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Submission + - Oracle may have stopped funding and development efforts on Java EE (arstechnica.com)

An anonymous reader writes: ArsTechnica is reporting that Oracle has quietly pulled funding and development efforts away from Java EE, the server-side Java technology that is part of hundreds of thousands of Internet and business applications. Java EE even plays an integral role for many apps that aren't otherwise based on Java, and customers and partners have invested time and code. It wouldn't be the first time this has happened, but the implications are huge for Java as a platform.

Submission + - Frontier Teams With AT&T To Block Google Fiber Access To Utility Poles (arstechnica.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Frontier submitted a court filing last week supporting ATT's efforts to sue local governments in Louisville and Jefferson County, Kentucky to stop a new ordinance designed to give Google Fiber and similar companies access to utility poles. They're concerned the ordinances will spread to other states. Frontier's filing said, "the issues raised by the case may have important implications for Frontier's business and may impact the development of law in jurisdictions throughout the country where Frontier operates." The ordinance in Louisville lets companies like Google Fiber install wires even if ATT doesn't respond to requests or rejects requests to attach lines. Companies don't have to notify ATT when they want to move ATT's wires to make room for their own wires, assuming the work won't cause customer outages. ATT claims that the ordinance lets competitors "seize ATT's property." Frontier is urging the court to consider the nationwide implications of upholding Louisville's ordinance, saying Louisville's rule "is unprecedented" because "it drastically expands the rights of third parties to use privately owned utility poles, giving non-owners unfettered access to [a] utility's property without the [...] utility in some cases even having knowledge that such third-party intrusion on its facilities is occurring." Frontier said companies should be required to negotiation access with the owners if they didn't pay to install the utility poles. They urged the court to deny Louisville Metro's motion to dismiss ATT's complaint.

Submission + - Judge Dismisses Movie Piracy Case, IP-Address Doesn't Prove Anything (torrentfreak.com)

An anonymous reader writes: In what's believed to be a first of its kind ruling, a federal court in Oregon has dismissed a direct infringement complaint against an alleged movie pirate from the outset. According to the judge, linking an IP-address to a pirated download is not enough to prove direct copyright infringement. In the Oregon District Court, Magistrate Judge Stacie Beckerman recently recommended dismissal of a complaint filed by the makers of the Adam Sandler movie The Cobbler. According to the Judge both claims of direct and indirect infringement were not sufficient for the case to continue. What’s unique in this case, is that the direct infringement claims were dismissed sua sponte, which hasn’t happened before. To prove direct infringement copyright holders merely have to make it “plausible” that a defendant, Thomas Gonzales in this case, is indeed the copyright infringer. This is traditionally done by pointing out that the IP-address is directly linked to the defendant’s Internet connection, for example. However, according to Judge Beckerman this is not enough.

Submission + - Hollande announced his intention to veto TTIP (theguardian.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Almost unnoticed amid the post-Brexit hysteria, French president François Hollande announced his intention to veto TTIP, the free-trade treaty between the EU and the US. For clarity, that means it is dead.

Submission + - Supreme Court strikes down Texas' abortion restrictions (msnbc.com)

gavinkovak writes: Three years ago, Republican officials in Texas approved some of the nation’s most aggressive restrictions on reproductive rights, which had the effect of closing more than half of the state’s clinics where abortions are performed. As of this morning, as NBC News’ Pete Williams reported, the law is no more.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday struck down one of the nation’s toughest restrictions on abortion, a Texas law that women’s groups said would have forced more than three-quarters of the state’s clinics to shut down. The decision was 5-3. []

[T]he law said clinics providing abortion services must meet the same building standards as ambulatory surgical centers. And it required doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.
The decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt is online here. Note, Justice Breyer wrote the majority ruling, and he was joined by Justices Kennedy, Sotomayor, Kagan, and Ginsburg, who unexpectedly wrote a concurring opinion. Justices Roberts, Thomas, and Alito made up the three-member minority.

While Justice Scalia’s death has had a significant impact on a variety of key cases this term, the Texas case doesn’t appear to be one of them: facing a five-member majority, the state restrictions were doomed either way.

The legal dispute has been described as “the most momentous abortion case in a quarter century” for good reason.

In March, MSNBC’s Irin Carmon published a helpful overview that explained why this case matters so much.
Texas, like many of its neighbors, has imposed on abortion clinics new standards that are so difficult for the clinics to meet that a majority of them will be or have been forced to close. Doctors must have admitting privileges at local hospitals, something they say many hospitals have been reluctant to supply out of opposition to abortion or fear of controversy. Abortions must take place in an ambulatory surgical center, a cavernous, multimillion-dollar facility for a procedure that involves no incision and in many cases involves taking a couple of pills. []

The state of Texas claims it is within its legal rights to regulate clinics for the sake of women’s health. The abortion clinics that brought the case counter that the low complication rate and existing regulations show the new law isn’t needed. “If these facilities were providing substandard care that posed a threat to patient health or safety, then Texas would be justified in shutting them down,” attorneys for the clinics wrote in a brief to the court. “But they have a long record of providing safe abortion care, which [Texas officials] do not dispute.”
As we discussed at the time, for the clinics, this case is largely about exposing a sham: Texas Republicans imposed outrageous and unnecessary regulations, not to advance public health, but to curtail women’s access to legal abortions.

