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Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

Advertising

Facebook To Overhaul Data Use Policy 216

Posted by samzenpus
from the all-your-data-are-belong-to-us dept.
dryriver writes "The new Facebook advertising policy: 'Our goal is to deliver advertising and other commercial or sponsored content that is valuable to our users and advertisers. In order to help us do that, you agree to the following: You give us permission to use your name, profile picture, content, and information in connection with commercial, sponsored, or related content (such as a brand you like) served or enhanced by us. This means, for example, that you permit a business or other entity to pay us to display your name and/or profile picture with your content or information, without any compensation to you. If you have selected a specific audience for your content or information, we will respect your choice when we use it.' — Facebook also made it clear that the company can use photo recognition software to correctly identify people on the network. It said: 'We are able to suggest that your friend tag you in a picture by scanning and comparing your friend's pictures to information we've put together from your profile pictures and the other photos in which you've been tagged.' — It [Facebook] said it was also clarifying that some of that information reveals details about the device itself such as an IP address, operating system or – surprisingly – a mobile phone number. The Register has asked Facebook to clarify this point as it's not clear from the revised policy wording if a mobile number is scooped up without an individual's knowledge or as a result of it being previously submitted by that person to access some of the company's services. Importantly, Facebookers are not required to cough up their mobile phone number upon registering with the service. At time of writing, Facebook was yet to respond with comment."
Encryption

The Legal Purgatory at the US Border: Detained, Searched, and Interrogated 555

Posted by samzenpus
from the papers-please dept.
An anonymous reader writes "America may be the land of the free, but upon arrival millions of visitors cross a legal purgatory at the U.S. border. It is an international legal phenomenon that is left much to the discretion of host countries. In some cases, this space between offers travelers far fewer rights than some of the least democratic and free countries on Earth. Limited access to legal counsel, unwarranted searches, and questionable rights to free speech to name a few. One of the more controversial — and yet still legally a contested grey area — are the rights travelers have in regards to electronics and device searches."
Education

Why One Woman Says Sending Your Kid To Private School Is Evil 1255

Posted by samzenpus
from the price-of-a-good-education dept.
theodp writes "Slate's Allison Benedikt is ruffling some feathers with her recent manifesto, If You Send Your Kid to Private School, You Are a Bad Person. 'Not bad like murderer bad,' Benedikt writes, 'but bad like ruining-one-of-our-nation's-most-essential-institutions-in-order-to-get-what's-best-for-your-kid bad. So, pretty bad.' If your local school stinks and you send your child there, Benedikt explains, 'I bet you are going to do everything within your power to make it better.'"
NASA

NASA's LADEE Rocket Mission To Launch September 6 33

Posted by samzenpus
from the to-the-moon dept.
An anonymous reader writes "NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) will orbit Earth for three weeks before heading to the moon for a 100-day trip where it will measure lunar dust and the moon's atmosphere. from the article: 'A $6 million University of Colorado Boulder instrument designed to study the behavior of lunar dust will be riding on a NASA mission to the moon now slated for launch on Friday, Sept. 6, from the agency's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The mission, known as the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer, or LADEE, will orbit the moon to better understand its tenuous atmosphere and whether dust particles are being lofted high off its surface. The $280 million LADEE mission, designed, developed, integrated and tested at NASA's AMES Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., will take about a month to reach the moon and another month to enter the proper elliptical orbit and to commission the instruments. A 100-day science effort will follow.'"
Transportation

EU Proposes To Fit Cars With Speed Limiters 732

Posted by samzenpus
from the slow-down dept.
schwit1 points out a new EU road safety measure to fit cars with devices that would stop them going over 70mph. "Under the proposals new cars would be fitted with cameras that could read road speed limit signs and automatically apply the brakes when this is exceeded. Patrick McLoughlin, the Transport Secretary, is said to be opposed to the plans, which could also mean existing cars are sent to garages to be fitted with the speed limiters, preventing them from going over 70mph. The new measures have been announced by the European Commission's Mobility and Transport Department as a measure to reduce the 30,000 people who die on the roads in Europe every year. A Government source told the Mail on Sunday Mr McLoughlin had instructed officials to block the move because they 'violated' motorists' freedom. They said: 'This has Big Brother written all over it and is exactly the sort of thing that gets people's backs up about Brussels.'"
Censorship

