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Submission + - Amazon Payment Adds "No Class Action" Language to Terms Of Service

wbr1 writes: I just received an email from Amazon Payments, the Amazon competitor to PayPal, stating among other things, that they were changing and simplifying their policies. It should be no surprise then, that similar to what PayPal and many others have already done, they have added language removing the right to class action lawsuits. See specifically section 11.3 (edited for brevity):

1.3 Disputes. Any dispute or claim relating in any way to your visit to the Site or Seller Central or to products or services sold or distributed by us or through the Site or Seller Central (including without limitation the Service) will be resolved by binding arbitration, rather than in court, except that you may assert claims in small claims court if your claims qualify. The Federal Arbitration Act and federal arbitration law apply to this agreement....
... You and we each agree that any dispute resolution proceedings will be conducted only on an individual basis and not in a class, consolidated, or representative action. If for any reason a claim proceeds in court rather than in arbitration you and we each waive any right to a jury trial. You and we also both agree that you or we may bring suit in court to enjoin infringement or other misuse of intellectual property rights.

This is becoming more and more common, and while the end user normally doesn't make out well in a class-action suit, large settlements do provide a punishment and deterrent to corporations that abuse their power. The question becomes, what do we do to fix this so that consumers are truly protected?


Submission + - In UK, Twitter, Facebook rants land some in jail (

concealment writes: "In Britain, hundreds of people are prosecuted each year for posts, tweets, texts and emails deemed menacing, indecent, offensive or obscene, and the number is growing as our online lives expand. "Fifty years ago someone would have made a really offensive comment in a public space and it would have been heard by relatively few people," said Mike Harris of free-speech group Index on Censorship. People take it upon themselves to report this offensive material to police, and suddenly you've got the criminalization of offensive speech. Figures obtained by The Associated Press through a freedom of information request show a steadily rising tally of prosecutions in Britain for electronic communications — phone calls, emails and social media posts — that are grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character — from 1,263 in 2009 to 1,843 in 2011. Justice Igor Judge said in his judgment that the law should not prevent "satirical or iconoclastic or rude comment, the expression of unpopular or unfashionable opinion about serious or trivial matters, banter or humor, even if distasteful to some or painful to those subjected to it.""
The Internet

Submission + - Kinected Browser - Kinect On The Web (

mikejuk writes: The Kinect is well supported by a good and evolving SDK on the desktop, but until now using it in a browser wasn't easy. Now Microsoft Research has a free JavaScript API, Kinected Browser, that lets you integrate the Kinect with HTML. The bad news is that it only works on Windows 7 and 8 and in desktop mode only. In addition the browser has to be IE9 or IE 10. The good news is that more programmers know how to do HTML5 graphics than know how to work with DirectX or .NET. As a result this could lead to another burst of innovative Kinect applications.

Submission + - A Free Internet, If You Can Keep It (

Kethinov writes: "My Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, a prominent opponent of the infamous Stop Online Piracy Act, has introduced two bills to the U.S. House of Representatives designed to protect the free and open internet, expand the protections of the Fourth Amendment to digital communications, and protect against the introduction of any further SOPA-like bills. Since these are issues Slashdotters care deeply about, I wanted to open up the bills for discussion on Slashdot. Is my Congresswoman doing a good job? Is there room for improvement in the language of the bills? If you're as excited by her work as I am, please reach out to your representatives as well and as them to work with Rep. Lofgren. It will take a big coalition to beat the pro-RIAA/MPAA establishment politics on internet regulation."

Submission + - The First Amendment and Software Speech (

stanlrev writes: When is software, or content generated by software, "speech" for First Amendment purposes? That is the question that Andrew Tutt seeks to answer in an article published today in the Stanford Law Review Online. He argues that the two approaches commentators and the Supreme Court have proposed are both incorrect. Software or software-generated content is not always speech simply because it conveys information. Nor is software only speech when it resembles traditional art forms. Instead, the courts should turn to the original purposes of the First Amendment to develop a new approach that answers this question more effectively.
Open Source

Submission + - Unhackable drone research to go open source ( 3

mask.of.sanity writes: Researchers are set to release open source US Defence research designed to prevent unmanned drone aircraft from being hacked.

The DARPA research will take four years, cost $18 million and promises to also help secure critical systems such as aircraft, vehicles and medical devices and make their code more stable.


Submission + - Climate treaty negotiators are taking the wrong approach, says game theory (

An anonymous reader writes: Climate treaty negotiators would do well to have a little chat with some game theorists, according to this article. The fundamental approach they've been taking for the last several years is flawed, these researchers say, and they can prove it. They also have some better ideas about what to do.

Submission + - Google open non-destructive book scanner; books and libraries rejoice (

leighklotz writes: "Google released open hardware designs for a book scanner that "sucks" pages to turn them, using a vacuum cleaner. The Google Tech Talk Video starts with Jeff Breidenbach of the Google Books team, and moves on to Dany Qumsiyeh showing how simple his design is to build. Could it be that the Google Books team has had enough of destroying the library in order to save it? Or maybe the just want to up-stage the Internet Archive's Scanning Robot.

