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

+ - 252 Police Departments Work to Expand Capability to "Shut Down" Social Media->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "Workshops held by and for top police executives from throughout the world and widely available from vendors, were technologies and department policies that allow agencies to block content, users, and even devices – for example, “Geofencing” software that allows departments to block service to a specified device when the device leaves an established virtual geographic perimeter. The capability is a basic function of advanced mobile technologies like smartphones, “OnStar” type features that link drivers through GIS to central assistance centers, and automated infrastructure and other hardware including unmanned aerial systems that must “sense and respond.”

A senior police officer from the Chicago PD told a panel on Monday that his department was working with Facebook’s security chief to block users’ from the site by account (person), IP, and device (he did not say if by UUID or MAC address or other means of hardware ID) if it is determined they have posted what is deemed criminal content."

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+ - 244 Japan refused to help NSA tap Asia's Internet->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The NSA sought the Japanese government’s cooperation to wiretap fiber-optic cables carrying phone and data across the Asia-Pacific region but the request was rejected. The NSA wanted to intercept personal information including Internet activity and phone calls passing through Japan from Asia including China. The Japanese government refused because it was illegal and would need to involve a massive number of private sector workers. Article 35 of the Japanese Constitution protects against illegal search and seizure."
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+ - 208 Why Johnny Can't Speak: A Cost of Paywalled Research

Submitted by theodp
theodp (442580) writes "That there's no easy way for her to get timely, affordable access to taxpayer-funded research that could help her patients leaves speech-language pathologist Cortney Grove, well, speechless. In a cruel twist, U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who prosecuted Aaron Swartz, enjoy free, all-they-can-eat access to JSTOR-paywalled research, a perk of an elite education that's paid for by their alma maters. "Cortney's frustration," writes the EFF's Adi Kamdar, "is not uncommon. Much of the research that guides health-related progress is funded by taxpayer dollars through government grants, and yet those who need this information most-practitioners and their patients-cannot afford to access it.""

+ - 435 Federal Prosecutors, in a Policy Shift, Cite Warrantless Wiretaps as Evidence->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "The Justice Department for the first time has notified a criminal defendant that evidence being used against him came from a warrantless wiretap, a move that is expected to set up a Supreme Court test of whether such eavesdropping is constitutional.

The government’s notice allows the defendant's lawyer to ask a court to suppress the evidence by arguing that it derived from unconstitutional surveillance, setting in motion judicial review of the eavesdropping."

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+ - 180 I challenged hackers to investigate me and what they found out is chilling 3

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "In 1999 while writing for Forbes, Adam Penenberg wanted to see how easy it would be for hackers to access his family's bank account information, social security numbers, and online passwords. Now, in 2013, with more of our data than ever at the fingertips of nefarious operators, Penenberg is at it again, asking a group of "white-hat" hackers how easy it would be to hack his and his wife's lives.

What he found is that if someone is determined and savvy enough to access your private information, there's a good chance that person will be successful. Using a combination of phishing emails, mal-ware, and old school surveillance tactics, the team at SpiderLabs was able to take over his laptop and iPhone, and gain access to his personal bank information and online passwords."

+ - 277 GCC 4.9 Will Make Compilers More Exciting In 2014-> 1

Submitted by noahfecks
noahfecks (2379422) writes "It seems that the GCC developers finally took actions to improve after CLANG is stepping ahead. Among the highlights to look forward to right now with GCC 4.9 include:
  • The Undefined Behavior Sanitizer has been ported to GCC.
  • ADA and Fortran have seen upgrades.
  • Improved C++14 support.
  • - RX100, RX200, and RX600 processor support by GCC.
  • Intel Silvermont hardware support.
"

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+ - 197 Skype Terminating Desktop API -> 1

Submitted by mikejuk
mikejuk (1801200) writes "Developers are waking up to the fact that the Sykpe Desktop API is to be withdrawn at the end of December 2013 — and are trying to reverse the decision with a petition.
Although the decision to "de-commission" the Desktop API was communicated to Sky partners in July, it didn't get much attention at the time. Now notices announcing that apps and devices will stop working in December have started to appear when users download the latest version of Skype and try to start a third party app.
So what are developers expected to use to create future apps — for mobile, web and desktop apps?
Currently the replacement URI API hardly justifies the name. It is a Rest-style API that provides very few facilities — place a call or start a chat and that's about it. This limits what you can now do and the idea that you can bring existing applications up-to-date is laughable.
Developers whose apps are affected are blaming Microsoft, which acquired Skype in 2011, and certainly it can be seen as part of Microsoft overall policy of deprecating the desktop while promoting mobile devices. By killing the API Skype is killing existing apps and existing add-on hardware.
If you want to make your voice heard sign the petition:http://www.change.org/en-CA/petitions/skype-microsoft-provide-continued-support-for-third-party-skype-utilities-that-have-become-mission-critical-to-skype-s-users"