Indeed, even this morning, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton continued to argue that the state law “was an effort to improve minimum safety standards and ensure capable care for Texas women.” He added in a statement, “It’s exceedingly unfortunate that the court has taken the ability to protect women’s health out of the hands of Texas citizens and their duly-elected representatives.”

The high court’s majority recognized this argument as a fundamentally dishonest shellgame that created an undue burden on women in the Lone Star State. It’s a decision that will reverberate across the country.

Update: Texas kept up the pretense that the law was about protecting women’s health, but note this tidbit from the ruling: “We add that, when directly asked at oral argument whether Texas knew of a single instance in which the new requirement would have helped even one woman obtain better treatment, Texas admitted that there was no evidence in the record of such a case.”

Submission + - Colorado university investigates professors for noting alternative opinions

An anonymous reader writes: Two professors at a Colorado university are under investigation for mentioning to students the existence of opposing viewpoints.

Two professors at the University of Northern Colorado were investigated after students complained that they were forced to hear opposing viewpoints. The complaints were made to Northern Colorado’s “Bias Response Team,” an Orwellian office on campus that asks students to report their peers and professors for anything that upsets or offends them. When the news outlet Heat Street made an open records request for some of the complaints, it discovered that two students had become so upset about having to hear an opinion they disagreed with they filed reports with school administrators.

And rather than telling the students to buck up because they might hear those opinions outside of college or on the news or in the media, the schools told the professors to stop teaching that there’s an alternate viewpoint. [emphasis mine]

In both cases the professors were not advocating the alternative viewpoints, only teaching their students that those viewpoints exist. To the students and the university, even this was unacceptable.

There is no way you can have a free and open society if the people running the universities consider it unacceptable to even mention the existence of alternative points of view. Be prepared for worse things in the coming years, as these coddled close-minded students take the reins of power. They won’t be satisfied with merely shutting up their opponents. They will want to eliminate them entirely.

Submission + - Federal Court: The Fourth Amendment Does Not Protect Your Home Computer (eff.org)

An anonymous reader writes: The EFF reports that a federal court in Virginia today ruled that a criminal defendant has no "reasonable expectation of privacy" in his personal computer (PDF), located inside his home. The court says the federal government does not need a warrant to hack into an individual's computer. EFF reports: "The implications for the decision, if upheld, are staggering: law enforcement would be free to remotely search and seize information from your computer, without a warrant, without probable cause, or without any suspicion at all. To say the least, the decision is bad news for privacy. But it's also incorrect as a matter of law, and we expect there is little chance it would hold up on appeal. (It also was not the central component of the judge's decision, which also diminishes the likelihood that it will become reliable precedent.) But the decision underscores a broader trend in these cases: courts across the country, faced with unfamiliar technology and unsympathetic defendants, are issuing decisions that threaten everyone's rights.

Submission + - Like Comcast, Google Fiber Now Forces Customers Into Arbitration (arstechnica.com)

An anonymous reader writes: In Google Fiber's updated terms, the company now says they "require the use of binding arbitration to resolve disputes rather than jury trials or class actions." Ars Technica reports: "While the clause allows cases in small claims court, it otherwise forces customers to waive the right to bring legal actions against the ISP. Arbitration must be sought on an individual basis, as the clause also prevents class arbitration. The previous terms of service did not have the binding arbitration clause, though they did limit Google Fiber's liability to the amount customers pay to use the services." The good news: customers can opt out of the change. The bad news: they have 30 days. "According to the terms, the new agreement kicks in within 30 days of accepting the new language. Customers can, however, during that time period use this online form (you must be logged in to your Fiber account to access it) to opt out of this change and future changes to the arbitration agreement," writes The Consumerist. Ars Technica reports that Google told them customers have 60 days to opt out. "An e-mail sent to customers on June 14 says the new terms of service will apply unless they call to cancel service within 30 days. If customers do nothing, they will have "accepted" the terms at that 30-day mark. After that, customers who remain with Google Fiber have another 30 days to opt out of the new terms using the online form," writes Ars.

Submission + - Paper suggests cancer's an evolutionary mechanism to 'autocorrect' our gene pool (sciencealert.com)

schwit1 writes: Two scientists have come up with a depressing new hypothesis that attempts to explain why cancer is so hard to stop.

Maybe, they suggest, cancer's not working against us. Maybe the disease is actually an evolutionary 'final checkpoint' that stops faulty DNA from being passed down to the next generation.

