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In UK, Two Convicted of Refusing To Decrypt Data 554

ACKyushu clues us to recent news out of the UK, where two people have been successfully prosecuted for refusing to provide authorities with their encryption keys, resulting in landmark convictions that may have carried jail sentences of up to five years. There is uncertainty in that the names of the people convicted were not released; and without those names, the Crown Prosecution Service said it was unable to track down details of the cases. "Failure to comply with a section 49 notice carries a sentence of up to two years jail plus fines. Failure to comply during a national security investigation carries up to five years jail. ... Of the 15 individuals served, 11 did not comply with the notices. Of the 11, seven were charged and two convicted. Sir Christopher [Rose, the government's Chief Surveillance Commissioner] did not report whether prosecutions failed or are pending against the five charged but not convicted in the period covered by his report."

Submission + - Scribd Becomes DRM-Optional E-Bookstore

Miracle Jones writes: "In an effort to compete with Amazon and Google, the document-hosting website Scribd will now be letting writers and publishers sell documents that they upload. They will be offering an 80/20 profit-sharing deal in favor of writers, and will let writers charge whatever they want. Additionally, Scribd will not force any content control (although they will have a piracy database and bounce copyrighted scans) and will let writers choose to encrypt their books with DRM or not. This is big news for people in publishing, who have been seeking an alternative to Amazon for fear that Amazon is amassing too much power too quickly in this brand new marketplace, especially after Amazon's announcement last week that they will now be publishing books in addition to selling them."

Submission + - 50% of Electricity Generated by Wind Scenario (

jeroen8 writes: Would a "50% of electricity generated by wind scenario" work in North America by 2030? In the article A North American Wind Energy Scenario of Neil Howes, who has recently retired from his position as an Associate Professor at the University of Sydney, a rough cut estimate of what might be required to make such a transition in about 20 years time can be found. Most proposals that are being made rely on a very big increase in carbon free energy, both to charge electric vehicles (EV's) and to replace oil and natural gas (NG) presently used for hot water and space heating. In this article, he lays out a path by which 50% of North American energy might come from wind by 2030, including replacement of a large share of oil and natural gas use by electricity.
The Military

Submission + - US Military Inspects Student Laptops for P2P Use (

bfire writes: Recruits at the United States Military Academy in New York have to line up in the corridors outside their rooms in the barracks every Saturday morning for a notebook computer inspection or "IT SAMI" to check for attached shares and illicit or unauthorised content and use, according to a Colonel stationed there. "They're college students and they do what all college students do ... they share music," said Col Adams, who is assistant professor and senior research scientist at West Point's IT operations centre. He said management of the academy that trained US President Dwight Eisenhower and General David Petraeus wants to make sure no honour codes are broken that could lead to a cadet's expulsion from the school and return to the ranks.

Submission + - Dell says Windows 7 pricing may be a 'problem'

ausekilis writes: On Tom's Hardware is a brief article concerning the price for the upcoming Windows 7

The director of product management for Dell's business client product group, Darrel Ward, thinks that the price for the upcoming Windows 7 operating system may potentially be an obstacle for early adopters.

Considering Dell sells Ubuntu-equipped Inspiron 15n for ~$350, and Vista Equipped Inspiron 15 for ~$399, and "If there's one thing that may influence adoption, make things slower or cause customers to pause, it's that generally the ASPs (average selling price) of the operating systems are higher than they were for Vista and XP", it makes you wonder exactly what they hidden "Windows 7 fee" will be on machines later.

Let the flames begin.


Submission + - US to Require New Cars Get 42 mpg 1

Hugh Pickens writes: "New cars and trucks will have to get 30 percent better mileage starting in 2016 under an Obama administration move to curb emissions tied to smog and global warming. While the 30 percent increase would be an average for both cars and light trucks, the percentage increase in cars would be much greater rising from the current 27.5 mpg standard to 42 mpg. Environmentalists praised the move. Carl Pope, executive director of the Sierra Club, called it "one of the most significant efforts undertaken by any president, ever, to end our addiction to oil and seriously slash our global warming emissions." Obama's plan also would effectively end litigation between states and automakers who had opposed state-specific rules, arguing that having to meet several state standards would be much more expensive for them than just one federal rule. The Detroit News reported that automakers were on board with the new rule and had worked with the administration on creating a timeline for the transition. Daniel Weiss, director of climate strategy at the Center for American Progress, described the new rule as "a triple play: It will help move America off foreign oil, save families money and spur American businesses to take the lead in developing the job-creating, clean-energy technologies of the future.""

