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DustyShadow (691635) writes "The University of Florida announced this past week that it was dropping its computer science department, which will allow it to save about $1.7 million. The school is eliminating all funding for teaching assistants in computer science, cutting the graduate and research programs entirely, and moving the tattered remnants into other departments. Students at UF have already organized protests, and have created a website dedicated to saving the CS department. Several distinguished computer scientists have written to the president of UF to express their concerns, in very blunt terms. Prof. Zvi Galil, Dean of Computing at Georgia Tech, is “amazed, shocked, and angered.” Prof. S.N. Maheshwari, former Dean of Engineering at IIT Delhi, calls this move “outrageously wrong.” Computer scientist Carl de Boor, a member of the National Academy of Sciences and winner of the 2003 National Medal of Science, asked the UF president “What were you thinking?”" Link to Original Source top
DustyShadow (691635) writes "It appears that someone has reported Righthaven for having an invalid WHOIS entry on their Righthaven.com domain. Their registrar, the ever vigilant GoDaddy, then took control of the domain, taking Righthaven completely offline. Righthaven has made a business out of scouring the net for websites that have used even the smallest parts of their partner newspapers’ materials and then threatening them with legal action. Very often this results in their victims having to pay thousands of dollars in settlements and in some cases even being forced to hand over their domain names. Today, this copyright troll company is getting a sweet taste of their own medicine." Link to Original Source top
DustyShadow (691635) writes "In the case of Blockowicz v. Williams, The US Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals refused to force Ripoff Report to remove allegedly defamatory comments posted by a user. The Ripoff Report has a well-publicized no-takedown policy, even if the author wants to remove his/her post, so the Ripoff Report refused. The Blockowiczs then claimed that the Ripoff Report violated FRCP 65(d) because the Ripoff Report was "in active concert or participation" with the initial posters by refusing the injunction's removal order. The district court (and the Court of Appeals) disagreed with the Blockowiczs. Absent the "active concert or participation," the website was outside the court's control. Ripoff Report has released a statement concerning this case: "In keeping with our core mission of protecting speech to the fullest extent of the law, we decided that it was not just our right but also our duty to ask questions and dig deeper before we could comply with such an order. Other sites claim they support free speech, but when the going gets rough, they will usually protect their bottom line rather than the Constitutional rights and freedoms this country was founded upon. Unlike other sites, even when the speech involved is harsh or negative and even if our position sometimes generates negative press for us, we think that the First Amendment requires us to put our principles before our pocketbook and fight against censorship."" Link to Original Source top
DustyShadow (691635) writes "After a decade of stockpiling thousands of patents and using them to force huge payments privately from alleged infringers, Intellectual Ventures went public this week and filed infringement cases against nine large high technology companies. Complaints in the software security industry were filed against Check Point Software Technologies, McAfee, Symantec, and Trend Micro. In the DRAM and flash memory segment, the companies targeted are Elpida Memory and Hynix Semiconductor. FPGA industry companies named in the complaints are Altera, Lattice Semiconductor, and Microsemi. Intellectual Ventures indicated that the complaint against Microsemi may be based on that firm's acquisition of Actel its FPGA business." Link to Original Source top
DustyShadow (691635) writes "The Supreme Court today affirmed the Federal Circuit's decision in Bilski v. Kappos, which held that the risk-management method was not the type of innovation that may be patented. "However, the machine-or-transformation test is not the sole test for determining patentability. In general, the opinion offers no clarity or aid for those tasked with determining whether a particular innovation falls within Section 101. The opinion provides no new lines to be avoided. Rather, the outcome from the decision might be best stated as "business as usual."" Link to Original Source top
DustyShadow (691635) writes "Harvard’s Jack Goldsmith and Lawrence Lessig have an interesting op-ed in today’s Washington Post arguing that it would be constitutionally dubious for President Obama to adopt the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) as an executive agreement. "[T]he Obama administration has suggested it will adopt the pact as a "sole executive agreement" that requires only the president's approval." "Joining ACTA by sole executive agreement would far exceed these precedents. The president has no independent constitutional authority over intellectual property or communications policy, and there is no long historical practice of making sole executive agreements in this area. To the contrary, the Constitution gives primary authority over these matters to Congress, which is charged with making laws that regulate foreign commerce and intellectual property."" Link to Original Source top
DustyShadow (691635) writes "The Wall Street Journal is reporting that "[m]ilitants in Iraq have used $26 off-the-shelf software to intercept live video feeds from U.S. Predator drones, potentially providing them with information they need to evade or monitor U.S. military operations." The most surprising part of this story is not that they intercepted it, but that the video link is unencrypted. As one commenter put it, "[e]ven the graduates of the local high school programming courses know better than to leave to chance an important security hole."" Link to Original Source top
DustyShadow (691635) writes "On Tuesday, the Moscow-based Institute of Economic Analysis (IEA) claimed that the Hadley Center for Climate Change had probably tampered with Russian-climate data. The IEA believes that Russian meteorological-station data did not substantiate the anthropogenic global-warming theory. Analysts say Russian meteorological stations cover most of the country’s territory, and that the Hadley Center had used data submitted by only 25% of such stations in its reports. Over 40% of Russian territory was not included in global-temperature calculations for some other reasons, rather than the lack of meteorological stations and observations. The data of stations located in areas not listed in the Hadley CRU survey often does not show any substantial warming in the late 20th century and the early 21st century." Link to Original Source top
DustyShadow (691635) writes "In the case In re United States, Judge Mosman ruled that there is no constitutional requirement of notice to the account holder because the Fourth Amendment does not apply to e-mails under the third-party doctrine. "When a person uses the Internet, the user’s actions are no longer in his or her physical home; in fact he or she is not truly acting in private space at all. The user is generally accessing the Internet with a network account and computer storage owned by an ISP like Comcast or NetZero. All materials stored online, whether they are e-mails or remotely stored documents, are physically stored on servers owned by an ISP. When we send an e-mail or instant message from the comfort of our own homes to a friend across town the message travels from our computer to computers owned by a third party, the ISP, before being delivered to the intended recipient. Thus, “private” information is actually being held by third-party private companies."" Link to Original Source top
DustyShadow (691635) writes "We just discussed websites that fail basic privacy practices. Well today I went over to Rockthevote.com to register to vote for the upcoming election. I ended up not using the site because in order to complete registration there I have to enter my full name, address, telephone number, email address and social security number which are all sent over an unencrypted connection and then emailed to me in a PDF form. Just like the P&G website, Rockthevote also has an empty privacy promise: "Rock the Vote makes every effort to ensure the secure collection and transmission of sensitive user information using industry accepted data collection methodologies." Someone needs to tell them that email is not secure." top
DustyShadow (691635) writes "The FBI is embarking on a $1 billion effort to build the world's largest computer database of peoples' physical characteristics, a project that would give the government unprecedented abilities to identify individuals in the United States and abroad. [L]aw enforcement authorities around the world will be able to rely on iris patterns, face-shape data, scars and perhaps even the unique ways people walk and talk, to solve crimes and identify criminals and terrorists. The FBI will also retain, upon request by employers, the fingerprints of employees who have undergone criminal background checks so the employers can be notified if employees have brushes with the law."