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Censorship

Irish Legislator Proposes Law That Would Make Annoying People Online a Crime 110

Posted by Soulskill
from the turn-yourselves-in-at-the-local-pub dept.
An anonymous reader sends this report from TechDirt: Is Ireland looking to pass a law that would "outlaw ebooks and jail people for annoying others?" Well, no, not really, but that's the sort of unintended consequences that follow when laws are updated for the 21st century using little more than a word swap. Ireland has had long-standing laws against harassment via snail mail, telephones and (as of 2007) SMS messages. A 2014 report by the government's somewhat troublingly-named "Internet Content Governance Advisory Group" recommended updating this section of the law to cover email, social media and other internet-related transmissions. ... The broad language -- if read literally -- could make emailing an ebook to someone a criminal offense. Works of fiction are, by definition, false. ... It's the vestigial language from previous iterations of the law -- words meant to target scam artists and aggressive telemarketers -- that is problematic. Simply appending the words "electronic communications" to an old law doesn't address the perceived problem (cyberbullying is cited in the governance group's report). It just creates new problems.
Security

POS Vendor Uses Same Short, Numeric Password Non-Stop Since 1990 127

Posted by timothy
from the you-only-said-not-to-use-123456 dept.
mask.of.sanity writes: Fraud fighters David Byrne and Charles Henderson say one of the world's largest Point of Sale systems vendors has been slapping the same default passwords – 166816 – on its kit since 1990. Worse still: about 90 per cent of customers are still using the password. Fraudsters would need physical access to the PoS in question to exploit it by opening a panel using a paperclip. But such physical PoS attacks are not uncommon and are child's play for malicious staff. Criminals won't pause before popping and unlocking. The enraged pair badged the unnamed PoS vendor by its other acronym labelling it 'Piece of S***t.
Government

'Aaron's Law' Introduced To Curb Overzealous Prosecutions For Computer Crimes 202

Posted by Soulskill
from the intimidation-is-not-justice dept.
SonicSpike writes: Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) introduced bipartisan legislation today to better target serious criminals and curb overzealous prosecutions for non-malicious computer and Internet offenses.

The legislation, inspired by the late Internet innovator and activist Aaron Swartz, who faced up to 35 years in prison for an act of civil disobedience, would reform the quarter-century old Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) to better reflect computer and internet activities in the digital age. Numerous and recent instances of heavy-handed prosecutions for non-malicious computer crimes have raised serious questions as to how the law treats violations of terms of service, employer agreements and website notices.

"Aaron’s Law would change the definition of 'access without authorization' in the CFAA so it more directly applies to malicious hacks such as sending fraudulent emails, injecting malware, installing viruses or overwhelming a website with traffic."
The Internet

Ask Slashdot: What Features Would You Like In a Search Engine? 271

Posted by timothy
from the esp-heads-the-list dept.
New submitter nicolas.slusarenko writes Nowadays, there is one dominant search engine in the world among few alternatives. I have the impression that the majority of users think that it is the best possible service that could be made. I am sure that we could have a better search engine. During my spare time I been developing Trokam, an online search engine. I am building this service with the features that I would like to find in a service: respectful of user rights, ad-free, built upon open source software, and with auditable results. Well, those are mine. What features would you like in a search engine?
Security

Chinese Hacker Group Targets Air-Gapped Networks 71

Posted by samzenpus
from the minding-the-gap dept.
itwbennett writes An otherwise unremarkable hacking group likely aligned with China appears to be one of the first to have targeted so-called air-gapped networks that are not directly connected to the Internet, according to FireEye, which released a 69-page technical report on Sunday on the group. FireEye picked up on it after some of the malware used by the group was found to have infected defense-related clients in the U.S., said Jen Weedon, manager of strategic analysis with FireEye.
Piracy

Nearly Half of Game of Thrones Season 5 Leaks Online 148

Posted by samzenpus
from the how-about-leaking-the-books-GRRM dept.
HughPickens.com writes Paul Tassi reports at Forbes that the first four episodes of the new season of "Game of Thrones", nearly half of the ten total episodes, have been leaked online to various torrent sites. The four episodes appeared to come from a screener sent to reviewers with the digital watermark blurred out and are in 480p video format, equivalent to standard-definition TV, not HD.The episodes have already been downloaded almost 800,000 times, and that figure was expected to blow past a million downloads by the season 5 premiere. Game of Thrones has consistently set records for piracy, which has almost been a point of pride for HBO. "Our experience is [piracy] leads to more penetration, more paying subs, more health for HBO, less reliance on having to do paid advertising If you go around the world, I think you're right, Game of Thrones is the most pirated show in the world. Well, you know, that's better than an Emmy."

