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Comment Re:465 Million $ loan?? (Score 1) 248

That depends on your point of view. Ford turned down the loan from the TARP program, which most people are referring to as bailout money.

But Ford did accept a $5.9 billion dollar loan from the Department of Energy and has asked for another $5.1 billion.

Some people argue that the DOE money is not bailout money because it is part of a program to get automakers to build cars that are 25% more fuel efficient. Some people say that this view is bullshit and it is all bailout money.
The Courts

Internet Astroturfer Fined $300,000 245

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo announced yesterday that Lifestyle Lift, a cosmetic surgery company who posted fake reviews of their services on various websites, will have to pay $300,000 to the state of New York. Cuomo's office says this is the first US case to specifically target astroturfing on the internet. "Internal emails discovered by Attorney General Cuomo's investigation show that Lifestyle Lift employees were given specific instructions to engage in this illegal activity. One e-mail to employees said: 'Friday is going to be a slow day — I need you to devote the day to doing more postings on the web as a satisfied client.' Another internal email directed a Lifestyle Lift employee to 'Put your wig and skirt on and tell them about the great experience you had.' In addition to posting on various Internet message board services, Lifestyle Lift also registered and created stand-alone Web sites, such as MyFaceliftStory.com, designed to appear as if they were created by independent and satisfied customers of Lifestyle Lift. The sites offered positive narratives about the Lifestyle Lift experience. Some of these sites purported to offer forums for users to add their own comments about Lifestyle Lift. In reality, however, Lifestyle Lift either provided all the 'user comments' themselves, or closely monitored and edited third-party comments to skew the discussion in favor of Lifestyle Lift."
The Internet

New Service Converts Torrents Into PNG Images 297

jamie points out that a new web service, hid.im, will encode a torrent into a PNG image file, allowing it to be shared easily through forums or image hosting sites. Quoting TorrentFreak: "We have to admit that the usefulness of the service escaped us when we first discovered the project. So, we contacted Michael Nutt, one of the people running the project to find out what it's all about. 'It is an attempt to make torrents more resilient,' Michael told [us]. 'The difference is that you no longer need an indexing site to host your torrent file. Many forums will allow uploading images but not other types of files.' Hiding a torrent file inside an image is easy enough. Just select a torrent file stored on your local hard drive and Hid.im will take care the rest. The only limit to the service is that the size of the torrent file cannot exceed 250KB. ... People on the receiving end can decode the images and get the original .torrent file through a Firefox extension or bookmarklet. The code is entirely open source and Michael Nutt told us that they are hoping for people to contribute to it by creating additional decoders supported by other browsers."
Government

Australia Considering P2P 'Three Strikes' Law 101

caitsith01 writes "ITNews reports that Australia's ever-unpopular Minister for Communications, Senator Stephen Conroy, has foreshadowed new action by the Australian Government to crack down on illegal file sharing under the guise of promoting the digital economy. Options apparently being considered include the controversial and previously reported French three-strikes approach and an approach which sounds suspiciously like New Zealand's even more dubious guilty-upon-accusation approach to filesharing. Needless to say, although the Government is consulting with 'representatives of both copyright owners and the Internet industry in an effort to reach an industry-led consensus on an effective solution,' arguably the most significant group — ordinary Internet users — are not being consulted. Senator Conroy is the man behind the crusade to 'protect' Australians from the horrors of the Internet with a mandatory, government-run blacklist, an effort which recently earned him the title of Internet Villain of the Year for 2009."
GNU is Not Unix

Launch of First International FOSS Law Review 30

Graeme West writes "A group of tech lawyers has announced the release of the inaugural issue of the International Free and Open Source Software Law Review (IFOSS L. Rev.) — a place for high-level discussion of issues and best practice in the implementation of FOSS. You can view the announcement, or skip straight to Volume 1, Issue 1. A downloadable PDF file is also available. The journal is open access, and articles are CC licensed."
Science

Repulsive Force Discovered In Light 176

Aurispector writes in with news that the Yale team that recently discovered an attractive force between two light beams in waveguides has now found a corresponding repulsive force. "'This completes the picture,' [team lead Hong] Tang said. 'We've shown that this is indeed a bipolar light force with both an attractive and repulsive component.' The attractive and repulsive light forces Tang's team discovered are separate from the force created by light's radiation pressure, which pushes against an object as light shines on it. Instead, they push out or pull in sideways from the direction the light travels. Previously, the engineers used the attractive force they discovered to move components on the silicon chip in one direction, such as pulling on a nanoscale switch to open it, but were unable to push it in the opposite direction. Using both forces means they can now have complete control and can manipulate components in both directions. 'We've demonstrated that these are tunable forces we can engineer,' Tang said."
The Courts

Judge May Take "Fair Use" Away From Jury 342

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "In what I can only describe as a shocker, the Judge in SONY BMG Music Entertainment v. Tenenbaum has, on her own, issued an order questioning whether the jury will be allowed to decide the 'fair use' issue at all, or whether the Judge herself should decide it. Judge Nancy Gertner's decision (PDF) notes that the courts have traditionally submitted the fair use defense to the jury, but questions whether that was appropriate, since the courts have referred to it as an 'equitable' — as opposed to a 'legal' — defense. This decision came from out of the blue, as neither party had raised this issue. IMHO the Judge is barking up the wrong tree. For one, all across the legal spectrum in the US, 'equitable' defenses to 'legal' claims are triable to a jury. Secondly, as the Judge herself notes, the courts have traditionally submitted the issue to the jury. It also seems a bit unfair to bring up a totally new issue like that and give the parties only 6 days to do their research and writing on the subject, at a time when they are feverishly preparing for a July 27th trial."
Linux Business

