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Security

British MoD Stunned By Massive Data Loss 166

Master of Transhuman writes "Seems like nobody can keep their data under wraps these days. On the heels of the World Bank piece about massive penetrations of their servers, the British Ministry of Defense has lost a hard drive with the personal details of 100,000 serving personnel in the British armed forces, and perhaps another 600,000 applicants. This comes on the heels of the MoD losing 658 of its laptops over the past four years and 26 flash drives holding confidential information. Apparently the MoD outsources this stuff to EDS, which is under fire for not being able to confirm that the data was or was not encrypted."
Privacy

UK Government Says More Spying Needed 297

An anonymous reader writes "Our wonderful government here in the UK has decided we're not being surveilled enough, and agreed to spend £12 billion on a programme to monitor every Briton's phone calls, e-mails, and internet usage. According to various sources, upwards of £1 billion has already been spent on the uber-database. Rationale? Terrorism, of course (no prizes for guessing). Needless to say, not everyone is as happy as Larry over this: Michael Parker pointed out how us Brits are being 'stalked.' I'm just looking forward to when the data gets lost."
Programming

Getting Paid To Abandon an Open Source Project? 654

darkeye writes "I'm facing a difficult dilemma and looking for opinions. I've been contributing heavily to an open source project, making considerable changes to code organization and quality, but the work is unfinished at the moment. Now, a company is approaching me to continue my changes. They want to keep the improvements to themselves, which is possible since the project is published under the BSD license. That's fair, as they have all the rights to the work they pay for in full. However, they also want me to sign a non-competition clause, which would bar me from ever working on and publishing results for the original open source project itself, even if done separately, in my free time. How would you approach such a decision? On one side, they'd provide resources to work on an interesting project. On the other, it would make me an outcast in the project's community. Moreover, they would take ownership of not just what they paid for, but also my changes leading up to this moment, and I wouldn't be able to continue on my original codebase in an open source manner if I sign their contract."
The Courts

RIAA Gets Nervous, Brings In Big Gun 423

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "I guess the RIAA is getting nervous about the ability of its 'national law firm' (in charge of bringing 'ex parte' motions, securing default judgments, and beating up grandmothers and children) to handle the oral argument scheduled to be heard on Monday, August 4th in Duluth, in Capitol v. Thomas. So, at the eleventh hour, it has brought in one of its 'Big Guns' from Washington, D.C., a lawyer who argues United States Supreme Court cases like MGM v. Grokster to handle the argument. This is the case where a $222,000 verdict was awarded for downloading 24 songs, but the judge ultimately realized that he had been misled by the RIAA in issuing his jury instructions, and indicated he's probably going to order a new trial. But, not to worry. A group of 10 copyright law professors from 10 different law schools and several other amici curiae (friends of the court) have filed briefs now, so it is highly unlikely the judge will allow himself to be misled again, no matter who the RIAA brings in as cannon fodder on Monday."
The Courts

Who Owns Software? 531

SeeSp0tRun writes to remind us of Blizzard's lawsuit against MDY Industries over the Glider cheat. It seems that Blizzard is pushing it even further. They're trying out the legal theory that a software creator retains complete control over how a program is used, meaning that anyone who uses it in a different way could be found guilty of copyright infringement, at $750 a pop. The EFF and Public Knowledge are among the organizations trying to assure that the court doesn't set a really bad precedent here.
The Courts

Hans Reiser Guilty of First Degree Murder 1395

Anonymous Meoward writes "Today Hans Reiser was found guilty of first degree murder in Oakland, California. Quoting Wired: 'In a murder case with no body, no crime scene, no reliable eyewitness and virtually no physical evidence, the prosecution began the trial last November with a daunting task ahead... The turning point in the trial came when Reiser took the stand in his own defense March 3.' Whether he really did it or not, Hans basically just didn't know when to shut up."
Government

Democrats Propose Commission To Investigate Spying 302

metalman writes "Wired has a story on a proposal by House Democrats to 'establish a national commission — similar to the 9/11 Commission... to find out — and publish — what exactly the nation's spies were up to during their five-year warrantless, domestic surveillance program.' The draft bill would also preserve the requirement of court orders and remove 'retroactive immunity for telecom companies.' (We've discussed various government wiretaps, phone companies, and privacy violations before.) But it seems unlikely that such an alternative on phone immunity would pass both the House and Senate, let alone survive a Presidential veto."
Microsoft

