Your Rights Online

Submission + - Carriers oppose publicly documenting LEO requests (

schwit1 writes: Cellphone companies are objecting to proposed California legislation that would force them to publicly report the number of times they turn over cellphone location information to police and federal agents, arguing that it’s too burdensome, and would take time away from the important work of sharing customer data with cops “day and night.”.

Hey, carriers, there are these things called computers that can automate this process. Maybe you should look into them instead of your knee-jerk reaction to whine.

At issue is California’s SB 1434, a bill that would prohibit carriers from turning over locational data to police without a warrant. That data can include when and where a phone was when it made or received calls; a phone’s whereabouts as it pings cellphone towers or, in the extreme case, a phone’s GPS history.

Submission + - Changemakers: The Revolution Solution (

An anonymous reader writes: Changemakers: The Revolution Solution will take you on a guided world tour of sustainable living solutions. You will meet people like Aurora, Arcie, Simon, Austin and Dr Geiger who are demonstrating global living solutions that range from do it yourself backyard projects to cross-continental collaborations. Join us on this inspirational journey while we explore innovative solutions spanning three continents. Changemakers movie is a crowd-funded project.

Submission + - Scientists Connect Brain Freeze to Migraines (

kodiaktau writes: Scientists have recently concluded a study that ties brain freezes to migraines. During the study researchers monitored blood flow to the brain and noticed that the anterior cerebral artery dilation occurred to bring more blood flow to the brain, maintaining temperature in the temperature sensitive organ. When the blood is trying clear the brain it is restricted causing a pressure imbalance in the brain and thus temporary pain.

Researchers are now looking to see if similar issues occur in migraine sufferers and looking toward pharmaceuticals that might reduce or stop the dilation of the blood vessels to prevent or curb migraines.

Interesting infographic on migraines


Submission + - A brief, inaccurate history of the iPhone Nano (

harrymcc writes: "Rumor has it that Apple is working on an "iPhone Nano" — a low-cost new model. The thing is, the rumor of a budget model — often in a smaller size — is as old as the iPhone itself. Over at TIME, I rounded up a half-decade of reporting on this iPhone that has never come to be, but has never gone away."

Submission + - Asteroid the 'Size of a Minivan' Exploded over California (

astroengine writes: "The source of loud "booms" accompanied by a bright object traveling through the skies of Nevada and California on Sunday morning has been confirmed: it was a meteor. A big one. It is thought to have been a small asteroid that slammed into the atmosphere at a speed of 15 kilometers per second (33,500 mph), turning into a fireball, delivering an energy of 3.8 kilotons of TNT as it broke up over California's Sierra Nevada mountains. Bill Cooke, head of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office, classified it as a "big event." "I am not saying there was a 3.8 kiloton explosion on the ground in California," Cooke told "I am saying that the meteor possessed this amount of energy before it broke apart in the atmosphere. (The map) shows the location of the atmospheric breakup, not impact with the ground." Interestingly, this event was bigger than asteroid 2008 TC3 that exploded over the skies of Sudan in 2008 after being detected before it hit."

Submission + - Hidden Ways Sites, Games Kill Your Phone's Battery (

itwbennett writes: "You know that streaming music over 3G draws a lot of smartphone energy. But inefficient CSS, image file choices, and geo-locating advertisements are hogging your battery in less overt ways, according to recent studies from Stanford and Purdue and Microsoft. Here's your shocking stat for the day: 70% of the energy suck from Angry Birds is related to advertising (the ads themselves, location tracking for the ads, adn connection demands for ads)."


Kittenman writes: India now tops the world in terms of spamming. Sophos advise that about 10% of all SPAM in the world originates from India. The US is in second place, with 8.3% and then South Korea, at 5.7%.

Is this change still more evidence for the US losing the position as a worldwide technology leader?

The Almighty Buck

Journal + - Journal: Russian Stock Market Halted "Indefinitely" 3

It's not the setup for a joke: "In soviet Russia, stock market halts you."Rather more seriously, all trading appears to have been suspended, and after the third delayed time for re-opening, the closure has been announced ominously: "The technical suspension of trading to be extended. The situation has been recognized as an emergency. Further actions will be announced shortly." There is very little news available about this, and it is unkn


Submission + - Iran confirms cyberattacks against oil facilities (

CWmike writes: "Iran's oil ministry confirmed Monday that it was the target of malware attacks over the weekend, adding to reports by state-run media that the country's oil industry was hit by hackers. The Mehr News Agency, which is a semi-official arm of the Iranian government, reported Monday that the country's principal oil terminal on Kharg Island was disconnected from the Internet as part of the response to the attacks. Email systems associated with the targets were also pulled offline. Kharg Island, which is in the Persian Gulf off the western coast of Iran, handles the bulk of the country's oil exports. A spokesman for the Ministry of Petroleum acknowledged the attacks, but said that critical servers at the reported targets — the ministry, Iran's national oil company and Kharg Island — were not affected because they are isolated from the Internet. The ministry spokesman also said that the malware, which he did not identify, resulted in the theft of some user information from websites and some minor damage to data stored on the web servers. According to the ministry, no data was actually lost because backups were available. Later Monday, Mehr reported that the attacks had prompted authorities to create a crisis management committee to counter the threats."