Disclaimer: I worked with Jeff when we were at Xerox (where he did the awesome hack Gnu Chess on your Scanner), but this is more awesome because it saves books."


Submission + - US Air Force scraps ERP project after $1 billion spent (

angry tapir writes: "The U.S. Air Force has decided to scrap a major ERP (enterprise resource planning) software project after spending US$1 billion, concluding that finishing it would cost far too much more money for too little gain. Dubbed the Expeditionary Combat Support System (ECSS), the project has racked up $1.03 billion in costs since 2005, "and has not yielded any significant military capability," an Air Force spokesman said in a statement. "We estimate it would require an additional $1.1B for about a quarter of the original scope to continue and fielding would not be until 2020. The Air Force has concluded the ECSS program is no longer a viable option for meeting the FY17 Financial Improvement and Audit Readiness (FIAR) statutory requirement. Therefore, we are cancelling the program and moving forward with other options in order to meet both requirements.""

Submission + - Volcano may have killed off new bioluminescent cockroach (

terrancem writes: A newly discovered light-producing cockroach, Lucihormetica luckae, may have already been driven to extinction by a volcanic eruption in Ecuador. The species, only formally described by scientists this year, hasn't been spotted since the Tungurahua Volcano erupted in July 2010. The new species was notable because it represented the only known case of mimicry by bioluminescence in a land animal. Like a venomless king snake beating its tail to copy the unmistakable warning of a rattlesnake, Lucihormetica luckae's bioluminescent patterns are nearly identical to the poisonous click beetle, with which it shares (or shared) its habitat.

Submission + - Entire Pig Genome Sequenced in Breakthrough That Could Combat Human Disease (

An anonymous reader writes: Scientists announced Wednesday that they have mapped the entire genome of the domestic pig, revealing that besides providing tasty bacon and sausages, the animal may also be useful in fighting human diseases.
The study published in the journal Nature found that pigs and humans share 112 DNA mutations that have previously been linked to diseases like obesity, diabetes, dyslexia, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, according to US and European researchers.
Researchers said that because pigs share many of the same complex genetic diseases as humans, the animals would serve as excellent models for studying the underlying biology of human disease.


Submission + - Hacker Grabs 150k Adobe User Accounts via SQL Injection (

CowboyRobot writes: "Adobe today confirmed that one of its databases has been breached by a hacker and that it had temporarily taken offline the affected website. The hacker, who also goes by Adam Hima, told Dark Reading that the server he attacked was the Web server, and that he exploited a SQL injection flaw to execute the attack. "It was an SQL Injection vulnerability, somehow I was able to dump the database in less requests than normal people do," he says. Users passwords for the Adobe Connectusers site were stored and hashed with MD5, he says, which made them "easy to crack" with freely available tools. And Adobe wasn't using WAFs on the servers, he notes. Tal Beery, a security researcher at Imperva, analyzed the data dump in the Connectusers Pastebin post and found that the list appears to be valid and that the hacked database was relatively old."
Internet Explorer

Submission + - IE 10 almost finished for Windows 7 with final preview ( 1

Billly Gates writes: IE 10 just hit the final preview yesterday for Windows 7. Windows XP and Windows Vista support has been dropped. Most slashdotters have a complex relationship with Internet Explorer. Many of us are hating it, while some of us are writting websites for it, or supporting it in an office setting. Microsoft has tried last year to make IE good again with release IE 9 which had some fanfare on slashdot, such as hardware acceleration and better standards compliancy, while MS even launched a full campaign to get us to switch.. IE 10 is supposed to continue the new process and promises to be much faster and support much more HTML 5 and CSS 3 and W3C HTML 5.1 and CSS 3.1 with a score of 320 on HTML5test. As a comparison, last years IE 9 only scored 138. The download is available here. Perhaps a few webdevelopers could care to comment if MS is really changing up its game since IE 6? It also appears that MS is rapidly releasing its browser on an annual schedule as well. What are the reactions of IT departments since IE 9 is now going to be an obsolete browser already?

Submission + - Google Lunar X Prize teams now in a race with China as well as each other (

MarkWhittington writes: "The Google Lunar X Prize rules of competition has a clause that reduces the $20 million grand prize to $15 million for the first private group to land a rover on the lunar surface should a government funded rover land first. The first scheduled government funded rover to land on the moon is the Chinese Chang’e 3. It is slated for a 2013 landing."

Submission + - CyanogenMod Domain Stolen (

An anonymous reader writes: The team behind CyanogenMod, one of the most popular community-driven, Android-based operating systems for phones and tablets, has announced that they're moving to after their .com domain was held ransom by a community member. He had been in control of the .com domain name for some time, but the team found out he was impersonating Cyanogen to make deals with community sites. When they removed his access to other parts of the CM infrastructure, he demanded $10,000 to relinquish control of the domain and threatened to change the DNS entries. When they refused to pay, he went through with it. The team is now disputing control of the domain with ICANN. They said, 'We will continue to be open about the what, when, how, but unfortunately, we may never know the "why" – though greed comes to mind. The team itself has not made a profit off of CM and that is not our goal. But to have one of our own betray the community like this is beyond our comprehension.'