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+ - GM: That Car You Bought? We're Really The Ones Who Own It.

Submitted by Presto Vivace
Presto Vivace writes:

Congratulations! You just bought a new Chevy, GMC, or Cadillac. You really like driving it. And it’s purchased, not leased, and all paid off with no liens, so it’s all yours isn’t it? Well, no, actually: according to GM, it’s still theirs. You just have a license to use it. At least, that’s what an attorney for GM said at a hearing this week, Autoblog reports. Specifically, attorney Harry Lightsey said, “It is [GM’s] position the software in the vehicle is licensed by the owner of the vehicle.”... ...The U.S. Copyright Office is currently holding a series of hearings on whether or not anyone other than the manufacturer of a car has a right to tinker with that car’s copyrighted software. And with the way modern design goes, that basically means with the car, at all.

+ - YouTube Live Streams Now Support HTML5 Playback And 60fps Video

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: YouTube today announced it is enabling HTML5 playback for live streams. At the same time, live streams can now be viewed at 60 frames per second (fps). A few puzzle pieces had to come together to make this possible. On October 29, YouTube quietly turned on 60fps support for videos uploaded on that date and later. While clips uploaded before that date remain at 30fps, new videos shot at 60fps suddenly started playing back at their proper framerate.

+ - Part of Antarctica Suddenly Started Melting at a Rate of 14 Trillion Gal. a Year

Submitted by merbs
merbs writes: Sometime in 2009, a long-stable, glacier-filled region in Antarctica suddenly began to melt. Fast. A team of scientists with the University of Bristol made the alarming observation by looking at data from the CryoSat-2 satellite: The glaciers around the Southern Antarctic Peninsula, which had showed no signs of change through 2008, had begun losing 55 trillion liters (14.5 trillion gallons) of ice a year. And they evidenced no signs of slowing down.

+ - Australian defence controls could criminalise teaching encryption

Submitted by Presto Vivace
Presto Vivace writes: How the DSGL covers encryption

The DSGL contains detailed technical specifications. Very roughly, it covers encryption above a certain “strength” level, as measured by technical parameters such as “key length” or “field size”.

The practical question is how high the bar is set: how powerful must encryption be in order to be classified as dual-use?

The bar is currently set low. For instance, software engineers debate whether they should use 2,048 or 4,096 bits for the RSA algorithm. But the DSGL classifies anything over 512 bits as dual-use. In reality, the only cryptography not covered by the DSGL is cryptography so weak that it would be imprudent to use.

Moreover, the DSGL doesn’t just cover encryption software: it also covers systems, electronics and equipment used to implement, develop, produce or test it.

In short, the DSGL casts an extremely wide net, potentially catching open source privacy software, information security research and education, and the entire computer security industry in its snare.

Most ridiculous, though, are some badly flawed technicalities. As I have argued before, the specifications are so imprecise that they potentially include a little algorithm you learned at primary school called division. If so, then division has become a potential weapon, and your calculator (or smartphone, computer, or any electronic device) is a potential delivery system for it.

+ - The Myth of Outsourcing's Efficiency

Submitted by Presto Vivace
Presto Vivace writes: Why outsourcing winds up producing cost creep over time

Outsouring over time starts to create its own bureaucracy bloat. It’s the modern corporate version of one of the observations of C. Northcote Parkinson: “Officials make work for each other.” As Clive describes, the first response to the problems resulting from outsourcing is to try to bury them, since outsourcing is a corporate religion and thus cannot be reversed even when the evidence comes in against it. And then when those costs start becoming more visible, the response is to try to manage them, which means more work (more managerial cost!) and/or hiring more outside specialists (another transfer to highly-paid individuals).

