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Security

E-Voting Undermines Public Confidence In Elections 155

Jeremiah Cornelius writes "Techdirt columnist, Timothy Lee, hit the metaphoric nail on the head, claiming that e-Voting undermines the public perception of election fairness - even when there is no evidence of wrongdoing. 'In a well-designed voting system, voters shouldn't have to take anyone's actions on faith. The entire process should be simple and transparent, so that anyone can observe it and verify that it was carried out correctly. The complexity and opacity of e-voting machines makes effective public scrutiny impossible, and so it's a bad idea even in the absence of specific evidence of wrongdoing.' Add to this the possibility technical faults, conflicts of interest and evidence of tampering, how long before the US vote is viewed as an electronic pantomime?"
The Courts

RIAA Wants $1.5 Million Per CD Copied 408

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "Not content with current statutory damages, the RIAA is pushing for higher damages for infringement, damages that would total $1.5 million for copying a CD with ten songs. It's all part of debate over the proposed PRO-IP Act. William Patry, a lawyer who wrote the seminal seven-volume reference on US copyright law, called it the most 'outrageously gluttonous IP bill ever introduced in the US.'"
Television

Long Term Effects of Gizmodo CES Prank 426

theodp noted that someone from Gizmodo brought a TV-B-Gone to CES and used it to turn off a wall of monitors during demos. Funny yes, it earned him a ban for life and may have repercussions to other bloggers struggling to be treated as equals with traditional journalists in the future. But also this might lead to a future with encryption on remotes.
It's funny.  Laugh.

XKCD Inadvertently Causes Googlebomb 221

MrCopilot writes "As I noted yesterday (and was joined by many others)... in an offhand observation xkcd has singlehandedly changed a small section of the Internet. Changing the results from a Google search for "Died in a Blogging Accident" from 2 to (at this writing) over 7,170 in a little more than 24 hours." If you aren't reading xkcd, you're missing out.
The Courts

Submission + - Major Cybersquatter Sidelined by Dell Lawsuit

An anonymous reader writes: The world's largest cybersquatting organization has been temporarily put out of business following an unusual legal maneuver by PC maker Dell, The Washington Post reports. Dell sued three registrars apparently set up to do nothing else but domain tasting and typosquatting — BelgiumDomains, CapitolDomains, and DomainDoorman — as well as what Dell claims are nearly a dozen Caribbean shell companies that allegedly served as the entities registering the domains. In addition to the cybersquatting claims, Dell has filed counterfeiting charges against the registrars, a claim that caused a federal judge to bar the company from domain tasting and to seal the case until federal marshals had a chance to seize hard drives and other evidence from the defendants. The counterfeiting claim also allows for ten times the statutory damages offered by anti-cybersquatting laws, up to $1 million per infringing domain.
Cellphones

Submission + - Google Maps GPS simulator now out (appleinsider.com) 1

garbletext writes: A new version of Google Maps introduced this week includes a beta feature dubbed My Location that was designed to simulate the GPS experience on mobile phones and handheld devices that do not include GPS hardware, like Apple's iPhone. Essentially, the My Location feature takes information broadcast from mobile towers near non-GPS equipped mobile phones to approximate the device's current location on the map down to about 10 city blocks. "It's not GPS, but it comes pretty close (approximately 1000m close, on average)," the Mountain View, Calif.-based search giant explained on its website. "We're still in beta, but we're excited to launch this feature and are constantly working to improve our coverage and accuracy." The My Location feature is currently available for most web-enabled mobile phones, including Java, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, and Nokia/Symbian devices.
PlayStation (Games)

Submission + - Activision wants PS3 for $199 (zdnet.com)

CaligarisDesk writes: Activision CEO believes that the price for the mass appeal of the PS3 should be $199.

"The Wii at its price point is now setting a standard and an expectation, and people say, well, the Wii is less complex technically. I don't think that really matters as much to the consumer," Kotick told the Reuters Media Summit in New York on Tuesday.

Google

Submission + - Google Launches "My Location" in Mobile Ma (google.com)

wbates writes: Google today announced the release of version 2.0 of Google Maps for mobile, its innovative and widely used mobile mapping and local search application. New in v2.0 is a beta version of Google's "My Location" technology, which uses cell tower ID information to provide users with their approximate location, helping them determine where they are, what's around them, and how to get there.
Censorship

Submission + - BBFC says violence not caused by video games (gamesindustry.biz)

Trintech writes: In the ongoing case against Rockstar Games' Manhunt 2 in the UK, the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has admitted that there's nothing to suggest that video games should be linked to anti-social and violent behavior.

