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The Courts

Whistleblowing IT Director Fired By FL State Attorney 569

An anonymous reader writes "Ben Kruidbos, the IT director for the Florida State Attorney's Office who'd spoken up when important cellphone evidence he'd extracted from Trayvon Martin's cellphone was withheld by the state from the defense, was fired by messenger at 7:30 PM Friday, after closing arguments in the Zimmerman case. He was told that he could not be 'trusted to set foot in this office,' and that he was being fired for incompetence. Kruidbos had received a merit pay raise earlier this year. The firing letter also blames him for consulting a lawyer, an obvious sign of evil."
United Kingdom

Primary School Girl Told To Stop Photographing and Blogging School Meals 472

JamieKitson writes "British primary school (elementary to those of you in the U.S.) pupil Martha/'Veg' has been taking photographs of her school dinners and writing about them at her blog Never Seconds since April. The blog has become popular, and Martha decided to do something with the popularity: namely, raising money for an international school dinners charity. Unfortunately, the local council, Argyll and Bute, having apparently not heard of the Streisand effect, didn't like the publicity that her blog was generating and have shut her down. They said the blog made the catering staff fear for their jobs. There is a happy ending though: donations have gone through the roof and she has already passed her target."
Google

YouTube Identifies Birdsong As Copyrighted Music 730

New submitter eeplox writes "I make nature videos for my YouTube channel, generally in remote wilderness away from any possible source of music. And I purposely avoid using a soundtrack in my videos because of all the horror stories I hear about Rumblefish filing claims against public domain music. But when uploading my latest video, YouTube informed me that I was using Rumblefish's copyrighted content, and so ads would be placed on my video, with the proceeds going to said company. This baffled me. I disputed their claim with YouTube's system — and Rumblefish refuted my dispute, and asserted that: 'All content owners have reviewed your video and confirmed their claims to some or all of its content: Entity: rumblefish; Content Type: Musical Composition.' So I asked some questions, and it appears that the birds singing in the background of my video are Rumblefish's exclusive intellectual property."
Security

DHS Sends Tourists Home Over Twitter Jokes 709

itwbennett writes "In a classic case of 'we say destroy, you say party hard,' the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security detained a pair of British twenty-somethings for 12 hours and then sent them packing back to the land of the cheeky retort. At issue is a Tweet sent by Leigh Van Bryan about plans to 'destroy America,' starting with LA, which, really, isn't that bad an idea."
Wikipedia

Italian Wikipedia May Shut Down Due To New Legislation 292

An anonymous reader writes "Proposed legislation under debate in Italy has Wikipedia warning of a shutdown for the Italian version of the site. They say the law would create 'a requirement to all websites to publish, within 48 hours of the request and without any comment, a correction of any content that the applicant deems detrimental to his/her image.' They further explain. 'Unfortunately, the law does not require an evaluation of the claim by an impartial third judge — the opinion of the person allegedly injured is all that is required, in order to impose such correction to any website. Hence, anyone who feels offended by any content published on a blog, an online newspaper and, most likely, even on Wikipedia can directly request the removal of such contents and its permanent replacement with a "corrected" version, aimed to contradict and disprove the allegedly harmful contents, regardless of the truthfulness of the information deemed as offensive, and its sources.'"
Image

Theater Professor's Firefly Poster Declared Threatening Screenshot-sm 566

ocean_soul writes "Probably because nothing more threatening was happening and they need to prove their usefulness the school police at University of Wisconsin-Stout decided a Firefly poster with the quote: "You don't know me, son, so let me explain this to you once: If I ever kill you, you'll be awake. You'll be facing me. And you'll be armed," was a threat to the safety on campus. Wasn't that a quote about not killing people?"
United Kingdom

The UK Government's Struggle With Digital Rights 155

With his first accepted submission, Ajehals sends this excerpt from a post by the UK Pirate Party: "... at every turn, the coalition has been exposed as having no coherent policy on digital rights. Nothing illustrates this better than its zig-zag course on Internet filtering and website blocking. ... As if any further confirmation was needed that the government's policy on digital rights, and freedom of speech is entirely made up on the fly, along came the riots and a classic knee-jerk reaction to the use of social media. ... one of the few concrete parts of David Cameron’s statement to the recalled House of Commons was a full on attack on social media. It was carefully worded, but the thrust was that the Prime Minister thought further action is necessary to combat the 'ill' done by status updates. At this point things took a turn for the authoritarian, with MP Louise Mensch saying it was 'acceptable to shut Twitter and Facebook off for an hour or two.' ... Worse still, it has been recently revealed that the Government actually asked Ofcom to make Digital Economy Act appeals harder. It also wants to rule out a public consultation – once again trying to do deals away from the public eye. I suspect it is actually this fear of the power technology can give us to hold our representatives to account that drives alarm about the Internet in the corridors of power."
Government