+ - North Carolina Still Wants To Block Municipal Broadband->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: In February, when the FCC rolled out its net neutrality rules, it also voted to override state laws that let Texas and North Carolina block ISPs created by local governments and public utilities. These laws frequently leave citizens facing a monopoly or duopoly with no recourse, so the FCC abolished them. Now, North Carolina has sued the FCC to get them back. North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper claims, "the FCC unlawfully inserted itself between the State and the State’s political subdivisions." He adds that the new rule is "arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion within the meaning of the Administrative Procedure Act; and is otherwise contrary to law."
Link to Original Source

+ - UK Intelligence officers given immunity from hacking laws

Submitted by Presto Vivace
Presto Vivace writes: Legislative changes exempting law enforcement officers from ban on breaking into people’s digital devices were never debated by parliament, tribunal hears

The unnoticed rewriting of a key clause of the Computer Misuse Act has exempted law enforcement officials from the prohibition on breaking into other people’s laptops, databases, mobile phones or digital systems. It came into force in May.

The amended clause 10, entitled somewhat misleadingly “Savings”, is designed to prevent officers from committing a crime when they remotely access computers of suspected criminals. It is not known what category of offences are covered.

I would love to know how much malware is government sponsored.

+ - Snowden via teleconference from Moscow – " I've lost a lot, but I have a t->

Submitted by Cexy
Cexy writes: At an event at Stanford University on Friday on May 15th Snowden, via teleconference from Moscow, shared his thoughts about the ethics of modern whistle-blowing and gave his audience a glimpse of what his life is like in Russia now.
“I have to work a lot harder to do the same thing. The difference is that, even though I’ve lost a lot, I have a tremendous sense of satisfaction.” Edward Snowden.

Link to Original Source

+ - Texas appearently sharing drivers' license photos with FBI->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: The Dallas Morning News "Watchdog" column reports that the Texas Dept. of Public Safety entered into a "Memorandum of Understanding" with the FBI back in 2013 that allows the DPS to share drivers' license photos with the FBI under limited circumstances. It also reports that back in 2012 the FBI was working to get similar agreements with other states.

Texas is the state that recently added — and later repealed — a requirement that you submit a full set of fingerprints to get or renew your driver's license.

Link to Original Source

+ - Ancestery.com caught sharing DNA database with government->

Submitted by SonicSpike
SonicSpike writes: In 1996, a young woman named Angie Dodge was murdered in her apartment in a small town in Idaho. Although the police collected DNA from semen left at the crime scene, they haven’t been able to match the DNA to existing profiles in any criminal database, and the murder has never been solved.

Fast forward to 2014. The Idaho police sent the semen sample to a private lab to extract a DNA profile that included YSTR and mtDNA—the two genetic markers used to determine patrilineal and matrilineal relationships (it’s unclear why they reopened the case after nearly 20 years). These markers would allow investigators to search some existing databases to try to find a match between the sample and genetic relatives.

The cops chose to use a lab linked to a private collection of genetic genealogical data called the Sorenson Database (now owned by Ancestry.com), which claims it’s “the foremost collection of genetic genealogy data in the world.” The reason the Sorenson Database can make such an audacious claim is because it has obtained its more than 100,000 DNA samples and documented multi-generational family histories from “volunteers in more than 100 countries around the world.”

Sorenson promised volunteers their genetic data would only be used for “genealogical services, including the determination of family migration patterns and geographic origins” and would not be shared outside Sorenson.

Despite this promise, Sorenson shared its vast collection of data with the Idaho police. Without a warrant or court order, investigators asked the lab to run the crime scene DNA against Sorenson’s private genealogical DNA database. Sorenson found 41 potential familial matches, one of which matched on 34 out of 35 alleles—a very close match that would generally indicate a close familial relationship. The cops then asked, not only for the “protected” name associated with that profile, but also for all “all information including full names, date of births, date and other information pertaining to the original donor to the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy project.”

Link to Original Source

+ - How the NSA Converts Spoken Words Into Searchable Text

Submitted by Presto Vivace
Presto Vivace writes: Dan Froomkin reports:

Though perfect transcription of natural conversation apparently remains the Intelligence Community’s “holy grail,” the Snowden documents describe extensive use of keyword searching as well as computer programs designed to analyze and “extract” the content of voice conversations, and even use sophisticated algorithms to flag conversations of interest.

I am torn between admiration of the technical brilliance of building software like this and horror as to how it is being used.

Never appeal to a man's "better nature." He may not have one. Invoking his self-interest gives you more leverage. -- Lazarus Long

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