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The Internet

Submission + - Webstandards release the Acid3 browser test (webstandards.org) 2

Spy der Mann writes: "The Web Standards project have released the Acid3 test. Acid3 goes way beyond CSS, and includes one or more of the following: DOM2, ECMAScript, HTML4, HTTP, media queries, selectors, XHTML 1.0, CSS2, CSS2.1, CSS3, data: URIs, and SVG, to name a few. Further information can be found in the press release. And for the curious, here's the acid3 test page."
Privacy

Submission + - Dodd beats telecom spying immunity

cleetus writes: Earlier this evening Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid pulled the FISA bill which had retroactive immunity for spying telecoms from consideration on the US Senate floor. This bill, discussed on /. earlier today, would have shielded telecoms who turned data over to the government from lawsuits over 4th Amendment rights violations. The threat of a full scale filibuster from Senator Chris Dodd (which was partially underway already) was enough to force Reid to pull the bill. While the fight over immunity is over for now, but the bill will be brought up again at some point next month so vigilance it still required.
The Internet

Submission + - Leaks Prove MediaDefender's Deception (arstechnica.com)

Who will defend the defenders? writes: "Ars Technica has posted the first installment in their analysis of the leaked MediaDefender emails and found some very interesting things. Apparently, the New York Attorney General's office is working on a big anti-piracy sting and they were working on finding viable targets. It also discusses how some of the emails show MediaDefender trying to spy on their competitors, sanitize their own Wikipedia entry, deal with the hackers targeting their systems, and to quash the MiiVi story even while they were rebuilding it as Viide. Oh yes, they definitely read "techie, geek web sites where everybody already hates us" like Slashdot, too."
Music

Submission + - Trent Reznor Says "Steal My Music" (youtube.com)

THX-1138 writes: A few months ago, Trent Reznor (frontman of the band Nine Inch Nails), was in Australia doing an interview when he commented on the outrageous prices of CDs there. Apparently now his label, Universal Media Group is angry at him for having said that. During a concert last night , he told this to fans, "...Has anyone seen the price come down? Okay, well, you know what that means — STEAL IT. Steal away. Steal and steal and steal some more and give it to all your friends and keep on stealin'. Because one way or another these mother**** will get it through their head that they're ripping people off and that that's not right."

The YouTube link contains a video recorded by a fan that shows his full speech during the concert.

Privacy

Submission + - Symantec: warrants good "for the gumshoe days& (www.cbc.ca)

An anonymous reader writes: The (Conservative) Canadian government appears to have reversed itself, and now says that "We have not and we will not be proposing legislation to grant police the power to get information from internet companies without a warrant." But for some security experts, warrants are too 'old school': Michael Murphy, Canadian VP of Symantec, said "It might work in the gumshoe days, but things are different now".
The Courts

Submission + - RIAA Complaint Dismissed as "Boilerplate"

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: "The decision many lawyers had been expecting — that the RIAA's "boilerplate" complaint fails to state a claim for relief under the Copyright Act — has indeed come down, but from an unlikely source. While the legal community has been looking towards a Manhattan case, Elektra v. Barker, for guidance, a case in which amicus briefs had been submitted by various industry groups and the US Department of Justice (see case file, and from Warner v. Cassin, a similar motion in the same Court's Westchester division, the decision instead came from Senior District Court Judge Rudi M. Brewster of the US District Court for the Southern District of California, in a decision denying a default judgment (i.e. the defendant had not even appeared in the action). Judge Brewster not only denied the default judgment motion but dismissed the complaint for failure to state a claim. Echoing the words of Judge Karas at the oral argument in Barker , Judge Brewster held (pdf) that "Plaintiff here must present at least some facts to show the plausibility of their allegations of copyright infringement against the Defendant. However, other than the bare conclusory statement that on "information and belief" Defendant has downloaded, distributed and/or made available for distribution to the public copyrighted works, Plaintiffs have presented no facts that would indicate that this allegation is anything more than speculation. The complaint is simply a boilerplate listing of the elements of copyright infringement without any facts pertaining specifically to the instant Defendant. The Court therefore finds that the complaint fails to sufficiently state a claim upon which relief can be granted and entry of default judgment is not warranted.""
Privacy

Submission + - Skype network blowup revealing privacy sellout

Christina K. writes: "Skype commented on the network problems as being caused by too many users updating their pcs overwhelming an "algorythm" in Skype`s server software. Besides other meanings, this implys:

- that all Skype network traffic now runs through THEIR central servers while so far it was understood to be peer to peer with Skype previously not confirming the existence and importance of any central Skype servers for the network in view of privacy issues raised by any such central data processing in an peer to peer network.

- with the malfunction of their "algorythm" affecting such a wide range of the network, it is obvious that their central servers are not merely network headroom providers for high traffic times but are/have been made into central network all-traffic processing infrastructure.

Why has the algorythm not crashed with any of the previous windows upgrades before?

Maybe because the central processing of network traffic at Skype has moved from supplemental to mandatory, all traffic encompassing mode. That would explain the type of crash and why we have not seen it before.

