schwit1 writes "A Cook County judge Friday ruled the state's controversial eavesdropping law unconstitutional. The law makes it a felony offense to make audio recordings of police officers without their consent even when they're performing their public duties. Judge Stanley Sacks, who is assigned to the Criminal Courts Building, found the eavesdropping law unconstitutional because it potentially criminalizes 'wholly innocent conduct.' The decision came in the case of Christopher Drew, an artist who was arrested in December 2009 for selling art on a Loop street without a permit. Drew was charged with a felony violation of the eavesdropping law after he used an audio recorder in his pocket to capture his conversations with police during his arrest."
An anonymous reader writes "As Slashdot readers know Intel's research project on ray tracing for games has recently been shown at 1080p, using eight Knights Ferry cards with Intel's 'Many Integrated Core' architecture. Now a white paper goes into more detail, documenting near-linear scaling for the cloud setup with 8 cards, and gives details on the implementation of 'smart anti-aliasing.' It will be interesting to see how many instances of Intel's next MIC iteration — dubbed Knights Corner, with 50+ cores — will be required for the same workload."
ptorrone writes "MAKE Magazine asks: is it 'Time For Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts 2.0?' What might the future of education be like if it were based on online & earned skill badges, and what could the future of traditional organizations for kids, like the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, be like in a very modern, tech-savvy world? Social networks and the maker movement are the perfect intersection of where the kids of today are, but we don't see 'leaderboards' for skills yet; we only see them for video games. Is it time for Hacker Scouts?"
Pat Attack writes "I think most of the people who read Slashdot know that if it has circuitry, it can be hacked. Well, the good folks over at CNN have an article about the potential for your car to be hacked. This article lists the potential damage that could be done, proof of concept work, as well as a few scary scenarios. 'With vehicles taking up to three years to develop, [security strategist Brian Contos] says manufacturers will struggle to keep abreast of rapidly-evolving threats unless they organize regular software updates. Instead, he says, any installed technology should be given a so-called "white list" of permissible activities beyond which any procedures are blocked.' My mom reads CNN and is a Luddite. I expect to hear from her today. She'll probably tell me my new car with bluetooth is unsafe."
A few countries, like Estonia, have gone for internet-based voting in national elections in a big way, and many others (like Ireland and Canada) have experimented with it. For Americans, with a presidential election approaching later this year, it's a timely issue: already, some states have come to allow at least certain forms of voting by internet. Proponents say online elections have compelling upsides, chief among them ease of participation. People who might not otherwise vote — in particular military personnel stationed abroad, but many others besides — are more and more reached by internet access. Online voting offers a way to keep the electoral process open to them. With online voting, too, there's no worry about conventional absentee ballots being lost or delayed in the postal system, either before reaching the voter or on the way back to be counted. The downsides, though, are daunting. According to RSA panelists David Jefferson and J. Alex Halderman, in fact, they're overwhelming. Speaking Thursday afternoon, the two laid out their case against e-voting.
(Read more for more, and look for a video interview with Halderman soon).
(Read more for more, and look for a video interview with Halderman soon).
mask.of.sanity writes "The National Security Agency has designed a super-secure Android phone from commercial parts, and released the blueprints(Pdf) to the public. The doubly-encrypted phone, dubbed Fishbowl, was designed to be secure enough to handle top secret phone calls yet be as easy to use and cheap to build as commercial handsets. One hundred US government staff are using the phones under a pilot which is part of a wider project to redesign communication platforms used in classified conversations."
Geoffrey.landis writes "The courts have now ruled that the public has the right to videotape the police in the performance of their duties. Of course, that doesn't stop the police from harassing people who do so — even journalists, who sometimes have their cameras confiscated. As it turns out, though, they're not always very knowledgeable about how deletion works. I would say that erasing, or attempting to erase, a video of police arresting somebody illegally (How can a journalist be charged with 'resisting arrest' when he was not being arrested for anything other than resisting arrest?) is a clear case of destruction of evidence by the officers. Destroying evidence is obstruction of justice. That's illegal. Why haven't these police officers been arrested?"
An anonymous reader writes "The Ann Arbor Public Schools defended their request for a $45 million bond for new computers by claiming that Apple eMacs aren't good enough for their Advanced Journalism class. A teacher told reporters that new PCs are needed to run WordPress, Google Docs, and Adobe InDesign CS6. WordPress and Google Docs are server-based applications that can be accessed with nearly any web browser. InDesign CS6 has not been released yet and its system requirements are unknown. As a web developer, I am impressed by the online newspaper published by the journalism class, but I question the need for new hardware. The district previously claimed that the old computers couldn't run its standardized testing software, although they far surpass the vendor's specifications. Does modern education really require cutting-edge computers, or are schools screaming 'think of the children' to win over tech-illiterate voters?" Whatever the answer to that question, exaggerated system requirements aren't the only driving force; the $45 million bond sought would not be dedicated only to replacing journalism program computers, note; it would also be used to fund other infrastructure upgrades, including some lower-tech updates, like new sound amplifiers in the district's classrooms. Ann Arbor schools' web site says that the district has (as of 2010, at least) 16,440 students. What are tech outlays like in the public schools where you live?
