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Submission + - Techdirt asks judge to throw out suit over "Inventor of E-mail" (arstechnica.com)

walterbyrd writes: Michael Masnick, who founded the popular Techdirt blog, filed a motion today asking for a defamation lawsuit against him to be thrown out. Masnick was sued last month by Shiva Ayyadurai, a scientist and entrepreneur who claims to have invented e-mail in 1978 at a medical college in New Jersey.

In his motion, Masnick claims that Ayyadurai "is seeking to use the muzzle of a defamation action to silence those who question his claim to historical fame."

Submission + - SAP "named-user" license fees are due even for indirect users, court says (networkworld.com)

ahbond writes: Beverage firm Diageo could be on the hook for an additional £55 million in license fees because it gave Salesforce users access to data held in an SAP system. SAP's named-user licensing fees apply even to related applications that only offer users indirect visibility of SAP data, a U.K. judge ruled Thursday in a case pitting SAP against Diageo, the alcoholic beverage giant behind Smirnoff vodka and Guinness beer.

The consequences could be far-reaching for businesses that have integrated their customer-facing systems with an SAP database, potentially leaving them liable for license fees for every customer that accesses their online store.

"Business are signing up to an open-ended direct debit which they can't withdraw from. It's really not surprising that many are now choosing the certainty and low cost of Google and Amazon Web Services"

Submission + - Mozilla Thunderbird Finally Makes Its Way Back into Debian's Repos

prisoninmate writes: A year ago, we told you that, after ten long years, the Debian Project finally found a way to switch their rebranded Iceweasel web browser back to Mozilla Firefox, both the ESR (Extended Support Release) and normal versions, but one question remained: what about the Mozilla Thunderbird email, news, and calendar client? Well, that question has an official answer today, as the Mozilla Thunderbird packages appear to have landed in the Debian repositories as a replacement for Icedove, the rebranded version that Debian Project was forced to use for more than ten years do to trademark issues. Make sure you read the entire article to find out what steps you need to take if you want to migrate from Icedove to Mozilla Thunderbird.

Submission + - EU Moves To Bring In AI Laws, But Rejects Robot Tax Proposal (newatlas.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The European Parliament has voted on a resolution to regulate the development of artificial intelligence and robotics across the European Union. Based on a raft of recommendations drafted in a report submitted in January to the legal affairs committee, the proposed rules include establishing ethical standards for the development of artificial intelligence, and introducing an insurance scheme to cover liability for accidents involving driverless cars. Not every element in the broad-ranging report was accepted by the Parliament though, with a recommendation to institute a "robot tax" roundly rejected. The robot tax proposal was designed to create a fund that manages the repercussions and retraining of workers made redundant through the increased deployment of industrial and service robots. But those in the robotics industry were supportive of the Parliamentary rejection, with the International Federation of Robotics suggesting to Reuters a robot tax would have been harmful to the burgeoning industry, stifling innovation and competitiveness. The European Parliament passed the resolution comfortably with 396 votes to 123, with 85 abstentions.

Submission + - Republican Plans To Use Congressional Review Act To Kill Broadband Privacy Rules (ibtimes.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Republican Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona is planning to roll back privacy rules that restrict what internet service providers can do with customer data by using the Congressional Review Act. Doing so would prevent the FCC from ever issuing the rules again. Privacy advocacy group Public Knowledge is opposing the use of the CRA, calling it “entirely too blunt of an instrument” to use in the situation.

Submission + - Woolly Mammoth On Verge of Resurrection, Scientists Reveal (theguardian.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The woolly mammoth vanished from the Earth 4,000 years ago, but now scientists say they are on the brink of resurrecting the ancient beast in a revised form, through an ambitious feat of genetic engineering. Speaking ahead of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting in Boston this week, the scientist leading the “de-extinction” effort said the Harvard team is just two years away from creating a hybrid embryo, in which mammoth traits would be programmed into an Asian elephant. “Our aim is to produce a hybrid elephant-mammoth embryo,” said Prof George Church. “Actually, it would be more like an elephant with a number of mammoth traits. We’re not there yet, but it could happen in a couple of years.” The creature, sometimes referred to as a “mammophant”, would be partly elephant, but with features such as small ears, subcutaneous fat, long shaggy hair and cold-adapted blood. The mammoth genes for these traits are spliced into the elephant DNA using the powerful gene-editing tool, Crispr. Until now, the team have stopped at the cell stage, but are now moving towards creating embryos – although, they said that it would be many years before any serious attempt at producing a living creature.

Submission + - FCC Chairman Wants It To Be Easier To Listen To Free FM Radio On Your Smartphone (recode.net)

An anonymous reader writes: Your smartphone has an FM radio in it, only it’s unlikely that you’re able to use it. That’s because in the U.S., less than half of phones actually have the FM tuner turned on. But FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who just recently assumed the top position at the regulatory agency under President Trump, thinks that should change. In remarks made to the North American Broadcasters Association yesterday, Pai said that it’s a public safety issue. Both the former head of the Federal Emergency Management Association and an FCC advisory panel on public safety have advocated for turning on the FM radio capabilities in smartphones, since radio is a reliable source of information when internet or cellphone networks go down in severe weather. Although Pai thinks smartphones should have the FM chip turned on, he doesn’t think the government should mandate it: "As a believer in free markets and the rule of law, I cannot support a government mandate requiring activation of these chips. I don’t believe the FCC has the power to issue a mandate like that, and more generally I believe it’s best to sort this issue out in the marketplace."

