ccguy writes "Apple revised its warranty policy in Italy last year after being hit with a €900,000 fine for not complying with an EU-mandated two-year term. The company has today revised the terms of its warranties in France, Germany and Belgium, specifying that customers are entitled to repairs and replacements of their Apple products for a full two years after purchase, and not just one as previously stated. No word yet on when the rest of the EU will see those changes, but it would now seem to be just a matter of time before other countries get the new terms as well."
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
An anonymous reader writes "The Greek government shut down broadcasting of all TV and radio channels operated by the state-owned broadcaster ERT at midnight local time, with police ejecting journalists and other employees occupying the building. The above link is a prominent Greek economics professor's (and Valve's in-house economist) analysis of the political motivations for the move."
Bruce66423 writes "The government minister in charge of GCHQ, the UK's equivalent of the NSA, has used those immortal words, 'Only terrorists, criminals and spies should fear secret activities of the British and US intelligence agencies.' From the article: '...In an interview on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, Mr Hague refused to say whether the British government knew of the existence of Prism before it emerged last week. “I can’t confirm or deny in public what Britain knows about and what Britain doesn’t, for obvious reasons,” he said. However, he implied that the revelations had not taken him by surprise.'" While many are concerned about the reach of PRISM overseas, the Finnish Foreign Minister says he plans to continue using Outlook for email.
angry tapir writes "Hackers would face up to two years or more in prison no matter where they live in the European Union under a new draft law approved by the European Parliament's civil liberties committee. The proposed rule would prevent E.U. countries from capping sentences for any type of hacking at less than two years. Meanwhile the maximum sentence possible for cyberattacks against 'critical infrastructure,' such as power plants, transport networks and government networks would be at least five years in jail. The draft directive, which updates rules that have been in place since 2005, would also introduce a maximum penalty of at least three years' imprisonment for creating botnets."
Bismillah writes "Following the example of the Dutch, who enacted laws supporting network neutrality, the European Union is now looking at doing the same. They are pushing for an end to the throttling and blocking of services such as Skype and Whatsapp by providers hoping to drive users to their own competing services. The EU also wants a service transparency requirement for ISPs, so people know what they're buying — like minimum speed. It'll be interesting to see how this pans out."
First time accepted submitter Maxime Perrotin writes "Following the successful past two editions of SOCIS, the European Space Agency is pleased to announce the launch of the 2013 edition of its Summer of Code in Space. The project is now open for mentoring organizations to submit project proposals until the 20th of June. Projects have to be open-source/free software; students who participate can get up to 4000€ if the project is achieved."
An anonymous reader writes "Commodity ARM CPUs are poised to to replace x86 CPUs in modern supercomputers just as commodity x86 CPUs replaced vector CPUs in early supercomputers. An analysis by the EU Mountblanc Project (PDF) (using Nvidia Tegra 2/3, Samsung Exynos 5 & Intel Core i7 CPUs) highlights the suitability and energy efficiency of ARM-based solutions. They finish off by saying, 'Current limitations [are] due to target market condition — not real technological challenges. ... A whole set of ARM server chips is coming — solving most of the limitations identified.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Neelie Kroes, European Commission vice president responsible for the digital economy, wants to use 5 billion euros of European Union tax payers' money, together with matching funds from the chip industry, to recreate European success in semiconductors similar to that of Airbus. Because of its strategic importance to wealth creation Kroes wants Europe to reverse its decline in chip manufacturing and move back up from 10 percent to 20 percent of global production."
vikingpower writes "A team of international experts has drawn up the Soil Atlas of Africa — the first such book mapping this key natural resource — to help farmers, land managers and policymakers understand the diversity and importance of soil and the need to manage it through sustainable use. A joint commission of the African Union and the European Union has produced a complete atlas of African soils, downloadable as three hefty PDFs (Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3). The initiative was announced four years ago, and is intended 'to help farmers, land managers and policymakers understand the diversity and importance of soil and the need to manage it through sustainable use.' A digital, interactive series of maps is (still) in the making."
An anonymous reader writes "Peter Sunde aka brokep of TPB fame is going to run for European Parliament in 2014, as a Finnish Pirate Party candidate. As he still has a prison sentence to serve in Sweden, he might have to campaign from behind bars. 'Amusingly, the Pirate ticket in Finland could have been even bigger than it is now. Sunde informs TorrentFreak that he also reached out to Finnish-born Kim Dotcom to join the race, but the Megaupload founder currently has other priorities.'"
