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Privacy

Germany Plans To Email Trojans 166

speardane sends us word of a proposal in the German legislature to make it legal for that government to email spyware to terror suspects. The action comes in response to a court denying prosecutors' requests to break into suspects' computers over the Internet. The German chancellor supports the measure despite considerable outcry from political opponents and rights groups.
Security

Another Sony Rootkit? 317

An anonymous reader writes to tell us F-Secure is reporting that the drivers for Sony Microvault USB sticks uses rootkit techniques to hide a directory from the Windows API. "This USB stick with rootkit-like behavior is closely related to the Sony BMG case. First of all, it is another case where rootkit-like cloaking is ill advisedly used in commercial software. Also, the USB sticks we ordered are products of the same company — Sony Corporation. The Sony MicroVault USM-F fingerprint reader software that comes with the USB stick installs a driver that is hiding a directory under "c:\windows\". So, when enumerating files and subdirectories in the Windows directory, the directory and files inside it are not visible through Windows API. If you know the name of the directory, it is e.g. possible to enter the hidden directory using Command Prompt and it is possible to create new hidden files. There are also ways to run files from this directory. Files in this directory are also hidden from some antivirus scanners (as with the Sony BMG DRM case) — depending on the techniques employed by the antivirus software. It is therefore technically possible for malware to use the hidden directory as a hiding place."
Privacy

New York Taxi Drivers To Strike Over GPS 293

Stony Stevenson notes a NYTimes story on labor unrest caused by high-tech privacy concerns. One organization of taxi drivers plans a 48-hour strike, while another opposes any such action. "One taxi group plans to strike from 5 a.m. Sept. 5, through 5 a.m. Sept. 7, in opposition to New York City's requirement that all cabs be equipped with GPS technology beginning Oct. 1... saying GPS infringes on drivers' privacy... The Taxi and Limousine Commission passed a rule stating that all New York City cabs must have touch-screen display panels, credit card readers, and GPS beginning this year. Many taxis already are equipped with the technologies, which allow passengers to get news, route data, and other information. The TLC claims that the technology will not be used to invade drivers' privacy but will provide real-time maps and help passengers recover lost property."
Security

BioShock Installs a Rootkit 529

An anonymous reader writes "Sony (the owner of SecureROM copy protection) is still up to its old tricks. One would think that they would have learned their lesson after the music CD DRM fiasco, which cost them millions. However, they have now started infesting PC gaming with their invasive DRM. Facts have surfaced that show that the recently released PC game BioShock installs a rootkit, which embeds itself into Explorer, as part of its SecureROM copy-protection scheme. Not only that, but just installing the demo infects your system with the rootkit. This begs the question: Since when did demos need copy protection?"
Games

Crytek Considers Leaving Germany Over Game Law 124

Heise is reporting that the largest German game developer and makers of the much-anticipated upcoming title Crysis, Crytek, are considering leaving the country in anticipation of a new restrictive law. "The Conference of Interior Ministers (IMK) of the countries had unanimously decided on a production and distribution ban for violent computer games for the first time in the end of May. The responsible Federal Ministry of Family Affairs is presently working on a less drastic draft of a law for the protection of children and youth. Instead of only the previous 'violence glorifying' games, also the 'violence dominated' games should be indexed by the Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons (BPjM) in the future. These may then no longer be advertised and sold to youths."
Education

Free Tuition for Math, Science, and Engineering? 766

Gibbs-Duhem writes "Montana Democratic Senator Max Baucus wants free college tuition for US math, science, and engineering majors conditional upon working or teaching in the field for at least four years. From the article: 'The goal, he said in an interview last week, is to better prepare children for school and get more of them into college to make the United States more globally competitive, particularly with countries like China and India. "I think the challenge is fierce, and I think we have a real obligation to go the extra mile and redo things a bit differently, so we leave this place in better shape than we found it," Baucus said.' Do you think this would help with the US's lackluster performance in these fields?"
Movies