Submission + - Sony projector can record notes scribbled on image (

angry tapir writes: "Sony will sell a projector that displays and saves notes scribbled onto the images it projects. The projector comes with two battery-powered infrared pens, which it uses to track what is being written on the screen. Both pens can be tracked at the same time, and each can also be used as a standard computer mouse during presentations."

Submission + - DriveLAB - An intelligent car for the old (

RogerRoast writes: Dubbed 'DriveLAB', an electric car converted into a mobile laboratory, is kitted out with tracking systems, eye trackers and bio-monitors in an effort to understand the challenges faced by older drivers and to identify where the key stress points are. According to Phil Blythe, Professor of Intelligent Transport Systems at Newcastle University, "... we all have to accept that as we get older our reactions slow down and this often results in people avoiding any potentially challenging driving conditions and losing confidence in their driving skills. The result is that people stop driving before they really need to." The car will have bespoke navigation tools, night vision systems and intelligent speed adaptations.

Submission + - Letting Go Can Boost Quality of Life in Breast Cancer Survivors (

An anonymous reader writes: A new collaborative study published in Psycho-Oncology by Carsten Wrosch of Concordia University’s Department of Psychology and Centre for Research in Human Development and Catherine Sabiston of McGill’s Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education and the Health Behaviour and Emotion Lab found that breast cancer survivors who were able to let go of old goals and set new ones showed an improved well-being overall. Once the self-imposed pressure of now unrealistic goals was removed, individuals’ quality of life improved, as did their level of physical activity

Submission + - Microsoft Xbox 360 found to infringe Motorola patents in preliminary ITC ruling (

suraj.sun writes: A judge at the US International Trade Commission has just ruled that Microsoft's Xbox 360 infringes four of Motorola's patents. The ruling isn't unexpected, since many of the patent cover H.264 video encoding, which is a standard — the ITC wasn't persuaded by Microsoft's argument that Motorola will "kill video on the web" by failing its obligation to license the patents under fair and reasonable terms. In a statement, Microsoft said it "remains confident the Commission will ultimately rule in Microsoft's favor in this case and that Motorola will be held to its promise to make its standard essential patents available on fair and reasonable terms."

The ruling is preliminary and subject to review by a full panel of ITC judges, so there will be little immediate impact, but Motorola's strategy of litigating with standard-related patents seems to be paying early dividends even as it invites international scrutiny.


Submission + - What makes someone "Googly"? (

sackbut writes: Google is one of the world's most innovative companies. Why? Ask Swedish researcher "Annika Steiber at Chalmers University of Technology. She has been seeking answers inside the company's headquarters Googleplex for nearly a year. No other researcher has ever had such access."

Are the characteristics that make Google so successful be transferred easily to any other company or small software startup?


Submission + - Canadian Universities Have One Week To Stop A Disastrous Copyright Licensing Dea (

SolKeshNaranek writes:

Canada's universities are on the verge of accepting a copyright licensing deal that flies in the face of all reason, agreeing to pay higher fees for the clearance of all sorts of new digital rights—including some that don't actually exist—despite a major Supreme Court ruling and a fast-approaching copyright reform bill which both suggest they shouldn't need to make a deal at all. The organization that represents the schools is now attempting to rush through a scheme that harms educators, students and taxpayers by forcing its members to sign on immediately or face retroactive penalties, and unless there's a much-needed last-minute push from the public, this disastrous agreement is a done deal. The outcome has baffled some Canadian lawyers and professors who have followed the story for years.

In 2004, Canada's Supreme Court issued a unanimous judgement in a dispute between legal publishers and a law library that changed the shape of copyright in Canada. The decision in CCH Canada Ltd. vs Law Society Of Upper Canada (pdf link) explored the limits of fair dealing (the Canadian analog of fair use) as it pertains to research, establishing several key principles that are strongly in favor of open access to information. The court stated that the term "research", which is explicitly included as fair dealing under Canadian copyright law, should be broadly interpreted and is not limited to private or non-commercial endeavours—and that if a facility's general purpose qualifies as research, it is protected under fair dealing even if some people might use the facility to infringe. It was a landmark ruling that, of course, provoked the ire of every collection society and copyright industry player in the country.

