Oracle sues Google over Android

Two Silicon Valley heavyweights are about to reenact the Java wars: this time, in a court room.

Oracle issued a press release late Thursday saying it has filed suit against Google for infringing on copyrights and patents related to Java, which Oracle acquired along with Sun Microsystems earlier this year. The terse release claimed Google “knowingly, directly and repeatedly infringed Oracle’s Java-related intellectual property…”

A Google representative said the company had not yet been served with the lawsuit, and therefore couldn’t comment until it had a chance to review it. An Oracle representative declined to comment beyond the complaint.

Back when Google first announced plans to develop Android in 2007, it immediately raised the blood pressure of Java developers at Sun. Google’s Java implementation is different than the one advocated by a Java standards group, which worried those tech industry veterans who remember the problems that Microsoft caused for Java by following a similar path on Windows.

Of course, Java has been forked and fragmented many times over the years, destroying the “write once run anywhere” promise of the technology with different implementations on different computing platforms. Still, Oracle, on behalf of Sun, is arguing that Java is a mobile operating system competitor against Android, and that Google is using Java-derived technologies without a proper license.

Oracle also noted the interlocking history between Google and Java in its complaint, noting that “Google has been aware of Sun’s patent portfolio, including the patents at issue, since the middle of this decade, when Google hired certain former Sun Java engineers.” Google CEO Eric Schmidt led the team that developed Java at Sun prior to becoming CEO of Novell, and later Google in 2001. Urs Hölzle, senior vice president of operations and a Google Fellow, also played a significant role in Java’s development in the 1990s, and apparently other Sun engineers have joined Google in the intervening years.

Should have at least as many chuckles as the Microsoft/Java war – and I’ll bet Google will prove to be as stodgy and intractable as Microsoft over products that are bringing in the revenue potential of Android.

World’s Most Wanted cyber bandit nabbed at Nice airport

An alleged international credit card trafficker from Russia who sold stolen credit card data has been arrested in France, and the United States will seek his extradition to face charges in this country.

They identified the defendant as Vladislav Anatolieviech Horohorin, 27, of Moscow, an alleged co-founder of the first and only fully automated credit card information online vending site that sold stolen data.

Horohorin, whose online name is “BadB,” was arrested by French authorities on Aug. 7, in Nice as he attempted to board a flight to return to Moscow. He is being detained in France pending extradition to the United States…

According to court documents, Horohorin allegedly used online criminal forums to sell stolen credit card information to online purchasers worldwide. He had been the subject of an undercover investigation by U.S. Secret Service agents.

“The network created by the founders of CarderPlanet, including Vladislav Horohorin, remains one of the most sophisticated organizations of online financial criminals in the world,” said Michael Merritt…

“This network has been repeatedly linked to nearly every major intrusion of financial information reported to the international law enforcement community,” he said in a statement.

Reuters says he’s Russian. Israeli press variously says he’s Israeli – or Ukrainian.

Whatever the flavor – throw away the key!

“Body” on Google Street View is girl playing with friends

A girl captured on Google Street View sprawled out in the gutter of a street sparked panic after concerned locals feared cameras had caught a dead body lying on the pavement.

Worried residents spotted the ‘corpse’ lying by a red car as they browsed pictures of Middle Road, in Worcester.

But rather than being a crime scene, the images turned out to just be a youngster playing around with a friend outside her home.

One resident, who did not wish to be named, confirmed the girl pictured lying on the floor was playing with her nine-year-old daughter at the time.

She said: “When we heard about the Street View images we had a look at our street and thought it was really cool.

“Then we noticed the girl lying on the ground which looks a bit strange but thankfully we knew it wasnt anything suspicious…”

The family of the young girl could not immediately be contacted…

A spokesman for Google said: “The imagery in Street View represents a snapshot in time of Britains streets and is no different to what anyone might expect to see for themselves around the country.

“Sometimes that means our cars inadvertently capture odd or inappropriate moments as they drive past.

“This is why we have put in place tools so that if people see what they believe to be inappropriate, they can report them to us using the simple reporting tool and the images will be quickly removed or further blurring applied.”

Cripes! I’ll bet some people thought they had found an undiscovered murder and screamed for the coppers.

Did they think a body was left lying around the neighborhood – waiting, I guess, for a clean-up crew to happen along?

Obama’s plan for Gitmo convicts same as George W’s = None?

The Department of Defense has no written policy on how detainees convicted in military commissions should be housed after they are sentenced despite a 2008 Pentagon directive to create a plan for such prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, a military judge said Wednesday.

“This is troubling,” said Judge Nancy J. Paul, an Air Force Lt. Col., noting that two commissions are currently being held at Guantanamo Bay which could lead to the sentencing of two detainees this month. She said “no written plan, no written policy, or directive exists” about where to put convicted war criminals here.

The issue arose this week in the case of Ibrahim al-Qosi, a 50-year old Sudanese who cooked for al-Qaeda’s inner circle in Afghanistan, and who pleaded guilty last month to conspiracy and providing material support for terrorism…

Joint Task Force Guantanamo, which runs the detention facilities here, objected to the agreement reached by military prosecutors to keep Qosi in Camp 4. That part of the plea deal was also backed by an order from the judge.

The task force, whose officials were not made aware of the agreement before military prosecutors signed it, was unwilling to implement it because the commander and others here believe the Geneva Conventions and military regulations prevent the co-mingling of convicted prisoners and the general detainee population.

