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United States

Submission + - Chicago Traffic Cameras to Scan Cars for Insurance (

suraj.sun writes: Traffic cameras could help wipe out city's projected deficit :

Chicago could rake in "at least $200 million" a year — and wipe out the entire projected deficit for 2009 — by using its vast network of redlight and surveillance cameras to hunt down uninsured motorists, aldermen were told today.

The system pitched to the City Council's Transportation Committee by Michigan-based InsureNet would work only if insurance companies were somehow compelled to report the names and license plates of insured motorists. That's already happening daily in 13 states, but not here.

The data would be entered into the National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (NLETS), the information-sharing network that links federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

When a camera spots an uninsured vehicle driving on Chicago streets, a citation would automatically be generated and sent to the registered owner.

Illinois' mandatory insurance law carries a $500 fine. If Chicago levied a $300 fine and used its home-rule power to keep the money, the annual take would top $100 million. A $500 city fine would generate $357 million.

Gizmodo :

Chicago Sun-Times :,red-light-camera-uninsured-031609.article


Hope For Multi-Language Programming? 371

chthonicdaemon writes "I have been using Linux as my primary environment for more than ten years. In this time, I have absorbed all the lore surrounding the Unix Way — small programs doing one thing well, communicating via text and all that. I have found the command line a productive environment for doing many of the things I often do, and I find myself writing lots of small scripts that do one thing, then piping them together to do other things. While I was spending the time learning grep, sed, awk, python and many other more esoteric languages, the world moved on to application-based programming, where the paradigm seems to be to add features to one program written in one language. I have traditionally associated this with Windows or MacOS, but it is happening with Linux as well. Environments have little or no support for multi-language projects — you choose a language, open a project and get it done. Recent trends in more targeted build environments like cmake or ant are understandably focusing on automatic dependency generation and cross-platform support, unfortunately making it more difficult to grow a custom build process for a multi-language project organically. All this is a bit painful for me, as I know how much is gained by using a targeted language for a particular problem. Now the question: Should I suck it up and learn to do all my programming in C++/Java/(insert other well-supported, popular language here) and unlearn ten years of philosophy, or is there hope for the multi-language development process?"
The Military

Submission + - Marines Closer to Next-generation Rifle (

ixidor writes: The Marine Corps Systems Command in Quantico, Va., announced contract awards for three competing weapons manufacturers to produce and deliver their final entries to the Corps by the middle of next year, in what signifies a final round of competition that began with ten candidates.,15240,181898,00.html?
The Courts

Submission + - Chinese slaps pirates with harsh prison sentence

HASUS writes: The alleged ringleaders of a Chinese counterfeiting gang that sold at least $2 billion worth of bogus Microsoft Corp. software were sentenced Wednesday to prison terms of up to 6 1/2 years, in what is believed to be the harshest penalties yet under China's tightened piracy laws. Research commissioned by the Business Software Alliance, an industry trade group, found that 82 percent of the software used in China in 2007 was not legitimately purchased, more than double the worldwide piracy rate of 38 percent.

Is the Yellowstone Supervolcano About To Blow? 877

An anonymous reader writes "Apparently, Yellowstone National Park has been having a very unusual number of earthquakes. Many of the most recent tremors have been deeper underground, an ominous sign. Combine that with a rapid rise in elevation over the past three years, and the possibility that earthquake activity from surrounding areas could trigger such an eruption on its own, and you've got the possible warning signs of a supervolcano eruption that would wipe out half to 2/3 of the continental US, plunge global temperatures, and wipe out a very significant chunk of world food sources. Here's a little more info to make your New Year brighter!"

New State Laws Could Make Encryption Widespread 155

New laws that took effect in Nevada on Oct. 1 and will kick in on Jan. 1 in Massachusetts may effectively mandate encryption for companies' hard drives, portable devices, and data transmissions. The laws will be binding on any organization that maintains personal information about residents of the two states. (Washington and Michigan are considering similar legislation.) Nevada's law deals mostly with transmitted information and Massachusetts's emphasizes stored information. Between them the two laws should put more of a dent into lax security practices than widespread laws requiring customer notification of data breaches have done. (Such laws are on the books in 40 states and by one estimate have reduced identity theft by 2%.) Here are a couple of legal takes on the impact of the new laws.

FBI Says Dark Market Sting Netted 56 Arrests 130

narramissic writes "A two-year undercover FBI sting operation targeting online 'carder' forums hosted on the Web site has netted 56 arrests and prevented about $70 million in fraud losses, the FBI said Thursday. was widely used by online scammers to buy and sell stolen credit card numbers, other financial information, and even the devices used to make fake banking cards. Before it was shut down earlier this month, the Web site had registered more than 2,500 members. Although Dark Market was thought to have been administered by a criminal going by the name Master Splyntr, German Public Radio reported on Monday that the FBI had been running a sting operation on the site since late 2006, and that Master Splyntr was actually an FBI agent named J. Keith Mularski." Of course, they say it in German; non-German speakers may want to consult the Babelfish.

