Mark Gibbs writes "Shiver me timbers: Antigua and Barbuda's 'WTO Remedies Implementation Committee', is said to be recommending the establishment by the Government of Antigua & Barbuda of a statutory body to own, manage and operate the ultimate platform to be created for the monetisation or other exploitation of the suspension of American intellectual property rights authorised earlier this year by the WTO ... Additionally, an announcement regarding the opening of tenders for private sector participation in the operating of the platform should be announced shortly. Arghhh ... matey!" See also this Slashdot post (from 2007) for some background.
An anonymous reader writes with a link to the New York Times' summary of a security and privacy disaster that's been inspiring angry posts on various social networks, including LinkedIn itself: "Security researchers are calling LinkedIn's new mobile app, Intro, a dream come true for hackers or intelligence agencies... Intro redirects e-mail traffic to and from users' iPhones and iPads through LinkedIn's servers, then analyzes and scrapes those e-mails for relevant data and adds pertinent LinkedIn details... Researchers liken that redirection to a so-called man-in-the-middle attack in which hackers, or more recently, intelligence agencies, intercept Internet traffic en route to its destination and do what they will with it."
An anonymous reader writes "The Internet Archive today announced it has enabled HTTPS connections by default on archive.org and openlibrary.org. The organization today also revealed it now sees over 3 million users per day. Both sites are still accessible over HTTP connections. Since the Wayback Machine is hosted on archive.org, it also follows the same rules: the secure version is used by default, but you can use the http version which will help load certain complicated webpages."
First time accepted submitter bashaw writes "What ethical responsibilities do software developers have in determining the role that mobile devices take in our lives? As performance increases, size decreases, and the only limitation is the software available, mobile devices have expanded into new areas of our lives for which they were not designed. This raises the ethical question of who decides what software is available, and therefore what role these devices should take. I am a software developer at the Canadian Avalanche Centre. We recently issued a warning about mobile avalanche search applications that are marketed as avalanche rescue systems. Three smartphone applications are presenting themselves as economical alternatives to avalanche transceivers, the electronic device used by backcountry users to find buried companions in case of an avalanche. The applications are not an adequate replacement for an avalanche transceiver for many reasons, and we are concerned about the use of this software in lieu of a specifically-designed avalanche transceiver. When it is a question of public safety, does the onus fall on the developers, a government agency or the users themselves?"
An anonymous reader writes with news that the Obama administration has appointed Jeffrey Zients to lead the effort to revamp Healthcare.gov after its trouble rollout earlier this month. Zients said, "By the end of November, healthcare.gov will work smoothly for the vast majority of users." Obama created a position for Zients within the government in 2009, when he was made the OMB's Chief Performance Officer. The purpose of his position was to analyze and streamline the government's budget concerns. "Healthcare.gov covers people in the 36 states that declined to run their own health-insurance exchanges. About 700,000 applications have been begun nationwide, and half of them have come in through the website. The White House aims to have 7M uninsured Americans covered by the scheme by the end of March." Zients's appointment came after a contentious House Committee hearing about the healthcare website, in which many were blamed and few took responsibility. The government also said that contractor Quality Software Services Inc., a subsidiary of UnitedHealth group, would "oversee the entire operation" of Healthcare.gov. QSSI has already done work on the website, building the pipeline that transfers data between the insurance exchanges and the federal agencies.
KentuckyFC writes "Network theorists have always simulated the spread of information through the internet using the same models epidemiologists use to study the spread of disease. Now Chinese scientists say this isn't quite right--it's easy to infect everybody you meet with a disease but it's much harder to inform all your contacts of a particular piece of information. So they've redone the conventional network simulations assuming that people only ever transmit messages to a certain fraction of their friends. And their results throw up a surprise. In these models, there are always individuals or clusters of individuals who are unreachable. These people never receive the information and make up a kind of underclass who eke out an information-poor existence in a few dark corners of the network. That has implications for organizations aiming to spread ideas who will have to think more carefully about how to reach people in these dark corners. That includes marketers and advertisers hoping to sell products and services but also agencies hoping to spread different kinds of messages such as safety-related information. It also raises the interesting prospect of individuals seeking out the dark corners of the internet, perhaps to preserve their privacy or perhaps for more nefarious reasons."
