By EditorDavid from Slashdot's labor-relations department
A Silicon Valley newspaper brings this update on fired Google engineer James Damore:
California law allows employers to fire workers for virtually any reason -- and the Constitutional protection of free speech doesn't apply to private company workplaces. Until now it was unclear how Damore might fight back against Google over his termination. Now, this news organization has obtained the U.S. National Labor Relations Board charge sheet that reveals the basis for Damore's battle. His argument hinges on the contents of his memo, which went far beyond discussing a possible biological reason for the gender gap.
The document contained detailed criticism of Google's diversity initiatives and their effects on employees, and it said that the company's biases led to alienation among employees holding conservative views. His Labor Board charge rests on Section 8(a) subsection (1) of the National Labor Relations Act, which gives employees the right to engage in activities for the purpose of "mutual aid or protection." Google discriminated against Damore by firing him "in retaliation" for activities protected by law, and also possibly to discourage such activities within the company, the charge sheet said. It appears clear that the protected activities Damore refers to are his communications, in the memo, with co-workers, about issues in the workplace.
Google was unavailable for comment, but the newspaper quoted an earlier statement from Google CEO Sundar Pichai that "An important part of our culture is lively debate. But like any workplace that doesn't mean that anything goes."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's updating-your-status department
An anonymous reader quotes The Hill:
A prominent attorney for cybersecurity issues has this advice to the unnamed Twitter worker said to have pulled the plug on President Trump's Twitter account: "Don't say anything and get a lawyer." Tor Ekeland told The Hill that while the facts of the case are still unclear and the primary law used to prosecute hackers is murky and unevenly applied, there is a reasonable chance the Twitter worker violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act...widely considered to be, as Ekeland explained it, "a mess." Various courts around the country have come up with seemingly contradictory rulings on what unauthorized access actually means. Ekeland said the Ninth Circuit, covering the state of California, has itself issued rulings at odds with itself that would have an impact on the Trump Twitter account fiasco as a potential case. The Ninth Circuit ruled that employees do not violate the law if they exceed their workplace computer policies. It has also ruled that employees who have been told they do not have permission to access a system cannot legally access it. Depending on which ruling a court leans on the hardest, a current Twitter employee without permission to shutter accounts may have violated the law by nixing Trump's account.
Ekeland points out that just $5,000 worth of damage could carry a 10-year prison sentence.
Friday the New York Times also reported that the worker responsible wasn't even a Twitter employee, but a hired contractor, adding that "nearly every" major tech company uses contractors for non-technical positions, including Google, Apple, and Facebook.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's no-denying-it department
Long-time Slashdot reader doom writes: Over a two year period, a third of the IPv4 address space have experienced some sort of DoS attack, though the researchers who've ascertained this suspect this is an underestimate. This is from a story at Science Daily reporting on a study recently presented in London at the Internet Measurement Conference.
"As might be expected, more than a quarter of the targeted addresses in the study came in the United States, the nation with the most internet addresses in the world. Japan, with the third most internet addresses, ranks anywhere from 14th to 25th for the number of DoS attacks, indicating a relatively safe nation for DoS attacks..."
The study itself states, "On average, on a single day, about 3% of all Web sites were involved in attacks (i.e., by being hosted on targeted IP addresses)."
"Put another way," said the report's principal investigator, "during this recent two-year period under study, the internet was targeted by nearly 30,000 attacks per day."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's I'm-feeling-lucky department
Remember when Google randomly flagged files in Google Docs for violating its terms of service? An anonymous reader quotes InfoWorld:
Many people worried that Google was scanning users' documents in real time to determine if they're being mean or somehow bad. You actually agree to such oversight in Google G Suite's terms of service. Those terms include personal conduct stipulations and copyright protection, as well as adhering to "program policies"... Even though this is spelled out in the terms of service, it's uncomfortably Big Brother-ish, and raises anew questions about how confidential and secure corporate information really is in the cloud.
So, do SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS providers make it their business to go through your data? If you read their privacy policies (as I have), the good news is that most don't seem to. But have you actually read through them to know who, like Google, does have the right to scan and act on your data? Most enterprises do a good legal review for enterprise-level agreements, but much of the use of cloud services is by individuals or departments who don't get such IT or legal review. Enterprises need to be proactive about reading the terms of service for cloud services used in their company, including those set up directly by individuals and departments. It's still your data, after all, and you should know how it is being used and could be used...
The article argues that "Chances are you or your employees have signed similar terms in the many agreements that people accept without reading."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's claiming-names department
Long-time Slashdot reader Bruce Perens writes: The Software Freedom Law Center, a Linux-Foundation supported organization, has asked USPTO to cancel the trademark of the name of the Software Freedom Conservancy, an organization that assists and represents Free Software / Open Source developers.
What makes this bizzare is that SFLC started SFC, SFLC was SFC's law firm and filed for the very same trademark on their behalf, and both organizations were funded by Linux Foundation at the start.
There are a few other wild things that have happened related to this. Eben Moglen, president of SFLC and for decades the General Counsel of the Free Software Foundation, is no longer associated with FSF. Linux Foundation has on its executive board a company that is being sued in Germany for violating the GPL, with the case presently under appeal, and the lawsuit is funded by SFC. And remember when Linux Foundation removed the community representative from its executive board, when Karen Sandler, executive director of SFC, said she'd run?
