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From: TimF3/22/2012 8:47:36 PM
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Sarkozy Seeks To Criminalize 'Habitually Visiting' Websites About Violence
from the thought-police dept

techdirt.com 

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From: Sr K3/27/2012 5:53:54 PM
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Related News: U.S. · Transportation

JetBlue Captain Locked Out of Cockpit by Co-Pilot for Behavior

By Mary Schlangenstein and Alan Levin - Mar 27, 2012 5:00 PM ET

A JetBlue Airways Corp. (JBLU) captain began acting erratically during a flight from New York today and was locked out of the cockpit by his co-pilot before the plane was diverted to Texas, federal officials said.

The captain had to be subdued by passengers when he tried to re-enter the cockpit after briefly stepping out, the Federal Aviation Administration said in an e-mailed statement. The Las Vegas-bound jet landed in Amarillo, Texas, where the captain was taken to a hospital for evaluation, the FAA said.

“The co-pilot became concerned that the captain exhibited erratic behavior during the flight,” the FAA said. Law enforcement officials “secured the pilot without incident” after landing.

bloomberg.com 

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From: TimF3/27/2012 10:12:14 PM
1 Recommendation   of 1295
 
Disruptions: Time to Review F.A.A. Policy on Gadgets
By NICK BILTON | March 18, 2012, 11:00 am

SAN FRANCISCO — On Monday morning I’m going to drive to the airport, check in for my flight to New York, then head to the airport bookstore for a stack of magazines to read on the plane. I’ll do this reluctantly because I will carry both an Amazon Kindle and an Apple iPad packed full of reading material in my bag.I need the paper products because Federal Aviation Administration rules state that I cannot use these digital reading devices on an airplane during taxi, take-off or landing.

But this rule might change soon.

When I called the F.A.A. last week to pester them about this regulation — citing experts and research that says these devices could not harm a plane — the F.A.A. responded differently than it usually does. Laura J. Brown, deputy assistant administrator for public affairs for the F.A.A., said that the agency has decided to take a “fresh look” at the use of personal electronics on planes.

That’s going to be welcome news to the people in the United States who, according to Forrester Research, by the end of 2012 will have bought more than 40 million e-readers and 60 million iPads and other tablets.

Yes, you read that correctly. The F.A.A., which in the past has essentially said, “No, because I said so,” is going to explore testing e-readers, tablets and certain other gadgets on planes. The last time this testing was done was 2006, long before iPads and most e-readers existed. (The bad, or good, news: The F.A.A. doesn’t yet want to include the 150 million smartphones in this revision.)

Ms. Brown said that the administration’s current rules allow airlines to request use of electronic devices “once the airline demonstrated the devices would not interfere with aircraft avionics.”

Airlines have not done this because it is a expensive and laborious affair.

So, likely bowing to public pressure, the F.A.A. has decided to take this initiative into its own hands and is going to figure out a way to start testing new electronics on airplanes.

As Ms. Brown said: “With the advent of new and evolving electronic technology, and because the airlines have not conducted the testing necessary to approve the use of new devices, the FAA is taking a fresh look at the use of personal electronic devices, other than cellphones, on aircraft.”

Don’t run past the bookstore at the airport and start using your Kindle during takeoff just yet. There’s plenty of work to be done before these rules are changed. You see, while the F.A.A. is no longer ignoring the devices, it could very well entwine them in the kind of bureaucratic red tape only Washington can invent.

Abby Lunardini, vice president of corporate communications at Virgin America, explained that the current guidelines require that an airline must test each version of a single device before it can be approved by the F.A.A. For example, if the airline wanted to get approval for the iPad, it would have to test the first iPad, iPad 2 and the new iPad, each on a separate flight, with no passengers on the plane.

It would have to do the same for every version of the Kindle. It would have to do it for every different model of plane in its fleet. And American, JetBlue, United, Air Wisconsin, etc., would have to do the same thing. (No wonder the F.A.A. is keeping smartphones off the table since there are easily several hundred different models on the market.)

Ms. Lunardini added that Virgin America would like to perform these tests, but the current guidelines make it “prohibitively expensive, especially for an airline with a relatively small fleet that is always in the air on commercial flights like ours.”

