The Courts

Silk Road Founder Ross Ulbricht Sentenced To Life In Prison 299

Posted by Soulskill
from the sorry-about-your-luck dept.
An anonymous reader sends an update on the trial of Ross Ulbricht, the man behind the Silk Road online black market. Sentencing is now complete, and Ulbricht has been given life in prison. He had been facing a 20-year minimum because of the charge of being a "drug kingpin," and prosecutors were asking for a sentence substantially higher than the minimum. Prior to the sentence being handed down today, Ulbricht spoke before the court for 20 minutes, asking for leniency and for the judge to leave him a "light at the end of the tunnel." The judge was unswayed, giving Ulbricht the most severe sentence possible. She said, "The stated purpose [of the silk road] was to be beyond the law. ... Silk Road's birth and presence asserted that its creator was better than the laws of this country. This is deeply troubling, terribly misguided, and very dangerous." Ulbricht's family plans to appeal.
Privacy

Uber Revises Privacy Policy, Wants More Data From Users 134

Posted by Soulskill
from the can-you-just-drive-me-places dept.
itwbennett tips news that Uber has amended its privacy policy, making it much simpler to read and understand. But the policy also includes changes to what data Uber collects about its riders. Beginning July 15th, the Uber phone app will keep track of a rider's location while it's running in the background. Uber says riders will be able to opt out of this tracking. The policy changes also allow for advertising using the rider's contact list: "for example the ability to send special offers to riders' friends or family." The revision of Uber's privacy policy followed complaints at the end of last year that the company was overstepping its bounds.
Crime

Feds Bust a Dark-Web Counterfeit Coupon Kingpin 86

Posted by Soulskill
from the coupon-for-free-living-arrangements-at-a-penitentiary dept.
Sparrowvsrevolution writes: The dark web has become the go-to corner of the Internet to buy drugs, stolen financial data, guns...and counterfeit coupons for Clif bars and condoms? The FBI indicted Beauregard Wattigney yesterday for wire fraud and trademark counterfeiting on digital black market sites Silk Road and Silk Road 2. Wattigney allegedly spoofed coupons for dozens of products and sold collections of them online in exchange for Bitcoin. The FBI accused him of doing $1 million worth of collective damage to the companies he made coupons for, but a fraud consultancy believes the total financial cost of his actions was much higher. Wattigney also offered expensive lessons that taught people how to make their own coupons. "In his tutorials, [he] explained the simple breakdown of barcode creation using the increasingly universal GS1 standard: GS1 codes begin with a 'company prefix' that can be copied from any of the company's products. The next six digits are the 'offer code,' which can be any random number for a counterfeit coupon, followed by the savings amount listed in cents and the required number of item purchases necessary to receive the discount."
Earth

Ask Slashdot: What Happens If We Perfect Age Reversing? 624

Posted by samzenpus
from the mad-max-time dept.
ourlovecanlastforeve writes: With biologists getting closer and closer to reversing the aging process in human cells, the reality of greatly extended life draws closer. This brings up a very important conundrum: You can't tell people not to reproduce and you can't kill people to preserve resources and space. Even at our current growth rate there's not enough for everyone. Not enough food, not enough space, not enough medical care. If — no, when — age reversal becomes a reality, who gets to live? And if everyone gets to live, how will we provide for them?
The Internet

FCC Proposes To Extend So-Called "Obamaphone" Program To Broadband 362

Posted by samzenpus
from the internet-to-the-people dept.
jfruh writes: The FCC's Lifeline program subsidizes phone service for very poor Americans; it gained notoriety under the label "Obamaphone," even though the program started under Reagan and was extended to cell phones under Clinton. Now the FCC is proposing that the program, which is funded by a fee on telecom providers, be extended to broadband, on the logic that high-speed internet is as necessary today as telephone service was a generation ago.
Communications

Murder Accusations Hang Over Silk Road Boss Ulbricht's Sentencing 80

Posted by timothy
from the prison-break-blockbuster-in-the-works dept.
Patrick O'Neill writes: Ross Ulbricht has never been tried for murder. But tomorrow, when the convicted Silk Road creator is sentenced to prison, murder will be on the mind of the judge. Despite never filing murder-for-hire charges, New York federal prosecutors have repeatedly pushed for harsh sentencing because they say Ulbricht solicited multiple murders. The judge herself recently referred to Ulbricht's "commission of murders-for-hire" in a letter about the sentencing, painting an even grimmer picture of Ulbricht's sentencing prospects.
Government

US Justice Department Urges Supreme Court Not To Take Up Google v. Oracle 222

Posted by timothy
from the leave-well-enough-alone dept.
New submitter Areyoukiddingme writes: The Solicitor General of the Justice Department has filed a response to the US Supreme Court's solicitation of advice regarding the Google vs. Oracle ruling and subsequent overturning by the Federal Circuit. The response recommends that the Federal Circuit ruling stand, allowing Oracle to retain copyright to the Java API.
Books

High Court Orders UK ISPs To Block EBook Sites 130

Posted by samzenpus
from the words-aren't-free dept.
An anonymous reader writes: The UK High Court has ordered British ISPs to block seven websites that help users find unauthorized copies of eBooks. Under the order, BT, Virgin, Sky, EE and TalkTalk must block AvaxHome, Bookfi, Bookre, Ebookee, Freebookspot, Freshwap and LibGen within the next ten days. “We are very pleased that the High Court has granted this order and, in doing so, recognizes the damage being inflicted on UK publishers and authors by these infringing websites,” says Richard Mollet, Chief Executive of The Publishers Association. “A third of publisher revenues now come from digital sales but unfortunately this rise in the digital market has brought with it a growth in online infringement. Our members need to be able to protect their authors’ works from such illegal activity; writers need to be paid and publishers need to be able to continue to innovate and invest in new talent and material.”
Earth