Deep in Skype`s FAQ section, one may find a first hint at what their network crashing "algorythm" may relate to: all inclusive traffic data collection.

Answering the question about how to back up a user contacts on a pc, Skype's official answer is that the most recent Skype software provides an automatic backup of all user contact at Skype`s central servers and will restore contacts at the user machine at next login !

Yes, You read that right. Skype has installed an infrastructure that collects and stores the contacts of 100 million users centrally at Skype corporate servers.

Did You know ?

Considering the vast privacy implications such a facility brings with it, one would be inclined to assume that the user has the option to disengage such data collection of his contacts and that Skype would present the issue openly to the public, considering Skype founders' Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis's past clashes with privacy ethics at Kazaa.

Well, You always have the right to scan www.skype.com every day to bring Yourself up to date with any changes in such crucial issues as discussed here, and the hidden hints at them to be found there, right?

And should You find any user interface option to disable Skype`s central monitoring of Your contacts "service", let me know......

No problem, uninstalling the latest Skype and reinstalling an old version to opt out ?

Well, after doing so, the latest emoticons are still populating Your UI, grinning and waving at You, and Your profile page is still showing layout elements that only the latest Skype version had?

Forced, non-reversable upgrade, anyone ?

I leave that to the code wizzards to explore. If anyone ever wondered why Skype went to such length to keep the inerts of their code hidden by keeping code encrypted when inactive thus making it virtually "review tight" — "forced upgrading" is only one of the options they may have had in mind, after their abuse of privacy issues blew up into their "good guy" faces, when spyware was discovered in their peer-to-peer Kazaa software code.

So did Skype go to all that length, costs and risks of network downtime when installing a hardware intensive, central "monitor all" network processing bottleneck just to save users from having to back up their contacts locally — without even advertising such "enhanced services" heroism to its 100 million users?

Heros of humbleness, silently at the service of their users, right?

Looking at all the above, one picture suggests itself to the observer:

Skype has thrown their much advertised previous "no records kept" Skype-to-Skype traffic data collection policy over board and they go to much length not to "bother" You with the involved privacy issue.

They have started installing complete network traffic monitoring infrastructure, forcing all network traffic through this bottleneck in order to collect not only all user contacts but, as we will see in aminute, all traffic data, including originating and target IP numbers of users, duration of call .......

And they made sure that Your Skype client software cooperates with this new effort, however uncooperative Your mindset may be in this regard.

Doing so they crashed the whole network, probably when going live with the new bottleneck, network wide.

And, of course, having nothing to hide, they made sure we know....but do not get exited, with a litany of creative "explanations" after sinking the grid.

The "good guys" of Kazaa spyware times are all over us again, cementing Janus Friis'and Nikklas Zennstroem`s reputation as icons of "ethics" and "trustworthyness".

While previous versions of Skype`s privacy policy took pride in highlighting the networks "no traffic data collection" policy for Skype-to-Skype traffic (they always collected traffic data for paid Skype-to-PSTN traffic invoicing), their current "privacy policy" reveals a recent, seemingly tiny modification under the "traffic data" paragraph, which qualifies as a masterpiece in evasive linguistics. Savor those last five words.

Quote:

"Skype will erase Traffic Data (edit: by their definition: "...including, but not limited to, the duration of a call and the (IP) numbers of the called party and the calling party. ") , or make Traffic Data anonymous, as soon as it is no longer needed for the purpose of the transmission of the communication or for billing purposes, unless applicable law permit otherwise.

Any questions for Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis, anyone ?"
Robotics

Submission + - South Korea Drafts Robot Ethics Laws (physorg.com)

eldavojohn writes: "The nation that aims to have a robot in every home by 2013 has started a project aimed at a law for the ethics of robots. Robots are becoming more mainstream and something must be done to prevent hideous attacks like this video where an observers finger is nearly bitten clean off by a robot run amok. But all joking aside, there is call for this. A robot has already been deployed as a robotic guard at a school in South Korea & they see more applications for mechanized drones such as border patrol, assisting the elderly or even babysitting. We may not be too far from our first Robbie the Killer Robot Court Case."
The Internet

Wikipedia Infiltrated by Intelligence Agents? 428

An anonymous reader writes "International Humanitarian Law professor Ludwig Braeckeleer thinks so. In an article published yesterday in the Korean newspaper OhMyNews, he reveals a discovery he made while researching a story on the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Scotland. It turns out that a Wikipedia administrator named SlimVirgin is actually Linda Mack, a woman who as a young graduate in the 1980s was hired by investigative reporter Pierre Salinger of ABC News to help with the investigation. Salinger later came to believe that Mack was actually working for Britain's MI5 on a mission to investigate the bombing and to infiltrate and monitor the news agency. Shortly after her Wikipedia identity was uncovered, many of her edits to articles related to the bombing were permanently removed from the database in an attempt to conceal her identity. This discovery comes only months after another Wikipedia admin was caught lying about his credentials to the press. What can Wikipedia do about those who would use it for their own purposes?"

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