pigrabbitbear writes "Lamar Smith just can't get a break. The Texas congressman and widely despised author of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) ruffled the Internet's feathers once again this week with the quiet unveiling of a new piece of legislation that's drawing criticism for being plucked out of SOPA's language and rushed through Congress. The Intellectual Property Attaché Act (IPAA) would streamline the process by which the U.S. protects its intellectual property by enforcing U.S. copyright law abroad through specially assigned diplomats or attachés. These officers would report to a new agency-level position, the Assistant Secretary for Intellectual Property and push agendas that, according to the bill's language, are 'consistent with the economic interests of the United States, both domestically and abroad.'"
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NotSanguine writes "The state of Florida has been struggling for months with what the Centers for Disease Control describe as the worst tuberculosis outbreak in the United States in twenty years. Although a CDC report went out to state health officials in April encouraging them to take concerted action, the warning went largely unnoticed and nothing has been done. The public did not even learn of the outbreak until June, after a man with an active case of TB was spotted in a Jacksonville soup kitchen. The Palm Beach Post has managed to obtain records on the outbreak and the CDC report, though only after weeks of repeated requests. These documents should have been freely available under Florida's Sunshine Law."
bricko writes with an analysis at New Scientist of recent violence by self-described anarchists against scientists or scientific establishments, including the non-fatal shooting in Genoa in May of the head of a nuclear energy company. That attack "was the latest in a series of alleged anarchist attacks on scientists and engineers, including the attempted bombing of nanotechnology labs in Switzerland and Mexico. This wave of politically motivated violence has raised the question: why do anarchists hate science? Beyond the unsubtle threat of brute force, there are deeper issues that merit attention." The "hate science" line is just a line; the author is under no illusion that there is a single conspiracy, or that all who claim the "anarchist" mantle have identical (or even similar) views of science. "Despite the recent attacks and propaganda, anarchists actually have a complex relationship with science and technology. Some leading figures from anarchist history were scientists, notably Russian biologist Peter Kropotkin. Many hacktivists are anarchists who embrace technology; fiction authors sometimes look toward a future 'technotopia' based on anarchist ideals."
New submitter xSander writes "Is anyone really surprised by this? ACTA may have been rejected by the European Parliment, but it is far from dead yet. Apparently, the EU is trying to revive ACTA through the Canada-EU Trade Agreement (CETA)." The article contains a handy side-by-side comparison of the CETA clauses that are nearly identical to ones found in ACTA.
Apple and many other tech companies have offered benefits to same-sex couples (and sometimes made them a sticking point) for quite some time now, but Google is taking its position of inclusion for sexual minorities outside the company itself; the company has announced an international campaign to promote legal marriage equality for same-sex couples, called "Legalize Love." According to CNN's version of the story, while this represents Google's policies overall, the campaign will at first "focus on countries like Singapore, where certain homosexual activities are illegal, and Poland, which has no legal recognition of same-sex couples." dot429 quotes Mark Palmer-Edgecumbe of Google, speaking in London Saturday at a summit where the initiative was announced: "We want our employees who are gay or lesbian or transgender to have the same experience outside the office as they do in the office. It is obviously a very ambitious piece of work." Also at CNET.
Rambo Tribble writes "The BBC is reporting that the worldwide, tangled mess of IP litigation has come to the attention of the UN's International Telecommunication Union. The agency has announced it will be holding talks aimed at reducing this massive drag on the digital economy. Good luck."
New submitter smugfunt writes "A number of incidents at schools in Afghanistan, especially girls' schools, have been attributed to poisoning by the Taliban. The World Health Organization has investigated 32 of them but found no poison. "Mass Psychological Illness is the most probable cause," they conclude, the Telegraph reports. The Taliban has consistently denied poisoning schools and have even consented to allow the education of girls in a deal with the government which allows significant Taliban control over the curriculum."
