Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! ×

Submission + - Canadian Election results in Conservative Majority (

selven writes: With the left wing split between the Liberals and a resurgent New Democratic Party (NDP), the Conservative party has won a majority government. The final tally is 167 C, 34 L, 102 NDP, 4 for the separatist Bloc Quebecois (down from 47) and 1 for the Green Party. The Canadian conservative party is known for such things as his attempts to pass highly restrictive copyright laws and their platform for this election intends to increase internet surveillance, a possibility of warrantless disclosure laws and a right to break digital locks, as well as no review for the CRTC, something which all other major parties support.

Submission + - Diaspora Releases First Code (

selven writes: The Diaspora project started to be developed several months ago, aiming to be "the privacy aware, personally controlled, do-it-all, open source social network", and raised $200,642, although the actual amount of money that the project has to work with is much less due to the generous rewards that were available to donors. The open-source project has now released its first code to developers and also published screenshots. "This is now a community project and development is open to anyone with the technical expertise who shares the vision of a social network that puts users in control," the team said in a blog. They intend to launch a public product in October.

Submission + - Canadian politician criticized over crime comments (

selven writes: In Canada, it seems like tough-on-crime is not as easy a free ticket to popularity as is previously thought. A senior cabinet minister in Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government came under fire yesterday for suggesting that Canada needs to build more prisons, in part because of a rise in unreported crimes. "We're very concerned ... about the increase in the amount of unreported crimes that surveys clearly show are happening," Day (the cabinet minister) said at a news conference. "People simply aren't reporting the same way they used to." However, Statistics Canada quickly shot down Day's assumptions, saying that since they surveyed only eight types of unreported crimes their numbers cannot be compared to police-reported crime statistics. Actual numbers, however, find themselves received with unwelcoming arms by Harper's government: "We do not use statistics as an excuse not to get tough on criminals," Stephens wrote in an email.

Submission + - US legalizes DMCA exceptions (

selven writes: In a landmark victory for the EFF, the US Copyright Office's Librarian of Congress has implemented three exceptions to the DMCA. One allows jailbreaking wireless telephone handsets to run software, another allows software that allows wireless telephone handsets to connect to a telecommunications network (ie. breaking carrier lock-in), and a third allows circumventing circumventing copy protection for purposes of criticism or comment. Apple and the MPAA have criticised the decision, saying that it unnecessarily blurs the otherwise bright line regarding the illegality of breaking copy protection, and the MPAA is continuing to suggest that people trying to use copyrighted materials for fair use purposes film the TV screen, a solution that the EFF compares to forcing students to copy down long passages from a book by hand.

Submission + - Woman to sue phone company for exposing affair (

selven writes: Gabriella Nagy, 35, is seeking 600,000 Canadian dollars from Rogers Wireless for invasion of privacy and breach of contract, after her husband saw her frequent phone calls to an unknown phone number, realized she was having an affair with him, and left her. She claims that she asked Rogers to send her phone bill to her separately, but Rogers instead sent the bill along with the TV, internet and home phone bill. She blames Rogers for the breakup, saying that they "breached [her] privacy" after she "entrusted them with [her] personal information." A Rogers spokesman replies "We cannot be responsible for the personal decisions made by our customers."

Submission + - Canada Court Limits Rights of Confidential Sources (

selven writes: A Canadian Supreme Court ruling has clarified the right of media institutions to protect their confidential sources, saying that the right is not absolute "when the law-enforcement interest in obtaining information for an investigation is greater". The specific case revolves around a forged bank document sent to the National Post in 2001, which the court ruled must be turned over since it is a "physical evidence of a crime". The judgement may have an impact on the willingness of whistleblowers to come forward. Judge Binnie wrote "The alleged forgery is distinct from whistle-blowing. In terms of getting out the truth, the 'leak' of a forged document undermines rather than advances achievement of the purpose of the privilege claimed by the media in the public interest." However, this case does affect legitimate whistleblowers harshly: the onus is now on the media to justify the confidentiality of a source, and not on the prosecutor to justify trumping journalistic privilege.

Submission + - Is Desktop Linux becoming too proprietary? 5

selven writes: The main factor that separates Linux out from more mainstream systems is, in the eyes of the average Linux user, freedom. Freedom is at the core of the Linux culture, but in the last few years it seems that Linux is moving away from these ideals. Ubuntu, despite its front page commitment to free and open source software, has made many sacrifices of freedom in favor of convenience, such as the replacement of with Google Docs in the netbook edition, an app store for commercial, presumably proprietary, software and a music store. Novell and Microsoft have made a patent agreement and patented components are entering desktop Linux systems. Is this the plot of the evil corporations, to destroy freedom one step at a time with stealth rather than power, or is this a necessary and unavoidable part of Desktop Linux growing up?