"The board's position is that there is insufficient evidence to prove, as a fact, there is a causal connection between violent games and behavioural harm," says Andrew Calderott, Director of the BBFC.

The Courts

Submission + - FBI Doesn't Tell Courts About Bogus Evidence

dprovine writes: According to a joint investigation by series of articles in The Washington Post and 60 Minutes, a forensic test used by the FBI for decades is known to be invalid. The National Academy of Science issued a report in 2004 that FBI investigators had given "problematic" testimony to juries. The FBI later stopped using "bullet lead analysis", but sent a letter to law enforcement officials saying that they still fully supported the science behind it. Hundreds of criminal defendants — some already convicted in part on the testimony of FBI experts — were not informed about the problems with the evidence used against them in court. Does anyone at the Justice Department even care about what effect this will have on how the public in general (and juries in particular) regards the trustworthiness of FBI testimony?
Security

Submission + - New MSN Messenger Trojan Spreading Quickly (eweek.com)

eweekhickins writes: "A Trojan is introducing malware into thousands of computer systems worldwide, and the number is growing by the hour. The malware is being introduced by MSN Messenger files posing as pictures, mostly seeming to come from known acquaintences. In a new twist, it is also sniffing around for virtual PCs in an attempt to exponentially increase its attack vector."
Moon

Submission + - Vote to Eliminate Leap Seconds 6

Mortimer.CA writes: As mentionted on Slahdot previously, there is a proposal to remove leap seconds from UTC (nee 'Greenwich' time). It wil be put to a vote to ITU member states, and if 70% agree, the leap second will be eliminated by 2013. There is some debate as to whether this change is a good or bad idea. One philosophical point opponents make is that the 'official' time on Earth should match the time of the sun and heavens. People with appliances that blink '12:00' can probably ignore this issue.
Businesses

Submission + - China Recycles Environmental Nightmares (yahoo.com)

hackingbear writes: "We all know that every piece of used electronic, when un-recycled, become an environmental nightmare. The recycling of it simply recycles the nightmare as well.

Environmentalists and the media have highlighted the danger to Chinese workers who dismantle much of the world's junked electronics. Yet a visit to this southeastern Chinese town regarded as the heartland of "e-waste" disposal shows little has improved. In fact, the problem is growing worse because of China's own contribution.

This ugly business is driven by pure economics. For the West, where safety rules drive up the cost of disposal, it's as much as 10 times cheaper to export the waste to developing countries. In China, poor migrants from the countryside willingly endure the health risks to earn a few yuan, exploited by profit-hungry entrepreneurs... They estimate about 70 percent of the 20-50 million tons of electronic waste produced globally each year is dumped in China, with most of the rest going to India and poor African nations.
The cause is, of course, money incentive.

Imports slip into China despite a Chinese ban and Beijing's ratification of the Basel Convention, an international agreement that outlaws the trade. One U.S. exporter told him all that was needed to get shipments past Chinese customs officials was a crisp $100 bill taped to the inside of each container. "The central government is well aware of the problems but has been unable or unwilling to really address it," said Smith.

The results are visible on the streets of Guiyu, where the e-waste industry employs an estimated 150,000 people... Many of those who do the dirty work are migrants from poorer parts of China, too desperate or uninformed to care about the health risks.

Efforts to recycle e-waste safely in China have struggled. Few people bring in waste, because the illegal operators pay more. "We're not even breaking even," said Gao Jian, marketing director of New World Solid Waste in the northeastern city of Qingdao. "These guys pay more because they don't need expensive equipment, but their methods are really dangerous."
And what Europeans and Americans have done?

The European Union bans such exports, but Smith and others say smuggling is rife, largely due to the lack of measures to punish rule breakers. And though U.S. states increasingly require that electronics be sent to collection and recycling centers, even from those centers, American firms can send the e-waste abroad legally because Congress hasn't ratified the Basel Convention.
Very soon the electronic industry would surpass the petroleum/coal producers and auto makers to become the most polluting industry."

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