TheGift73 writes with a Techdirt story about a House Oversight Committee report that is very critical of the TSA's handling of money. "The House Oversight Committee has come out with a report slamming the TSA for tremendous amounts of waste, specifically in the 'deployment and storage' of its scanning equipment. Basically, it sounds like the TSA likes to go on giant spending sprees, buying up security equipment and then never, ever using it." Earlier this month Rand Paul laid out his plan for dealing with the TSA.
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concertina226 writes "Yahoo has announced that board member Patti Hart, who led the committee that hired CEO Scott Thompson, will be stepping down. Hart has been under fire for overseeing the hiring of Thompson, whose resume wasn't fully vetted. I know some of you on Slashdot think that Scott Thompson didn't do anything wrong by claiming he had a computer science degree on his CV when he doesn't, but don't you think it's kind of weird that the guy who lied gets to keep his job as CEO, yet this director is being made a scapegoat? It just sends out the message that it's cool to pretend to have qualifications that you don't have."
colinneagle sends this quote from an article about the ever-growing patent racket in the tech industry: "The lawsuits are raging all across the tech world. Oracle sues Google, Yahoo sues Facebook, they counter-sue. Others threaten, others buy more patents and the circle goes round and round. Don't be fooled by the lawsuits between these tech titans though. The real cost that the patent mafia extracts from the tech world is on the smaller companies who can't afford to battle the Apples and Microsofts of the world. Their choices are far simpler. They can abandon their innovations or they can choose to pay and allow the Mafiosos to wet their beaks. Also, don't be fooled about who the real losers are here. The the real losers are you and me. ... So what do do? Here is my opinion. I would make it just as expensive for the offensive patent prosecutors. Just as the government put in the RICO act to combat organized crime, I would put a similar law in place on patents. RICO calls for treble damages. I would have treble awards of costs and legal fees. If a patent holder sues another entity for patent violation and that suit fails, the plaintiff who brought the suit should pay treble damages to the defendant. Three times what the defendant paid to defend."
Fluffeh writes "Around nine months ago, BART Police asked to have wireless communications disabled (PDF) between Trans Bay Tube Portal and the Balboa Park Station. That was because they knew a public protest was to take place there — and the service to the underground communication system was disabled. This affected not only cellphone signals, but also the radio systems of Police, Fire and Ambulance crews (PDF) within the underground. This led to an even larger protest at a BART station and many folks filed complaints along with the American Civil Liberties Union and Electronic Frontier Foundation. The FCC responded by launching a probe into the incident. The results were a mixed bag of 'To protect citizens!' and 'Only in extreme cases,' not to mention the classic 'Terrorists use wireless communications!' But even if the probe doesn't lead to a full proceeding and formal order, the findings may well be used as a guide for many years to come."
itwbennett writes "Peter Smith has done the math on Microsoft's $99 Xbox 360 — 4GB model (no hard drive) and a Kinect sensor. Here's why it's a bad deal: 'You'll be paying $99 + $359.76 in monthly fees, or $458.76 over the course of two years. Compare that with (I'm using prices from Amazon that were accurate as of May 7th, 2012) $287.70 for an Xbox 360 4GB + Kinect bundle, and two 12-month Xbox Live Gold cards at $48.41 each, a total of $384.52. So you're paying almost $75 for the privilege of laying out small cash now.' And then there's the not insignificant matter of early termination fees."
New submitter dandv writes with a story from VentureBeat about another entry in the race to escape national jurisdiction by offshoring work — literally offshoring, that is : "Blueseed is a Silicon Valley company that plans on launching a cruise ship 30 minutes from the coast of California, housing startup entrepreneurs from around the world. These startuppers won't need to bother with U.S. visas, because the ship will be in international waters. They'll have to pay tax to whatever country they're incorporated in, though. So far, 146 startups said they'd like to come to the ship."
Fluffeh writes "On Monday, the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles approved Google's license application to test autonomous vehicles on the state's roads. The state had approved such laws back in February, and has now begun issuing licenses based on those regulations. The state previously outlined that companies that want to test such vehicles will need an insurance bond of $1 million and must provide detailed outlines of where they plan to test it and under what conditions. Further, the car must have two people in it at all times, with one behind the wheel who can take control of the vehicle if needed. The Autonomous Review Committee of the Nevada DMV is supervising the first licensing procedure and has now approved corresponding plates to go with it, complete with a red background and infinity symbol."
eldavojohn writes "Details are thin, but the long-covered Oracle v. Google trial has at least partially been decided in favor of Oracle. The jury says Google violated copyrights with Android when it used Java APIs to design the system. Google moved for a mistrial after hearing the incomplete decision. The patent infringement accusations have yet to be ruled upon."
