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Patents

Submission + - White House consults public on innovation (whitehouse.gov)

ciaran_o_riordan writes: Ever wanted to tell Obama's policy advisers what you think of software patents? For this week only, the White Houses' policy advisors are taking input on the topic of innovation and the "digital highway". You can draft your responses on End Software Patents' wiki page, and you'll find info and arguments there too that might be useful. Getting a foothold for pushing software patent abolition in the USA is difficult, so let's make the most of this. A good submission has already been posted on Techdirt.
Open Source

Submission + - SourceForge Launches Web Redesign During Outage (sourceforge.net)

thib_gc writes: SourceForge, whose services have been partially crippled for two weeks after an intrusion previously discussed on Slashdot, surprised thousands of developers eagerly awaiting the end of the protracted outage of CVS with an e-mail announcing the immediate launch of a "shiny new look". The announcement boasts that "The use of HTML5/CSS3 has played a huge role in both the visual appearance and enabling performance improvements", in contrast with the exploit disclosure which pledged that "Our immediate priorities are to prevent further exposure and ensure data integrity. We have all hands on deck working on identifying the exploit vector or vectors, eliminating them, and restoring the impacted services." (SourceForge and Slashdot are both part of Geeknet, Inc.)

Submission + - ACS:Law Told File-Sharing Case Must Continue (bbc.co.uk)

An anonymous reader writes: A controversial law firm that sent letters to alleged illegal file sharers has been told it cannot drop its cases to "avoid public scrutiny". "I cannot imagine a system better designed to create disincentives to test the issues in court," said Judge Colin Birss at the Patents County Court in London.

The case stems from a letter-writing campaign by ACS:Law and its partner company MediaCAT, which sent an undisclosed number of notices to alleged file sharers demanding they pay a fine or face the prospect of costly legal action.

Data Storage

Submission + - Wall Street Hedge Fund Smashes Hard Drive Evidence (wsj.com)

An anonymous reader writes: We all know Slashdotters love debating the best way to wipe a hard drive clean. Looks like tech-savvy Wall Street Hedge Fund managers also know the best way to do it. From the WSJ article:

"F—in' pulled the external drives apart," Mr. Longueuil told Mr. Freeman during their meeting, according to the criminal complaint. "Put 'em into four separate little baggies, and then at 2 a.m. 2 a.m. on a Friday night, I put this stuff inside my black North Face jacket, and leave the apartment and I go on like a twenty block walk around the city and try to find a, a garbage truck and threw the s—t in the back of like random garbage trucks, different garbage trucks four different garbage trucks."

Submission + - Net Neutrality Advocate Named Advisor to FTC (motherboard.tv)

HansonMB writes: The fight for net neutrality has been an uphill battle from the start. But with lame-duck representatives like the FCC’s Julius Genachowski sitting back as corporate telecoms buy-out, throttle and further marginalize the principles of an open and equal internet, perhaps the dispirited nature of the struggle is due in part to the absence of a strong leader figure advocating from the inside. That strong leader figure, if ever there was one, is Tim Wu, and he’s just become the newest senior advisor of the Federal Trade Commission.
Advertising

Your Face Will Soon Be In Facebook Ads 344

jfruhlinger writes "If you're planning on checking into Starbucks using Facebook Places, your friends may soon see your profile picture in a Facebook ad for Starbucks — and, it goes without saying, you won't be paid a dime. You can't opt out, unless, as Dan Tynan puts it, "studiously avoid clicking "Like" or checking into any place that has a six- or seven-figure ad budget." The ad will also include whatever text you use in your checkin, so Tynan suggests some judicious pranksterism ("Just checked into the Starbucks around the corner and this doppio mocha latte tastes like goat urine")."
Open Source

LibreOffice 3.3 Released Today 470

mikejuk writes "Only four months after the formation of the Document Foundation by leading members of the OpenOffice.org community, it has launched LibreOffice 3.3, the first stable release of its alternative Open Source personal productivity suite for Windows, Macintosh and Linux. Since the fork was announced at the end of September the number of developers 'hacking' LibreOffice has gone from fewer than twenty to well over one hundred, allowing the Document Foundation to make its first release ahead of schedule The split of a large open source office suite comes at a time when it isn't even clear if there is a long term future for office suites at all. What is more puzzling is what the existence of two camps creating such huge codebases for a fundamental application type says about the whole state of open source development at this time. It clearly isn't the idealistic world it tries to present itself as."
Education

The Rise and Rise of the Cognitive Elite 671

hessian writes "As technology advances, the rewards to cleverness increase. Computers have hugely increased the availability of information, raising the demand for those sharp enough to make sense of it. In 1991 the average wage for a male American worker with a bachelor's degree was 2.5 times that of a high-school drop-out; now the ratio is 3. Cognitive skills are at a premium, and they are unevenly distributed."
Government

