Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?
Slashdot Deals: Cyber Monday Sale Extended! Courses ranging from coding to project management - all eLearning deals 20% off with coupon code "CYBERMONDAY20". ×
Electronic Frontier Foundation

DOJ Often Used Cell Tower Impersonating Devices Without Explicit Warrants 146

Via the EFF comes news that, during a case involving the use of a Stingray device, the DOJ revealed that it was standard practice to use the devices without explicitly requesting permission in warrants. "When Rigmaiden filed a motion to suppress the Stingray evidence as a warrantless search in violation of the Fourth Amendment, the government responded that this order was a search warrant that authorized the government to use the Stingray. Together with the ACLU of Northern California and the ACLU, we filed an amicus brief in support of Rigmaiden, noting that this 'order' wasn't a search warrant because it was directed towards Verizon, made no mention of an IMSI catcher or Stingray and didn't authorize the government — rather than Verizon — to do anything. Plus to the extent it captured loads of information from other people not suspected of criminal activity it was a 'general warrant,' the precise evil the Fourth Amendment was designed to prevent. ... The emails make clear that U.S. Attorneys in the Northern California were using Stingrays but not informing magistrates of what exactly they were doing. And once the judges got wind of what was actually going on, they were none too pleased:"

Misconfigured Open DNS Resolvers Key To Massive DDoS Attacks 179

msm1267 writes with an excerpt From Threat Post: "While the big traffic numbers and the spat between Spamhaus and illicit webhost Cyberbunker are grabbing big headlines, the underlying and percolating issue at play here has to do with the open DNS resolvers being used to DDoS the spam-fighters from Switzerland. Open resolvers do not authenticate a packet-sender's IP address before a DNS reply is sent back. Therefore, an attacker that is able to spoof a victim's IP address can have a DNS request bombard the victim with a 100-to-1 ratio of traffic coming back to them versus what was requested. DNS amplification attacks such as these have been used lately by hacktivists, extortionists and blacklisted webhosts to great success." Running an open DNS resolver isn't itself always a problem, but it looks like people are enabling neither source address verification nor rate limiting.

Google Pledges Not To Sue Any Open Source Projects Using Their Patents 153

sfcrazy writes "Google has announced the Open Patent Non-Assertion (OPN) Pledge. In the pledge Google says that they will not sue any user, distributor, or developer of Open Source software on specified patents, unless first attacked. Under this pledge, Google is starting off with 10 patents relating to MapReduce, a computing model for processing large data sets first developed at Google. Google says that over time they intend to expand the set of Google's patents covered by the pledge to other technologies." This is in addition to the Open Invention Network, and their general work toward reforming the patent system. The patents covered in the OPN will be free to use in Free/Open Source software for the life of the patent, even if Google should transfer ownership to another party. Read the text of the pledge. It appears that interaction with non-copyleft licenses (MIT/BSD/Apache) is a bit weird: if you create a non-free fork it appears you are no longer covered under the pledge.

Submission + - Silicon Valley Values Shift to Customersploitation

theodp writes: Bill Davidow is the real Silicon Valley deal. Commenting on how Silicon Valley has changed over the decades, Davidow is not impressed, dishing out harsh words for Facebook, Apple, Google, and others. 'When corporate leaders pursue wealth in the winner-take-all Internet environment,' concludes Davidow, 'companies dance on the edge of acceptable behavior. If they don't take it to the limit, a competitor will. That competitor will become the dominant supplier — one monopoly will replace another. And when you engage in these activities you get a different set of Valley values: the values of customer exploitation.'

Submission + - Half Of Used Phones Still Contain Personal Info (

jhernik writes: Personal details left on used mobile phones make it easier for ID thieves to access sensitive data

More than half of second-hand mobile phones still contain personal information of the previous owner, posing a risk of identity fraud, CPP has warned.

The study found 247 pieces of personal data stored on handsets and SIM cards purchased from eBay and second-hand electronics shops. The information ranged from credit card numbers to bank account details, photographs, email address and login details to social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.