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+ - 353 Best cross-platform (or only Linux) audio software? 1

Submitted by blogologue
blogologue (681423) writes "I have played the guitar for some years now, and these days I think it's good therapy to be creative with music learning the piano and singing as well. So far I've been using Audacity as the tool to compose improvisations and demos, I haven't done much audio work before but it is already becoming too limited for my needs. Being a Linux-fanboi since the middle nineties I'm now looking for a good audio processing/editing/enhancing setup that can run on different platforms, the most important being Linux (yes, voting for Linux with my dollar). Are there any suggestions for Open Source or proprietary audio editing software that runs Linux?"

+ - 181 France Moves to Protect Independent Booksellers from Amazon

Submitted by Hugh Pickens DOT Com
Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Tourists often marvel at the number of rich and varied bookstores along Paris streets. Right across from Notre Dame Cathedral is one of the city's most famous independent bookstores, Shakespeare and Company. Inside, every inch of space is crammed with books and readers. The city buys buildings in high-rent districts and tries to keep a core of 300 independent bookstore by offering booksellers leases at an affordable price. "We have to keep our identity," says Lynn Cohen-Solal, "because if we don't, all the shops are exactly the same in Paris, in London, in New York, in New Delhi, everywhere." Now Eleanor Beardsley reports at NPR that the French government has accused Amazon of trying to push the price of physical books too low and is limiting discounts on books to ensure the survival of its independent booksellers. France's lower house of parliament has unanimously voted to add an amendment to a law from 1981, known in France as the Lang Law which sets the value of new books at fixed prices and only allows retailers to lower books' set price by 5%, in an effort to regulate competition between booksellers and to promote reading. Guillaume Husson, spokesman for the SLF book retailers' union, says Amazon's practice of bundling a 5 percent discount with free delivery amounted to selling books at a loss, which was impossible for traditional book sellers of any size. "Today, the competition is unfair," says Husson. "No other book retailer, whether a small or large book or even a chain, can allow itself to lose that much money," referring to Amazon's alleged losses on free delivery. Amazon spent $2.8 billion on free shipping worldwide last year to gain a competitive advantage. The bill limiting Amazon's price reductions in France still has to pass the Senate to become law. In a statement, Amazon said any effort to raise the price of books diminishes the cultural choices of French consumers and penalizes both Internet users and small publishers who rely on Internet sales."

+ - 197 New black hole firewalls argument, now without reliance on quantum entanglement.

Submitted by ydrozd
ydrozd (657177) writes "Until recently, most physicists believed that an observer falling into a black hole would experience nothing unusual when crossing its event horizon. As has been previously mentioned on Slashdot, there is a strong argument, initially based on observing an entangled pair at the event horizon, that suggests that the unfortunate observer would instead be burned up by a high energy quanta (a.k.a "firewall") just before crossing black hole's event horizon. The new paper significantly improves the argument by removing reliance on quantum entanglement. The existence of black hole "firewalls" is a rare breakthrough in theoretical physics."

+ - 339 Mac OS 10.9 -- Infinity times your spam->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Email service FastMail.fm has an blog post about an interesting bug they're dealing with related to the new Mail.app in Mac OS 10.9 Mavericks. After finding a user who had 71 messages in his Junk Mail folder that were somehow responsible for over a million entries in the index file, they decided to investigate. 'This morning I checked again, there were nearly a million messages again, so I enabled telemetry on the account ... [Mail.app] copying all the email from the Junk Folder back into the Junk Folder again!. This is legal IMAP, so our server proceeds to create a new copy of each message in the folder. It then expunges the old copies of the messages, but it’s happening so often that the current UID on that folder is up to over 3 million. It was just over 2 million a few days ago when I first emailed the user to alert them to the situation, so it’s grown by another million since. The only way I can think this escaped QA was that they used a server which (like gmail) automatically suppresses duplicates for all their testing, because this is a massively bad problem.' The actual emails added up to about 2MB of actual disk usage, but the bug generated an additional 2GB of data on top of that."
Link to Original Source

