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The Courts

Submission + - Student Blogger Loses Small Claims Defamation Case

An anonymous reader writes: Yaman Salahi, a UC Berkeley student and blogger, lost a lawsuit brought against him by Lee Kaplan, a journalist for Kaplan had sued Salahi for tortious business interference and libel in a California small claims court suit in response to a blog Salahi had set-up about him called "Lee Kaplan Watch." Judge Marshall Whitley presided over the appeal on June 8, 2007, and entered his ruling on June 13, 2007 in favor of the plaintiff, asking that Salahi pay him $7,500 (the maximum in small claims court) plus court fees. No written opinion was offered with the decision, though all other court filings are available here. From Salahi's update on the blog:

"...because [Kaplan] sued me in small claims court, I did not have the protections of the anti-SLAPP [Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Policy] statute. I initially did not have the protection of a lawyer, nor did I have the assurances that the trial would be conducted with consistency and integrity, ensuring me my due process rights, because the standards for acceptable evidence are much lower and more informal for small claims court than they are for real courts. Furthermore, I will never know why I lost the initial hearing, or why I lost the appeal, because small claims judges are not obligated to release written opinions with their rulings.... I will never have the opportunity to take this to a real appellate court where my first amendment rights might be protected."
What does this mean for bloggers' rights, in general? Should defamation cases be heard before small claims court in the first place? What are bloggers with little or no available resources to do when they are targeted for their political slant?

Submission + - X-rated Paris Hilton site exposes customer data (

coondoggie writes: "Not that Layer 8 found this out personally but The Smoking Gun and other news outlets are reporting the X-rated Paris Hilton Web site exposed hundreds of customer credit card numbers and other personal customer information. You may recall was set up by internet entrepreneur Bardia Persa after he bought a container of Hilton's personal possessions at an auction. The container was for sale after Hilton forgot to pay a $208 storage bill and now, of course, she's in jail so she has bigger things to worry about. The website was taken down by a court order in February but was back up in defiance of the ruling after Hilton was jailed for driving offences. 4"

Submission + - Mandriva signs against RacketWare (

Coeurderoy writes: andriva signs the AFUL petition "Non aux racketiciels" against tied sales
Mandriva gives its support to AFUL's action against sales of bundled software. ware
When you buy a new computer, you get a set of "freebees", the OS, Antivirus, CD burning, etc...
In practice it is almost impossible for consumers to know the selling price, contracts and conditions of use of these applications and, if they wish to,
The only thing you can be sure is that it is not really free, and you cannot refuse to purchase them.

On average, the price of this software constitutes between 10% and 25% of the purchase price of the computer — that is to say from 100 to 300 Euros. Although the French Consumer Code forbids the sale of tied goods (the computer hardware) and services (software licenses), the situation continues and deprives consumers of real freedom of choice. It artificially prevents the spread of free software to the general public.

The AFUL working group against tied sales launched the petition Non aux racketiciel (No to racketware) in order to challenge the French authorities on this intolerable practice. Since 1999, this working group has accompanied and advised people who wish to claim refunds for the software licenses that they were forced to buy against their will with the computer (racketware). Launched in April 2006, the petition has more than 21,000 signatories and requests only the application of the law: everyone in France should have the choice not to buy what he or she does not want to use.

As UFC Que Choisir (French Union of Consumers) is suing hardware manufacturers and software retailers, Mandriva the largest European GNU/Linux Distribution editor
signed the petition "Non aux racketiciels", along with the principal free software associations and other companies. François Bancilhon, CEO of Mandriva explains :

It is a commitment in accordance with our values, our idea of free software and our mission of promoting Linux. We are in tune with the open source community which supports this action and has asked us to engage ourselves.

Mandriva offers choice to consumers. Today, in countries like Brazil, Argentina or Poland where users have the ability to choose the operating system installed with their computer, PC manufacturers sell tens of thousands of units every month with Mandriva Linux pre-installed.
Pre-installed software can be useful for some customers, but if the competition would really believe that their software could compete in a free market, they would not go through such length to force HW makers and public authorities to accept this practice.

