Trust the World's Fastest VPN with Your Internet Security & Freedom with PureVPN - 79% off. ×
Patents

Judge Rodney Gilstrap Sees A Quarter Of The Nation's Patent Cases (vice.com) 34

derekmead quotes a report from Motherboard: Since taking the bench in 2011 -- moving literally across the street from his law office into the district courthouse -- Judge Rodney Gilstrap has become one of the most influential patent litigation judges in the country. In 2015, there were 5,819 new patent cases filed in the US; 1,686 of those ended up in front of Judge Gilstrap. That's more than a quarter of all cases in the country; twice as many as the next most active patent judge. This busy patent docket didn't blossom overnight, and it's not some strange coincidence. Due to some unique rules around intellectual property filings, patent holders can often file their lawsuits at any district court in the country, even if neither the plaintiff nor the defendant is based there. By introducing a list of standing court orders and local regulations, the Eastern District of Texas (and, in particular, Gilstrap's division of Marshall) has become the court of choice for many plaintiffs, especially non-practicing entities, often referred to as patent trolls.
Power

AG Scores Victory In Bid To Shut Down Indian Point (lohud.com) 109

mdsolar quotes a report from The Journal News: Federal safety regulators used the wrong data to analyze the potential economic impacts of a severe accident at the Indian Point nuclear power plant, a panel of commissioners for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission ruled Wednesday. The ruling, which reversed an earlier finding, will force the NRC to conduct a fresh analysis of the costs of a devastating accident and cleanup at the nuclear power plant in Buchanan, 24 miles north of New York City. The decision was hailed by New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, whose office is spearheading the state's challenge to Indian Point's efforts to renew federal licenses for its two reactors. Schneiderman estimates that some 1.5 million workers would be needed in to take part in decontamination efforts in the event of a nuclear mishap, with cleanup costs surging as high as $1 trillion.
Crime

Meet The Company That Poached The FBI's Entire Silk Road Investigation Team (dailydot.com) 97

Patrick O'Neill quotes a report from The Daily Dot: The FBI team that brought down Silk Road has a new home. After headline-grabbing investigations, arrests, and prosecutions on some of America's highest-profile cybercriminals, five of U.S. law enforcement's most prized cybercrime aces have all left government service for greener pastures -- a titan consulting firm called Berkeley Research Group (BRG). BRG's newly hired gang of five includes former federal prosecutor Thomas Brown, as well as former FBI agents Christopher Tarbell, Thomas Kiernan, and Ilhwan Yum -- names that punctuated many of the biggest cybercrime stories of the last decade including Silk Road, LulzSec, Liberty Reserve, as well as the hacks of Citibank, PNC Bank, and the Rove Digital botnet; and the prosecution of Samarth Agrawal for stealing crucial code for high-frequency trading from the multinational, multibillion dollar bank Societe Generale. "Private industry provides a lot of opportunity," NYPD intelligence chief Thomas Galati told Congress earlier this year. "So I think the best people out there are working for private companies, and not for the government."
Earth

India Plans To Spend $6 Billion On Creating New Forests (qz.com) 40

The Narendra Modi government plans to spend $6.2 billion to create new forests through the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill, 2015, which has been passed by lawmakers in India's lower house this week. The bill aims to increase India's forest cover from 21.34% of the total land to 33%. Where does the money come from? It comes from private companies and various "other entities" who paid fees to the Indian government since 2006 for allowing them to set up projects on forest land. The bill proposes local state governments be provided 90% of the accumulated funds, with 10% left with the central government. "Our forest cover will dramatically increase and it will result in achieving our target 33% of tree cover and most importantly 2.5 billion tonne of carbon sink as we have indicated in our intended nationally determined contributions (INDC)," India's environmental minister, Prakash Javadekar said on May 3rd. Naturally, some experts are concerned with how appropriately the funds will be used, as well as how exactly the government will develop forests on alternate land. According to Quartz, "Since 1980, the environment ministry has approved the diversion of 1.29 million hectares of forestlands for non-forestry purposes, according to a study by CSE." India's comptroller and auditor general has expressed his dissatisfaction with the ministry's failure to grow forests on alternative land in a report in 2013.
Iphone

