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Virginia DMV Cracks Down On Uber, Lyft 260

An anonymous reader writes 'Talk about regulatory capture! As radio station WTOP reports, "The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles says that ride services Lyft and Uber are violating state law and must stop operating immediately. The DMV sent cease and desist orders to both companies Thursday." Who benefits most? It's not the people who are voting with their dollars and feet — seems more like the current stable of taxi drivers and others blessed by the state of Virginia. Good thing there's no call for or benefit from greater per-car occupancy, or experimentation more generally with disruptive disintermediation. Given enough bribe money down the road, I'm sure a deal can be struck, though.'

Ask Slashdot: Should We Have the Option of Treating Google Like a Utility? 238

eegad writes "I've been thinking a lot about how much information I give to technology companies like Google and Facebook and how I'm not super comfortable with what I even dimly know about how they're handling and selling it. Is it time for major companies like this, who offer arguably utility-like services for free in exchange for info, to start giving customers a choice about how to 'pay' for their service? I'd much rather pony up a monthly fee to access all the Google services I use, for example, and be assured that no tracking or selling of my information is going on. I'm not aware of how much money these companies might make from selling data about a particular individual, but could it possibly be more than the $20 or $30 a month I'd fork over to know that my privacy is a little more secure? Is this a pipe dream, or are there other people who would happily pay for their private use of these services? What kinds of costs or problems could be involved with companies implementing this type of dual business model?"

Bing Search Overtakes Yahoo 169

SharkLaser writes "Microsoft's Bing search engine has overtaken Yahoo for the first time. While both Bing, Yahoo and a bunch of meta-search engines like the privacy-oriented DuckDuckGo use Bing's back-end, it clearly shows Yahoo's declining market share. comScore has also released its search data for 2011 — overall, Bing gained 3.1% of market share while Yahoo lost 1.5% and Google lost 0.7%. Yahoo's new CEO Scott Thompson has lots of work to do."

Does Android Violate the GPL? Not So Fast 186

jfruhlinger writes "Patent gadfly Florian Mueller's latest post has made a fairly bold claim: that virtually all Android licensees are violating the GPL because of their failure to redistribute the code, and have thus lost their rights to redistribute Android. Mueller here is mostly promoting ideas put across by patent lawyer Edward J. Naughton. But others in the community are skeptical of the claims. Software Freedom Conservancy head Bradley Kuhn says he's never heard from Naughton. 'Don't you think if he was really worried about getting a GPL or LGPL violation resolved, he'd contact the guy in the world most known for doing GPL enforcement and see if I could help?'"

Bing More Effective Than Google? 385

Xiph1980 writes "Experian Hitwise claims Bing and Bing-powered search to be more effective than Google. The success rate for Bing searches in the U.S. in July was 80.04%, compared to 67.56% for Google. The market watcher defines 'success rate' as the percentage of search queries that result in a visit to a website. Searches made through sites owned by Yahoo, which farmed out search to Bing under a deal struck in 2009, were also more efficient than Google. Those searches yielded a success rate of 81.36%. The claims of Hitwise don't explain why I keep finding things like Microsoft service pack download pages better through google than through bing."

How Windows 7 Knows About Your Internet Connection 434

An anonymous reader writes "In Windows 7, any time you connect to a network, Windows tells you if you have full internet access or just a local network connection. It also knows if a WiFi access point requires in-browser authentication. How? It turns out, a service automatically requests a file from a Microsoft website every time you connect to any network, and the result of this attempt tells it whether the connection is successful. This feature is useful, but some may have privacy concerns with sending their IP address to Microsoft (which the site logs, according to documentation) every single time they connect to the internet. As it turns out, not only can you disable the service, you can even tell it to check your own server instead."

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