angry tapir writes "A Virginia judge has sentenced Matthew David Howard Smith, a founder of the NinjaVideo.net website, to 14 months in prison, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Friday. Smith was indicted along with four others late last year. The DOJ charged that they illegally provided copyright-protected movies and TV programs for download from the NinjaVideo.net website. The site operated from February 2008 until authorities shut it down in June 2010."
First time accepted submitter QQBoss writes "The Air Force is not saying what caused the RQ-170 UAV to crash in Iran, but that Iran's claim to have forced it down is erroneous. The drone didn't come down and land gently as Iran had suggested it did. At least Iran got a good photo op, though the more interesting question is what technology will they be able to glean from what they did capture."
bs0d3 writes "Not so long ago, a legal video was taken down by repetitive DMCA requests to YouTube. In response, Megaupload filed a lawsuit against Universal Music. This past week, Megaupload was raided by U.S. authorities and forced offline, which is costing Megaupload millions of dollars in damage. Today; while employees are in U.S. custody, Megaupload has mysteriously dropped their lawsuit against Universal Music."
Walkingshark writes "Chris Dodd's recent statements complaining that congressmen who receive donations from the RIAA and MPAA should toe the line has spawned a firestorm of anger on the internet. Among the bits of fallout: a petition on the White Houses "We the People" site to investigate him, the RIAA, and the MPAA for bribery! This petition gained more than 5000 signatures in 24 hours and is still growing. When the petition reaches 25,000 signatures the White House is obligated to respond to it in an official capacity."
Hugh Pickens writes "A new startup is revolutionizing the way financial service companies meet the needs of an estimated 2.7 billion people worldwide with a mobile phone but no access to formal financial services by developing sophisticated modeling software that can look at usage data from consumers' mobile phones and make predictions about credit risk. 'There's a vast market of consumers in countries like Brazil, China, India, and the Philippines who want access to financial services like credit cards, loans, or insurance,' says Jonathan Hakim, chief executive of Cignifi. 'But while they may have jobs, and some have bank accounts, there really is no credit history for them.' The way you use your phone is a proxy for your lifestyle say the developers. 'We're looking at things like the length of calls, the time of day, and the location you make them from. Also things like whether you top up [a pre-paid SIM card] regularly. We want to see how stable the patterns are. When you look at that, you can create these behavioral clusters that give you information about users' appetite for new [financial] products, and their ability to repay a debt.' Currently operating in Brazil, Cignifi doesn't plan to deploy the technology in the US. in the near-term. 'The business opportunity is so much bigger in Brazil, India, China, and Mexico, where you have around half a billion people in those four markets alone who have a mobile phone but no banking relationship.'"
An anonymous reader writes "31-year-old Alexander Aan faces a maximum prison sentence of five years for posting 'God does not exist' on Facebook. The civil servant was attacked and beaten by an angry mob of dozens who entered his government office at the Dharmasraya Development Planning Board on Wednesday. The Indonesian man was taken into protective police custody Friday since he was afraid of further physical assault."
1sockchuck writes "A luxury homebuilder in Minnesota wants to build a data center that looks like a mansion, allowing the commercial building to fit into a residential neighborhood. The 'community-based data center' designed for FiberPop features a stone facade and sloped roof with dormers, along with an underground data hall."
arisvega writes in with a story about an international organization that is trying to come up with options to save the planet from a large asteroid or comet collision. "NEOShield is a new international project that will assess the threat posed by Near Earth Objects (NEO) and look at the best possible solutions for dealing with a big asteroid or comet on a collision (PDF) path with our planet. The effort is being led from the German space agency's (DLR) Institute of Planetary Research in Berlin, and had its kick-off meeting this week. It will draw on expertise from across Europe, Russia and the US. It's a major EU-funded initiative that will pull together all the latest science, initiate a fair few laboratory experiments and new modelling work, and then try to come to some definitive positions. Industrial partners, which include the German, British and French divisions of the big Astrium space company, will consider the engineering architecture required to deflect one of these bodies out of our path."
PolygamousRanchKid writes "Seaweed may well be an ideal plant to turn into biofuel. It grows in much of the two thirds of the planet that is underwater, so it wouldn't crowd out food crops the way corn for ethanol does. Because it draws its own nutrients and water from the sea, it requires no fertilizer or irrigation. Most importantly for would-be biofuel-makers, it contains no lignin—a strong strand of complex sugars that stiffens plant stalks and poses a big obstacle to turning land-based plants such as switchgrass into biofuel. Researchers at Bio Architecture Lab, Inc., (BAL) and the University of Washington in Seattle have now taken the first step to exploit the natural advantages of seaweed. They have built a microbe capable of digesting it and converting it into ethanol or other chemicals. Synthetic biologist Yasuo Yoshikuni, a co-founder of BAL, and his colleagues took Escherichia coli, a gut bacterium most famous as a food contaminant, and made some genetic modifications that give it the ability to turn the sugars in an edible kelp called kombu into fuel."