EG8 Publishes Report In Noninteractive, Nonquotable Format 148

pbahra writes "You could not come up with a better illustration of the clash of cultures that was the eG8 than the post-forum report. Was the output of the two-day gathering in Paris published on a website so people could link to it? Or perhaps a blog so that people could comment on it? Or even a wiki, so the people who attended could contribute and correct mistakes? No it wasn't. The report is a book. Or rather it is an eBook. Except it isn't even an eBook, in the sense of something that you can read on your Kindle or other eBook reader. It's actually a Flash-based page turner, the sort of thing that was all the rage five years ago. It is a digital facsimile of a book. It is the triumph of design over access. Being Flash, you can't even cut and paste what is in the file. And being Flash it gives complete and total control to the authors. As a user all you get to do is to read it, in exactly the way the authors want you to. It looks good, but you can't do anything with it, except what the authors tell you to do. Metaphor anyone?"
Earth

High-Tech Gas Drilling Is Fouling Drinking Water 390

sciencehabit writes "Drilling for natural gas locked deep in a shale formation — a process known as fracking — has seriously contaminated shallow groundwater supplies beneath far northeastern Pennsylvania with flammable methane. That's the conclusion of a new study, published yesterday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The analysis gives few clues, however, to how pervasive such contamination might be across the wide areas of the Northeast United States, Texas, and other states where drilling for shale gas has taken off in recent years."
Government

Ireland's Blasphemy Law Goes Into Effect 845

stereoroid writes "As of January 1, it is a crime in Ireland to commit Blasphemy. The law was changed in July 2009 to fill a gap in the Irish Constitution, which states that it is a crime but does not define what it is, an omission highlighted in a Supreme Court decision in 1999. To mark the occasion, Atheist Ireland published a list of 25 blasphemous quotations on the blasphemy.ie website, from such controversial figures as Bjork, Frank Zappa, Richard Dawkins, Randy Newman, and Pope Benedict XVI. (The last-mentioned was quoting a 14th Century Byzantine Emperor, but that's no excuse.)"
Censorship

Canadian Censorship Takes Down 4500 Sites 227

uncadonna writes "According to activist group The Yes Men, the government of Canada has shut down two parody websites criticizing Canada's poor environmental policy. The article goes on to claim that 'In response to Environment Canada's request, Serverloft immediately turned off a whole block of IP addresses, knocking out more than 4500 websites that had nothing to do with the parody sites or the activists who created them. Serverloft was shown no warrant, and never called the web hosting company about the shutdown.'"
Christmas Cheer

Does Santa Hate Linux? 271

beernutmark writes "Well, it looks like Santa or at least Norad/Google hates Linux. This year, for the first time since its inception, Norad is not making a simple .kml file available for download to track Santa. You must connect to their website with a Windows/Mac browser and use the browser plugin. No full-screen Google Earth to look at the beautiful areas around Santa's path. (Anyone have any open source source kml files for tracking Santa or any idea how we can go about making one for 2010?)"
Media

Microsoft Brings Back DRM 414

Barence writes "Microsoft yesterday unveiled its MSN Mobile Music service — and a surprise return to digital rights management (DRM). While companies such as Apple and Amazon have finally moved to music download services free of copy protection, MSN Mobile locks tracks to the mobile handset they are downloaded to. It also charges more than the other services per track, and offers no way to transfer your tracks to your new phone when you upgrade. The company's Head of Mobile UK spoke to PC Pro about the launch, but his answers are almost as baffling as the service itself. Best quote: Q: 'If I buy these songs on your service — and they're locked to my phone — what happens when I upgrade my phone in six months' time?' A: 'Well, I think you know the answer to that.'"
Transportation

Amtrak Photo Contestant Arrested By Amtrak Police 675

Photographer Duane Kerzic was standing on the public platform in New York's Penn Station, taking pictures of trains in hopes of winning the annual photo contest that Amtrak had been running since 2003. Amtrak police arrested him for refusing to delete the photos when asked, though they later charged him with trespassing. "Obviously, there is a lack of communication between Amtrak's marketing department, which promotes the annual contest, called Picture Our Trains, and its police department, which has a history of harassing photographers for photographing these same trains. Not much different than the JetBlue incident from earlier this year where JetBlue flight attendants had a woman arrested for refusing to delete a video she filmed in flight while the JetBlue marketing department hosted a contest encouraging passengers to take photos in flight." Kerzic's blog has an account of the arrest on Dec. 21 and the aftermath.
Privacy

Verizon Exposes the Wrong 1,200 Email Addresses 94

netbuzz writes "If you're going to market your expertise by inviting 1,200 IT professionals to a seminar about securing data and protecting personal information, it's probably a good idea to protect the personal information of those you invite. On Tuesday, Verizon forgot that advice and blasted each of the 1,200 email addresses to everyone on the list ... and they did it 17 times."

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