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Electronic Frontier Foundation

Submission + - EFF Makes Lawyer Drop the P2P Porn Lawsuit (arstechnica.com)

suraj.sun writes: An angry Texas lawyer Evan Stone has dismissed a file-sharing lawsuit on behalf of a pornographic German film called Der Gute Onkel, all thanks to the EFF and Public Citizen.

When file-sharing attorneys file lawsuits against anonymous defendants, they initially face no opposition—their targets are unknown, so no lawyers speak up for their interests until after the subpoenas have been filed and their names are revealed. The EFF and Public Citizen are out to change that, as they did in the Gute Onkel case. The two groups asked the judge to appoint them as attorneys ad litem to speak up for the 670 unknown defendants—and the court agreed.

A few weeks later, Stone asked the court to dismiss the case.

ARSTechnica: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2011/02/lawyers-cant-handle-opposition-give-up-on-p2p-porn-lawsuit.ars


Submission + - New TSA Scans Won't Create Naked Images (latimes.com)

Hugh Pickens writes writes: The LA Times reports that the Transportation Security Administration is testing software that would allow airport scanners to show objects hidden under the clothes of passengers without creating what appears to be a naked digital image of the passengers instead creating an outline of a generic person on a screen showing any anomalies that would indicate hidden weapons or contraband. The software would be installed on the scanners that are already installed at airports and no new equipment would be needed. The idea is not new. TSA Administrator John Pistole said last year that the agency had long been testing the software but that it had created too many false alarms during early trials. A TSA spokesman says that some of the false-alarm problems have now been resolved in government labs.

Submission + - AT&T Sued for Systematic iPhone Overbilling

Hugh Pickens writes writes: UPI reports that AT&T is facing a lawsuit that says AT&T routinely bills for 7 percent to 14 percent more data transactions than normally takes place that could blossom into a costly class-action case. Court papers claim that attorneys set up a test account for an iPhone, then closed all of its apps and left the device unused for 10 days. AT&T still billed the account for 2,292 KB of usage. "A significant portion of the data revenues were inflated by AT&T's rigged billing system for data transactions," say court papers filed on behalf of AT&T customer Patrick Hendricks. "This is like the rigged gas pump charging you when you never even pulled your car into the station." Attorneys say they would file to have the case moved to class-action status, which makes the outcome relevant to all of AT&T's iPhone accounts.

Submission + - Russian ASCII Art Animated Cat From 1968 (technologizer.com)

harrymcc writes: Forty-two years ago, Russian scientists created an impressive sequence of a cat walking about--and it was all the more impressive given that the "CGI" involved rendering hundreds of images of the cat as ASCII art, then printing out the sequence image by image and photographing it.

Submission + - SPAM: Bad BitDefender update clobbers Windows PCs

alphadogg writes: Users of the BitDefender antivirus software started flooding the company's support forums Saturday, apparently after a faulty antivirus update caused 64-bit Windows machines to stop working.

The company acknowledged the issue in a note explaining the problem, posted Saturday. [spam URL stripped] "Due to a recent update it is possible that BitDefender detects several Windows and BitDefender files as infected with Trojan.FakeAlert.5," the company said. The acknowledgement came after BitDefender users had logged hundreds of posts on the topic. Some complained of being unable to reboot their systems.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Investigating the "driver" used in Aurora attack (blogspot.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Security researcher had published his external analysis for the msconfig32.sys file, used in the Aurora attack against Google.
Aurora operation was done by a sophisticated attackers and trace back to China. Itzhak Avraham, Had researched a file which not much of information had been published about, and checked the leads of drivers used as one of the attackers arsenal. In his post (http://imthezuk.blogspot.com/2010/03/aurora-sys-file-used-in-attack-external.html) he shows why it is, or why it's not a valid driver. Nice to see some external analysis when proper analysis can't be done (in scenarios where file is encrypted/corrupted). This is the first public analysis of the ".sys" file used in the attack.