Paramount to Drop Blu-Ray for HD-DVD 476

JM78 writes to tell us The New York Times is reporting that Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks Animation will be dropping support for Blu-ray Disc and going solely with HD-DVD for their next gen DVDs. "Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of DreamWorks Animation, said consumers seeking to switch to high-definition DVDs will be enticed by the movies available for HD-DVD players. He added the lower price for the Toshiba devices will appeal to the family market. 'It's a game-changer, what they're doing, and it's why we decided to throw in with them,' Katzenberg said."
Education

The Heretical Freeman Dyson 498

dublin writes "Big-thinker Freeman Dyson has written a new essay in which he points out the need for heretics in science, and goes on to gore some sacred cows, including global climate change: 'My first heresy says that all the fuss about global warming is grossly exaggerated ... There is no doubt that parts of the world are getting warmer, but the warming is not global ... When I listen to the public debates about climate change, I am impressed by the enormous gaps in our knowledge, the sparseness of our observations and the superficiality of our theories ... All our fashionable worries and all our prevailing dogmas will probably be obsolete in fifty years. My heresies will probably also be obsolete. It is up to [the people of 2070] to find new heresies to guide our way to a more hopeful future.'"
NASA

Blogger Finds Bug in NASA Global Warming Study? 755

An anonymous reader writes "According to an article at DailyTech, a blogger has discovered a Y2K bug in a NASA climate study by the same writer who accused the Bush administration of trying to censor him on the issue of global warming. The authors have acknowledged the problem and released corrected data. Now the study shows the warmest year on record for the contiguous 48 states as being 1934, not 1998 as previously reported in the media. In fact, the corrected study shows that half of the 10 warmest years on record occurred before World War II." The article's assertion that there's a propaganda machine working on behalf of global warming theorists is outside the bounds of the data, which I think is interesting to note.
Sony

Firm Sues Sony Over Cell Processor 330

An anonymous reader writes that earlier this month, Sony received word of a lawsuit from a Newport Beach company called Parallel Processing. They've filed against the electronics giant alleging that the Cell processor, used in the PlayStation 3, infringes on a patent they own. They've made the somewhat outrageous demand that every infringing chip (and console) be 'impounded and destroyed'. From the article at Next Generation: "The patent, 'Synchronized Parallel Processing with Shared Memory' was issued in October 1991. It describes a high-speed computer that breaks down a program 'into smaller concurrent processes running in different parallel processors' and resynchronizes the program for faster processing times ... Parallel Processing said that Sony's alleged actions have caused 'irreparable harm and monetary damage' to the company."
GNU is Not Unix

Microsoft Seeks Open Source Certification 220

eldavojohn writes "Microsoft is applying for OSI certification for its Shared Source Initiative. The move is described in a blog post by an MS OSS lab worker: 'Today, we reached another milestone with the decision to submit our open licenses to the OSI approval process, which, if the licenses are approved, should give the community additional confidence that the code we're sharing is truly Open Source. I believe that the same voices that have been calling for Microsoft products to better interoperate with open source products would voice their approval should the Open Source Initiative itself open up to more of the IT industry.' According to PC World, reaction from the community has been mostly positive."
GNU is Not Unix

Tech Writers Spreading FUD About GPLv3 411

Tookis writes "Tech writers are spreading FUD about GPLv3 because they fear its take up will slow the adoption of Linux, according to this open source writer. "A large number of tech writers — I wouldn't call them journalists and sully my own profession — are fearful that the license will slow adoption of Linux in the workplace. And that would lead to a lessening of their own importance and influence."" So by posting this, am I spreading fud about spreading fud? I think I broke my brain.
E3