+ - 225 8 US States Pushing for 3.3 Million Electric Cars->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "A coalition of eight U.S. states, including New York and California, have announced a plan to get 3.3 million zero-emission electric vehicles onto their roads by 2025. 'The states, which represent more than a quarter of the national car market, said they would seek to develop charging stations that all took the same form of payment, simplify rules for installing chargers and set building codes and other regulations to require the stations at workplaces, multifamily residences and at other places.' An editorial in Quartz says that while the initiative itself is fine, the states should really take cues from Tesla if they want to plan out an infrastructure that will convince people to switch. ' For longer distances, [Tesla drivers] can stop at "Supercharger" stations strategically placed along highways that let them add 150 miles of range in as little as 20 minutes. Currently, [government] money is being spent on installing much-slower chargers at stores, shopping malls and other urban locations in the hope that drivers will use them. Tesla says it will blanket the US with its Superchargers for a fraction of the cost, because it studies the driving patterms of its customers and installs charging stations only where they tend to travel. This isn't hard; most other electric cars also record their drivers' habits. If privacy concerns could be addressed and automakers would be willing to share that data with government transportation planners, the rollout of public charging stations could be more targeted and cash-efficient.'"
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+ - 361 File-Sharing Site Was Actually an Anti-Piracy Honeypot->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The administrator of file-sharing site UploaderTalk shocked and enraged his userbase a few days ago when he revealed that the site was nothing more than a honeypot set up by a company called Nuke Piracy. The main purpose of the site had been to gather data on its users. The administrator said, 'I collected info on file hosts, web hosts, websites. I suckered shitloads of you. I built a history, got the trust of some very important people in the warez scene collecting information and data all the time.' Nobody knows what Nuke Piracy is going to do with the data, but it seems reasonable to expect lawsuits and the further investigation of any services the users discussed. His very public betrayal is likely meant to sow discord and distrust among the groups responsible for distributing pirated files."
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+ - 314 ACLU: Lavabit Was 'Fatally Endermined' By Demands for Encryption Keys->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "When encrypted email provider Lavabit shut down in August, it was because U.S. authorities demanded the company release encryption keys to get access to certain accounts. Lavabit's founder, Ladar Levison, is facing contempt of court charges for his refusal to acquiesce to their demands. But now the ACLU has filed a 'friend of the court' brief (PDF) in support of Levison, saying that the government's demand 'fatally undermined' the secure email service. 'Lavabit's business was predicated on offering a secure email service, and no company could possible tell its clients that it offers a secure service if its keys have been handed over to the government.' The ACLU added, 'The district court's contempt holding should be reversed, because the underlying orders requiring Lavabit to disclose its private keys imposed an unreasonable burden on the company. Although innocent third parties have a duty to assist law enforcement agents in their investigations, they also have a right not to be compelled "to render assistance without limitation regardless of the burden involved."' Lavabit is also defending itself by claiming a violation of the 4th amendment has occurred."
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+ - 298 Ten Steps You Can Take Against Internet Surveillance

Submitted by Hugh Pickens DOT Com
Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Danny O'Brien writes at EFF that as NSA's spying has spread, more and more ordinary people want to know how they can defend themselves from surveillance online. "The bad news is: if you're being personally targeted by a powerful intelligence agency like the NSA, it's very, very difficult to defend yourself," writes O'Brien. "The good news, if you can call it that, is that much of what the NSA is doing is mass surveillance on everybody. With a few small steps, you can make that kind of surveillance a lot more difficult and expensive, both against you individually, and more generally against everyone." Here's ten steps you can take to make your own devices secure: Use end-to-end encryption; Encrypt as much communications as you can; Encrypt your hard drive; Use Strong passwords; Use Tor; Turn on two-factor (or two-step) authentication; Don't click on attachments; Keep software updated and use anti-virus software; Keep extra secret information extra secure with Truecrypt; and Teach others what you've learned. "Ask [your friends] to sign up to Stop Watching Us and other campaigns against bulk spying. Run a Tor node; or hold a cryptoparty. They need to stop watching us; and we need to start making it much harder for them to get away with it.""

+ - 235 Google: Our Robot Cars Are Better Drivers Than You->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "At a robotics conference in Santa Clara, California, the head of Google's autonomous car project presented results of a study showing that the company's autonomous cars are already safer that human drivers — including trained professionals. 'We're spending less time in near-collision states,' he said. 'In addition to painting a rosy picture of his vehicles’ autonomous capabilities, Urmson showed a new dashboard display that his group has developed to help people understand what an autonomous car is doing and when they might want to take over.' This follows another (non-Google) study earlier this week that found the adoption of autonomous cars could save thousands of lives and billions of dollars each year. Urmson also pointed out that determining liability for an accident is much easier using the data collected by the autonomous cars. At one point, a test car was read-ended, and the data shows it smoothly braking to a stop before being struck. 'We don’t have to rely on eyewitnesses that can’t act be trusted as to what happened—we actually have the data. The guy around us wasn't paying enough attention. The data will set you free.'"
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+ - 178 Koch Brothers Dark-Money Network ..->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "On Thursday, the California attorney general and the state's top election watchdog named the "Koch brothers network" of donors and dark-money nonprofits as the true source of $15 million in secret donations made last year to influence two bitterly fought ballot propositions in California. State officials unmasked the Kochs' network as part of a settlement deal that ends a nearly year-long investigation into the source of the secret donations that flowed in California last fall."
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