ISP Embarq Monitors User Traffic 106

Deli Korkmaz writes "The Washington Post reports that Sprint-Nextel spin-off Embarq, currently the US's fourth largest DSL provider, monitored Internet activity on some 26,000 customers in Kansas using deep-packet inspection technology NebuAd in order to deliver targeted advertising to users' desktops. CNet provides coverage as well. The House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce is investigating whether any privacy laws were broken. Users were informed of this test and invited to opt out only via Embarq's online Privacy Policy; a mere 15 subscribers did so."

Microsoft Blesses LGPL, Joins Apache Foundation 425

Penguinisto writes "According to a somewhat jaw-dropping story in The Register, it appears that Microsoft has performed a trifecta of geek-scaring feats: They have joined the Apache Software Foundation as a Platinum member(at $100K USD a year), submitted LGPL-licensed patches for ADOdb, and have pledged to expand their Open Specifications Promise by adding to the list more than 100 protocols for interoperability between its Windows Server and the Windows client. While I sincerely doubt they'll release Vista under a GPL license anytime soon, this is certainly an unexpected series of moves on their part, and could possibly lead to more OSS (as opposed to 'Shared Source') interactivity between what is arguably Linux' greatest adversary and the Open Source community." (We mentioned the announced support for the Apache Foundation earlier today, as well.)
The Courts

Craigslist Forced To Reveal a Seller's Identity 314

mi writes "The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts has won a judgment compelling Craigslist to reveal the identity of 'Daniel,' who tried to sell two tickets to the Oscar ceremony recently. The plaintiff's argument against such sales is scary and can be taken very far very quickly: 'If you don't know who's inside the theater, it's very difficult to provide security.' Craigslist's handling of the case may be even scarier, however — instead of fighting tooth-and-nail for the user's privacy, as we expect Google, Yahoo, and AOL, and even credit-card issuers to do, Craigslist simply did not show up in court and lost by default."
The Internet

Canadian ISP Hijacking DNS Lookup Errors 225

Freshly Exhumed tips us to news that Canadian ISP Rogers Cable appears to be redirecting invalid DNS requests to their own search and advertising page. Roadrunner got caught doing the same thing earlier this year. According to the article, "The hijacking appears to be an attempt by Rogers to use its Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) technology to cash in on the mistakes of its users." Freshly Exhumed also reminds us, "As IOActive security researcher Dan Kaminsky has warned in the past, this presents a very serious security problem."

Reusing and Recycling Code 114

An anonymous reader sends us to a writeup about when and how to recycle code, excerpting: "As developers, once we start separating our code into abstract ontological typologies, we make use of the human mind's phenomenal ability to work with types. Our code becomes less about jump tables and registers and more about users, email messages and images. What once was a problem of allocating resources and operations within the computer becomes an abstract, logical problem within a collection of objects....Over time, by constantly working to reuse our own code, we choose practices that work well for ourselves and discard practices that don't work as well or slow down our workflow. For developers flying solo or those working on small projects, this evolutionary process is a sufficient way of going about things. But there's trouble when we add other players into the mix--other developers, a user interface person, a database person, a sysadmin, a project mana-jerk: as a developer, they don't have access to our 'experience' of the code and we don't have access to theirs. "
Social Networks

Social Networking Sites Becoming Useful For Lawyers 353

chareverie writes "With how the internet has become, social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace have become a tool for crime solvers, employers, and now, lawyers. Two weeks after Joshua Lipton was charged in a drunk driving case, the college junior attended a Halloween party dressed as a prisoner, with the words 'jail bird' on his costume. Not surprisingly, his prosecutor was able to obtain photos of him at the party that were posted on Facebook, and claimed he was an 'unrepentant partier who lived it up while his victim recovered in the hospital.' The photos were presented in a slideshow, with one of them showing Lipton holding a can of Red Bull in one hand, and an arm draped around a girl bearing sorority letters. The judge agreed with the prosecutor, and changed Lipton's sentence to two years in prison. The article also cites other instances of people getting harsher sentences from pictures of them posted online."
The Courts

Blizzard Wins Major Lawsuit Against Bot Developers 838

Captain Kirk writes "World of Warcraft owners Blizzard have won their case against the programmer who wrote Glider, Michael Donnelly. (We discussed the case here when it was filed.) Blizzard won on two arguments: first, that if a game is loaded into RAM, that can be considered an unauthorized copy of the game and as such a breach of copyright; second, that selling Glider was interfering with Blizzard's contractual relationship with its customers. The net effect? If you buy a game, you transfer rights to the game developer that they can sue you for."

20 Features Windows 7 Should Include 901

Damian Francis writes "Australian computer expert Vito Cassisi has come up with a list of 20 features that Windows 7 should have. The article includes features like modularized OS, new UAC, program caching, standards compliant browser and a whole lot more with explanations as to why these features should be included. With Windows Vista only receiving a luke-warm reception, Microsoft needs to make sure Windows 7 is a winner from the get go." What other features would you suggest to Microsoft if they are to have a hope for recovery?

Space is to place as eternity is to time. -- Joseph Joubert