9.30.2014

CEO of Spyware Maker Arrested For Enabling Stalkers

An anonymous reader writes: U.S. authorities have arrested and indicted the CEO of a mobile software company for selling spyware that enables "stalkers and domestic abusers." The U.S. Department of Justice accuses the man of promoting and selling software that can "monitor calls, texts, videos and other communications on mobile phones without detection." The agency pointed out this is the first criminal case based on mobile spyware, and promised to aggressively pursue makers of similar software in the future. Here's the legal filing (PDF). The FBI, with approval from a District Court, has disabled the website hosting the software. "The indictment alleges that StealthGenie's capabilities included the following: it recorded all incoming/outgoing voice calls; it intercepted calls on the phone to be monitored while they take place; it allowed the purchaser to call the phone and activate it at any time to monitor all surrounding conversations within a 15-foot radius; and it allowed the purchaser to monitor the user's incoming and outgoing e-mail messages and SMS messages, incoming voicemail messages, address book, calendar, photographs, and videos. All of these functions were enabled without the knowledge of the user of the phone."

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9.11.2014

X-Class Solar Flare Coming Friday

First time accepted submitter kit_triforce writes Satellites have just detected a powerful X1.6-class solar flare. The source was active sunspot AR2158, which is directly facing Earth. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the extreme ultraviolet flash. Ionizing radiation from the flare could cause HF radio blackouts and other communications disturbances, especially on the day-lit side of Earth. In the next few hours, when coronagraph data from SOHO and STEREO become available, we will see if a coronal mass ejection (CME) emerges from the blast site. If so, the cloud would likely be aimed directly at Earth and could reach our planet in 2 to 3 days.

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9.09.2014

Health officials see spike in local enterovirus cases




A spike in respiratory illness resulting from enterovirus hit at least one local hospital in recent weeks, and public health officials are preparing to notify area schools and day care centers.





CHAMPAIGN — A spike in respiratory illness resulting from enterovirus hit at least one local hospital in recent weeks, and public health officials are preparing to notify area schools and day care centers.


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9.08.2014

Real Ducks doing the DuckTales Theme Is Literally the Best Thing Ever


Don't even try to tell me I used literally wrong; there are ducks swimming in gold coin here, and if you can't understand how you can actually die happy after seeing this video, I cannot explain how life works to you. They are solving crimes! In hats! ::Convulses aggressively::


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9.06.2014

Automattic Rejects Series Of Bogus Janet Jackson Takedown Attempts By Using Janet Jackson Song Titles

Via Parker Higgins we learn that Automattic (better known as the Wordpress people) have added singer Janet Jackson to their "Hall of Shame" for sending totally bogus takedowns. Apparently, her people made the wacky claim that this post on "what would your WWE smackdown name be?" represented trademark infringement. It doesn't. The only place it even mentions Jackson is in showing a picture of Sacha Baron Cohen with the following explanation:
Costume and entrance: Picture Sacha Baron Cohen in, what else? his movie The Dictator. Elaborate General’s outfit, hat, etc. He walks in flanked by half a dozen sexy female soldiers inspired by the Janet Jackson Rhythm Nation video.

Uh, yeah. That's not trademark infringement. It's not copyright infringement. It's not anything but someone writing.



The other takedown is equally problematic. It claims the following image is copyright infringement:

As you can clearly see that's using a photo of Jackson's famous "wardrobe malfunction" from the Superbowl many years ago, and applying the Things Tim Howard Could Save meme to it. Marginally funny. But not copyright infringement. Not only does Jackson not hold the copyright on that image, it's obvious fair use for whoever does hold the copyright.



Still, Automattic's lawyers had some fun with their response, noting that they "tried to use as many Janet Jackson song titles as possible" in the response (while also noting they hope that doesn't lead to another takedown demand):

It seems like you believe the use of the trademark “Janet Jackson” is reserved all for you, but we were hoping you’d be open to some feedback because your attempt to control every use of the mark is pretty nasty. If you read up on nominative use, you’ll discover that it doesn’t really matter that “Janet Jackson” is used on this site. If you believe there are any other alleged infringements, would you mind submitting a notice again via our trademark form?


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So excited to work with you going forward



Nicely done.



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Infamous “podcast patent” heads to trial

Personal Audio LLC has sued Apple, SiriusXM, and podcasters. CBS is up next.



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