schwit1 writes "Using a warrant to search for guns, Homeland security officers and Maryland police confiscated a journalist's confidential files. The reporter had written a series of articles critical of the TSA. It appears that the raid was specifically designed to get her files, which contain identifying information about her sources in the TSA. 'In particular, the files included notes that were used to expose how the Federal Air Marshal Service had lied to Congress about the number of airline flights there were actually protecting against another terrorist attack,' Hudson [the reporter] wrote in a summary about the raid provided to The Daily Caller. Recalling the experience during an interview this week, Hudson said: 'When they called and told me about it, I just about had a heart attack.' She said she asked Bosch [the investigator heading the raid] why they took the files. He responded that they needed to run them by TSA to make sure it was 'legitimate' for her to have them. '"Legitimate" for me to have my own notes?' she said incredulously on Wednesday. Asked how many sources she thinks may have been exposed, Hudson said: 'A lot. More than one. There were a lot of names in those files. This guy basically came in here and took my anonymous sources and turned them over — took my whistleblowers — and turned it over to the agency they were blowing the whistle on,' Hudson said. 'And these guys still work there.'"
Nick Kolakowski writes "Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos regarded Apple co-founder Steve Jobs as a rival, but the men had more in common than they might have believed. Like Jobs, Bezos had a vision of a tech company, started it on a small budget with a tight cluster of coworkers, and fought to grow it into an industry giant. And as detailed in The Everything Store, a new book about the rise of Amazon.com, Bezos also boasts a Jobs-like temper, riddling his subordinates with withering insults when he feels a project is imperfect or falling behind schedule." Read on for the rest of his review.
szyzyg writes "Star Citizen has broken all the crowdfunding records, raising almost 25 million dollars in the last year to fund Chris Roberts' promise of the ultimate spaceship game. However, an investigation sheds light on a murky secondary market where items are being resold by investors for profit, all for a game that won't be fully released for two years. The standard crowdfunding tactic of rewarding early backers has created a tiered system with ample room for profiteering, profits which many not be shared with the developers. Few things would please me more than Star Citizen succeeding, but backers should read this article before being tempted to trade up their internet spaceships through a third party."
An anonymous reader writes "According to the International Resource Journal, 'Greenland has voted to axe a long-enduring ban on mining for radioactive materials, reopening the market to uranium and rare earths mining. Yesterday's parliamentary vote passed the decision by a staggeringly close 15-14 votes. ... The ban has previously prevented the extraction of some major rare earth deposits, because they are connected to radioactive materials.' 95% of the world's rare-earth demand is currently supplied by China, but estimates indicate Greenland could produce enough to supply 25% of the demand. Greenland's Prime Minister said the decision was made because of financial reasons: 'We cannot live with unemployment and cost of living increases while our economy is at a standstill. It is therefore necessary that we eliminate zero tolerance towards uranium now.' Environmental groups, as you might expect, are not happy."
tlhIngan writes "One aspect about the new OS X Mavericks release was that all Apple produced software was to be downloadable and updatable through the Mac App Store. However, this raises the obvious question: what happens to users who bought the software beforehand? Initial reports showed that the Mac App Store scanned your hard drive for software and offered to associate it with your Apple ID. The scans even found trial and pirated versions and upgraded those to fully-licensed versions. Even more interestingly, this is not a bug, and it appears Apple is turning a blind eye to the practice, giving away copies of iLife, iWork and Aperture to users who own trial or even pirated versions of the apps. Apple has also recently stopped providing downloadable trial versions of iLife, iWork and Aperture from their web site."
nk497 writes "Web users are vulnerable to mass online spying because the U.S. has too much power online, according to a leading security researcher. Discussing revelations of U.S. spying at his LinuxCon keynote speech, F-Secure's chief research officer Mikko Hypponen argued that the internet had 'become a U.S. colony,' at the expense of democracy. 'We're back in the age of colonization,' he said. 'We should think about the Americans as our masters.' Hypponen argued that its dominance over the web gave the U.S. too much power over foreign countries, noting that while the majority of European politicians likely use U.S. services every day, most U.S. politicians and business leaders don't, for example, use Swedish-based cloud services. 'It's an imbalanced situation,' he said. 'All the major services are based in the U.S.'"