The F.A.A. said it is exploring how to bring together electronics “manufacturers, consumer electronic associations, aircraft and avionics manufacturers, airlines, pilots, flight attendants and passengers” to figure out how to allow greater use of these electronics on planes. That’s a lot of people, organizations and bureaucracy to juggle. Plus the money to do this testing is going to have to come from somewhere.

The F.A.A. will now have an opportunity to update its current peculiar list of electric devices that approved on planes during take-off and landing, which includes electric razors and audio recorders, but not calculators.

By doing these new tests, we could finally squash the unrealistic fears that some people harbor that an e-reader could play havoc with a plane’s avionics, which could distract the flight crew or do worse. Most of these fears seem to be causing more trouble than the electronics themselves.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration collects reports from pilots of incidents related to electronic devices. Of 50 incidents in the most recent report check from last year, few had anything to do with cockpit interference. Mostly it was reports of people who simply didn’t turn off their device or laptop batteries overheating, not of any kind of interference from those devices.

Those incidents that were related to the plane’s avionics were purely speculation. For example, in one report, a fuel gauge on a Boeing 757 was not working properly during takeoff, but began working again when the plane was landing. The report says the pilot “suspects” a possible electronic device on the plane caused the interference. The pilot admitted he did not do any testing.

It is in everyone’s interest that we move from unscientific fears to real scientific testing.

To keep things moving, the airlines could team up and each make a single plane available for say, one day a month, until the testing is done. And the device and software makers, many with very deep pockets, could foot the bill. Any device maker who doesn’t contribute financially to the testing won’t be added to the new updated list of approved electronics devices on planes.

I would like to volunteer to help as the guinea pig for these test flights. I’ll run up and down the aisle turning on e-readers, iPads and any other devices, and then settle down for a little undisturbed reading.

I’ll even bring my own peanuts.

bits.blogs.nytimes.com 

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From: TimF3/29/2012 1:14:14 PM
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How to protect personal data on devices you plan to sell

It's almost impossible to get rid of personal information from some devices, even if you follow the manufacturer's directions for wiping the device clean.

By Deborah Netburn, Los Angeles Times

March 29, 2012
Thinking of selling or giving away your smartphone or laptop computer? If you have a BlackBerry or an iPhone, go right ahead. But if you have an Android phone or a computer running Windows XP, you may want to hold off.

It turns out that it's almost impossible to get rid of personal information from some devices, even if you follow the manufacturer's directions for wiping the device clean.

Robert Siciliano, identity theft expert for the technology security firm McAfee, found this out in an experiment he conducted over the fall and winter. He bought 30 electronic devices from Craigslist — mostly smartphones and laptops — to see how effective people were at removing personal information from their gadgets before selling them.

Siciliano was shocked to discover that some people didn't take any security precautions at all before selling a computer.

"One guy asked me to log him out of Gmail if he was still logged in," Siciliano said. "I had no idea how naive some people can be."

In the end, Siciliano was able to glean personal data from 15 of the devices through his own hacking efforts and the help of a forensic expert. That information included bank account information, Social Security numbers, child support documents, credit card account log-ins and a host of other personal data.

And the worst part? Most of those phones and computers had already been "wiped" by their previous owners — meaning all personal files had been deleted and the user had restored the device's factory settings as per the manufacturer's instructions.

"What's really scary is even if you follow protocol, the data is still there," Siciliano said.

So, what's the difference between the devices that still reveal personal information after being wiped and those that don't?

Siciliano said it came down to the type of device and the operating system.

BlackBerrys were totally impenetrable. "RIM has fantastic software," he said. "They did a really good job of destroying data when you reset the factory settings."

Devices running iOS, such as the iPad and iPhone, and computers running Windows 7 can also be wiped clean of personal data, as long as a person follows the manufacturer's directions.

If you have a BlackBerry, Apple device or computer running Windows 7 you'd like to sell, Siciliano recommends backing up your information first and then following the manufacturer's directions for restoring its factory settings.

