splodus writes "The European Court of Justice, Europe's highest court, has ruled that a service providing 11-word snippets of newspaper articles could be unlawful. Media monitoring company Infopaq International searches newspaper articles and provides clients with a keyword and the five words either side. This practice was challenged by the DDF, a group representing newspaper interests, as infringing their members' copyright. The court has referred the issue back to national courts to determine whether copyright laws in each country will be subject to the ruling. The full ruling is available at the European Court of Justice Web site."
Hugh Pickens writes "PC World reports that at the Black Hat security conference this week, security researchers say that it is pretty easy for a technically savvy hacker to make a fake payment card that gives them unlimited free parking on San Francisco's smart parking meter system. 'It wasn't technically complicated and the fact that I can do it in three days means that other people are probably already doing it and probably taking advantage of it,' says Joe Grand. 'It seems like the system wasn't analyzed at all.' To figure out how the payment system worked, Grand hooked up an oscilloscope to a parking meter and monitored what happened when he used a genuine payment card. Grand discovered the cards aren't digitally signed, and the only authentication between the meter and card is a password sent from the former to the latter. Examining the meters themselves could yield additional vulnerabilities that might allow someone to conduct other kinds of attacks, such as propagating a virus from meter to meter via the smart cards or a meter minder's PDA."
Hugh Pickens writes "Last year California spent $350m on textbooks so facing a state budget shortfall of $24.3 billion, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has unveiled a plan to save money by phasing out 'antiquated, heavy, expensive textbooks' in favor of internet aids. Schwarzenegger believes internet activities such as Facebook, Twitter and downloading to iPods show that young people are the first to adopt new online technologies and that the internet is the best way to learn in classrooms so from the beginning of the school year in August, math and science students in California's high schools will have access to online texts that have passed an academic standards review. 'It's nonsensical — and expensive — to look to traditional hard-bound books when information today is so readily available in electronic form,' writes Schwarzenegger. 'As the music and newspaper industries will attest, those who adapt quickly to changing consumer and business demands will thrive in our increasingly digital society and worldwide economy. Digital textbooks can help us achieve those goals and ensure that California's students continue to thrive in the global marketplace.'"
Afforess writes "A recent closer look at the oft-skimmed EULA agreement for iTunes has an interesting paragraph in it, Gizmodo reports. 'You also agree that you will not use these products for any purposes prohibited by United States law, including, without limitation, the development, design, manufacture or production of missiles, or nuclear, chemical or biological weapons.' Although humorous, some readers suggested that this may be a defense measure to previously discussed price changes in the iTunes music store."
An anonymous reader writes "A new bill is being introduced called the Camera Phone Predator Alert Act, which would require any mobile phone containing a digital camera to sound a tone whenever a photograph is taken with the phone's camera. It would also prohibit such a phone from being equipped with a means of disabling or silencing the tone."
piemcfly writes "Chinese-born physicist Shu Quan-Sheng Monday pleaded guilty before a US court to violating the Arms Export Control Act by illegally exporting American military space know-how to China. The 68-year-old naturalized US citizen, pictured here on his company profile, admitted handing over the design of fueling systems between 2003 and 2007. Also, in 2003 he illegally exported a document with the impossibly long name of 'Commercial Information, Technical Proposal and Budgetary Officer — Design, Supply, Engineering, Fabrication, Testing & Commissioning of 100m3 Liquid Hydrogen Tank and Various Special Cryogenic Pumps, Valves, Filters and Instruments.' This contained the design of liquid hydrogen tanks for space launch vehicles. He also admitted to a third charge of bribing Chinese officials to the tune of some 189,300 dollars for a French space technology firm." Here's the FBI press release regarding Shu's plea.
CSMatt points with this excerpt from the EFF's page: "Last week, the RIAA celebrated the signing of a ridiculous new law in Tennessee that says: 'Each public and private institution of higher education in the state that has student residential computer networks shall: [...] [R]easonably attempt to prevent the infringement of copyrighted works over the institution's computer and network resources, if such institution receives fifty (50) or more legally valid notices of infringement as prescribed by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 within the preceding year.' While the entertainment industry failed to get 'hard' requirements for universities in the Higher Education Act passed by Congress earlier this year, the RIAA succeeded in Tennessee (and is pushing in other states) with this provision that gives Big Content the ability to hold universities hostage through the use of infringement notices. Moreover, the new rules will cost Tennessee a pretty penny — in the cost review attached to the Tennessee bill, the state's Fiscal Review Committee estimates that the new obligations will initially cost the state a whopping $9.5 million for software, hardware, and personnel, with recurring annual costs of more than $1.5 million for personnel and maintenance."
