Follow-up Friday: Craigslist’s turnaround; cell-phone jamming bill; new virus; ex-Goldman programmer charged again

It’s follow-up Friday as we revisit stories previously mentioned on GMSV:

• Craigslist has dropped its claim of exclusive ownership of user ads. The Electronic Frontier Foundation wrote Thursday that the San Francisco-based online classifieds site has changed its mind about a recently added provision, which seemed to be way to keep third-party developers from reusing or repackaging ads.

Last week, the New York Times reported that craigslist had sued Padmapper and gone after other companies that make apps based on classifieds information posted on the site. The EFF said craigslist — which has donated to the San Francisco-based advocacy group — “would have harmed both innovation and users’ rights, and would have set a terrible precedent” if it had stuck with exclusivity clause.

• The California State Assembly on Thursday approved a bill that bans cell-phone jamming. The bill, SB 1160, would require a court order before an agency can disrupt cell phone networks — something BART did a year ago in an effort to thwart the ability of protesters (of a police shooting) to organize. The Bay Area Rapid Transit action prompted more protests, including those inspired by hacking collective Anonymous. (See Quoted: on hacking, releasing BART police officers’ information.) The bill now goes to the state Senate.

• Security experts say a new virus that targets bank accounts in Lebanon is probably linked to Stuxnet and Flame. Researchers from Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab say the Gauss virus seems to have been written by the programmers who created Flame, which was detected in Iran earlier this year, according to the New York Times. Previous reports had said Flame and Stuxnet, the worm that disrupted computer systems at an Iranian nuclear plant, had the same creator. Both the NYT and the Washington Post have reported that Stuxnet and Flame were a joint effort by the United States and Israel. (See Burning questions about Flame and cyberwar.) The most recent NYT article, though, points out that the Gauss virus seems to be more in line with a profit-seeking mission, not necessarily one of state espionage.

• The former Goldman Sachs programmer who spent about a year in prison after being convicted of stealing code from the investment bank, then had his federal conviction overturned earlier this year, was charged Thursday by the state of New York. A judge overturned Sergey Aleynikov’s conviction in February, saying he was wrongly convicted of theft because programming code is not physical property, and that the Economic Espionage Act did not apply because the code was not used in interstate commerce. (See Quoted: on programmer’s overturned conviction for downloading code.) The defense attorney of Aleynikov plans to fight the new state felony charges on double-jeopardy grounds, according to the Wall Street Journal. Prosecutors say Aleynikov downloaded code before leaving Goldman in an intent to use the same code to create a trading platform at his new employer; his defense has said he meant to use only the code that was open source. Aleynikov again faces up to eight years in prison, same as his previous sentence.


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  • Rob Petry

    Apple learn from a lawsuit between two restaurant chains. One sued the other said they stole their whole idea down to the uniforms and color of the food. They lost. Then they noticed the other chain had a full menu more choices and alcohol not just beer.
    So they changed got a full menu and alcohol there sales went way up. Apple make
    Bigger, smaller,more models of phones offer qui charging wakeup you aren’t grabbing world market share with one menu item! Win the lawsuit lose the war get off your ego. I have only Apple products I’m not a hater but I am smart.