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UK Student Jailed For Facebook Hack Despite 'Ethical Hacking' Defense
Posted by News Fetcher on February 18 '12 at 12:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's judge-didn't-buy-it department:
Diamonddavej writes "The BBC reports that software development student Glenn Mangham, a 26-year-old from the UK, was jailed 17 February 2012 for eight months for computer misuse, after he discovered serious Facebook security vulnerabilities. Hacking from his bedroom, Mangham gained access to three of Facebook's servers and was able to download to an external hardrive the social network's 'invaluable' intellectual intellectual property (source code). Mangham's defense lawyer, Mr. Ventham, pointed out that Mangham is an 'ethical hacker' and runs a tax registered security company. The court heard Mangham previously breached Yahoo's security, compiled a vulnerability report and passed on to Yahoo. He was paid '$7000 for this achievement,' and claims he was merely trying to repeat the same routine with Facebook. But in passing sentence, Judge Alistair McCreath said despite the fact he did not intend to pass on the information gathered, his actions were not harmless and had 'real consequences and very serious potential consequences' for Facebook. The case's prosecutor, Mr. Patel, said Facebook spent '$200,000 (£126,400) dealing with Mangham's crime.'"

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Commercial Drones Taking To the Skies
Posted by News Fetcher on February 18 '12 at 11:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's crowdsourced-erosion-of-privacy department:
An anonymous reader sends this excerpt from the NY Times:
"A new federal law, signed by the president on Tuesday, compels the Federal Aviation Administration to allow drones to be used for all sorts of commercial endeavors — from selling real estate and dusting crops, to monitoring oil spills and wildlife, even shooting Hollywood films. Local police and emergency services will also be freer to send up their own drones. But while businesses, and drone manufacturers especially, are celebrating the opening of the skies to these unmanned aerial vehicles, the law raises new worries about how much detail the drones will capture about lives down below — and what will be done with that information. Safety concerns like midair collisions and property damage on the ground are also an issue."

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AMD: What Went Wrong?
Posted by News Fetcher on February 18 '12 at 10:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's not-enough-cowbell department:
Barence writes "In 2006, AMD could seemingly do no wrong. Its processors were the fastest in the PC market, annual revenue was up a record 91%, expansion into the graphics game had begun with the high-profile acquisition of ATI, and it was making exciting plans for a future where it looked like it could 'smash Intel's chip monopoly' for good. Now the company is fighting for its very survival. How did AMD end up surrendering such a advantageous position – and was it given an unfair shove on the way down? This article has plotted AMD's decline, including the botched processor launches, the anti-competitive attacks from Intel and years of boardroom unrest."

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John Nash's Declassified 1955 Letter To the NSA
Posted by News Fetcher on February 18 '12 at 09:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's somebody-borrowed-doc-brown's-delorean department:
An anonymous reader writes "In 1955, John Nash sent an amazing letter (PDF) to the NSA in order to support an encryption design that he suggested. In it, he anticipates computational complexity theory as well as modern cryptography. He also proposes that the security of encryption can be based on computational hardness and makes the distinction between polynomial time and exponential time: 'So a logical way to classify enciphering processes is by the way in which the computation length for the computation of the key increases with increasing length of the key. This is at best exponential and at worst probably at most a relatively small power of r, ar^2 or ar^3, as in substitution ciphers.'"

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Apple Settles Antennagate Class-Action Lawsuit
Posted by News Fetcher on February 18 '12 at 08:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's can-you-hear-me-now department:
An anonymous reader writes "A preliminary settlement has been reached in the class-action lawsuit brought against Apple in June 2010 over the 'Antennagate' fiasco. Ira Rothken, co-lead counsel for the case, says there are 21 million people entitled to either $15 or a free bumper. 'The settlement comes from 18 separate lawsuits that were consolidated into one. All share the claim that Apple was "misrepresenting and concealing material information in the marketing, advertising, sale, and servicing of its iPhone 4 — particularly as it relates to the quality of the mobile phone antenna and reception and related software." The settlement has its own Web site, www.iPhone4Settlement.com, which will be up in the coming weeks (the site doesn't go anywhere right now). There, customers will be able to get information about the settlement and how to make a claim. As part of the arrangement, e-mails will also be sent alerting original buyers to the settlement before April 30, 2012. The claims period is then open for 120 days.'"

