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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 93 declined, 42 accepted (135 total, 31.11% accepted)

The Courts

+ - No Right to Privacy When Your Computer Is Repaired-> 3

Submitted by
Billosaur
Billosaur writes "ZDNet's Police Blotter bring us the interesting story of a Pennsylvania man who brought his computer into Circuit City to have a DVD burner installed on his computer and wound up being arrested for having child pornography on his hard drive. Circuit City employees discovered the child pornography while perusing Kenneth Sodomsky's hard drive for files to test the burner, then proceeded to call the police, who arrested Sodomsky and confiscated the computer. Sodomsky's lawyer argued in court that the Circuit City techs had no right to go rifling through the hard drive, and the trial court agreed, but prosecutors appealed and the appeals court overturned the lower court's decision, based on the fact that Sodomsky had consented to the installation of the DVD drive and the techs "weren't randomly perusing the drive for contraband, but instead were testing its functioning in a 'commercially accepted manner.'""
Link to Original Source
Education

+ - John Haught on Theology and Science->

Submitted by
Billosaur
Billosaur writes "Salon.com has this excellent interview with John Haught, a Roman Catholic theologian at Georgetown University, whose newest book ("God and the New Atheism") takes a look at how religion and science can co-exist. He testified in the landmark 2005 Dover trial, against intelligent design. He does not see evolution as something that invalidates theology, but pushes theology to re-examine its view of God. As well, he believes that the "new atheism" (proposed by Richard Dawkins and others), whereby God can be removed from the equation as some sort of delusion, as showing too much faith in science's ability to identify and explain the functioning of the universe."
Link to Original Source
Security

+ - IT Pro Admits Stealing 8.4M Consumer Records->

Submitted by
Billosaur
Billosaur writes "The Channel Register is reporting that a database administrator at Fidelity National Information Services, a consumer reporting agency in Florida, has admitted to stealing more than 8.4 million account records and selling them to a data broker. The DBA, William Gary Sullivan, faces up to 10 years in prison and fines of $500,000. He worked at a subsidiary of Fidelity and used his access to its database to steal customer names, addresses and financial account information, then used a business he incorporated to sell the list to an accomplice, who eventually sold it to direct marketing firms."
Link to Original Source
Communications

+ - Site to Resurrect Dead Forum Comments->

Submitted by
Billosaur
Billosaur writes "May the airing of grievances commence! Via Wired, we find out that Billy Chasen, responsible for the exploded iPod display is starting a new website called "Don't Censor Me", dedicated to horror stories about online moderators and their negative treatment of comments/posts. It is described as a site to counterbalance unfair website moderation. Apparently Digg is such a large offender that it has its own tab."
Link to Original Source
The Internet

+ - Flawed Online Dating Bill Being Pushed in NJ->

Submitted by
Billosaur
Billosaur writes "According to a report on ars technica, a committee of the New Jersey Assembly is trying to push an on-line dating bill even though it contains significant flaws. The Internet Dating Safety Act would require dating web sites that interact with customers in New Jersey to indicate whether they do criminal background checks and if people who fail such checks are still allowed to register with the site. In addition, the warnings would be displayed in all emails and all sign-up web pages where the site interacts with a New Jersey customer, in a bold, 12-point font. For sites the do background checks, they would be required to inform NJ users of that fact, in the same type of font. And for sites that might allow convicted criminals to sign up, there would be a strict admonition that background checks are not infallible and that the data they use might be incomplete. While perhaps there is merit in the attempt to make online dating safer, you have to wonder what the NJ Assembly actually hopes to accomplish."
Link to Original Source
The Courts

+ - Vonage Lose Appeal; Verizon Owed $120 Million->

Submitted by
Billosaur
Billosaur writes "Things do not look good for Vonage. Yesterday, they lost their request for reconsideration of their settlement with Verizon. This means Vonage owes Verizon $120 million to end the patent lawsuit filed against them. The costs associated with defending the case have cut into Vonage's bottom line, and despite attempts to cut costs by laying off 10% of their workforce, they may be unable to make a payment against their debt come December. According to the settlement, Vonage will pay $117.5 million to Verizon and another $2.5 million dollars to charity. Vonage's shares have dropped 87% since their IPO, now hovering around $1.50 per share."
Link to Original Source
Privacy

+ - Facebook App Exposes User Information->

Submitted by
Billosaur
Billosaur writes "According to a report on Valleywag.com, the Facebook application Compare People contains a vulnerability that allows user information to be seen by search engines. What type of information? Age, gender, city, ZIP code, favorite music, favorite movies, favorite TV shows, favorite books, "about me," activities, interests, and political views are all searchable. Further, the company that built the app, Chainn, has no information available on their web site, save an email address."
Link to Original Source
It's funny.  Laugh.

+ - 5 Not-So-Awesome Sci-Fi Inventions->

Submitted by
Billosaur
Billosaur writes "Science fiction often makes the future seem like a wonderful place, with all sorts of cool gadgets and technologies that we can only dream of. However, the folks at Cracked.com took a hard look at what your average sci-fi enthusiast would consider some of the best inventions the genre has to offer and determined the 5 that would actually suck. They are:
  1. Matter Replicators
  2. Teleporters
  3. Holodecks
  4. Jet Packs
  5. Flying Cars


It's not so much the technologies themselves, but the reasons why they would suck that are at once funny and very cogent."

