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The Courts

+ - Private file sharing to remain/become legal in EU

Submitted by orzetto
orzetto (545509) writes "Italian newspaper l'Unità reports that the European parliament's Commitee for Legal Affairs approved an amendment presented by EMP Nicola Zingaretti (PSE, IT), that makes piracy a felony—but only if a monetary profit is made (for the foreign-language impaired, see this article on Hollywood Reporter, which however does not mention that non-profit p2p will not be criminalised). As in the EU parliament's press release:

Members of the Legal Affairs' committee [...] decided that criminal sanctions should only apply to those infringements deliberately carried out to obtain a commercial advantage. Piracy committed by private users for personal, non-profit purposes are therefore also excluded.
Italian consumers' association Altroconsumo was involved in drafting the text. The complete proposal was passed with 23 votes in favour, 3 against and 3 abstained, and is intended to be applied to copyright, trademark, design and other IP fields, but not patent right which is explicitly excluded. The proposal has still to pass the vote of the parliament before becoming law in all EU countries, some of which (like Italy) do have criminal laws in place for non-profit file sharing.

Caution: Most EU countries use civil law, not common law. Translation of legal terms may be misleading."
Software

+ - What is the best bug-as-a-feature?

Submitted by Bat Country
Bat Country (829565) writes "The workflow system at the department I develop for was hand-coded by my predecessor in a rather short amount of time, resulting in somewhat unreadable code with a number of interesting "features."

When I took over maintenance of the code base, I started patching bugs and cleaning up the code in preparation for a new set of features.

When I was done however, I got a pile of complaints about features which disappeared which turned out to be caused by the bugs in the code.
So that leads me to ask, what is your favorite bug that you either can't live without or makes your life easier?"
Mozilla

+ - Firefox releases update to fix critical exploit

Submitted by
MGOB
MGOB writes "Mozilla published releases 1.5.0.10/2.0.0.2 this morning to fix a critical security flaw in the Firefox web browser. The problem lies in how Firefox handles writes to the 'location.hostname' DOM property. The vulnerability allows malicious websites to manipulate authentication cookies for third-party sites. A demo/check of the issue can be found here."
Networking

+ - The bare facts about naked telecommuting

Submitted by
Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward writes "We've all heard the jokes about what our colleagues who work from home are wearing — or not. For Tom Mulhall, though, telecommuting naked is no joke. Rather, it's good business. The owner of The Terra Cotta Inn clothing-optional resort and spa in Palm Springs, Calif., says 80% of his guests bring laptops and work nude poolside. He also talks about where guests stash their BlackBerries and offers advice to those looking to give naked telecommuting a whirl. http://www.networkworld.com/news/2007/012607-bare- facts.html"
The Internet

+ - Charter Communications Hijacks Windows Live Search

Submitted by
Tony Bradley
Tony Bradley writes "Charter Communications introduced a new "service". Some might call it browser hijacking. The new "feature" from Charter will intercept traffic to your default search engine and redirect you to their Charter-branded, 'powered by Yahoo!' search engine. Charter calls the new feature an opt-in service, however they opted everyone in by default with no notice and force you to allow a cookie to be installed if you wish to stay opted out. They provide a link to visit if you wish to change your settings, but the link is dead. There is no such site. Oh! Charter also feels that only users of Windows Live Search need the benefit of their new feature. Searches aimed at Google, Yahoo or AOL are not redirected, but searches directed to Microsoft's search engine are hijacked unless you have the opt-out cookie. You can get more details, along with screen shots, in this article on About.com: http://netsecurity.about.com/od/webbrowsersecurity /ss/charterhijack.htm"
Encryption

+ - AACS says hack can be contained

Submitted by Bart
Bart (666) writes "Ars Technica reports that the AACS Licensing Authiroty is doing some damage control today on the AACS hack that effects both Blu-ray and HD DVD (previous /. coverage). From the article, "The statement was firm in expressing the viewpoint that this attack is not a wholesale attack on AACS, nor does it represent a serious threat to AACS. 'Instead,' the statement reads, 'it illustrates the need for all AACS licensees to follow the Compliance and Robustness Rules set forth in the AACS license agreements to help ensure that product implementations are not compromised.'" The group thinks that the attack can be thrwarted, and while Ars seems to aggree, they suspect another hack will soon follow."
The Courts

+ - Lawyers, PR, the press, and the IT profession

Submitted by
PetManimal
PetManimal writes "Lucas Mearian, a Computerworld reporter, writes about how an innocuous article about storage resource management software in use at the John Hancock insurance company brought the unwanted attention of a screaming lawyer for the company, who demanded that he take the article off the Computerworld website. He and the other editors refused. Mearian feels that if lawyers and PR people got in way of every interview with IT professionals, the profession — and the industry — would suffer greatly.
The fact is that John Hancock's IT manager was informed that I was going to call, knew that I was going to quote him for a story and expressed no reservations. But John Hancock's legal department apparently feels it has the right to review every article that contains its name. Now consider if every time a journalist attempted to write a story about a corporation, the reporter had to first submit the story to that corporation's public relations or legal department to get the approval. You could imagine that truth would regularly be squelched. You, the public, would receive either sanitized news or no news at all. At the same time, you, the IT manager, are also being muzzled. And that's crime as well because it's the free sharing of information between technologists that helps advance business systems' development.
"
United States

+ - Bush wants H-1B visa cap hike

Submitted by jcatcw
jcatcw (1000875) writes ""We've got to expand what's called H-1B visas," Bush said yesterday, speaking at E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. in Wilmington, Del. "I feel strongly about what I'm telling you. It makes no sense to say to a young scientist from India, 'You can't come to America to help this company develop technologies that help us deal with our problems.' So we've got to change that..., change that mind-set in Washington, D.C.," he said. Last year he also called on Congress to raise the cap, but it failed to do so, leaving the limit at 65,000. His remarks yesterday were almost a cut-and-paste job from a talk he gave last year at 3M Co.'s headquarters in St. Paul, Minn."
Media

+ - Canada Responsible for 50% of Movie Piracy

Submitted by westcoaster004
westcoaster004 (893514) writes "Hollywood is blaming Canada as being the source for at least 50% of of the world's pirated movies. According to an investigation by Twentieth Century Fox, most of the recording is taking place in Montreal theatres where films are released in both English and French. This has led to consideration of delaying movie releases in Canada."
United States

US Visitor Fingerprints To Be (Perhaps) Stored by FBI 503

Posted by Hemos
from the probably-not-at-this-point dept.
stair69 writes "Since 2004 many visitors to the United States have had 2 fingerprints taken under the US-VISIT scheme. Now there are new plans to extend this scheme — under the proposal all 10 fingerprints will be taken, and they will be stored permanently on the FBI's criminal fingerprint database. The fingerprints will also be made available to police forces in other countries. The scheme is due to be introduced by the end of 2008, but it will be trialled in 10 of the bigger airports initially." Of course, it is worth pointing out that given the recent change in Congress, I suspect that a number of countries will get a "bye" on this round,

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