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Censorship

Submission + - Internet Blacklist Bill Up for Vote on Thursday

Adrian Lopez writes: The Internet blacklist bill known as COICA is up for vote on Thursday, with the first vote to be conducted by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Senators for California, Vermont, Wisconsin, New York, Minnesota, and Illinois will be the key votes in deciding whether COICA passes. Residents of those states are encouraged to contact their senators and let them know they oppose the bill.

COICA would let the US Attorney General create a blacklist of domains that every American ISP would be required to block. Wikileaks, YouTube, and others are all at risk. Human rights advocates, constitutional law experts, and the people who invented the Internet have all spoken out against this bill — but some of the most powerful industries in the country are demanding that Congress rush it through. The music industry is even having all of their employees call Congress to pose as citizens in support of the bill.

This bill is as bad for Americans and bad for the Internet. The decision to take down US and foreign websites shouldn't rest with the US Attorney General, and it should never be as easy as adding a website to a central list.

Demand Progress has a petition online which residents of the above and other US states are encouraged to sign.
Apple

Submission + - FSF Asks Apple to Comply With the GPL (fsf.org)

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes: "The Free Software Foundation has discovered that an application currently distributed in Apple's App Store is a port of GNU Go. This makes it a GPL violation, because Apple controls distribution of all such programs through the iTunes Store Terms of Service, which is incompatible with section 6 of the GPLv2. It's an unusual enforcement action, though, because they don't want Apple to just make the app disappear, they want Apple to grant its users the full freedoms offered by the GPL. Accordingly, they haven't sued or sent any legal threats and are instead in talks with Apple about how they can offer their users the GPLed software legally, which is difficult because it's not possible to grant users all the freedoms they're entitled to and still comply with Apple's restrictive licensing terms."
Google

Submission + - Google Re-enabled Chinese Censorship (google.com) 3

hackingbear writes: Google has rather quietly re-enabled search result censoring, as evident in this search query for June 4 incident. The search returns censored results not quite related to the incident and the censorship foot note is displayed. The same query returned uncensored results a few hours after Google made its China announcement. (I tested it.) According to news reports from Hong Kong and oversea Chinese media (here is the Google translation,) Google are negotiating with the Chinese government which so far has not taken any real actions but just made some standard general statements on the matter. Has Google backed down? It could be just Google's negotiation tactic, but it also casts a doubt on their stance and motive.
Security

Submission + - IETF Fixes SSL Security Vulnerability (eweek.com)

scurtis writes: The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) has finished work on a fix to a vulnerability in the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol. The vulnerability partially invalidates the SSL lock and allows attacks that compromise sites that use SSL for security – including banking sites, and back-office systems that use web services-based protocols. The issue was first uncovered in August by Steve Dispensa and Marsh Ray, who work for two-factor authentication provider PhoneFactor.
Earth

Submission + - Giant Rift in Africa Will Create a New Ocean

Hugh Pickens writes: "The University of Rochester reports that a 35-mile rift in the desert of Ethiopia will likely become a new ocean in a million years or so connecting the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, an arm of the Arabian Sea between Yemen on the Arabian Peninsula and Somalia in eastern Africa. Using newly gathered seismic data, researchers have reconstructed the event to show the rift tore open along its entire 35-mile length in just days. Dabbahu, a volcano at the northern end of the rift, erupted first, then magma pushed up through the middle of the rift area and began "unzipping" the rift in both directions. "We know that seafloor ridges are created by a similar intrusion of magma into a rift, but we never knew that a huge length of the ridge could break open at once like this," says Cindy Ebinger, professor of earth and environmental sciences at the University of Rochester. The results show that highly active volcanic boundaries along the edges of tectonic ocean plates may suddenly break apart in large sections, instead of in bits, as the leading theory previously held and the sudden large-scale events pose a much more serious hazard to populations living near the rift than would several smaller events. "This work is a breakthrough in our understanding of continental rifting leading to the creation of new ocean basins," says Ken Macdonald, professor emeritus in the Department of Earth Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara"
Education

Submission + - U.S. Colleges Say Hiring U.S. Students a Bad Deal 1

theodp writes: "Many U.S. colleges and universities have notices posted on their websites informing U.S. companies that they're tax chumps if they hire students who are U.S. citizens. "In fact, a company may save money by hiring international students because the majority of them are exempt from Social Security (FICA) and Medicare tax requirements," advises the taxpayer-supported University of Pittsburgh (pdf) as it makes the case against hiring its own U.S. students. You'll find identical pitches made by the University of Delaware, the University of Cincinnati, Kansas State University, the University of Southern California, the University of Wisconsin, Iowa State University, and other public colleges and universities. The same messsage is also echoed by private schools, such as John Hopkins University, Brown University, Rollins College and Loyola University Chicago."
The Military

Submission + - Iran Awaiting Ayatollah's Order to Build N-bomb (timesonline.co.uk) 3

suraj.sun writes: Iran has perfected the technology to create and detonate a nuclear warhead and is merely awaiting the word from its Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to produce its first bomb, Western intelligence sources have told The Times.

The sources said that Iran completed a research programme to create weaponised uranium in the summer of 2003 but had halted the research because it had achieved its aim — to find a way of detonating a warhead that could be launched on its long-range Shehab-3 missiles.

They said that, should Ayatollah Khamenei approve the building of a nuclear device, it would take six months to enrich low-enriched uranium to highly-enriched uranium at the Natanz plant, and another six months to assemble the warhead.

Iran's scientists have been trying to master a method of detonating a bomb known as the "multipoint initiation system" — wrapping highly enriched uranium in high explosives and then detonating it.