Customer Loses Xbox 360 Artwork During Repair 330

An anonymous reader writes "The Consumerist is reporting that one unlucky individual had to send his Xbox 360 in for repairs. The catch is he had spent a great deal of time getting signatures and artwork on the outside of the console from notable members of the gaming industry. He specifically asked and even sent a letter along with his console requesting that the outside of the case be returned intact. When he got it back it was once again, plain white. Assuming that this is a genuine claim, regardless of the circumstances surrounding the missing/cleaned case Microsoft should at least apologize to the guy."
Google

'Porn King' Says Google Should Block Porn Access 424

mikesd81 writes "The Register has a story saying that one of the world's biggest porn producers wants Google and other search sites to put up barriers between kids and adult entertainment. 'Steven Hirsch, the co-chairman and co-founder of Vivid Entertainment, is to deliver this message on Saturday in New Haven, Connecticut as he addresses an army of Yale University MBA candidates. "Responsible companies in the adult industry such as ours have done a great deal to deter minors from accessing adult material," Hirsch proclaims from inside a Vivid press release. "None of the search engines and portals, but particularly Yahoo and Google, has taken any significant steps in this direction.'"
Networking

LAN Turns 30, May Not See 40? 279

dratcw writes "The first commercial LAN was based on ARCnet technology and was installed some 30 years ago, according to a ComputerWorld article. Bob Metcalfe, one of the co-inventors of Ethernet, recalls the early battles between the different flavors of LAN and says some claims from the Token Ring backers such as IBM were lies. 'I know that sounds nasty, but for 10 years I had to put up with that crap from the IBM Token Ring people — you bet I'm bitter.' Besides dipping into networking nostalgia, the article also quotes an analyst who says the LAN may be nearing its demise and predicts that all machines will be individually connected to one huge WAN at gigabit speeds. Could the LAN actually be nearing the end of its lifecycle?"
Games

When Are Kids Old Enough to Play Videogames? 503

A piece at the MTV Multiplayer blog is exploring the issue of kids and gaming, wondering aloud how old is 'old enough'. A recent CES talk indicated that you should wait until at least seven to introduce your children to Mario, and we've talked in the past about the educational role games can have. MTV's Tracey John spoke to a pair of mothers who offered their own opinions on this topic: "When I asked Alisa why she thought that games weren't imaginative and explained that many games have challenging, puzzle-solving elements, she conceded a little but remained skeptical. 'Honestly, I haven't really explored video games thoroughly, and I'm sure there are video games that fit more the bill of something that I'd be interested in, but I'm kind of hard-pressed to find a game that's like reading a book or something like that. I understand the kids like it, so I allow them to do it; it's monitored but it's not my favorite thing for them to be doing.'" What's the right age for a kid to start playing games? Do you see games as more or less acceptable than traditional kid pastimes like TV or reading? Does it matter if the parents are gaming-savvy?
Microsoft

Bill Gates Calls for a 'Kinder Capitalism' 601

Strudelkugel writes "The Wall Street Journal reports that Microsoft's Chairman Bill Gates is going to call for a revision of capitalism. He will argue that the economics that drive much of the world should use market forces to address the needs of poor countries, which he feels are currently being ignored. 'We have to find a way to make the aspects of capitalism that serve wealthier people serve poorer people as well,' Mr. Gates will say in a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. 'Key to Mr. Gates's plan will be for businesses to dedicate their top people to poor issues — an approach he feels is more powerful than traditional corporate donations and volunteer work. Governments should set policies and disburse funds to create financial incentives for businesses to improve the lives of the poor, he plans to say. Mr. Gates's argument for the potential profitability of serving the poor is certain to raise skepticism, and some people may point out that poverty became a priority for Mr. Gates only after he'd earned billions building up Microsoft. But Mr. Gates is emphatic that he's not calling for a fundamental change in how capitalism works.'"
Communications

Cell Phone Sommeliers on the Way? 159

Japan is reportedly toying with the idea of educating and licensing "sommeliers" to help potential buyers wade through the vast sea of options available for a new cellphone purchase. "Japan's communication ministry is looking to the private sector to manage the potential nightmare exam and certification process, with children's online safety highlighted as an important part of the plan. Mobile sommelier sounds like a pretty sweet title, we can totally feel how an HTC TyTN II might be paired with an earthy unlimited plan followed by the soft nutty finish of a 200-minute a month daytime calling package."
Biotech

Green Light for Human/Animal Hybrids 292

Henneshoe writes "BBC News is reporting that two research facilities have been given the green light to create part human, part animal embryos. According the the report, 'Scientists want to create hybrid embryos by merging human cells with animal eggs in a bid to extract stem cells. The embryos would then be destroyed within 14 days.' The decision to allow the embryos was made after research showed that people in large are OK with the idea."

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