Online Law Banning Discussion of Current Affairs Comes Into Force In Vietnam 140

Posted by samzenpus
from the watch-what-you-say dept.
another random user writes in with news about new internet restrictions come into effect in Vietnam. "A controversial law banning Vietnamese online users from discussing current affairs has come into effect. The decree, known as Decree 72, says blogs and social websites should not be used to share news articles, but only personal information. The law also requires foreign internet companies to keep their local servers inside Vietnam. The new law specifies that social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook should only be used 'to provide and exchange personal information.' It also prohibits the online publication of material that "opposes" the Vietnamese government or 'harms national security.' Last month the US embassy in Hanoi said it was 'deeply concerned by the decree's provisions,' arguing that 'fundamental freedoms apply online just as they do offline.'"
Earth

US Uncorks $16M For 17 Projects To Capture Wave Energy 132

Posted by samzenpus
from the time-and-tide dept.
coondoggie writes "The US Energy Department this week said it would spend $16 million for seventeen projects to help research and develop energy generating systems from waves, tides and currents. The energy agency says the US could generate up to 1,400 terawatt hours of potential power per year. One terawatt-hour of electricity is enough to power 85,000 homes, according to the agency."
Earth

The Yosemite Inferno In the Context of Forest Policy, Ecology and Climate Change 111

Posted by samzenpus
from the since-the-world's-been-turning dept.
Lasrick writes "Andrew Revkin at DotEarthblog posts an assessment of the drivers of wildfire trends in the American West. He shows a graph of fire activity for the past 400 years in the Yosemite-Mariposa area, and a rather surreal time-lapse video of the current Rim Fire now burning in and around Yosemite."
Patents

Taking the Battle Against Patent Trolls To the Public 107

Posted by samzenpus
from the what-do-you-think-grandma? dept.
First time accepted submitter presspass writes "A group of technology and retail groups is beginning a national ad campaign targeting so-called patent trolls. The Internet Association, National Restaurant Association, National Retail Federation and Food Marketing Institute Patent trolls — a term known more among geeks than the general public — are about to be the target of a national ad campaign. Beginning Friday, a group of retail trade organizations is launching a radio and print campaign in 17 states. They want to raise awareness of a problem they say is draining resources from business and raising prices for consumers."
Apple

Apple Now Relaying All FaceTime Calls Due To Lost Patent Dispute 179

Posted by samzenpus
from the call-differently dept.
Em Adespoton writes "Before the VirnetX case, nearly all FaceTime calls were done through a system of direct communication. Essentially, Apple would verify that both parties had valid FaceTime accounts and then allow their two devices to speak directly to each other over the Internet, without any intermediary or 'relay' servers. However, a small number of calls—5 to 10 percent, according to an Apple engineer who testified at trial—were routed through 'relay servers.' At the August 15 hearing, a VirnetX lawyer stated that Apple had logged 'over half a million calls' complaining about the quality of FaceTime [since disabling direct connections]."
Japan

More Bad News From Fukushima 268

Posted by samzenpus
from the from-bad-to-worse dept.
PuceBaboon writes "Both Reuters and the BBC are carrying the story of an increase in radiation levels reported by Tepco for contaminated water leaking from storage tanks on site. When this leak was discovered almost two weeks ago, Tepco reported that the radiation level was 100-millisieverts. It now transpires that 100-millisieverts was the highest reading that the measuring equipment in use was capable of displaying. The latest readings (with upgraded equipment) are registering 1800-millisieverts which, according to both news sources, could prove fatal to anyone exposed to it for four hours. Coincidentally (and somewhat ironically), today is earthquake disaster prevention day in Japan, with safety drills taking place nationwide."
Math