LAPD Hacked An iPhone 5s Before The FBI Hacked San Bernardino Terrorist's iPhone 5c (latimes.com) 34

According to recently released court papers, Los Angeles police investigators found a way to break into a locked iPhone 5s belonging to April Jace, the slain wife of "The Shield" actor Michael Jace. The detectives were able to bypass the security at around the same time period the FBI was demanding Apple unlock the iPhone 5c belonging to San Bernardino terrorist Syed Rizwan Farook. LAPD detective Connie Zych wrote on March 18, the department found a "forensic cellphone expert" who could "override the locked iPhone function," according to the search warrant. There's no mention of how the LAPD broke into the iPhone or what OS the iPhone was running (Note: iOS 8, which features improved encryption and security features, came out months after the killing). The information stored on the iPhone should help in the criminal case against Jace's husband, who is charged with the May 19, 2014, killing.
Government

FDA To Regulate E-Cigarettes Like Tobacco (cnn.com) 283

An anonymous reader writes: Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) have been all the rage lately, as many claim they are healthier than traditional tobacco cigarettes. Since they are so relatively new to the market, the government hasn't been able to effectively study them and determine whether or not they should be regulated like traditional cigarettes and smokeless tobacco -- until now. The FDA has released their final rule Thursday, broadening the definition of tobacco products to include e-cigarettes, hookahs, pipe tobacco, premium cigars, little cigars and other products. "Going forward, the FDA will be able to review new tobacco products not yet on the market, help prevent misleading claims by tobacco product manufacturers, evaluate the ingredients of tobacco products and how they are made, and communicate the potential risks of tobacco products," the agency said. The new rule will go into effect immediately. According to CDC data from 2014, e-cigarette use among adults has gone up about 12.6%. People under the age of 18 will no longer be able to buy these products with the new regulations, and the products will be required to be sold in child-resistant packaging. In addition, the government will now be able to have a say in what goes into the products. Previously, there was no law mandating that manufacturers tell you what you are inhaling when trying their products.
Privacy

After ISIS, Americans Fear Cyberattacks Most (theatlantic.com) 83

An anonymous reader writes: According to Pew Research Center, there's an increasingly growing fear among Americans about cyberattacks. In fact, it's the second most feared entity to them, the first being ISIS. The terrorist group is scary by design, relying on propaganda videos and ultra-violent attacks to spread fear and project power. But coming in second right after the terrorist group was the prospect of country-on-country cyberwar: a digital raid to steal another government's information, for example, or a large-scale attack on a nation's electrical grid. Cyberattacks are a major threat in the minds of 72 percent of Americans, and a minor threat to another 22 percent. Cyberwar hasn't been on Americans' minds to this degree since 2013. That year, for the first time, Americans ranked cyberattacks as a top threat, placing it second after the threat from Islamic extremists like al-Qaeda. But in the intervening years, Americans turned their attention to nuclear threats.
Privacy

Cops Deploy StingRay Anti-Terror Tech Against $50 Chicken-Wing Thief (theregister.co.uk) 181

An anonymous reader shares a report on The Register: Police in Maryland, U.S., used controversial cellphone-tracking technology intended only for the most serious crimes to track down a man who stole $50 of chicken wings. Police in Annapolis -- an hour's drive from the heart of government in Washington DC -- used a StingRay cell tower simulator in an effort to find the location of a man who had earlier robbed a Pizza Boli employee of 15 chicken wings and three sandwiches. Total worth: $56.77. In that case, according to the police log, a court order was sought and received but in many other cases across the United States, the technology is being used with minimal oversight, despite the fact it is only supposed to be used in the most serious cases such as terrorism.Annapolis police never found the thief.
Earth

Scientists Grow Two-Week-Old Human Embryos In Lab For The First Time (reuters.com) 135

An anonymous reader writes: According to Reuters, "Using a culture method previously tested to grow mouse embryos outside of a mother, the teams were able to conduct almost hour by hour observations of human embryo development to see how they develop and organize themselves up to day 13."