Submission + - Mozilla will deprecate XUL add-ons before the end of 2017 2

Artem Tashkinov writes: Mozilla has published a plan of add-ons deprecation in future Firefox releases. Firefox 53 will run in multi process mode by default for all users with some exceptions. Most add ons will continue to function, however certain add ons have already ceased to function because they don't expect multi user mode under the hood. Firefox 54-56 will introduce even more changes which will ultimately break even more addons. Firefox 57, which will be preliminarily released on the 28th of Novermber, 2017, will only run WebExtensions: which means no XUL (overlay) add ons, no bootstrapped extensions, no SDK extensions and no Embedded WebExtensions. In other words by this date the chromification of Firefox will have been completed. If you depend on XUL add ons your only choice past this date will be Pale Moon.

Submission + - Scottish court awards damages for CCTV camera pointed at neighbour's house (boingboing.net)

AmiMoJo writes: Edinburgh's Nahid Akram installed a CCTV system that let him record his downstairs neighbours Debbie and Tony Woolley in their back garden, capturing both images and audio of their private conversations, with a system that had the capacity to record continuously for five days. A Scottish court has ruled that the distress caused by their neighbour's camera entitled the Woolleys to £17,000 in damages, without the need for them to demonstrate any actual financial loss. The judgment builds on a 2015 English court ruling against Google for spying on logged out Safari users, where the users were not required to show financial losses to receive compensation for private surveillance.

Submission + - Genome editing patent challenge decided in Broad Institute's favor (statnews.com)

interkin3tic writes: CRISPR/Cas9 are tools that can efficiently edit DNA. Jennifer Doudna at the University of California submitted a patent for editing bacterial DNA. Feng Zhang of the Broad Institute at Harvard filed for a patent later on using the technology in animals and filed for expidited review. The USPTO ruled today that the Broad Institute's patent was valid.

CRISPR-Cas9 is widely expected to earn a nobel prize as well as billions of dollars in biotech revenue.

Submission + - Nokia 3310 to be re-launched at MWC 2017 (independent.co.uk)

walterbyrd writes: Nokia will re-launch the 3310, perhaps the best-loved and most resilient phone in history.

The phone, originally released in 2000 and in many ways beginning the modern age of mobiles, will be sold as a way of getting lots of battery life in a nearly indestructible body.

Submission + - JavaScript Attack Breaks ASLR on 22 CPU Architectures (bleepingcomputer.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Five researchers from the Vrije University in the Netherlands have put together an attack that can be carried out via JavaScript code and break ASLR protection on at least 22 microprocessor architectures from vendors such as Intel, AMD, ARM, Allwinner, Nvidia, and others. The attack, christened ASLRCache, or AnC, focuses on the memory management unit (MMU), a lesser known component of many CPU architectures, which is tasked with improving performance for cache management operations.

What researchers discovered was that this component shares some of its cache with untrusted applications, including browsers. This meant that researchers could send malicious JavaScript that specifically targeted this shared memory space and attempted to read its content. In layman's terms, this means an AnC attack can break ASLR and allow the attacker to read portions of the computer's memory, which he could then use to launch more complex exploits and escalate access to the entire OS.

Researchers have published two papers [1, 2] detailing the AnC attack, along with two videos[1, 2] showing the attack in action.

Submission + - Astronomers discover 60 new planets including 'super Earth' (nypost.com)

schwit1 writes:

An international team of astronomers has found 60 new planets orbiting stars close to Earth’s solar system, including a rocky “super Earth.”

The experts also found evidence of an additional 54 planets, bringing the potential discovery of new worlds to 114.

One planet in particular, Gliese 411b, has been generating plenty of attention. Described as a “hot super Earth with a rocky surface,” Gliese 411b is located in the fourth-nearest star system to the Sun, making it the third-nearest planetary system to the Sun, according to the U.K.’s University of Hertfordshire, which participated in the research. Gliese 411b (also known as GJ 411b or Lalande 21185) orbits the star Gliese 411 (or GJ 411).

Despite the “super Earth” label, Dr. Mikko Tuomi from University of Hertfordshire’s Centre for Astrophysics told Fox News that Gliese 411b is too hot for life to exist on its surface.


Submission + - Nearly 56,000 bridges called structurally deficient (usatoday.com)

schwit1 writes:

More than one in four bridges (173,919) are at least 50 years old and have never had major reconstruction work, according to the ARTBA analysis. State transportation officials have identified 13,000 bridges along interstates that need replacement, widening or major reconstruction, according to the group.

“America’s highway network is woefully underperforming,” said Alison Premo Black, the group’s chief economics who conducted the analysis. “It is outdated, overused, underfunded and in desperate need of modernization.”


Submission + - Sex Offenders Are Still Locked up After Serving Their Time. Why? (realclearinvestigations.com)

schwit1 writes:

Some 20 states have civil commitment programs for people deemed sexually violent predators. Records show that more than 5,000 Americans are being held this way nationwide. Those numbers have roughly doubled over the previous decade or so, as judges, governors and state legislators have reacted to public concern about violent sexual crimes.

Civil confinement lies at the fraught intersection of crime, sex, and politics, in which sexual crimes, and just the possibility of sexual crimes, are treated differently from other offenses. Murderers, armed robbers, drunken hit-and-run drivers, insider traders, and other criminals are released when their prison sentences have been served.

States operating these programs defend them as necessary to protect the public, especially children, against dangerous sexual predators. The Supreme Court has upheld them, ruling that as long as they are narrowly tailored, with their “clients” subject to regular reviews, they serve a legitimate public interest in keeping potential dangerous offenders off the streets.

But critics of civil commitment argue that men are being locked away (and almost all of the detainees are men), often effectively for life, on the basis of subjective predictions of what a former sex offender might do in the future. They assert that this is a flagrant violation of the 14th Amendment’s requirement that no person shall be deprived of his freedom without “due process of law.”

Recidivism rates for sex offenders are typically lower than for people who commit other types of felonies. But statistics don’t matter when politicians and judges are trying to mollify the mob.

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