Men arrested for breaking into Dallas County Courthouse after judicial branch hires them

Found on Des Moines Register on Sunday, 15 September 2019
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Authorities later found out the state court administration did, in fact, hire the men to attempt "unauthorized access" to court records "through various means" in order to check for potential security vulnerabilities of Iowa's electronic court records.

But, the state court administration "did not intend, or anticipate, those efforts to include the forced entry into a building," a Wednesday news release from the Iowa Judicial Branch read.

The fine print of the conract should offer a few more details; but if they were really hired, they should be let off the hook.

Google to pay €1bn to end French tax probe

Found on BBC News on Friday, 13 September 2019
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Investigators said Google owed about €1.6bn in unpaid taxes amid a wider crackdown on tax planning of big firms.

The search giant, which is part of Alphabet, pays little tax in most European countries because it reports almost all of its sales in Ireland.

In March, the EU hit Google with a €1.5bn fine for blocking rival online search advertisers and last year the European Commission levelled a record €4.3bn fine against the firm over its Android mobile operating system.

Maybe this will help them to understand that creative tax manipulation is not just a little problem.

Alleged “snake oil” crypto company sues over boos at Black Hat

Found on Ars Technica on Sunday, 25 August 2019
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Grant and Ghannam's paper suggests that their method could quickly find the primes in question and essentially break RSA-2048 and any other semiprime-based encryption. Crown Sterling's answer to this potential crisis in encryption, called TIME AI, is something the company calls "five-dimensional" encryption, "the world's first 'non-factor' based quantum AI encryption" based on polygons, AI-composed music, Fibonacci's sequence, and various other things.

The Black Hat talk did not go smoothly. People had to be ejected from the room by security because they were heckling and booing Grant.

If you produce snakeoil, at least don't try to sell it at a place full of experts on that topic.

Man sued for using bogus YouTube takedowns to get address for swatting

Found on Ars Technica on Saturday, 24 August 2019
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Brady allegedly made fraudulent takedown notices against YouTube videos from at least three well-known Minecraft streamers.

A few days after filing a counter-notice, the targeted YouTuber "announced via Twitter that he had been the victim of a swatting scheme."

YouTube's accusations against Brady appear to be in a totally different category: straight-up fraud. That could allow YouTube to score a quick victory and thereby strike some fear into the hearts of others thinking about abusing YouTube's takedown system.

Sounds like Brady isn't the brightest lamp out there.

They called you a troll, deal with it—court slaps down libel lawsuit

Found on Ars Technica on Monday, 19 August 2019
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Automated Transactions LLC (ATL) is a small firm known for its aggressive enforcement of broad patents related to automated teller machines. Numerous critics labeled ATL a patent troll, and in 2016 the firm sued several of them in New Hampshire state courts, arguing that the label was defamatory.

New Hampshire's Supreme Court ruled that calling someone a "troll" was just such a statement of opinion—and so it can't be defamatory.

In the 1990s, ATL founder David Barcelou invented a machine for automated gaming that made cash payouts to winners. While his invention never became commercially successful, he patented some of the underlying concepts—including patents related to the process of paying out cash to customers.

The patent system is obviously completely broken if you can patent giving cash to a customer.

WIPO Says Websites In Its Pirate Database Don't Deserve Due Process

Found on Techdirt on Thursday, 01 August 2019
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After a number of emails back and forth, WIPO eventually told me that since this database is "under formal discussion by WIPO member states at a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Enforcement" in early September, WIPO felt that it was best not to comment until after it's too late for it to matter and after the member states have discussed it. That strikes me as odd.

I am quite sure that Thille thought he was being helpful here -- and, he actually was being super helpful in revealing WIPO's complete and utter disgust for basic due process on issues that impact speech and innovation.

You cannot leave any legal questions to companies, because they will always find a way to abuse this new power.

Proposed US law would ban infinite scroll, autoplaying video

Found on Ars Technica on Tuesday, 30 July 2019
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Nobody likes auto-playing video or sites that keep scrolling away infinitely when you're just trying to reach the bottom of the page. But you probably don't hate either "feature" as much as Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), who introduced a bill today to ban these and other "exploitative" practices.

Hawley's bill also seeks to ban social media gamification, including "badges and other awards linked to engagement with the platform," such as the emoji rewards Snapchat users earn for Snapstreaks.

On second thought, it does not sound as stupid as it does on the first thought. Especially autoplay is the worst that can happen, followed closely by the marqee and blink tags of the early days.

Office 365 declared illegal in German schools due to privacy risks

Found on Ars Technica on Tuesday, 16 July 2019
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Although the press release specifically targets Office 365, it notes that competing Apple and Google cloud suites also do not satisfy German privacy regulations for use in schools.

The Hessian commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information (HBDI) isn't just saying that schools would prefer not to use Microsoft, he's stating that their use of Office 365 is outright illegal.

In addition to the physical geography of the cloud, the HBDI is unhappy about telemetry in both Office 365 and Windows 10 itself. Neither can be disabled by end users or organizations, and the content of both remains undisclosed by Microsoft despite repeated inquiries.

Microsoft has since the beginning ignored any questions about privacy when it comes to telemetry and refused to make it possible for the user to turn it off completely. So, yes, it serves them right.

Firm fat-fingered G Suite and deleted its data, so it escalated its support ticket to a lawsuit

Found on The Register on Monday, 15 July 2019
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An interior design tools startup called Mosss on Wednesday sued Google to get it to restore its data after someone at the startup accidentally deleted the firm's G Suite account.

"[W]hile clearly an urgent matter, to our dismay, our case was not escalated, and no action was taken for nearly three days!" the filing says. "From a business point of view, we had no access to emails and lost all contact with our clients and users."

Mosss (Musey) said while investors have put $1.5m into the firm, it's not seeking monetary damages.

So, in other words, Mosss raked in $1.5m from investors, but still failed the most basic and most essential IT lessons: make backups. This case should be laughed out of court, along with this stupid reliance on "cloud" services.

Facebook 'to be fined $5bn over Cambridge Analytica scandal'

Found on BBCNews on Saturday, 13 July 2019
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The consumer protection agency the FTC began investigating Facebook in March 2018 following reports that Cambridge Analytica had accessed the data of tens of millions of its users.

Facebook had been expecting this. It told investors back in April that it had put aside most of the money, which means the firm won't feel much added financial strain from this penalty.

As was common with apps and games at that time, it was designed to harvest not only the user data of the person taking part in the quiz, but also the data of their friends.

Too much? By far not enough.