Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
Slashdot Deals: Cyber Monday Sale! Courses ranging from coding to project management - all eLearning deals 25% off with coupon code "CYBERMONDAY25". ×

Comment Why were they storing these? (Score 4, Insightful) 32

The important question is why the data was stored on VTech's servers in the first place.

THIS ^^^^^^^^ THIS

This corporate culture of "store everything" needs to go away. At least in the past, we had storage limitations that made this infeasible. But dammit, as a software engineer, if the system requirements tell me to store something that would be bad if it was released, then I'm not storing it unless there is a damned good reason AND it is well encrypted.

My kids have some vtech stuff. I downloaded their app that lets the toy know the child's name, birthday, and favorite food. But that's it. It never occurred to me that they would have any reason to store that information. Let alone storing photos and chat logs from devices that have that capability.

WTF!!!!! I am anxious to hear about this. This is why I used to use a personal firewall years ago. Everything phones home. But now they are impractical.

Comment Re:Yep, Unions do nothing (Score 0) 120

Nt all of that is good, and saying unions brought most of those is the worst possible kind of revisionist bullshit there is.

Yes at one point in the very distant past there was some real reason to have unions. But they are proof of the statement that "absolute power corrupts absolutely" and the usefulness they once had has vanished... I hold no grudge against existing unions, well the ones that have let the companies live anyway. To form new unions in this day and age is to strangle a company of entire sector of industry in the cradle.

Comment Re:Yep, Unions do nothing (Score 4, Informative) 120

except for the increased wages by bringing strike pressure to bear.

Totally vaporized and then some by the overhead of the union.

Unions get enough extra to thrive themselves, over time the union leaders care nothing for the workers but only for personal income to grow the union - to the extent they do not care if they kill the host they are attached to, putting many out of work.

At least that's how it has played out so far over the last few decades. Why is there any reason to think it will alter for Uber? There is none.

Comment A breath of fresh air (Score 1) 217

Yes, far from "worrying" about this, I was in fact EXPECTING that the quality of the major you had in terms of employability would be factored in. It would restore balance to a totally out of whack system where a kid that doesn't know any better can easily rack up debt that will follow them into retirement!

The Courts

Insurer Refuses To Cover Cox In Massive Piracy Lawsuit ( 100

An anonymous reader writes with news that Cox Communications' insurer, Lloyds Of London underwriter Beazley, is refusing to cover legal costs and any liabilities from the case brought against it by BMG and Round Hill Music. TorrentFreak reports: "Trouble continues for one of the largest Internet providers in the United States, with a Lloyds underwriter now suing Cox Communications over an insurance dispute. The insurer is refusing to cover legal fees and potential piracy damages in Cox's case against BMG Rights Management and Round Hill Music. Following a ruling from a Virginia federal court that Cox is not protected by the safe-harbor provisions of the DMCA, the Internet provider must now deal with another setback. Following a ruling from a Virginia federal court that Cox is not protected by the safe-harbor provisions of the DMCA, the Internet provider must now deal with another setback."

Comment Seems unlikely (Score 1) 150

Because, for every person like you, there are 10 that would just say "Speaker not work. Must buy new speaker."

Perhaps they would say that, but why on earth would they then buy a speaker from a manufacturer who had screwed them over like that?

In fact if a manufacturer did that to me, I'd tell friends not to buy that brand, and be inclined to tell future generations not to do so also. To this day I don't buy Sony audio equipment because of bad experiences in college.

So I hardly think it likely they would produce something crappy in this way on purpose.

Comment Apps on TV will be huge, but mainly linked (Score 1) 232

Apps as a new way to stream on TV is not that interesting and will not really do anything much to increase traditional TV watching.

What will be much larger is the potential for apps on TV to add lots of context around what we are watching, which will mostly occur by linking mobile apps to TV apps driving the display. Then you can have more of a shared experience, or direct feedback related to the video which the video producer could also use live...

