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Electronic Frontier Foundation

DOJ Often Used Cell Tower Impersonating Devices Without Explicit Warrants 146

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the bending-the-rules dept.
Via the EFF comes news that, during a case involving the use of a Stingray device, the DOJ revealed that it was standard practice to use the devices without explicitly requesting permission in warrants. "When Rigmaiden filed a motion to suppress the Stingray evidence as a warrantless search in violation of the Fourth Amendment, the government responded that this order was a search warrant that authorized the government to use the Stingray. Together with the ACLU of Northern California and the ACLU, we filed an amicus brief in support of Rigmaiden, noting that this 'order' wasn't a search warrant because it was directed towards Verizon, made no mention of an IMSI catcher or Stingray and didn't authorize the government — rather than Verizon — to do anything. Plus to the extent it captured loads of information from other people not suspected of criminal activity it was a 'general warrant,' the precise evil the Fourth Amendment was designed to prevent. ... The emails make clear that U.S. Attorneys in the Northern California were using Stingrays but not informing magistrates of what exactly they were doing. And once the judges got wind of what was actually going on, they were none too pleased:"

Misconfigured Open DNS Resolvers Key To Massive DDoS Attacks 179

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the check-your-sources dept.
msm1267 writes with an excerpt From Threat Post: "While the big traffic numbers and the spat between Spamhaus and illicit webhost Cyberbunker are grabbing big headlines, the underlying and percolating issue at play here has to do with the open DNS resolvers being used to DDoS the spam-fighters from Switzerland. Open resolvers do not authenticate a packet-sender's IP address before a DNS reply is sent back. Therefore, an attacker that is able to spoof a victim's IP address can have a DNS request bombard the victim with a 100-to-1 ratio of traffic coming back to them versus what was requested. DNS amplification attacks such as these have been used lately by hacktivists, extortionists and blacklisted webhosts to great success." Running an open DNS resolver isn't itself always a problem, but it looks like people are enabling neither source address verification nor rate limiting.

Google Pledges Not To Sue Any Open Source Projects Using Their Patents 153

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the now-and-forever dept.
sfcrazy writes "Google has announced the Open Patent Non-Assertion (OPN) Pledge. In the pledge Google says that they will not sue any user, distributor, or developer of Open Source software on specified patents, unless first attacked. Under this pledge, Google is starting off with 10 patents relating to MapReduce, a computing model for processing large data sets first developed at Google. Google says that over time they intend to expand the set of Google's patents covered by the pledge to other technologies." This is in addition to the Open Invention Network, and their general work toward reforming the patent system. The patents covered in the OPN will be free to use in Free/Open Source software for the life of the patent, even if Google should transfer ownership to another party. Read the text of the pledge. It appears that interaction with non-copyleft licenses (MIT/BSD/Apache) is a bit weird: if you create a non-free fork it appears you are no longer covered under the pledge.
The Media

What Does It Actually Cost To Publish a Scientific Paper? 166

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the one-trillion-dollars dept.
ananyo writes "Nature has published an investigation into the real costs of publishing research after delving into the secretive, murky world of science publishing. Few publishers (open access or otherwise-including Nature Publishing Group) would reveal their profit margins, but they've pieced together a picture of how much it really costs to publish a paper by talking to analysts and insiders. Quoting from the piece: '"The costs of research publishing can be much lower than people think," agrees Peter Binfield, co-founder of one of the newest open-access journals, PeerJ, and formerly a publisher at PLoS. But publishers of subscription journals insist that such views are misguided — born of a failure to appreciate the value they add to the papers they publish, and to the research community as a whole. They say that their commercial operations are in fact quite efficient, so that if a switch to open-access publishing led scientists to drive down fees by choosing cheaper journals, it would undermine important values such as editorial quality.' There's also a comment piece by three open access advocates setting out what they think needs to happen next to push forward the movement as well as a piece arguing that 'Objections to the Creative Commons attribution license are straw men raised by parties who want open access to be as closed as possible.'"

Comment: Wherever their culture draws the thin line... (Score 2) 132

by Art Popp (#42370053) Attached to: Israeli Bill Would Allow Secret Blacklists For Websites

between "person who blogged about Olmert's overly aggressive war against Lebannon" and "Subversive Hezbollah sympathizer," that line needs to be in clear public view. It is a symbol of a country's bravery in times of fear. Ex-parte, non-disclosed proceedings will make it impossible for people to know the "why" and the balance the court has placed on fighting crime vs. sacrificing free speech. Without that visibility, there is zero chance that the line will be held in place, uninfluenced by politics.

Of all the people that I assumed would be on guard for the State taking powers that could easily be abused to silence the minority, I thought it would be them.

Comment: Re:Balancing potential deaths with real-today ones (Score 1) 130

by Art Popp (#42247599) Attached to: Altered Immune Cells Help Girl Beat Leukemia

Thank you MozeeToby. I thought the difference in these solutions was more confined to the delivery mechanism, but they appear to be more distinct. Yes, it's the "selective tissue killer virus" version that seems far more problem-ready to me too.

If the only place the T-cells get modified is in a test tube, and the only modified T-cells the patient gets are from the doctor, and the patients are not the test-tube in which this combining takes place.... Then I find it much less forboding.

