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The Courts

Lawyer Banned for Threatening File-Sharers 123

S. Hare brings us a report from TorrentFreak about a lawyer working for a Swiss anti-piracy group who was recently given a 6-month ban for her attempts to intimidate file-sharers though letters threatening fines and court fees. Elizabeth Martin demanded 400 Euros each from "hundreds of thousands of file-sharers," and suggested that they would have to face large settlements if they did not comply. The Paris Bar Council took exception to this and instituted the ban. Martin worked for Logistep, a company who has had trouble following laws in the past. "The disciplinary board decided that 'By choosing to reproduce aggressive foreign methods, intended to force payments, the interested party also violated [the code] which specifies that the lawyer cannot unfairly represent a situation or seriousness of threat.' In addition, the lawyer also violated the code by cashing payments into a private account, not the usual dedicated litigation account, known as a 'Carpa'. Martin also refused to reveal how many payments had been received from file-sharers."
United States

US Ignores Unwelcome WTO IP Rulings 448

Eye Log writes "The United States is a big fan of leaning on other countries to tighten IP and copyright protection, but has a tendency to ignore its own obligations when it doesn't get its way. 'Two ongoing cases illustrate the point. First, the European Union is pushing for the US to change a pair of rules that it calls "long-standing trade irritants." Despite World Trade Organization rulings against it, the US has not yet corrected either case for a period of several years... Apparently, it's easy to get hot and bothered when it's industries from your country that claim to be badly affected by rules elsewhere. When it comes to the claims of other countries, though, even claims that have been validated by the WTO, it's much easier to see the complexity of the situation, to spend years arguing those complexities before judges, and to do nothing even when compelled by rulings.'"

Submission + - Mandatory filtering plan for Australian ISPs (evilpundit.com)

Evil Pundit writes: "The recently elected Labor Party government of Australia is set to introduce mandatory filtering of Internet feeds at the ISP level. 'Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said everything possible had to be done to shield children from violent and pornographic online material. "We will work with the industry to get the best policy," he said. "(But) Labor is committed to introducing mandatory ISP filtering." Senator Conroy said the Australian Communications and Media Authority would prepare a "blacklist" of unsuitable sites.'"

Submission + - 101 Dumbest Moments in Business 2007

gwoodrow writes: Plenty of tech companies made this list. Blunderers of note to Slashdot include Comcast, Vonage, the FCC, RadioShack, HP, YouTube and others. Google, Microsoft, Sony and AOL make multiple appearances throughout.

One of my favorites: Number 28 on the list, National Semiconductor.

'In June, National Semiconductor boosts morale by handing every employee a 30-gigabyte iPod, for which it makes computer chips.

In July, National lays off 35 employees — and demands their iPods back, claiming that the portable music players are company "equipment."'

Submission + - Intel announces Open Fibre Channel over Ethernet (open-fcoe.org)

sofar writes: "Intel has just announced and released source code for their Open-FCoE project, which creates a transport that allows native Fibre Channel frames to travel over ordinary ethernet cables to any Linux system. This is an extremely interesting development where datacenters can reduce cost and maintenance by reducing the amount of Fibre Channel equipment and cabling while still enjoying the benefits and performance of Fibre Channel equipment. The new standard for channelling fibre channel frames over ethernet is backed by Cisco, Sun, IBM, EMC, Emulex and a variety of others working in the storage field. The timing of this announce makes sense with 10 Gigabit Ethernet becoming more widespread in the datacenter."

Submission + - French Threat to ID Secret US Satellites (beskerming.com)

SkiifGeek writes: "Space.com has reported that the French have identified numerous objects in orbit that do not appear in the ephemeris data reported by the US Space Surveillance Network. Since the US has claimed that if it doesn't appear in the ephemeris data, then it doesn't exist, and the French claim that at least some of the objects have solar arrays, it seems that the French have found secret US satellites.

While the French don't plan to release the information publicly, they are planning to use it as leverage to get the US to suppress reporting of sensitive French satellites in their published ephemeris.

The Graves surveillance radar (the French system) and a comparable German system may form the basis of a pan-European Space Surveillance network — another system that the Europeans don't want to rely on the US for."

The Internet

Submission + - VirtualEarth Exposes Nuke Sub's Stealth Propeller (nwsource.com)

NewsCloud writes: "The Seattle Times reports that a local blogger Dan Twohig highlighted photos on Microsoft Virtual Earth of stealth nuclear submarine propeller technology (alternate) taken by aircraft while the submarine was in dry dock in nearby Bangor. Says Twhohig,

You can also use the zoom in and out keys and move around the Bangor Sub Base taking a close up look at the bunkers and magazines where they keep the nuclear weapons. You would think the US government would keep better tabs on this stuff.
Microsoft said it would blur the image if requested (but not this one). This is the same nuclear base the Navy has been petitioning to use trained dolphins and sea lions to patrol."


Submission + - Cheating IT Grads are being deported

kalpatin writes: International students could be getting deported from Australia if they are found guilty of cheating. ABC Australia reports that Masters students have been cheating in their theses and the hard copies of their work matches the electronic sources found on the Internet.

Submission + - Software for reverse engineering the human brain (colorado.edu)

An anonymous reader writes: In his book, "The Singularity is Near", Ray Kurzweil says the future of artificial intelligence may be in reverse engineering the human brain. Now, scientists at the University of Colorado have released software, dubbed "Emergent," that is aimed at allowing you to do just that. Using the ODE library for realistic physics, you can construct a robot with a simulated brain in a simulated world with a simulated body. I've seen neural network software before, but seeing a robot with his brain hovering over his head in 3D was a bit..shocking to say the least. Especially in light of this recent Oxford paper which asks, "Are You Living in a Computer Simulation?." I was even able to "lesion" his brain and see his performance go down. Could this approach possibly bootstrap us into real artificial intelligence? Will these new simulated robotic overlords someday assimilate us?

Submission + - Orwellian 'Behavior Detection Officers' for TSA (msn.com) 1

Stanistani writes: "According to Newsweek, at US airports some security personnel will be observing passengers for facial expressions which indicate malicious intent. If they believe you look like you might be thinking of causing harm, you can be taken aside for further questioning. Welcome these new overseers: 'Behavior Detection Officers.' Their potentially life-changing decisions will be based on the pseudoscience of 'micro-expressions.'"
Technology (Apple)

Submission + - 21st Century Cloning in China (and-still-i-persist.com)

bfwebster writes: "Popular Science has a fascinating article on the wholesale cloning of manufactured goods in China. It starts off with the investigation of a possible iPhone clone that claims to have more functionality and flexibility than the iPhone, but then goes into the vast enterprises dedicated to manufacturing goods that appear to be from established companies. For example, here's a cloned car:

The QQ is a part-for-part reproduction of a car known, depending on where it is sold, as the Chevy Spark or the Daewoo Matiz (the genuine vehicle is built as part of a joint venture between General Motors and the Korean company). Sparks are sold all over the world — in the U.S., an upgraded $10,500 variant called the Aveo is cheaper than any other car you can buy. But when the $5,000 QQ first appeared in 2003, GM — and American officials — were astonished. "If you didn't have name tags on the cars, you couldn't tell them apart," said Congressman James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin after a 2004 trip to China. "It's such a good knockoff that you can pull the door off the Spark and it fits on the QQ, so close that the seals on the doors match right up."

In some cases, the author notes, the cloners build "shadow factories — identical plants, often constructed from the same blueprints legitimate manufacturers used to launch their ventures." In other cases, they attempted to clone the organization of the firm whose products there were cloning. A fascinating article — reads like something out of Neal Stephenson or William Gibson. ..bruce.."

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