Hugh Pickens writes "The LA Times reports that some of the nation's top aviators are refusing to fly the radar-evading F-22 Raptor, a fighter jet with ongoing problems with the oxygen systems that have plagued the fleet for four years. 'We are generally aware of a small number of pilots who have expressed reservations about flying the F-22, and each of those cases will be handled individually through established processes,' says Maj. Brandon Lingle, an Air Force spokesman. Concern about the safety of the F-22 has grown in recent months as reports about problems with its oxygen systems have offered no clear explanations why there have been 11 incidents in which F-22 pilots reported hypoxia-like symptoms. 'Obviously it's a very sensitive thing because we are trying to ensure that the community fully understands all that we're doing to try to get to a solution,' says Gen. Mike Hostage, commander of Air Combat Command. Meanwhile Sen. John McCain says that the jets, which the Air Force call the future of American air dominance, are a waste of their $79 billion price tag and serve no role in today's combat environment. 'There is no purpose, no mission in Afghanistan or Iraq, unless you believe that al Qaeda is going to have a fleet of aircraft,' says McCain, a former combat pilot himself. '[The F-22] has not flown a single combat mission... I don't think the F-22 will ever be seen in the combat it was designed to counter, because that threat is no longer in existence.'"
symbolset writes "The first Aakash tablet proposed for India schools has failed. Datawind managed to deliver the $45 Android tablet as reported here previously, but suffering a breach in faith by both their contract manufacturer and the accepting agency in India had to put the project on hold. Facing a loss in revenue it's turning into a disaster for the small Canadian company as they are now proving unable to deliver both the Aakash tablet and the parallel retail product. Senior executives have begun to flee. The company has presold a great many tablets, and delivery failure reports are beginning to mount. Is this the Phantom console of this decade?"
theodp writes "Over at The Daily Beast, Dan Lyons says Resumegate is overblown and says it's time to stop picking on Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson. Even without the circa-1979 CS degree some incorrectly thought he possessed, Lyons argues that Thompson is still perfectly capable, his critics have ulterior motives, and his competitors have all lied before. 'Forgive me for being less than shocked at the idea of a CEO lying,' writes Lyons. 'Steve Jobs [college dropout] used to lie all the time, and he's apparently the greatest CEO who ever lived. Google lied about taking money from Canadian pharmacies to run illegal drug ads, but finally had to come clean and pay $500 million in fines to settle the charges. Mark Zuckerberg [college dropout] last fall settled charges brought by the FTC that his company had made "unfair and deceptive" claims—I think that's like lying—and, what's more, had violated federal laws.' So what makes the fudging of a 30-year old accomplishment on the Yahoo CEO's resume a transgression that the 'highly ethical and honest folks in Silicon Valley' simply cannot bear? 'Facebook is a cool kid,' explains Lyons. 'So is Apple. Yahoo is the loser kid that nobody likes.'"
Hentes writes "The internet has made many things easier, but unfortunately this also includes crime: it seems that nowadays not even people wanting to know their future are safe from fraud. Two fortune tellers are being investigated, after the Romanian police uncovered that they have utilized some extraordinary help in their clairvoyant acts. The pair used information collected from internet search and social networks to gain the trust of their customers, claiming that they could see their personal data through their crystal ball. In some cases, they also used high-tech surveillance techniques such as hidden cameras and phone tapping. But they didn't stop at merely spying on their victims: their most bizarre case involved a scuba diver dressed as a monster." Nice to know that internet-based fraud isn't limited to motivational speakers with real-estate seminars and other get-rich-quick flim-flam.
suraj.sun writes "Bloomberg is reporting on Google's negotiation with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission over 'how big a fine, which could amount to more than $10 million, it will have to pay for its breach of Apple's Safari browser. The fine would be the first by the FTC for a violation of Internet privacy as the agency steps up enforcement of the Web.' Last year, Google agreed to a settlement in which the FTC would monitor Google's privacy practices for an extended period of time. 'The 20-year settlement bars Google from misrepresenting how it handles user information and requires the company to follow policies that protect consumer data in new products.' This February, Google was found to be bypassing privacy controls in Safari by making the browser think a user was submitting a form, when they actually weren't. '(The code used by Google was part of its program to place the "+1" button in advertisements.) At the time, the company issued a statement saying that the circumvention wasn't intentional, but privacy groups were still quick to file complaints with the FTC over Google's actions. That was quickly followed by a class-action lawsuit and an investigation by European regulators.'"
jfruh writes "Even as an EU court rules that APIs can't be copyrighted, tech observers are waiting for the Oracle v. Google trial jury to rule on the same question under U.S. law. Blogger Brian Proffitt spoke with Groklaw's Pamela Jones on the issue, and her take is that a victory for Oracle would be bad news for developers. Essentially, Oracle is claiming that, while an individual API might not be copyrightable, the collection of APIs needed to use a language is. Such a decision would, among other things, make Java's open source nature essentially meaningless, and would have lots of implications for any programming language you can name."
ananyo writes "The head of NASA Ames Research Center may have fallen victim to restrictive arms regulations — just as a US government report recommends changing them to help the space industry. Simon 'Pete' Worden, who recently announced that Mars exploration would be done by private companies, has been accused of giving foreign citizens access to information that falls under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). ITAR has hampered U.S. firms seeking to export satellite technology. The allegations against Worden come just as the new report recommends moving oversight of many commercial satellites and related activities from the State department to the Commerce department, and some fear they could provide lawmakers with reasons to not ease export controls."