that could find their way into complex spacecraft, aircraft, commercial vehicles or ships in the future."
another random user sends this excerpt from Business Insider: "In January, hackers got hold of 24 million Zappos customers' email addresses and other personal information. Some of those customers have been suing Zappos, an online shoes and clothing retailer that's owned by Amazon.com. Zappos wants the matter to go into arbitration, citing its terms of service. The problem: A federal court just ruled that agreement completely invalid. So Zappos will have to go to court—or more likely settle to avoid those legal costs. Here's how Zappos screwed up, according to Eric Goldman, a law professor and director of Santa Clara University's High Tech Law Institute: It put a link to its terms of service on its website, but didn't force customers to click through to it."
alphadogg writes "U.S. cellphone carriers took a major step on Wednesday toward curbing the rising number of smartphone thefts with the introduction of databases that will block stolen phones from being used on domestic networks. The initiative got its start earlier this year when the FCC and police chiefs from major cities asked the cellular carriers for assistance in battling the surging number of smartphone thefts. In New York, more than 40 percent of all robberies involve cellphones and in Washington, D.C., cellphone thefts accounted for 38 percent of all robberies in 2011."
Penurious Penguin writes "Your curtilage may be your castle, but 'open fields' are open game for law-enforcement and surveillance technology. Whether 'No Trespassing' signs are present or not, your private property is public for the law, with or without a warrant. What the police cannot do, their cameras can — without warrant or court oversight. An article at CNET recounts a case involving the DEA, a federal judge, and two defendants (since charged) who were subjected to video surveillance on private property without a warrant. Presumably, the 4th Amendment suffers an obscure form of agoraphobia further elucidated in the article."
An anonymous reader writes with news of a company suing Microsoft for infringing upon a patent for tiles with live content. From the article: "SurfCast, in a complaint filed yesterday in a U.S. District Court in Maine, said Microsoft infringes one of its four patents — No. 6,724,403 — by 'making, using, selling, and offering to sell devices and software products' covered by SurfCast's patent. That includes mobile devices using the Windows Phone 7 and Windows Phone 8 operating systems as well as PCs using Windows 8/RT."
sgunhouse writes "Wired is running an article on a Supreme Court challenge (well, actually two of them) to the use of drug-sniffing dogs. The first case discussed involved Florida police using a drug-sniffing dog as a basis for searching a suspected drug dealer's home. The court in Florida excluded the evidence obtained from the search, saying a warrant should be required for that sort of use of a dog. Personally, I agree — police have no right to parade a dog around on private property on a 'fishing expedition', same as they need a warrant to use a thermal imaging device to search for grow houses. I have no use for recreational drugs, but they had better have a warrant if they want to bring a dog onto my property."