Brave new world, here we come
From the report: "The work, covered in two studies published on Wednesday in the journal Nature and Nature Cell Biology, showed how the cells that will eventually form the human body self-organize into the basic structure of a post-implantation human embryo. As well as advancing human biology expertise, the knowledge gained from studying these developments should help to improve in-vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments and further progress in the field of regenerative medicine, the researchers said. But the research also raises the issue of an international law banning scientists from developing human embryos beyond 14 days, and suggests this limit may have to be reviewed. 'Longer cultures could provide absolutely critical information for basic human biology,' said researcher Zernicka-Goetz. 'But this would of course raise the next question - of where we should put the next limit.'"
Crime

Hacker Guccifer Claims He Easily and Repeatedly Broke Into Hillary Clinton's Email Server (foxnews.com) 394

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Fox News: The infamous Romanian hacker known as "Guccifer," speaking exclusively with Fox News, claimed he easily -- and repeatedly -- breached former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's personal email server in early 2013. In the process of mining data from the Blumenthal account, Lazar said he came across evidence that others were on the Clinton server. "As far as I remember, yes, there were up to 10, like, IPs from other parts of the world," he said. From the report: "'For me, it was easy ... easy for me, for everybody,' Marcel Lehel Lazar, who goes by the moniker 'Guccifer,' told Fox News from a Virginia jail where he is being held. Fox News could not independently confirm Lazar's claims. The 44-year-old Lazar said he first compromised Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal's AOL account, in March 2013, and used that as a stepping stone to the Clinton server. He said he accessed Clintonâ(TM)s server 'like twice,' though he described the contents as 'not interest[ing]' to him at the time." Guccifer was sent to prison last month, which is when his potential role in the Clinton email investigation became apparent.
Transportation

'Largest Recall In American History': Takata To Recall Nearly 70 Million Airbags (nbcnews.com) 120

An anonymous reader writes: Federal regulators are ordering Japanese supplier Takata to recall as many as 40 million additional airbags linked to a defect already blamed for at least 11 deaths, bringing the total number of faulty airbags in the U.S. to 69 million. Previously, the recall involved about 24 million vehicles sold in the U.S. over roughly the last decade, with 14 manufacturers impacted. With the latest recall, almost every other major carmaker will now be pulled. "This is the largest recall in American history," National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator Mark Rosekind told reporters on Wednesday. Initial estimates said 35-40 million airbags were to be recalled. And because some vehicles use more than one Takata airbag, the total number of vehicles will likely be smaller. Now it's considered highly likely that the total number of cars, trucks and crossovers will now top the 50 million mark, and as many as a quarter of all vehicles on U.S. roads could be covered. The NHTSA has reported that just over 8 million vehicles had been fixed as of April 22. The airbags have so far been tied to at least 10 U.S. deaths and more than 100 injuries -- two more fatalities in Malaysia were confirmed Wednesday. "The exploding airbags can send shrapnel into the faces and necks of victims, leaving them looking as if they had been shot or stabbed," according to Fox 59.
Java

No One Should Have To Use Proprietary Software To Communicate With Their Government (fsf.org) 146

Donald Robertson, writing for Free Software Foundation: Proprietary JavaScript is a threat to all users on the Web. When minified, the code can hide all sorts of nasty items, like spyware and other security risks. [...] On March 1st, 2016, the Copyright Office announced a call for comments on an update to their technology infrastructure. We submitted a comment urging them to institute a policy that requires all software they develop and distribute to be free software. Further, we also urged them to not require people to run proprietary software in order to communicate or submit comments to them. Unfortunately, once again, the Copyright Office requires the use of proprietary JavaScript in order to submit the comment and they are only accepting comments online unless a person lacks computer or Internet access. [...] The most absurd part of all this is that other government agencies, while still using Regulations.gov, are perfectly capable of offering alternatives to submission.
Security

