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A few weeks ago, Fox News breathlessly reported that the embattled WikiLeaks operation was looking to start a new life under on the sea. WikiLeaks, the article speculated, might try to escape its legal troubles by putting its servers on Sealand, a World War II anti-aircraft platform seven miles off the English coast in the North Sea, a place that calls itself an independent nation. It sounds perfect for WikiLeaks: a friendly, legally unassailable host with an anything-goes attitude.

But readers with a memory of the early 2000s might be wondering, "Didn't someone already try this? How did that work out?" Good questions. From 2000 to 2008, a company called HavenCo did indeed offer no-questions-asked colocation on Sealand—and it didn't end well.

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What do you get when you have Silicon Valley’s best and brightest sitting before you, elbow-to-elbow with Hollywood moguls, New York elite, and some incredibly cool Bostonians (along with a thousand other inspirational souls from around the world)? If you’re Rob Reid, you multiply wit with cynicism, divide by 5 minutes, and express it in a hilarity set normalized to π+1. Behold, ©opyright MathTM, the best short talk at TED 2012 as determined by yours truly. Video of his talk is now available thanks to our friends at TED. So you can fully appreciate it, allow us to give you some background.

Rob Reid understands copyright math because he has the compass cuts and rubber eraser burns of an experienced mathematical optimist grappling with a five-headed label hydra. "The music industry became a frustration for me on October 8, 1998," he told me, "the day that the RIAA sued Diamond Multimedia for releasing the first true mass-market MP3 player, the Rio." Pondering the late '90s, Reid noted, "Their goal was to make open MP3 players completely illegal in this country. So, assault weapons, yes; iPods, no."

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The FBI can't get into a pimp's Android phone—so it wants Google to hand over the keys.

In addition to accessing the phone, agents also want Google to turn over e-mail searches, Web searches, GPS tracking data, websites visited, and text messages. A federal judge has agreed. Hopefully, digital devices can make life hard out there for a pimp—but the case also reminds us just how much data smartphones generate on even innocuous users.

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Whether they're plotting attacks on the global Domain Name Service, proving Ruby on Rails and Chrome vulnerabilities, or getting busted by the Feds in Chicago, hackers appeared all over the news this week. But the past few days weren't all just breaking and entering. We brought you a glimpse at home tech of the future, and taught you how to create a bootable Windows 8 thumb drive, too.

The five technologies that will transform homes of the future: Novel technologies available today will evolve into necessities tomorrow. Here are five key pieces of the "home of the future."

Holey chip! IBM drills holes into optical chip for terabit-per-second speed: A prototype optical chip can transfer a trillion bits of data per second because of an innovative design featuring 48 tiny holes that facilitate the movement of light.

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A judge has ordered Google and Motorola to give Apple details related to the Android development process and Google's acquisitions of Android and Motorola. The order was issued yesterday by Judge Richard Posner in US District Court in Northern Illinois, as part of a patent lawsuit Apple filed in 2010 against Motorola, which is now on the verge of being acquired by Google.

In documents filed with the court last week, Apple argued that information regarding Google's development of Android functionality used in Motorola products is "highly relevant" to the pending lawsuit because two of the patents Apple is asserting "are directed to core features of the Android operating system." The patents in question include #5,566,377, which was filed by Apple in 1994, describing a "method and apparatus for distributing events in an operating system." The other patent, #5,519,867, was filed in 1993 by Taligent, a now-defunct Apple project, and describes an object-oriented multitasking system.

"Apple has alleged that to remove or design around the claimed features would involve a substantial overhaul of the Android operating system, which would likely cost Motorola tens (if not hundreds) of millions of dollars to implement," Apple's filing states. The amount of money Motorola would have had to pay to design around these features, and the amount of money Google "paid to acquire and develop the Android system" is relevant to the amount of damages Apple should be entitled to if it wins this case, Apple argued.

Motorola argued last week that Motorola and Google are still separate entities until the pending merger closes, and thus Motorola "cannot force Google to produce documents or witnesses over Google's objections." Still, Motorola noted that "Google is in the process of producing documents and witnesses and depositions of Google employees have begun and will continue throughout the next weeks."

Posner's brief order states that "Apple's motion of March 2 to compel Motorola and Google to provide discovery concerning Google's acquisition of Android, Inc., Google's development of the Android OS, and Google's acquisition of Motorola is granted." The judge also granted a Motorola motion to strike "expert reports" Apple submitted related to FRAND patent licensing issues.

Because Motorola counter-sued Apple, there will be two trials, which are scheduled to be heard back to back starting June 11, Bloomberg notes. Google told Ars this morning that it won't comment "beyond what we've said in court papers."

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Last week, we covered the story of Camping Alfaques, a Spanish vacation spot whose owner recently sued Google in a local court. His concern: top search results that feature grisly images (note: thumbnail versions of a few appear in a screenshot below) of dead bodies from an old tragedy. Such cases have so many implications for the future of search engines and the companies who depend on them that we spoke to the owner of Camping Alfaques to learn more about his situation. He told us what led him to sue Google, how much the case matters to him, and why he doesn't want anything "deleted" from the 'Net—just relocated.

