sweetpea86 writes with a snippet from this story at TechWorld:"The UK government's proposal to separate communications data from content, as part of new plans to allow intelligence services to monitor all internet activity, is infeasible according to a panel of technology experts. Speaking at the 'Scrambling for Safety' conference in London, Ross Anderson, professor of security engineering at the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory, said that the distinction between traffic data as being harmless and content as being sensitive is becoming less and less relevant. 'Now that people are living more and more of their lives online, the pattern of who you communicate with and in what order gives away pretty well everything,' he said. 'This means that, in data protection terms, traffic data is now very often going to be specially sensitive data.'"
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
pigrabbitbear writes "Those who continue to inflate the tech bubble will be quick to remind us all of how they've learned from the past. That this time, it's simply different. They do have a point. Silicon Valley (and Alley) have matured. Startups these days are focused, driven, and efficient, creating products that people actually use. In a period of less than a year after its launch, Instagram was used by 5 million users, who by August of 2011 had uploaded 150 million photos. But even with these impressive results, it's impossible to ignore the fact that many of the fundamental economic factors that led the first bubble remain." A couple other readers contributed similar articles — Instagram's sale seems to have solidified the idea for many that we're in the midst of another tech bubble, though some are more certain about it than others.
An anonymous reader writes "NASA just unveiled its new Sustainability Base — an exceptionally efficient building that harnesses technology developed for the International Space Station. The high-tech complex produces more energy than it consumes and it was just awarded LEED Platinum certification, making it the greenest federal building in the nation. The project features an extensive network of wireless sensors that allow the building to automatically react to changes in weather and occupancy and NASA's forward-osmosis water recycling system, which cuts water use by 90% compared to a traditional building."
udas writes "The Millennium Technology Prize is awarded every two years for a technological innovation that significantly improves the quality of human life, today and in the future. This year, Linus Torvalds, Linux's creator, and Dr. Shinya Yamanaka, maker of a new way to create stem cells without the use of embryonic stem cells, are both laureates for the 2012 Millennium Technology Prize. This prize, which is determined by the Technology Academy of Finland, is one of the world's largest such prizes with candidates sought from across the world and from all fields of technology. The two innovators will share over a million Euros. The final winner will be announced by the President of the Republic of Finland in a special ceremony on June 13, 2012."
Fluffeh writes "Teller, the silent half of the well-known magic duo Penn and Teller, has sued a rival magician for copying one of his most famous illusions. The case promises to test the boundaries of copyright law as it applies to magic tricks. A Dutch magician with the stage name Gerard Bakardy (real name: Gerard Dogge) saw Teller perform the trick in Las Vegas and developed his own version — then started selling a kit — including a fake rose, instructions, and a DVD — for about $3,000. Teller had Bakardy's video removed with a DMCA takedown notice, then called Bakardy to demand that the magician stop using his routine. Teller offered to buy Bakardy out, but they were unable to agree on a price. So Teller sued Bakardy last week in a Nevada federal court."
Qedward writes in with a link about the gap between the tech side of business and the bean counters. "CIOs are being dismissed by CEOs as too techie and not aligned with business activities. According to recent Gartner survey of 220 CEOs across the world, business leaders expect spending on IT to rise, but without a corresponding rise in the importance of the role of the CIO within the organization. CIOs appear to be failing in the eyes of CEOs in terms of alignment with the rest of the business. The research showed the stereotype of the head of IT being too preoccupied with technical issues to be effective business leaders persists. He said they were perceived as unable to bring a breadth of business perspective to the table."
tlhIngan writes "It looks like the Apple v. Samsung war might be over soon. Both parties have agreed to meet to attempt to reach a settlement. While they are not required to settle (Google and Oracle recently went through the same process), it could be a positive signal that Apple might be willing to license the patents under Tim Cook, versus fight it out in court under the late Steve Jobs."
SolKeshNaranek writes with news that Representative Mike Rogers (R-MI), sponsor of CISPA, has decided to tempt fate by referring to the protests that are springing up as 'turbulence on the way down to landing.' From the article: "What really comes through in the article — which mostly talks about how Rogers has been supposedly working with Google to change some of the language in the bill to make it more acceptable -- is how little concern Rogers has for the public. Instead, most of the article just talks about how he's been working with tech companies to make sure they're okay with the bill. And while that's a start, it's no surprise that lots of tech companies would be okay with CISPA, because it grants them broad immunity if they happen to hand over all sorts of private info to the government. But to then call the protests mere 'turbulence' is pretty damned insulting to the actual people this will impact the most: the public, whose privacy may be violated."