Aging and Bloated OpenSSL Is Purged of 2 High-Severity Bugs (arstechnica.com) 61

An anonymous reader cites a story on Ars Technica: Maintainers of the OpenSSL cryptographic library have patched high-severity holes that could make it possible for attackers to decrypt login credentials or execute malicious code on Web servers. The updates were released Tuesday morning for both versions 1.0.1 and 1.0.2 of OpenSSL, which a large portion of the Internet relies on to cryptographically protect sensitive Web and e-mail traffic using the transport layer security protocol. OpenSSL advisories labeled the severity of both vulnerabilities "high," meaning the updates fixing them should be installed as soon as possible. The fixes bring the latest supported versions to 1.0.1t and 1.0.2h. The decryption vulnerability is the result of what cryptographers call a padding oracle weakness, which allows attackers to repeatedly probe an encrypted payload for clues about the plaintext content inside. According to TLS expert Filippo Valsorda, the bug allows for only 16 bytes of encrypted traffic to be recovered, and even then only when an end user sends it repeatedly.
Facebook

Facebook Paid $10,000 To A 10-Year-Old For Hacking Instagram (thenextweb.com) 61

An anonymous reader writes: Facebook has paid $10,000 to a 10-year-old hacker who discovered how one could hack into Instagram and delete comments made by users. Speaking to local publication Iltalehti, Jani said: "I would have been able to eliminate anyone, even Justin Bieber." The Finnish hacker just became the youngest person to receive cash from Facebook for hacking its products. The previous record was set by a 13-year-old back in 2013. What's funny is Jani isn't technically old enough to sign-up and use Facebook or Instagram, as it's supposed to be restricted to those under the age of 13. Jani found he could alter code on Instagram's servers and force-delete users' posts. This was confirmed by Facebook using a test account and patched in February, Facebook told Forbes. Facebook has received more than 2,400 valid submissions and awarded upwards of $4.3 million to over 800 researchers since the bounty program launched in 2011.
Iphone

Apple Loses Exclusive Rights To 'iPhone' Trademark For Non-Smartphone Products In China (appleinsider.com) 89

An anonymous reader quotes a report from AppleInsider: Adding to the company's problems in the region, Apple has lost exclusivity on the use of the "iPhone" trademark in China, and must now share it with Beijing-based leather products maker Xintong Tiandi Technology, reports said on Tuesday. On March 31, the Beijing Municipal High People's Court rejected an Apple appeal of an earlier ruling, according to Quartz. Xintong Tiandi is already selling a number of "IPHONE" products, including purses, passport cases, and most notably phone cases. The company registered its trademark in China in 2007, the same year as the Apple iPhone launched in the United States. That was, however, still five years after Apple registered the iPhone name in China for computer products, something which formed the basis of a 2012 complaint to the country's trademark authorities. In 2013 the government ruled that because Apple couldn't prove the name "IPHONE" was well-known prior to Xintong Tiandi's registration, the public wouldn't link its use in a way that would harm Apple interests. In rejecting Apple's appeal, the High People's Court further noted that the company didn't sell the iPhone in mainland China until 2009. This comes after Apple reported its first earnings decline in more than a decade.
Government

Snowden: 'Governments Can Reduce Our Dignity To That Of Tagged Animals' (theguardian.com) 109