Comment Re:Stop whining and RTFA (Score 1) 222

Which part of this policy did they violate or otherwise fail to implement, and how?

Good question. I guess we will found out as the case unfolds.

The second bullet point is interesting. It means that truly anonymous sites can't meet the safe harbor provision. But my guess is that #3 is their complaint. Cox is saying the copyright holders are spamming them with DMCA requests, so it seems like Cox could be considered to be not responding. This is part of the problem with the DMCA. I wonder what "actual knowledge" means since many of these requests are completely automated.


Green Light Or No, Nest Cam Never Stops Watching ( 199

chicksdaddy writes: How do you know when the Nest Cam monitoring your house is "on" or "off"? It's simple: just look at the little power indicator light on the front of the device — and totally disregard what it is telling you. The truth is: the Nest Cam is never "off" despite an effort by Nest and its parent Google to make it appear otherwise. That, according to an analysis of the Nest Cam by the firm ABI Research, which found that turning the Nest Cam "off" using the associated mobile application only turns off the LED power indicator light on the front of the device. Under the hood, the camera continues to operate and, according to ABI researcher Jim Mielke, to monitor its surroundings: noting movement, sound and other activity when users are led to believe it has powered down.

Mielke reached that conclusion after analyzing Nest Cam's power consumption. Typically a shutdown or standby mode would reduce current by as much as 10 to 100 times, Mielke said. But the Google Nest Cam's power consumption was almost identical in "shutdown" mode and when fully operational, dropping from 370 milliamps (mA) to around 340mA. The slight reduction in power consumption for the Nest Cam when it was turned "off" correlates with the disabling of the LED power light, given that LEDs typically draw 10-20mA.

In a statement to The Security Ledger, Nest Labs spokesperson Zoz Cuccias acknowledged that the Nest Cam does not fully power down when the camera is turned off from the user interface (UI). "When Nest Cam is turned off from the user interface (UI), it does not fully power down, as we expect the camera to be turned on again at any point in time," Cuccias wrote in an e-mail. "With that said, when Nest Cam is turned off, it completely stops transmitting video to the cloud, meaning it no longer observes its surroundings." The privacy and security implications are serious. "This means that even when a consumer thinks that he or she is successfully turning off this camera, the device is still running, which could potentially unleash a tidal wave of privacy concerns," Mielke wrote.

Comment Re:Stop whining and RTFA (Score 2) 222

Read TFA closer. They do have a repeat offender policy.

I never said they didn't.

(I'm glad it got someone to read the article. teehee!)

The article shows Cox's stance, which is that they have a repeat offender a policy. The judge, for reasons we don't know yet, thinks that their policy is inconsistent. For all we know, Cox has no actual policy, and merely drafted up something right now on the fly, then used previous cases of banning users to support the claim that they had a policy all along. Cox claims that their policy it is not inconsistent, it is discretionary. Is their policy sufficient to meet the criteria for a repeat offender policy as described in the DMCA? *shrugs* We don't know. The judge will decide that. DMCA itself isn't super clear on the topic, which is why I looked it up and linked to the EFF's opinion on those policies.

IMHO, Cox is right. Those copyright trolls send a gzillion notices with little to no supporting evidence. Neither the ISPs, nor the individuals, should be obligated to respond to them. The trolls should have their errant and unsupported DMCA claims discarded, and they should be held liable for damages. Hopefully that is what will happen here. Even if Cox's repeat offender policy was not sufficient, it does not make the DMCA claims valid. But if Cox didn't follow the DMCA rules than it puts a wrinkle in things and makes this a bad case and increases the chance for the trolls to succeed. This is a lesson to other ISPs: Get your repeat offender policy in alignment with the law, or fear losing your safe harbor status. That would be a huge ball of suck.

My post was not a criticism or a defense of Cox. It was to point out that there is a lot more nuance than the overzealous Slashdot summary would have us believe. The summary implies that the judge threw-out safe harbor for arbitrary reasons. The article indicates otherwise.

Remember: use logout to logout.