Thanks To the Montreal Protocol, We Avoided Severe Ozone Depletion 122

Posted by samzenpus
from the keeping-away-the-UVs dept.
hypnosec writes: Scientists say the ozone layer is in good shape thanks to the Montreal Protocol, which has helped us avoid severe ozone depletion. Research suggests that the Antarctic ozone hole would have been 40% bigger by now if not for the international treaty. "Our research confirms the importance of the Montreal Protocol and shows that we have already had real benefits. We knew that it would save us from large ozone loss 'in the future', but in fact we are already past the point when things would have become noticeably worse," lead author Professor Martyn Chipperfield, from the School of Earth & Environment at the University of Leeds, said in a press release.
Power

California Is Giving Away Free Solar Panels To Its Poorest Residents 269

Posted by samzenpus
from the you-get-a-panel-and-you-get-a-panel-and-you-get.... dept.
MikeChino writes: Oakland-based non-profit GRID Alternatives is giving away 1,600 free solar panels to California's poorest residents by the year 2016. The initiative was introduced by Senator Kevin de León and launched with funds gathered under the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GCRF), the state's cap-and-trade program. SFGate reports: "Kianté London used the program to put panels on his three-bedroom North Richmond home, which he shares with two sons and a daughter. 'It helps me and my family a great deal to have low-cost energy, because these energy prices are really expensive,' said London, 46, whose solar array was installed this week. 'And I wanted to do my part. It’s clean, green energy.' London had wanted a solar array for years, but couldn’t afford it on his income as a merchant seaman — roughly $70,000 per year. Even leasing programs offered by such companies as SolarCity and Sunrun were too expensive, he said. The new program, in contrast, paid the entire up-front cost of his array."
The Military

The Marshall Islands, Nuclear Testing, and the NPT 67

Posted by samzenpus
from the big-booms dept.
Lasrick writes: Robert Alvarez, a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies and a former senior policy adviser to the Energy Department's secretary and deputy assistant secretary for national security and the environment, details the horrific consequences of nuclear weapons testing in the Marshall Islands and explains the lawsuits the Marshallese have filed against the nuclear weapons states. The lawsuits hope to close the huge loophole those states carved for themselves with the vague wording of Article VI of the NPT (Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty), wording that allows those states to delay, seemingly indefinitely, implementing the disarmament they agreed to when they signed the treaty.
The Courts

Adblock Plus Victorious Again In Court 311

Posted by samzenpus
from the win-again dept.
New submitter Xochil writes: AdBlock Plus has successfully defended itself in court for the second time in five weeks. The Munich Regional Court ruled against media companies ProSiebenSat1 and IP Deutschland. The companies sued Eyeo, the company behind Adblock Plus, asking the court to ban the distribution of the free ad-blocking software, saying it hurts their ad-based business model. An Eyeo release says in part: "We are elated at the decision reached today by the Munich court, which is another win for every internet user. It confirms each individual’s right to block annoying ads, protect their privacy and, by extension, determine his or her own internet experience. This time it also confirms the legitimacy of our Acceptable Ads initiative as a compromise in the often contentious and rarely progressive world of online advertising."
Democrats

Obama Asks Congress To Renew 'Patriot Act' Snooping 387

Posted by Soulskill
from the it-makes-you-safer-because-reasons dept.
mi writes: President Obama has asked the Senate to renew key Patriot Act provisions before their expiration on May 31. This includes surveillance powers that let the government collect Americans' phone records. Obama said, "It's necessary to keep the American people safe and secure." The call came despite recent revelations that the FBI is unable to name a single terror case in which the snooping provisions were of much help. "Obama noted that the controversial bulk phone collections program, which was exposed by National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, is reformed in the House bill, which does away with it over six months and instead gives phone companies the responsibility of maintaining phone records that the government can search." Obama criticized the Senate for not acting on that legislation, saying they have necessitated a renewal of the Patriot Act provisions.
Space

SpaceX Cleared For US Military Launches 62

Posted by Soulskill
from the low-earth-orbit-needs-more-lasers dept.
An anonymous reader writes: The U.S. Air Force has given private rocket company SpaceX clearance to launch military satellites into orbit. This disrupts the lock that Boeing and Lockheed Martin have had on military launches for almost a decade. SpaceX will get its first opportunity to bid for such launches in June, when the Air Force posts a contract to launch GPS satellites.
Patents

Supreme Court Rules In Favor of Patent Troll 85

Posted by Soulskill
from the clarence-thomas-speechless-at-the-verdict dept.
An anonymous reader writes: The Supreme Court ruled today (PDF) that Cisco Systems can't skip out of a patent suit against them from patent troll Commil USA. The case reached the Supreme Court because Cisco argued it had a "good faith belief" that the patent they were infringing was invalid. The justices voted 6-2 that such a belief didn't matter if they were indeed infringing. The Supreme Court's opinion is that a company must know of the patent it's infringing, and that their product infringes upon the patent — which, at least, is more than what Commil was pushing.

The case isn't completely over — a $63.7 million verdict in Commil's favor was overturned by an Appeals Court, and now the Supreme Court has sent it back down for re-evaluation after it clarified the rules of infringement. The Appeals Court could still overturn the judgment for some other reason. The good news is that the Supreme Court dedicated a page in their opinion to telling lower courts how to sanction patent trolls and keep them from clogging the courts with ridiculous claims. "[I]t is still necessary and proper to stress that district courts have the authority and responsibility to ensure frivolous cases are dissuaded."