But for Canadian universities and public schools, it should have been a windfall. For years they had been paying a per-student fee to the collection society Access Copyright (previously CanCopy) for rights clearance on all the routine xeroxing and other copying that is a part of education. After the CCH ruling, most or all of that qualified as fair dealing, and the schools were in a position to negotiate much lower fees or just stop paying them altogether. Instead, the opposite happened—the schools ended up paying more.

To understand how this is possible, you have to know how the process works. The Copyright Board of Canada has the legal authority to impose copyright tariffs. When Access Copyright wants more money, they go to the board and request a ridiculously high tariff—then negotiate a voluntary rate with the schools, somewhere in between the current fee and the requested tariff. If the schools can get a rate that is lower than the requested tariff, they declare victory—even though they could have presented a much better and more effective fair dealing argument to the board, doubly so following the CCH ruling.

The K-12 public schools were the first to fall and be forced to retroactively accept a higher rate, the burden of which ultimately falls on taxpayers and students. Then, in 2010, Access Copyright moved against the universities, filing for a $45 per-student tariff after the old deal ($3.38/student plus ten cents per page for course packs) expired. Not only that, but by the end of the year they had managed to get the Copyright Board to approve an interim tariff to impose on the universities before reaching a final agreement or determination. A bunch of schools opted out, and started trying to clear their own rights without going through Access Copyright. At this point, the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada was in the perfect position to go to the board and assert their fair dealing rights. Not only would they have the backing of the CCH ruling and its generous "research" provisions, they could point to Canada's soon-to-be-passed copyright reform bill, which as currently written will specifically add "education" to the definition of fair dealing.

For some reason, apart from a few minor objections as the board continued to make procedural rulings against them, they haven't fought back very hard, or at least not very effectively—and the process has been dragging on and on. They entered into preliminary negotiations with Access Copyright at the beginning of this year, but then suddenly something completely unexpected happened: at the end of January, the University of Toronto and Western University announced that they had cut their own deal with the collection society at $27.50 per student. Again, they declared victory because it was lower than the proposed $45—a laughable figure that the Copyright Board never would have granted. The capitulation of two major universities took the already-meager wind out of the AUCC's sails, and now they've negotiated an ever-so-slightly better (but still, in the big picture, very bad) rate for universities and colleges across Canada.

In addition to the rates that went up when they should have gone down, there are plenty of other problems with both deals. Howard Knopf, a Canadian copyright lawyer, points out that Access Copyright is charging for ridiculous rights that don't even exist, such as hyperlinking and displaying documents on a screen. University of Toronto law professor Ariel Katz, another outspoken critic of the deal, highlights several onerous provisions that will seriously interfere with the ability of professors to do their job:

Or consider s. 4(c): “Copies of Repertoire Works shall not be stored or indexed with the intention of creating a library of Published Works, except as permitted by this agreement as part of a Course Collection.” I don’t know when was the last time the people who negotiated these license agreements conducted academic research, but I’m happy to break the news that since the photocopier appeared on campus (and perhaps earlier than that) copying works (such as journal articles), and storing them “with the intention of creating a library” has been integral to the researcher’s life. Some of us annotate these copies, occasionally at least, and those who are better organized employ various methods for cataloging and indexing their collections. Believe it or not, some academics keep not only collections of photocopies but also collections of materials in electronic format called “pdf”. Yes, we sometimes do weird things up there in the ivory tower. Moreover–and I hope you’re ready for the shocking news–it has even been brought to my attention that some Canadian researchers use programs like Zotero, RefWorks, EndNotes, among others, in order to index those files for easy search, retrieval, and other seditious purposes. The agreements seem to prohibit that. Is this the best possible outcome? Really?

Or what would you say about the following gems, such as s. 5(a): “Digital Copies of Repertoire Works shall not be transmitted to, posted or uploaded to, or stored on any computer network other than a Secure Network”, and 5(b:) “Digital Copies of Repertoire Works stored on Secure Networks shall be made available and accessible only to Authorized Persons segregated by individual Course of Study”?

These prohibition seem benign enough until your read the definitions. A Secure Network is defined as: “a network that is operated by the Licensee [i.e., the licensed university, not the Authorized Person, AK], or for and subject to the control of the Licensee (such as a network hosted by a third party and/or accessible through a web interface) and which is only accessible by an Authorized Person who is approved by the Licensee by means of a process of authentication which, at the time of login, identifies the user as an Authorized Person, whether by user name and password or by some other equally secure method.”