Sony Displays New PSP, Polished Games At E3 236

Sony had a lot to prove coming into this event, and kicked off on a high note. The PlayStation 2 is still selling units, and the PSP's numbers are apparently up as well. They followed that with the news of a new version of the PlayStation Portable. It's slimmer, lighter, has a longer battery life, and the ability to connect directly to your television to display video and games. There was a good deal of discussion about upcoming PSP titles, some of which are connected to a PSP bundle. Pushing out the PS3, they show several PlayStation Store titles, included the fascinating-looking Echochrome . Moving onto the Home service they discussed cellphone and website tie-ins to the Home service, as well as the ability to launch games from directly within the Home environment. Referencing the price cut, they reveal sales have already gone up. NCSoft, Epic, and Ubisoft are all referenced as heavy backers of the PlayStation, with a tantalizing statement suggesting that user-created mods for Unreal Tournament will be coming to the console via the Playstation Network. A lengthy Metal Gear Solid 4 trailer and a statement that the game is only for the PS3 (still to be determined), due early in 2008, cap off the third-party section. First-party titles show all of the highlights of Sony's portfolio with the LittleBigPlanet trailer emphasizing creation rather than play, and their Heavenly Sword highlight showcasing the game's story for the first time. A new sandbox title with a morality component was announced, InFamous, as was a new chapter in the Gran Turismo series. The press conference wrapped with a gripping trailer for Killzone 2, completely running in real-time.
Nintendo

Nintendo - "Everyone is a Gamer" 354

There's nothing that excites gamers like statistics; pie charts and graphs dominated the opening of Nintendo's E3 conference. Fortunately, the event had more than just business to discuss. They unveiled a 'Wii Zapper' housing that allows the Wiimote and Nunchuck to combine into a light gun, which will retail for about twenty bucks. They showed off a number of third party titles to prove the outside-the-company commitment, such as a Soul Calbur and Medal of Honor (which will be playable online) designed specifically for the console. Hardcore gamers were the focus of the early portion of the conference: Smash Brothers Brawl has a launch date of December 3rd in the US. They heavily hyped online play, with several EA titles and a Pokemon-like Dragon Quest title. Mario Kart for Wii will be launching early next year, will be playable online, and will have a Wiimote driving wheel housing packaged with the game. With the hardcore discussed, the attention shifted to mass market games. A new channel, 'Check Mii Out' will allow for a HotorNot-style voting mechanism and contests to make the most realistic celebrity Mii. There was much discussion of the Nintendo approach to expanding audience; Super Mario Galaxy was brought up as bridging that gap, as a second player can 'assist' the primary player in various ways. Galaxy will be launching on November 12th. Targetted more directly at this 'outside the norm' group was WiiFit, which uses a dedicated device called the Wii Balance Board. It allows for a daily exercise routine, can track data over time (and compare it to other family members) and includes some simple minigames like a soccer heading game. The press conference ended with Reggie Fils-Aimee revealing Nintendo's goal to make videogaming one of the pre-eminent forms of entertainment, across all age groups.

Microsoft's E3 Conference Displays Company Confidence 147

The tone from Microsoft tonight was one of celebration and anticipation, as they ran down their successes since the 360 launched and hyped their lineup between now and the end of the year. Peter Moore framed the discussing by recalling the blockbuster holiday season of 2004, which was driven by the Grand Theft Auto, Madden, and Halo franchises. Moore stated that 'the only place to play all three games' this year is the 360. In addition to showing off other heavyweight titles like Mass Effect (which is due in November), the company had a few new announcements: They'll be releasing a version of the movie trivia game Scene-It with a quartet of special controllers, for a standard game price. They've partnered with Walt Disney and its associated companies to bring their family of movies to the Xbox Live service, with many titles already available tonight. CliffyB officially revealed Gears of War for the PC; it'll have additional content as well as co-op gaming via Live for Windows. Resident Evil 5 will be coming to the system (the only game from their conference not releasing this year). The event was capped by a live-action short piece meant to show what a Halo movie might look like, the announcement of a Halo 3 special edition 360 sku set to launch alongside the game, and a new trailer showing a bunch of Halo 3 in-game footage. For further details on the event, click below for other sites' liveblog coverage.

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