Geek Stuff

Open Letter from Diego Gomez: "Access to Knowledge Is a Global Right"

EFF's Deeplinks -

The progress of knowledge is fueled by people who dedicate their lives to a field—to read, examine, and absorb everything they can out of passionate intellectual curiosity. Diego Gomez is one of these individuals, and is dedicated to the conservation of reptiles and amphibians.

Unfortunately, like so many scholars around the world, Diego’s work has been frustrated by a lack of access to research trapped by expensive paywalls. So he did what many researchers and academics do today when they see a barrier to knowledge: he shared the research with his colleagues. Due to excessive criminal copyright laws in his native country of Colombia, however, Diego is now being prosecuted by Colombian officials for sharing another researcher's Master's thesis online. He faces up to eight years in prison and crippling monetary fines.

The following is an open letter from Diego (also available in Spanish):

The use of FLOSS was my first approach to the open source world. Many times I could not access ecological or statistical software, nor geographical information systems, despite my active interest in using them to make my first steps in research and conservation. As a student, it was impossible for me to cover the costs of the main commercial tools. Today, I value access to free software such as The R project and QGis project, which keep us away from proprietary software when one does not have the budget for researching.

But it was definitely since facing a criminal prosecution for sharing information on the Internet for academic purposes, for ignoring the rigidity of copyright law, that my commitment to support initiatives promoting open access and to learn more about ethical, political, and economic foundations has been strengthened.

I am beginning my career with the conviction that access to knowledge is a global right. The first articles I have published in journals have been under Creative Commons licenses. I use free or open software for analyzing. I also do my job from a social perspective as part of my commitment and as retribution for having access to public education in both Colombia and Costa Rica.

From the situation I face, I highlight the support I have received from so many people in Colombia and worldwide. Particularly, I thank the valuable support of institutions working for our freedom in the digital world. Among them I would like to acknowledge those institutions that have joined the campaign called “Let’s stand together to promote open access worldwide”—EFF, Fundación Karisma, Creative Commons, Internet Archive, Knowledge Ecology International, Open Access Button, Derechos Digitales, Open Coalition, Open Knowledge, Research rights Coalition, Open Media, Fight for the Future, USENIX, Public Knowledge and all individuals that have supported the campaign.

If open access was the default choice for publishing scientific research results, the impact of these results would increase and cases like mine would not exist. There would be no doubt that the right thing is to circulate this knowledge, so that it should serve everyone.

Thank you all for your support.

Diego A. Gómez Hoyos

~

Join the movement and stay connected! Together with the Right to Research Coalition, Creative Commons, Open Access Button, Fundación Karisma, and others, we created a platform for everyone to add their support for the open access movement. Sign here and share far and wide.

In the US? Send a message to your lawmakers to secure open access to taxpayer-funded research

Watch Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz

Related Issues: Fair Use and Intellectual Property: Defending the BalanceOpen AccessInternational
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Google Adds USB Security Keys To 2-Factor Authentication Options

Slashdot -

An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from VentureBeat: Google today announced it is beefing up its two-step verification feature with Security Key, a physical USB second factor that only works after verifying the login site is truly a Google website. The feature is available in Chrome: Instead of typing in a code, you can simply insert Security Key into your computer's USB port and tap it when prompted by Google's browser. "When you sign into your Google Account using Chrome and Security Key, you can be sure that the cryptographic signature cannot be phished," Google promises. While Security Key works with Google Accounts at no charge, you'll need to go out and buy a compatible USB device directly from a Universal 2nd Factor (U2F) participating vendor.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Your Online TV Watching Can Now Be Tracked Across Devices

Slashdot -

itwbennett (1594911) writes A partnership between TV measurement company Nielsen and analytics provider Adobe, announced today, will let broadcasters see (in aggregate and anonymized) how people interact with digital video between devices — for example if you begin watching a show on Netflix on your laptop, then switch to a Roku set-top box to finish it. The information learned will help broadcasters decide what to charge advertisers, and deliver targeted ads to viewers. Broadcasters can use the new Nielsen Digital Content Ratings, as they're called, beginning early next year. Early users include ESPN, Sony Pictures Television, Turner Broadcasting and Viacom.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Google Play Music gets Songza-like curated playlists

Liliputing -

Google acquired music streaming service Songza this summer, and now the company is starting to bring Songza-style features to Google Play Music. Starting today Google is rolling out an update to Play Music that will let you stream curated playlists… assuming you’re paying $9.99 per month for a Google Play Music subscription. There’s still a separate […]