And didn’t our president swear – while campaigning and after assuming office – that our nation and his adminstration would live up to the Geneva Convention and the U.S. Military Code of Conduct?

Or so I thought I heard.

Jurors were not made aware of the fact that there is a plea bargain, and that their finding could be moot…

Military officials said Qosi’s actual sentence may not be revealed for several months. They — and defense counsel — refused to discuss the plea, or its terms.

It’s a charade,” said Jennifer Turner, of the ACLU, who said the administration wanted the appearance of a harsh sentence while avoiding criticism that it sanctioned something much less.

World’s largest tidal power device unveiled in Scotland

A device thought to be the largest tidal energy turbine to be built in the world has been described by its developer as “simple and robust”.

Atlantis Resources unveiled its AK-1000 at Invergordon ahead of it being towed on a barge to a European Marine Energy Centre test site off Eday, Orkney…The device has two sets of blades to harness ebb and flood tides.

Mr Cornelius told BBC Scotland that the focus of the marine industry at the moment was making the Pentland Firth a huge success in terms of generating electricity from renewable energy devices…

“It is one of the harshest environments on the planet…In order to get a robust turbine we have had to make what we call ultimately the dumbest, simple but most robust turbine you could possibly put in such a harsh environment.”

The AK-1000’s two sets of blades have also been designed to move slowly underwater and Atlantis said they would not pose a threat to sea life…

Atlantis, which has bases in London and Singapore, has been leading a plan to use tidal energy to power a computer data centre in the far north of Scotland…

The computer data centre would provide services for a number of companies and be powered by tidal energy rather than depend on electricity supplied to the National Grid.

I guess this puts the Brits+Singaporeans – and anyone else putting such projects into play – years ahead of that great industrial and engineering giant, the United States.

Between Republicans who prefer to spend taxpayer dollars on their favorite war contractors and Democrats who are happy enough maintaining bureaucratic sinecures, the United States should regain a leadership position in the global economy – never.

On the Gulf of Mexico, fake fishermen hustle BP payback


Fishing grounds closed – 2200 extra licenses sold – uh, huh

BP has paid out more than $308m in compensation to individuals and businesses since the oil spill, but fishermen and Gulf of Mexico officials fear some of that money might have gone to fraudsters.

Oysterman Pete Vujnovich has been out of work for the past several months. He spends most of his days tidying his boat – the Captain Pete – waiting for the waters around his home in Barataria Bay to reopen to fishing.

A couple months ago, he says, two men he had never seen before approached him near his boat and asked him to sign a paper saying they had worked for him – so they could claim BP compensation.

“Of course,” he says. “I didn’t sign.” Mr Vujnovich says he has heard of other fraud attempts. “Some of the other boat captains have been offered a thousand dollars to sign a piece of paper vouching for other people,” he says.

In order to claim compensation from BP, fishermen must prove they hold a commercial fishing license. The only place to get one in Louisiana is the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) in Baton Rouge.

Since the oil spill, roughly 2,200 more commercial licences have been sold than in the same period last year, despite many fishing grounds being closed.

No – I’m not surprised.

Lt Col Jeff Mayne of the LDWF Law Enforcement Division says some of those licences may have been used to commit fraud.

Originally BP was paying cheques to just anybody who had a licence and that may have spurred some of the fraud,” he says. “There were no real checks and balances on whether they were they really commercial fishermen.”

In the past week, LDWF made its first three arrests in relation to fraudulent oil spill compensation claims…

BP has a special unit currently investigating several hundred cases of possible fraud. Adjusters in claims centres around Louisiana have also been warned to be on the lookout…

Oysterman Pete Vujnovich says, “At the heart of this industry is a core of really good people, and we don’t want that reputation tarnished.”

I wish I could say the same about Louisiana politicians – right down to the level of parish pundits who get on TV every chance they can to blather about how no one is trying hard enough to solve whatever it is they’re whining about this week – to get re-elected this Fall.

Fingerprinting program expanded in all 25 U.S. border counties

Immigration officials now have access to the fingerprints of every inmate booked into jail in all 25 U.S. counties along the Mexican border, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced, touting the program as a way of identifying and deporting “criminal aliens.”

Napolitano’s announcement came as immigrant rights activists criticized the fingerprinting program, known as Secure Communities, after obtaining documents showing that more than a quarter of those deported under its auspices had no criminal records…

That charge is baseless, DHS officials said. Secure Communities gives Immigration and Customs Enforcement the ability to check the fingerprints of those arrested against a database that will show whether they have ever been deported or otherwise had contact with immigration agents…

By some estimates, as many as a million illegal immigrants now living in the U.S. have committed crimes, Morton has said. ICE often is unaware of them, even when they are in jail or prison…

Secure Communities makes such notifications automatic. ICE says the program has identified more than 262,900 illegal immigrants in jails and prisons who have been charged with or convicted of criminal offenses, including more than 39,000 charged with or convicted of violent offenses or major drug crimes says…

In the first 10 months of fiscal year 2010, 142,000 illegal immigrants with criminal records were deported, ICE says, one-third more than in the same period of the prior year. About 50,000 non-criminals were removed.

I live in a county where the best guesstimate is that 15% of the population is undocumentados.

Reading the morning paper and finding that the latest armed robbery and/or murder involved an illegal is about as common as noticing that someone killed in an automobile accident wasn’t using their seatbelt. Both violations – at root – of federal law. Both ignored as common practice.

The way Secure Communities is implemented in the largest city in New Mexico – is that the only fingerprints regularly checked by ICE are of folks under arrest, booked into jail.