Iran Launches Cyber-Police Units 45

Khopesh writes "Iran is implementing a cyber police force to combat social networks and similar sources of 'espionage and riots.' This will likely result in more control over internet access than efforts that might hinder attacks like Stuxnet. 'Ahmadi Moghaddam said that Iran's cyber police will take on the "anti-revolutionary" dissident groups that used online social networks to organize protests against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad following disputed elections held in 2009. "Through these very social networks in our country, anti-revolutionary groups and dissidents found each other and contacted foreign countries and triggered riots," said Ahmadi Moghaddam, referring to the protests that took place at the time.'"
Sci-Fi

BBC To Dispose of Douglas Adams Website 189

An anonymous reader writes "The BBC has announced their intention to dispose of the H2G2 website, originally founded by Douglas Adams. This comes as part of an initiative by the BBC to cut their online spending by 25%. 'BBC Online will be reorganised into five portfolios of "products." All parts of BBC Online have to fit with these. Over the past year all areas of the site have been reviewed to see where, and if, they fit. Sadly ... H2G2 does not fit in the new shape of BBC Online. However, H2G2 is unusual. It is a pre-existing community that the BBC brought into its fold, not a community that the BBC set up from scratch. So rather than closing it, we've decided to explore another option. This process has been referred to elsewhere as the "disposal" of H2G2. I'll admit this is not a great choice of words, but what is means is that we'll be looking for proposals from others to take on the running of H2G2.' One option under discussion is a community buyout."
Security

Ex-NSA Analyst To Be Global Security Head At Apple 145

AHuxley writes "Cnet.com reports that Apple has tapped security expert and author David Rice to be its director of global security. Rice is a 1994 graduate of the US Naval Academy and has a master's degree in Information Warfare and Systems Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School. He served as a Global Network Vulnerability analyst (Forbes used cryptographer) for the National Security Agency and as a Special Duty Cryptologic officer for the Navy. He is executive director of the Monterey Group, a cybersecurity consulting firm. He's also on the faculty of IANS, an information security research company and works with the US Cyber Consequences Unit. In a 2008 interview with Forbes, 'A Tax On Buggy Software,' Rice talks of a 'tax on software based on the number and severity of its security bugs. Even if that means passing those costs to consumers. ... Back in the '70s, the US had a huge problem with sulfur dioxide emissions. Now we tax those emissions, and coal power plants have responded by using better filters. Software vulnerabilities, like pollution, are inevitable — producing perfect software is impossible. So instead of saying all software must be secure, we tax insecurity and allow the market to determine the price it's willing to pay for vulnerability in software. Those who are the worst "emitters" of vulnerabilities end up paying the most, and it creates an economic incentive to manufacture more secure software.'"
Mozilla

Mozilla Proposes 'Do Not Track' HTTP Header 244

MozTrack writes "The emergence of data mining by third party advertisers has caused a national debate from privacy experts, lawmakers and browser supporters. Mozilla's Firefox, a popular browser company, has proposed a new feature that will prevent people's personal information from getting mined and sold for advertising. The feature would allow users to set a browser preference that will broadcast their desire to opt-out of third party, advertising-based tracking. It would do this via a 'Do Not Track' HTTP header with every click or page view in Firefox."
Google

Google Didn't Ship Relicensed Java Code After All 223

RedK writes "In a follow up to yesterday's news about Google apparently relicensing confidential Oracle code found in Java under the ASL, it seems that the blogger who initially reported the issue was plain wrong, as the files he indicated were in breach of Oracle's copyright do not actually ship with Android. Google has also deleted many of these files, which were mostly used as unit tests."
Censorship

Comics Code Dead 316

tverbeek writes "After more than half a century of stifling the comic book industry, the Comics Code Authority is effectively dead. Created in response to Fredric Wertham's Seduction of the Innocent, one of the early think-of-the-children censorship campaigns, and Congressional hearings, the Code laid out a checklist of requirements and restrictions for comics to be distributed to newsstand vendors, effectively ensuring that in North America, only simplistic stories for children would be told using the medium of sequential art. It gradually lost many of its teeth, and an increasing number of publishers gave up on newsstand distribution and ignored the Code, but at the turn of the century the US's largest comics publishers still participated. Marvel quit it in 2001, in favor of self-applied ratings styled after the MPAA's and ESRB's. Last year Bongo (publishers of the Simpsons comics) quietly dropped out. Now DC and Archie, the last publishers willingly subjecting their books to approval, have announced that they're discontinuing their use of the CCA, with DC following Marvel's example, and Archie (which recently introduced an openly gay supporting character, something flatly forbidden by the original Code) carrying on under their own standards. The Code's cousins — the MPAA and ESRB ratings, the RIAA parental advisory, and the mishmash of warnings on TV shows — still live on, but at least North American comic publishers are no longer subject to external censorship."

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