Google Play Music gets Songza-like curated playlists is a post from: Liliputing

'Microsoft Lumia' Will Replace the Nokia Brand

Slashdot -

jones_supa writes The last emblems of Nokia are being removed from Microsoft products. "Microsoft Lumia" is the new brand name that takes their place. The name change follows a slow transition from Nokia.com over to Microsoft's new mobile site, and Nokia France will be the first of many countries that adopt "Microsoft Lumia" for its Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts. Microsoft has confirmed to The Verge that other countries will follow the rebranding steps in the coming weeks. Nokia itself continues as a reborn company focusing on mapping and network infrastructure services.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Google Security Key prevents anyone from using your account without a USB key

Liliputing -

Want to make sure nobody can access your Google account without your permission? Make sure to choose a secure password. Want to really make sure your account is safe? Enable 2-step authentication. Now even if someone has your password, they can’t login unless they also have a code that’s sent to your phone or other device via […]

Google Security Key prevents anyone from using your account without a USB key is a post from: Liliputing

Safercar.gov Overwhelmed By Recall For Deadly Airbags

Slashdot -

darylb writes "The NHTSA's safercar.gov website appears to be suffering under the load of recent vehicle recalls, including the latest recall of some 4.7 million vehicles using airbags made by Takata. Searching recalls by VIN is non-responsive at present. Searching by year, make, and model hangs after selecting the year. What can sites serving an important public function do to ensure they stay running during periods of unexpected load?" More on the airbag recall from The New York Times and the Detroit Free Press.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Delivering Malicious Android Apps Hidden In Image Files

Slashdot -

An anonymous reader writes "Researchers have found a way to deliver a malicious app to Android users by hiding it into what seems to be an encrypted image file, which is then delivered via a legitimate, seemingly innocuous wrapper app. Fortinet malware researcher Axelle Apvrille and reverse engineer Ange Albertini created a custom tool they dubbed AngeCryption, which allows them to encrypt the payload Android application package (APK) and make it look like an image (PNG, JPG) file . They also had to create another APK that carries the "booby-trapped" image file and which can decrypt it to unveil the malicious APK file and install it. A malicious app thusly encrypted is nearly invisible to reverse engineers, and possibly even to AV solutions and Google's Android Bouncer." (Here's the original paper, from researchers Axelle Apvrille and Ange Albertini.)

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Apple’s 2014 Mac Mini may be cheaper… but it’s also harder to upgrade

Liliputing -

This month Apple introduced the first major update to its Mac Mini line of desktop computers in two years. The new models feature Intel Haswell processors and starting prices of $499, which makes the new entry-level model about $100 cheaper than the 2012 Mac Mini it replaces. The new models also feature 802.11ac WiFi and […]

Apple’s 2014 Mac Mini may be cheaper… but it’s also harder to upgrade is a post from: Liliputing

Speed Cameras In Chicago Earn $50M Less Than Expected

Slashdot -

countach44 writes that (in the words of the below-linked article) "Chicagoans are costing the city tens of millions of dollars — through good behavior." The City of Chicago recently installed speed cameras near parks and schools as part of the "Children's Safety Zone Program," claiming a desire to decrease traffic-related incidents in those area. The city originally budgeted (with the help of the company providing the system) to have $90M worth of income from the cameras — of which only $40M is now expected. Furthermore, the city has not presented data on whether or not those areas have become safer.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Mars Orbiter Beams Back Images of Comet's Surprisingly Tiny Nucleus

Slashdot -

astroengine writes The High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on board NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has become the first instrument orbiting Mars to beam back images of comet Siding Spring's nucleus and coma. And by default, it has also become the first ever mission to photograph a long-period comet's pristine nucleus on its first foray into the inner solar system. Interestingly, through analysis of these first HiRISE observations, astronomers have determined that the icy nucleus at the comet's core is much smaller than originally thought. "Telescopic observers had modeled the size of the nucleus as about half a mile, or one kilometer, wide," writes a NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory news release. "However, the best HiRISE images show only two to three pixels across the brightest feature, probably the nucleus, suggesting a size less than half that estimate."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Toshiba Satellite Radius 11 convertible notebook launches Oct 26th for $330

Liliputing -

The Toshba Satellite Radius 11 is a Windows notebook with an 11.6 inch display and a 360 degree hinge. Push the screen back until the lid is back-to-back with the keyboard and the notebook becomes a tablet. Toshiba unveiled the Satellite Radius 11 in Europe in September. Now the company says the convertible laptop is coming […]

Toshiba Satellite Radius 11 convertible notebook launches Oct 26th for $330 is a post from: Liliputing

Facebook To DEA: Stop Using Phony Profiles To Nab Criminals

Slashdot -

HughPickens.com writes: CNNMoney reports that Facebook has sent a letter to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration demanding that agents stop impersonating users on the social network. "The DEA's deceptive actions... threaten the integrity of our community," Facebook chief security officer Joe Sullivan wrote to DEA head Michele Leonhart. "Using Facebook to impersonate others abuses that trust and makes people feel less safe and secure when using our service." Facebook's letter comes on the heels of reports that the DEA impersonated a young woman on Facebook to communicate with suspected criminals, and the Department of Justice argued that they had the right to do so. Facebook contends that their terms and Community Standards — which the DEA agent had to acknowledge and agree to when registering for a Facebook account — expressly prohibit the creation and use of fake accounts. "Isn't this the definition of identity theft?" says privacy researcher Runa Sandvik. The DEA has declined to comment and referred all questions to the Justice Department, which has not returned CNNMoney's calls.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








ToyCollect. A robot under the sofa.