Comment: Re:The world is not changed by timid men. (Score 1) 130

by Art Popp (#42246725) Attached to: Altered Immune Cells Help Girl Beat Leukemia

A fair point. There is a very real price to be paid, in the lives of innocent kids, by not boldly exploring this terrain.

My primary worry is that people are so desperate for this cure, so desperate to focus on something hopeful, that it will become a primary technique before it's long term consequences are well understood. Thalidomide is a great drug for a very narrow range of problems. When applied to morning sickness an estimated 10,000 children in 46 countries got to live with deformities.

My hope is that the companies who stand to profit from this test very thoroughly on a large batch of patients for many years. It's not like it won't pay for itself, most of us will end up fighting some kinds of cancers in our final years. I'd like to know if I'm trading ear-cancer for nose-rot. I prefer to wear a hat to a hockey mask.

Comment: Balancing potential deaths with real-today ones (Score 2, Interesting) 130

by Art Popp (#42246399) Attached to: Altered Immune Cells Help Girl Beat Leukemia

Really; it sounds wonderful, but if Murphy and Pandora had a child, his/her favorite toy would be using lethal viruses to help us combat lethal cancers.

Using nuclear weapons to plug oil gushers, using attack polar bears to guard your bunny farm, using a scalpel to pick your nose... these ideas will go right some of the time too.

A link with more detail:

Comment: Um, yeah, about that (Score 4, Informative) 111

by Art Popp (#41981105) Attached to: Fully Open A13-OLinuXino Single-Board Linux Computer

I guess you may be looking for "fully" open in the mathematical sense, which is generally unachievable.

You can go over to OpenCores right now and download the spiffy OR1200 OpenRisc design and run it on the OpenRISC development board, but that board uses Altera FPGAs. Which themselves aren't open. had a failed kickstarter that they ran themselves (probably should have used Kickstarter), which raised about half the money needed to make a comminity sponsored chip of it.

Since that was not successful, you're stuck buying someone's processor, for which they'll have some ownership. Once you accept that and realize there are enormous numbers of processors out there (not really a lock in), then the question of open is about your ability to redesign the board and exert complete control of all the peripheral chips.

The A13 will let you do that. At release time the RPi would not, due to some documentation restrictions and video binaries, but they are making progress in this vein.

So if you want fully open, (and I certainly do), we need to convince the OpenCores people to run a kickstarter for the remaining funds needed, and contribute. Until then the A13 is as close as we get.

Comment: Re:If there was a Bad at Math Map... (Score 5, Insightful) 1163

by Art Popp (#41961083) Attached to: Secession Petitions Flood White House Website

Fair enough. It was an incomplete pivot. In the debates he went right-of-Perry on immigration but wasn't more radical than most of the stage.

But, again, what can you do. You don't want to appear to be an Etch-a-Sketch, but you have to in a split-brained party if you want all their votes. Pleasing the corporations ruins the budgets valued by decent conservatives, pleasing the decent conservatives, irks the religeous zealots. The guy was asked to swim in air. I've no pity for the amount of deceit he employed in this process, but it looked like a pretty impossible job.

+ - Is there something wrong with the Adapteva Supercomputers?-> 1

Submitted by Art Popp
Art Popp (29075) writes "I need for a super computer to do some very branch-diverse AI experimentation for gaming AI development. I can't afford EC2 for an extended period. Caught up in the magic of GPU computing, I now have 5 CUDA books fully digested and an Nvidia 580GTX completely idle (except for Portal nights), and it turns out it's going to be nightmarishly tricky to bend a GPU to my needs because of the inherent dislike SIMD architectures have for this kind of code. I just came across the Parallella Kickstarter and backed it. The 64 individual cores, the non-SIMD layout, the decent memory throughput and the simple C programming interface make it sound pretty awesome, but CUDA was the wrong flavor of awesome for my needs. Is there a reason there aren't more backers for a $200 supercomputer? Or should I buy three?"
Link to Original Source

+ - Why Can't Industry Design an Affordable Hearing Aid? 1

Submitted by
Hugh Pickens writes
Hugh Pickens writes writes "Tricia Romano writes in the NY Times that over the last 10 years, purchasing a hearing aid had become even more difficult and confusing than buying a new car — and almost as expensive. "I visited Hearx, the national chain where I had bought my previous aids. There, a fastidious young man spread out a brochure for my preferred brand, Siemens, and showed me three models. The cheapest, a Siemens Motion 300, started at $1,600. The top-of-the-line model was more than $2,000 — for one ear. I gasped." A hearing aid is basically just a microphone and amplifier in your ear so it isn’t clear why it costs thousands of dollars while other electronic equipment like cellphones, computers and televisions have gotten cheaper. Russ Apfel, an engineer who designed a technology now found in all hearing aids, says there is no good reason for the high prices. “The hearing aid industry uses every new thing, like digital or a new algorithm, to raise prices,” says Apfel. “The semiconductor industry traditionally reduces the cost of products by 10 to 15 percent a year,” he said, but “hearing aids go up 8 percent a year annually” and have for the last 20 years."

It is impossible to enjoy idling thoroughly unless one has plenty of work to do. -- Jerome Klapka Jerome