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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 10 declined, 2 accepted (12 total, 16.67% accepted)

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Submission + - NSA doesn't know what Snowden took. ( 8

WOOFYGOOFY writes: Part of the assurances the NSA has given Congress and the public that the databases of internet activity can't be abused is that each database access is carefully audited and recorded. The NSA claims such audit trails are both deterrents to abuse and sure methods of catching abuse post hoc.

However, as reported by NBC News, " two separate sources briefed on the matter told NBC News that the NSA has been unable to determine the full extent of the data he removed." NBC goes on to report that "NSA had poor data compartmentalization", permitting sys admins "to roam freely across wide areas.".

The article characterizes the NSA as " “overwhelmed" trying to account for what Snowden took" . While another source said the "NSA has a poor audit capability, which is frustrating efforts to complete a damage assessment."

How unattractive a picture is going to be painted before this is over ? Poor audit trails is a wide open door to abuse, and further directly contradicts — yet again- the assurances public officials have made to Congress.

For those of us who consider that the NSA performs a desperately needed function in fighting people who want to destroy the basis of civil society itself, I want to ask the question- have you lost faith in the integrity of the intelligence gathering process and what could the NSA and the administration do to restore and maintain your faith?

Submission + - Another one bites the dust (

WOOFYGOOFY writes: Online auction house was driven into bankruptcy by a competitor Grant Street Group of Pittsburgh wielding this patent :,161,099.PN.&OS=PN/6,161,099&RS=PN/6,161,099.

part of which reads:

In an electronic auction system including an issuer's computer having a display and at least one bidder's computer having an input device and a display, said bidder's computer being located remotely from said issuer's computer, said computers being coupled to at least one electronic network for communicating data messages between said computers, an electronic auctioning process for auctioning fixed income financial instruments comprising:

inputting data associated with at least one bid for at least one fixed income financial instrument into said bidder's computer via said input device;

and so on and so forth.

With this kind of patent junk orbiting the ideosphere, have you or your company scrapped or otherwise altered your plans to launch or even begin development of a product ? Are you hesitant to sell it in the US and other software-patent friendly jurisdictions ?

Is it possible , legally and tactically, to simply avoid the US and similar markets and still be successful?

Submission + - Plame and Wilson characterize NSA as "completely out of control" (

WOOFYGOOFY writes: Writing in The Guardian, C.I.A agent Valerie Plame, whose covert identity was blown by the Bush administration in the run up to Iraq, and her husband and former U.S. ambassador Joe Wilson whose mission to Niger helped to establish that there was no WMD in Iraq characterize the "intelligence-industrial complex" as ""metastasised " and "ripe for abuse".

From the article-

"Prism and other NSA data-mining programs might indeed be very effective in hunting and capturing actual terrorists, but we don't have enough information as a society to make that decision.... (and the ) intelligence community and their friends on the Hill do not have a right to interpret our rights absent such a discussion. "

"... This position must be turned on its head and opened up to a genuine discussion about the necessary, dynamic tension between security and privacy. As it now stands, these programs are ripe for abuse unless we establish ground rules and barriers between authentic national security interests and potential political chicanery".

Submission + - The multi-billion dollar patent troll (

WOOFYGOOFY writes: 1-800-CONTACTS, which is owned by Wellpoint the largest for-profit healthcare provider in the Blue Cross Blue Shield network is suing a 15 person company over a 3D patent which permits users to see what glasses look like on their own faces prior to purchasing. Wellpoint is the owner of which in turn owns 1-800 CONTACTS The behemoth is suing DITTO,, a small 15 person company for patent infringement involving software which permits customers to upload a picture of themselves and then virtually try on glasses prior to purchasing.

Wellpoint bought the patent, which was submitted in 2001,,016,824&hl=en&sa=X&ei=BOtuUbPEDcTviQKWzoGIBg&sqi=2&pjf=1&ved=0CDQQ6AEwAA from a now defunct company.

This is what software patents are- monopolies on broad ideas wielded by those who can afford the lawyering against those who can't. This case is very similar to the case of flightprep vs Runway Finder from 2010. . There, a company who had been rejected 7 times by the patent office finally was granted a patent on what amounted to drawing a line on a map and proceeded to pursue and finally extinguish a small one-man website with a popular flight mapper.

These cases and all the innumerable cases just like them that never get any ink from the press perfectly illustrate that patent trolls are NOT small companies wielding the awesome power of their inventions against large companies. Just the opposite. The pursuit, acquisition and wielding of software patents is a rich man's game and defacto excludes anyone who is not rich while damaging forward progress for everyone else. As such it constitutes a kind of feudal system whereby the "laws" amount to nothing more than the legal reinforcement of financial position of the elites.

