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Democrats

Obama Nominates RIAA Lawyer For Solicitor General 463

Xiph1980 writes "President Barack Obama on Monday nominated former Recording Industry Association of America lawyer Donald Verrilli Jr. to serve as the nation's solicitor general. The solicitor general is charged with defending the government before the Supreme Court, and files friend-of-the court briefs in cases in which the government believes there is a significant legal issue. The office also determines which cases it would bring to the Supreme Court for review. Verrilli is best known for leading the recording industry's legal charge against music- and movie-sharing site Grokster. That 2003 case ultimately led to Grokster's demise when the US Supreme Court sided with the RIAA's verdict."
The Internet

Two-Thirds of US Internet Users Lack Fast Broadband 402

jbrodkin writes "Two-thirds of US Internet connections are slower than 5 Mbps, putting the United States well behind speed leaders like South Korea, where penetration of so-called 'high broadband connectivity' is double the rate experienced in the United States. The United States places ninth in the world in access to high broadband connectivity, at 34% of users, including 27% of connections reaching 5 Mbps to 10 Mbps and 7% reaching above 10 Mbps, Akamai says in its latest State of the Internet Report. That's an improvement since a year ago, when the United States was in 12th place with only 24% of users accessing fast connections. But the United States is still dwarfed by South Korea, where 72% of Internet connections are greater than 5 Mbps, and Japan, which is at 60%. The numbers illustrate the gap between expectation and reality for US broadband users, which has fueled the creation of a government initiative to improve access. The US government broadband initiative says 100 million Americans lack any broadband access, and that faster Internet access is needed in the medical industry, schools, energy grid and public safety networks."
Government

Iran Launches Cyber-Police Units 45

Khopesh writes "Iran is implementing a cyber police force to combat social networks and similar sources of 'espionage and riots.' This will likely result in more control over internet access than efforts that might hinder attacks like Stuxnet. 'Ahmadi Moghaddam said that Iran's cyber police will take on the "anti-revolutionary" dissident groups that used online social networks to organize protests against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad following disputed elections held in 2009. "Through these very social networks in our country, anti-revolutionary groups and dissidents found each other and contacted foreign countries and triggered riots," said Ahmadi Moghaddam, referring to the protests that took place at the time.'"
Security

Ex-NSA Analyst To Be Global Security Head At Apple 145

AHuxley writes "Cnet.com reports that Apple has tapped security expert and author David Rice to be its director of global security. Rice is a 1994 graduate of the US Naval Academy and has a master's degree in Information Warfare and Systems Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School. He served as a Global Network Vulnerability analyst (Forbes used cryptographer) for the National Security Agency and as a Special Duty Cryptologic officer for the Navy. He is executive director of the Monterey Group, a cybersecurity consulting firm. He's also on the faculty of IANS, an information security research company and works with the US Cyber Consequences Unit. In a 2008 interview with Forbes, 'A Tax On Buggy Software,' Rice talks of a 'tax on software based on the number and severity of its security bugs. Even if that means passing those costs to consumers. ... Back in the '70s, the US had a huge problem with sulfur dioxide emissions. Now we tax those emissions, and coal power plants have responded by using better filters. Software vulnerabilities, like pollution, are inevitable — producing perfect software is impossible. So instead of saying all software must be secure, we tax insecurity and allow the market to determine the price it's willing to pay for vulnerability in software. Those who are the worst "emitters" of vulnerabilities end up paying the most, and it creates an economic incentive to manufacture more secure software.'"
Privacy

Domestic Use of Aerial Drones By Law Enforcement 299

PatPending writes "Aerial drones are now used by the Texas Department of Public Safety; the Mesa County Sheriff's Office, Colorado; the Miami-Dade County, Florida, Police Department; and the Department of Homeland Security. But what about privacy concerns? 'Drones raise the prospect of much more pervasive surveillance,' said Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst with the American Civil Liberties Union's Speech, Privacy and Technology Project. 'We are not against them, absolutely. They can be a valuable tool in certain kinds of operations. But what we don't want to see is their pervasive use to watch over the American people.'"
Government

UK Authorities Accused of Inciting Illegal Protest 371

jarran writes "Questions are being asked about the tactics being employed by UK authorities to monitor and control protest groups. Schnews reports on evidence that government IP addresses are posting messages to sites like indymedia, attempting to provoke activists into taking illegal direct action. Evidence has emerged recently that the police consider sex to be a legitimate tool for extracting information from targets, and senior police have been accused of lying to parliament about the deployment of undercover agents at protests."
Businesses

The Fall of Traditional Entertainment Conglomerates 204

Advocatus Diaboli writes "We no longer live in the era of 'plantation-type' movie studios or recording houses. However large private companies still have considerable power over content production, distribution and promotion. Technology has been slowly changing this state of affairs for almost 30-40 years, however certain new technological advances, enabling systems and cost considerations will change the entertainment industry as we know it within 5 years."
Google

