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Government

Submission + - U.S. plans to let spy agencies scour Americans' finances (reuters.com)

concealment writes: "The Obama administration is drawing up plans to give all U.S. spy agencies full access to a massive database that contains financial data on American citizens and others who bank in the country, according to a Treasury Department document seen by Reuters.

The proposed plan represents a major step by U.S. intelligence agencies to spot and track down terrorist networks and crime syndicates by bringing together financial databanks, criminal records and military intelligence. The plan, which legal experts say is permissible under U.S. law, is nonetheless likely to trigger intense criticism from privacy advocates."

Censorship

Submission + - Cubans evade censorship by exchanging computer memory sticks (mcclatchydc.com)

concealment writes: "But Sanchez said underground blogs, digital portals and illicit e-magazines proliferate, passed around on removable computer drives known as memory sticks.. The small computer memories, also known as flash drives or thumb drives, are dropped into friendly hands on buses and along street corners, offering a surprising number of Cubans access to information.

“Information circulates hand to hand through this wonderful gadget known as the memory stick,” Sanchez said, “and it is difficult for the government to intercept them. I can’t imagine that they can put a police officer on every corner to see who has a flash drive and who doesn’t.”

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/03/09/185347/cubans-evade-censorship-by-exchanging.html#.UTvnWoAWD64.reddit%23storylink=cpy"

Google

Submission + - DRM Lawsuit Filed By Independent Bookstores Against Amazon, 'Big Six' Publishers (huffingtonpost.com)

concealment writes: "Three independent bookstores are taking Amazon and the so-called Big Six publishers (Random House, Penguin, Hachette, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster and Macmillan) to court in an attempt to level the playing field for book retailers. If successful, the lawsuit could completely change how ebooks are sold.

The class-action complaint, filed in New York on Feb 15., claims that by entering into confidential agreements with the Big Six publishers, who control approximately 60 percent of print book revenue in the U.S., Amazon has created a monopoly in the marketplace that is designed to control prices and destroy independent booksellers."

Government

Submission + - Illinois state senator pushes anti-anonymity bill (dailycaller.com)

concealment writes: "The bill, called the Internet Posting Removal Act, is sponsored by Illinois state Sen. Ira Silverstein. It states that a “web site administrator upon request shall remove any comments posted on his or her web site by an anonymous poster unless the anonymous poster agrees to attach his or her name to the post and confirms that his or her IP address, legal name, and home address are accurate.”

The bill, which does not ask for or clarify requirements from entities requesting the comment removal, would take effect 90 days after becoming law."

Government

Submission + - FBI Files Unlock History Behind Clandestine Cellphone Tracking Tool (slate.com)

concealment writes: "Stingrays, as I’ve reported here before, are portable surveillance gadgets that can trick phones within a specific area into hopping onto a fake network. The feds call them “cell-site simulators” or “digital analyzers,” and they are sometimes also described as “IMSI catchers.” The FBI says it uses them to target criminals and help track the movements of suspects in real time, not to intercept communications. But because Stingrays by design collaterally gather data from innocent bystanders’ phones and can interrupt phone users’ service, critics say they may violate a federal communications law.

A fresh trove of FBI files on cell tracking, some marked “secret,” was published this week by the Electronic Privacy Information Center. They shed light on how, far from being a “new” tool used by the authorities to track down targets, Stingray-style technology has been in the hands of the feds since about 1995 (at least). During that time, local and state law enforcement agencies have also been able to borrow the spy equipment in “exceptional circumstances,” thanks to an order approved by former FBI Director Louis Freeh."

Businesses

Submission + - As Music Streaming Grows, Royalties Slow to a Trickle (nytimes.com) 1

concealment writes: "From 78 r.p.m. records to the age of iTunes, artists’ record royalties have been counted as a percentage of a sale price. On a 99-cent download, a typical artist may earn 7 to 10 cents after deductions for the retailer, the record company and the songwriter, music executives say. One industry joke calls the flow of these royalties a “river of nickels.”

In the new economics of streaming music, however, the river of nickels looks more like a torrent of micropennies."

Google

Submission + - Dangerous: European Courts Considering Requiring Search Engine Filters Over Emba (techdirt.com)

concealment writes: "That did not stop Mosley, however, who first used the recent "Leveson Inquiry" (a response to the later story of News of the World hacking into phone lines) to push for new rules requiring search engines to delete the photos from ever being found online. And thus began phase two of Mosley's response to the article: he went on a campaign against search engines, believing that if he could somehow force search engines to ignore the photos from that original story, the world might forget about it. Even though, in the Leveson hearing, Mosley admits that he was warned that by taking this issue to trial in the first place, it would renew interest in the issue, including putting such private information into official public court documents:"
Crime

Submission + - Is The Line Between 'Hacker' And 'Criminal' Really That Fuzzy? (techdirt.com)

concealment writes: don't think there's a "line" — fuzzy, shifting or not — between "hacker" and "criminal." The two things are different. Can you be a criminal hacker? Sure. But the problem is that many non-techie folks seem to assume that any kind of hacking must be criminal. And that's the problem. It's not that some imaginary line is moving around, but that some people don't seem to understand that hacking itself is not criminal, and that there are plenty of good reasons to hack — including to expose security holes.
Censorship

Submission + - Report warns that censorship will not stop terrorism (cio.com)

concealment writes: "The report evaluates the challenge of curbing online radicalization from the perspective of supply and demand. It concludes that efforts to shut down websites that could serve as incubators for would-be terrorists--going after the supply--will ultimately be self-defeating, and that "filtering of Internet content is impractical in a free and open society."