The STEM Crisis Is a Myth 284

Posted by Soulskill
from the are-there-giants?-i-like-myths-with-giants dept.
theodp writes "Forget the dire predictions of a looming shortfall of scientists, technologists, engineers, and mathematicians, advises IEEE Spectrum contributing editor Robert Charette — the STEM crisis is a myth. In investigating the simultaneous claims of both a shortage and a surplus of STEM workers, Charette was surprised by 'the apparent mismatch between earning a STEM degree and having a STEM job. Of the 7.6 million STEM workers counted by the Commerce Department, only 3.3 million possess STEM degrees. Viewed another way, about 15 million U.S. residents hold at least a bachelor's degree in a STEM discipline, but three-fourths of them — 11.4 million — work outside of STEM.' So, why would universities, government, and tech companies like Facebook, IBM, and Microsoft cry STEM-worker-shortage-wolf? 'Clearly, powerful forces must be at work to perpetuate the cycle,' Charette writes. 'One is obvious: the bottom line. Companies would rather not pay STEM professionals high salaries with lavish benefits, offer them training on the job, or guarantee them decades of stable employment. So having an oversupply of workers, whether domestically educated or imported, is to their benefit...Governments also push the STEM myth because an abundance of scientists and engineers is widely viewed as an important engine for innovation and also for national defense. And the perception of a STEM crisis benefits higher education, says Ron Hira, because as 'taxpayers subsidize more STEM education, that works in the interest of the universities' by allowing them to expand their enrollments. An oversupply of STEM workers may also have a beneficial effect on the economy, says Georgetown's Nicole Smith, one of the coauthors of the 2011 STEM study. If STEM graduates can't find traditional STEM jobs, she says, 'they will end up in other sectors of the economy and be productive.'"
Patents

How Patent Trolls Stalled a New Transit App 85

Posted by Soulskill
from the give-us-money-for-the-idea-we-neither-came-up-with-not-use dept.
SFGate has the story of Aaron Bannert, creator of a San Francisco transit app called Smart Ride. The app was developed to provide arrival times for the city's bus system. Smart Ride was supported by ads, and Bannert had not yet turned a profit on it when he received a legal threat from a company claiming patent infringement. "It was from a company with ties to Martin Kelly Jones, who holds a series of patents claiming ownership of technologies for tracking vehicles and providing users with electronic updates. A handful of affiliated companies, including ArrivalStar and Melvino Technologies, have threatened or sued hundreds of organizations in recent years, from small entrepreneurs like Bannert to large corporations like American Airlines. ... ArrivalStar filed more than half the patent lawsuits in South Florida federal courts last year, according to the South Florida Business Journal. ... ArrivalStar will demand as much as $200,000 for a license, according to reports in other publications." The cost to the patent troll for filing a lawsuit is around $500, but Bannert was forced to spend over $10,000 on a legal defense and delay the launch of a new version for months. He's unable to provide details on the outcome of the case. "As high as the legal expenses were for Bannert, he thinks the bigger toll from patent trolling is the indirect cost to society, the products and innovation that don't make it off the drawing board."
Encryption

Lockbox Aims To NSA-Proof the Cloud 292

Posted by Soulskill
from the but-can-you-NSA-proof-yourself dept.
Daniel_Stuckey writes "Lockbox, a tech startup founded in 2008, just received $2.5 million in seed funding for its end-to-end encryption cloud service, Client Portal. So, how does end-to-end cloud encryption work? Lockbox encrypts and compresses files before they are uploaded to the cloud. Only a person in possession of the corresponding key can unlock, or decrypt, the files. This means that the NSA, malicious hackers, business competitors, and even crazy girlfriends and boyfriends won't be be able to peer into users' most sensitive and private files."

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