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Submission + - Did VegasPD Fumble DigitalForensics in Shooting? (

An anonymous reader writes: The issue is how the store's digital surveillance video was handled by Las Vegas Metro Police. It was seized immediately after the shooting and viewed by "a few Metro officers," who "decided it was potentially unusable" because of a "glitch." Whatever was on the video, this treatment certainly begs a number of questions...

Submission + - Is Sarah Palin a Computer Criminal?

pickens writes: Marcia Hoffman writes for the EFF that according to a recent article in Vanity Fair, Sarah Palin's distinctive voice on Facebook and Twitter may actually be someone else's and while lots of high-profile people probably don't update their own Facebook pages, Facebook's terms of use prohibit several things that Palin and her ghostwriter may have done: accessing someone else's account, sharing their passwords to let someone else access their accounts, transferring their accounts to someone else (without Facebook's written permission), providing false personal information, and "facilitating" or "encouraging" someone else to violate the terms of use. Violating a website's terms of use is a big deal, according to Facebook. In fact, Facebook says it's a federal crime. In Facebook v. Power Ventures, Facebook sued a service that lets social network users view all their information from various social networking sites on one page. Like the way Sarah Palin's ghostwriter accesses Sarah's account, Power's service uses your password to access your account, with your permission. Facebook claims that this violates its terms of use, and any act that violates its terms of use is a violation of computer intrusion laws such as the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. "Are Sarah Palin and Barack Obama computer criminals? We don't think so," writes Hoffman. "Facebook and other companies need to stop trying to misuse computer crime laws to turn violations of terms of use into crimes."

Submission + - Patent Office Admits Truth: Things Are a Disaster (

An anonymous reader writes: For years the US Patent and Trademark Office has published data to show how well it and the patent system were running. Under new leadership, the USPTO has begun to publish a dashboard of information, including a new look at questions like how long does it really take to get a final answer on whether you will receive a patent or not? The pat answer was, on the average, about 3 years. But with the new figures, it's obvious that the real number, when you don't play games with how you define a patent application, is six years. The backlog of patents is almost 730K. And the Commerce Department under the Obama Administration wants the average down at 20 months. How does this happen? Only if everyone closes their eyes and pretends. It's time to take drastic action, like ending software patents. As it is, by the time companies get a software patent, there's little value to them because, after six years, the industry has already moved on.
It's funny.  Laugh.

Plagiarizing a Takedown Notice 113

ChipMonk writes "Over at hobbyist site OS News, editor-in-chief Thom Holwerda published a highly skeptical opinion of the announcement of Commodore USA's own Amiga line. Within hours, Commodore USA sent a takedown notice to OS News, demanding a retraction of the piece and accusing the site of libel and defamation. What's funny is that the takedown notice was mostly copied, with minor edits, from Chilling Effects, a site dedicated to publicizing attempts at squelching free speech. The formatting, line breaks, obtuse references to 'OCGA,' and even the highlighted search terms were left largely intact."

Submission + - Canonical Begins Tracking Ubuntu Installations (

suraj.sun writes: Canonical Begins Tracking Ubuntu Installations, On a Daily Basis

Just uploaded to the Ubuntu Lucid repository for Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (and we imagine it will appear shortly in Maverick too for Ubuntu 10.10) is a new package called canonical-census, which marks its initial release. Curious about what this package provides, we did some digging and found it's for tracking Ubuntu installations by sending an "I am alive" ping to Canonical on a daily basis.

When the canonical-census package is installed, the program is to be added to the daily Cron jobs to be executed so that each day it will report to Canonical over HTTP the number of times this system previously sent to Canonical (this counter is stored locally and with it running on a daily basis it's thereby indicating how many days the Ubuntu installation has been active), the Ubuntu distributor channel, the product name as acquired by the system's DMI information, and which Ubuntu release is being used. That's all that canonical-census does, at least for now. Previously there haven't been such Ubuntu tracking measures attempted by Canonical.


It's funny.  Laugh.

ESRB Exposes Emails of Gamers Who Filed Privacy Complaints 75

simrook writes, "Many people filed privacy complaints with the ESRB over Blizzard's recent (and afterward recanted) move to require the display of users' real life names on Blizzard's official forums. 961 of those complainants had their email addresses exposed in the ESRB's response." The response itself didn't go into the organization's thoughts on Blizzard's plan, but they explained to the Opposable Thumbs blog that anonymity isn't a huge concern to them, as long as users are given the opportunity to opt out. "The role of the ESRB Privacy Online program is to make sure that member websites—those that display our seal on their pages — are compliant with an increasingly complex series of privacy protection laws and are offering a secure space for users to interact and do business online. ... But online privacy protection doesn't necessarily mean the same thing as anonymity. It's about making sure that websites collecting personal information from users are doing so not only in accordance with federal regulations but also with best practices for protecting individuals' personal information online."

Submission + - X11 Chrome outperforms Windows and Mac? (

An anonymous reader writes: In a curious contrast to conventional wisdom, there are reports of X11 Chromium being faster than Windows or Mac versions. In the thread titled "Why is Linux Chrome so fast", a developer speculates that it is due to the use of X11 capabilities: "On X-windows [sic], the renderer backingstores are managed by the X server, and the transport DIBs are also managed by the X server. So, we avoid a lot of memcpy costs incurred on Windows due to keeping the backingstores in main memory there."

Has the design of X11 withstood the test of time better than people tend to give it credit for?

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