If you've misplaced the little booklet that came with your device you can find directions by typing "wipe BlackBerry" or "wipe iPad" into Google search, which should take you to BlackBerry- or Apple- sponsored Web pages with detailed instructions.

Don't think that your data are safe if you remove the SIM card from a phone. The only information you will protect that way is your contact list, but all other personal information will still be available on your phone.

If you are planning to buy one of these devices secondhand, Siciliano suggests that you wipe it again just to be safe, and also that you run an anti-virus program on it as well.

As for smartphones running the Android system and computers running Windows XP, Siciliano said he recommends people don't sell them at all.

"Put it in the back of a closet, or put it in a vise and drill holes in the hard drive, or if you live in Texas take it out into a field and shoot it," he said. "You don't want to sell your identity for 50 bucks."

latimes.com 

I don't know about Android, but for any PC you can get a wipe program which will overwrite every HD sector multiple times. You could also remove the HD (of course if its an old PC your not getting much for it in the first place, and still less if it doesn't come with a drive)

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From: TimF3/30/2012 12:29:51 PM
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theatlantic.com 

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From: TimF3/31/2012 11:48:42 PM
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Fake Filesharing Lawsuits? Dang, That’s Devious
By Christopher Danzig

After the feds took down Megaupload in January, the major change to many people’s lives is that it is now much harder to stream bootleg versions of the new season of Archer. What also happened is authorities took control of content hosted on the site and a lot of people who posted files there are worried getting busted as well.

Well, one man’s crisis is another man’s golden opportunity.

Keep reading to see how a new batch of criminals is trying to cash in on folks already worried about Megaupload-related copyright liability. It’s actually quite a clever plot…

TorrentFreak tells the story of a fake law firm that is sending fake settlement letters to people who put files on the now defunct site.

Criminals are attempting to extort Internet users by claiming there could be financial implications for those who used file-sharing site Megaupload for infringing activities. For the past several days a fake law firm claiming to act on behalf of entertainment companies such as Universal, Sony, EMI and Paramount has been claiming cash settlements from innocent victims.

Schemes which require alleged copyright infringers to pay cash settlements to make lawsuits disappear are nothing new.…

Over the past couple of days a pair of cast-iron scams have been targeting file-sharers, one mimicking the model used by so-called ‘pay-up-or-else’ lawfirms and another with a more technical approach.

The first targets users of the now-defunct cyberlocker service Megaupload. Playing on the fears of people who may have used the site for infringing purposes, the documents supporting the scam claim to be from legitimate-sounding German lawfirm “Dr. Kroner & Kollegen” of Munich.

We have covered these types of letters before. They engender a unique terror in those who receive them. And a whole cottage industry has grown up around it. In many cases, copyright owners are quite successful in securing damages. In others, the attorneys fall more along the lines of copyright trolls, for whom judges have less patience.

This scam is just plain dirty, but it’s not without several tells. First off, these scammers say you can make the whole thing go away for only €147. Baha! As if the entertainment industry would ever be that benevolent.

TorrentFreak gives more details that any self-respecting file-sharer should watch out for:

[N]o specific copyright works are named and the claim is missing the usual ‘cease and desist’ element common to these schemes. Furthermore, according to a OnlineKosten, any cash payments made would end up at an address in Slovakia.

Regardless of the actual liability of people who contributed to Megaupload (and what the government decides to do about it) it’s unfortunate that this junk is now added to the mix as well.

That said, there is one other great way to tell the difference between the government and a scam. Scammers ask you for something; the government demands it.

abovethelaw.com 

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From: TimF4/4/2012 8:59:40 PM
   of 1295
 
In-App Ads Are Destroying Your Battery Life
You intuitively know that all of those applications running in the background on your phone are latently eating away at your battery's charge, but a new study reveals that the main culprit isn't any useful function. It's location-pinging ads.

The study, conducted by a team lead by Abhinav Pathak from Purdue University, analyzed the energy used by several popular free Android apps (PDF) like Angry Birds, Facebook, the New York Times, and Chess. The team developed an "energy profiler" they call "Eprof" that determines what processes within an app are using energy. The results are shocking: 65 to 75 percent of energy consumed by the free apps studied are used by third-party advertising modules within the programs. These apps continue to run in the background even when you're not actually using the app. Only 10 to 30 percent of that energy is used to power the applications' "core functions."