An anonymous reader writes: NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden writes a report on The Guardian explaining why leaking information about wrongdoing is a vital act of resistance. "One of the challenges of being a whistleblower is living with the knowledge that people continue to sit, just as you did, at those desks, in that unit, throughout the agency; who see what you saw and comply in silence, without resistance or complaint," Snowden writes. "They learn to live not just with untruths but with unnecessary untruths, dangerous untruths, corrosive untruths. It is a double tragedy: what begins as a survival strategy ends with the compromise of the human being it sought to preserve and the diminishing of the democracy meant to justify the sacrifice." He goes on to explain the importance and significance of leaks, how not all leaks are alike, nor are their makers, and how our connected devices come into play in the post-9/11 period. Snowden writes, "By preying on the modern necessity to stay connected, governments can reduce our dignity to something like that of tagged animals, the primary difference being that we paid for the tags and they are in our pockets."
Facebook

A Small Group of Journalists Control and Decide What Should Trend On Facebook (gizmodo.com) 89

An anonymous reader writes: According to five former members of Facebook's trending news team, "news curators" as they're known internally, Zuckerberg and company take a downright dim view of the media industry and its talent. In interviews with Gizmodo, these former curators described grueling work conditions, humiliating treatment, and a secretive, imperious culture in which they were treated as disposable outsiders. After doing a tour in Facebook's news trenches, almost all of them came to believe that they were there not to work, but to serve as training modules for Facebook's algorithm." "We choose what's trending," said one former news curator. From personal experience I can share a similar incident. An Indian outlet extensively wrote about flaws in Facebook's Free Basics. Few days later, "Ban [that outlet's name]" was trending on Facebook. Clicking on it, for the first few hours, literally didn't return any relevant result, as nobody was talking about it, and no media outlet had written about it. It was after more than a day or so after this fabricated item kept trending that some other outlets started to write about it. (That's common in the media industry: writing about trending topics.) In the past, we've also seen Facebook employees ask whether the company should do anything to stop Donald Trump from becoming the president.
Earth

UAE To Build Artificial Mountain To Improve Rainfall (engadget.com) 216

An anonymous reader writes: The United Arab Emirates is in the early stages of developing an artificial mountain that would force air upwards and create clouds that could produce additional rainfall. While the Middle East and Africa continues to get hotter, researchers are further motivated and more desperate for solutions to maximize rainfall. "Building a mountain is not a simple thing," said NCAR scientist and lead researcher Roelof Bruintjes. "We are still busy finalizing assimilation, so we are doing a spread of all kinds of heights, widths and locations [as we simultaneously] look at the local climatology." The specific location has yet to be decided on as the team is still testing out different sites across the UAE. "If [the project] is too expensive for [the government], logically the project won't go through, but this gives them an idea of what kind of alternatives there are for the long-term future." Bruintjes said. "If it goes through, the second phase would be to go to an engineering company and decide whether it is possible or not."
Government

Kim Jong-Un Bans All Weddings, Funerals And Freedom Of Movement In North Korea (independent.co.uk) 204

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Independent: Weddings and funerals have been banned and Pyongyang is in lockdown as preparations for a once-in-a-generation party congress get underway in North Korea. The ruling Worker's Party of Korea, headed by the country's leader, Kim Jong-un, is due to stage the first gathering of its kind for 36 years on Friday. Free movement in and out of the capital has also been forbidden and there has been an increase in inspections and property searches, according to Daily NK, which claims to have sources in the country. The temporary measures are said to be an attempt to minimize the risk of "mishaps" at the event, according to Cheong Joon-hee, a spokesman at South Korea's Unification Ministry. Meanwhile, North Korea has been conducting missile tests left and right, many of which have failed miserably.
Advertising

China Probes Baidu Over False Medical Ads After Student Dies (bloomberg.com) 41

hackingbear writes: China's Internet regulator said on Monday it will send a team to investigate Baidu Inc over the death of a university student who used the Chinese search engine to look for treatment for his rare cancer, and to find an experimental treatment offered by the Second Hospital of Beijing Armed Police Corps, which eventually proved ineffective. Before dying, Wei accused Baidu online of promoting false medical information, as well as the hospital for misleading advertising in claiming a high success rate for the treatment, state radio said. The post attracted a large public outcry. Baidu says around one quarter of its revenues come from medical and health-care advertisers.

Slashdot Top Deals