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Australian Police Spying On Web, Phone Usage With No Warrants
Posted by News Fetcher on February 18 '12 at 07:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's can-we-get-paul-hogan-to-fix-this department:
New submitter i-reek writes "Australian police, along with government agencies, are accessing phone and internet account information, outward and inward call details, phone and internet access location data, and details of IP addresses visited of Australian citizens, all without judicial warrants . In the last two years, some states have shown an increase of more than 50 per cent in these surveillance authorizations, which can be granted by senior police officers and officials instead of a magistrate or judge."

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Is the Government Scaring Web Businesses Out of the US?
Posted by News Fetcher on February 18 '12 at 06:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's only-the-interesting-ones department:
suraj.sun sends this quote from an article at Techdirt:
"The federal government has been paying lip service to the idea that it wants to encourage new businesses and startups in the U.S. And this is truly important to the economy, as studies have shown that almost all of the net job growth in this country is coming from internet startups. ... With the JotForm situation unfolding, where the U.S. government shut down an entire website with no notice or explanation, people are beginning to recognize that the U.S is not safe for internet startups. Lots of folks have been passing around [a] rather reasonable list of activities for U.S.-based websites."

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FOIA Request Shows Which Printer Companies Cooperated With US Government
Posted by News Fetcher on February 18 '12 at 05:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's stick-with-handwriting department:
New submitter Dave_Minsky writes "The U.S. Secret Service responded to a FOIA request on Monday that reveals the names of the printer companies that cooperate with the government to identify and track potential counterfeiters. The Electronic Frontier Foundation revealed in 2005 that the U.S. Secret Service was in cahoots with selected laser printer companies to identify and track printer paper using tiny microscopic dots encoded into the paper. The tiny, yellow dots — less than a millimeter each — are printed in a pattern over each page and are only viewable with a blue light, a magnifying glass or a microscope. The pattern of dots is encodes identifiable information including printer model, and time and location where the document was printed." Easy enough to avoid government dots; just don't buy printers from Canon, Brother, Casio, HP, Konica, Minolta, Mita, Ricoh, Sharp, or Xerox.

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Arizona Ponders FCC Decency Standards For the Classroom
Posted by News Fetcher on February 18 '12 at 03:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's state-schools-state-rules department:
einhverfr writes "Eugene Volokh has posted an interesting discussion of a bill that has been introduced in Arizona, which would tie public school educator conduct to the FCC standards for decency for radio and television. The bill is essentially a three strikes system, firing teachers if they violate FCC standards three times. While the goal of the bill may seem reasonable, the details strike me as silly."

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Fair Labor Association Finds Foxconn Factory "First Class," Says Labor Watchdog
Posted by News Fetcher on February 18 '12 at 12:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's versus-what-is-the-right-question department:
Richard.Tao writes "The Fair Labor Association found that Apple's plant where iPhones and iPads are far better than those at garment factories or other facilities elsewhere in the country. A quote: 'The lead investigator stated "The facilities are first-class; the physical conditions are way, way above average of the norm."' Which leaves the question, what is the acceptable norm?"

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$6 Trillion In Fake US Treasury Bonds Seized In Switzerland
Posted by News Fetcher on February 17 '12 at 09:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's that's-ok-the-official-ones-are-fake-too department:
ackthpt writes "If you're going to steal, steal big, right? Italian anti-mafia prosecutors have announced the seizure of $6 trillion of allegedly fake U.S. Treasury bonds, an amount that's almost half of the U.S.'s public debt. The probe focusing upon money laundering has also include financial dealings alleged to direct money to Nigerian sources to buy plutonium. Sound like a movie plot, yet? $6 Trillion, that's a lot of lettuce."

