An anonymous reader writes "Peter Sunde aka brokep of TPB fame is going to run for European Parliament in 2014, as a Finnish Pirate Party candidate. As he still has a prison sentence to serve in Sweden, he might have to campaign from behind bars. 'Amusingly, the Pirate ticket in Finland could have been even bigger than it is now. Sunde informs TorrentFreak that he also reached out to Finnish-born Kim Dotcom to join the race, but the Megaupload founder currently has other priorities.'"
Drishmung writes "The New Zealand Commerce Minister Craig Foss today (9 May 2013) announced a significant change to the Patents Bill currently before parliament, replacing the earlier amendment with far clearer law and re-affirming that software really will be unpatentable in New Zealand. An article on the Institute of IT Professionals web site by IT Lawyer Guy Burgess looks at the the bill and what it means, with reference to the law in other parts of the world such as the USA, Europe and Britain (which is slightly different from the EU situation)."
jrepin writes "The government of Spain's autonomous region of Extremadura has begun the switch to open source of it desktop PCs. The government expects the majority of its 40,000 PCs to be migrated this year, the region's CIO Theodomir Cayetano announced on 18 April. Extremadura estimates that the move to open source will help save 30 million euro per year. Extremadura in 2012 completed the inventory of all the software applications and computers used by its civil servants. It also tailored a Linux distribution, Sysgobex, to meet the majority of requirements of government tasks. It has already migrated to open source some 150 PCs at several ministries, including those for Development, Culture and Employment."
PuceBaboon writes "The BBC is reporting that the EU has voted to ban pesticides containing neonicotinoids for at least two years, in an effort to isolate the cause of CCD (colony collapse disorder; the alarming disappearance of bees over recent years). Despite intense lobbying by the chemical companies, a 3-million signature petition helped swing the vote in favor of the ban."
First time accepted submitter Dorianny writes in with a story about the ongoing battle over genetically engineered crops in Europe. "The European Union cannot meet its goals in agricultural policy without embracing genetically engineered crops (GMOs). That's the conclusion of scientists who write in Trends in Plant Science, a Cell Press publication, based on case studies showing that the EU is undermining its own competitiveness in the agricultural sector to its own detriment and that of its humanitarian activities in the developing world. 'Failing such a change, ultimately the EU will become almost entirely dependent on the outside world for food and feed and scientific progress, ironically because the outside world has embraced the technology which is so unpopular in Europe, realizing this is the only way to achieve sustainable agriculture,' said Paul Christou of the University of Lleida-Agrotecnio Center and Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats in Spain."
First time accepted submitter DW100 writes "Microsoft, Nokia and Oracle have taken it upon themselves to moan to the European Commission about Google's Android dominance, which they say is an underhand bid to control the entire mobile market. The firms are part of the FairSearch group, which has just filed a complaint that Google is using Android as a 'Trojan Horse' to take control of the mobile market and all the related advertising revenue. Microsoft would of course know all about this, being at the end of several similar anti-competitive complaints in the past."
sl4shd0rk writes "Hispalinux, which represents Spanish Open Source developers and users, has filed a complaint against Microsoft with the European Commission. 14 pages of grief cited Windows 8 as an 'obstruction mechanism' calling UEFI Secure Boot a 'de facto technological jail for computer booting systems... making Microsoft's Windows platform less neutral than ever.' On March 6 of 2012 the Commission fined Microsoft 561 million Euros for failing to offer users a choice of web browser, and there was also a 2004 ruling which found the company had abused its market position by tying Windows Media Player to Windows itself. Relations appear to remain more tense towards Windows in Europe, so there may be some hope of making UEFI more Linux-friendly. UEFI has been implicated in the death of Samsung laptops running Linux."
whoever57 writes "Several European phone carriers have complained to the EU about the contracts that Apple imposes on them if they want to sell the iPhone. Because the contracts stipulate a minimum purchase, and the Carrier must compensate Apple if they fail to sell through that minimum, it has the effect of forcing the carrier to promote iPhones ahead of alternative phones. The European Commission is monitoring the situation. Apple claims that its 'contracts fully comply with local laws wherever we do business, including the EU.'"
UgLyPuNk writes "Blizzard has revealed its 'something new' at PAX East 2013: Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft — a 'charming collectible strategy game set in the Warcraft universe.'" Blizzard says this game is a departure from their normal development process: it was made with a team of just 15, will release this year, and it's free-to-play. Hearthstone is built for Mac OS, Windows, and iPads. There's a deck builder, a match-finder, and AI for those who don't want to play against other people. While it's free to play, and players will earn new packs of cards by playing, there will also be an option to purchase new packs.
alancronin writes "Researchers have unearthed a decade-long espionage operation that used the popular TeamViewer remote-access program and proprietary malware to target high-level political and industrial figures in Eastern Europe. TeamSpy, as the shadow group has been dubbed, collected encryption keys and documents marked as 'secret' from a variety of high-level targets, according to a report published Wednesday by Hungary-based CrySyS Lab. Targets included a Russia-based Embassy for an undisclosed country belonging to both NATO and the European Union, an industrial manufacturer also located in Russia, multiple research and educational organizations in France and Belgium, and an electronics company located in Iran. CrySyS learned of the attacks after Hungary's National Security Authority disclosed intelligence that TeamSpy had hit an unnamed 'Hungarian high-profile governmental victim.'"
r5r5 writes "European Commission's Institute for Prospective Technological Studies has published a study which concludes that the impact of piracy on the legal sale of music is virtually nonexistent or even slightly positive. The study's results suggest that Internet users do not view illegal downloading as a substitute for legal digital music and that a 10% increase in clicks on illegal downloading websites leads to a 0.2% increase in clicks on legal purchase websites. Online music streaming services are found to have a somewhat larger (but still small) effect on the purchases of digital sound recordings, suggesting a complementary relationship between these two modes of music consumption. According to the results, a 10% increase in clicks on legal streaming websites leads to up to a 0.7% increase in clicks on legal digital purchase websites." It's worth noting that this study only measured the effect of piracy on online purchases, not on revenue from physical formats.
