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Submission + - Possibly fatal blow against a patent trolls. (computerworld.com)

whoever57 writes: Patent trolls rely on the fact that they have no assets and, if they lose a case, they can fold the company that owned the patent and sued, thus avoiding paying any the defendant's legal bills. However, in a recent case, the judge has told the winning defendant that it can claim its legal bills from the law firm. The decision is based on the plaintiff's law firm using a contract under which it would take a portion of any judgment, making it more than just counsel, but instead a partner with the plaintiff. This will likely result in law firms wanting to be paid up front, instead of offering a contingency-based fee.

Submission + - Election Assistance Commission hacked using SQL injection. (reuters.com)

whoever57 writes: The commission that is responsible for ensuring the integrity of voting machines was itself hacked. The hacker gained access to non-public reports on weaknesses in voting machines. The hack occurred after the election, so it is unlikely that this hack resulted in changing the result. However, if one hacker can break in, how does anyone know that there was not a prior hack?

The hack used an SQL injection flaw to gain access to usernames and passwords which were then cracked.

Submission + - Accused British "Flash Crash" trader to be extradited to the US. (zerohedge.com)

whoever57 writes: Navinder Sarao has lost his appeal and is set to be extradited to the USA, where he faces charges with a possible maximum sentence of 380 years. He is accused of causing the "flash crash" in 2010, when the Dow Jones index dropped by 1000 points. He ran his trading from his bedroom in his parents' house and it is claimed that he made more than £30M (approximately $40M) in 5 years. His parents had no idea what he was doing, nor the scale of his income. He is accused of placing trades that he never intended to fill, so, to this naive person, it's hard to distinguish what he did from that of the large high-speed trading firms.

Submission + - 6 states declare emergency. Media almost silent. (cleantechnica.com)

whoever57 writes: The Colonial Pipeline spill has caused 6 states to declare a state of emergency. Gas prices on the east coast are likely to spike. Yet, most puzzling is how this vast emergency and its likely effect on cost of living has gone unnoticed by mainstream media outlets. The pipeline is owned by Koch Industries: is this why the media is silent?

Submission + - Major security action caused by exercise blunder (telegraph.co.uk)

whoever57 writes: A UK Premier League football match (Manchester United vs. Bournmouth) was called off, 76,000 people were evacuated from the stadium and a "controlled explosion" carried out because of a "suspicious device". What was the device? A fake bomb that had been left behind by a security exercise. The exercise involved an external company and sniffer dogs.
This incident also raises the question of how the pre-game security sweep did not find the device.

Submission + - Someone needs to tell these judges about archive.org (telegraph.co.uk) 1

whoever57 writes: In the UK, a celebrity couple were able to convince the Appeals Court to grant an injunction about the fact that the couple took part in a threesome. The injunction only covers England and Wales, so a Scottish newspaper named the couple. Obviously, the injunction doesn't extend outside the rest of the UK, so the couple have been named in US publications. The UK newspapers have take the issue to the UK's Supreme Court, where one judge made the incredible remark: "Hard copy newspapers in some respect may be regarded as causing less harm than the internet which is, subject to deletions, technically permanent." Someone needs to show this judge the Wayback Machine, and explain how deleting information off the Internet is not possible. They should also show the judge how history is preserved on Wikipedia.

Submission + - Hearing Aid Business Under Pressure From Consumer Electronics

HughPickens.com writes: There's good news for aging Americans who may have damaged their hearing by attending one too many rock concerts when they were young as Andrew Pollack writes at the NYT that the consumer electronics industry is encroaching on the hearing aid business, offering products that are far less expensive and available without the involvement of audiologists or other professionals. The new devices are forcing a re-examination of the entire system for providing hearing aids, which critics say is too costly and cumbersome, hindering access to devices vital for the growing legions of older Americans. “The audiology profession is obviously scared, for good reason, right now,” says Abram Bailey.

Hearing aids cost an average of nearly $2,400 each, or close to $5,000 a pair, according to a White House advisory group and Medicare does not pay for them, nor do most insurers. By contrast, the consumer devices are not regulated and sell for a few hundred dollars apiece, at most. Hearing aid manufacturers say that diagnosing and treating hearing loss are too complex for consumers to do using consumer devices, without the aid of a professional. But sound amplifiers have been around for years and they are growing in sophistication, taking advantage of signal processing chips developed for phones, Bluetooth headsets and computers. The devices include the Smart Listening System from Soundhawk, which sells at $400 for a single ear; the Bean from Etymotic Research, at $300; the CS50+ from Sound World Solutions at $350; and the Crystal Ear from NeutronicEar, at $545. “To me it was a reasonable investment to experiment with,” says Ira Dolich, 81, who bought the Soundhawk device, which he can adjust by himself using his smartphone. “I’ve been pretty pleased with it."

Submission + - A California jury finds copyright infringement in an interface (deepchip.com)

whoever57 writes: A California jury in one of the cases between Synopsys and Atoptech found copyright infringement in Atoptech's use of the "Primetime commands". These companies compete in the field of EDA ("Electronic Design Automation") software: software that is used by semiconductor companies to design ICs.

The Primetime commands are merely an interface. Atoptech has their own implementation of the functionality that these commands demand. This can be seen as similar to the Oracle Vs Google lawsuit, in which an appeals court has found that providing a similar interface (via header files) can constitute copyright infringement. Naturally, there will be appeals in this case.