Mario Gianni Masiá, now the owner of an oceanfront vacation spot called "Camping Alfaques" in southern Spain, was a child in 1978 when a tanker truck exploded into a fireball on the road just beyond the site. 23 tons of fuel ignited, immediately turning 200 campers to ash and badly burning several hundred more. Safely on the other side of the camp, Mario was unscathed.

Photographers descended, of course; pictures were snapped, graphic shots of bodies stacked like charcoal, carbonized arms rising from the earth. Newspapers covered the deaths. A movie was made. But 30 years is a long time, and while memories of the disaster never vanished, visitors to the campground didn't have the most shocking images shoved in their faces just for planning a trip.

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The Obama administration's Department of Energy, led by Steven Chu, has taken a "portfolio" approach to easing the country into a future in which we're less reliant on fossil fuels. Instead of betting on a single technology to solve all our problems, the DOE has been pushing a mix of renewables, efficiency measures, and nuclear power. After having licensed the first new nuclear plant in decades, the DOE has now reached agreements with companies that are trying to develop an alternative to these large facilities.

Rather than building large, Gigawatt-scale reactor buildings, several companies are developing what are termed small, modular nuclear reactors that produce a few hundred Megawatts of power. These are typically designed to be sealed units that simply deliver heat for use either directly or to generate electricity. When the fuel starts to run down, the reactors will be shipped back to a central facility for refueling. Since they will never be opened on site, many of the issues associated with large plants don't come into play.

The new agreements, set up with Hyperion Power Generation, SMR, and NuScale Power, will give the companies access to the DOE's Savannah River National Lab, with the intention of having them develop sites there for a test installation. Ultimately, the test installations are intended to provide data that will go into the licensing of these new designs. Chu, in announcing the agreement, stated, "We are committed to restarting the nation’s nuclear industry and advancing the next generation of these technologies."

We'll be running a feature on the future of nuclear power in the US early next week.

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Is turnabout fair play? A handful of Anons have found themselves on the wrong end of a hack in the wake of the US government takedown of Megaupload. On January 20, just one day after Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom was arrested in New Zealand, an unknown attacker slipped code from the infamous Zeus Trojan into the slowloris tool used by members of Anonymous to carry out DDoS attacks on websites that have drawn their ire. As a result, many of those who participated in DDoS attacks targeted at the US Department of Justice, music label UMG, and whitehouse.gov also had their own PCs compromised.

Security firm Symantec details how some Anons ended up with Zeus on their systems. After modifying the Slowloris source to include code for the Zeus trojan on January 20, the attacker changed a couple of Pastebin guides used to bring would-be DDoSers up to speed to show a new URL for downloading the Slowloris tool.

Each time Slowloris was downloaded and launched after the 20th of January, a Zeus botnet client was installed too. The Zeus client then stealthily downloaded a "clean" version of Slowloris to replace the modified copy in an attempt to conceal its existence on the infected PC. In the meantime, the Zeus trojan did its usual dirty work: capturing passwords and cookies, as well as banking and webmail credentials, and sending them off to a command-and-control server.

Symantec's research shows the modified version of Slowloris was widely downloaded. "This Anonymous DoS tool on PasteBin has become quite popular among the Anonymous movement with more than 26,000 views and 400 tweets referring to the post," noted Symantec's official blog. 

The compromised version of Slowloris is no longer linked to on Pastebin: it appears that coverage of the shenanigans pulled on Anonymous has resulted in what looks to be a link to the correct verison of Slowloris being restored to the Pastebin guide.

Having Zeus installed on one's PC is absolutely no fun at all, so those who have downloaded the compromised version of Slowloris are going to have their hands full trying to hunt down and eradicate the trojan. Indeed, we see a number of clean OS installs in the immediate future for those who participated in DDoS attacks after the Megaupload takedown.

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In his first extensive interview since leaving a New Zealand prison on bail, Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom (read our in-depth profile) describes himself as a family man with a "big kid inside me" who is looking for "happiness and nature and peace" for his family. Sure, he used to drive in crazy road races and style himself “Dr. Evil” and hire lavish yachts, but those days are a decade behind him now.

It's a far cry from the way he has been depicted by US law enforcement. They charged the “Mega conspiracy” in January with some of the most heinous criminal copyright violations on the planet. The sit-down interview with New Zealand journalist John Campbell gave Dotcom a chance to dispel this image and make the case his company really is just like YouTube.

It's not a hard-hitting interview—featuring questions like "Are you as bad as possible, Kim? Are you a very naughty man...?"—but hearing directly from Dotcom at last is fascinating.

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Today's the day Google's broad new privacy policy goes into effect. European regulators are claiming it violates data protection laws, but it's here and it may be here to stay.

There are some not-completely-foolproof ways to hide from Google, but first let's talk about what's changed. Prior to today, Google had more than 70 privacy policies for its various products. But with the company trying to create a seamless experience across search, Gmail, Google+, Google Docs, Picasa, and much more, Google is consolidating the majority of its policies down into just one document covering most of its products. This will make it easier for Google to track users for the purpose of serving up personalized ads.

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