Fluffeh writes "Twitter today unveiled a bold new commitment that will be made in writing to its employees — the company will not use any patents derived from employee inventions in offensive lawsuits without the inventor's permission. Twitter has written up a draft of what it calls the 'Innovator's Patent Agreement,' or IPA, which encourages its developers to invent without the fear that their inventions will be used for nefarious purposes. 'The IPA is a new way to do patent assignment that keeps control in the hands of engineers and designers. It is a commitment from Twitter to our employees that patents can only be used for defensive purposes,' Messinger wrote. 'We will not use the patents from employees' inventions in offensive litigation without their permission. What's more, this control flows with the patents, so if we sold them to others, they could only use them as the inventor intended.'"
A longstanding task for the GIMP has been porting the core graphics code from the ancient implementation (dating back to version 1.2) to GEGL. Progress has been hampered by the amount of code relying on details of the implementation of image data: tiles are directly accessed instead of linear buffers, and changing that detail would break the entire core and all plugins. A few weeks ago, two GIMP hackers got together to do some general hacking, and inadvertedly ported the core graphics code to GEGL. They work around the mismatch between GEGL buffers and GIMP tiles by implementing a storage backend for GEGL using the legacy GIMP tiles; to their surprise things Just Worked (tm), and their code branch will become the 2.9 development series once 2.8 is released. With this, 2.10 will finally feature higher bit depth images, additional color spaces (CMYK for one), and hardware accelerated image operations. There's still work to be done: to take advantage of the new features, plugins need to be ported to access GEGL buffers instead of GIMP tiles, but the conversion work is straightforward and current plugins will continue working as well as they do now in the meantime.
Fluffeh writes "Federal authorities have arrested eight men accused of distributing more than $1 million worth of LSD, ecstasy, and other narcotics with an online storefront called 'The Farmer's Market' that used the Tor anonymity service to mask their Internet addresses. Prosecutors said in a press release that the charges were the result of a two-year investigation led by agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration's Los Angeles field division. 'Operation Adam Bomb, ' as the investigation was dubbed, also involved law enforcement agents from several U.S. states and several countries, including Colombia, the Netherlands, and Scotland. The arrests come about a year after Gawker documented the existence of Silk Road, an online narcotics storefront that was available only to Tor users. The site sold LSD, Afghani hashish, tar heroin and other controlled substances and allowed customers to pay using the virtual currency known as Bitcoin."
Fluffeh writes "After around 900 motions and filings, not to mention a timeline of two years, Google and Oracle are finally putting their case before a jury which will be selected on Monday. While Oracle originally sued for billions, the possible damages have come down to a more reasonable $30-something million (the details vary depending on if you ask Google or Oracle). However, the sides are still far apart. Oracle's proposal was a minimum, not a maximum, and Oracle has asked for a tripling of damages because of the 'willful and deliberate nature of Google's infringement.' For ongoing royalties from future sales, Google has proposed payment of just over one-half of one percent of revenue if patent infringement is proven, but Oracle wants more. Beyond financial damages, Oracle has asked for a permanent order preventing Google from continuing to infringe the patents and copyrights. The case is planned to start on Monday afternoon, after jury selection or Tuesday at the latest."
Fluffeh writes "The World Bank is taking steps toward greater transparency. It announced recently that it would be instituting a new 'Open Access policy for its research outputs and knowledge products' beginning July 1. The policy's full title is 'World Bank Open Access Policy for Formal Publications,' and the Bank says it will apply to 'manuscripts and all accompanying data sets... that result from research, analysis, economic and sector work, or development practice... that have undergone peer review or have been otherwise vetted and approved for release to the public; and... for which internal approval for release is given on or after July 1, 2012,' as well as the final reports prepared by outside parties for the Bank. Over 2,100 books and papers from 2009-2012 are already available in the repository"
techfun89 writes "New analysis of data, now 36 years old, from the Viking robots, suggests that NASA had found life on Mars. This conclusion was published by an international team of mathematicians and scientists this week. The Labeled Release experiment looked for signs of microbial metabolism in soil samples in 1976. The general thinking was that the experiment had found geological not biological activity. However, the new study approached things differently. Researchers broke the data into sets of numbers and analyzed the results for complexity. What they found were close correlations between the Viking results' complexity and those of terrestrial biological data sets. Based on this they concluded that the Viking results were more biological in nature than just geological processes."
An anonymous reader writes "The University of Pittsburgh has been plagued with 78 bomb threats (and counting) since February 14. It started low-tech, with handwritten notes, but has progressed to anonymous emails. Nearly every campus building has been a target. The program suspected is anonymous mailer Mixmaster. The university has been evacuating each building when threats come in (day or night), and police departments from around Allegheny County have offered assistance with clearing each building floor by floor with bomb sniffing dogs. There is a popular tracking blog set up by a student as well as a growing Reddit community. Is there any foreseeable defense (forensic or socially engineered) to a situation like this?"