Submission + - Speeders to now be electronically fingerprinted (

SonicSpike writes: "Motorists stopped for traffic violations in Tennessee could be fingerprinted if state lawmakers approve a bill pending in the legislature. Currently, when drivers are cited during traffic stops, police officers ask for the driver's signature on the ticket, but the proposed bill would allow police departments to eliminate signatures and collect fingerprints. Supporters say collecting fingerprints would save money and help police determine whether the driver is wanted for a criminal offense, but opponents worry that it allows the government to tread on individual privacy rights. "It's scary. I really think that these fingerprints will be used to create a database eventually, if not right away. If you don't think it is, then you're just kidding yourself." quips Rep. Stacey Campfield a local Republican."
Social Networks

Submission + - Israel warns of spy recruitment via Facebook (

Yehuda Berlinger writes: "The Israeli government is warning that terrorism groups are using Facebook and other social networks to recruit citizens for spying and other such nefarious reasons. Worse, if you travel internationally to meet these recruiters, you may be subject to kidnap. In other words, as the later part of the story confirms, one person was approached by one group with an offer of cash for information. The fact that Facebook was involved somehow makes this important to the Israeli government, where the standard rules of caution apply, like: don't go off alone to a foreign country to sell secrets to some anonymous enemy."

Submission + - Big Brother ante portas in Switzerland (

Kokuyo writes: Well, yesterday Helvetians moved their lazy bums and put in their vote on new legislation requiring biometric passports. While the biometric passports were only a question of time (as we would have had to adopt them eventually due to the Schengen agreement), a disturbing part of this law is the creation of a central database for the data held in those passports. This clearly goes beyond the requirements of the Schengen agreement. I, for one, do not welcome our new biometric overlords; I WILL be getting a new passport before the biometric ones are rolled out. This, at least, gives me another ten years (as opposed to the five years the new, more expensive, passports will be valid for). A
The Almighty Buck

Submission + - Ten Dying IT Skills ( 1

Julie188 writes: "If you are looking for a job, here's 10 IT skills that you should not be bragging about on your resume, according to a scan of current job listings done by Global Knowledge. ATM, NetWare, Visual J++, WAP, ColdFusion, RAD/Extreme Programming, Siebel, SNA, HTML and COBOL. While there are no real surprises on this list some of the explanations of why these skills are dead are interesting. For instance, why not brag about HTML skills? "With the proliferation of easy to use WYSIWYG HTML editors enabling non-techies to set up blogs and Web pages, Web site development is no longer a black art. Sure, there's still a need for professional Web developers (see the ColdFusion entry above for a discussion about Java and PHP skills) but a good grasp of HTML isn't the only skill required of a Web developer. Professional developers often have expertise in Java, AJAX, C++ and .Net, among other programming languages. HTML as a skill lost more than 40% of its value between 2001 and 2003, according to Foote Partners.""

Submission + - Are Your "Secret Questions" Too Easily Ans (

wjousts writes: We've all seen the "secret" questions that are used to reset your password on various sites and several high-profile break-ins have resulted from hackers guessing the answers to secret question. This week, research from Microsoft and Carnegie Mellon University, presented at the IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy will show how woefully insecure these functions are.

As reported in Technology Review:

In a study involving 130 people, the researchers found that 28 percent of the people who knew and were trusted by the study's participants could guess the correct answers to the participant's secret questions. Even people not trusted by the participant still had a 17 percent chance of guessing the correct answer to a secret question.

The least-secure questions are simple ones whose answers can be guessed with no existing knowledge of the subject, the researchers say. For example, the answers to the questions "What is your favorite town?" and "What is your favorite sports team?" were relatively easy for participants to guess. All told, 30 percent and 57 percent of the correct answers, respectively, appeared in the top-five list of guesses.


Submission + - What Web Authentication Protocol Should I Support? ( 2

GWBasic writes: "The recent article OpenID Fan Club Is Shrinking implies that OpenID is failing in the marketplace. Are there any alternatives that are gaining support? I'm currently building a web development tool and I'd like to build in support for a distributed authentication system like OpenID. My requirement is that the protocol has to be so simple that a technical person can fully understand how the protocol works by reading a single web page. An additional requirement is that the protocol needs to be simple enough that an average programmer can write a client or server in an afternoon without resorting to an API.

Furthermore; as I believe that part of HTTP's success has to do with the fact that any programmer who can access a socket can make a program web-accessible; I would prefer a protocol that's so simple that a programmer who only has access to a socket can still work with the system.

For example, about a year ago, over the course of a few evenings, I put together a simple distributed authentication system that could be implemented in either PHP or ASP. The total amount of code written in either platform was only slightly more complicated then stereotypical username / password code. Is there an existing standard that is as simple as mine?"

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