Knopf believes many schools are going to be completely blindsided by the details of the agreement—but they may not have the time or resources to do anything about it. The AUCC is letting Access Copyright pressure the universities and colleges to agree now with what it brazenly dubs a "limited time offer".

Believe it or not, there’s a "Limited Time Offer of Discounted Pricing on Retroactive Payments" (which Prof. Ariel Katz suggests is “an offer than can’t be refused”), that demands virtually immediate agreement in order to mitigate losses. According to AUCC President Davidson:

Access Copyright has agreed that the best retroactivity discounts available to universities will be available those that indicate in writing to Access before May 1, 2012 that they expects to sign the licence, and then actually sign before June 30, 2102 [sic]. While you need to indicate your intent to sign the licence by May 1, you may still reconsider your options after that date, and you could choose to delay signing (in which case the discount will be lower), or not sign at all. (highlight added)

However, among other things, it’s not at all clear: how this “”Limited Time Offer” will work; and, why it is so limited in time and so urgent?

Nor is it clear what AC means when it says that those who “advise Access Copyright in writing of their intention to sign the Model License by no later than May 1, 2012, and sign by no later than June 30, 2012, pay no retroactive payments.” What does “intention to sign” mean? What happens if the university changes its mind?

May 1st is seriously really soon. It is only a week away. What exactly is the emergency?

The emergency, of course, is that if Canadian universities wake up to what's happening and have time to actually look at this deal, they might realize how bad it is for everyone other than Access Copyright. Nobody is entirely sure just how and why the AUCC, University of Toronto and Western have failed to put up a meaningful fight. Though time is short, critics like Knopf believe there may still be a chance for a hail-mary pass to stop this deal in its tracks. Some may think this is quibbling over a meaningless figure—a few bucks per student—but that misses the big picture. A deal like this represents a massive and completely unjustified transfer of wealth from one class (students, who we we want to support for the good of the entire nation and economy) to another (publishers, who are asserting rights they don't even have). It also adds fuel to the copyright industry's ongoing campaign to minimize and ultimately reverse the effects of the CCH ruling, and to scale back all the good parts of the copyright reform bill—two things that must not be allowed to happen. Canada's copyright laws are far from perfect, but they have been moving in very progressive directions lately, with a strong emphasis on user rights—and Canadian universities should be harnessing that momentum, not working against it.


Submission + - Telcos Oppose Bill To Respect 4th Amendment ( 1

Fluffeh writes: "A story that is breaking on a number of sites is that CTIA (The mobile operators' industry association) is opposing a Californian law being proposed that a court order is required prior to disclosing personal information. The law seems to be in opposition to the federal governments attempts to wash away the last requirements to get at any information about citizens, but CTIA claims (PDF) "... the wireless industry opposes SB 1434 as it could create greater confusion for wireless providers when responding to legitimate law enforcement requests " The Electronic Frontier Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California have been arguing strongly for the bill which is to be voted on shortly."
The Internet

Submission + - Google and the Future of Travel (

An anonymous reader writes: It’s been one year since Google’s $700 million acquisition of ITA Software was approved by the U.S. Department of Justice after an antitrust review. So what does the search giant’s strategy in online travel look like now? Google’s Flight Search and Hotel Finder tools have met with mixed reviews in recent months, but a new bit of analysis argues that the future of travel is not about search, it’s about data. More specifically, Google wants to make available everything from airfares and restaurant reviews to maps and transit schedules, throughout the entire travel process. And it wants to use travelers’ online behavior to serve up better targeted ads and content across all of Google’s sites and services. Sure, online privacy is a major issue, but who cares when all the world’s information is at your fingertips?

Submission + - Iran's Oil Industry Hit By Cyber Attacks (

wiredmikey writes: Iran disconnected computer systems at a number of its oil facilities in response to a cyber attack that hit multiple industry targets during the weekend.

A source at the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) reportedly told Reuters that a virus was detected inside the control systems of Kharg Island oil terminal, which handles the majority of Iran’s crude oil exports. In addition, computer systems at Iran’s Oil Ministry and its national oil company were hit.

Oil Ministry spokesman Ali Reza Nikzad-Rahbar told Mehr News Agency on Monday that the attack had not caused significant damage and the worm had been detected before it could infect systems.

There has been no word on the details of the malware found, but computer systems controlling several of Iran's oil facilities were disconnected from the Internet as a precaution.

Oil Ministry spokesman Ali Reza Nikzad-Rahbar told Mehr News Agency on Monday that the attack had not caused significant damage and the worm had been detected before it could infect systems.

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