Submission + - Food Activist's Life Becomes The Life Of Brian (guardian.co.uk) 2

krou writes: After food activist and author Raj Patel appeared on The Colbert Report to promote his latest book, things seemed to be going well, until he began to get inundated with emails asking if he was 'the world teacher'. In events ripped straight from The Life of Brian, it would seem that Raj Patel's life story ticks all the boxes necessary to fulfil prophecies made by Benjamin Creme, founder of religious sect Share International. After the volume of emails and enquiries got worse, Patel eventually wrote a message on his website stating categorically that he was not the Messiah. Sure enough, 'his denial merely fanned the flames for some believers. In a twist ripped straight from the script of the comedy classic, they said that this disavowal, too, had been prophesied.'

Submission + - Massive AI Research Sparked by Mobile Phone Apps (hplusmagazine.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The CTO of D-Wave Systems says "massive amounts of money" are going into artificial intelligence research, because "Microsoft, Google, Apple and other companies all want to dominate the mobile space, and to do that you need compelling applications... All of that requires better AI." D-Wave Systems worked with Google on the "Google Goggles" mobile phone app for augmented reality, using their systems to "teach" a neural network how to recognize objects like automobiles, and then transferring those algorithms to the mobile app. This is significant because D-Wave Systems uses subatomic superconducting logic circuits — or quantum computing — a crucial stepping stone to human-level artificial intelligence. "I'm very excited by the possibility of building very effective unsupervised learning systems and contributing in a meaningful way to the creation of better-than-human level intelligence in machines," says D-Wave's CTO, adding "The existence of vast machine sentience is almost guaranteed to occur."

Submission + - SPAM: When Windows can mean life or death

Doogie Howser writes: Win 7 updates are by default stealth updates, i.e. they download and apply themselves without asking, sometimes rebooting the PC. In some cases even when you say no the PC will reboot itself and even XP users will have experienced the slowing down of their computers when an update wants to be installed or rebooted to take effect.

In this case a doctor was using his home PC to remote-connect to his clinic at 4:15am to discuss a roadside accident scan with a surgeon. He selected "no" to the reboot message that popped up and Win 7 promptly rebooted, corrupting his medical software, and causing him to lose 15 critical minutes. The doctor now wants a non-Windows box to conduct future critical business.

Link to Original Source

What To Expect From Apple's Rumored MacPad 213

Jeff writes "I decided to review the specifications of recent e-readers and mobile devices as well as the ongoing Apple rumor mill to chart out the most likely features, innovations and configuration we can expect from Apple's long awaited Newton successor/Mac Tablet which I'll call the MacPad. The MacPad will arrive in fall '09 or Jan '10, with a 10" diagonal color display, a $599 price point with a Verizon data plan, a stylus, note taking application and handwriting recognition and an e-bookstore for iTunes. Apple's biggest challenge will be convincing its huge installed base of iPhone owners that they need a MacPad too. Past failed Newtonian predictions by others are available on Slashdot and the likelihood that any of this is right can be gauged by earlier Confucian gems such as Haskin warns that Apple may be setting itself up for a failure with the iPhone."

Verizon Tells Cops "Your Money Or Your Life" 593

Mike writes "A 62-year-old man had a mental breakdown and ran off after grabbing several bottles of pills from his house. The cops asked Verizon to help trace the man using his cellphone, but Verizon refused, saying that they couldn't turn on his phone because he had an unpaid bill for $20. After an 11-hour search (during which time the sheriff's department was trying to figure out how to pay the bill), the man was found, unconscious. 'I was more concerned for the person's life,' Sheriff Dale Williams said. 'It would have been nice if Verizon would have turned on his phone for five or 10 minutes, just long enough to try and find the guy. But they would only turn it on if we agreed to pay $20 of the unpaid bill.' Score another win for the Verizon Customer Service team."

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