Apps shouldn't continue to serve you ads when you're not locking at the apps. It's a bug, or something more nefarious. According to the researchers, developers don't notice energy consumption problems—bugs or otherwise—because most apps are "energy oblivious," meaning that the developers don't pay attention to how much energy apps use. [ Eurosys 2012 via New Scientist]

gizmodo.com 



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From: TimF4/6/2012 11:14:55 PM
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Megaupload: Erasing our servers as the US wants would deny us a fair trial
By Timothy B. Lee | Published April 6, 2012 12:35 PM

On Friday, Megaupload asked the Virginia judge overseeing its criminal copyright case to spare the data on its servers from deletion. Megaupload had leased 1,103 servers holding 25 petabytes of data from Carpathia Hosting, but it was unable to continue paying its bills after the government froze its assets. Carpathia recently complained that maintaining the servers was costing thousands of dollars per day. The hosting company asked to either be compensated for the expenses of running the servers or be given permission to re-provision them for use by other customers.

Megaupload has been trying for months to get custody of the servers. It had previously negotiated a deal to purchase the servers from Carpathia for about $1.5 million. But because Megaupload's assets have been frozen, it lacked the funds to complete the transaction without court approval. And the government objected, claiming, among other things, that the servers could contain child pornography.

Of course, as Megaupload pointed out in Friday's court filing, the presence of child pornography on the servers would be an argument in favor of preserving the data, since the government would presumably want to prosecute whoever uploaded it. More to the point, Megaupload argues that allowing the data on its servers to be destroyed would deprive Megaupload of the opportunity to fully defend itself in court.

In criminal cases, defendants are entitled to any evidence that could be helpful in their defense. Given that the government's case is likely to focus heavily on the contents of Megaupload's servers, access to that same data may be essential to rebutting the government's arguments.

Yet as Megaupload's filing points out, the defense team won't know which evidence it needs until it sees the government's own case. The government has copied "selected" data from the Megaupload servers, but it has not even revealed to the defendants which evidence has been preserved. Megaupload argues that the government may have "cherry picked" the data that will cast Megaupload in the most negative possible light. The company argues that allowing the rest of the data to be destroyed will make it impossible for Megaupload to unearth evidence that could cast the company in a more favorable light.

Megaupload argues that the government should bear the cost of preserving the Megaupload servers. But it said that if the government won't pay the bill, Megaupload is willing to cover the costs from its own funds. It asked the court to unfreeze sufficient assets to pay Carpathia for its servers, and to give Carpathia permission to transfer them. Megaupload proposes that safeguards be taken so that the servers only be used to prepare Megaupload's defense, and that no data on the servers be modified.

The government's intransigence on the preservation of evidence is the latest example of the government's scorched-earth approach to the Megaupload prosecution. Theoretically, criminal defendants are innocent until proven guilty. Yet the seizure of Megaupload's servers, freezing of its assets, and arrest of its top executives did immense damage to the company long before they had a chance to tell their side of the story to the jury. Now, the government seems to be trying to deny Megaupload the opportunity to fully defend itself in court. Megaupload may be found guilty, but like everyone else it has the right to a fair trial.

arstechnica.com 

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To: TimF who wrote (1150)4/8/2012 3:58:10 PM
From: Cogito
   of 1295
 
People seem to expect a lot for free these days.

If you're not willing to pay one or two dollars for an app in order to free yourself of the ads, and the free version of the app doesn't do a great job of managing battery usage, I'd say you're getting what you pay for.

Fortunately, we iPhone users don't have this problem. There's actually a benefit to the often criticized limited multi-tasking approach used in iOS. ;-)

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To: TimF who wrote (1151)4/8/2012 4:03:40 PM
From: Cogito
   of 1295
 
Megaupload's argument for preserving the data is sound, and I really hope they prevail.

The whole case brings out a lot of important issues surrounding the intersection of the law with new technologies.

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