Submission + - NRC Report Links Climate Change to National Security (

WOOFYGOOFY writes: The NY Times and Voice Of America amongst others are reporting on a study by the U.S. National Research Council which was released Friday linking global climate change to national security. /135724/

The report which was developed at the request of the C.I.A. characterizes the threats posed by climate change
as "similar to and in many cases greater than those posed by terrorist attacks."

If the effect of unaddressed climate change is the functional equivalent of terrorist attacks on the nation, does the Executive Branch, as a matter of national security, have a duty and a right to begin to act unilaterally against climate change irrespective of what Congress currently believes?

Submission + - Yet another call for abolishing patents, this one from the Fed ( 1

WOOFYGOOFY writes: The most recent call for curtailing patents comes not just from an unexpected source, the St. Louis Fed, but also in its most basic form- total abolition of ALL patents.

Via the Atlantic Monthly,

a new working paper from two members of the St. Louis Federal Reserve, Michele Boldrin and David Levine:

in which they argue that while a weak patent system may mildly increase innovation with limited side-effects, such a system can never be contained and will inevitably lead a stifling patent system such as that presently found in the U.S.

They argue: "...strong patent systems retard innovation with many negative side-effects. and ..political demand for stronger patent protection comes from old and stagnant industries and firms, not from new and innovative ones. Hence the best solution is to abolish patents entirely through strong constitutional measures and to find other legislative instruments, less open to lobbying and rent-seeking".

They acknowledge that some industries could suffer under a such a system, they single out pharma, and suggest that other legislative measures be found to foster innovation whenever there is clear evidence that laissez-faire under-supplies it.

Submission + - Climate Change Kills 400,000 a Year and costs 1.2 trillion (

WOOFYGOOFY writes: Climate change is currently killing 400,000 people a year and world-wide costing the global economy 1.2 trillion dollars . Are the organizations and individuals responsible which deny climate change and block action guilty of crimes against humanity? Will they be held personally accountable by the millennial generation who will bear the cost of their actions? The question is being asked:


Submission + - Israel to accept software patents (

WOOFYGOOFY writes: Israel is going to start accepting software patents, in contrast to their previous position.

Since it about five million US to protect your company against a single software patent lawsuit:

ahref= and-duration-of-patent-litigation.html>

and acquiring them, at 15K and up per, is also beyond the means of most software developers: ahref= > and because doing so is no guarantee of of being able to participate in a M.A.D. standoff with a larger corporation, the question presents itself: are software developers merely share croppers for the 1% who can afford to engage in patent warfare?

If you can't afford to participate in the economic ecosystem except as paid labor, or if you're forced to supplicate yourself to the super wealthy in order to sell your own goods and services, in what sense are software developers "free" in any jurisdiction where software patents are permitted?

Is this a clear example of the top 1% creating laws which favor themselves while excluding the bottom 99% from economic participation.. of pulling the ladder up behind them?

Should start-ups simply withdraw their products from jurisdictions where software patents are recognized?

Submission + - Bloomberg learning to code (

WOOFYGOOFY writes: "Apparently it's "Code Year" — an attempt to encourage people to learn to code- and N.Y.C. Major Bloomberg is taking part . "My New Year's resolution is to learn to code with Codeacademy in 2012!" he wrote on Twitter.

Have any suggestions for Mayor Bloomberg's new career move?

Are we cool now?"

Submission + - The real face of SOPA (

WOOFYGOOFY writes: Govt. seizes private, law abiding domain, partially on word from RIAA exec., stonewalls and lies to the owner's lawyers for a full year, breaks all laws surrounding seizure and forfeiture, seals all court proceedings... then returns domain to owner with no explanation, no charges.

Submission + - What's Open Source worth? (

WOOFYGOOFY writes: "What's Sun's software worth to you? That's the question being put to developers at a poll at Mr. Poll. The poll asks Java developers what they would be willing to pay to guarantee continued access to and development on Sun's Open Source software including Java, Glassfish, ZFS, MySQL, etc.

The results, while limited, seem encouraging: the vast majority (92%) of independent or small company developers say they would open their wallets to the tune of U.S. $100.00 (the mode) to U.S. $$1,000.00 (9%) to keep Sun producing software while an encouraging 77% of developers in large companies say they believe that their companies should be willing to pony up U.S. $1,000.00 per developer per year to keep the Sun software machine going.

Sun seems about to set into a Big Blue sky, leaving the future of major pieces of the Java stack in question. Are developers just finding religion now that they're faced with the possible abandonment of their language of choice? Or has Sun missed out by not asking for support, reasoning that people wouldn't pay for something they could get for free?

If it would save Sun's software from oblivion (or worse) would you pay real money to keep Sun's software developers developing?"

The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that, you've got it made. -- Jean Giraudoux