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Submission + - MPAA joins W3C; bigger anti-DRM push needed ( 2

ciaran_o_riordan writes: The W3C has announced a new member: the MPAA. Oh. Which makes this a good time to see whatever happened to last Summer's campaign against DRM in HTML5. It's still there. W3C took a lot of criticism, but the plan hasn't changed. DRM ("Encrypted Media Extensions") was still there in the October 2013, and in the January 2014 drafts. Tim Berners-Lee is still defending DRM. For the technical details, there are many good pages. What's at stake? It'd be like Flash or Silverlight websites, but instead of being really hard to make free software viewers/browsers, it'll be almost impossible, not to mention possibly illegal in the many countries which prohibit "bypassing technical protection mechanisms". And our work to get governments to use open standards will end up used against us when free software can't tick all the boxes in a public tender that specifies a "W3C HTML5 based" DRM system. More pressure is needed. One very small act is to sign the no DRM in HTML5 petition. A good debate is: "What's more effective than a petition?" But please sign the petition first, then debate it. It's also worth considering giving to the annual appeal of FSF, the main organisation campaigning against this.

Submission + - Challenging an overly broad US patent from India ( 1

flagboy writes: I got this in my mailbox today (in my capacity as representative of FFII UK), from an Indian developer wanting to challenge a US patent with his self-developed prior art

I am writing to seek advice with regard to a new patent issued to Google Inc (USPTO# 8429103 B1, URL in link). This patent essentially confers upon them the exclusive right to deploy implementations of Machine Learning algorithm on phones.

I believe that this patent is extremely broad, based on poorly defined terms ("Machine Learning services") and totally lacking innovation — Machine Learning is commonly taught in University classrooms, and phones running general purpose OS are commonplace — so the patent-holders are essentially claiming that the spark of genius lies in implementing ML on phones!

However, I have a phone app, Intelliphone (published before the patent was applied) (, that would serve as prior art disproving claims of innovation in this patent. In fact, my app is pretty much an implementation of the first claim in the patent, which most of the other claims rest on. And based on the very broad language used, I can think of other apps that could also argue that they were doing classification, clustering and predictions on the phone before this patent was applied for.

I suppose what I find insidious about this patent is that future developers would have to depend on Google's continued benevolence to make ML-based apps on all other mobile platforms. And they are taking credit where none is due. Indeed, before I saw this patent, I never considered what I was doing to be worthy of a patent.

I am wondering if there are any avenues through which I could claim to be an interested party in respect of this patent, and try to dispute its validity? I am not a resident or citizen of the United States, so I don't know if I would have a legal standing to mount a challenge. Also, I am lone/hobbyist developer, so am not really in a position to hire a team of attorneys in the US. I am well annoyed by this though!

The Almighty Buck

Submission + - Obama signs 'Monsanto Protection Act' Into Law (

An anonymous reader writes: Despite over 250,000 people's names on a petition asking for a veto of the the spending bill, Obama on Thursday signed into law HR 933 which includes a rider referred to as the "Monsanto Protection Act." This provision "effectively bars federal courts from being able to halt the sale or planting of GMO or GE crops and seeds, no matter what health consequences from the consumption of these products may come to light in the future... With HR 933 now a law, however, the court system no longer has the right to step in and protect the consumer."

Submission + - Bill Gates wants better sex (

An anonymous reader writes: A years ago he was an idol of computer nerds, then he pissed them off with software patents. Now Swedish Aftonbladed reveals Bill Gates campaigns for "skönare sex". New condom technology for more fun.

Submission + - Europe is not exactly happy with the UEFI bootloader (

An anonymous reader writes: While the Linux community has determined a workaround for the UEFI bootloader, The EU commission has received complaints about how Microsoft has locked out Linux on Win8 machines.

Submission + - New Zealand bows in on software patents (

An anonymous reader writes: New Zealand is a fierce defender against the patenting of software but the state now may trade that democratic decision away in the Transatlantic Partnership Agreement.

A pending international trade treaty could override a recent New Zealand law change that excluded software from patent protection.