An anonymous reader writes "New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that the city's 250,000 street light fixtures, which currently use incandescent bulbs, will be replaced with LEDs by 2017. It's part of a plan to reduce the city government's emissions by 30%. The LEDs have a lifespan of 20 years, more than three times that of the current incandescent bulbs, and Bloomberg says it will save $6 million in energy and $8 million in maintenance every year. It will be the largest LED retrofit in the country. 'The first of three phases to replace the standard "cobra-head" high-pressure sodium street lights, which will upgrade 80,000 at a time across the five boroughs, is expected to be completed in December 2015 with the final phase expected to be completed by 2017. Following the replacement of roadway lighting, decorative fixtures in the city's business and commercial districts will be addressed.'"
McGruber writes "The Washington Post has the news that former head of the NSA Michael Hayden took a call while on the Acela train between D.C. and Boston. Hayden was talking to a journalist 'on background', which means the reporter is not allowed to cite Hayden by name. Unfortunately for Hayden, another train passenger overhead the call and live-tweeted it. 'Mattzie continued to livetweet Hayden’s conversations slamming the Obama administration, all the while insisting that he be referred to only on background. The conversation also seemed to touch on Hayden’s time as the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency under President George W. Bush as well. "Hayden was bragging about rendition and black sites a minute ago," Mattzie wrote. Hayden has in the past defended the use of waterboarding against detainees held in various sites around the world, and dismissed torture as a "legal term."'"
Esther Schindler writes "We all know that the arts reflect the technology of their times. So let's look at The Doctor ('the definite article,' as Tom Baker said in December 1974) and his use of computers. Actually, for a show so closely associated with the Slashdot-techie lifestyle, Doctor Who didn't have much to do with computers early on. This article by Peter Salus traces the formative years: 'In January 1970, Jon Pertwee (Doctor #3) acquired a Cambridge scientist (Caroline John as Liz Shaw) as his companion, which might lead the unsuspecting viewer to think that a firmer computer science basis might ensue. But only in April did Liz exhibit her technical knowledge (by recognizing a Geiger counter reading).' And then we get to K-9....."
Nerval's Lobster writes "Jon Brodkin talked to indie developers (including the creator of Super Mario Bros. Crossover), former Nintendo employees, and a number of others about where exactly Nintendo went wrong over the past few years. Their conclusions? Nintendo made a number of mistakes, including a lack of an indie-developer ecosystem, a refusal to license out core properties such as Super Mario to other gaming platforms (or even iOS and Android), and platforms that don't appeal to hardcore gamers. While the developers suggest Nintendo is taking steps to broaden its horizons, such as by reaching out to smaller studios, it's questionable whether such efforts will succeed in a world where the PS4 and Xbox One are about to enter the market, and iOS and Android are swallowing up mobile gamers' time and dollars. What do you think?"
ananyo writes "Allen Nicklasson has had a temporary reprieve. Scheduled to be executed by lethal injection in Missouri on 23 October, the convicted killer was given a stay of execution by the state's governor, Jay Nixon, on 11 October — but not because his guilt was in doubt. Nicklasson will live a while longer because one of the drugs that was supposed to be used in his execution — a widely used anesthetic called propofol — is at the center of an international controversy that threatens millions of U.S. patients, and affects the way that U.S. states execute inmates. Propofol, used up to 50 million times a year in U.S. surgical procedures, has never been used in an execution. If the execution had gone ahead, U.S. hospitals could have lost access to the drug because 90% of the U.S. supply is made and exported by a German company subject to European Union regulations that restrict the export of medicines and devices that could be used for capital punishment or torture. This is not the first time that the E.U.'s anti-death-penalty stance has affected the U.S. supply of anesthetics. Since 2011, a popular sedative called sodium thiopental has been unavailable in the United States. 'The European Union is serious,' says David Lubarsky, head of the anesthesiology department at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Florida. 'They've already shown that with thiopental. If we go down this road with propofol, a lot of good people who need anesthesia are going to be harmed.'"