TimesOnline : http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article6736785.ece

Idle

Submission + - Microsoft Exec: "You'll Miss Vista" (crn.com) 3

Oracle Goddess writes: "Years from now, when you've moved on to Windows 7, you'll look back at Windows Vista fondly. You'll remember its fabulous attributes, not its flaws. That's the opinion of Steve Guggenheimer, vice president of the OEM division at Microsoft. "I think people will look back on Vista after the Windows 7 release and realize that there were actually a bunch of good things there," Guggenheimer said in a recent interview. "So it'll actually be interesting to see in two years what the perception is of Vista." A dissenting opinion comes from Bob Nitrio, president of system builder Ranvest Associates, doesn't believe organizations that skipped Vista will ever regret their decision. "I don't think for a second that people are suddenly going to love Windows 7 so much that they will experience deep pangs of regret for not having adopted Vista," said Nitrio. If I had to bet, I'd go with Bob's take on it."
Idle

Submission + - China bans shock treatment for Internet addiction (goodgearguide.com.au) 1

angry tapir writes: "China has banned the use of shock therapy to treat Internet addiction after its use at one hospital sparked nationwide controversy. The hospital drew wide media coverage in recent months after Internet users claiming to have received the treatment wrote in blogs and forums about being tied down and subjected to shocks for 30 minutes at a time."

Submission + - Can you build a PC that out Macs a Mac? (bit-tech.net)

mr_sifter writes: "Apple is winning; the iPhone is the sexiest gadget going, Apple's computers are gobbling market share like Pacman eats pills and Apple stores are filled with eager customers. PC manufacturers, meanwhile, had raced each other to the bottom to make the cheapest computers possible. In this feature, the writers of bit-tech decided to see if it's possible to beat the latest and greatest 24in iMac at its own game, and set themselves the challenge of beating it, hands down, on as many fronts as possible, for the same price or less. The aim was to build a PC that looked and performed better, and was quieter and more desirable, and all for less cash. To win, we couldn't build any old performance system; we needed to craft a beauty from hardware that directly competes with the iMac's strengths."
Enlightenment

Submission + - Downloading copyrighted material legal in Spain (pcauthority.com.au)

Sqwuzzy writes: Finally someone gets it right. From the article: "A Spanish judge has ruled that downloading copyright files online is legal, as long as it's not for profit, a ruling that would make Spain one of the most lenient in the world"

Article:
http://www.pcauthority.com.au/News/149677,spain-rules-downloading-from-p2p-and-bittorrent-is-legal.aspx

Censorship

Submission + - *.google.com Blocked By Chinese Gov.

An anonymous reader writes: Started at 24 June 2009, about 20:30 (GMT +0800). nslookup www.google.com (or talk.google.com, docs.google.com) gets 202.106.1.2, 209.145.54.50, 203.161.230.171 and many other IPs. Traceroute & HTTP are blocked. (www.)google.cn runs normally. talk.google.com (port 5223) runs normally.
United States

Submission + - Holocaust Museum Gunman Leaves Trail on Wikipedia

The Narrative Fallacy writes: "James W. von Brunn, the 88-year-old white supremacist suspected of opening fire at the National Holocaust Museum in Washington, killing a security guard made a few contributions to Wikipedia under his own name adding remarks to the biography of Cordell Hull in 2007, creating his user page with a short biography on May 10, 2009, and asking for advice on Wikipedia's feedback page on how to get his bio into Wikipedia. Von Brunn's user page was expunged on June 11, the day of the shooting but it can still be found in the archives. "The editors have identified that the statements on his user page constituted a violation of policy of hate speech and moved quickly to protect and remove the information," says Jay Walsh, a spokesman for the Wikimedia Foundation. Although the present user page for von Brunn has been blanked and no biography of von Brunn has of this date been created on Wikipedia, biographical information about von Brunn can be found on Wikipedia under the section "Alleged perpetrator" in an article about the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum shooting."
Censorship

Submission + - OpenNet Initiative: Green Dam Leaky & Dangerou (opennet.net)

Petey_Alchemist writes: Much has been made of China's Green Dam Youth Escort, a new software filter that must be installed on all Chinese computers by July 1st. Though ostensibly a "porn is bad" blcoking device, Rebecca MacKinnon has reported that the filter blocks all sorts of fun political/religious/etc speech (who could have known) and that the image search actually filters out any images with a certain percentage of "flesh-colored tones", which interestingly seems to sometimes block pictures of pigs while leaving porn with black people curiously intact.

Today, the OpenNet Initiative released an initial report on Green Dam. It's a great read. For instance, it turns out that when you enter in certain words (like drugs or Falun Gong) to IE, or Notepad, or Word, or Excel, or anything else, Green Dam will automatically shut down the program immediately. Of course, this can lead to interesting loops, as ONI discovered when they found out that autocomplete triggers the shutdown function too, so if you ever pause after the first letter of a URL and a forbidden URL from your history pops up it shuts down before you can even type anything else.

Green Dam is unbelievably poorly designed, so much so that anyone running Green Dam can have their computer zombified almost immediately. This has the potential to be a serious clusterfuck for China.

Patents

Submission + - Microsoft sued over dynamic Web page technology (goodgearguide.com.au)

angry tapir writes: "A patent-holding company has sued Microsoft for patent infringement for technology used in dynamic Web pages. Parallel Networks filed suit late last week in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas over two patents, United States Patent Nos. 5,894,554 and 6,415,335 B1. The company was granted the patents in 1999 and 2002, respectively, according to the court filing. They cover systems and methods for managing dynamic Web-page generation requests. Parallel said it believes Microsoft is willfully infringing on them and is demanding a jury trial."

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