Link to Original Source
The Internet

+ - MLB Fans Who Bought DRM Videos Get Hosed

Submitted by
Billosaur
Billosaur writes "Found via BoingBoing, Major League Baseball has just strengthened the case against DRM. If you downloaded videos of baseball games from MLB.com before 2006, apparently they no longer work and you are out of luck. MLB.com, sometime during 2006, changed their DRM system. Result: game videos purchased before that time will now no longer work, as the previous DRM system is no longer supported. When the video is played, apparently the MLB.com servers are contacted and a license obtained to verify the authenticity of the video; this is done by a web link. That link no longer exists, and so now the videos will no longer play, even though the MLB FAQ says that a license is only obtained once and will not need to be re-obtained. The blogger who is reporting this contacted MLB technical support, only to be told there are no refunds due to this problem."
It's funny.  Laugh.

+ - Note to Criminals: Don't Call Tech Support->

Submitted by
Billosaur
Billosaur writes "Darwin Awards, here he comes: according to Ars Technica, a would-be identity thief did himself in by calling tech support about printer drivers. It seems that Timothy Short hit the mother-lode when he stole a PC and a Digimarc printer from the Missouri Department of Revenue, perhaps with dreams of cranking out thousands of fake ids. Problem: he could not unlock the computer he stole and without the necessary drivers, he couldn't use the printer. Ever resourceful, Short called Digimarc tech support a couple of days later (twice), which brought him to the attention of a Secret Service agent, who recognized his voice from a recording of the calls. Short now faces a $250,000 fine and up to 10 years in prison."
Link to Original Source
Privacy

+ - New England Patriots Get Ticket Sellers' Names->

Submitted by
Billosaur
Billosaur writes "The New England Patriots sued on-line ticket re-seller StubHub (a subsidiary of eBay) to obtain the list of names of people who tried to buy or sell Patriots tickets using the service. StubHub lost an appeal in Massachusetts state court last week, and was compelled to hand over the list of 13,000 names. It is currently not clear what the Patriots organization intends to do with the names, but they have intimated that they may revoke the privileges of any season ticket holders on the list. The Center for Democracy and Technology, a Washington D.C.-based advocacy group, said the court order to turn over the names infringes on the privacy rights of Patriots fans. At issue, is whether using the on-line service allows an end-run around team rules and Massachusetts state law, by allowing ticket holders to charge extreme mark-ups on their tickets."
Link to Original Source
The Courts

+ - Two Porn Spammers Get Five Years In Prison->

Submitted by
Billosaur
Billosaur writes "InformationWeek is reporting that two spammers convicted under the Can-Spam Act for sending pornographic spam emails have been sentenced to five years in prison. According to the Department of Justice, "Jeffrey A. Kilbride, 41, of Venice, Calif., and James R. Schaffer, 41, of Paradise Valley, Ariz., had been sentenced to 72 months and 63 months in prison, respectively, for running an international pornographic spam ring that took in more than $1 million." Each was also fined $100,000, ordered to pay AOL $77,500, and together will forfeit the profits of their illegal business. This was the first case in which obscenity charges were included as part of the Can-Spam Act."
Link to Original Source
Communications

+ - T-Mobile Phone Unlocking Lawsuit May Proceed->

Submitted by
Billosaur
Billosaur writes "Wired is reporting that the California Supreme Court has refused to review two lower court decisions involving a class-action lawsuit against T-Mobile over their policies regarding early termination and phone unlocking. The Court rejected the reviews without comment, opening the door to the lawsuit, which aims to block T-Mobile from collecting a $200 early termination fee from users. Also on the table: an order for T-Mobile to disclose the types of phone-locking technology that may be in use on customer's phones. The ramifications if the lawsuit is successful would be to allow phone users in California to unlock their phones, and might lead to further lawsuits nationwide."
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Space

+ - Missing Potenital Earth-busting Asteroid Found->

Submitted by
Billosaur
Billosaur writes "A potentially disastrous 40-year-old mystery has been solved: Where is asteroid 6344 P-L? Back in 1960, asteroid 6344 P-L was identified and classified as a "Potentially Hazardous Asteroid," meaning that it's orbit brings it perilously close to Earth's orbit (on the cosmic scale). Unfortunately, it then disappeared, or more precisely, was lost from view. Flash forward to 2007 and scientists believe that 6344 P-L has been rediscovered as 2007 RR9. Further, they are not sure it is an actual asteroid, but actually a comet fragment, which won't hit the Earth anytime soon but bears watching."
Link to Original Source
The Courts

+ - Sony Exec Admits RIAA Lawsuits Are A Money Pit->

Submitted by
Billosaur
Billosaur writes "Interesting testimony came out of the first RIAA lawsuit to go to trial in Duluth, Minnesota (Capitol Records v. Jammie Thomas). Under cross-examination yesterday, Jennifer Pariser, the head of litigation for Sony BMG, admitted that the RIAA's lawsuit campaign is a gigantic net loss for the music industry. The admission occurred during questioning regarding the damages Sony BMG was seeking against the defendant; as with all these suits, the RIAA is seeking punitive damages only, but Pariser could not in fact come up with a figure as to how much was actually being lost to downloading in this case or any other. Further, she did not know how many people were alleged to have downloaded music from the defendant. She was rather vague on the number of lawsuits that had actually been filed, but did admit that the record comapnies have spent millions on them and have recouped very little."
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