"Approaches aimed at restricting freedom of speech and removing content from the Internet are not only the least desirable strategies, they are also the least effective," writes Peter Neumann, founding director of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation at King's College London and the author of the report.

Note to /. editors: I have editorialized the title to reflect actual interesting content, not the somewhat sensationalistic and generic original title."

China

Submission + - China Mafia-Style Hack Attack Drives California Firm to Brink (bloomberg.com)

concealment writes: "For three years, a group of hackers from China waged a relentless campaign of cyber harassment against Solid Oak Software Inc., Milburn’s family-owned, eight-person firm in Santa Barbara, California. The attack began less than two weeks after Milburn publicly accused China of appropriating his company’s parental filtering software, CYBERsitter, for a national Internet censoring project. And it ended shortly after he settled a $2.2 billion lawsuit against the Chinese government and a string of computer companies last April."
Books

Submission + - Here's Why Digital Rights Management Is Stupid And Anti-Consumer (consumerist.com)

concealment writes: "Yesterday, I tried to download an ebook I paid for, and previously put on my Nook, a few months ago. When I tried, I got an error message stating I could not download the book because the credit card on file had expired. But, I already paid for it. Who cares if the credit card is expired? It has long since been paid for, so the status of the card on file has nothing to do with my ability to download said book. I didn’t see anything in the terms of service about this either, but it’s possible I missed it.

        This is just one more reason to either not buy ebooks, or strip the drm off of the ones you purchase so you can [use] the book you BUY on all your devices without having to purchase multiple copies for no reason and have access to something you already bought when you want it."

Government

Submission + - Richard O'Dwyer strikes US deal to avoid extradition (guardian.co.uk)

concealment writes: "Richard O'Dwyer, the university student who created a website which linked to programmes and films online for free, has reached an agreement to avoid extradition to the US over copyright infringement allegations, the high court has been told.

The 24-year-old Sheffield Hallam undergraduate has signed a draft "deferred prosecution" agreement in the past two days which requires him to travel to the US and pay a small sum of compensation but will mean he will not face a trial or criminal record, the court was told."

Idle

Submission + - Geek Researcher Spends Three Years Living With Hackers (wired.com)

concealment writes: "Coleman, an anthropologist who teaches at McGill University, spent three years living in the Bay Area, studying the community that builds the Debian Linux open source operating system and other hackers — i.e., people who pride themselves on finding new ways to reinvent software. More recently, she’s been peeling away the onion that is the Anonymous movement, a group that hacks as a means of protest — and mischief.

When she moved to San Francisco, she volunteered with the Electronic Frontier Foundation — she believed, correctly, that having an eff.org address would make people more willing to talk to her — and started making the scene. She talked free software over Chinese food at the Bay Area Linux User Group’s monthly meetings upstairs at San Francisco’s Four Seas Restaurant. She marched with geeks demanding the release of Adobe eBooks hacker Dmitry Sklyarov. She learned the culture inside-out."

Government

Submission + - Red light cameras raise crash risk, cost (courierpostonline.com) 1

concealment writes: "A pilot program for red-light cameras in New Jersey appears to be changing drivers’ behavior, state officials said Monday, noting an overall decline in traffic citations and right-angle crashes.

The Department of Transportation also said, however, that rear-end crashes have risen by 20 percent and total crashes are up by 0.9 percent at intersections where cameras have operated for at least a year."

Google

Submission + - How Google Plans to Find the UnGoogleable (technologyreview.com)

concealment writes: "If Google is to achieve its stated mission to “organize the world's information and make it universally accessible,” says Wiley, it must find out about those hidden needs and learn how to serve them. And he says experience sampling—bugging people to share what they want to know right now, whether they took action on it or not—is the best way to do it. “Doing that on a mobile device is a relatively new technology, and it’s getting us better information that we really haven’t had in the past,” he says.

Wiley isn’t ready to share results from the study just yet, but this participant found plenty of examples of relatively small pieces of information that I’d never turn to Google for. For example, how long the line currently is in a local grocery store. Some offline activities, such as reading a novel, or cooking a meal, generated questions that I hadn’t turned to Google to answer—mainly due to the inconvenience of having to grab a computer or phone in order to sift through results."

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