To be clear, this is just a hypothesis. It hasn't been tested experimentally, and, more importantly, no one is suggesting that anyone shoulddie of cancer. In fact, it's quite the opposite — the researchers say that this line of thinking could help us to better understand the disease, and come up with more effective treatment strategies, like immunotherapy, even if a cure might not be possible.

So let's step back a second here, because why are our bodies trying to kill us? The idea behind the paper is based on the fact that, in the healthy body, there are a whole range of inbuilt safeguards, or 'checkpoints', that stop DNA mutations from being passed onto new cells.

One of the most important of these checkpoints is apoptosis, or programmed cell death. Whenever DNA is damaged and can't be fixed, cells are marked for apoptosis, and are quickly digested by the immune system — effectively 'swallowing' the problem. No mess, no fuss.

But the new hypothesis suggests that when apoptosis — and the other safeguards — don't work like they're supposed to, cancer just might be the final 'checkpoint' that steps in and gets rid of the rogue cells before their DNA can be passed on... by, uh, killing us, and removing our genetic material from the gene pool.

Submission + - Companies Finding It Harder To Conceal H1-B Abuses (nytimes.com)

JustAnotherOldGuy writes: In America, it's common practice to make severance pay for laid-off workers contingent on signing a "nondisparagement clause" that prohibits workers from ever speaking ill of their former employers. But as more and more layoffs are precipitated by illegal practices like hiring H1B visa-holders and forcing existing workers to train them as a condition of severance bonuses, workers are growing bolder and refusing to sign gag-clauses — or breaking them and daring their former employers to sue. Marco Peña was among about 150 technology workers who were laid off in April by Abbott Laboratories, but he decided not to sign the agreement that was given to all departing employees, which included a nondisparagement clause. Mr. Peña said his choice cost him at least $10,000 in severance pay. “I just didn’t feel right about signing,” Mr. Peña said. “The clauses were pretty blanket. I felt like they were eroding my rights," he revealed in an expose by the New York Times.

Submission + - Oklahoma state troopers can now seize bank accounts too (news9.com)

mi writes: You may have heard of civil asset forfeiture. That's where police can seize your property and cash without first proving you committed a crime; without a warrant and without arresting you, as long as they suspect that your property is somehow tied to a crime.

Now, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol has a device that also allows them to seize money in your bank account or on prepaid cards. If a trooper suspects you may have money tied to some type of crime, the highway patrol can scan any cards you have and seize the money.

But do not worry: "If you can prove that you have a legitimate reason to have that money it will be given back to you. And we've done that in the past," — said Oklahoma Highway Patrol Lt. John Vincent.

Submission + - Hackers spamming ISIS supporters on Twitter with graphic PORN (mirror.co.uk)

schwit1 writes: Online hackers are spamming ISIS supporters on Twitter by following them with THOUSANDS of graphic porn accounts.

The accounts, known as 'pornbots', feature nothing but graphic sexual images and are automatically generated, but almost never tweet and therefore cannot be deleted as spam.

The hackers target tweeters who use a lot of ISIS hashtags and strike rapidly, sometimes following them with several hundred accounts in just a few minutes.

Submission + - FBI wants your browsing history under NSLs (washingtonpost.com)

Bruce66423 writes: The FBI wants to be able to demand ISPs provide an individual's — or rather an IP address' — browsing history via an National Security Letter rather than a warrant. The FBI is claiming that their lack of this power is a 'typo' — despite it being clearly a deliberate decision

And anyway, wouldn't the use of a proxy render the information useless?

Submission + - Programmers May End Up on Trial When Self-driving Cars Kill (ieee.org)

An anonymous reader writes: Transportation researcher Noah J. Goodall argues that self-driving car manufacturers and their software developers will have to explain and defend a car’s actions in the event of an accident, especially one involving fatalities. Goodall writes in IEEE: "Today no court ever asks why a driver does anything in particular in the critical moments before a crash. The question is moot as to liability—the driver panicked, he wasn’t thinking, he acted on instinct. But when robots are doing the driving, Why? becomes a valid question." That's because autonomous vehicles can react with superhuman speed, so people who got hurt in certain kinds of accident will want to understand why the vehicles didn't stop or swerve to avoid the crash. And in particular, people (and their lawyers) will want to know whether software errors or poor design is to blame.

Submission + - Apartment In US Asks Tenants To 'Like' Facebook Page or Face Action (business-standard.com)

An anonymous reader writes: An apartment building in Salt Lake City has told tenants living in the complex to "like" its Facebook page or they will be in breach of their lease. Tenants of the City Park apartments said they found a "Facebook addendum" taped to their doors last weekend, asking them to "like" the City Park Apartments Facebook page. The contract says that if tenants do not specifically "friend" the City Park Apartments on Facebook within five days, they will be found in breach of the rental agreement. In addition, it includes a release allowing the business to post pictures of tenants and their visitors on the Facebook page. Currently, the apartments have a 1.1 star rating on its Facebook page.

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