Drishmung writes "The New Zealand Commerce Minister Craig Foss today (9 May 2013) announced a significant change to the Patents Bill currently before parliament, replacing the earlier amendment with far clearer law and re-affirming that software really will be unpatentable in New Zealand. An article on the Institute of IT Professionals web site by IT Lawyer Guy Burgess looks at the the bill and what it means, with reference to the law in other parts of the world such as the USA, Europe and Britain (which is slightly different from the EU situation)."
jrepin writes "The government of Spain's autonomous region of Extremadura has begun the switch to open source of it desktop PCs. The government expects the majority of its 40,000 PCs to be migrated this year, the region's CIO Theodomir Cayetano announced on 18 April. Extremadura estimates that the move to open source will help save 30 million euro per year. Extremadura in 2012 completed the inventory of all the software applications and computers used by its civil servants. It also tailored a Linux distribution, Sysgobex, to meet the majority of requirements of government tasks. It has already migrated to open source some 150 PCs at several ministries, including those for Development, Culture and Employment."
PuceBaboon writes "The BBC is reporting that the EU has voted to ban pesticides containing neonicotinoids for at least two years, in an effort to isolate the cause of CCD (colony collapse disorder; the alarming disappearance of bees over recent years). Despite intense lobbying by the chemical companies, a 3-million signature petition helped swing the vote in favor of the ban."
First time accepted submitter Dorianny writes in with a story about the ongoing battle over genetically engineered crops in Europe. "The European Union cannot meet its goals in agricultural policy without embracing genetically engineered crops (GMOs). That's the conclusion of scientists who write in Trends in Plant Science, a Cell Press publication, based on case studies showing that the EU is undermining its own competitiveness in the agricultural sector to its own detriment and that of its humanitarian activities in the developing world. 'Failing such a change, ultimately the EU will become almost entirely dependent on the outside world for food and feed and scientific progress, ironically because the outside world has embraced the technology which is so unpopular in Europe, realizing this is the only way to achieve sustainable agriculture,' said Paul Christou of the University of Lleida-Agrotecnio Center and Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats in Spain."
First time accepted submitter DW100 writes "Microsoft, Nokia and Oracle have taken it upon themselves to moan to the European Commission about Google's Android dominance, which they say is an underhand bid to control the entire mobile market. The firms are part of the FairSearch group, which has just filed a complaint that Google is using Android as a 'Trojan Horse' to take control of the mobile market and all the related advertising revenue. Microsoft would of course know all about this, being at the end of several similar anti-competitive complaints in the past."
sl4shd0rk writes "Hispalinux, which represents Spanish Open Source developers and users, has filed a complaint against Microsoft with the European Commission. 14 pages of grief cited Windows 8 as an 'obstruction mechanism' calling UEFI Secure Boot a 'de facto technological jail for computer booting systems... making Microsoft's Windows platform less neutral than ever.' On March 6 of 2012 the Commission fined Microsoft 561 million Euros for failing to offer users a choice of web browser, and there was also a 2004 ruling which found the company had abused its market position by tying Windows Media Player to Windows itself. Relations appear to remain more tense towards Windows in Europe, so there may be some hope of making UEFI more Linux-friendly. UEFI has been implicated in the death of Samsung laptops running Linux."
whoever57 writes "Several European phone carriers have complained to the EU about the contracts that Apple imposes on them if they want to sell the iPhone. Because the contracts stipulate a minimum purchase, and the Carrier must compensate Apple if they fail to sell through that minimum, it has the effect of forcing the carrier to promote iPhones ahead of alternative phones. The European Commission is monitoring the situation. Apple claims that its 'contracts fully comply with local laws wherever we do business, including the EU.'"
UgLyPuNk writes "Blizzard has revealed its 'something new' at PAX East 2013: Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft — a 'charming collectible strategy game set in the Warcraft universe.'" Blizzard says this game is a departure from their normal development process: it was made with a team of just 15, will release this year, and it's free-to-play. Hearthstone is built for Mac OS, Windows, and iPads. There's a deck builder, a match-finder, and AI for those who don't want to play against other people. While it's free to play, and players will earn new packs of cards by playing, there will also be an option to purchase new packs.
alancronin writes "Researchers have unearthed a decade-long espionage operation that used the popular TeamViewer remote-access program and proprietary malware to target high-level political and industrial figures in Eastern Europe. TeamSpy, as the shadow group has been dubbed, collected encryption keys and documents marked as 'secret' from a variety of high-level targets, according to a report published Wednesday by Hungary-based CrySyS Lab. Targets included a Russia-based Embassy for an undisclosed country belonging to both NATO and the European Union, an industrial manufacturer also located in Russia, multiple research and educational organizations in France and Belgium, and an electronics company located in Iran. CrySyS learned of the attacks after Hungary's National Security Authority disclosed intelligence that TeamSpy had hit an unnamed 'Hungarian high-profile governmental victim.'"