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Privacy

Submission + - Controversial Tracking Tech (Phorm) to come back (wsj.com)

siliconbits writes: Wall Street Journal has this report.. This is bad, really bad... "One of the most potentially intrusive technologies for profiling and targeting Internet users with ads is on the verge of a comeback, two years after an outcry by privacy advocates in the U.S. and Britain appeared to kill it. Now, two U.S. companies, Kindsight Inc. and Phorm Inc., are pitching deep packet inspection services as a way for Internet service providers to claim a share of the lucrative online ad market."
Security

Submission + - 34% of All Malware Ever Created Appeared in 2010 (net-security.org)

Orome1 writes: According to PandaLabs, in the first ten months of the year the number of threats created and distributed account for one third of all viruses that exist. These means that 34% of all malware ever created has appeared in the last ten months. The company’s database, which automatically detects, analyzes and classifies 99.4% of the threats received, now has 134 million separate files, 60 million of which are malware (viruses, worms, Trojans and other threats).
Google

Submission + - SPAM: Enderle: Google unable to defend licensees

teXx writes: `As for Google, its been at war with Microsoft for some time and have proven unable to defend its licensees effectively. Linux is at the core of Google's products and Microsoft has been aggressively seeking royalties from those licensees. many of which seem to be paying more now to Microsoft than to Google. "In a time of heavy IP litigation, the more patents you control the better your odds and we seem to be in a massive IP litigation war with many of the emerging products leveraging some or all of the core UNIX patents and copyrights."'
Link to Original Source

Submission + - My GPL code has been... patented! 4

ttsiod writes: Back in 2001, I coded HeapCheck, a GPL library for Windows (inspired by ElectricFence) that detected invalid read/write accesses on any heap allocations at runtime — thus greatly helping my debugging sessions. I published it on my site, and got a few users who were kind enough to thank me — a Serbian programmer even sent me 250$ as a thank you (I still have his mails). After a few years, Microsoft included very similar technology in the operating system itself, calling it PageHeap. I had more or less forgotten these stuff, since for the last 7 years I've been coding for UNIX/Linux, where valgrind superseeded Efence/dmalloc/etc. Imagine my surprise, when yesterday, Googling for references to my site, I found out that the technology I implemented, of runtime detection of invalid heap accesses, has been patented in the States, and to add insult to injury, even mentions my site (via a non-working link to an old version of my page) in the patent references! After the necessary "WTFs" and "bloody hells" I thought this merrits (a) a Slashdotting, and (b) a set of honest questions: what should I do about this? I am not an American citizen, but the "inventors" of this technology (see their names in the top of the patent) have apparently succeeded in passing this ludicrous patent in the States. If my code doesn't count as prior art, Bruce Perens's Efence (which I clearly state my code was inspired from) is at least 12 years prior! Suggestions/cursing patent trolls most welcome.
Businesses

Submission + - SPAM: Tips 2 Keep yourself Sane while Working from Home

harrisonsmith writes: When I interviewed for the position on Scott Hanselman's team, one of the questions Scott asked me was if I'd be able to handle working from home, with the isolation that usually entails. Telecommuting (I hate that word) isn't for everyone, so the question was actually very important. Prior to joining Microsoft in October, I actually worked from home a fair bit. I'd still get out to client meetings and sometimes to the offices, though....continued
Link to Original Source
Electronic Frontier Foundation

Submission + - EFF: Stand Up to the TSA (eff.org)

Xenographic writes: The EFF has compiled a list of good ways to protest the TSA's invasive searches. For example, you can directly complain to the TSA about inappropriate screening, take a survey the TSA is conducting about whether or not body scanning technology should be used, mail the DHS department of civil liberties, or write a letter to any of the addresses they give. Right now, they're promoting the idea that most people like the new searches, so if you don't, you might want to let them know.
Oracle

Submission + - Oracle Wins $1.3 Billion Verdict for SAP Downloads (bloomberg.com) 1

2phar writes: Oracle Corp. has won a $1.3 billion jury verdict against rival SAP AG, the world’s largest maker of business application software, for copyright infringement. The jury yesterday awarded the damages after an 11-day trial in federal court in Oakland, California. Oracle sued SAP in 2007 claiming its U.S.-based unit made hundreds of thousands of illegal downloads and several thousand copies of Oracle’s software to avoid paying licensing fees and steal customers.

Oracle said in its lawsuit that the copyrighted software was used by SAP’s U.S.-based TomorrowNow unit to offer technical support to customers of companies that were acquired by Oracle, to lure the customers to buy products from SAP, and to deprive Oracle of support revenue for future product development.

Oracle

Submission + - SAP Ordered to pay $1.3bn to Oracle 1

jools33 writes: In what can only be seen as a victory for Oracle, SAP AG have been ordered to pay $1.3bn to Oracle by a jury in Oakland, California, in what Bloomberg states will be the largest ever payout is US Copyright history:
the FT article
SAP were charged and admitted guilt of the theft of Oracle software through its intermediary company Tommorow Now.
Oracle had asked for a payout of $1.7bn, which SAP had countered to $140m. SAP are considering post trial motions / appeal. Could this leave SAP in a weakened position / ripe for takeover? What will the eventual consequences be for SAP?
Piracy

Submission + - Operation Payback: 37 days downtime more to come (myce.com)

BussyB writes: Apparently the on-again-off-again DDoS attacks performed by Operation Payback members are back on again.Just a day after posting an appeal from the Pirate Parties of the US and the UK to “choose a more moderate and legal way” to promote copyright law reform, Operation Payback members have formulated a response in the form of an open letter.

“We will go on with our activities, despite the Pirate Parties of the United States of America and the United Kingdoms’ objections, unless we come up with more efficient ways to better achieve our common goals,” the letter states.