Why Eric Schmidt Left As CEO of Google? 378

Edsj writes "According to The New Yorker: 'Schmidt, according to associates, lost some energy and focus after losing the China decision. At the same time, Google was becoming defensive. All of their social-network efforts had faltered. Facebook had replaced them as the hot tech company, the place vital engineers wanted to work. Complaints about Google bureaucracy intensified. Governments around the world were lobbing grenades at Google over privacy, copyright, and size issues. The “don’t be evil” brand was getting tarnished, and the founders were restive. Schmidt started to think of departing. Nudged by a board-member friend and an outside adviser that he had to re-energize himself, he decided after Labor Day that he could reboot. He couldn't.'"
Australia

Laser Incidents With Aircraft On the Rise 546

EqualSlash writes "High-power laser pointers available for cheap are increasingly finding abuse as the ultimate long-distance weapons of pranksters and vandals. The Federal Aviation Administration says laser events aimed on planes have nearly doubled in the last year, leaping from 1,527 in 2009 to 2,836 in 2010. The highest number of incidents was reported at Los Angeles International Airport, which recorded 102 in 2010. Lasers pointed at cockpits can temporarily blind pilots, forcing them to give up control of an aircraft to their co-pilot or abort a take-off/landing. In March of 2008, unidentified individuals wielding four green laser pointers launched a coordinated attack on six incoming planes at Sydney Airport, which resulted in a ban on all laser pointers in the state of New South Wales."
Networking

Is Retaliation the Answer To Cyber Attacks? 142

coondoggie writes "Should revenge assaults be just another security tool large IT shops use to counter cyber attacks? It's a controversial idea, and the law generally frowns on cyber attacks in general, but at the Black Hat DC conference last week, some speakers took up the issue of whether and how organizations should counterattack against adversaries clearly using attack tools to break into and subvert corporate data security."
Security

PC Virus Turns 25 86

Batblue writes "Happy anniversary Basit and Amjad! Twenty-five years ago this month (CT: Warning, intrusive interstitial ad), the Alvi brothers of Lahore, Pakistan, gave the world the Brain Virus, the first bit of malware capable of infecting a DOS-based PC. Back in those relatively innocent times, the brothers actually embedded their real names and business address in the code and later told Time magazine they had written the virus to protect their medical software from piracy. Who knows what they were really thinking, but by all accounts the Brain Virus was relatively harmless. Twenty-five years later, most malware is anything but benign and cyber criminals pull off exploits the Alvi brothers never envisioned."
Security

Criminal Charges Filed Against AT&T iPad Attacker 122

Batblue writes "The US Department of Justice will file criminal charges against the alleged attackers who copied personal information from the AT&T network of approximately 120,000 iPad users, the US Attorney's Office, District of New Jersey announced Monday. Daniel Spitler will be charged in US District Court in New Jersey with one count of conspiracy to access a computer without authorization and one count of fraud. Andrew Auernheimer will be charged with the same counts at the US Western District Court of Arkansas, which is in Fayetteville. Auernheimer made headlines last June when he discovered that AT&T's website was disclosing the e-mail addresses and the unique ICC-ID numbers of multiple iPad owners. Claiming that he wanted to help AT&T improve its security, he wrote a computer script to extract the data from AT&T and then went public with the information. AT&T said that nobody from Auernheimer's hacking group contacted them about the flaw."
Bug

Firefox 4, A Huge Pile of Bugs 481

surveyork writes "Firefox 4.0 beta 9 (AKA 'a huge pile of awesome') was released on January 14, 2011. Firefox 4's release schedule includes a beta 10 and a release candidate before the final launch in late February. However, one wonders if this schedule won't slip again, since there are still more than 100 'hardblocker' bugs, more than 60 bugs affecting Panorama alone and 10 bugs affecting the just-introduced Tabs-on-Titlebar. Some long-standing bugs won't be fixed in time for Firefox 4 final either (example, example). Many startup bugs are currently pending, although Firefox 4 starts much faster than Firefox 3.6. As a side note, it's unlikely that Firefox 4 final will pass the Acid3 test, despite this being a very popular demand amongst Firefox enthusiasts. Perhaps we'll have to wait until Firefox 4.1 to have this 'huge pile of bugs' (mostly) fixed."
Programming

Should Younger Developers Be Paid More? 785

jammag writes "A project manager describes facing an upset senior developer who learned that a new hire — a fresh college grad — would be making 30 percent more than him. The reason: the new grad knew a hot emerging technology that a client wanted. Yes, the senior coder was majorly pissed off. But with the constant upheaval in new technology, this situation is almost unavoidable — or is it? And at any rate, is it fair?"
Privacy

Unsecured IP Cameras Accessible To Everyone 146

Orome1 writes "In the last couple of decades, we have become so accustomed to the idea that the public portion of our everyday life is watched and recorded — in stores, on the street, in institutions — that we often don't even notice the cameras anymore. Analog surveillance systems were difficult to hack into by people who lacked the adequate knowledge, but IP cameras — having their own IPs — can be quite easily physically located and their stream watched in real-time by anyone who has a modicum of computer knowledge and knows what to search for on Google."

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