Submission + - SPAM: Poll: The new decade starts...

selven writes: 1) In 2010
2) In 2011
3) On Dec 21, 2012
4) On Jan 19, 2038
5) A new period of 10 years starts every Jan 1
6) I use Ksecs and Msecs, you insensitive clod!
7) When we get flying cars, goddammit.

Submission + - New defense for Libel in Canada (

selven writes: In an effort to reduce so called "libel chill", the effect that reduces journalists' willingness to pursue controversial stories, the Supreme Court of Canada has created a new defense for libel: as long as journalists or bloggers take steps to ensure fairness and are acting in the public interest, they have some leeway in making factual errors. This has been widely hailed as a major victory for freedom of speech in Canada. One Ontario lawyer comments that "had this new defence not been established we'd have been in the Dark Ages".

Submission + - How do you see Slashdot's friend system? 5

selven writes: I've recently gained an interest in Slashdot's skeletal social networking system, which allows people to flag other users as friends and foes and view these relationships. What do you think of this system? How do you use it and what do you see its purpose as being? One of its effects is that it allows people to join together based on their political affiliations, such as libertarianism, views on copyright, views on criminal justice, etc. However, political affiliation has a very large number of dimensions and there are some people some of whose posts I read nodding my head every second of the way while vehemently disagreeing with some of their other posts. Doesn't this make the community more divisive, or is there some other meaning I haven't thought of?

Submission + - Poll: How much money do you make annually?

selven writes: 1) $1000-$29999
2) $30000-$59999
3) $60000-$99999
4) $100000-$999999
5) I'm a millionaire
6) below $1000 (I'm too young for that sort of thing)
7) below $1000 (I'm too old for that sort of thing)
8) below $1000 (currently unemployed)
9) below $1000 (I subsistence farm/barter/my salary comes in food directly)

Submission + - Are schoolchildren doing better than ever? (

selven writes: Very often we, on Slashdot and in many other places, hear people decrying the current state of the educational system, and protesting the latest attempt to dumb down education. However, here is another take on the issue — yes, schools are bad, but we are viewing the past through rose-colored goggles. Although many students are failing their courses, the amount of failure is decreasing, and some schools are even scaling back their remedial programs. We should, instead of focusing on the negatives, focus on the success — how many students didn't bring a gun or a drug to school and how many did their homework; we should focus on the successful students who graduate early and with top marks and will be joining the frontier of science, not the students who shoot up dozens of classmates culminating years of ostracization and depression.

Submission + - Canadian chief criticizes critics of antiterrorism (

selven writes: The director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service chastised those critical of Canada's efforts to fight terrorism. "Many of our opinion leaders have come to see the fight against terrorism not as defending democracy and our values, but as attacking them. Almost any attempt to fight terrorism by the government is portrayed as an overreaction or an assault on liberty" director Fadden explained. He believes that terrorism is the ultimate attack on liberty, and attacks the way the media supposedly treats terrorists as heroes, making terrorist connections a badge of honor in the fight against what Fadden believes the media believes is the real enemy — the government.

This lack of understanding of why modern anti-terrorist policies are often criticized is not excusable anywhere and it is vitally important that we criticize this ignorance before Canada's conservative government (the one that hired this director) puts more restrictive and misguided policies into law.


Submission + - Google Chrome OS Leaks (

selven writes: The browser for Google's upcoming Chrome operating system has been accidentally put up for download, and some people got it before it was taken down, and it is now freely available on the internet. The browser is a somewhat reskinned version of Chrome with some key new features — a clock and a (nonfunctional in the leaked build) wireless internet utility at the top right, suggesting that the browser will take up the entire screen in the OS.

If you are interested in trying out the browser, you can find it here, although only Debian and Ubuntu users can install the package.

Submission + - Iran's nuclear ambitions (

selven writes: "Following Iran's revelation regarding its secret nuclear enrichment plant, western leaders are banding together against it, saying that it violates Articles 2 and 3 of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and suggesting serious sanctions against the country if it refuses to back down on its uranium enrichment program. Iran maintains that it nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only and that it's not fair for the US to be criticizing them in this way while having thousands of nuclear warheads."

Slashdot Top Deals

"If you can, help others. If you can't, at least don't hurt others." -- the Dalai Lama