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Businesses

UK Consumers To Pay For Online Piracy 300

Wowsers writes "An article in The Times states that UK consumers will be hit with an estimated £500m ($800m US) bill to tackle online piracy. The record and film industries have managed to convince the government to get consumers to pay for their perceived losses. Meanwhile they have refused to move with the times, and change their business models. Other businesses have adapted and been successful, but the film and record industries refuse to do so. Surely they should not add another stealth tax to all consumers."
Books

Alternative 2009 Copyright Expirations 427

jrincayc writes "It's nearly the end of 2009. If the 1790 copyright maximum term of 28 years was still in effect, everything that had been published by 1981 would be now be in the public domain — like the original Ultima and God Emperor of Dune — and would be available for remixing and mashing up. If the 1909 copyright maximum term of 56 years (if renewed) were still in force, everything published by 1953 would now be in the public domain, freeing The City and the Stars and Forbidden Planet. If the 1976 copyright act term of 75* years (* it's complicated) still applied, everything published by 1934 would now be in the public domain, including Murder on the Orient Express. But thanks to the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, nothing in the US will go free until 2018, when 1923 works expire." Assuming Congress doesn't step in with a Copyright Extension Act of 2017. What are the odds?
Privacy

In the UK, Big Brother Recedes and Advances 176

PeterAitch writes "The UK government's Home Office has put a hold on their surveillance project to track details of everybody's email, mobile phone, text, and Web use after being warned of problems with privacy as well as technical feasibility and high costs." Four hours before the above Guardian story was filed, the BBC reported that the same Home Office insisted that it will push ahead with plans "to compel communication service providers to collect and retain records of communications from a wider range of internet sources, from social networks through to chatrooms and unorthodox methods, such as within online games."
Power

The Risks and Rewards of Warmer Data Centers 170

1sockchuck writes "The risks and rewards of raising the temperature in the data center were debated last week in several new studies based on real-world testing in Silicon Valley facilities. The verdict: companies can indeed save big money on power costs by running warmer. Cisco Systems expects to save $2 million a year by raising the temperature in its San Jose research labs. But nudge the thermostat too high, and the energy savings can evaporate in a flurry of server fan activity. The new studies added some practical guidance on a trend that has become a hot topic as companies focus on rising power bills in the data center."
Media

Disney Close To Unveiling New "DVD Killer" 498

Uncle Rummy writes "The Wall Street Journal reports that Disney is close to releasing a new system that will sell permanent, multi-device access to digital media. The system, dubbed Keychest, is being positioned as an answer to consumer concerns about purchasing digital media that are locked to a small number of devices, and thus as a way to finally shift media sales from an ownership model to an access model. They claim that such a service would reduce the risk of losing access to content as a result of a single vendor going out of business, as purchased content would remain available from other vendors. However, they do not seem to have addressed the question of what happens to customers' access to purchased content if the Keychest service itself is discontinued."
Cellphones

Nokia Fears Carriers May Try To Undermine N900 307

An anonymous reader writes "Nokia is worried that networks may reject selling the N900 because it won't allow them to mess with the operating system. Nokia has previously showed the N900 running a root shell and it appears to use the same interface for IM and phone functions. Meanwhile, Verizon is claiming that 'exclusivity arrangements promote competition and innovation.' Is it too late to explain to people why $99+$60/month is not better than $600+$20/month?"
Privacy

Skype Trojan Can Log VoIP Conversations 151

Slatterz writes "Security giant Symantec claims to have found the public release of source code for a Trojan that targets Skype users. Trojan.Peskyspy is spyware which records a voice call and stores it as an MP3 file for later transmission. An infected machine will use the software that handles audio processing within a computer and save the call data as an MP3. The file is then sent over the internet to a predefined server where the attacker can listen to the recorded conversations."
Social Networks