The United Nations Human Rights Council has passed a landmark resolution (PDF) declaring that internet freedom is a basic human right. They wrote: "...the same rights that people have offline must also be protected online, in particular freedom of expression, which is applicable regardless of frontiers and through any media of one’s choice, in accordance with articles 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights." The council also called upon all countries to 'promote and facilitate access to the Internet.' The article points out that this comes alongside a report from the Pew Internet Center, which asked a group of internet stakeholders how they think firms in the private sector will handle the ethical issues that arise with countries wanting to censor or restrict internet access. The responses were varied, but skepticism was a recurring theme: 'Corporations will work around regional differences by spinning off subsidiaries, doing what's needed to optimize on future profits.'"
An anonymous reader writes "A year ago, we discussed this on Slashdot: E-Voting Reform In an Out Year?. The point was that due to the hoard of problems with electronic (and mechanical) voting, it is best to approach reform in an out year, when it is not on everyone's mind yet too late to do anything about it. Well, we failed, didn't we? Another election year is upon us, and our vote is less secure, less reliable, and less meaningful than ever. To reference the last article, we still have no open source voting, no end-to-end auditable voting systems and no open source governance. So don't complain if this election is stolen. You forgot to fix the system."
Charliemopps writes "Ron and Rand Paul are shifting the central focus of their family's libertarian crusade to a new cause: Internet Freedom. From the article: 'Kentucky senator Rand and his father Ron Paul, who has not yet formally conceded the Republican presidential nomination, will throw their weight behind a new online manifesto set to be released today by the Paul-founded Campaign for Liberty. The new push, Paul aides say, will in some ways displace what has been their movement's long-running top priority, shutting down the Federal Reserve Bank. The move is an attempt to stake a libertarian claim to a central public issue of the next decade, and to move from the esoteric terrain of high finance to the everyday world of cable modems and Facebook.' This seems like welcome news to me. Let's see if they can get more traction here than they did with the Fed."
judgecorp writes "WikiLeaks has started publishing 2.5 million emails from Syrian political figures and other bodies. The material will embarrass Syria, as well as other governments according to Julian Assange (still hiding in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London). As well as revealing the behaviour of the Syrian regime, the emails will also expose the hypocrisy of other governments and companies, Assange has said."
Grumbleduke writes "Today the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly to reject the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. Despite attempts by the EPP Group to delay the vote until after the Courts have ruled on its legality, the Parliament voted against the Treaty by 478 to 39; apparently the biggest ever defeat the Commission has suffered. However, despite this apparent victory for the Internet, transparency and democracy, the Commission indicated that it will press ahead with the court reference, and if the Court doesn't reject ACTA as well, will consider bringing it back before the Parliament."
lampsie writes "You may recall from back in January 2012 that the Irish government had deemed their stock of 7,000 e-voting machines 'worthless.' Turns out they are not — after spending upwards of €54 million purchasing them almost a decade ago, all 7,000 will now be scrapped for €70,000 (just over nine Euros each). The machines were scrapped because 'they could not be guaranteed to be safe from tampering [...] and they could not produce a printout so that votes/results could be double-checked.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Texas Republican delegates met earlier this month to put together their 2012 platform. Much of this focused on the educational system. Alarmingly, they openly state that they oppose schools teaching critical thinking, on the grounds that it may challenge 'student's fixed beliefs' and undermine 'parental authority.' Page 12 of their official platform (PDF) discusses their thinking on teaching thinking."
Geoffrey.landis writes "At last, a public opinion poll that gets the opinions of ordinary Americans on the issues that matter! Apparently, two thirds of Americans polled think that Barack Obama is better suited to defend against an alien invasion than Mitt Romney, according to a survey from National Geographic Channel, done to tout their upcoming TV series 'chasing UFOs'. In follow-up questioning, Americans would rather call on the Hulk (21%) than either Batman (12%) or Spiderman (8%) to save the day. No word on which candidate is most fit to defend America against shambling hordes of undead seeking to destroy civilization in the zombie apocalypse (perhaps that will be brought out in the debates)." The real question of course is how Obama would handle Galactus.