We've recently had a couple of discussions about the plans of various game developers to fight used game sales — in particular, the idea of a free, one-time download that may be bonus content or may be a vital part of the game. Now, Soren Johnson, a game designer who has worked on Civilization 3, Civilization 4 and Spore, has written an article defending certain aspects of the used game market. Quoting: "By opening up retail sales to a larger segment of the market, used game sales mean that more people are playing our games than would be in a world without them. Beyond the obvious advantages of bigger community sizes and word-of-mouth sales, a larger player base can benefit game developers who are ready to earn secondary income from their games. In-game ads are one source of this additional revenue, but the best scenario is downloadable content. A used copy of Rock Band may go through several owners, but each one of them may give Harmonix money for their own personal rights to 'Baba O'Riley' or 'I Fought the Law.'"
JagsLive was one of several readers to point out Jerry Yang's departure as Yahoo CEO. He's not leaving the company; he will return to his former role as Chief Yahoo, whatever that entails. Yang has been under fire in recent months from investors for his handling of Microsoft's recent acquisition attempt."Yahoo, under fierce financial pressure, has begun a search to replace company co-founder Jerry Yang as chief executive, the company said Monday. 'Jerry and the board have had an ongoing dialogue about succession timing, and we all agree that now is the right time to make the transition to a new CEO who can take the company to the next level,' Chairman Roy Bostock said in a statement."
zootropole alerts us to a press release issued today by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, announcing the production of 'billions of particles of anti-matter.' "Take a gold sample the size of the head of a push pin, shoot a laser through it, and suddenly more than 100 billion particles of anti-matter appear. The anti-matter, also known as positrons, shoots out of the target in a cone-shaped plasma 'jet.' This new ability to create a large number of positrons in a small laboratory opens the door to several fresh avenues of anti-matter research, including an understanding of the physics underlying various astrophysical phenomena such as black holes and gamma ray bursts." The press release doesn't characterize the laser used in this experiment, but it may have been this one.
holy_calamity writes "Engineers at Polytechnic University Brooklyn have discovered that digital snaps shorn of any metadata still reveal the make and model of camera used to take them. It is possible to work backwards from the relationships of neighboring pixel values in a shot to identify the model-specific demosaicing algorithm that combines red, green, and blue pixels on the sensor into color image pixels. Forensics teams are already licking their chops."
Ponca City, We love you writes "Astronauts flying aboard space shuttle Endeavour are delivering a device to the International Space Station that may leave you wondering if NASA is taking recycling too far. Among the ship's cargo is a water regeneration system that distills, filters, ionizes, and oxidizes wastewater — including urine — into fresh water for drinking or, as one astronaut puts it, 'will make yesterday's coffee into today's coffee.' The US space agency spent $250M for the water recycling equipment but with the space shuttles due to retire in two years, NASA needed to make sure the station crew would have a good supply of fresh water. The Environmental Control and Life Support Systems uses a purification process called vapor compression distillation: urine is boiled until the water in it turns to steam. In space, there's an additional challenge: steam doesn't rise, so the entire distillation system is spun to create artificial gravity to separate the steam from the brine. The water has been thoroughly tested on Earth, including blind taste tests that pitted recycled urine with similarly treated tap water. 'Some people may think it's downright disgusting, but if it's done correctly, you process water that's purer than what you drink here on Earth,' said Endeavour astronaut Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper."
schwit1 sends along an Ars Technica report covering the release of documents obtained under the FOIA suggesting that the Justice Department may have been evading privacy laws in their use of "triggerfish" technology. Triggerfish are cell-tower spoofing devices that induce cell phones to give up their location and other identifying information, without recourse to any cell carrier. "Courts in recent years have been raising the evidentiary bar law enforcement agents must meet in order to obtain historical cell phone records that reveal information about a target's location. But documents obtained by civil liberties groups under a Freedom of Information Act request suggest that 'triggerfish' technology can be used to pinpoint cell phones without involving cell phone providers at all. The Justice Department's electronic surveillance manual explicitly suggests that triggerfish may be used to avoid restrictions in statutes like CALEA that bar the use of pen register or trap-and-trace devices..." The article does mention that the Patriot Act contains language that should require a court order to deploy triggerfish, whereas prior to 2001 "the statutory language governing pen register or trap-and-trace orders did not appear to cover location tracking technology."
An anonymous reader writes "Diebold Inc. and its subsidiary, Premier Election Solutions, is using Ghostscript in its electronic election systems even though Diebold and PES 'have not been granted a license to modify, copy, or distribute any of Artifex's copyrighted works,' Artifex claims in court papers filed late last month in US District Court for Northern California. The gs-devel list first brought up the possible GPL violation a year ago."