François Bancilhon CEO of Mandriva asks : Why can the French market not also profit from the end of the Microsoft monopoly? Why do the French state and the DGCCRF (French authority for competition, consumer issues and fraud prevention) do not do their jobs?


Submission + - Creeper discovers intelligence agencies (

mpawlo writes: Patrik Wallstrom of Gnuheter fame has released his new privacy project Creeper. Creeper is basically a picture you place on your blog, website or bittorrent tracker site. Creeper will check the IP of everyone accessing the blog, web site etc and do a lookup into a predefined database over governmental agencies. The result is aggregated on a publicly accessible web site. Creeper will disclose a lot of interesting information regarding how and when governmental officials use their computers and what they monitor at work.

The project was initiated in Sweden a few weeks ago and has already raised serious concerns over privacy matters in Sweden. One of the three letter combination-agencies was discovered monitoring a password protected piracy bittorrent site, i.e. it hacked the web site and kept track of everything happeningthere. This will probably keep happening for six months or so, until all agencies will learn to cover their tracks and use other IP numbers and so forth. Or perhaps the ignorance will continue... Meanwhile, we can all learn what to expect in terms of surveillance and Big Brother tendencies online.

An independent German "Creeper" should be released any day now ("überwach" it is called and is not related to Creeper). Patrik is willing to offer the code to anyone interested in releasing the corresponding service in other countries.


Submission + - SANS Offers New Secure Coding Certifications

mushupork writes: The SANS Institute, which offers the coveted GIAC security professional certification, now offers new GSSP Certifications for secure coding in Java and C. Per the email sent out by SANS this morning: "Hacking Web applications is now more common than hacking networks and operating systems. One recent analysis showed that more than 60% of Web applications had exploitable security flaws." So, do secure coding certifications have value, or is the CISSP all a coder needs to say "I can code securely!"

Feed Review: Illustrator CS3 (

Upgrading to Adobe Illustrator CS3 is a no-brainer for longtime Illustrator users. I was hoping that some of the older tools would get some tweaksespecially the 3-D tools and the color picker, and I'd love to see the ability to create multiple-page documents.


Submission + - BSD job seekers find

mjuszczak writes: "CTO: Meet your new BSD Guru. BSD SysAdmin: Meet your new employer. has launched Internationally to provide an opportunity for employers to post free job listings related to any of the BSDs. The site is the work of community volunteers. More information is available here."

Feed SimpleCenter hopes open source community will give back (

Universal Electronics Inc. (UEI), best known for its line of universal remote controls, also sells SimpleCenter, an all-in-one application for Windows PCs that ties together in a single interface all of a user's multimedia devices and software. It streamlines the management of photos, music, and movies, and even acts as a Universal Plug and Play server so you can stream your files to any device on your home network, while the software converts files to the proper format for the device. Recently, UEI released the basic version of SimpleCenter under the terms of the GNU General Public License in order to take advantage of the community's ability to make the software better faster than the company can do it alone.

Submission + - MS Mulling Changes to Thwart .ANI-type Attacks

Scada Moosh writes: ZDNet has a story about the lessons Microsoft learned from the recent animated cursor (.ani) attacks and some of the broad changes being made to flag these types of vulnerability ahead of time. The changes include a possible addition to the list of banned API function calls, more aggressive checks for buffer overruns and enhancements to existing fuzz testing tools.

Submission + - Cell Phones aren't killing bees after all

radioweather writes: "A couple of weeks ago, there was a nutty idea discussed in The Independent that claimed the electromagnetic radiation from cell phones was causing bees to become disoriented, which prevented them from returning to the hive, and they died. The flimsy cell phone argument was used to explain Colony Collapse Disorder.

Today the LA Times reports that researchers at UC San Francisco have uncovered what they believe to be the real culprit: a parasitic fungus. Other researchers said Wednesday that they too had found the fungus, a single-celled parasite called Nosema ceranae, in affected hives from around the country."

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