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "The Guardian reports that the NSA monitored the phone conversations of 35 world leaders after being given the numbers by an official in another U.S. government department. According to a classified document provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden, the NSA encourages senior officials in its 'customer' departments, such the White House, State and the Pentagon, to share their 'Rolodexes' so the agency can add the phone numbers of leading foreign politicians to their surveillance systems. The NSA memo dated October 2006 that was obtained by the Guardian suggests that such surveillance was not isolated, as the agency routinely monitors the phone numbers of world leaders – and even asks for the assistance of other U.S. officials to do so. However, the memo acknowledges that eavesdropping on the numbers had produced 'little reportable intelligence.' At the daily briefing on Thursday, White House press secretary Jay Carney again refused to answer repeated questions about whether the U.S. had spied on German Chancellor Angela Merkel's calls in the past."
nk497 writes "Police in Manchester have arrested a man and seized what they claim are 3D printed components to a gun. They made the arrest after a 'significant' discovery of a 3D printed 'trigger' and 'magazine,' saying they were now testing the parts to see if they were viable. 3D printing experts, however, said the objects were actually spare parts for the printer. 'As soon as I saw the picture... I instantly thought, "I know that part,"' said Scott Crawford, head of 3D printing firm Revolv3D. 'They designed an upgrade for the printer soon after it was launched, and most people will have downloaded and upgraded this part within their printer. It basically pulls the plastic filament, and it used to jam an awful lot. The new system that they've put out, which includes that little lever that they're claiming is the trigger, is most definitely the same part.'"
McGruber writes "Orlando Sentinel columnist Lauren Ritchie has written about how Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoints handle her father Sam, an 87-year-old who has a propensity to question authority in a quiet way, and make his target feel stupid. Sam points to the signs that the TSA posts stating that those above the age of 75 don't have to take off their shoes for screening. Maybe the TSA thinks all old people wear floppy tennies, but Sam's favorite pair have metal. So every time Sam goes through the screening, an alarm goes off, and an officer makes him remove his shoes. And every time he feels compelled to test the TSA. Sometimes, Sam spots them a few points by warning them ahead of time that his shoes have metal.... it got to be a ritual for a while, ending with him throwing his hands up and remarking to the TSA person: 'Hey, something's not right here.'"
RogueyWon writes "Four months after the launch of the Ouya micro-console, Gamasutra has pulled together a round up of the experiences of indie developers who have brought their games to the platform. There's both positive and negative news; developers seem to like the ease of porting to the platform, but have concerns regarding the approach that its marketplace takes. Perhaps most crucially, sales of games on the platform are far from stellar."
benonemusic writes "A new study in the journal PLOS ONE suggests that dinosaurs reached gigantic proportions relative to mammals because of differences in their cartilage, making their joints squishier and able to sustain greater amounts of force. Other factors contributed to dinosaurs' larger sizes, including their lighter, air-sac-filled skeletons, and some researchers point out that the sizes of some dinosaurs and mammals were approximately equal, so anatomical differences between cartilage in dinosaurs and mammals may not directly explain why some dinosaurs grew to larger sizes."
judgecorp writes "Facebook's links to the NSA's PRISM program could be investigated in Ireland, thanks to the persistence of some Austrian law students. The group has challenged Facebook in Europe as it has its regional headquarters there for tax reasons. 'The [Data Protection Commissioner] simply wanted to get this hot potato off his table instead of doing his job. But when it comes to the fundamental rights of millions of users and the biggest surveillance scandal in years, he will have to take responsibility and do something about it,' said the leader of the student group, Max Schrems."
Daniel_Stuckey writes "This week, the verification company Service Objects announced a new tool to help websites detect 'suspicious' visitors using Tor and other anonymous proxies. Its updated DOTS IP Address Validation product identifies 'suspicious' discrepancies between the user's home location and the location of the IP address the order's coming from. It joins a handful of other tools on the market promising Tor-detection for retailers. It's a logical strategy: If you're trying to buy something with a stolen credit card, you're obviously going to want to block your real identity and location while doing it. But it also raises the question of whether targeting anonymity services to hunt out fraudsters could have chilling effects for harmless Tor users trying to protect their privacy online—particularly this year in light of the NSA-spying scandal."