the_newsbeagle writes "Millionaire adventurer Chris Welsh, the driving force behind Virgin Oceanic, wants to name his sub "Scarlett" after Scarlett Johansson—that's how sexy this vehicle is. Welsh plans to pilot the experimental, cutting-edge sub to the bottom of the Mariana Trench sometime this year, in what would be only the second human descent to the deepest spot in the world's oceans (the first trip down was in 1960). This inside account of the Virgin Oceanic mission describes a team fueled by ego, science, and derring-do, and explains how their high-tech sub could usher in a new kind of marine exploration. The article also tells the story of an adventure on the high seas last summer, when Welsh & co visited the trench to test some robotic deep-sea landers... and ran smack into a typhoon."
New submitter dcraid writes with a quote from El Reg: "Microsoft's cloudy platform, Windows Azure, is experiencing a major outage: at the time of writing, its service management system had been down for about seven hours worldwide. A customer described the problem to The Register as an 'admin nightmare' and said they couldn't understand how such an important system could go down. 'This should never happen,' said our source. 'The system should be redundant and outages should be confined to some data centres only.'" The Azure service dashboard has regular updates on the situation. According to their update feed the situation should have been resolved a few hours ago but has instead gotten worse: "We continue to work through the issues that are blocking the restoration of service management for some customers in North Central US, South Central US and North Europe sub-regions. Further updates will be published to keep you apprised of the situation. We apologize for any inconvenience this causes our customers." To be fair, other cloud providers have had similar issues before.
WrongSizeGlass writes "Ars is reporting that the 'inventor' of the concept of 'providing individual online presences for each of a plurality of members of a group of members,' claims that four million Facebook business account holders, including at least three major presidential candidates, are guilty of infringing his patent. He's suing Facebook for infringing on his patent as well as the three candidates. A Patent Office examiner rejected the patent claims, but the rejections have been appealed."
MrSeb writes with this news from Extreme Tech: "In a move that will shock and disgust bleeding-edge technophiles everywhere, Asus has announced at Mobile World Congress 2012 that its new Transformer Pads — the high-end Infinity Series — will use the recently-announced dual-core Qualcomm S4 SoC. The critically acclaimed Transformer Prime, the Infinity Series' predecessor which was released at the end of 2011, used the quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3. Why the sudden about-face? Well, the fact that quad-core processors don't really have a use case in mobile devices is one reason — but it doesn't hurt that the Krait cores in the S4 are significantly faster than the four Cortex-A9 cores in the Tegra 3, too. The S4 is also the first 28nm SoC, while Tegra 3 is still on 40nm, which means a smaller and cheaper package, and lower power consumption to boot. The S4 is also the first SoC with built-in LTE, which was probably a rather nice sweetener for Asus." The Snapdragon S4 "Krait" CPU is still a bit shrouded in mystery as far as hard specs (Qualcomm has never been one to release docs), but it appears to be similar to the Cortex-A15 in performance; how they stand up to Intel's new Medfield designs remains to be seen.
suraj.sun writes with an excerpt from an article over at Ars Technica: "Los Alfaques, a bucolic campground near the Spanish town of Tarragona, isn't happy with Google. That's because searches for 'camping Alfaques' bring up horrific images of charred human flesh — not good for business when you're trying to sell people on the idea of relaxation. The campground believes it has the right to demand that Google stop showing 'negative' links, even though the links aren't mistakes at all. Are such lawsuits an aberration, or the future of Europe's Internet experience in the wake of its new 'right to be forgotten' proposals? Legal scholars like Jeffrey Rosen remain skeptical that such a right won't lead to all sorts of problems for free expression. But in Spain, the debate continues. Last week, Los Alfaques lost its case — but only because it needed to sue (U.S.-based) Google directly. Mario Gianni, the owner of Los Alfaques, is currently deciding whether such a suit is worth pursuing."
pigrabbitbear writes "These days you can crowd-map just about anything, from Hurricane Irene to what you eat for breakfast, as long as you either have a phone or a basic internet hook-up. One of the largest and most used platforms for crowd-sourced mapping is Ushahidi (Swahili for 'witness'), an open-sourced platform has been used for tracking and mobilizing movement around more serious topics. Ushahidi was used in developing Syria Tracker, a crowd-sourcing of reported deaths in the conflict in Syria. Now the Ushahidi platform is putting technology hubs in Africa on the map. The map, simply named Tech Hubs in Africa, was launched by Bongohive, a self described non-profit technology and innovation hub located in Lasaka, Zambia for one purpose: To have likeminded organizations across Africa — notorious for low levels of tech infrastructure — begin plotting the locations of tech hubs available around the continent right now."