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Comment: Re:right decision (Score 4, Funny) 111

by mrgrey (#41931621) Attached to: Staff Emails Are Not Owned By Firms, UK Judge Rules

No nightmare. From my standpoint it would make my life as an admin easier.

Employee: "Hey. I lost this email from so and so a while back"
Me: "Oooooo... Ya. Sorry about that. We don't back your email up. We only backup company data."

Employee: "Hey. I keep getting spam."
Me: "Sounds like a personal problem to me. It's your email. Fix it."

Google

Google To Add Pay To Cover a Tax For Gays 1036

Posted by samzenpus
from the same-sex-compensation dept.
GrApHiX42 writes "Starting on Thursday, Google is going to increase the salaries of gay and lesbian employees whose partners receive domestic partner health benefits, largely to compensate them for an extra tax they must pay that heterosexual married couples do not. Google is not the first company to make up for the extra tax. At least a few large employers already do. But benefits experts say Google's move could inspire its Silicon Valley competitors to follow suit, because they compete for the same talent."
Security

Ethics of Releasing Non-Malicious Linux Malware? 600

Posted by kdawson
from the what-would-schneier-do dept.
buchner.johannes writes "I was fed up with the general consensus that Linux is oh-so-secure and has no malware. After a week of work, I finished a package of malware for Unix/Linux. Its whole purpose is to help white-hat hackers point out that a Linux system can be turned into a botnet client by simply downloading BOINC and attaching it to a user account to help scientific projects. The malware does not exploit any security holes, only loose security configurations and mindless execution of unverified downloads. I tested it to be injected by a PHP script (even circumventing safe mode), so that the Web server runs it; I even got a proxy server that injects it into shell scripts and makefiles in tarballs on the fly, and adds onto Windows executables for execution in Wine. If executed by the user, the malware can persist itself in cron, bashrc and other files. The aim of the exercise was to provide a payload so security people can 'pwn' systems to show security holes, without doing harm (such as deleting files or disrupting normal operation). But now I am unsure of whether it is ethically OK to release this toolkit, which, by ripping out the BOINC payload and putting in something really evil, could be turned into proper Linux malware. On the one hand, the way it persists itself in autostart is really nasty, and that is not really a security hole that can be fixed. On the other hand, such a script can be written by anyone else too, and it would be useful to show people why you need SELinux on a server, and why verifying the source of downloads (checksums through trusted channels) is necessary. Technically, it is a nice piece, but should I release it? I don't want to turn the Linux desktop into Windows, hence I'm slightly leaning towards not releasing it. What does your ethics say about releasing such grayware?"

Genetic Mutation Enables Less Sleep 272

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the i-want-to-be-like-mork dept.
reporter writes to tell us that researchers are claiming to have discovered a genetic mutation that allows people to manage with much less sleep. One of the researchers hopes that this could lead to artificially reducing the amount of sleep required in your average human. "Although the mutation has been identified in only two people, the power of the research stems from the fact that the shortened sleep effect was replicated in mouse and fruit-fly studies. As a result, the research now gives scientists a clearer sense of where to look for genetic traits linked to sleep patterns."
Privacy

India To Issue Over a Billion Biometric ID Cards 167

Posted by timothy
from the might-be-a-few-hitches dept.
angrytuna writes "The Unique Identification Authority is a new state department in India charged with assigning every living Indian an exclusive number and biometric ID card. The program is designed to alleviate problems with the 20 current types of proof of identity currently available. These problems range from difficulties for the very poor in obtaining state handouts, corruption, illegal immigration, and terrorism issues. Issuing the cards may be difficult, however, as less than 7% of the population is registered for income tax, and voter lists are thought to be inaccurate, partly due to corruption. The government has said the first cards will be issued in 18 months."
The Internet