According to data security firm CPP, 81 percent of previous owners claim they have wiped personal data from their mobile phones and SIM cards before selling them. However, deleting the information manually is “a process that security experts acknowledge leaves the data intact and retrievable”.


Submission + - Bacterium hosts remnant of life's distant past ( 1

alexandre_ganso writes: Within a dangerous stomach bacterium, Yale University researchers have discovered an ancient but functioning genetic remnant from a time before DNA existed, they report in the August 13 issue of the journal Science.

"What these cells are doing is using ancient RNA technology to control modern gene expression," said Ron Breaker, the Henry Ford II Professor of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology at Yale, investigator for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and senior author of the study.


Submission + - Amateur programmer meets software patents (

Roy van Rijn writes: A couple of weeks ago, in a spare weekend, I wrote software that could recognise music through listening to the microphone, much like SoundHound and Shazam. After populair demand I was just about to release the code into the open source community when I got an email from Landmark Digital Services LLC. They claim my hobby project is infringing their patents. This took me on a journey to find out more about software patents and the validity of the requests I got from the company.

Submission + - HTML5 now officially devoid of Ogg Vorbis / Theora ( 4

Rudd-O writes: "It's official. Ogg technology has been removed from the HTML5 spec, after Ian caved in the face of pressure from Apple and Nokia. Unless massive pressure is exerted on the HTML5 spec editing process, the Web authoring world will continue to endure our modern proprietary Tower of Babel.

Note that HTML5 in no way required Ogg (as denoted by the word "should" instead of "must" in the earlier draft). Adding this to the fact that there are widely available patent-free implementations of Ogg technology, there is really no excuse for Apple and Nokia to say that they couldn't in good faith implement HTML5 as previously formulated."


Submission + - KDE and KOffice rebuke OOXML; GNOME dithers 3

Peter writes: Free Software Foundation president Richard Stallman and ITWire have praised KDE and KOffice developers for taking a principled stand against OOXML, while raising serious concerns about the GNOME Foundation's decision to give credibility to Microsoft's broken format. This comes on the heels of GNOME co-founder Miguel de Icaza's depiction of OOXML as a 'superb standard', and GNOME Foundation director Quim Gil's stonewalling of the patent-free Ogg Vorbis / Theora format on behalf of Nokia. Have GNOME's leaders completely sold out their free software credentials to corporate and anti-consumer interests? And will the GNOME Foundation's indifferent response to Richard Stallman's appeal drive him to throw his weight behind KDE?

Submission + - XOgiving OLPCs to work without mesh, over jabber (

Dave Crossland writes: "One Laptop Per Child is running its "Give One Get One" (G1G1) sale for North Americans — only 6 days left! — and one of the most widely touted innovations in the XO laptop is the mesh networking which is integrated into all the applications. Since people buying XOs in the G1G1 scheme will only get ONE, it was announced on the sugar mailing today that "for G1G1, there is a Jabber server preconfigured. When you have internet access, [the mesh features] will "Just Work". The Neighborhood screen does show all those on that server currently.""

Submission + - Arecibo Observatory's Future in Doubt

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: "The future is hazy for the legendary Arecibo radio observatory in Puerto Rico, a 'jewel of space instruments'. The New York Times reports that the National Science Foundation, which pays for the observatory's operation, has slashed Arecibo's annual budget from $10.5 million to $8 million, and may close it altogether in four years, imperiling its historic work, including its detection of the near-Earth asteroid KW4 eight years ago. "The planetary science community is in danger of losing one of its instrumental crown jewels," Donald K. Yeomans, a scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, told the House subcommittee on space and aeronautics."

Submission + - Open Handset Alliance releases Android SDK preview (

radimvice writes: "As anticipated, the Open Handset Alliance led by Google has released an early look at the Android open-source wireless platform SDK. Google has put up an official Android developer blog and a developer discussion group, and there are also plenty of unofficial forums set up to discuss the release. Source code download, documentation, sample code and more is up at Google Code. Google has also announced the Android Developer Challenge, which will provide $10 million in awards for great mobile applications built on the Android platform over the next year."

Artificial intelligence has the same relation to intelligence as artificial flowers have to flowers. -- David Parnas