Software patents are considered an insult to programmers and strongly debated in multiple nations. Pressure groups like the FFII and NZOSS defend the freedom to program and the use of patent-unencumbered standards


Submission + - Obama Wants To Fund Clean Energy Research With Oil & Gas Funds (

An anonymous reader writes: The Obama Administration has put forth a proposal to collect $2 billion over the next 10 years from revenues generated by oil and gas development to fund scientific research into clean energy technologies. The administration hopes the research would help 'protect American families from spikes in gas prices and allow us to run our cars and trucks on electricity or homegrown fuels.' In a speech at Argonne National Laboratory, Obama said the private sector couldn't afford such research, which puts the onus on government to keep it going. Of course, it'll still be difficult to get everyone on board: 'The notion of funding alternative energy research with fossil fuel revenues has been endorsed in different forms by Republican politicians, including Alaskan senator Lisa Murkowsi. But the president still faces an uphill battle passing any major energy law, given how politicized programs to promote clean energy have become in the wake of high-profile failures of government-backed companies.'
United States

Submission + - Obama Accuses Iran of Nuclear Ambitions Despite Testimony by Top Intel Official (

Forty Two Tenfold writes: U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper confirmed this week Iran has not decided to develop a nuclear weapon and that it would be unable to do so secretly. Testifying before the Senate, Clapper said Iran could not divert safeguarded material to produce weapons-grade uranium without it being discovered. Despite Clapper’s statements, President Obama raised the prospect of Iran developing a nuclear weapon during an interview Thursday with an Israeli television station ahead of his visit to Israel next week.

Submission + - EU Car manufacturers completely manipulating fuel efficiency figures (

pev writes: From The Guardian in the UK : European car manufacturers are rigging fuel efficiency tests by stripping down car interiors, over inflating tyres, taping over panel gaps and generally cheating. This overestimates the figures by 25% to 50%. One would have thought that a simple clause stating that cars have to be tested in the conditions that they are sold in would have been obvious?

Submission + - Cyber attack stops access to JPMorgan Chase site (

cathyreisenwitz writes: "The consumer banking website of JPMorgan Chase & Co was temporarily unavailable for a time on Tuesday as the company tried to deal with a denial-of-service cyber attack that slowed access for some customers, a company spokesman said.

The company continued to work late Tuesday to restore normal service, said spokesman Michael Fusco, who declined to say how long the site had been down during the day.

Major U.S. banks, including JPMorgan, have recently warned their investors that they are grappling with an increasing number of attacks on their sites that make it hard for customers to conduct transactions."


Submission + - UK court finds Google could face defamation liability for blog comments (

Kieran Mccarthy writes: "The UK has long been home to some of the strictest defamation laws in the world. But a surprise England and Wales Court of Appeals ruling may extend the reach of those laws on to Google in monitoring its users' behavior on Blogger. Based on Britain's 1996 Defamation Act, the Court of Appeals found that Google's role in failing to respond to complaints on a user-generated blog was not "purely passive." According to the Court of Appeals, once Google was notified of the complaint, "it might be inferred to have associated itself with, or to have made itself responsible for, the continued presence of that material on the blog and thereby to have become a publisher of the material."

Ultimately, Google avoided liability because the complainant failed to show sufficient damage to his reputation based on blog comments. But with this case as precedent, another plaintiff might show otherwise."

Open Source

Submission + - Why freeloaders are essential to FOSS project success (

dp619 writes: Outercurve Foundation technical director Stephen Walli has written a blog post arguing that attracting users is fundamental to the ability of open source projects to recruit "new blood" and contributors who are willing to code. "So in the end, it's all about freeloaders, but from the perspective that you want as many as possible. That means you're “doing it right” in developing a broad base of users by making their experience easy, making it easy for them to contribute, and ultimately to create an ecosystem that continues to sustain itself," he wrote.

Submission + - EU mulls pseudonymization of data (

An anonymous reader writes: Officials from justice departments across the European Union have been asked to explore to what extent the pseudonymisation of personal data can be used to "calibrate" obligations to data protection.

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