Hugh Pickens writes "Not long ago, Apple boasted that its products were made in America. Today, almost all of the 70 million iPhones, 30 million iPads and 59 million other products Apple sold last year are manufactured overseas. 'It isn't just that workers are cheaper abroad,' write Charles Duhig and Keith Bradsher. 'Rather, Apple's executives believe the vast scale of overseas factories as well as the flexibility, diligence and industrial skills of foreign workers have outpaced their American counterparts so much that "Made in the U.S.A." is no longer a viable option for most Apple products.' Apple executives say that going overseas, at this point, is their only option and recount the time Apple redesigned the iPhone's screen at the last minute, forcing an assembly line overhaul. A foreman immediately roused 8,000 workers inside the company's dormitories, and then each employee was given a biscuit and a cup of tea, guided to a workstation and within half an hour started a 12-hour shift fitting glass screens into beveled frames. Within 96 hours, the plant was producing over 10,000 iPhones a day. 'The speed and flexibility is breathtaking,' says one Apple executive. 'There's no American plant that can match that.' Apple's success has benefited the U.S. economy by empowering entrepreneurs and creating jobs at companies like cellular providers and businesses shipping Apple products. But ultimately, Apple executives say curing unemployment is not Apple's job. 'We don't have an obligation to solve America's problems. Our only obligation is making the best product possible.'"
An anonymous reader points out the case of Saeed Malekpour, an Iranian-born permanent resident of Canada who worked as a web developer. In 2008, during a visit to Iran, Malekpour was arrested and detained by Iranian authorities on charges that he designed and moderated "adult content websites." In 2009, he was sentenced to death for "acting against the national security, insulting and desecrating the principles of Islam, and agitating the public mind." Malekpour wrote photo-uploading software, and in a letter he sent from prison, he said it was used by porn sites without his knowledge. This week an Iranian court reviewed the case and confirmed that the death sentence was an acceptable punishment. According to one Canadian publication, "Human rights monitors believe that Malekpour, one of a number of people held on Internet-related charges, is trapped by a convoluted justice system that is manipulated by rival factions in Iran."
An anonymous reader writes "Intel thinks tablets live and die by their software, not their hardware. So as they get ready for a big push into the mobile device market, they're relying on Ice Cream Sandwich to provide competition with Apple's products. From the article: 'The company has largely watched from the sidelines as mobile device makers have used processors based on ARM's microarchitecture to power their products in recent years. This despite the fact that Intel actually predicted the rise of what it called "mobile Internet devices," or MIDs, several years ago, and built a chip, Atom, for such gadgets. For all that [Intel CEO Paul Otellini] touts the software over the hardware when it comes to tablets, Intel knows it's got a lot of ground to make up to wrest design wins away from ARM. The Medfield System-on-a-Chip (SoC) is a promising but still uncertain step in that direction.' Otellini thinks the tablet market will get much more competitive over the next year as ICS devices mature and Windows 8 devices arrive."
An anonymous reader writes "A few months ago, reports of battery fires from crash-tested Chevy Volts caused the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to open an investigation into the type of batteries used in the Volt and other EVs. That investigation has now concluded, and the NHTSA says the cars are safe. 'The agency and General Motors Co. know of no fires in real-world crashes. GM and federal safety officials say they believe the fires were caused by coolant leaking from damaged plastic casing around the batteries after side-impact collisions. The coolant caused an electrical short, which sparked battery fires seven days to three weeks after the crashes. GM announced earlier this month that it will add steel plates to about 12,000 existing Volts to protect the batteries in the event of a crash.'"
Trailrunner7 writes "At the S4 security conference this week, 'Project Basecamp,' a volunteer-led security audit of leading programmable logic controllers (PLCs), performed by a team of top researchers found that decrepit hardware, buggy software and pitiful or nonexistent security features make thousands of PLCs vulnerable to trivial attacks by external hackers that could cause PLC devices to crash or run malicious code. 'We were looking for a Firesheep moment in PLC security,' Peterson told the audience of ICS security experts. They got one. 'It's a blood bath mostly,' said Wightman of Digital Bond. 'Many of these devices lack basic security features.' While the results of analysis of the various PLCs varied, the researchers found significant security issues with every system they tested, with some PLCs too brittle and insecure to even tolerate security scans and probing."