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Comcast Customers Urged To Opt-Out of Settlement 128

funchords writes "As a settlement to the class-action lawsuits over Comcast's blocking of users' Internet traffic, Comcast stands to pay 'up to' $16.00 to every subscriber who makes a claim at their settlement website and declares, under penalty of perjury, that their online activity was for a lawful purpose consistent with applicable copyright and other laws. Robb Topolski, the veteran networking engineer who kicked off the case when he discovered the blocking back in 2007, says that the proposed settlement doesn't make sense, especially after the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled this month that the US Federal Communications Commission didn't have the authority to enforce its Net neutrality principles on Comcast. 'You paid about $50 a month for the service, and the amount that Comcast stands to return is up to about 50c per month for each month that it blocked traffic,' he wrote. 'If that tiny amount of money is compensation, then there is no penalty to Comcast for interfering with its customers, for failing to disclose it, for repeatedly lying about it, and for taking so long to stop it.' The Associated Press and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, in late 2007, each independently confirmed Topolski's reports that Comcast was blocking BitTorrent and some other traffic without telling its customers. Comcast first denied interfering with traffic, then finally said it throttled some applications only during times of peak congestion. However, studies from the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems in Germany eventually proved that Comcast slowed BitTorrent traffic around the clock."

Millennium Prize Awarded For Perelman's Poincaré Proof 117

epee1221 writes "The Clay Mathematics Institute has announced its acceptance of Dr. Grigori Perelman's proof of the Poincaré conjecture and awarded the first Millennium Prize. Poincaré questioned whether there exists a method for determining whether a three-dimensional manifold is a spherical: is there a 3-manifold not homologous to the 3-sphere in which any loop can be gradually shrunk to a single point? The Poincaré conjecture is that there is no such 3-manifold, i.e. any boundless 3-manifold in which the condition holds is homeomorphic to the 3-sphere. A sketch of the proof using language intended for the lay reader is available at Wikipedia."

Submission + - An end to frivolous patents may be in sight (economist.com)

fiannaFailMan writes: The Economist has high hopes that frivolous patents may become a thing of the past.

America’s Supreme Court is about to issue a ruling which, by all accounts, will make it difficult, if not impossible, to get a patent for a business process. And because most business processes are, at bottom, computer algorithms, the Supreme Court’s judgment could also bar all sorts of software patents in the process. As a result, a lot of patents for online shopping, medical-diagnostic tests and procedures for executing trades on Wall Street could be invalidated.

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