Submission + - Is it time the banks stopped sending bulk email? (slashdot.org)

genphreak writes: The fact that banks send email just fuels the scammers. If they cannot stop using it, surely they should be using it securely?

Recently I elected to move from paper based statements to electronic statements. I know you are probably thinking 'what a luddite...' but, it took me longer than I thought to get my data storage tested and elect to 'receive online statements'. That was a year ago, and I am yet to recieve even one. Instead they send me unsigned notifications to my email address, instructing me to logon to their horrible website and clickity click, click click... and download a pdf.

I just don't get it- we are all aware that bank's provide monthly statements via their websites. Does anyone wait for an email notification to go download one? If we pay a Bank to look after our money, is it not fair to expect, in the least, that they make an effort to send statements?

Now a statement is by definition a historical record, so 'viewing' a currect version of it, as might (or might not) be available on a website, doesn't quite cut it: Surely it should be sent securely, verifiably, and at regularly intervals, so we can store them safely. This is what a paper statement achieved quite well. How can a emailed 'notification' constitute a valuable enough replacement?

Do /. readers wonder about such details when recieving Banking services? I hope so, as I want to get my Bank to improve.

For instance, in this case they could attach an account statement to the message- this would get it sent. But obviously the Bank wants to protect the 'privacy' of the data. However it does not offer encrypt attachments to do this. Instead, it makes statements available on a website requiring SSL. Worse, it prevents bulk searching/downloading account activity by removing data that is over a year or so old. So if you forget to log on regularly, you lose your account data altogether (My bank gladly provides a search service of course, which for an extortionate 'search fee', recovers this dusty data (presumably for them to scrabble around in a mouldy vault searching archive boxes full of pdfs).

That said, the way Banks send email messages is extraordinary too. Looking at the one my Bank sent today, there are more than a few reasons for spam filters to filter them. Eg.

      1. the sender is often a generic one, i.e. mine uses 'bvadmin@mybank.dom'; an unknown and thus untrustworthy entity
      2. the messages are sent without a signature and cannot otherwise be confirmed authentic
      3. the mail server lacks an SPF record
      4. the message content is repetitive
      5. there are no links to the referenced statement (nor is it attached)
      6. the messages are not read, as they have no use

I ask /. readers- should Financial Institutions exercise more care? Normal people sending email must actively not do things that will trip spam filters at the recipient's end. Surely Bank's have some onus to ensure customers recieve their communications, let alone protect their reputation by not sending messages insecurely? Do they have any duty of care in the eyes of government regulators, shareholders, the public and the law, to effectively provide account data, in order to provide their services?

I am sure that sending legitimate messages via one of the Internet's oldest and most abused protocols, without applying basic safeguards presents a considerable risk to both them (the sender) and us (the recipients). Without digitial signatures, customers can only expect such Institutions to continue their bad habits, send communications insecurely and live without being able to check where and when third parties with malicious intent might be listening in or becoming active participants in the 'conversation'.

I feel like writing to my Bank... but what can we say that will make them change? Has anyone done this and actually changed the way their Bank works?

Firefox

Submission + - HTTPS Everywhere gets “Firesheep” prot (networkworld.com)

coondoggie writes: The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) today said it rolled out a version of HTTPS Everywhere that offers protection against "Firesheep" and other tools that seek to exploit webpage security flaws. Hitting the streets in October, Firesheep caused a storm of controversy over its tactics, ethics and Web security in general. Firesheep sniffs unencrypted cookies sent across open WiFi networks for unsuspecting visitors to Web sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and lets the user take on those visitors' log-in credentials.

Submission + - New START Treaty on Life Support (wordpress.com)

Martin Hellman writes: Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) has wounded the New START Treaty so badly that it is on life support and needs help to stay alive. While making only a modest reduction in both the US and Russian arsenals from 2,200 to 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads, rejection of this treaty would set back — and could well halt — efforts to reduce the world's bloated nuclear arsenals. Because ratification requires 2/3 approval in the Senate, a radical fringe can hold the treaty hostage even though it has strong support from foreign policy and military experts in both parties. A 2.5 minute YouTube video clearly shows Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) to be riled at this effort to put partisan politics above national security.

Submission + - All Computers in the world vs. Brain – Brain (techhammers.com)

hasanabbas1987 writes: We are always talking about like “That computer is so mega fast and it has a 2.8 GHz processor with like 6 cores or something” and then someone else says “No no no, that other computer is faster with its 2 processors...” What we don’t know is that our brain is the fastest of them all! Researchers at Stanford used their new imaging technology to discover that synapses are more like individual microprocessors and our brains have liketrillions of them.
Their findings were published in the issue of the journal Neuron, which states their new imaging technique which they call tomography, which stitches image slices together into a full 3D Model. The video below shows tissue from the brain of a mouse, its neurons can be seen glowing in neon green so the synapses could be distinguished against them.

Submission + - When does fair use turn into plagiarism?

An anonymous reader writes: Earlier this week, PaidContent reported that Briefing.com admitted to violating copyright laws by simply posting content from Dow Jones. While piracy and plagiarism are common these days, what is more unusual is the way that Dow Jones chose to use the more obscure "hot news doctrine", a rule developed after some newspapers were caught rewriting wire stories without doing any of their own research. Some aggregation sites are wondering how this applies to them. While sites like Slashdot are largely filled with original content from submitters, many of the postings at blogs like BoingBoing.com consist of a few sentences of introduction and large quotes. This story was largely written by Paul Lewis at the Guardian and judging from the time stamps,BoingBoing turned it out in four minutes. At what point does fair use turn into lazy plagiarism? Can bloggers develop rules for knowing when they're just being leeches?

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