Submission + - Is Linux Mint a crude hack of Debian-based distros? (infoworld.com)

whoever57 writes: Infoworld has a an article about a discussion at LWN.net which talks about the recent compromise of the Linux mint isos and how Mint is really a security nightmare and a hack. One poster refers to the fact that Linux mint names packaes such that the names collide with existing Debian packages, the fact that Mint pulls binary packages directly from Ubuntu repositories and the the Mint developers also include packages that may infringe on copyright (typically closed-source products that allow downloads, but not redistribution). There is some praise for the work that the Mint developers have done with Cinnamon and Mate, but no mention that Mint is one if the few distros that offers an option that does not use systemd.

Submission + - TPP Change Means Drastically Higher Penalties for Copyright "Infringement" (eff.org)

Mephistophocles writes: A sneaky and underhanded change to the TPP, spotted by the EFF and summarized here by Jeremy Malcom, means much stiffer penalties for copyright "infrigement:"

Under the TPP's original terms, a country could limit the exposure of the owner of such a website to prison time, or to the seizure and possible destruction of their server, on the grounds that by definition their infringement didn't cause any lost sales to the copyright owner. (Note that they would be liable for civil damages to the copyright owner in any case.)

Although a country still has the option to limit criminal penalties to “commercial scale” infringements (which is so broadly defined that it could catch even a non-profit subtitles website), the new language compels TPP signatories to make these penalties available even where those infringements cause absolutely no impact on the copyright holder's ability to profit from the work. This is a massive extension of the provision's already expansive scope.

Perhaps most concerning, however, is the fact that this means those stiff penalties apply even when there is no harm or threat of harm to the copyright owner caused by the infringement.

Think about it. What sense is there in sending someone to jail for an infringement that causes no harm to the copyright holder, whether they complain about it or not? And why should it matter that the copyright holder complains about something that didn't affect them anyway? Surely, if the copyright holder suffers no harm, then a country ought to be able to suspend the whole gamut of criminal procedures and penalties, not only the availability of ex officio action.

This is no error—or if it is, then the parties were only in error in agreeing to a proposal that was complete nonsense to begin with.

Submission + - Google agrees to pay 130M UK pounds (~ $185M) in back taxes (telegraph.co.uk)

whoever57 writes: Google UK has come to an agreement with HMRC (Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs) under which it will recognize a larger share of its UK sales in the UK, instead of funnelling them through the Republic of Ireland. In addition, Google will pay 130M UK Pounds in back taxes representing tax on sales since 2005.

Submission + - Cellphones really are not as good as they were 10 years ago at making calls. (telegraph.co.uk)

whoever57 writes: If you ever thought that your cellphone does not make calls as well as the cellphone you had 10 years ago, you may be right. The UK's Ofcom (roughly equivalent to the FCC) tested cellphones and found that many needed a much higher signal than the standards recommend in order to send and receive data. This applied to 2G, 3G and 4G connections.

Submission + - UK plans to allow warrantless searches of Internet history. (telegraph.co.uk)

whoever57 writes: The UK government plans to require ISPs and telcoms companies to maintain browsing and email history of UK residents for a period of 12 months and make the data available to police on request without a warrant. "The new powers would allow the police to seize details of the website and searches being made by people they wanted to investigate. " Exactly how they expect the ISPs to provide search histories now that most Google searches use SSL isn't explained (and probably not even considered by those proposing the legislation). Similarly with gmail and other email providers using SMTP TLS and IMAPS, much email is opaque to ISPs. Will this drive more use of VPNs and TOR?

Submission + - Software Glitch Caused 911 Outage for 11 Million People

HughPickens.com writes: Brian Fung reports at the Washington Post that earlier this year emergency services went dark for over six hours for more than 11 million people across seven states. "The outage may have gone unnoticed by some, but for the more than 6,000 people trying to reach help, April 9 may well have been the scariest time of their lives." In a 40-page report, the FCC found that an entirely preventable software error was responsible for causing 911 service to drop. "It could have been prevented. But it was not (PDF)," the FCC's report reads. "The causes of this outage highlight vulnerabilities of networks as they transition from the long-familiar methods of reaching 911 to [Internet Protocol]-supported technologies." On April 9, the software responsible for assigning the identifying code to each incoming 911 call maxed out at a pre-set limit; the counter literally stopped counting at 40 million calls. As a result, the routing system stopped accepting new calls, leading to a bottleneck and a series of cascading failures elsewhere in the 911 infrastructure. Adm. David Simpson, the FCC's chief of public safety and homeland security, says that having a single backup does not provide the kind of reliability that is ideal for 911. “Miami is kind of prone to hurricanes. Had a hurricane come at the same time [as the multi-state outage], we would not have had that failover, perhaps. So I think there needs to be more [distribution of 911 capabilities].”

Submission + - The Guardian reveals that Whisper app tracks 'anonymous' users (theguardian.com)

qqod writes: After visiting the offices of Whisper to discuss future journalistic collaborations, from the article:

"The practice of monitoring the whereabouts of Whisper users â" including those who have expressly opted out of geolocation services â" will alarm users, who are encouraged to disclose intimate details about their private and professional lives.

Whisper is also sharing information with the US Department of Defense gleaned from smartphones it knows are used from military bases, and developing a version of its app to conform with Chinese censorship laws."

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Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards. -- Aldous Huxley