How the leak happened isn't a mystery. Television critics typically receive the first four episodes of an HBO show before its season premiere, and "Game of Thrones" is no exception. HBO could not immediately say whether the leak could be traced to screener copies of the show. "I suspect HBO may be a bit more restrictive about handing out Game of Thrones screeners to press, given the event-like nature of the show and its reliance on keeping spoilers close to the chest," writes Tassi. "I really don't see why commentary like that needs to exist in the first place." The network can take solace in at least one thing, though. Episode four ends on a heck of a cliffhanger, and those who pirated the episodes will be in the same boat as those of us who received them legally — waiting until May to find out what happens next. "I would imagine it's more fun to just spend the next month watching week to week as nature intended, even if you are watching illegally," concludes Tassi. "Game of Thrones is one of the last true "event" shows where it's something you want to talk about Sunday night or Monday morning with friends and strangers alike."
Electronic Frontier Foundation

ESA Rebukes EFF's Request To Exempt Abandoned Games From Some DMCA Rules 153

Posted by timothy
from the locked-up-forever-in-their-castle dept.
eldavojohn writes It's 2015 and the EFF is still submitting requests to alter or exempt certain applications of the draconian DMCA. One such request concerns abandoned games that utilized or required online servers for matchmaking or play (PDF warning) and the attempts taken to archive those games. A given example is Madden '09, which had its servers shut down a mere one and a half years after release. Another is Gamespy and the EA & Nintendo titles that were not migrated to other servers. I'm sure everyone can come up with a once cherished game that required online play that is now abandoned and lost to the ages. While the EFF is asking for exemptions for museums and archivists, the ESA appears to take the stance that it's hacking and all hacking is bad. In prior comments (PDF warning), the ESA has called reverse engineering a proprietary game protocol "a classic wolf in sheep's clothing" as if allowing this evil hacking will loose Sodom & Gomorrah upon the industry. Fellow gamers, these years now that feel like the golden age of online gaming will be the dark ages of games as historians of the future try to recreate what online play was like now for many titles.
Windows

Windows 10 Successor Codenamed 'Redstone,' Targeting 2016 Launch 197

Posted by Soulskill
from the please-just-call-it-windows-11 dept.
MojoKid writes: Windows 10 isn't even out the door yet, so what better time than now to talk about its successor? Believe it or not, there's a fair bit of information on it floating around already, including its codename: "Redstone." Following in the footsteps of 'Blue' and 'Threshold', Redstone is an obvious tie-in to Microsoft's purchase of Minecraft, which it snagged from Mojang last year. Redstone is an integral material in the game, used to create simple items like a map or compass as well as logic gates for building electronic devices, like a calculator or automatic doors. The really important news is that we could see Windows Redstone sometime in 2016.
Earth

The Arrival of Man-Made Earthquakes 166

Posted by Soulskill
from the what's-shakin' dept.
An anonymous reader writes: The New Yorker has a long investigative report on a recent geological phenomenon: man-made earthquakes. The article describes how scientists painstakingly gathered data on the quakes, and then tried to find ways to communicate the results — which are quite definitive — to politicians who often have financial reasons to disbelieve them. Quoting: "Until 2008, Oklahoma experienced an average of one to two earthquakes of 3.0 magnitude or greater each year. (Magnitude-3.0 earthquakes tend to be felt, while smaller earthquakes may be noticed only by scientific equipment or by people close to the epicenter.) In 2009, there were twenty. The next year, there were forty-two. In 2014, there were five hundred and eighty-five, nearly triple the rate of California.