US Postal Service Moves To GNU/Linux 477

twitter writes "The US Postal Service has moved its Cobol package tracking software to HP machines running GNU/Linux. 1,300 servers handle 40 million transactions a day and cost less than the last system, which was based on a Sun Solaris environment." The migration took a year. The USPS isn't spelling how big the savings are, except that they are "significant."
Security

Attacks Against Unpatched Microsoft Bug Multiply 122

CWmike writes "Attacks exploiting the latest Microsoft vulnerability are quickly ramping up in quantity and intensity, several security companies warned today as they rang alarms about the developing threat. Symantec, Sunbelt Software, and SANS' Internet Storm Center bumped up their warnings yesterday after Microsoft announced that attackers were exploiting a bug in an ActiveX control used by IE to display Excel spreadsheets. There is no patch for the vulnerability; Microsoft didn't release one in today's Patch Tuesday. A temporary fix that sets the 'kill bits' of the ActiveX control is available, but experts believe it's likely most users won't take advantage of the protection. Symantec raised its ThreatCon ranking to the second of four steps. "We're seeing it exploited, but currently on a limited scale," said Symantec's Ben Greenbaum. Sunbelt also bumped up its ranking, to high." Firefox users can't be too complacent; Secunia is warning of a 0-day in version 3.5.
Security

German Health Insurance Card CA Loses Secret Key 174

Christiane writes "The SSL Root CA responsible for issuing the German digital health insurance card lost its secret private key during a test enrollment. After their Hardware Security Module (HSM) dutifully deleted its crypto keys during a power outage, it was all 'Oops, why is there no backup?' All issued cards must be replaced: 'Gematik spokesman Daniel Poeschkens poured scorn on the statement that Gematik had insisted on the service provider carrying out a test without backing up the root CA private keys. "We did not decide against a back-up service. The fact of the matter is that the service provider took over the running of the test system, so it also has to warrant its continuous operation. How it fulfills this obligation is its own responsibility."'"
Space

New Map Hints At Venus' Wet, Volcanic Past 118

Matt_dk writes with this excerpt from Space Fellowship: "Venus Express has charted the first map of Venus' southern hemisphere at infrared wavelengths. The new map hints that our neighbouring world may once have been more Earth-like, with a plate tectonics system and an ocean of water. The map comprises over a thousand individual images, recorded between May 2006 and December 2007. Because Venus is covered in clouds, normal cameras cannot see the surface, but Venus Express used a particular infrared wavelength that can see through them."
Censorship

New Zealand Introduces Internet Filtering 215

Thomas Beagle writes "The New Zealand government has been stealthily introducing a centralised internet child-pornography specific filtering system. Voluntary for ISPs but not for their users, ISPs representing over 94% of the market are already intending to join. Read the general FAQ and technical FAQ about the proposed Netclean Whitebox implementation."
Music

Pandora Wants Radio Stations To Pay For Music, Too 253

suraj.sun sends along an Ars writeup of the lobbying Pandora is doing now that it has secured its future, royalties-wise. Some might think it odd that Pandora is weighing in on the side of the record labels in their fight to get radio stations to pay more for the music they broadcast. "US radio stations don't pay performers and producers for the music they play, but the recording industry hopes to change that with a new performance rights bill in Congress. Webcaster Pandora has jumped into the fray on the side of the artists and labels, asking why radio gets a free ride when Pandora does not. ... With revenues from recorded music sales declining, rights-holders have turned their eyes in recent years to commercial US radio, which currently pays songwriters (but not performers or record labels)... With its own future secure for the next few years, Pandora is now turning its attention to the public performance debate here in the US, saying that the issue is a simple matter of fairness: why should webcasters have to pay more for music than traditional radio does? ... [But] the 'fairness' argument could clearly go either way. Radio might start paying a performance right; on the other hand, perhaps webcasters and satellite radio companies should simply stop paying one, relying on the old argument about promotion."
Image

Wells Fargo Bank Sues Itself Screenshot-sm 445

Extreme economic problems require extreme solutions, and Wells Fargo Bank has come up with a good one. They have decided to sue themselves. Wells Fargo holds the first and second mortgages on a condominium that is going into foreclosure. As holder of the first, they are suing all other lien holders, including the holder of the second, which is Wells Fargo. It gets better. The company has hired a lawyer to defend itself against its own lawsuit. The defense lawyer even filed this answer to the complaint, "Defendant admits that it is the owner and holder of a mortgage encumbering the subject real property. All other allegations of the complaint are denied." On the website The Consumer Warning Network, Angie Moreschi wrote: "We've apparently reached the perfect storm for complete and utter idiocy by some banks trying to foreclose on homes."
Operating Systems

Symbian Foundation Takes First Step In Open Sourcing Mobile OS 88

readthemall writes to let us know that the Symbian Foundation has released the first of several packages in their plan to open source the entire Symbian mobile OS. "On Wednesday, Symbian made available its first package covered by the EPL, the OS Security Package, according to Symbian developer Craig Heath. 'The OS Security Package source code is now available under the EPL, and it is the very first package to be officially moved from the closed Symbian Foundation License (SFL) to... the EPL,' Heath wrote in a blog post. Heath said the EPL would allow the security package to bypass export regulations in the UK, where the Symbian code is legally based."

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