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Submission + - House Fails to Extend Patriot Act Spy Powers (wired.com)

schwit1 writes: The House failed to extend three key expiring provisions of the Patriot Act on Tuesday, elements granting the government broad and nearly unchecked surveillance power on its own public.

  The “roving wiretap” provision allows the FBI to obtain wiretaps from a secret intelligence court, known as the FISA court, without identifying the target or what method of communication is to be tapped.

  The “lone wolf” measure allows FISA court warrants for the electronic monitoring of a person for whatever reason — even without showing that the suspect is an agent of a foreign power or a terrorist. The government has said it has never invoked that provision, but the Obama administration said it wanted to retain the authority to do so.

  The “business records” provision allows FISA court warrants for any type of record, from banking to library to medical, without the government having to declare that the information sought is connected to a terrorism or espionage investigation.

The failure of the bill, sponsored by Rep. James F. Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis), for the time being is likely to give airtime to competing measures in the Senate that would place limited checks on the act's broad surveillance powers. The White House, meanwhile, said it wanted the expiring measures extended through 2013.

Software

Submission + - CouchOne, Membase merge, form NoSQL powerhouse (networkworld.com)

Julie188 writes: CouchOne and Membase, two of the most popular noSQL projects, have merged in an attempt to become an open source database powerhouse. Even the company's new name is merged: Couchbase. The founders of the new Couchbase say they will offer the ability to scale from the largest data center and distributed cloud environments all the way down to smartphones and other mobile devices. As is the standard disclaimer during merger announcements, the leaders also promise to continue their support for their open source, community versions of their programs.
The Internet

Submission + - Rushkoff's Call to Fork the Net Sparks Movement (shareable.net) 1

Shareable writes: In the aftermath of Wikileaks and Net Neutrality setbacks, Douglas Rushkoff called for citizens to fork the net in The Next Net. Response to the call was overwhelming with the author getting 1,000s of e-mails and comments. Events in Egypt have only heightened interest. In response, a peer-to-peer solutions festival is being convened in New York to catalyze projects that build toward an independent Internet, one where a Wikileaks could operate without government or corporate interference. Could this be the start of a populist movement for a free and open Internet, something technology activists have worked tirelessly on for years?
Patents

Submission + - Senate Panel Backs Patent Overhaul Bill

mvar writes: A bill to reduce the likelihood of massive damage awards in patent disputes took a step forward with approval by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The committee voted 15-0 to back the legislation that would give judges a major role in determining how important a particular patent is to a product, so that infringing minor patents would not lead to huge damages. The bill also gives patents to the first inventor to file, rather than the first to invent, making the patent application process easier for companies who apply for patents in multiple countries. This year, Microsoft, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America and the Biotechnology Industry Organization support the patent legislation, while Dell, Cisco and others oppose it.

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