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iPad 3 Confirmed To Have 2048x1536 Screen Resolution
Posted by News Fetcher on February 17 '12 at 06:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's small-package department:
bonch writes "After months of reporting on photos of iPad 3 screen parts, MacRumors finally obtained one for themselves and examined it under a microscope, confirming that the new screens will have twice the linear resolution of the iPad 2, with a whopping 2048x1536 pixel density. Hints of the new display's resolution were found in iBooks 2, which contains hi-DPI versions of its artwork. The iPad 3 is rumored to be launching in early March."

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Stealing Laptops For Class Credit
Posted by News Fetcher on February 17 '12 at 04:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's for-bonus-points-assassinate-the-prof department:
First time accepted submitter core_tripper writes "Students at the University of Twente have stolen thirty laptops from various members of the university's staff. They were not prosecuted for this, so they could just get on with their studies. Indeed, these students even received ECTS credits for these thefts. UT researcher Trajce Dimkov asked the students to steal the machines as part of a scientific experiment. Stealing these laptops turned out to be a pretty simple matter."

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Canadians #TellVicEverything In Response To Bill C-30
Posted by News Fetcher on February 17 '12 at 04:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's like-a-sausage-but-with-cracks-on-the-surface department:
First time accepted submitter beerdragoon writes "In order to protest the government's new Internet snooping legislation, some Canadians have started a somewhat unorthodox protest. Vic Toews, the minister responsible for tabling the legislation, has had his twitter account bombarded with tweets regarding the boring, banal aspects of regular Canadians' lives. The idea is that since Toews wants to know everything about your personal life, we should oblige him and #TellVicEverything."

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Kentucky Telephone Companies Pushing For Option To End Basic Service
Posted by News Fetcher on February 17 '12 at 03:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's wired-signals-have-been-dephoned department:
An anonymous reader writes "There is a bill pending in the Kentucky State Senate that would eliminate almost all Public Service Commission oversight over local phone companies. Written by AT&T lobbyists, SB135 is being pushed by the phone companies as a 'modernization' of rules. It would keep the PSC from investigating phone service on its own and eliminate rules concerning price discrimination, price increases, required published rates, and performance objectives. It also will prevent any state agency from imposing net neutrality, and will enable phone companies to use the fact that there are cell phones to refuse to run a land line. The text of the bill is available online."

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Ask Slashdot: Life After Software Development?
Posted by News Fetcher on February 17 '12 at 03:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's would-you-like-fries-with-that department:
An anonymous reader writes "I've been writing database apps for various industries as the senior developer or tech lead on a given project for most of the past 20 years. The last few years have become particularly taxing as I struggle to reiterate basic concepts to the same technically illiterate managers and stakeholders who keep turning up in charge. While most are knowledgeable about the industries our software is targeting, they just don't get the mechanics of what we do and never will. After so many years, I'm tired of repeating myself. I need a break. I need to walk away from it, and want to look at doing something that doesn't focus heavily on the IT industry day in, day out. Unfortunately, I'm locked to a regional city and I've just spent the majority of my adult life coding, with no other major skills to fall back on. While I'm not keen on remaining in front of a screen, I wouldn't be averse to becoming a tech user and consumer, rather than a creator. Are there similar Slashdotters out there who have made the leap of faith away from tech jobs and into something different? If so, where did you end up? Is there a life after IT for people who are geeks at heart? Apart from staying in my current job, is there any advice for someone who can't really risk the mortgage and kid's education on a whim?"

