Just about everyone has heard of ACTA, the United States' much-hated "trade agreement" (really a treaty) that would force other countries to adopt copyright laws at least as strict and draconian as those of the US, and many other anti-consumer, anti-rights measures. And most of you also probably know that since no democratic process would let this get through, recording and film industry suits are ramming this through as a treaty, which means that this can be implemented entirely without the consent of the people. As if that isn't bad enough, its now been revealed that an even-worse successor to ACTA, the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, is being negotiated, once again, behind closed doors. ...read more
Sony has lately been on a massive legal rampage over the PS3 jailbreaking scene, suing anybody who so much as thinks about jailbreaking their PS3. However, ever since Sony's master software signing key was reverse engineered, they kicked their campaign into high gear, suing respected iPhone and PlayStation hacker George Hotz, and attempting to get any sign of the key taken down from the internet (definitely a futile gesture). Sony has won several key battles already, including winning the right to go through Goerge Hotz's personal files and have a restraining order placed on Hotz. Now, Sony has won its biggest victory yet. ...read more
Back in 2008, Ultra Products filed a lawsuit on all PSU vendors using modular designs at the time, claiming that it held the patent to modular PSUs and that it had not recieved any royalties from the companies in question. Yesterday, the US Patent Office finally, after three years of legal battle, threw out not only Ultra's case against the companies, but also threw out Ultra's patent with an unrightful ownership decision. Find out how it happened after the jump! ...read more
This week the Department of Justice and the Homeland Security ICE office announced that they had shut down a number of websites known for distributing counterfeit goods and child pornography. Only problem is that one of the accused is a freeDNS provider freedns.afraid.org, which has resulted in the shutdown of over 84,000 unrelated sites. Over the sites, the DoJ placed a banner claiming that the site in question had been shut down due to child pornography evidence. ..read more
It seems like Facebook is constantly under fire over privacy concerns, most recently following a report in The Wall Street Journal claiming many of Facebook's popular apps -- including Farmville -- blatantly ignore privacy settings and share user date with advertisers. That's not cool, and Uncle Sam wants some answers.
Two House members -- U.S. Reps Edward Markey (D., Mass) and Joe Barton (R., Texas) penned a letter directed at Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg over concerns that third party apps are blatantly ignoring users' privacy controls. The letter asks Zuckerberg to divulge how many users had been affected by the "series of breaches of consumer privacy," demanding an answer by October 27, 2010. source
"No, this isn't a call to arms (yet), the US is simply evaluating its airborne laser weapon again. Now listen in because this latest test was a doozy. Last night at 8:44pm Cali time, the Airborne Laser Testbed (ALTB) successfully "destroyed" a liquid-fueled ballistic missile from an airborne platform, according to the Missile Defense Agency. A first for the directed energy weapon that we've been following since 2006. The dirty work was achieve by a modified Boeing 747-400F airframe fitted with a Northrop Grumman higher-energy laser and Lockheed Martin beam and fire control system. After an at-sea launch, the ALTB used a low-energy laser to track the target. A second, low-energy laser was used to measure and compensate for atmospheric disturbances before the megawatt-class laser was fired, "heating the boosting ballistic missile to critical structural failure." The entire episode was over just two minutes after missile launch. Good work generals, but let's see you fit that laser to a shark if you really want to impress us." source
"For all the good things that leviathan Samsung comes up with, they have to spoil it somehow. Now, I'm not saying that the tech behind this ID card is teh bad, but it's the principle. Winston Smith, where are you?
The idea consists of an ID card with an AMOLED display that looks normal until you bring it up close to an RFID card reader. Then, Shazamalamadingdong! The display lights up, giving the stern border guard who's giving you the once over a 360-degree close up of your head. Then, I guess, depending on how much he likes the look of you, it's either on with the latex gloves and bend over you won't feel a thing, Mush, or thanks so much have a nice stay in our beautiful country." Source
"The Justice Department's recommendations are among the comments that the FCC is seeking from the public as it develops a plan to make high-speed, or "broadband" Internet access available throughout the United States. The FCC is supposed to submit the plan to Congress next month.
The point of the plan is to make high-speed Internet access available to more people at affordable prices.
Making more spectrum available to small wireless companies would make prices more affordable and increasingly popular wireless Internet services more widely available, the Justice department said." Source
"The White House has tapped a corporate cyber security expert and former Bush administration official to lead the effort to shore up the country's computer networks and better coordinate with companies that operate 80 percent of those critical systems.
Howard A. Schmidt, a former eBay and Microsoft executive, will become the government's cyber security coordinator, weathering a rocky selection process that dragged on for months, as others turned the job down." source