Morality of Throttling a Local ISP? 640

Posted by kdawson
from the what-would-larry-do dept.
An anonymous reader writes "I work for a small (400 customers) local cable ISP. For the company, the ISP is only a small side business, so my whole line of expertise lies in other areas, but since I know the most about Linux and networking I've been stuck into the role of part-time sysadmin. In examining our backbone and customer base I've found out that we are oversubscribed around 70:1 between our customers' bandwidth and our pipe. I've gone to the boss and showed him the bandwidth graphs of us sitting up against the limit for the better part of the day, and instead of purchasing more bandwidth, he has asked me to start implementing traffic shaping and packet inspection against P2P users and other types of large downloaders. Because this is in a certain limited market, the customers really only have the choice between my ISP and dial-up. I'm struggling with the desire to give the customers I'm administering the best experience, and the desire to do what my boss wants. In my situation, what would you do?"

A.I. and Robotics Take Another Wobbly Step Forward 102

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the where-is-my-robotic-bartender dept.
CWmike writes to tell us that artificial intelligence and robotics have made another wobbly step forward with the most recent robot from Stanford. "Stair" is one of a new breed of robot that is trying to integrate learning, vision, navigation, manipulation, planning, reasoning, speech, and natural language processing. "It also marks a transition of AI from narrow, carefully defined domains to real-world situations in which systems learn to deal with complex data and adapt to uncertainty. AI has more or less followed the 'hype cycle' popularized by Gartner Inc.: Technologies perk along in the shadows for a few years, then burst on the scene in a blaze of hype. Then they fall into disrepute when they fail to deliver on extravagant promises, until they eventually rise to a level of solid accomplishment and acceptance."
Privacy

New Law Will Require Camera Phones To "Click" 1235

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the pointless-wastes-of-time dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A new bill is being introduced called the Camera Phone Predator Alert Act, which would require any mobile phone containing a digital camera to sound a tone whenever a photograph is taken with the phone's camera. It would also prohibit such a phone from being equipped with a means of disabling or silencing the tone."
Earth

Drilling Hits an Active Magma Chamber In Hawaii 251

Posted by timothy
from the time-for-a-lava-luau dept.
Smivs writes "The BBC are reporting that drillers looking for geothermal energy in Hawaii have inadvertently put a well right into a magma chamber. Molten rock pushed back up the borehole several meters before solidifying, making it perfectly safe to study. Magma specialist Bruce Marsh says it will allow scientists to observe directly how granites are made. 'This is unprecedented; this is the first time a magma has been found in its natural habitat,' the Johns Hopkins University professor told BBC News. 'Before, all we had to deal with were lava flows; but they are the end of a magma's life. They're lying there on the surface, they've de-gassed. It's not the natural habitat.' It is hoped the site can now become a laboratory, with a series of cores drilled around the chamber to better characterise the crystallisation changes occurring in the rock as it loses temperature."
Space

Spider Missing After Trip To Space Station 507

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the lost-in-space dept.
Garabito writes "A spider that had been sent to the International Space Station for a school science program was lost. Two arachnids were sent in order to know if spiders can survive and make webs in space, but now only one spider can be seen in the container. NASA isn't sure where the other spider could have gone. I, for one, welcome our new arachnid overlords."
The Military

Physicist Admits Sending Space-Related Military Secrets To China 278

Posted by timothy
from the he-was-young-he-needed-the-money dept.
piemcfly writes "Chinese-born physicist Shu Quan-Sheng Monday pleaded guilty before a US court to violating the Arms Export Control Act by illegally exporting American military space know-how to China. The 68-year-old naturalized US citizen, pictured here on his company profile, admitted handing over the design of fueling systems between 2003 and 2007. Also, in 2003 he illegally exported a document with the impossibly long name of 'Commercial Information, Technical Proposal and Budgetary Officer — Design, Supply, Engineering, Fabrication, Testing & Commissioning of 100m3 Liquid Hydrogen Tank and Various Special Cryogenic Pumps, Valves, Filters and Instruments.' This contained the design of liquid hydrogen tanks for space launch vehicles. He also admitted to a third charge of bribing Chinese officials to the tune of some 189,300 dollars for a French space technology firm." Here's the FBI press release regarding Shu's plea.

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