If you need a clue, the SFC are the good guys in this. There's a lot to look into.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's rest-in-peace department
sqorbit writes: Sixty years ago, the space race was in full swing. Russia had sent Sputnik into space with much success. In an effort to push farther, they rushed sending a dog into space in a re-purposed Sputnik rocket. The mission launched with no clear solution to a safe re-entry. Within a few hours of launch, temperature controls failed, killing the female dog named Laika. Launched on November 3, 1957, it did not re-enter the earth's atmosphere until April 14, 1958. Laika was the first living creature to fly into orbit, Space.com reports. While Soviet publications at the time claimed that Laika died, painlessly, after a week in Earth's orbit, Anatoly Zak of RussianSpaceWeb.com writes that several Russian sources revealed decades later that the dog actually survived in orbit for four days and then died when the cabin overheated. "According to other sources, severe overheating and the death of the dog occurred only five or six hours into the mission," he writes. "With all systems dead, the spacecraft continued circling the Earth until April 14, 1958, when it re-entered the atmosphere after 2,570 orbits (2,370 orbits according to other sources) or 162 days in space. Many people reportedly saw a fiery trail of Sputnik 2 as it flew over New York and reached the Amazon region in just 10 minutes during its re-entry."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's slap-on-the-wrist department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Gizmodo: Equifax discovered on July 29th that it had been hacked, losing the Social Security numbers and other personal information of 143 million Americans -- and then just a few days later, several of its executives sold stock worth a total of nearly $1.8 million. When the hack was publicly announced in September, Equifax's stock promptly tanked, which made the trades look very, very sketchy. At the time, Equifax claimed that its executives had no idea about the massive data breach when they sold their stock. Today, the credit reporting company released further details about its internal investigation that cleared all four executives of any wrongdoing.
The report, prepared by a board-appointed special committee, concludes that "none of the four executives had knowledge of the incident when their trades were made, that preclearance for the four trades was appropriately obtained, that each of the four trades at issue comported with Company policy, and that none of the four executives engaged in insider trading." The committee says it reviewed 55,000 documents to reach its conclusions, including emails and text messages, and conducted 62 in-person interviews. "The review was designed to pinpoint the date on which each of the four senior officers first learned of the security investigation that uncovered the breach and to determine whether any of those officers was informed of or otherwise learned of the security investigation before his trades were executed," the report states.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's party-pooper department
New submitter Danngggg writes: As you may recall from Slashdot last year, alleged Anonymous hacktivist Martin Gottesfeld has been imprisoned without bail since federal agents arrested him on board a Disney Cruise ship in February of 2016 to face hacking charges brought by controversial former U.S. attorney Carmen Ortiz. Though he's the only activist after Aaron Swartz to face a felony CFAA indictment from Ortiz, apparently Aaron Swartz Day organizer and Chelsea Manning archivist Lisa Rein don't want to include Gottesfeld in the festivities this year. So, he has taken to Huffington Post to argue that his story should be told this November 4th and, perhaps with a sense of irony, to publish some potentially scandalous Signal messages allegedly sent by Rein to his wife revealing what seems to be disdain for hacking in general and Anonymous in particular. Indeed, Rein seems to borrow from the movie Mean Girls in her contemptuous rejection of Mrs. Gottesfeld's appeals on behalf of her embattled husband. What does the Slashdot crowd have to say about whether Gottesfeld's story belongs at Aaron Swartz Day as well as Rein's alleged attitude towards his significant other? "One might think that my voice would be welcomed at Aaron Swartz Day given all that the late internet/freedom of information activist and I share in common," writes Gottesfeld. "For starters, we were both indicted under the same controversial federal law, the CFAA, by the same Boston U.S. Attorney's Office and indeed under the tenure of the same notorious U.S. Attorney, Carmen Ortiz. Both of us have been persecuted for doing the moral thing; Aaron for trying to make taxpayer-funded research available to the general public and me for stopping the torture of an innocent child."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's not-part-of-the-plan department
In a new order dated Nov. 2, Judge William Alsup said that Alphabet's self-driving arm Waymo cannot pursue one of the nine trade secrets it had accused Uber of misappropriating. The company had already been ordered to narrow its more than 120 trade secrets down to nine. Recode reports: The judge said, among other things, that the expert opinion that Alphabet used to assert this claim was unreliable. While the other eight trade secrets remain intact, it's worth mentioning this was the same expert that Waymo relied on to substantiate those claims. "Waymo's case continues to shrink," an Uber spokesperson said. "After dropping their patent claims, this week Waymo lost one of the trade secrets they claimed was most important, had their damages expert excluded, and saw an entire defendant removed from the case -- and all this before the trial has even started." An Alphabet spokesperson said the document did provide additional evidence to bolster its remaining claims. Additionally, Alphabet's case for the monetary damages it wanted -- more than $1 billion for a single trade secret -- will rest squarely on its own arguments. In a yet-unsealed document, the judge said that Alphabet could not call on its damages expert during the trial.Read Replies (0)