Facebook App Exposes Abject Insecurity 205

ewhac writes "Back in June, the American Civil Liberties Union published an article describing Facebook's complete lack of meaningful security on your and your friends' information. The article went virtually unnoticed. Now, a developer has written a Facebook 'Quiz' based on the original article that graphically illustrates all the information a Facebook app can get its grubby little hands on by recursively sweeping through your friends list, pulling all their info and posts, and showing it to you. What's more, apps can get at your information even if you never run the app yourself. Facebook apps run with the access privileges of the user running it, so anything your friend can see, the app they're running can see, too. It is unclear whether the developer of the Facebook app did so 'officially' for the ACLU."
Google

Amazon, MS, Google Clouds Flop In Stress Tests 154

Eponymous writes "A seven month study by academics at the University of New South Wales has found that the response times of cloud compute services of Amazon, Google and Microsoft can vary by a factor of twenty depending on the time of day services are accessed. One of the lead researchers behind the stress tests reports that Amazon's EC2, Google's AppLogic and Microsoft's Azure cloud services have limitations in terms of data processing windows, response times and a lack of monitoring and reporting tools."
The Internet

In the UK, a Plan To Criminalize Illegal Downloaders 382

krou writes "It looks like the launch of the UK Pirate Party came not a moment too soon. The Independent reports that Business Secretary Lord Mandelson is going to take a hard-line stance to preserve copyright after intense lobbying by the music and film industry. 'Under the proposed laws, Ofcom, the industry regulator, would be given powers to require Internet service providers to collect information on those who downloaded pirate material. The data would be anonymous, but serious repeat infringers would be tracked down through their computer ID numbers.' Prospective punishments included restricting internet access, either slowing down an offender's broadband or disconnecting them altogether, and fines up to £50,000. The Pirate Party came out against the scheme, calling it a gross invasion of civil liberties, while Tom Watson, the former minister for digital engagement, spoke out against the move, saying that the government should stop trying criminalize downloaders just so as to 'restore 20th-century incumbents to their position of power,' but should instead be 'coming up with interventions that will nurture 21st-century creative talent.'"
Biotech

Scientists Learn To Fabricate DNA Evidence 256

Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times reports that it is possible to fabricate blood and saliva samples containing DNA from a person other than the donor, and even to construct a sample of DNA to match someone's profile without obtaining any tissue from that person — if you have access to their DNA profile in a database. This undermines the credibility of what has been considered the gold standard of proof in criminal cases. 'You can just engineer a crime scene,' said Dan Frumkin, lead author of the paper. 'Any biology undergraduate could perform this.' The scientists fabricated DNA samples in two ways. One requires a real, if tiny, DNA sample, perhaps from a strand of hair or a drinking cup. They amplified the tiny sample into a large quantity of DNA using a standard technique called whole genome amplification. The other technique relies on DNA profiles, stored in law enforcement databases as a series of numbers and letters corresponding to variations at 13 spots in a person's genome. The scientists cloned tiny DNA snippets representing the common variants at each spot, creating a library of such snippets. To prepare a phony DNA sample matching any profile, they just mixed the proper snippets together. Tania Simoncelli, science adviser to the American Civil Liberties Union, says the findings were worrisome. 'DNA is a lot easier to plant at a crime scene than fingerprints,' says Simoncelli. 'We're creating a criminal justice system that is increasingly relying on this technology.'"
Networking

UK Lifeguards Dig Their Own 100Mbps Fiber-Optic Link 128

MJackson writes "The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) in Humber, a large tidal estuary situated on the east coast of Northern England, has just become one of the UK's most remote-rural locations to have a next generation 100Mbps Fibre Optic FTTH broadband link installed. The deployment is being sponsored by FibreStream and amazingly the groundworks were completed by the lifeboat crew literally digging their own fibre. We'd do the same on our road, but the government would probably object."
Google

Google Wave Preview Opens Up On Sept 30th 118

snitch writes with this snippet from InfoQ about the current state of Google Wave: "With the Google Wave Preview scheduled for public availability on September 30th, Wave API Tech Lead Douwe Osinga has posted on the Wave Google Group about what the team has been working on along with some future directions. Up until now, with the limited availability of testing accounts there have been complaints on the Google Group from users that wanted to get their hands on this new technology but didn't have access to the sandbox. As Douwe explains, the team has been busy all this time with stability issues and more."

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