In state government, oil money is both invisible and pervasive. In 2013, Mary Fallin, the governor, combined the positions of Secretary of Energy and Secretary of the Environment. Michael Teague, whom she appointed to the position, when asked by the local NPR reporter Joe Wertz whether he believed in climate change, responded that he believed that the climate changed every day. Of the earthquakes, Teague has said that we need to learn more. Fallin's first substantive response came in 2014, when she encouraged Oklahomans to buy earthquake insurance. (However, many earthquake-insurance policies in the state exclude coverage for induced earthquakes.)"
United States

Court Mulls Revealing Secret Government Plan To Cut Cell Phone Service 191

Posted by samzenpus
from the I-don't-want-to-talk-about-it dept.
An anonymous reader writes with the latest in the ongoing legal battle over revealing details of Standing Operating Procedure 303, the government's plan to cut mobile phone service during an emergency. "A federal appeals court is asking the Obama administration to explain why the government should be allowed to keep secret its plan to shutter mobile phone service during 'critical emergencies.' The Department of Homeland Security came up with the plan—known as Standing Operating Procedure 303—after cellular phones were used to detonate explosives targeting a London public transportation system. SOP 303 is a powerful tool in the digital age, and it spells out a 'unified voluntary process for the orderly shut-down and restoration of wireless services during critical emergencies such as the threat of radio-activated improvised explosive devices.'"
Bitcoin

After Anti-Donation Executive Order, Bitcoin Donations For Snowden Jump 289

Posted by timothy
from the evading-injustice-is-more-like-it dept.
ZDNet reports that after a recent executive order from President Obama "said to have made it illegal to donate to Edward Snowden's fund," anonymous donations to the fund have soared -- at least ones as anonymous as Bitcoin makes possible. From the article: A new executive order signed into law this week by the president has one online community up in arms, after its loose wording effectively ruled out donating to Edward Snowden and others. In a post on Reddit's Bitcoin subreddit, members pledged to donate to the whistleblower's relief fund, despite the wording of the new executive order suggesting that doing so was illegal. In the new executive order, signed into law on Wednesday, US President Barack Obama declared cyber-threats aimed at the US a "national emergency." The order threatens sanctions against those (including US residents) who engage in cyberattacks and espionage activities that threaten US interests at home and abroad. The wording of the order specifically addresses any person whose "property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order who might have a constitutional presence in the United States." Redditors were quick to assume (likely correctly) that this includes Edward Snowden, who for more than a year-and-a-half has lived in Russia, evading US justice.
Crime

Attempted Breach of NSA HQ Checkpoint; One Shot Dead 308

Posted by samzenpus
from the breaking-news dept.
seven of five writes One man is dead and another severely injured after a shootout at one of the main gates of the National Security Agency located at Fort Meade, Maryland. Two men dressed as women attempted to 'penetrate' the entry point with their vehicle when a shootout occurred, officials said. The FBI said they do not believe the incident is related to terrorism.
Robotics

Festo Reveals New Robotic Ants and Butterflies 19

Posted by samzenpus
from the metal-swarm dept.
mikejuk writes "Every year around this time of year Festo builds some amazing robot or other — last year it was a kangaroo. What could it possibly do to top previous amazing devices? What about some even more amazing robotic insects. BionicANT is designed not only look good but to demonstrate swarm intelligence. The robot not only looks like an ant, but it works like one. The design makes use of piezo bending transducers rather than servos to move. As well as being able to move its six legs, it also has a piezo-activated pair of pincers. The second insect robot is a butterfly — eMotion. For flying machines these are incredibly lightweight at 32 grams. The bodies are laser sintered and the wings use carbon fiber rods. Two miniature servo motors are attached to the body and each wing. The electronics has a microcontroller, an inertial sensor consisting of gyro, accelerometer and compass and two radio modules. Flying time is around 3 or 4 minutes."
Transportation

German Auto Firms Face Roadblock In Testing Driverless Car Software 177

Posted by timothy
from the and-what-if-that-man-was-your-mother?! dept.
An anonymous reader writes As nations compete to build the first operational autonomous car, German auto-manufacturers fear that current domestic laws limit their efforts to test the appropriate software for self-driving vehicles on public roads. German carmakers are concerned that these roadblocks are allowing U.S. competitors, such as Google, to race ahead in their development of software designed to react effectively when placed in real-life traffic scenarios. Car software developers are particularly struggling to deal with the ethical challenges often raised on the road. For example when faced with the decision to crash into a pedestrian or another vehicle carrying a family, it would be a challenge for a self-driving car to follow the same moral reasoning a human would in the situation. 'Technologically we can do fully automated self-driving, but the ethical framework is missing,' said Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn.

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