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US gov’t grants limited right to revive games behind “abandoned” servers

(credit: Flickr / craigfinlay) After nearly a year of debate and deliberation, the Library of Congress (LoC) has granted gamers and preservationists a limited legal method to restore access to games that are rendered unplayable thanks to defunct, abandoned authentication servers. In new guidelines published today, the Librarian of Congress said that gamers deserve the […]

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Why one software CEO agreed to meet a patent troll—and then fought it to the end

Pegasystems founder Alan Trefler, speaking at PegaWORLD conference earlier this year. (credit: Pegasystems) When the business software company Pegasystems got sued in 2013 by a mysterious shell company called “YYZ LLC,” Pegasystems’ head of IP licensing, Ayaz Hameed, got ready to tell his boss that they had been hit by a patent troll. Hameed looked at the two patents in […]

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It’s still illegal to rip DVD and Blu-ray discs for personal use

(credit: Brian Herzog) Movie enthusiasts hoping to legally make backup copies or space-shift or format-shift their legally purchased DVD or Blu-ray discs are out of luck. Agreeing with rights holders’ and the Motion Picture Association of America’s doomsday predictions, the Librarian of Congress on Tuesday rejected, again, another proposal that would allow users to finally rips […]

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Unpatched browser weaknesses can be exploited to track millions of Web users

Enlarge (credit: Yan Zhu) Over the past decade, there’s been a privacy arms race between unscrupulous website operators and browser makers. The former wield an ever-changing lineup of so-called zombie cookies that can’t be easily deleted and attacks that sniff thousands of previously visited sites, while browser makers aim to prevent such privacy invasions by […]

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California Supreme Court should force cops to give up LPR data, case argues

(credit: Brett J.) Two civil liberties groups filed their opening brief with the California Supreme Court late Monday, forcefully arguing that the millions of automated license plate reader records gathered automatically by police throughout the Golden State are not records of investigation. If the court agrees, such data could be released to anyone as part […]

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Germany to investigate Google, Facebook over data transfers

(credit: Wolfgang Meinhart) German data protection authorities have announced that they will immediately begin investigating data transfers from the EU to the US by companies such as Facebook and Google, and may issue orders for data flows to be halted. The recent decision by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) gave local […]

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US regulators grant DMCA exemption legalizing vehicle software tinkering

(credit: Jerk Alert Productions) Every three years, the Librarian of Congress issues new rules on Digital Millennium Copyright Act exemptions. Acting Librarian David Mao, in an order (PDF) released Tuesday, authorized the public to tinker with software in vehicles for “good faith security research” and for “lawful modification.” The decision comes in the wake of […]

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“Drone Slayer” cleared of charges: “I wish this had never happened”

(credit: William H. Meredith) The Kentucky man who was cited for criminal mischief and wanton endangerment after having shot down a drone over his property has now been cleared of all charges. On Monday, a judge presiding over a Bullitt County District Court hearing dismissed all charges against William Meredith without prejudice, which means the Bullitt County […]

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Judge orders school to delete Facebook post about school board candidate

Bob Schaffer, principal at Liberty Common High School. (credit: Rocky Mountain News) A judge ruled recently (PDF) that a post on a high school’s Facebook page about a school board candidate in a neighboring school district constituted an illegal campaign contribution. Even though no money was given to the candidate, the judge ruled that the post’s […]

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US Congressman subpoenas NOAA climate scientists over study

(credit: Luis Ramirez) In his position as Chair of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, Texas Congressman Lamar Smith has spent much of the last few years pressuring the National Science Foundation to ensure that it only funds science he thinks is worthwhile and “in the national interest.” His views on what’s in […]