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Deadly H5N1 Flu Studies To Stay Secret... For Now
Posted by News Fetcher on February 17 '12 at 02:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's those-birds-are-not-trustworthy department:
Edsj writes "A spokesman for the World Health Organization announced that an agreement had been reached, after a debate, to keep details secret of the controversial work about the highly pathogenic H5N1 avian flu virus until deeper risk analyses have been carried out. The scientists who made the study, led by Ron Fouchier, still want to release the full paper at some future date for public viewing, but for the time being, the NSABB got what it wanted."
The moratorium will be extended "probably for several months."

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Ford and Bug Labs Shipping OpenXC Beta Kits
Posted by News Fetcher on February 17 '12 at 02:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's hack-my-ride department:
MojoKid writes "OpenXC is an open source connectivity platform developed in tandem by Ford and open source hardware maker Bug Labs. Announced this fall, the platform is designed to allow developers the ability to use Android- and Arduino-based modules to interact with a vehicle's in-car tech, such as vehicle sensors and GPS units. The OpenXC website succinctly describes the platform as 'an API to your car.' Ford announced that OpenXC beta test kits are now shipping to developers worldwide, including U.S. institutions such as MIT and Standford as well as India's HCL Technologies."

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Book Review: Java Performance
Posted by News Fetcher on February 17 '12 at 01:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's read-all-about-it department:
jkauzlar writes "The standard Oracle JVM has about sixty 'developer' (-XX) options which are directly related to performance monitoring or tuning. With names such as 'UseMPSS' or 'AllocatePrefetchStyle', it's clear that Joe Schmo Code Monkey was not meant to be touching them, at least until he/she learned how the forbidding inner recesses of the JVM work, particularly the garbage collectors and 'just-in-time' compiler. This dense, 600-page book will not only explain these developer options and the underlying JVM technology, but discusses performance, profiling, benchmarking and related tools in surprising breadth and detail. Not all developers will gain from this knowledge and a few will surrender to the book's side-effect of being an insomnia treatment, but for those responsible for maintaining production software, this will be essential reading and a useful long-term reference." Keep reading for the rest of jkauzlar's review. Java Performance
author Charlie Hunt and Binu John
pages 693
publisher Addison Wesley
rating 9/10
reviewer Joe
ISBN 0-13-290525-6
summary Java performance monitoring and tuning

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How Companies Learn Your Secrets
Posted by News Fetcher on February 17 '12 at 01:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's sit-back-and-wait-for-you-to-tell-them department:
Hugh Pickens writes "For decades, Target has collected vast amounts of data on every person who regularly walks into one of its stores. Now the NY Times Magazine reports on how companies like Target identify those unique moments in consumers' lives when their shopping habits become particularly flexible and the right advertisement or coupon can cause them to begin spending in new ways. Among life events, none are more important than the arrival of a baby, and new parents are a retailer's holy grail. In 2002, marketers at Target asked statisticians to answer an odd question: 'If we wanted to figure out if a customer is pregnant, even if she didn't want us to know, can you do that?' Specifically, the marketers said they wanted to send specially designed ads to women in their second trimester, which is when most expectant mothers begin buying all sorts of new things, like prenatal vitamins and maternity clothing. 'We knew that if we could identify them in their second trimester, there's a good chance we could capture them for years,' says statistician Andrew Pole. 'As soon as we get them buying diapers from us, they're going to start buying everything else too.' As Pole's computers crawled through the data, he was able to identify about 25 products that, when analyzed together, allowed him to assign each shopper a 'pregnancy prediction' score and he soon had a list of tens of thousands of women who were most likely pregnant. About a year after Pole created his pregnancy-prediction model, a man walked into a Target outside Minneapolis and demanded to see the manager. He was clutching coupons that had been sent to his daughter, and he was angry. 'My daughter got this in the mail!' he said. 'She's still in high school, and you're sending her coupons for baby clothes and cribs? Are you trying to encourage her to get pregnant?' The manager apologized and then called a few days later to apologize again but the father was somewhat abashed. 'It turns out there's been some activities in my house I haven't been completely aware of. She's due in August. I owe you an apology.'"

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