Raspberry Pi -

On Saturday December 6 (we’re letting you know ahead of time so you’ve got absolutely no excuse for not finishing your build in time), there’s going to be a special event at the Cambridge Raspberry Jam, held at the University of Cambridge’s Institute of Astronomy. Pi Wars is a robot competition: unlike the televised Robot Wars you’ve seen in the past, though, nobody’s robot is going to be destroyed. There are a number of challenges to compete in (none of which involve circular saws, which will please some of you and sadden others), some additional prizes for things like innovation and feature-richness – along with the Jim Darby Prize for Excessive Blinkiness, and more. We’re absurdly excited about it. You can listen to Mike Horne, the organiser of the Cam Jam (and writer of The Raspberry Pi Pod blog, and occasional helper-outer at Pi Towers) explain more about what’ll happen on the day, on this episode of the Raspi Today podcast.

Mike’s expecting people to come from all over the country (it’s amazing how far people travel to come to the Cam Jam – I bumped into friends from Sheffield and from Devon at the last one). It should be a blast. We hope to see you there.

I was thinking about Pi Wars this morning, when an email arrived from Austria, complete with some robot video. Dr Alexander Seewald used a Raspberry Pi and an Arduino to build a tiny little robot, small enough to fit under the sofa, to rummage around and rescue his two-year-old daughter’s lost toys. (I do not have a two-year-old daughter, but I do have cats, who take great delight in hiding things under the sofa. Once, horrifyingly, we found a mummified burger down there. It had been some months since we’d eaten burgers. I could use one of these robots.)

The robot has a Pi camera on the front, with a nice bright LED, so the operator (using a tablet) can see where the bits of LEGO are. The voiceover’s in German, but even if you don’t speak the language you should be able to get a clear idea of what’s going on here.

Dr Seewald has made complete instructions available, so you can make your own ToyCollect robot: there’s everything you need from a parts list to code on his website (in English). It’s a nice, complete project to get you started on building a robot that has some use around the house – let us know if you attempt your own. And see you at Pi Wars!

Australian Physicists Build Reversible Tractor Beam

Slashdot -

An anonymous reader writes: Physicists at Australian National University have developed a tiny tractor beam that improves in several ways upon previous attempts. First, it operates on scales which, while still tiny, are higher than in earlier experiments. The beam can move particles up to 200 microns in diameter, and it can do so over a distance of 20 cm. "Unlike previous techniques, which used photon momentum to impart motion, the ANU tractor beam relies on the energy of the laser heating up the particles and the air around them (abstract). The ANU team demonstrated the effect on gold-coated hollow glass particles. The particles are trapped in the dark center of the beam. Energy from the laser hits the particle and travels across its surface, where it is absorbed creating hotspots on the surface. Air particles colliding with the hotspots heat up and shoot away from the surface, which causes the particle to recoil, in the opposite direction. To manipulate the particle, the team move the position of the hotspot by carefully controlling the polarization of the laser beam."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Doctor Who To Teach Kids To Code

Slashdot -

DCFC writes: The BBC is releasing a game to help 8- to 11-year-old kids get into coding. Based on Doctor Who, it alternates between a standard platform game and programming puzzles that introduce the ideas of sequence, loops, if..then, variables and a touch of event-driven programming. Kids will get to program a Dalek to make him more powerful. (Apparently the BBC thinks upgrading psychopathic, racist death machines is a good idea!)

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Security Company Tries To Hide Flaws By Threatening Infringement Suit

Slashdot -

An anonymous reader writes: An RFID-based access control system called IClass is used across the globe to provide physical access controls. This system relies on cryptography to secure communications between a tag and a reader. Since 2010, several academic papers have been released which expose the cryptographic insecurity of the IClass system. Based on these papers, Martin Holst Swende implemented the IClass ciphers in a software library, which he released under the GNU General Public License. The library is useful to experiment with and determine the security level of an access control system (that you own or have explicit consent to study). However, last Friday, Swende received an email from INSIDE Secure, which notified him of (potential) intellectual property infringement, warning him off distributing the library under threat of "infringement action." Interestingly, it seems this is not the first time HID Global has exerted legal pressure to suppress information.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








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