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Privacy

Councils Recruit Unpaid Volunteers To Spy On Their Neighbors 521

Several readers have written to tell us that a recent move in the UK has councils relying on info from "Citizen Snoopers" to report the transgressions of their neighbors. Currently only implemented as "environment volunteers" designed to keep watch on things like litter, dog habits, and improper trash sorting, there is a certain amount of trepidation that this could grow into something more sinister. "It will fuel fears that Britain is lurching towards a Big Brother society, following the revelation this week that the Home Office is extending some police powers to council staff and private security guards. Critics said the latest scheme could easily be abused and encourage a culture of bin spies and curtain twitchers. Matthew Elliott, of the Taxpayers' Alliance, said: 'Snooping on your neighbors to report recycling infringements sounds like something straight out of the East German Stasi's copybook.'"
Security

Web Fraud 2.0 — Point-and-Click Cracking Tools 92

An anonymous reader writes "The Washington Post's Security Fix blog is running a fascinating series that peers inside some of the Web-based services cyber crooks are using to ply their trade: from masking their identity, to defeating CAPTCHAs, to creating counterfeit documents and validating stolen credit and debit cards. Everyone familiar with this space hears about these kinds of tools and services all the time in the abstract, but the Post blog includes screen shots and background details on the popularity of the services and how each one is helping to bring cyber crime that much closer to the realm of even the most newbie scam artists." Many of these tools require a working knowledge of Russian. Wouldn't surprise me to learn that Chinese-language tools exist too.
First Person Shooters (Games)

The Duke Is Finally Back, For Real 309

After the first announcement on 1997-04-27 and over eleven years of fresh start after fresh start, Duke Nukem Forever finally comes to your system. At least if your system is an Xbox 360. Jon Siegler, the webmaster of 3D Realms, confirms this on their site: "As has been reported around the net today, we can confirm that the game has indeed passed final certification with Microsoft on Friday the 15th of August (on our first try, no less). That means the game is done — it is now in the hands of Microsoft." Update: 08/19 10:47 GMT by T : Several readers have written with a correction: this announcement is actually about Duke Nukem 3D, rather than Duke Nukem Forever.
Programming

How To Encourage a Young Teen To Learn Programming? 1095

Anonymous Hacker writes "I'm in a bit of a bind. My young teenage son is starting to get curious about computers, and in particular, programming. Now, I'm a long time kernel hacker (Linux, BSD and UNIX). I have no trouble handling some of the more obscure things in the kernel. But teaching is not something that I'm good at, by any means. Heck, I can't even write useful documentation for non-techies. So my question is: what's the best way to encourage his curiosity and enable him to learn? Now, I know there are folks out there with far better experience in this area than myself. I'd really appreciate any wisdom you can offer. I'd also be especially interested in what younger people think, in particular those who are currently in college or high school. I've shown my son some of the basics of the shell, the filesystem, and even how to do a 'Hello World' program in C. Yet, I have to wonder if this is the really the right approach. This was great when I was first learning things. And it still is for kernel hacking, and other things. But I'm concerned whether this will bore him, now that there's so much more available and much of this world is oriented towards point-n-click. What's the best way to for a young teen to get started in exploring this wonderful world of computers and learning how to program? In a *NIX environment, preferably." Whether or not you have suggestions for generating interest or teaching methods, there was probably something that first piqued your curiosity. It seems like a lot of people get into programming by just wondering how something works or what they can make it do. So, what caught your eye?

Apple Laptop Upgrades Costing 200% More Than Dells 935

An anonymous reader writes "C|net is highlighting the astonishing cost of Apple laptop hardware upgrades, compared to Dell — in some instances, Apple is charging 200% more for upgraded components, such as memory and hard disks. Either there's a serious difference in the quality of components being used, or Apple is quite literally ripping off those who aren't able to upgrade hardware themselves."
Media

Music Industry Tells Advertisers to Boycott "Pirate" Baidu 206

An anonymous reader points to a story at PC Authority, which begins: "Music industry representatives have warned advertisers to stop supporting Baidu, China's largest search engine, because they believe it is encouraging music piracy. Baidu is the largest source of pirated music in China, according to the representatives, who describe the company as 'incorrigible.' The Chinese firm's music search engine is accessed through what is described as a prominent link on the company's home page."
Media

Motley Crue Single Does Better On Rock Band 127

Erik J writes "Remember about six weeks ago when Motley Crue and Rock Band partnered to release a new single premiering first in the game before anywhere else? Come to find out their song 'Saints of Los Angeles' was downloaded over 47,000 times on the Xbox version alone, beating out digital services iTunes and Amazon, which were tapped only 10,000 times for the single."
PC Games (Games)

London Lawyers Demand £600 For One Game 404

Barence writes "A PC Pro reader has received a demand for a £600 out-of-court settlement from lawyers claiming to have forensic evidence that he illegally downloaded a PC game on BitTorrent. The law firm, Davenport Lyons, is acting on the behalf of German games distributor Zuxxez, creator of the game in question, Two Worlds. The PC Pro reader was given no prior warning to stop file sharing, unlike the usual 'three strikes and you're out' approach adopted by the music industry. The reader says, 'To add insult to injury it [Davenport Lyons] didn't pay enough postage on the letter and I had to collect it from the sorting office at a cost of £1.30. This also used up most of the two weeks that it allowed for a response.'"
Music

Sony to Buy Gracenote 146

Ian Lamont writes "Sony is buying Gracenote for $260 million. Sony will use Gracenote's online music database in its own digital content and devices, but Gracenote will operate separately and keep its own management. It's an interesting move, because many other entertainment companies and services depend on the Gracenote database, including iTunes, Yahoo, Winamp, and even the onboard stereo system used in some new Cadillacs. Gracenote has been criticized for turning the once-open CDDB project into a 'quagmire of heavy contracts, licensing fees, forced user registration and anti-competition clauses.'"

Spreading "1 in 5" Number Does More Harm Than Good 382

Regular Slashdot contributor Bennett Haselton has some opinions on child safety online and the use of fear mongering. Here are his thoughts. "The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has been running online ads for several years saying that "Each year 1 in 5 children is sexually solicited online", a statistic that has been endlessly repeated, including by vendors of blocking software and by politicians who often paraphrase it to say that 1 in 5 children "are approached by online predators". While others have quietly documented the problems with this statistic, lawmakers still bring it out every year in a push for more online regulation (preempted this year only by the topic du jour of cyberbullying), so it's time for anti-censorship organizations to start campaigning more aggressively against the misleading "1 in 5" number. That means two things: framing the debate with more accurate numbers, and holding the parties accountable for disseminating the wrong ones -- and that means naming names, including those of organizations like the NCMEC that are normally beyond reproach." Read below for the rest.
The Military

US Claims Satellite Shoot-Down Success 616

Readers of Slashdot last valentines day will remember discussing US Plans to Shoot down a damaged spy satellite. An anonymous reader noted that the US is reporting success last night, thus saving us from hydrazine exposure. Of course this makes me wonder- if it's this easy, wouldn't an international super power war pretty much immediately mean the downing of every satellite in orbit?
Cellphones

Analog Cell Phone Network Shuts Down Monday 205

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "AT&T and Verizon will be shutting down their old, analog AMPS networks next Monday, and AT&T will also turn off its old TDMA network, with smaller providers expected to follow thanks to a sunset date set by the FCC. After these old networks are shut down, the networks will be all digital. Of course, if you have one of those old fashioned 'just a phone' cellphones and it happens to be analog, you'd best enjoy the last few days before it becomes useless."

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