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Electronic Frontier Foundation

DOJ Often Used Cell Tower Impersonating Devices Without Explicit Warrants 146

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the bending-the-rules dept.
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:"
Google

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

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the now-and-forever dept.
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.
The Almighty Buck

The Man Who Sold Shares of Himself 215

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the social-experiments-gone-awry dept.
RougeFemme writes "This is a fascinating story about a man who sold shares in himself, primarily to fund his start-up ideas. He ran into the same issues that companies run into when taking on corporate funding — except that in his case, the decisions made by his shareholders bled over into his personal life. This incuded his relationship with his now ex-girlfriend, who became a shareholder activist over the issue of whether or not he should have a vasectomy. The experiment continues." The perils of selling yourself to your friends.

Comment: Re:Why is this news? (Score 1) 244

by misterye (#37565648) Attached to: Top 1% of iOS Game Developers Make a Third of All Revenue

Numbers: check http://www.softwaretop100.org/top-25-gaming-companies-2010 for the rankings of the top 25 by revenue. We see Nintendo, Activision Blizzard, Sony, and the rest of the top 10 make up over half of the estimated global game revenue. 10 companies out of hundreds? thousands? who knows? The iOS market will probably move more and more towards this as the big publishers like EA continue to press their marketing advantage to sell their games, but the nice thing is there is always an opportunity for the little guy with the killer game to sell just as many copies as EA.

Comment: Why is this news? (Score 1) 244

by misterye (#37565568) Attached to: Top 1% of iOS Game Developers Make a Third of All Revenue

Compared to the console and PC gaming world I would imagine the disparity there to be even greater than this. EA, Take Two Interactive, Nintendo, Capcom, Microsoft, Activision Blizzard, Sega, Sony, etc are likely the top 0.01% when it comes to developers and probably take in almost all the (it's too damned early for me to actually do the research, sorry). The important difference here is that in iOS, as of now, the top 1% is only taking in 30% and that those developers are made up of a far greater number of indie studios.

Comment: What if we ran schools the worst way possible? (Score 1) 380

by misterye (#33943130) Attached to: What If We Ran Universities Like Wikipedia?

...think of the faculty at a place like the University of Phoenix

To anyone who is any anyway involved in education or has even received one (I mean an education, not just a piece of paper) the thought of all universities being run by U of Phoenix types leaves me even more frightened for the future than normal. Watch PBS's Frontline or just work with someone with a University of Phoenix degree and you'll see what I mean. I have a much better idea: how about we make all universities the opposite of the University of Phoenix. How about all schools have actually competent people get paid to actually teach people who actually give a shit about learning something instead of just adding a few extra letters to their resumes (or in the case of the U of Phoenix teachers, just getting stock options in the University and an extra paycheck)?

Media

Lack of Manpower May Kill VLC For Mac 398

Posted by timothy
from the vlc-generally-rocks dept.
plasmacutter writes "The Video Lan dev team has recently come forward with a notice that the number of active developers for the project's MacOS X releases has dropped to zero, prompting a halt in the release schedule. There is now a disturbing possibility that support for Mac will be dropped as of 1.1.0. As the most versatile and user-friendly solution for bridging the video compatibility gap between OS X and windows, this will be a terrible loss for the Mac community. There is still hope, however, if the right volunteers come forward."

Man is the best computer we can put aboard a spacecraft ... and the only one that can be mass produced with unskilled labor. -- Wernher von Braun

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