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Interview With 'Idiot' Behind Key Software Patent 223

An anonymous reader writes "Last week, an appeals court ruling opened the door to making it easier to kill software patents. It turns out that the guy whose name was on the actual patent didn't even realize it was at the center of the debate, and doesn't like software patents very much. 'So I was thinking — great they invalidated software patents, lets see what crappy patent written by an idiot they picked to do it — then I realized the idiot in question was me.'"

Motorola's Most Important 18 Patents 137

quarterbuck writes "Bloomberg has a story on Google's acquisition of Motorola and quotes IP lawyers who claim that 18 patents dating to 1994 are probably what Google is after. These patents cover technology essential to the mobile-device industry, including location services, antenna designs, e-mail transmission, touchscreen motions, software-application management and third-generation wireless."

Paul Ceglia: Facebook Is Doing the Forgery, Not Me 135

An anonymous reader writes "Last week, Facebook said it found the original 'authentic contract' between Mark Zuckerberg and Paul Ceglia, a man who claims he owns half of the company according to a 2003 contract. Now, Ceglia says the original 'authentic contract' Facebook claims to have found is really just a Photoshopped image the company planted on his computer."

Patent Troll Lawyer Sanctioned Over Extortion Tactics 147

An anonymous reader writes "For all the stories of patent trolls and copyright trolls, there haven't been too many stories of either being sanctioned for abusive or extortion-like practices... until now. The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (one level below the Supreme Court) has approved over $600,000 in sanctions against a lawyer for a patent troll, saying that filing over a hundred lawsuits, each of which was followed up almost immediately with offers to settle at fees much cheaper than it would cost to fight, has the 'indicia of extortion.' Now if only judges started doing that more often."

Missouri Law Says Students, Teachers Can't Be Facebook Friends 415

An anonymous reader writes "Teachers can be friendly with their students, but they can't be their friends, at least when it comes to social networks such as Facebook. State Governor Jay Nixon has signed Senate Bill 54, which goes into effect on August 28, 2011 in the state of Missouri. In other words, later this month it will be illegal for students and teachers to be friends online."

Microsoft Curbs Wi-Fi Location Database 69

suraj.sun writes "Microsoft has ceased publishing the estimated locations of millions of laptops, cell phones, and other devices with Wi-Fi connections around the world after a CNET article on Friday highlighted privacy concerns. The decision to rework Live.com's geolocation service comes following scrutiny of the way Microsoft made available its database assembled by both Windows Phone 7 phones and what the company calls 'managed driving' by Street View-like vehicles that record Wi-Fi signals accessible from public roads. Every Wi-Fi device has a unique ID, sometimes called a MAC address, that cannot normally be changed."

How Face Recognition Can Uncover SSNs 103

nonprofiteer writes "Building on previous work showing that social security numbers are not random, CMU researchers ran experiments in which they predicted students' social security numbers after taking a photo of them with a cheap webcam. Using off-the-shelf facial recognition technology and data-mining publicly available Facebook photos and profile information, they were able to come up with the social security numbers of several of the students. (More impressive, as they note that 60% of the students were foreign, and had no SSNs, leaving them a pool of less than 50)."

British ISP Ordered To Block Links to Pirate Site 157

An anonymous reader writes "A UK High Court judge has ruled that BT must block access to a website which provides links to pirated movies. Justice Arnold ruled that BT must use its blocking technology CleanFeed — which is currently used to prevent access to websites featuring child sexual abuse — to block Newzbin 2. 'Currently CleanFeed is dealing with a small, rural road in Scotland,' ISPA council member James Blessing told BBC Radio 4's PM programme. 'Trying to put Newzbin and other sites into the same blocking technology would be a bit like shutting down the M1. It is not designed to do that.' Digital rights organisation the Open Rights Group said the result could set a "dangerous" precedent. "Website blocking is pointless and dangerous. These judgements won't work to stop infringement or boost creative industries. And there are serious risks of legitimate content being blocked and service slowdown. If the goal is boosting creators' ability to make money from their work then we need to abandon these technologically naive measures, focus on genuine market reforms, and satisfy unmet consumer demand," said ORG campaigner Peter Bradwell."

Hillary Clinton Takes Data.gov Overseas 250

theodp writes "ZDNet reports that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's office issued a fact sheet during her visit to India confirming that the U.S. and India will be working together to develop an open source version of the Data.gov project, which was launched in 2009 by off-to-Harvard Federal CIO Vivek Kundra to serve as a central repository of data collected by the US government. The Hindu Business Line notes that Clinton was also pressed to exempt Indian techies in the States on H-1B or L1 visas from U.S. social security taxes, an exemption that, if granted, could reportedly result in savings of at least a billion dollars for the country's software industry."

Chrome Extension Adds Facebook, Twitter To Google+ 71

An anonymous reader submitted a story about Start G+, a really sweet Chrome plug-in that I've been using for several days to blend Facebook and Twitter into my Google+ Page. It's worth a look. It's a bit buggy, but if it lets you close a tab or two, it's worth it. FTA: "Computer programmer Zane Claes has created Start G+, a Google Chrome extension that adds useful features to the Google+ social network. It lets you easily import your photos from Facebook, as well as post to Facebook and Twitter within Google+. In short, it's designed to make the process of transitioning from Facebook to Google+ as smooth as possible."

Researchers Debut Proxy-Less Anonymity Service 116

Trailrunner7 writes "As state-level censorship continues to grow in various countries around the globe in response to political dissent and social change, researchers have begun looking for news ways to help Web users get around these restrictions. Now, a group of university researchers has developed an experimental system called Telex that replaces the typical proxy architecture with a scheme that hides the fact that the users are even trying to communicate at all."

41% of Chinese Websites Shut Down In 2010 203

BinaryMage found a pretty shocking bit- apparently the Chinese government has shut down 1.3 million websites in 2010, an incredible 41% of all sites behind the great firewall. The usual reasons (pornography) are cited, as well as the reminder that China blocks Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube from its citizens. Anyone behind the firewall know if Slashdot is currently blocked? I've heard it varies.

Court Rules "Locker" Site Is Not Direct Copyright 45

suraj.sun writes "A federal judge in Miami has dismissed direct copyright infringement charges against Hotfile, a popular online "locker" service that the major Hollywood studios allege is responsible for massive copyright infringement. But he allowed the case to proceed on charges that Hotfile has induced and profited from the infringing activities of its users. The case, which began in February, represents the latest front in the never-ending arms race between Hollywood studios and users seeking free copies of their movies. Hotfile is a "cyberlocker" site. Users upload files they wish to share with others and are rewarded financially if these files prove popular. The studios allege that the overwhelming majority of the files users upload to Hotfile are copyrighted content being distributed without the consent of copyright holders' like themselves."

Facebook Locks Down Social Gift Giving Patent 185

bizwriter writes "Facebook has been on a roll of late, nailing a number of patent grants that will help it retain dominance in social networking by creating barriers for competitors. Yesterday came patent number 7,970,657, 'Giving gifts and displaying assets in a social network environment'. Although it doesn't directly prevent other social networks from enabling gift giving among users, a clever legal and technical maneuver makes it far more difficult."

I've got a bad feeling about this.