An anonymous reader writes "Hackers can influence real-time traffic-flow-analysis systems to make people drive into traffic jams or to keep roads clear in areas where a lot of people use Google or Waze navigation systems, a German researcher demonstrated at BlackHat Europe. 'If, for example, an attacker drives a route and collects the data packets sent to Google, the hacker can replay them later with a modified cookie, platform key and time stamps, Jeske explained in his research paper (PDF). The attack can be intensified by sending several delayed transmissions with different cookies and platform keys, simulating multiple cars, Jeske added. An attacker does not have to drive a route to manipulate data, because Google also accepts data from phones without information from surrounding access points, thus enabling an attacker to influence traffic data worldwide, he added.' 'You don't need special equipment for this and you can manipulate traffic data worldwide,' Jeske said."
An anonymous reader writes "NCC Group has released a new whitepaper at the Blackhat Europe conference on using a Raspberry PI as a hardware-based backdoor (PDF) in laptop docking stations. From the paper: 'The IT department is typically more concerned about someone stealing your laptop, so they'll ask you to secure your laptop with a Kensington-style lock, but not necessarily to secure the dock. This paper details how attackers can exploit the privileged position that laptop docking stations have within an environment. It will also describe the construction of a remotely controllable, covert hardware implant, but most importantly it will discuss some of the techniques that can be employed to detect such devices and mitigate the risks that they pose.'"
It's a long, slow road from tentative discovery, to various forms of peer review, to wide acceptance, never mind theory and experimental design, but recent years' work to pin down the Higgs Boson seem to be bearing fruit in the form of cautious announcements. FBeans writes with excerpts from both the New York Times ("Physicists announced Thursday they believe they have discovered the subatomic particle predicted nearly a half-century ago, which will go a long way toward explaining what gives electrons and all matter in the universe size and shape.") and from The Independent ("Cern says that confirming what type of boson the particle is could take years and that the scientists would need to return to the Large Hadron Collider — the world's largest 'atom smasher' — to carry out further tests. This will measure at what rate the particle decays and compare it with the results of predictions, as theorised by Edinburgh professor Peter Higgs 50 years ago.")
pev writes with a report in The Guardian that "European car manufacturers are rigging fuel efficiency tests by stripping down car interiors, over inflating tyres, taping over panel gaps and generally cheating. This overestimates the figures by 25% to 50%. One would have thought that a simple clause stating that cars have to be tested in the conditions that they are sold in would have been obvious?"
A bit over a year since having their case rejected by the Swedish Supreme Court and appealing to the European Human Rights Court, it looks like basically all legal options have been exhausted for the Pirate Bay Founders: their case has been rejected. From the article: "The EHCR recognizes that the Swedish verdict interferes with the right to freedom of expression, but ruled that this was necessary to protect the rights of copyright holders. In its decision the Court also considered the fact that The Pirate Bay did not remove torrents linking to copyrighted material when they were asked to. 'The Court held that sharing, or allowing others to share files of this kind on the Internet, even copyright-protected material and for profit-making purposes, was covered by the right to "receive and impart information" under Article 10 ... However, the Court considered that the domestic courts had rightly balanced the competing interests at stake – i.e. the right of the applicants to receive and impart information and the necessity to protect copyright – when convicting the applicants and therefore rejected their application as manifestly ill-founded.'"
An anonymous reader writes "The European Parliament passed a proposal Tuesday which included a blanket ban on pornography, including Internet porn, in European Union member states. However, Members of European Parliament (MEPs) removed explanatory wording from the porn ban section, essentially limiting the ban to advertising and print media. The proposal, titled 'Eliminating gender stereotypes in the EU,' was put to a vote in Strasbourg. MEPs passed it 368-159."
Dupple writes with a story about the latest in the Google-Microsoft feud. "The tired spat between Google and Microsoft just got a lot more interesting after reports that the search giant tipped off European authorities to antitrust concerns, a tip that will now cost the Windows-maker nearly a billion dollars. When news of the fine levied by the European Union's competition watchdog broke on Wednesday, nobody was too surprised that the European Commission was punishing Microsoft for bullying consumers. But with a recent headline-stealing dispute between the Redmond, Washington company and Google, it's competitor down in Mountain View, California, bloggers got curious. Early Wednesday evening, The Wall Street Journal's Tom Gara wondered, 'Did Google Snitch?' According to a Financial Times report published a few minutes later, the answer is yes."
An anonymous reader writes "The European Union is voting on a proposal next week that could lead to a blanket ban on porn in member states, and it seems the measure may well be approved. The proposal, called 'Eliminating gender stereotypes in the EU,' mentions issues such as women carrying a 'disproportionate share of the burden' when raising a family, violence against women as 'an infringement of human rights,' and gender stereotypes that develop early in life. From the proposal: "Calls on the EU and its Member States to take concrete action on its resolution of 16 September 1997 on discrimination against women in advertising, which called for a ban on all forms of pornography in the media and on the advertising of sex tourism." Update: 03/07 19:05 GMT by T : Pirate MEP Christian Engström writes on his blog that citizens writing to the European Parliament about the proposal are not necessarily being heard: "Before noon, some 350 emails [on this topic] had arrived in my office. But around noon, these mails suddenly stopped arriving. When we started investigating why this happened so suddenly, we soon found out: The IT department of the European Parliament is blocking the delivery of the emails on this issue, after some members of the parliament complained about getting emails from citizens."